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04-15-07 - I See Something You Dont See - James 2.1-4 - NSB

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NSB – 4.15.07, PM – James 2:1-4

Reading Scripture – Ashleigh Cline

(or Haley Burchard and Christina Landreth)

TBKC – Believer’s Bible Commentary – Johnny Hunt Outline on James 2:1-4, Problems with partiality, Part 1 and part 2 -  The Deeper Life Pulpit Commentary vv. 2:1-4 – The NIV Application Commentary on James by Nystrom, pp. 112-117 – Kay Arthur tape on James, Lesson 8 – NTSK – Ironside’s Commentary on James and 1 and 2 Peter (Nothing) – Gutzke, Plain talk on James – JFB -

Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover


James 2:1 - 4 (KJV) 1My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.  2For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;  3And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:  4Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? 

Let’s Pray….

You remember that..

James is all about a faith that is real.


Let me give you a good example of why we should not discriminate.  This from a book by Dr. Johnny Hunt. 

            CER – Read Memorandum from Johnny Hunt’s Outline book on James, p. 46

At the end of chapter one James told us to remain unpolluted by the world. (V. 27)

And what we look at tonight ties in with that because what was happening was that some of the standards of that society were being applied to the church.

They were esteeming some in the church and debasing others.

Now, it is possible to have the same situation today so the teaching from James is just as valid now as it was then.

If you study preaching in seminary, one of the things they teach is how to present a sermon.

            And what we strive for is – Explanation, Illustration, and then Application.

Well, James would get an “A” for the first four verses of chapter two because in these verses he gives us an explanation in verse 1, then an illustration in verses 2 and 3, and then application in verse 4.

Let’s look at his…



1 My brothers, hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ without showing favoritism.

So, he begins by talking about the faith that we have in our Lord Jesus Christ –

            This is the faith that Paul spoke to Felix about

This is the same faith that Paul commended the church at Colossae for

It is the faith that he told Timothy to hold in a good conscience.

So, as we practice the same faith that has been practiced for thousands of years, we are to do so w/o showing favoritism.

This is a rare case of Christology in the book of James.

            CER – Check on this but I believe that there are only two references.

Faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.

To practice this faith with high fidelity means to live our lives by doing what Jesus would do.

            When we go somewhere – Would Jesus go there?

            When say something – Would Jesus say that?

            When we judge someone – Would Jesus judge as we did?

My brethren –

So James is writing to his brothers to tell them to stop showing favoritism in the church.

            Favoritism is a worldly attribute – Not a Christian Attribute

Now, this explanation that he gives us is base don God’s Law.


            A.  GOD’S LAWS

                        1.  2ND GREATEST COMMANDMENT

This morning we looked at Mark 12:34 as we talked about what it is like to be an, “Almost Christian.”

But in the conversation that Jesus was having with the fellow this morning, one of the things they discussed was the second great commandment.

…to love our neighbour as ourselves (v. 31)

So, James bases his explanation on the words of Jesus – And…

                        2.  OTHER OT & NT TEACHINGS

For instance -

            In Job we learn that God does not favor the rich more than the poor.


Psalms 109:30 - 31 (KJV) 30    I will greatly praise the LORD with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude. 31    For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul.

In John (7:24), Jesus said – “…do not judge by appearances”

            B.  JESUS’ LOVE

James is right in line with the teachings of Jesus

            Jesus pronounced blessings on the poor – So did James

            Jesus issued warnings to the wealthy – So did James

            Jesus warned against judging instead of showing mercy – Same with James

You may remember that…

Jesus the rabbi spoke to the woman at the well - she was also a Samaritan.

- Sermon on the Mount

We see how he commended a poor woman in the story of

The widow and her two mites

            C.  JESUS’ LEAVING

Do you think Jesus was in tune with the poor of this world?

Consider what He left to come here.

Jesus left glory and identified himself with the poor and the outcasts of society.

2 Corinthians 8:9 (KJV) 9For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 

So, in verse 1, James introduces to his subject but in vv. 2-3 he gives you an illustration.


2For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;  3And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 

Something is just not right here – Two very different people come into the church and they are treated very differently

When I was a visitor in the black congregation down the road, the preacher one day said that the people in his church would have to learn to love white people just like they did each other.

Well, that really made me think – No matter what color you are, you do not want to discriminate.

And then…

When I was visiting in the synagogue, I could hear the little ladies whispering at the door before they came in, “I don’t think he’s Jewish… He’s not singing…”

            But they let me participate as much as I could.

And, as far as I know they welcomed me in.

But these two folks came in and it seems that one was…

            A.  PUTTING ON THE DOG

Now some people “put on the dog”

In that society people were looked upon based upon the way they looked and the way they dressed.

But listen, once we become a Christian, we belong to God – And we are to prove the reality of our faith.

By loving the poor AND THE RICH

We talked earlier in James about being a doer and not a hearer but there are tight doers and wrong doers.

                        1.  THE RIGHT DOERS

                        - Not defiled (1:27)

CH Spurgeon said:

“I had rather be poor in His service than rich in my own.”

We are to be doers but we are to be “right” doers

In Luke 14:7-14 we have an illustration given to us by Jesus of attending a wedding and the point of His teaching there is that we should humble ourselves.

A right doer humbles himself and exalts others.

I am looking at people the right way when I look at poor Stan and rich Chuck and place them on an equal plane because the glory of Christ is resting on both of them.

            I cannot exalt the poor or the rich above the other

So, there are right doers and then there are…

                        2.  THE WRONG DOERS

                                    - People who want to See and be Seen

One of the clearest markings of wealth in Palestine was the clothing you were wearing.

There is a danger in the church that we go after the “big” prizes.

ILL.  Would Jesus wear a Rolex – Ray Stevens

ILL.  Rent a Ring Store

            But the problems was worse then than now – die where you were born.

People who have ministries that are public must be on guard.

Because some people love to sit in the chief seats at the meetings

            Remember what I told you about Luke 11:43?

Luke 11:43 (KJV) 43Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets. 


So, some like to put on the dog but – guess what!!

            B.  THIS AIN’T THE DOG’S HOUSE

The illustration of discrimination that James gives us was taking place in the church.

This is not the place to put on the dog or exalt the dog that does.

Our time here together is not our service this is a service to God and about God.

This is His church – And He is no respector of persons.

                        1.  LET’S NOT BE CONFORMED

If society wants to show partiality, that is one thing.

But if it comes into the church – that is something else.

Partiality runs contrary to the teachings of God.

To discriminate is to sin.  And if you have found a way to support discrimination with the Bible then you have not handled accurately the Word of God.

Jesus looks on the heart –

            Let me say it this way:

Almost everything that you see and judge people for are the things that God does not judge people for.

So, let’s not be conformed but…

                        2.  LET’S BE TRANFORMED

Revelation 22:17 (KJV)
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.


Whosoever will may come –

            That is basic blocking and tackling in our faith.

So, there we have from James the Explanation and the Illustration but we need the Application.


Here it is…

            A.  LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR

The Second greatest commandment – the royal law that we have already talked about

            You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

After all,

Hath not one God created us? Mal. 2:10. Has not one Christ redeemed us?[2]

Now, you can be active or passive in this wrong behavior…

W can actively show disdain for a poor person or we can treat them badly with passive behavior

            Just ignoring someone can be a very strong statement indeed.

                        1.  AS YOURSELF

I have been born-again, washed in the blood

I should be a merciful person.

            And part of that showing mercy is what we are talking about in 2:1-4

Gold ring –

            The ring showed wealth and power.

Do you remember in the book of Esther when the king gave his signet ring to Haman – That made Haman, “The Man.”

                        He had control of the ring and control of the people.

But later the king would give that ring to Mordecai and then he would have the power.

            When the prodigal son returned home what did the father say?

Luke 15:22 (KJV) 22But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 

Let’s not be too quick to judge the outside because you don’t always know what is on the inside.

Hebrews 13:2 (KJV) 2Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 

The problem is that it is so easy to see what one man is wearing while we may not really be seeing what the other is wearing.

            What if he is clothed with humility

            What if he is wearing robes of righteousness

            The Bible says that our adornment is not to be merely external.

So, others as you love yourself but then, love them…

                        2. AS A SAMARITAN

            a.  DO YOU SEE A…                                               b.  JESUS SEES A…

            Samaritan                                                                    Thirsty Woman

            Poor Man                                                                    Man / Inheritance

            Black Man                                                                   Jesus wasn’t white

Do you think it strange that the very things that we lift up an put so much emphasis on are the things that Satan tried to tempt Jesus with?

He showed Jesus all the kingdoms of this world and all of the glory in those kingdoms.

            B.  LIVE YOUR FAITH

The difficulty in this passage is not in seeing what James has in mind but in doing what it says.

The reason that this applies to Christians is that your faith should make a difference in your daily relationships.

                        1.  WHO BEGATS DO

We are judged by what is on the inside.

            Jesus lives on the inside.

            But we show who lives on the inside by how we treat others on the outside.

The only glory that any of us have comes from Jesus Christ.

And then…

                        2.  FAITH BEGATS WORKS

A faith that is real, as it changes your heart will produce good works.

If your faith keeps running head on into your actions then you may need to make some changes.

Don’t conform – Be transformed.

So, there is a problem if we say that we are confessing complete obedience to God and then we are not doing what he has told us to do because we are discriminating against someone.

And then…

            C.  LOVE LIKE JESUS

In His eyes Salvation is equally available to all – There is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile – Rom. 10:12

Proverbs says, “Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.”

                        1.  A DEMONSTRATED LOVE

In the 22nd chapter of Matthew we find that even the Pharisees and the Herodians recognized that Jesus was not partial to anyone.

And of course:

John 3:16 (KJV) 16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 


There is just no place in Christianity for discrimination.

And we should not be divided on these issues So I thank God for this teaching which should put us all on the same page.

If this has ever been a problem for you…

All you have to do is to remember two things”

1.  Love ‘em like Jesus loves ‘em.

2.  God is more concerned with what is on the inside of a person than what is on the outside.

Let’s Pray…


[1]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995.

[2]Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible : Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996, c1991), Mk 12:28.

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