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Alêtheia Christian Fellowship ~ Sermon #82, 8-7-05

James the Just, á÷eÖé! Ya ăqôb, Jacob, Ija>kwbov, James

James 2:1 ~

NASB: My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. 

KJV: My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 

NIV: My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism.

SK: Brothers of me, not in "face-based receiving," have ye the faith of the Lord of us Jesus Christ the One of glory.

1- Brothers indicates Christians

2- Face based receiving, proswpolhmyi>a (prahs-oh-pah-lame-psee-ah) - pro>swpon kai> lamba>nw  is usually defined as favoritism or partiality, but that doesn't carry the correct impact. It means prejudice, pure and simple; Discrimination, bigotry and intolerance and it is a heinous sin.

Man from the South or Marine from the Pacific campaign. It may be understandable or acknowledged to be difficult, but bitterness is un-forgiveness and discrimination is judgment. You will not be forgiven if you refuse to forgive and you will not avoid judgment if you judge others.

Dehumanization is the path to atrocity.

3- The Greek of the first verse gets a little tricky from here. It's difficult to know exactly what James had in mind because we overanalyze it.

Here's what the gist of it is: Jesus is both the One and Only Christ (i.e. Savior), and Lord (i.e. Boss). He is also Glorious pointing to His divine nature, current position and future coming.  That's who Jesus is and if anyone has faith in that Jesus he must not, under any circumstances, be a discriminator of persons based on physical perception.

God shows no partiality, nor has He ever:

Deut 10:17-20a - 17For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. 19And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt. 20Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him.

Jesus continually shocked the people by looking at the inner person and ignored the physical facts in front of Him.

We are to emulate our Lord Jesus and He was the exact representation of God. To be prejudice is to insult Jesus and is a demonstration that our heart is not right with God and therefore our faith in Jesus is suspect.

Do not think you are a Christian serving the Savior, Lord and Glorious One if you judge people by appearances.

James 2:1-4 ~ NASB: My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? (KJV & NIV: judges of evil thoughts?)

An example, the word for assymbly is sunagwgh>, Literally together, led to one spot, an assymbly usually for judicial reasons. It's possible all it means is a church service especially as this was written by a Jew so early in Christianity, but it is unusual. Even in the earliest times Christian assymblies for worship and teaching were called ejkklhsi>a, and church business, i.e. judicial meetings were sunagwgh>. So it is possible that the church is asked to judge between a rich and poor man, especially since in a service all would either be sitting or standing at the same time.

Before anything has even started the church which derives it's power only from Jesus has already decided.

1 Corinthians 6:1-8 If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers! The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.

It is a parable to demonstrate that all bigotry is incompatible with Christianity

James2:5-7 ~ NASB: Listen, (KJV: Hearken,) my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. (NIV & KJV: the poor.) Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?

It's ajkou>sate, we used to translate it, "Hear ye! Hear ye!"

God elected those who appear to be poor in the physical world to be rich in the real world beyond, but why?

Bottom line, to accept God in Biblical Truth you must be humble! It is more often the poor, both financially and socially, who can be humble. It is when you are powerless that you surrender.

Note it is not just being poor that will save you it is through poverty that humbleness can accept Jesus and then Agapê can fill our heart toward Him.

The insanity of us trying to be in favor with those we think can help us in this life while in so doing we hurt those God is for and therefore lose the help for the next life, which lasts for eternity. Now that's dumb!

Mahatma Gandhi.

James2:8-10 ~ NASB: If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. (NIV: If you really keep the royal law found in … you are doing right.) But if you show partiality, you are committing (SK: working)

sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

Gal 5:13For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

This is the same guy who is supposedly at odds with James, the guy who said:

Eph2:8-10 ~ For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

James2:11-13 ~ NASB: For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are (SK: about to be) to be judged by the law of liberty (SK: freedom). For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy (SK: For judgment without any mercy to the one not doing mercy); mercy triumphs (KJV: rejoiceth, SK: exults) over judgment.

Murder is in view because failure to love is the cause of Murder.

An outlaw, a criminal.

Law of Liberty, The law of liberty is for those who have the Holy Spirit in them and therefore manifest Godly behavior. In this case a Christian is one holding to the faith and will not discriminate.

If you fail to manifest that behavior you are not a Christian and are therefore not to be judged by the Law of Liberty, but by the Law of Flesh and you have already become a law breaker and will therefore be cast into the outer darkness a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, as Jesus calls it.

Without any mercy to the one not doing mercy, mercy exults over judgment. It is a completely wrong concept to think that you can be somewhat merciful, just as long as you are not completely unmerciful, it will be ok for you. God is always merciful and we must strive to be the same through the power of the Holy Spirit in us.

This cannot be dead religion or simply a good way to go through life. If there is no Holy Spirit power to change and therefore be different than those outside Biblical Christianity then there is no Biblical Christianity and we are wasting our time!

Psalm 119
א Aleph
2    Blessed are they who keep his statutes
    and seek him with all their heart.
4    You have laid down precepts
    that are to be fully obeyed.
7    I will praise you with an upright heart
    as I learn your righteous laws.
ב Beth
9    How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By living according to your word.
10    I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.
12    Praise be to you, O LORD;
    teach me your decrees.
ד Daleth
30    I have chosen the way of truth;
    I have set my heart on your laws.
ה He
36    Turn my heart toward your statutes
    and not toward selfish gain.
ז Zayin
50    My comfort in my suffering is this:
    Your promise preserves my life.
ט Teth      66    Teach me knowledge and good judgment,         for I believe in your commands.      67    Before I was afflicted I went astray,         but now I obey your word.
68    You are good, and what you do is good;
    teach me your decrees.
71    It was good for me to be afflicted
    so that I might learn your decrees.
נ Nun
108    Accept, O LORD, the willing praise of my mouth,
    and teach me your laws.
112    My heart is set on keeping your decrees
    to the very end.
ס Samekh
113    I hate double-minded men,
    but I love your law.
114    You are my refuge and my shield;
    I have put my hope in your word.
120    My flesh trembles in fear of you;
    I stand in awe of your laws.
פ Pe
132    Turn to me and have mercy on me,
    as you always do to those who love your name.
133    Direct my footsteps according to your word;
    let no sin rule over me.
שSin and Shin
165    Great peace have they who love your law,
    and nothing can make them stumble.
ת Taw
176    I have strayed like a lost sheep.
    Seek your servant,
    for I have not forgotten your commands.


Luke 2217After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, ATake this and divide it among you. 18For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.@ 19And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, AThis is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.@ 20In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, AThis cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

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