Summary: A call to Christians to look past discrimination and prejudice.
“The Big Picture: Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors”
By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer
Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
By now, many of you have probably seen the television ad compaign that has been
running during the month of September....each commercial ends with the tag, “The people of the
United Methodist Church: Open hearts, Open Minds, Open doors.”
We also have doorhangers here at Parkview.....of which at least two thousand have been
distributed without the community with this same slogan written on them.
And, basically this is what Paul is talking about in this passage.
Because faith in Christ makes us one, eliminating all distinctions and prejudices.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in
This is a startling truth: Jesus Christ is the answer to all the prejudice, bitterness,
hatred, oppression, and inequalities on the earth!
It’s especially startling when we think about the context in which it was written:
It was written nearly two-thousand years ago, when Jews thought that they were the one
chosen race....and looked down upon everyone else....it was written long before the abolition
of slavery, it was written when women were generally thought of as having no rights
whatsoever....they were merely and literally the property of men....who could pretty much
get away with doing with them whatever they wanted.
It went completely against the grain of the way everyone up until this point had ever
thought.....therefore it is an unbelievably radical statement....and it gives us an incredible insight
into the big picture of what Christianity is all about!
And unfortunatley, many of us have not gotten that big picture even today...even two
thousand years later!
Everyone is on equal footing before Jesus Christ.
God makes no distictions....even if we do!
Yes, Jesus Christ excepts us all....through faith in Him. God loves everyone....God looks
at the inside of people rather than the outside....
Jesus Christ reaches out and embraces all people...calling all people to come to faith in
Him....and so should we!
The barriers that get in our way.....color, nationality, sex, social status, or any other
differences mean nothing to God.....For we all have sinned and have fallen short of God’s glory.
Therefore we are not to judge other people...just because they are diferent than we
are.....as a matter of fact....Jesus tells us that we are not to judge anyone!
As Jesus declares in Matthew chapter 7, “Do not judge, or you will be judged. For in the
same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be
measured to you.”
Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it....and Jesus did
not go around wagging his finger in people’s faces, judging them.....as a matter of fact the only
people that Jesus condemned were the people who were doing the judging.
These people Jesus called “snakes” and “vipers”. And asked them, “How will you escape
being condemned to hell?
He called them hypocrites, and told them that they “shut the kingdom of heaven in men”
and women’s “faces.”
He told them that they were like white-washed tombs, “which look beautiful on the
outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean”.....he said, “on the
outside you appear to peope as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and
And these were the religious leaders, and these were the people who eventually put Jesus
Think about it, a guy like Jesus could have had a pretty cushy job within the religious
He could have given a tenth of his spices---mint, dill, and cummin---but neglecting the
more important matters of the law---justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
He could of worn luxorious clothting and made the tassels on his garments long for
everyone to see.
And the establishment would have thought that this was just fine....
They’d say, “Boy, that Jesus sure is a neat religious guy, I just love the way he takes the
place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues.
And he’s such a good politician, just look how he loves to be greeted in the marketplaces
and to have people call him rabbi.”
But this is not the way Jesus did things because this is not the way God does things....
Instead, Jesus spent his time eating with the “sinners”.....and the “outcastes”.
He chose twelve men from the working class to be his disciples, and he met people where
they were without judging them!
And let’s face it, Jesus was not liked by the establishment!
The religious leaders did not like it when Jesus stopped them from stoning a prostitute.
He did not join in with them when they were about to kill another human being because