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The Sin of Favouritism (Part 2)

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Introduction
Calling yourself a Christian without obeying Jesus does not make you a Christian. Obeying the commandments, laws, or religious rules will not earn your way to heaven. Genuine Christians obey God because God has given them salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ.
READ James 2:1-13
Introduction
Insert Alison’s Story?
Calling yourself a Christian without obeying Jesus does not make you a Christian. Obeying the commandments, laws, or religious rules will not earn your way to heaven. Genuine Christians obey God because God has given them salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Menno Simons once said this, “The whole Scriptures speak of mercifulness and love; and it is the only sign whereby a true Christian may be known.”
Menno Simons once said this, “The whole Scriptures speak of mercifulness and love; and it is the only sign whereby a true Christian may be known.”
The whole Scriptures speak of mercifulness and love; and it is the only sign whereby a true Christian may be known.
Elliot Ritzema, 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation, Pastorum Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2013).
Jesus said this:
John 13:34–35 ESV
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
We have been going through the letter of James.
You may remember back in 1:19-27, James challenges us to both a hearer AND doer of the Word, and we are challenged to demonstrate that we re a hearer and doer of the Word by bridling our tongue, caring for the helpless, and living in holiness.
Last week, I have spoken about the sin of favouritism, and we will finish this topic today. Expressing favouritism over one particular group over the other is not only a demonstration that we fail to be a hearer and doer of the Word, but we have failed to love; thus, we sin against God.
Although favouritism is still within the context of this passage

Big Idea: Favouritism is a violation of the law of love in God’s kingdom

Discussion Questions (7 min)
What should “loving your neighbour” look like?
Who taught you to love?
How do you usually express your love?
Why is it sometimes difficult to love?
We will begin our study in verse 8.

1. Learn What The Law Is About. (v.8-9)

1. You Must Learn What The Law Is About. (v.8-9)
You may remember that James spoke to the Christians about their sin of favouritism, how they treated the rich better than the poor. By showing favouritism, you think you get to judge people based on their appearance. You think you can pick and choose who you want to favour and who you choose not to favour. In response, James is saying, your thoughts evil, wicked, sinful, and harmful because favouritism is dishonouring to the one whom God honours.
So, in verse 8, James could be tying a connection from the previous verse. The word, “REALLY,” is a difficult word to translate, and it could be translated as “yet, however” to create a contrast.
What James could be saying is this, “Instead of showing favouritism, I want to challenges you to do the royal law, which is to love one another. By doing so, you are doing what is right!”
You will notice that James adds an adjective to the law, the royal law.
Royal - it is something given by the king who rules the kingdom of God, which is Jesus Christ Himself.
James talked about the law before as the perfect law and the law of liberty. He is essentially describing that the King owns the law and has given the law to His people to follow. If you are a follower of Jesus, then you are commanded to obey the law given by Christ the Lord.

a. The Law Belongs To King Jesus

James quotes a law that most of you are familiar with, which is to love your neighbour as yourself. The reference comes from , a law given by Moses. Jesus Christ affirms that law in .
Matthew 22:37–40 ESV
37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22:39–40 ESV
39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22:36–40 ESV
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Therefore, this royal law given by the king is the 2nd Greatest Commandment.
Isn’t it fascinating that James would single out “loving your neighbour as yourself” as the royal law? Why would that be royal law instead of “You shall not steal or lie?”
You would need to look through the NT to find clues as to why the 2nd Great Commandment is the royal law.
Romans 13:8–9 ESV
8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:14 ESV
14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Paul is teaching that by loving one another, you fulfill other laws listed in the OT because the other laws are summed up by the 2nd greatest commandment.
Jesus teaches that the greatest and 2nd greatest commandment is to love God and to love your neighbour.
In reference to the Ten Commandments, the first four commandments are vertical whereas the last 6 commandments are horizontal. If you love your neighbours as yourself, then you would by default or you would naturally honour your parents, you would not steal, kill, murder, commit adultery, and be jealous of your neighbour.
So, James makes a big deal about the sin of favouritism. If you genuinely love your neighbour as yourself as written in the law, then you would naturally choose not to show favouritism.

b. The Law Shows Us The Way Of Love

2. You Must Not Favour One Law Over The Other. (v.10-11)
The Law Intends To Reveal The Seriousness Of Sin
But, James is noting that if you show partiality or favouritism, then you have failed to live up to the standard of the law, which is to love each other. READ v.9
Transgressor - lawbreaker. Lawbreakers describes a person who have stepped over a line or a limit. They have stepped over God’s boundaries (the law) and did something that was forbidden.
The word transgressor means lawbreaker. Lawbreakers describes a person who have stepped over a line or a limit. They have stepped over God’s boundaries (the law) and did something that was forbidden.
If you practice favouritism, then, in a legal sense, the God’s law convicts you for being a lawbreaker because you have failed to love. Biblical love ought to kill any acts of favouritism, partiality, and discrimination.
You may notice a contrast in verses 8-9
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself,” (v.8)
But if you show partiality (v.9)
you are doing well (v.8)
you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. (v.9)
What James is implying is that if you are showing favouritism, then you are NOT doing well! You are not doing what right! Instead of doing well, you are doing doing and you are breaking the law.

2. Violating Any Law Makes You Guilty Of The Whole Law (v.10-11)

2. Violating Any Law Makes You Guilty Of The Whole Law (v.10-11)

Even though you do not break one of the commandments - such as committing adultery - but if you break the other commandments - such as stealing and being jealous of your neighbours possessions - you have by default become a lawbreaker.
He is making a point that even though you do not break one of the commandments, but if you break the other commandments, you have by default become a lawbreaker, as if you have broken the whole law because the laws are interdependent of the whole. Breaking one law usually leads to breaking other laws.
Breaking one law means that you have broken the whole law because the laws are interdependent of the whole. Breaking one law usually leads to breaking other laws.
For example: Back in , King David sinned by committing adultery with a woman named Bathsheba. What motivated David to sin against Bathsheba? The answer is that he envied or greatly desired his neighbour’s wife, which is breaking the 10th commandment:
James addresses this adultery and murder because some of the Jews and Christians may have thought that focusing on certain laws that they favour would compensate or override the other laws that they do not want to obey. They thought they could
Psalm 51:4 ESV
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
Back in , King David sinned by committing adultery with a woman named Bathsheba. What motivated David to sin against Bathsheba? The answer is that he envied or greatly desired his neighbour’s wife, which is breaking the 10th commandment:
Exodus 20:17 ESV
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
Exodus 20:
Hopefully you can see that one sin leads to another sin. After committing adultery, David wants to cover up his sin by having Bathsheba’s husband sleep together. But, the plan failed, and so David created a plan to have her husband killed in front of the battle field.
A prophet named Nathan confronted David’s sin and called him to repentance.
is King David’s confession to God after he committed adultery with Bathsheba. Why would David “against you have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” when he directly sinned against Bathsheba? Should he have confessed his sin to her instead?
Psalm 51:4 ESV
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
is King David’s confession to God after he committed adultery with Bathsheba. Why would David “against you have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” when he directly sinned against Bathsheba? Should he have confessed his sin to her instead?
By sinning against Bathsheba, David ultimately sinned against God by breaking one of the ten commandments.
In verses 10-11, James wants us to pay attention that the law was not simply written words for us to follow, but it is God, the lawgiver, who spoke those laws and gave us the laws.
If want to live out the Christian life, then we are to submit to God’s law as written in God’s word because it is the ultimate standard of Christian living.
The Whole Law Is The Standard Of Christian Living

a. The Law Is The Standard Of Christian Living

By showing favouritism, a person is guilty of the whole law. It is not a small issue, but it is a huge issue. The sin of favouritism is a violation of other laws, such as failure to love, and perhaps murder.
James addresses adultery and murder because some of the Jews and Christians may have thought that focusing on certain laws that they favour would compensate or override other laws that they do not want to obey. They thought that as long as they do not commit adultery, then they are fulfilling the whole law. But, James is saying that by even if you do not commit adultery, but if you murder, then you have broken the whole standard of the law.
James addresses this adultery and murder because some of the Jews and Christians may have thought that focusing on certain laws that they favour would compensate or override the other laws that they do not want to obey. They thought they could
In this instance, James mentions murder may suggest prejudice and hatred against the poor. By breaking one standard of the law, you have broken the whole standard.
Remember, James is talking about favouritism in this context. Why do some people express favouritism of one group over the other? Why is there discrimination in the 1st place? Why is there prejudice? Mentioning murder to the Jewish Christians may suggest hatred or dislike against the poor.
By showing favouritism, a person is guilty of the whole law. It is not a small issue, but it is a huge issue. The sin of favouritism is a violation of other laws. In this instance, James mentions murder may suggest prejudice and hatred against the poor.
In terms of murder, James may be talking about murder through the perspective of Christ as well.
Matthew 5:21–22 ESV
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
Matthew 5:21-
The ten commandments talk about “You Shall Not Murder.” Traditionally, the Jews understood the commandment as an act of murder.
But Jesus elevates the standard of the law. Jesus is not simply dealing with the outward issue, but he is dealing with the heart condition because that is what matters the most. If you do not commit an act of murder but you are insulting and being angry at your brother, then Jesus would equate insult and anger with murder.
If favouritism is also an ill-contempt or disrespect against the poor, then that’s qualified to be a murderous act of the heart.
Breaking One Law Makes You Guilty Of The Whole Law

b. The Law Intends To Reveal The Seriousness Of Sin

3. (v.12-13)
Following One Law Does Not Compensate The Whole Law
The Bible does not say that all sins have equal consequences. For instance, stealing a candy from a convenient shop does not have a equal consequence to robbing a bank. Or, thinking about murder is not as bad as committing the act.
The whole laws are connected, interdependent and united with each other. Although all sins are not equally damaging or heinous, they all shatter that unity of the law and make us lawbreakers. It is like hitting a window with a hammer at only one point, but it will shatter and destroy the whole window. Or, accidentally spilling paint on a specific area of an expensive painting would ruin the whole portrait.
So, we learned what the law is and we learned that every law is connected to each other as a whole. How would you respond to it? James will say this in verses 12-13. READ

3. Live Our Your Faith In Light Of Judgment Day (v.12-13)

Favouritism is merciless, but love is merciful.
Jams is warning and commanding the Christians that they must live out their faith in obedience to the law in light of God’s future judgment. You are to speak and act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.
What do you think about when you hear the phrase, “judgment day?”
Did you know that both Christians and non-Christians will be judged by Christ?
Non-Christians will be judged by God for rejecting Christ as Lord and Saviour, and they will be sent into eternal conscious torment in hell.
Revelation 21:11–15 ESV
11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls.
Revelation 20:11–15 ESV
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 21:11-15
Christians, however, will have to give an account before Christ on that day as well even though they will still go to heaven.
2 Corinthians 5:19–21 ESV
19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:9–11 ESV
9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. 11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.
I hope the truth about judgment day will make you tremble and fear the Lord. You and I will have to give an account before Jesus one day.
We are to live in light of eternity. How are you preparing yourselves when you stand before the judgment seat of Christ? What are you currently living for? What are you currently pursuing? What are you hoping to accomplish in the future? Will it matter in eternity?
Will it matter in eternity?
The point of this warning in verses 12-13 is to imply that we are to obey the royal law. Those who are in the kingdom of God are obligated to live out the kingdom law of love. If you are tempted to show favouritism or if you are tempted to sin in any way, then remember that you are judged by the law of liberty. Therefore, because Jesus Christ has saved you through His death and resurrection, you are to live out your faith as God’s people and to show genuine love to your neighbour, as Christ has showed you love, grace and mercy.
The question is…why? Why show love towards others whom I do not favour? Verse 13 is the answer.

a. God will show no mercy to those who are merciless, but God will show mercy to those who are merciful.

Mercy - expressing kindness or concern for someone in need.
And in this context, the Jewish Christians are to show mercy to the poor. If you are genuinely a follower of Christ, then you will be merciful.
James would have taken this idea from Jesus in .
If you are genuinely a follower of Christ, then you will be merciful.
This point carries the same idea as forgiveness in the Lord’s prayer. If you do not forgive, then the Father will not forgive you.
Matthew 5:7 ESV
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Such as concept also applies to forgiveness.
Matthew 6:14–15 ESV
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
If you are merciless, then God will show no mercy to you on judgment day. And if God shows you no mercy, then it proves that you were not a genuine Christian in the first place. It proves that you have not truly trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, and that you have not truly followed Him. It proves that you were walking through the wide way instead of the narrow way.

b. Merciless is an expression of favouritism, but mercy is an expression of love.

John MacArthur: The person whose life is characterized by mercy is ready for the day of judgment, and will escape all the charges that strict justice might bring against him because by showing mercy to others he gives genuine evidence of having received God’s mercy.
If we are God’s new creation as Christians, then we should naturally be merciful. Being merciful is a way to express our love for people, especially the poor in this context.
Conclusion

Big Idea: Favouritism is a violation of the law of love in God’s kingdom

Are you ready for the day of judgment?
Are you ready for the day of judgment?
Have you been expressing mercy and love towards your neighbours? Or have you been merciless and unloving towards certain people in your life?
Will you stop showing favouritism and instead show love and mercy to everyone around you?
Will you love others and God first loved you?
Conclusion
Have you truly received God’s mercy? If you are not a believer this morning, then will you receive God’s mercy?
What does that mean? You deserve judgment and wrath because of your sins and rebellion against God. But God’s mercy teaches us that He does not give you what you deserve. He shows kindness and love to sinners by sending His Son to die on the cross for your sins and to offer you the free gift of eternal life. And it is God’s mercy that leads a person to repentance of sin and faith in Christ as Lord and Saviour. Will you receive God’s mercy?
Psalm 51:1 ESV
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
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