Sermons

Summary: Salvation is for everyone; even those who don't resemble us. With Christ’s help, we can put aside the partiality that binds us, and love people as He does.

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Most of us like to assume that we're enlightened, tolerant, and unprejudiced people. Unfortunately, a new study reveals many of us have a hidden bias against anyone with a foreign accent. According to a summary of the study in The Wall Street Journal, "The further from native-sounding an accent is, the harder we have to work, and the less trustworthy we perceive the information to be." It gets worse: "Researchers found that the heavier the accent, the more skeptical participants became." In other words, if it sounds like you're not from around here, my suspicion radar is on high alert. My bias about you isn't based on your character; it's based on the fact that you talk "different."

The researchers want to reassure us that we're not really racist or prejudiced (thank goodness). Apparently, we're just lazy. Well, again they don't want to pass judgment: we're not actually lazy; our brains are lazy. In the researcher's words, "Our brains prefer the path of least resistance."

That seems like a nice way to say that, despite our best intentions, we all have pockets of prejudice and bias. In biblical terms, we show favoritism toward people who resemble us. Perhaps this study shows why we need Jesus' help to uproot our partiality and love people who don't resemble us, especially people from different racial, ethnic or national groups.

I. INTRODUCTION

1. Prejudice lives in us. People with whom we don’t associate; some that we are proud of not associating with. It has to do with the prejudice we carry about them.

2. Origins of prejudice can be racial, ethnic, societal, criminal, behavioral or religious. In any case, the feelings are powerful. Sometimes we exert prejudice against others, while at other times we feel prejudice from a person or group of people.

3. We must remember that as children of God, we are equals. The ground, it is said, is level at the foot of the cross. That brings us to the story of Peter and Cornelius. OYBT Acts 10.

Salvation is for everyone; even those who don't resemble us. With Christ’s help, we can put aside the partiality that binds us, and love people as He does.

II. BACKGROUND

1. Peter, as you know, was one of the twelve apostles. He was a devout Jew who came to know Jesus and accept his offer of salvation. He continued, however, to live according to Jewish law, something quite common among early believers.

A. The first Christians were, after all, Jews; the gospel came first to God’s chosen people. It is important to understand that Jewish believers did not see Christianity as a new religion. They accepted Christ as their Messiah, but remained ingrained in Judaism.

B. Because of this, they continued to worship as their ancestors did and lived according to the laws of Moses; what devout Jews expected of each other.

C. One such law forbade Jews from having fellowship with Gentiles, considered unclean according to Jewish law. This does not mean they were physically dirty; rather, they were ritually unclean because they were not Jews. The law prohibited the Jews from contact with Gentiles (eating with them or even being in their homes).


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