Opening Questions and Prayer
Tell a brief story about a time you were discriminated against for whatever reason. (This could be lighthearted i.e. you liked a different sports team than your friends or family, or something more substantial)
What does the world say about discrimination?
Spend some time asking the Lord to guide your time and that you would view the people around you through His eyes and not your own.
Read Genesis 9:1-3 & 10:32 NLT
9:1-3 1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth. 2 All the animals of the earth, all the birds of the sky, all the small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the fish in the sea will look on you with fear and terror. I have placed them in your power. 3 I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables.
10:32 These are the clans that descended from Noah’s sons, arranged by nation according to their lines of descent. All the nations of the earth descended from these clans after the great flood.
What was God’s original plan for people and all the nations?
In what ways is this plan still being carried out today?
In what ways have people corrupted this plan?
Read Genesis 11:1-4
At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. 2 As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there.
3 They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.) 4 Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.”
Why did the people go against God’s plan to fill the earth?
What did they want to do instead?
How does our own personal comfort keep us from doing what God wants us to do?
What area of your life have you become comfortable in and have stopped pursuing what the Lord has asked you to do?
Read Genesis 11:5-9
5 But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. 6 “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! 7 Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.”
8 In that way, the Lord scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the Lord confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world.
How did God respond when the people refused to obey His command?
What does this teach us about God’s character?
What are some ways we want to do what we want instead of what God wants?
How does He correct you and help you do the right thing?
Read Leviticus 19:33-34 & Ezekiel 47:21-23
Leviticus 19:33–34 33“Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. 34Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
Ezekiel 47:21 21 “Divide the land within these boundaries among the tribes of Israel. 22 Distribute the land as an allotment for yourselves and for the foreigners who have joined you and are raising their families among you. They will be like native-born Israelites to you and will receive an allotment among the tribes. 23 These foreigners are to be given land within the territory of the tribe with whom they now live. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!
How does God say the Israelites should treat the Gentiles who live among them?
Why was this countercultural for that time period?
How would this have drawn people to God?
How are followers of Jesus supposed to treat those who are different from us?
Why is that countercultural to our current climate?
How could this draw people to Jesus’ love?
Read Galatians 3:23-29
23 Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed.
24 Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. 25 And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.
26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.
What is Paul saying about people who follow Jesus?
Why does following Jesus get rid of the things that tend to separate us from loving one another?
How does Paul say we should treat others?
What are some practical ways we can love those who are different from us?
Read Ephesians 1:9-14
9 God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. 11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.
12 God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.
Why does Paul say it’s only under Christ’s authority that we can be brought together?
Why was it so hard for the Jewish people to accept that the Gentiles could have access to God?
Is there any person or group of people that you have a bias against? (racial groups, political affiliation, annoying people at school or work, etc.)
How can God help bring healing and reconciliation between you and these people?
What is one thing you can do this week to show love to people you may typically overlook or discriminate against?
Galatians 3:28- There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Closing thoughts and prayer
Many times we don’t think of ourselves as racist, classist, sexist, ageist, or any number of negative labels. Sure we may make an offensive joke from time to time, but only because it’s funny (we tell ourselves), not because we hate others. But a life lived in the freedom of Christ gets rid of those labels we put on others, and we will stop making the comments, telling the jokes, and belittling people we disagree with. We are to see people as God sees them, as His dearly loved children. When we start seeing people as Jesus sees people, we will start to live as Jesus lived.
Spend time praying that the Lord would show you the areas of your life that you may be hostile towards certain groups of people. Ask Him to soften your heart toward those people. Pray for forgiveness for the times that you have helped or ignored the oppressed and outsiders. Ask the Lord to make your church a place where everyone is welcome to come and find the hope, healing, love that only Jesus can give.