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?