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James 2:1-13 Ric Man/Poor Man

 

Background: Trials come from God to build our faith. Temptations come from Satan to tear us down; Wisdom to know the difference comes from listening to God and obeying

Have we ever been guilty of preferential treatment, especially in the church? There were those in James’ day that showed it.

 

1    COMMAND (1) James is widely regarded as one of the first letters of the New Testament written, somewhere between AD 44 and 48. He wrote to an age filled with prejudice and hatred based on class, ethnicity, nationality, and religious background. Jew v Gentile, slave or free, rich v poor, Greek v barbarian, etc. Much like some religions do today.

But James is addressing the issue of faith, and how iworking in our lives. If we show partiality, how can we show faith-based works instead of perception based works?

Prov. 22:2 The rich and the poor have this in common, the Lord is the maker of them all.

Prov. 14:31 He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.

APP: Prejudice has no home in the church. IF we are to have a Christ-like spirit, then we don’t show prejudice because it isn’t in us. Acts 10:34 “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.”

 

2   CONDUCT (2-3) Do not cater to rich because of social status. Value system is wrong.  Fails to honor poor. But Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the Earth.”

James gives an example. Christians generally had no church-buildings in this period. Their place of meeting was usually some large room in the house of a wealthy member or a hall hired for the purpose (Acts 19:9), where outsiders were free to attend the ordinary services. James states that someone coming into the assembly is finely dressed. Another who is less fortunate with his attire is made to give up his seat to allow the richer person to have it. The poor man is relegated to the floor.

So if we have a faith-based belief, how do we reconcile preferential service based on appearances? There is no room for prejudice or partiality in the church.

APP: Partiality just isn’t in the quality of clothing we wear, It also shows in the neighborhoods where we live; school we attend; political parties we affiliate with; even the cars we drive. Anything can be used as a tool to promote prejudice. James says, “Stop it!’ More importantly, God says, “STOP IT!” When we assume that the rich man is more important to God or more blessed by God, we put too much value in material riches.  For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

God looks at the heart, and so should we.

 

3   CONSEQUENCES (4-13) Prejudice in anything is wrong. Is not of God.

 

Causes us to judge (4) Goes against God’s nature (5) Favors those who oppress (6)

Cast doubt on God’s provision (7) Break God’s law (9)

God no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34)  God loves the poor as well.  Sent His Son thru poor to make us heirs.   Christians themselves have been object of prejudice

 

APP:  When we choose people by what we can see on the surface, we miss the mind of God. Remember that Judas appeared to be much better leadership material than Peter.
3. (5-7) Man's partiality rarely agrees with God's heart.

 

Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and