Let’s Be Fair About It James 2:1-13 Aug. 02, 2009
Not long ago someone told me that a wealthy person probably did not join his church because the people would expect him to pay for most new items the church needed. If that represents a correct expression about that church they certainly lack a proper focus on the gospel. The poor should give the same percentage to the Lord’s work as a rich person. The Lord commands all of us to tithe, He also commanded us to make disciples, so Let’s Be Fair About It and share the message of salvation and discipleship with everyone.
1. Let’s Be Fair In Our . . Discrimination. 2:1-5
A. Discrimination Elevating Personal . . Faith.. 2:1-3
1 My brothers, hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ without showing favoritism. 2 For
suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring, dressed in fine clothes, and a poor man
dressed in dirty clothes also comes in. 3 If you look with favor on the man wearing the fine clothes so that
you say, "Sit here in a good place," and yet you say to the poor man, "Stand over there," or, "Sit here on the
floor by my footstool,"
B. Discrimination Without Elevating . . Favoritism. 2:4-5
4 haven't you discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my
dear brothers: Didn't God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that He
has promised to those who love Him?
Our faith in the Lord must not be demonstrated in a manner that shows favoritism. Jesus did not die just for wealthy old man Cline, but for all mankind. Most of us grew up in a class of people called, “poor”. My parents went through the depression. Many people received their salvation during those hard times and their faith developed as the church played a key part in their life. If we see a poor person being treated in an unkind manner we need to go out of our way to make him or her feel welcome. I have heard about ushers telling an individual he or she needed to get better clothes before they came to their church. That has never happened in a church I pastored, and I certainly will do all I can to keep it from ever happening.
2. Let’s Be Fair Without . . Dishonoring. 2:6-7
A. Dishonoring Through . . Persecuting His Holy People. 2:6
6 Yet you dishonored that poor man. Don't the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts?
B. Dishonoring Through . . Profaning His Holy Name. 2:7
7 Don't they blaspheme the noble name that you bear?
In the time James lived the rich did several things to oppress the poor. Their society was more of a class society than the ones in which we live. In these actions the rich people blasphemed the name of the Lord. Those kind of actions need never be part of our lifestyles. Because we know the Lord He makes us holy. These men in James’ day blasphemed holy people and the holy name of the Lord through their misuse of money. Anyone who elevates rich people above the average church member needs to be genuinely saved or have a renewal experience. Today the greed of some people has recently led them to take large sums of money for their own pockets. Eventually that may oppress the poor.
3. Let’s Be Fair With . . Discernment. 2:8-13
A. Discernment With Biblical . . Perspective. 2:8-10
8 If you really carry out the royal law prescribed in Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself,
you are doing well. 9 But if you show favoritism, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as
transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of breaking it all.
B. Discernment With Biblical . . Practices. 2:11-13
11 For He who said, Do not commit adultery, also said, Do not murder. So if you do not commit
adultery, but you do murder, you are a lawbreaker. 12 Speak and act as those who will be judged by the law
of freedom. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who hasn't shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over
Putting personal wealth aside the command tells us “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Do you find some people easier to love than others? Perhaps it is better to say some people are easier to like but we need to love everyone. Recently while sitting at McDonalds a poorly dressed man whose clothes were dirty came and sat down near a group of regular customers. They tolerated him but really did not include him.
What if that happened at church. At church many people are dressed in good clothes, if not their best, so do we want a grubby looking person sitting next to us? I know of cases where church members helped a person get cleaned up. Many Christians would be insulted if you suggested they were adulterers or murders, but do we always obey the law telling us to love. Jesus demonstrated love to every one so Let’s Be Fair About It and follow His command and leadership. Amen? Amen!