7
May
2017

JAMES 2.1-7 THE TEST OF IMPARTIALITY OR THE SIN OF PARTIALITY PART 1

James 2:1 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool," 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? 7 Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?

INTRODUCTION

 Partiality is being intolerant, prejudiced, or racist it literally means to lay hold of one’s face or to judge by appearances

In the first century, A.D., people were either rich or poor, slaves or free, Jew or Gentile, Greek or barbarian However, part of the good news of the gospel was that in Christ Jesus social barriers were removed. As Paul wrote in.

Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

But it took a while for this truth to sink into the hearts of those who were Christians; even the apostle Peter had to be told this truth through a vision and then a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit

Ac 10:34-36 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 "But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. 36 "The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ----He is Lord of all----

From the second chapter of the epistle of James, apparently showing partiality was still being practiced and its sinfulness needed to be pointed out

It’s a lot like today, we tend to dislike anything that doesn’t look like us, dress like us, act like us or live the same way we do.

The Motion Picture Association of America gave the Billy Graham film the Prodigal a PG rating because they said no one under teen age should be exposed to Christianity without their parents’ consent.  They can get abortions without parental consent, but not learn about Christ.

Discrimination is based on two false ideas

  1. Prejudice 1-7
  2. Presumption 8-13

Presumption 1 - Discrimination is not sin

Presumption 2 - Discrimination is not significant

Presumption 3 - Discrimination is not serious

We know from other scriptures that Jewish Christians often showed partiality to the Gentiles which included the hated Samaritans

But here the problem was one of showing partiality between the rich and poor

TODAY, WE CAN ALSO BE GUILTY OF PARTIALITY...

  1. By showing partiality between rich and poor by giving preferential treatment to people based upon their clothing or money
  2. By showing partiality between people of different races
  3. By despising people because of handicaps or looks
  4. By not allowing people whose past was bad(drugs, prostitute, crimes etc.) to live that down and not having anything to do with them
  5. Kosovo – Serbs and Croatians – Rada
  6. Blacks - light skinned vs dark skinned

1 Sam 16:6 So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, "Surely the LORD'S anointed is before Him." 7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

Psalms 139:21-22 Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.

We need to hate the sin and love the sinner

Godly hatred is marked by a brokenhearted grieving over the condition of the sinner.

[Sadly, the sin of partiality is probably just as common if not more so than it was in the days when James wrote his epistle!

Let's notice WHY CHRISTIANS CAN'T SHOW PARTIALITY

  1. Faith does not show partiality v1-3

JESUS CHRIST IS A "GLORIOUS" LORD!

Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,

As Christians our goal is to imitate Christ

Lk 6:40  "A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.

   people may believe this is what Christ is like or teaches

Want to trust in the false glory of riches rather than God’s true Glory

  1. Faith does not Judge v4-7
  2. v4 We become judges with evil thoughts…better translated judges with evil intentions. The real sin of this passage is the way we judge people based on appearance.

One day we will be judged by our words, our actions, and our attitudes.

God has always hated unjust judges and Jesus Himself warned about the dangers of judging

Mt 7:1 "Judge not, that you be not judged.

Mt 7:12 "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

V5 Both then and today God has chosen to honor the poor

If we judge against the poor due to our prejudice against them, we will find ourselves fighting against God!

Ps 109:31 For He shall stand at the right hand of the poor, To save him from those who condemn him.

The gospel was proclaimed to the poor

Lk 7:22 Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.

The majority of those who responded were from among the poor

1 Co 1:26-29 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.

v6-7 WE HONOR THOSE MOST CAPABLE AND LIKELY OF OPPRESSING US

  1. The rich were doing this to the Christians in James' day and might be the ones most likely to do it in this time since they have the resources to do it.