Today we come to this passage that Corey just read for us here in Chapter 2 and it talks about partiality or favoritism or respecting of persons and we look at that and we think what's that have to do with living out the gospel with James says everything. literally everything hinges on how we treat the people with whom we interact the gospel is displayed and how we treat one another how many of you are parents in the room. grandparents text how many of you are not parents.
Just wait it's coming. Parents how many of you have ever had a kid? Look at you and say he's your favorites. Grandparents how many of you have been accused of having a favorite grandchild?
There were only two of us in my house most of the time. I had a half-brother who would come and hang out with us during the summer as well. But most of the year was just myself and my brother now, you wouldn't think that the accusations of favoritism would fly and yet they did I would look at my mom and say Tanner is your favorite you let him get away with everything and Tanner would look at my mom and say Brandon is your favorite you let him get away with everything.
More than likely both of us were getting away with more than we should have if truth was told right to work. Or worked if you're retired Will County in there. Right and there was the one guy the one gal who the boss just seem to think walked on water. They always got everything all the credit all the promotions, right? We recognize that and in our hearts something says no. Now that's all right. We know that we should not have a favorite child. And so that accusation stings when it comes from one of our children. We know that we shouldn't have a favorite grandchild. We know that we shouldn't play favorites at work. And yet sometimes we do now don't raise your hand. I would not want this going on record. Some of you have a favorite child. Some of you have a favorite grandchild. Some of you have been the favorite at work some of you play favorites at work. That's just how the world works. So what's the big deal? Why does James take really a long chunk of his five chapters to address this issue of favoritism because it is directly opposed to the gospel. Showing favorites does more than just defend our sense of rightness. It does more than just a fender sense of how the world ought to work. It goes to the heart of the Gospel James says if you play favorites you have rejected you have denied you are preaching a false gospel. The first reason that he gives for this is that Jesus is the only favorites the church should have the first reason is that Jesus is the only favorite that you're just have look at verses 1 through 4, my brothers show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ the lord of Glory not just want to stop right there in verse 1 Jesus Christ the lord of Glory who is the church about
Jesus we can say that a little bit louder who is the church about
who is the church about?
Then why do we make it about us? Why do we make it about whether or not we are dressed right when we come here? Why do we make it about whether or not we were greeted as we came here? Why do we make it about us? The first thing that Jace's look as you need to understand what the Fellowship of the church is about. It's about Jesus and Jesus only. He's the Lord Of Glory. Nobody else even comes close guy. So look with me ever stew for if a man wearing a gold ring and find clothing comes into your assembly and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say you sit here in a good place. Why you say to the poor man? You stand over there or sit down at my feet? Have you not been made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts when we make church when we make our gathering about anyone other than Jesus James says we have become judges with evil thoughts when we play favorites when we when we make this Gathering about who can dress up the best smell the best, although that's not a bad idea.
Who can put on the best smile who can fool the rest of us into thinking we've got it together when really we don't. When we make it about that, we're ignoring the fact that Jesus and Jesus alone is the Lord Of Glory Jesus and Jesus alone is the favorite of the church Jesus and Jesus alone is the one that we pay attention to when we start saying that dudes dress pretty sure.
That gal's dress kind of rough. When we start thinking and judging and basing our interactions with one another about that we forgotten that Jesus is the Lord Of Glory we ought to have no favoritism. No partiality. Does this mean we should have no handicap parking spaces? No, that's not favoritism. That's a way of serving. Does this mean that we got to take offense if one of the greeters opens the door for us as we come up to the building favoritism? They're just serving as a witness is talking about. So what is favoritism let's let's nail this down. James gives us one example, right dude comes in looks like he's got a lot of money and we say here you can have the best seat now in James's day, that would have been the seats at the front. I am so glad to be in a church. That is so conscientious of saving the best seats for literally anybody. Who would dare sit in them? Knowing our in our day, it would probably be the seats in the back, right? That's the favor. See that's the best seats right think. I'm in looking Rich yet here you sit in a good seat. They come in looking rough, and we're like, where can we hide you? Where can we keep you out of sight that's example to James give examples, right? There's more to this than just this. What is favoritism at Ligon Duncan. I don't know if you've heard that name Ligon. Duncan is a pasture in somewhere. Just went blank s Jacksonville, Florida. There we go. I know I did it eventually Ligon Duncan his definition of favoritism for this passage is self-serving discrimination based on shallow externals. Favoritism is self-serving discrimination based on shallow externals. That dude looks like he's got money. Maybe if we're nice to him. He'll drop a big check in the plate next week. That person looks like they could be trouble. Let's make sure we don't interact with them. That couple coming in looks like they got it all together. Let's make sure we get them plugged in this couple over here. They look like they're just going to ask the church for money. Let's make sure that we just kind of push them to the side. It doesn't matter what illustration you have. But when we look at somebody coming in the door with an idea of saying what is if it's going to serve me make me comfortable help the church, right? We have the mediately become as James says judges with evil motives. We are basing our understanding of the people in our midst based on their externals. We're missing it dude walks in with a bunch of tattoos thumbs down. Depending on you know, your proclivities make it two thumbs up. Write somebody comes in and they don't smell so good thumbs down. Somebody comes in and it got the nice hair and they've got it all put together thumbs-up. Somebody pulls in a nice car thumbs up. When we start looking at these shallow externalism, we begin to say yes, we won't interact with them know we don't want interact with them. We have done something we should not do we have taken the focus off of Jesus and we put it on ourselves now used to work in a tire store tire stores are interesting places. I actually highly recommended if you get a chance work in a tire store, you will have a much greater appreciation. For the life outside the tire store than you ever did before. Okay. It's a rough place. But I work for a tire store. They prided themselves. They would run to greet the customers. I've talked about this before they run out to greet the customers by worked at a little little store up in McCall, Idaho, and we would do that. We would run out to greet people but McCall's kind of resort town. So you would get like really nice vehicles coming in there. It was a lot easier to run out to the Range Rover then it was to run out to the beat-up Chevy, okay. One day I'm there in the managers out there working in the Bays with us and this beat-up Chevy pulls in and write a beat-up Chevy. I'm talking bailing wire and duct tape beat-up Chevy literally don't think the thing would have held together without those two items and my manager Brooks it out to the parking lot and I'm like What's going on? So I wait he goes out meets the customer takes him inside rights. If a ticket comes back out and I said yo, man, why'd you run like that for that? Because the guy that got out of the truck look like the truck. Minus the duct tape, but I'm not convinced. There was a bailing wire involved in holding those overalls up. All right.
And my man has looked at me said you don't know who that is. Do you I said, no. He said that guy owns half of this County. He's the richest guy in this town.
Problem was we were both showing favoritism. I was looking at it saying beat up truck not worth the time to run to it. He was looking at it saying I'm going to be the guy to run so fast to get out there cuz this guy's got more money than anybody else in town. But you were judging off of these extra things. We don't know. You don't know if the person who walks in just spaced out in their Sunday Best with the smile and the hair and everything. You don't know if they didn't just lose everything in a bad investment and the guy that walks in little bit ruffled little bit wrinkled whole lot smelly. You don't know. But what he's the guy that God has brought to the church to completely change it and set it on to a new trajectory. You don't know that so don't try to serve yourselves by how you interact with people just love everybody because your submitted to the king of glory. That's what we need in the church. Next James Goes On he's developing his argument hear you saying don't make distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts. Right? Don't try to serve yourself with how you interact with people just serve people as you interact with people because Jesus is King, but further than that. He says in verses 5 and the first part of her six. Listen, my beloved Brothers has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and Heirs of the kingdom when she is promised to those who love him James says guys think about this when you're mistreating the poor person, you're literally mistreating. The people that Jesus said this is who represent the kingdom of God. These are the people that Jesus said I'm going to give the world to them. right Chances, did you forget about that part of the Gospel? Did you forget about the fact that God loves the poor. He loves the downtrodden he loves the neglected. He loves the disenfranchised. He loves the people who are outside.
That's who that's who God loves. That's what Jesus loves. Don't forget that. Think about it Church. James says think about it. This is what God says. I love these people and the first part of her 6, but you You have Dishonored the poor man? You church have neglected. The very one that Jesus says this is the one who receives the gospel when we neglect the poor. We contradict the gospel.
I want you to hear that. When will neglect the for contradict the gospel? What is the gospel? The gospel is the good news. The gospel is this your spinner
and you can't do anything. Anything to earn God's love you can't do anything to buy favor with God. And yet God loves you. It's not the gospel is not I'm walking down the road living my life and things are going pretty good. But the one thing I'm missing is Jesus. He's like the Cherry that I put on top of my ice cream sundae with the whip cream near me with whipped cream and the chocolate sauce and the sprinkles, but now I just need to get Jesus and he's the cherry on top. That's not the gospel. Here's the gospel. You are poor and broken and starving you'd settle for the cup the Sunday came in at this point. You'd be tempted to eat that you're so hungry. And somebody comes in. In spite of the mess you've made of yourself in spite of the muck in spite of the stench in spite of the fact that you don't have two dimes to rub together and says hey, how would you like to inherit the Kingdom? Hey, how would you like to get promoted from the slum to the Palace? That's the gospel. You weren't walking along and Jesus found you and everything was going great. And now it's just going better you were you had no. Hope you had nothing going for you. Nothing that God would look at and see yep got to get some of that on my team nothing. You were broke.
And God gave you everything. That's the gospel folks. And so if somebody walks in and they look like they just might be broke. Guess what?
That's the opportunity for Christ to shine. And that's where you ought to look at them and said not to hate you you are looking for them and say I recognize that person that's me. I was oh man, this is fantastic. Let me introduce you to Jesus.
Instead of saying don't want to deal with you when we neglect the poor. We neglect. The gospel is a key theme throughout the Bible. Absolutely key theme Old Testament New Testament time and time again. God says I care for the poor. This morning in Sunday school. We have we have a few different Sunday School classes. I'm teaching through Genesis right now in this morning. We looked at Genesis 19. Don't do it right now. Cuz I don't want to depress you or anything. But sometime this week go read Genesis 19. It's the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. And more it's it's a mess quite frankly.
But there is something key in that story that is picked up later in the Bible. So Genesis is is one of the earliest books but later as Israel has been called out by God if they've been set apart and said, these are my people they're going to demonstrate the way of the Kingdom. They're not going to look like Sodom and Gomorrah, they're going to look much different because they're declaring the glory of the king who Reigns over. They don't. And they become the mess that they should have read about in Genesis. And in the Book of Ezekiel is he kills one of the prophets and Ezekiel 16 is Ezekiel looks back at Sodom and he says Genesis 19. There's a lot going on there. But here's one of the biggest things look at Ezekiel chapter 16 verse 49. I hope it's on the screen cuz I forgot to write it down. Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom. She and her daughters had Pride excess of food and prosperous. He's but did not Aid the poor and the needy.
Then I don't want to add to scripture. But I feel like this could just as easily read behold. This was the guilt of your sister America. She and her daughters had Pride excess of food and prosperous. He's but did not Aid the poor and needy in our country the poor and the needy are problems for somebody else to deal with. Their problems for us to push aside and church if we're not careful the culture we're swimming in becomes the gospel that we're preaching and the poor and the needy become a problem that we can push off and say somebody else deal with me doesn't the government have a program or something? And God says to his people look Church. You got Pride you got an excess of food. You've got prosperous. He's but you do not Aid the poor and the needy when we neglect the poor. We contradict the gospel. James says this is the heart of the Gospel that God shows those who are poor to be Heirs of the Kingdom. But you have Dishonored the poor man and any further strengthen his argument play favorites because God is concerned for the poor in the broken in the down trodden. We shouldn't play favorites because that's the heart of the Gospel is it that was each of us and yet God has taken us and made us Heirs of the Kingdom. So don't play favorites, but don't play favorites either. Because it's the rich. We're making a mess of things for you. Look at the end of her 6 and verse 7. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you and the ones who dragged you into court. Are they not the ones who blaspheme The Honorable Name by which you were called James has far beyond the fact that the poor are the ones who demonstrate the gospel. The rich are the ones who are causing problems for it. The rich are the ones church that are giving you all the hassles. So, why would you look at the rich man as he comes in to be like that's exactly what this church needs. Let's make sure we get him on board. When the rich are the ones causing the problem? Why does he say this now? It look. How many of your rich don't raise your hand that's like bragging don't do that.
really honestly if we look in the global perspective or out rich The problems not the rich. James is not saying if you got money you're a problem in the church should kick you out. No that's playing favorites just in reverse. He just saying remember this when you go after money and power and influence and you think this is what's going to help the church, that's often the thing that's going to hinder the church. These are the people who are causing all the problems what because money or not. There's a certain attitude that generally comes with those were Rich. They're used to getting their way. They're used to throwing around their power and their influence right suizas. Don't I told you that? Don't don't make favorites out of the people who are breaking your churches apart. Don't play favorites to the people who will come in and spread this Unity.
But at the same time don't try to Curry favor with them when we butter up the rich and the powerful we hinder the gospel. Why because when we look at the rich person walking in and we say man, if we can get them on our side look what we could do for the gospel. If they even give a 10% of their income. Look at how much more money the church will have guys the church has never been about needing money. The gospels never been about needing our dollars to accomplish God's work. Does he use them? Yes, can you do it without him? Yes. As a matter of fact, we're told in Scripture that God did not choose the strong of this world or the wise of this world. He chose the weak things. He chose the foolish things in order that we might share. the wise and the strong we are the week in the foolish and the poor that's who we are. He says we don't need to depend on outside resources coming in the solution for any problem. The church faces is not to get a couple rich people to throw some dollars in the plates this solution for any problem that the church faces is to get on our knees before God and say help. Do this God we can't do it for ourselves? But when we just had a few more rich people would solve the problems. No, we're setting the gospel back because the gospels always been meant to go forward on the power of God on the resources of God, not on the strength of this world. That's not what it's about and yet the American Church. And dare I say Red Hills is addicted. to the celebrity culture when I when I was a kid, I love music and I love all kinds of music. So there's not just when I was a kid. I guess it's now to my poor wife pray for my wife. She doesn't know if one day I'm going to come into the house and turn on hip-hop or rock or singer-songwriter or Old Country. She really likes that one. She doesn't have a clue what's coming. Well when I was in high school, there was a rule in our house. We only listen to Christian music. We only listen to Christian music now I think the statute of limitations has passed on this so I'll confess didn't always obey that rule. Okay, but in my head I was thinking man if we could just get like Linkin Park saved and they can start making Christian music that be awesome right if Eminem would only convert to Christianity. That would be fantastic. Right and I had this idea man. If if one of these big-name musicians would convert to Christianity. Look at the good it would do in the world. Let's just that's just celebrity culture all over again. How excited do Christians get and I don't want to put anybody on the spot here. How excited do we get when we find out that some A-list celebrity in Hollywood is actually a Christian or might be a Christian. Oh, did you hear so and so's a Christian as if somehow that's more important.
Then somebody else being a Christian like wow, if they're a Christian the church can't help but go forward some basketball Stars a Christian. Wow, look at that. Look at that platform that they have. Church, I think James would tell us look don't don't get so excited about a celebrity converting to Christianity. All right. Don't trust the things of this world to advance the cause of Christ. Don't play favorites. Don't get more excited that some Hollywood a-listers a Christian then when you hear that the homeless guys has been begging outside of Walmart gave his heart to Christ. You don't know what that's going to do. He loves to take the poor and the broken and the downtrodden and turn things out for his glory. He doesn't need our celebrities. So we don't need to prop up Christian celebrities. We don't need to prop up those with power and influence and be like, I think they're Christian. That's playing favorites. Don't worry about that when we butter them up or hindering the gospel because the gospel drives forward on the power of the spirit not on the power of personality. 2nd next thing the James says he challenges those of us who would think that favoritism might not be that big of a deal. Weber State if you really fulfill the Royal La Cordon de scripture. You shall love your neighbor as yourself you are doing well. But if you show partiality you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. Whoever keeps the whole law but failed in one point has become accountable for all of it for he who said do not commit adultery also said do not commit murder. If you do not commit adultery, but do murder you have become a transgressor of the laundry like timeout James. We were talking about murder and adultery. This is a little thing like who cares if I went out of my way to greet the guy who looks like you might have a little bit of money. Who cares if I kind of tried to walk down the other aisle away from the person who didn't look like they had any what's the big deal James? Come on? That's James is like that's that's that's missing the point. We try to measure sin. Like, okay. Well, I didn't commit adultery. I didn't murder anybody has played a little bit of favorites just showed a little bit of partiality. Games like that you missed the point that little sin. Is still a sin that breaks God's heart that little sin. Big Air quotes, I don't know how big it can make him that little thin. Is precisely the kind of thing that Jesus had to die for that little sin. Is what drove those nails through Jesus's hands. What little sin James would say there is no little sin. There is no little sin church. We cannot just kind of wink wink. Let's grab that guy. You got money wink wink. We can't do that. And pretend that it's okay. We can't do that and expect. The God is somehow okay with it.
Favoritism is not a little sitting there are no little sins. What's the world's deadliest animal?
dammit testify who said I heard it. mosquitoes who votes mosquitoes Who got sharks? Tigers lions bears. Oh my mosquitoes somebody dies every 30 seconds because of a mosquito.
what's the big deal? It's just a mosquito. Yeah, and somebody's died like since I've been preaching 20 people have died. because of that little thing
we can't say there's no little sense. As long as there's no sharks. We're okay with few mosquitoes. No. As long as we're not sleeping with somebody else's wife. It's okay, if we show a little bit of favoritism as long as we're not sticking a knife between somebody's ribs. It's okay if we show a little favoritism no, There's no little sense. The little sins. I would argue were just as deadly because we stop looking for them.
We stopped looking for then. We stopped carrying about them. They just become kind of how we function and church. This is not just an individual problem. Right when I stopped caring about the little sins like getting mad at my kids night when I stop caring about the little things in my personal life. It shows a big effect at home church. It's very possible for us together. Just stop caring about the little sins to be okay with a little bit of favoritism. Just a little sin to be okay with a little bit of Gossip. It's just a little sin. to be okay with a little bit of judgment it so it's just
and to watch the church died as a result. So James is that favoritism is a little it could be the death. of the church So what's his solution verse 12 so speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of Liberty.
We kind of Miss what he's saying here. We may have missed. I probably should have talked about the Royal law up above we talked about the Royal law do to your neighbor as you would have them do to you and all that right? Love your neighbor as yourself. That Royal lavallade Liberty. That's the law that Christ gave Christ fulfills the requirements of the law with its 613 statutes. But that doesn't mean that we're just go easy go free. When we are in Christ, we are now subject to a much greater law love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul with all your mind with all your strength and that's a brutal and love your neighbor as yourself. James says favoritism partiality those are rejection of that law. Right when we who are to be judged under the fact that you love God with all your heart soul mind strength. Did you love your neighbor as yourself? When we say it's just a little bit of favoritism. We've missed it because favoritism is an innocuous. It hurts us. We talked about that but it hurts the people we judged too because it gives them the wrong idea about how God's judgment works. God's judgement of you in Salvation is not did they do enough to earn my favor. Did they clean up smart enough? Did they smile wide enough? Did they shower at least two times a week enough? That's not how God's judgment Works. God shows us Mercy that we don't deserve.
James is saying look church. If you forget about that, then you're subjecting yourself to that. Same kind of judgment judgment favoritism is left to do.
With just so it's a little thing. We just kind of, you know doing it making a few decisions about who should and who shouldn't favoritism less about that and it's more about I won't have mercy on you. I won't treat you like Christ treated me. I'm going to treat you like I see you if God treated us like he sees us.
So, why would we treat other people like we see them? Treat a man as he is and he will stay and remain as he is treat a man as he ought to be and he will become what he ought to be. That's not Bible by the way. I'm not quoting book of 2nd hesitations 314
But I think it's truth none the less you treat people as they come in the door. They're going to stay like they were when they came in the door you treat people as they could be in Christ loved shown Mercy given Grace. No special treatment for having the right clothes. No special treatment for knowing the right words to say, but just loved in Christ. You'll change the world. You will change the world. Church Have mercy on the people who walk through your doors. Christian have mercy on the people at work. The people you engage within the community. Don't treat them like you see them treat them as they could be in Christ an heir of the Kingdom. Recipient of the greatest gift ever treat them like that. Here's what I want it to be said of Red Hills that we are a church that welcomes everyone regardless of their race regardless of their economic status regardless of any human distinction. We don't treat people as they are we treat them as they might be in Christ maybe set of our church that we have no favorite, but Jesus, would you guys pray with me?