THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 10-28-01
LESSON TITLE: SOCIALLY ACCEPTED SINS OF TODAY: "PREJUDICE"
Good morning! Thanks for joining us this morning in this service of God. The Living Word Program is committed to proclaiming the simple truth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - which is confirmed for us in the Bible. I hope you all have your Bible's handy and I hope you are ready to worship God together as we sing praises to His name and study from His wondrous word. Now let's begin by talking to our Father in prayer!
This week we would like to mention another congregation which helps financially to make the Living Word Program possible. The Sparta Church of Christ in Sparta, Missouri, has been with our work for a long time now. It is great to have them as partners in this effort together to the glory of Christ. We really appreciate this fine congregation for their like-desire to see the gospel of Christ taken to the whole world.
Please take advantage of the opportunity this morning to meet with this family of God. Beginning at 10:00 a.m., these brethren will begin with a Bible study and then at 11:00, they will have a morning worship assembly. On Sunday evening at 6:00, they will again come together for a worship service. This congregation also offers a mid-week service at 7:00 each Wednesday evening. I hope you are able to visit with this family of God very soon.
If you have any questions or need further information about this congregation, please feel free to contact me or their minister, brother Greely Kirkpatrick. Their telephone number is: 417-278-3977.
It's now time to join in our songs of praise as we together sing the first hymn of the morning. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing, "Mansion Over The Hilltop."
(SONG # 1)
Perseverance is a difficult thing for all of us, especially in the day and time in which we live. When there are so many opportunities around us to have things, we often fall victim to our own desires and forget to put God first. Every time we go to the mall or into a store we see something we like and want. It doesn't matter that we already have something similar - we want the latest or the newest versions. Every time we drive down the road we see a car or a house we like better than what we have.
It is because of all of these earthly things that I say we have a difficult time today persevering and accomplishing what we want to for God. How easy it must be for the Devil to put stumbling blocks in our way when so many things are made today to appeal to our fleshly desires.
Perseverance is also a Biblical topic. In fact, in 2 Peter 1:5-7, we see that Peter includes perseverance among the Christian virtues one must have to be pleasing to God. How can we then know that perseverance is something we are commanded to do? Let's look at what Peter goes on to say in verses 8 and 9 of the same passage, "For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins." Paul also confirms the need for perseverance when he said, "...we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope," Romans 5:3-4. I hope we are beginning to see that perseverance is a Bible subject.
In James 5:11, we are again reminded of our discussion this morning, as we read of an example which James uses to help in understanding perseverance. The verse says, "Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord; that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful." Who had greater perseverance than Job? He was a greatly blessed servant of God who lost everything at the hands of the devil. However, Job was able to persevere and remain faithful through the entire ordeal. Are we able to do the same? OR, when things start getting tuff do we just give in and fall away. When temptations seem to attractive to us, do we accept them and worry about the consequences later? We need to be more like Christ, learning to endure, and persevere no matter what may come.
This morning, we will continue with our series called, "Socially Accepted Sins of Today!" Our specific topic today deals with being "Prejudice?" So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together I will return with our study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn is, "My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less!"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
If you will, I'd like to begin this morning by looking at a quote if you would follow on and listen with me. The quote says, "It is the lock of the door of the closed mind. It is the ignorance we usually mistake for reason. It is the first enemy of information and progress. It is the perfect combination of conceit and ignorance. It is the defense of the devil. The shell of the petrified mind, the ceiling of understanding. What is it? It is prejudice." This morning we would like to look at the topic of being prejudice because we know that in our day and our time and our society and throughout the world that there is a problem at times with people treating others different because of maybe a certain reason as we will look at in just a moment. Sometimes we maybe because of the color of skin, sometimes maybe because of the way that a person is able to think or the language that they use or maybe the way they wear their hair or the clothing that they have or the place that they are from or the culture that they represent. For many, many different reasons, we often have this problem of prejudice which is contrary to the will of God which we will see throughout our discussion.
If we will look into the dictionary, we will find that the word "prejudice" is defined as "a pre-conceived judgment or opinion; an opinion or learning adverse to anything without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge." Here we see an opinion, something that is based or really founded in nothing, no real evidence, no real knowledge is the foundation or the basis for what we believe or see in different situations or with a given individual that we might come in contact with. That is prejudice. That we again are allowing ourselves to be caught up, if you will once again, caught up in something that is contrary to what God would have us to do. Prejudice is closed-mindedness. It is allowing ourselves to be caught up in a vicious cycle in saying that just because an individual is a certain way or looks a certain way or wears a certain clothes, then they are a certain way. Well again, this is contrary to what we find in the word of God.
Many people's minds have been closed for many, many years it seems on the idea of prejudice. Many today still hold tightly to their prejudice concepts. But really, the most difficult thing to open is a closed mind in understanding that truly God has made all man.
I often go back to the time in the garden of Eden and think about there when God created the first man and woman. They were neither really white or black. They weren't red. They weren't really some of the colors that we might think of today as we think around the world, as a yellow man. But again as we consider that these individuals were created by God, we find that these individuals were given a soul and the breath of life was breathed into them. They were made by God and given something special and dominion was given to them. Now in that case, human beings, humanity, you and I are different from any other creation that God has made. We're different from any animal. We're different from any of the trees or any of the plants or flowers, anything that we might see on this earth that has also been given by God because we have the ability to think, to reason, to understand, to follow, to obey, and also to understand the things that God has told us through His word.
So yes, we must understand that being prejudice is unacceptable. It's something again contrary to what God lays out through the scripture. If we are individuals who allow ourselves to be caught up in this, then again we are allowing ourselves to participate in things which are contrary to our God, the one that we are striving to follow, the one that we are striving to be known as His children, the children of God.
We might look then at some different types of prejudice. You know sometimes we might think it's just in an association with another individual or something, but really what we want to do now is look at some different areas that we might say that an individual might be prejudice in. We can really begin by looking at maybe those in the world that have a prejudice mind against the truth. In other words, an individual who might have opportunity to read and to know what God has said and to have the Bible and to be able to know that God has said certain things to mankind, but yet they still are prejudice for many different reasons. Now because of this we know that as Christians we must truly study the word and understand it and encourage those around the world to obey and follow the truth. But still the case is made that their are many prejudice against it, many who will not and have not accepted it, and many who actually work contrary to the truth.
There are examples in the Bible that we might also look at at this time that show us of those who were prejudice of this very thing. You might remember the Pharisees. The Pharisees were a group of people, as well as other sects of the Jews that had a very difficult problem of accepting the truth that Jesus Christ brought. We'll mention a little bit more about the truth and all of it's ramifications a little bit later in our discussion. But here we see that they had a hard time accepting the truth. In fact, if you were to look with me in the book of Matthew 13, notice what was said in conjunction with these people in verse 15. It says there, "For the hearts of these people have grown dull, their ears are hard of hearing and their eyes, they have closed. Lest, they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears. Lest they should understand with their hearts in turn so that I should heal them." It mentions very carefully here that these individuals had completely shut God off. This is Christ speaking. Again, the son of God, the one who had been sent to those people, the Jews. Himself, He went to be a person who would save the people of God first. He went to the Jew first and then also to the Gentiles. But here we see as He went to the Jews, He was rejected for the most part. They were dull against Him. They didn't want the truth. They were prejudice against it. They were stuck in the old ways, in the old things and would not move forward into what God had really outlined for them according to that coming of the kingdom, the coming of the Messiah, and again because of that we find that they were unacceptable before God.
Not only the Pharisees, but we also find that prejudice against the truth was one of the sins which also crucified Jesus. We might also look in the book of Matthew as we have been considering there over about chapter 27 where we again have the discussion about how that Christ was crucified, how that because of the desire that the people had, the Jews primarily again, to get rid of Him because of their jealousies and because of their hatred against what He was preaching, again the truth. Because of that prejudice against the truth, they again desired that He die. How far did that go? I want you to look with me in that passage there in chapter 27. And notice with me a few of the things being dealt with beginning in verse 21 because it says there that the governor had answered and said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release?" They said, "Barabbus." You might remember here that this was the case where that because of a certain holiday they would be allowed to release one of the prisoners. They didn't release Christ, the one who had no sin, and really there was no accusation that was founded against Him other than the Jews did not like because He taught contrary to their religion, which if we really think about it, what He was doing was according to prophecy, fulfilling their religion. But they didn't understand that or at least rejected that. But here when it was asked of them, "Do you want Christ to be released or this thief?" Well, who did they choose as we go on to look at what takes place? It says there in verses 25 and 26, "And all the people answered and said, "His blood be on us and our children." "Then he released Barabbus to them and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified." Here we see again, the people of God, the Jews, those who knew about what was planned according to God's will, the prophecy of those things to come that Jesus was striving to fulfill, but yet they rejected it. They were prejudice against Him and prejudice against what He had brought even though, they should have been the most receptive. So prejudice against Him and so prejudice against what He stood for and what He had brought that they chose that He die rather than a man who was more worthy of death, a sinner, one who was a thief.
In fact, if you go on, you might also look at the Jews in Antioch of Pasidea. There in Acts chapter 13, we find another discussion there about some people, some followers of God who actually now were prejudice against the truth. They were angry at what these men were doing. In fact, they were incited the verse tells us. They were incited about what Peter and Paul and all these other apostles were doing throughout the world and they were excited enough to attack them almost and to keep them from what they were doing because they were so upset. They were threatening and wanting to kill them even because they were standing up for the gospel of Christ. Now think about it again. They followed the same God, that is the Christians, the Jews and the Christians. The Christians again say, "We're simply trying to fulfill what the Father has said in the old law by following Christ." But yet again, their prejudice would not allow them to accept it. They would not accept what these individuals had to say.
What about the Gentiles? We mentioned them earlier, but also we know that at times there were those who had problems with the Gentiles. You might remember a time that Paul came there and Peter was with some others and he had brought some others with him who were not only Jew but also Gentile, who were now of the like faith. You remember that it was Peter and others that actually had to have been confronted because they were acting as if maybe these Gentiles weren't worthy in some way, prejudice against other individuals because again of the color of their skin, because they are not of your culture, of the maybe intellect that you are, so on and so forth. Unacceptable. Things that are contrary to the will of God.
On the other hand, we have many examples that we could also look at this morning in seeing that there were those who did not practice such. There were those of all nations and all peoples who came there on that day of Pentecost to receive the gospel of Christ and who responded that day by being baptized according to what they were told there in Acts 2:38. You might also remember a church that was known as the Bereans and they were not prejudice toward the truth because they responded to it greatly. One of the most beautiful passages often that we have is in conjunction with these scriptures about the Bereans, because it tells us that these people were a noble people, a people who could have easily rejected Christ, but a people who chose rather to follow Him. If you'll notice there in Acts 17, read with me verse 11 and 12 as it says the following, "And these were more fair-minded than those at Thessalonica in that they received the word with all readiness and they searched the scriptures to find whether they would need these things to be so. Therefore, many of them because they believed and not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men." It seems here that clearly they were searching the scriptures. Those as it says who were Greeks, who were Gentiles, those who were not of the Jews, but yet they were responding, they were searching it daily to know truly if they were doing that which was right according to the scripture.
So we have, on one hand, those who are sometimes prejudice against the truth or prejudice against others. On the other hand, we have those who are not, those who choose, whether they are from the Jewish background or not, to follow God and to follow that truth and to not hold anything against it.
What about today? Today we also have many who are prejudice against the church. In other words, those who might not think that the church really is that necessary or the need that we have to be a part of the blood bought institution that Christ died for, as we read in Acts 20 and verse 28. Again, this would be unacceptable because we know that we must follow what God has set up. We also know that in relationship to the truth that it brings us freedom, John 8:32. It is the truth that will make us free. So how can we be prejudice against something that brings us freedom? Well again, we know that we can not be.
Prejudice towards other people is something that is also seen in the Bible. I might mention just a few examples, one being that of Nathaniel. He was prejudice against those coming out of Nazareth. In fact, if you look there in the gospel account of John, in John chapter 1, we find it is something that is said in relationship to this. If you'll read with me in verse 46 where Nathaniel, this one who later became an apostle of the Lord, said to him, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" And Phillip said to him, "Come and see." Here we see the idea that again people were wondering according to their minds, can something good come from Nazareth, a place that really was located in an area of Samaria, of those of mixed blood. But again, we find that in all of these things as it states even here that there was problems with prejudice. Just because He was from Nazareth alone, we see that Nathaniel was already setting up what he had in his mind or thought about Jesus and was in some ways maybe already considering not following Him.
We find this also to be the case where the Pharisee was praying in Luke chapter 18 in verse 9 and following where he came up there next to the sinner and he was thanking God that he wasn't like this sinner, this publican. Again, prejudice because of the way this individual looks or because of maybe what someone has done or the situation they've been raised up in. These things again are unacceptable. But rather, we must be like Christ Jesus. The Bible tells us that we must treat all men alike. In fact, the Bible goes even a step further because the Bible tells us that not only should we love all men but even our enemies, even those who have done against us or spitefully used or have said things contrary to us to harm us in some way. We are to treat them right, so much so as we read in Matthew 25 that we are to even "give food, and drink, and clothing to those who are our enemies and those who have done contrary or wrong against us."
No matter who it is, we must be one like Christ who cares enough to help them, who cares enough to give and to give and to give and not worry so much about getting. But again, showing that love no matter who the individual might be, no matter what color they might be, no matter how smart they might be or how much education they might be, no matter who they are in this world, showing them what Christ would also show them. Then, what's it all about? It's all about getting people to follow Christ. You see, when we treat someone wrong or treat them different because of the way that they look or the things that they wear, then again, why would they want to know our Jesus? Why would they want to follow Christ? But on the other hand, when we treat them right, when they see us putting down prejudice and they see us acting and treating all mankind alike and acting as if everyone is equal and that Christ and God loves everyone just like He does, whether male of female, bond or free, Greek or Jew. God loves all men and they all can come to Christ as we read in Galatians chapter 3, they all can come to Him and receive the promise that was given there by Him of eternal life. So therefore, we must be like Christ, coming to this world as His followers, as His servants, living every day so that men around us will know that we are not prejudice against them, living every day so that God Himself will know that we are not prejudice against the truth, but we want it's freedom and we want what it has to offer us, living every day to know that we are not prejudice against the church, the institution that Christ died for and set up so that we might know that we could be saved.
Today, will you choose to be like God or the world? Choose not to be prejudice.
(SONG # 3 - "O To Be Like Thee!")
What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
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As Christians may we learn to endure faithfully, so that we may receive our reward from God in the end.