River Church NOLA
Jesus, the Answer to Prejudice
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  • The world seems to have forgotten all about the Pandemic that has plagued it and killed hundreds of thousands of people worldwide and is now focused on Prejudice… more specifically Police Prejudice.
    Let me make this clear. God hates prejudice and I hate prejudice… all prejudice.
    I stated a week ago that we have prejudiced police because we have prejudiced people. They are simply a reflection of the population.
    I also said that what happened to George Floyd to Breonna Taylor and to Ahmaud Arbery should never happen in any community… but it does.
    Now we have a video of a women in Central park threatening to call the police on a man because he is black and asked her to put her dog on the leash. This requires a change of heart and just passing laws doesn’t fix it.
    There are two different things going on right now. You have the protest spawned by the murder of George Floyd where people are seeking justice, which is happening in this case and reform will come… it has too.
    Then you have the riots, burning, looting and call for the elimination of police. In Seattle, I saw a protest sign that said, “Sex is Good.” What does that have to do with anything. Every group in America that is against the rule of law has come out and tried to hi-jack the reforms of laws and attitudes that need to happen in the wake of the George Floyd murder.
    Politicians are even driving some of this lawlessness. Some people believe this is a plot to make the president look bad. It will continue with the next president because Lawlessness knows no political party and it will infect culture no matter who is in control.
    I know a lot of police… they are not perfect, but neither are you and I, but the ones I know will lay their life down for people of any color. None of us like to be stopped by police… we have this built in sense of “oh no… what did I do?” BTW, most police I know would like body cams because 99% of the time, body cams exonerate them.
    Just remember, we have prejudice police because we have prejudice people in every nation all over the world. We have prejudice bankers because we have prejudice people. We have prejudice school teachers because we have prejudiced people. We have prejudice workers in all types of work because we have prejudiced people. Most people are not racist, but some are and the police and other workers reflect that.
    But today we want to look at Prejudice... a different kind of prejudice that is also infecting our culture.

    Prejudice is pre-judging

    Prejudice is Prejudging people... race... police... Christian... poor... anyone who is different...
    Down here, people judge you if you are not catholic ... or if you are catholic...
    Listen, Jesus died for everyone! Black... white... protestor... police... college student...
    Prejudiced people are often sincere
    Many people who are prejudiced are very sincere people… look at this story.
    In the 1930 Rose bowl, Roy Riegels intercepted a pass. He played for Southern Cal and this was his big moment. He intercepted a pass. As he was covering the receiver, he just reached up and plucked the ball out of the air and returned it for a touchdown. The problem was that he ran the wrong direction and scored a touchdown for the opposing team.
    Ray was sincere… as sincere as he could be. He dodged tacklers and scored the touchdown… but he was sincerely wrong.
    We are going to look at a man in the Bible who was sincere, but was sincerely wrong. He was a man with strong prejudice but also a man who was sincere and lived a blameless life. His name is Nathanael. Matthew, Mark and Luke call him Bartholomew but John calls him Nathanael. His full name was Nathanael Bartholomew.
    We don’t know much about him except that he lost his prejudice when he met Jesus the Savior. Jesus came for everyone… white, black, brown, red,… I believe the answer for today is Jesus.
    John 1:45–51 NLT
    45 Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46 “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” “Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied. 47 As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.” 48 “How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.” 49 Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” 51 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”

    Nathanael had an encounter with Jesus (45-46)

    John 1:45–46 NLT
    45 Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46 “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” “Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied.
    Nathanael was introduce to Jesus by Phillip. Phillip was a level headed “show me” kind of guy who had looked at the prophecies about Jesus and figured out that Jesus was the Messiah. He was excited and could not wait to tell Nathanael about Jesus.
    That ought to be the way we are… we have a relationship with someone who can heal broken hearts, give purpose to people’s lives, forgive people’s sins, give people peace and joy along with eternal life in heaven… we ought to tell that message.
    People have to encounter Jesus before they can know him and before he changes them. Phillip had read the prophecies about Jesus and that’s what convinced him. Let me share a few with you.
    1. Messiah would be born of a woman. (Gen 3:15)
    Genesis 3:15 NLT
    15 And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”
    2. Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham (Gen 22:18)
    Genesis 22:18 NLT
    18 And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.”
    3. Messiah would be a descendant of King David (Jer 23:5)
    Jeremiah 23:5 NLT
    5 “For the time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land.
    3. Messiah would be from the tribe of Judah (Gen 49:10)
    Genesis 49:10 NLT
    10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will honor.
    4. When Messiah would be born (Daniel 9:24-25)
    Daniel 9:24–25 NLT
    24 “A period of seventy sets of seven has been decreed for your people and your holy city to finish their rebellion, to put an end to their sin, to atone for their guilt, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to confirm the prophetic vision, and to anoint the Most Holy Place. 25 Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Anointed One—comes. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses, despite the perilous times.
    5. Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isa 7:14)
    Isaiah 7:14 NLT
    14 All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).
    6. Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
    Micah 5:2 NLT
    2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.
    7. Messiah would be preceded by a forerunner (Mal 3:1)
    Malachi 3:1 NLT
    1 “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
    8. Messiah would be betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9)
    Psalm 41:9 NLT
    9 Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me.
    9. He would have a triumphal Entry to Jerusalem (Zech 9:9)
    Zechariah 9:9 NLT
    9 Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.
    10. Messiah would be sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zech 11:12)
    Zechariah 11:12 NLT
    12 And I said to them, “If you like, give me my wages, whatever I am worth; but only if you want to.” So they counted out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.
    11. Messiah would be murdered on a cross (Psalm 22; Isa 53)
    12. Messiah would rise from the dead (Psalm 16:10)
    Psalm 16:10 NLT
    10 For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
    All of these were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. But Nathanael did not know these, or at least did not remember them so when he heard about Jesus,

    Nathanael was confused about Jesus (v46)

    Nathanael encountered Jesus but he was confused by his prejudice. He looked down on Jesus because of where he came from.
    John 1:46 NLT
    46 “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” “Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied.
    Nathanael was prejudiced against people from Nazareth. That was a common prejudice back then. He believed that nothing good could come out of Nazareth.
    John 7:52 NLT
    52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself—no prophet ever comes from Galilee!”
    It wasn’t true, but they were prejudiced against people from the region of Nazareth and Galilee.
    Nathanael was prejudiced because of ignorance. The mother of prejudice … of any type … is ignorance. In this case, if Nathanael had know the prophecies, he would have know that Jesus was to come from Nazareth.
    Matthew 2:23 NLT
    23 So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.”
    But he was ignorant of that and that caused his prejudice.
    Prejudice occurs from ignorance about others
    We make certain statements without knowing all the facts.
    ILL - a man visited a South American country and came back and said, they all walk in single file. His friend said, that’s unusual, are you sure? He replied, well all the ones I saw did.
    That’s like saying all blacks commit crimes, or all whites are racists, or all police are evil … we make statements out of ignorance… without all the facts.
    Nathanael, was prejudiced against Jesus because he came from Nazareth because he didn’t know them. Cold war... us and Russians
    There are people who are not Christians because they are prejudiced against Jesus, the Bible and Christians.
    They have heard things in the news disparaging Christians. They have not actually investigated what Jesus said in the Bible for themselves. They will say the bible is full of contradictions, but can never show me one. They heard someone say it and they believed it.
    Others have had a bad experience in a church so now they reject Jesus. I have had bad experiences in restaurants, and while I may not go back to that particular restaurant, I don’t quit eating out. They haven’t rejected Jesus, they have rejected church… or some idea about Jesus that’s not true.
    Nathanael’s problem was his prejudice which was rooted in his ignorance of the scriptures and of the people of Nazareth. And I would say that today, there are a lot of people who are not Christians because they are prejudiced against Christianity. They are ignorant because they have never examined the facts for themselves.
    Listen, once you have experienced Jesus, I couldn’t keep you away from him for anything. Many of you hearing this message need to look past your prejudices and look at who Jesus is and what he did for you and will do in you and through you.
    Nathanael almost missed out on Jesus because of his prejudice. After Nathanael met Jesus, got over his confusion about Jesus

    Nathanael Received Jesus as His Savior (John 1:46)

    How did Nathanael come to faith in Jesus?
    John 1:46 NLT
    46 “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” “Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied.
    The cure for prejudice is to come and see for yourself
    If you want to know the truth about Jesus, come and check it out for yourself. God’s invitation is always, come and see…
    Psalm 34:8 NLT
    8 Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
    Don’t tell me the answer isn’t Jesus until you investigate him for yourself.
    Challenge: Come and See
    If you want to know if Jesus is the SOG or not, come and see. If you want to know if the Bible is actually God’s Word, come and see. If you want to know whether or not Jesus can change a life, come and see.
    You may have some prejudices about Christianity, but come and see.
    Here’s how you need to come…
    Come Open Minded (Matthew 11:25-26)
    Matthew 11:25–26 NLT
    25 At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. 26 Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!
    Here is what that means. You have to come like a little child. Children don’t have prejudices. Children trust… daddy throwing me up in the air...
    If you want to find out about others or about Jesus, you have to come open minded. Get rid of your preconceived ideas and come open minded.
    Come Honestly (Jeremiah 29:13)
    You have to have an honest desire for truth whether it’s with people who are different than you or with God. God promised
    Jeremiah 29:13 NLT
    13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
    You have to want the truth… you can’t be divided about it, you have to want it. If you come looking for ammunition to feed your presupposed ideas, you will not find truth.
    Someone once said,
    My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with the facts
    That’s the way a lot of people are… they have their ideas and facts don’t matter. Too often, we are more interested in defending our position than in finding out the truth… than getting the facts and understanding others… or understanding God.
    Come Diligently
    Proverbs 2:3–5 NLT
    3 Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. 4 Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. 5 Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God.
    When you are as interested in knowing the truth as you are in gaining money, you will find the truth. When you are as interested in finding the truth about the Lord, you will find the Lord.
    Come Submissively
    The invitation is come and see. you come with an open mind, humbly like a child, honestly and diligently… really wanting to know…
    You have to come submissively. Truth is not just something for you to learn. When you learn it, you have to act on it. Truth is interesting but it’s unsettling. It doesn’t just cause you to revise your ideas, but to reform your life.
    If you want to know the truth about God, you have to be willing to submit your life to him when you find it. When you come and see, you must come with a surrendered will.
    There were some people who wanted to know who Jesus was and Jesus put this challenge to them.
    John 14:15 NLT
    15 “If you love me, obey my commandments.
    John 7:17 GNB
    17 Whoever is willing to do what God wants will know whether what I teach comes from God or whether I speak on my own authority.
    If you want to know God’s will, you have to be willing to do God’s will.
    Nathanael was converted because he came to see with an open mind, a humble attitude, honestly and diligently… he came submissively. He came and saw and was converted.
    Look at what Jesus showed Nathanael. (John 1:47-49)
    John 1:47–49 NLT
    47 As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.” 48 “How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.” 49 Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!”
    While Nathanael was coming toward Jesus, Jesus said to him, there is a genuine son of Israel. Nathanael probably thought well, he knows my race. Then Jesus said, a man of complete integrity. Nathanael probably thought he knows I am a faithful man who practices his faith. Nathanael ask Jesus how he knew all this about him and Jesus replied that he saw him under the fig tree. That was enough for Nathanael. Jesus knew all about Nathanael. Nathanael really wanted to know the truth and he found it.
    if you really want to know the truth, you can know it. If you want to know who Jesus really is, you will find him.

    Nathanael confessed Jesus as Lord

    Phillip had studied the scriptures and was convinced by the fulfilled prophecies. Look at one more.
    Isaiah 53 NLT
    1 Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm? 2 My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. 3 He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. 4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! 5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. 7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. 8 Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. 9 He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. 10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. 11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. 12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.
    Now Look at what Nathanael said.
    John 1:49 NLT
    49 Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!”
    He called Jesus rabbi or master. he called Jesus the Son of God or Mediator. He called Jesus the King of Israel or Messiah. That was his confession.
    Are you willing to make that confession?
    Are you willing to confess Jesus as your Lord? If you are, I guarantee you that he will come into your life and save you, forgive you of your sins and make you into a brand new person.
    Romans 10:9 NLT
    9 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
    You believe it and you say it.
    Years ago there was a man they called the Human Fly in LA. He climbed up the sides of buildings and this particular time, he was climbing up the side of a big department store. It was a publicity scheme for the store. There was a large crowd there to watch and he climbed higher and higher. Sometimes he would put his handin a crevice in the bricks, or grab a ledge formed by the structure. Finally when he was almost to the top, it appeared that there was noting for him to grab or place his and inside. As he looked he saw something that looked like a ledge sticking out just out of range but he decided to lunge for it and when he did he fell to his death. When they found his crushed body, they pried open his closed hands and they found a spider web.
    There are people all over the place who are holding onto a belief that’s no stronger than that spider web when they ought be hold onto the Rock … Jesus Christ.
    John 14:6 NLT
    6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
      • John 1:45–51NLT

      • John 1:45–46NLT

      • Genesis 3:15NLT

      • Genesis 3:15NLT

      • Genesis 22:18NLT

      • Genesis 22:18NLT

      • Jeremiah 23:5NLT

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      • Genesis 49:10NLT

      • Genesis 49:10NLT

      • Daniel 9:24–25NLT

      • Isaiah 7:14NLT

      • Isaiah 7:14NLT

      • Micah 5:2NLT

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      • Malachi 3:1NLT

      • Malachi 3:1NLT

      • Psalm 41:9NLT

      • Psalm 41:9NLT

      • Zechariah 9:9NLT

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      • Zechariah 11:12NLT

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      • Psalm 22NLT

      • Isaiah 53NLT

      • Psalm 16:10NLT

      • Psalm 16:10NLT

      • John 1:46NLT

      • John 7:52NLT

      • Matthew 2:23NLT

      • John 1:46NLT

      • John 1:46NLT

      • Psalm 34:8NLT

      • Matthew 11:25–26NLT

      • Matthew 11:25–26NLT

      • Jeremiah 29:13NLT

      • Jeremiah 29:13NLT

      • Proverbs 2:3–5NLT

      • John 14:15NLT

      • John 7:17NLT

      • John 1:47–49NLT

      • Isaiah 53NLT

      • John 1:49NLT

      • Romans 10:9NLT

      • John 14:6NLT

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