James: Hands-On Christianity….
James 2:1-13
No one can determine the heart of
another from the outside. That’s why
James
says in James 2:1-13,
that “prejudice” and
“partiality” are wrong!
James presents his case against
“prejudice” in a tightly constructed
passage.
First, James
introduces
a principle
in verse 1.
James 2:1….
“My brothers and sisters,
believers in our glorious
Lord Jesus Christ
must not show favoritism.”
[TNIV]
James’ point is that
faith in Christ and
“partiality” are incompatible.
The word “favoritism”
used here comes from
2 words in the Greek which,
when put together means
“to receive by face.”
It’s the idea of
judging others
solely on external
face values,
such as clothes,
cars, or skin color.
The Heavenly Father is not
a respecter of persons.
He judges the heart,
not outward
appearance.
Following the statement
of his principle –
James flashes out the issue with
a vivid illustration.
James 2:2….
“Suppose someone comes into
your meeting wearing a gold
ring and fine clothes, and
a poor person in filthy old
clothes also comes in.”
[TNIV]
James 2:3….
“If you show special attention to
the one wearing fine clothes and
say, ‘Here's a good seat for you,’
but say to the one who is poor,
‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the
floor by my feet.’ ” [TNIV]
James 2:4….
“Have you not discriminated
among yourselves and
become judges with
evil thoughts?”
[TNIV]
2 things are clarified
in this verse.
What Was Done:
The usher “discriminated.”
We’re Told Why It Was Done:
“Because of evil motives.”
James presents
3 reasons why
“PREJUDICE is wrong”
Prejudice Is
Inconsistent With
God’s Method
James 2:5….
“Listen, my dear brothers and
sisters: Has not God chosen
those who are poor in the eyes
of the world to be rich in faith
and to inherit the kingdom he
promised those who love him?”
[TNIV]
“The great characteristic of God
is His complete impartiality.”
goes on to explain….
“James is not shutting the
door on the rich – far from
that. He is saying that
the gospel of Christ is
specially dear to the poor ….
…. and that in it there is a
welcome for the man who has
none to welcome him, and that
through it there is a value set
on the man whom the world
regards as valueless.”
From God’s perspective,
the real issue is the
condition of one’s soul.
God bases His choices
on the heart,
not the wallet.
Prejudice Ignores
The Universality
Of Sin
James 2:6-7….
“6 But you have dishonored the
poor. Is it not the rich who are
exploiting you? Are they not the
ones who are dragging you into
court? 7 Are they not the ones who
are blaspheming the noble name
of him to whom you belong?”
[TNIV]
Prejudice Is Sinful
Because It Is
Inconsistent
With The Scripture.
James 2:8-9….
“8 If you really keep the royal
law found in Scripture, ‘Love
your neighbor as yourself,’ you
are doing right. 9 But if you
show favoritism, you sin and
are convicted by the law
as lawbreakers.” [TNIV]
Leviticus 19:18….
“… love your neighbor as
yourself. I am the Lord.”
[TNIV]
“Anyone who sows favoritism
breaks the supreme law of love
for his neighbor, the law that
comprehends all laws governing
one’s relationships to one’s
fellowmen.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if all our
relationships were guided by
the royal “Law of Love?”
But the fact is, we all have
certain built-in “prejudice”
that influence our reactions towards
people.
“Prejudice” produce cliques, gossip
mongers, legalists, and powerhungry groups in churches who
put enormous pressure on others
to conform
to their rules of behavior.
James 2:10-11….
“10 For whoever keeps the
whole law and yet stumbles
at just one point is guilty of
breaking all of it.
11
For he
who said, ‘You shall not
commit adultery,’ also ….
James 2:10-11….
…. said, ‘You shall not
murder.’ If you do not
commit adultery but do
commit murder, you have
become a lawbreaker.”
[TNIV]
In verses 12-13 James brings
his thoughts on “prejudice” to
a close with 3 basic principles
for us to apply.
James 2:12….
“Speak and act
as those who are
going to be judged
by the law that
gives freedom.”
[TNIV]
Allow God to CHANGE how
you think, speak, and act by living
according to His Word.
Before you respond to someone,
first think,
“How can I love this person?”
James 2:13….
“Because judgment without
mercy will be shown to anyone
who has not been merciful.
Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
[TNIV]
How would
you respond?
If you suddenly discovered
that your closest friend had a
background like the woman at
the well or the apostle Paul?
Would it change your love?