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Partiality through Poor Perspective


Published on In this powerful study James does not beat around the bush - he deals with partiality in a very straightforward manner. We will also see how our actions towards others will have an effect on our eternity.

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Partiality through Poor Perspective

  1. 1. Empowered Bible Study MinistriesJoin us on:FacebookTwitterGodTubeYouTube 1
  2. 2. Partiality through Poor Perspective James 2:1-13Today, we begin chapter two of the epistle of James. You know, I really like howJames writes, he doesnt beat around the bush, he tells it like it is.James here in verses 1-13 of Chapter two continues to deal with certainprecepts which we are to live by.(Precept = is a commandment, instruction, or order intended as an authoritativerule of action.)In the first thirteen verses of this chapter, James deals with the one generalsubject of showing partiality:James 2:1 - clearly gives us the precept as he warns against showing partialityJames 2:2-4 - give us an example from lifeJames 2:5-11 - give us the reason why showing partiality is sinfulJames 2:12-13 gives us the conclusion as he gives us motivations againstshowing partiality.Lets begin by opening our Bibles to James chapter 2 and begin with verse one:James 2:1 "My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lordof glory, with partiality." NKJVJames begins this chapter with my brethren. As we have seen in Chapter oneJames is speaking to his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Then, heimmediately says do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord ofglory, with partiality.James wants to condemn here the superficial judgment of people by Christians.He is saying: "My brothers and sisters in Christ, do not hold to the Christian faith,and at the same time discriminate between different classes of people,"Just because we are Christians, doesnt mean me dont show partiality, does it.It doesnt mean we dont discriminate between different classes of people.When we talk about showing partiality, what do me mean? It means to favorsome people over others or to pay special attention to a person because of theirwealth, social standing, position, authority, popularity, looks, or influence. 2
  3. 3. Many times in churches today you see groups of people who continuallysocialize with each other and nobody else...they form these little cliques withinthe congregation. Well, this just causes disunity among the brethren.James is warning us NOT to do this! Of all people upon earth, the very peoplewho should not show partiality are believers. The reason is clearly stated herein verse one.We all stand on equal footing before the Lord. Wealth, status, social standing,position, appearance - Nothing matters except that we come togetherworshipping Jesus Christ.James goes on in verses two through four to give us an example.James 2:2-4 "For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings,in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 andyou pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sithere in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit hereat my footstool," 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and becomejudges with evil thoughts?" NKJVHere James is giving an example of two men that represent the extreme ends ofwealth and poverty. He describes the one man with gold rings and fine apparel,and the other man as poor with filthy clothes.The contrast between rich and poor would have been obvious. Wealthy Greekand Roman men wore many rings on their fingers.The Greek word for the kind of clothing the poor man is wearing means filthy anddirty; it would be as if he were poor living on the streets and hadnt bathed in awhile.A person like this makes us feel uncomfortable and we have a tendency ofavoiding them dont we.Well with this broad spectrum between the people represented here, from therich person with all his wealth to the very poor person on the streets, James isshowing that we are not to show partiality to them or anyone in between.The picture painted in verse three clearly shows partiality towards the rich,being escorted to a good seat where the poor man is treated as being lessimportant and thought of as no better than a servant who sits at the footstool ofhis master‟s feet. 3
  4. 4. It is said that in those days they didnt have many seats to sit on, so theimportant people were given the seats. These men were both visitors and theyshould have both been treated as important people.Ladies, in Gods eyes there is no distinction and there should not be in ours.God does not look at outward appearance, He looks at the heart; and only Hecan see what is truly in the persons heart.If outward appearances draw our attention to the person and away from theworshipping of God then our focus is out of focus.So many times, we are quick to judge people by their appearance. My husbandand I knew this man who owned several golf courses and vineyards, and if yousaw him in the store you wouldnt know he was a multi-millionaire. He dressed inold worn-out jeans with holes in the knees and an old ratty sweater. He didntbring attention by the way he dressed to the fact that he did have money.Ladies, if we dress to impress our friends to draw attention to us as if to say heylook at me, look who I am, then our focus is out of focus and we need to re-evaluate our heart and place our focus back on God.Now this doesn‟t mean we can‟t wear nice clothes and jewelry. It simply meanswe should always live our lives to bring honor and glory to God not to ourselves.How many times have we passed judgment on someone simply because of theway they looked, their social status, or how much money they had.We need to keep our eyes on God not on man. No matter what our social statusis or how much money we have, we all stand before the King of Kings and Lordof Lords.It is what we do with our wealth that matters to God, not what your job title is orhow much money you have in your bank account.Jesus was not impressed with riches or social status. In fact, the poor widowwho gave her mite, which was all she had, was greater in His eyes that the richPharisee who boastfully gave his large donation.1 Samuel 2:7 The LORD makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up.(NKJV)Just because one person may give more financially to the church than another,does not mean that they are to be treated any better than anyone else. 4
  5. 5. Lets read on in verses five through seven:James 2:5-7 "Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of thisworld to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to thosewho love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppressyou and drag you into the courts? 7 Do they not blaspheme that noble name bywhich you are called?"(NKJV)Notice James says "Listen, my beloved brethren". You know when you reallywant to make sure the person you are talking to hears what you are saying, youmake sure you get their attention, right. Well, this is what James is doing here.The plea to listen indicated the intensity of James appeal.James points out that God had chosen the poor to be rich in faith and heirs of thekingdom which He promised to those who love Him.God chose those whom the world classified as poor in order that He might makethem rich - not as the world considers rich but rich in faith.Luke 12:21 "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich towardGod." NKJVThe richness included a future blessing as "heirs of the kingdom".So we see five things wrong with showing partiality and favoritism: 1. Showing partiality sets one up as the judge of men: James 2:4 2. Showing partiality reveals evil thoughts James 2:4 3. Showing partiality discriminates against the poor and lowly, a people who are loved by God. James 2:5 4. Showing partiality shows a disgraceful attitude James 2:6a 5. Showing partiality shows foolish behavior James 2:6b-7You know, we hate it when we are judged by appearance, false evidence, orhearsay, but are we quick to judge others using those same standards?Ladies, Only Christ can be the perfectly fair judge. Only as he governs ourhearts can we learn to be as fair in our treatment of others as we expect othersto be toward us.Never look down on anybody, unless youre helping them up. 5
  6. 6. You see, God sees the whole picture whereas we dont and so you may think thatyou are fooling others by your outward appearance, but you cant fool God. Heknows every thought; every intent; He knows all.The way we behave toward people indicates what we really believe about God!1 John 4:20 "If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; forhe who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whomhe has not seen?" NKJVA person who genuinely possesses Gods love will express it toward others andnot discriminate against them for one reason or another. - Video “Check this out, 1977 years, 134 days, 16 hours, 28 minutes ago Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment? Jesus simply answered: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.” The message said: Love the Lord your God with all your passion, prayer and intelligence. You see our love for God must be sincere, not just by the words we speak, but also by engaging our souls. If we truly love God, we must be passionate about Him inside and out. The only way to follow this command is to make loving God our first priority. That means everything else takes a back seat. But there is more; Jesus also said: “The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.” Which means love others as well as you love yourself. Love the unlovable, love the ones who don‟t deserve it, and love like you want to be loved. So the lesson is simply this: Love God, Love Others. But the great thing is if we make loving God our first priority, then loving others comes natural.”When we put God first, everything else falls into place doesn‟t it.Love enables us to obey the Word of God and treat people as God commands usto do. We obey His law, not out of fear, but out of love.John 15:12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have lovedyou." NKJVChristian love means treating others the way God has treated me. It is an act ofthe will, not an emotion that I try to manufacture. The motive is to glorify Godand the means is the power of the Spirit within.True believers are "taught of God to love one another" 1 Thessalonians 4:9 Butconcerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for youyourselves are taught by God to love one another; (NKJV) 6
  7. 7. Ladies James goes on to say in verse six that showing partiality shows adisgraceful attitude. It dishonors, humiliates, shames, disgraces, and insults thepoor and lowly person. Just think of the hurt and pain within the heart of theperson who is publicly discriminated against—the pain and hurt when he sees usshun, bypass, ignore, and withdraw from him. No believer is to ever make aperson feel unwelcomed or of little value and worth.Let‟s continue reading verses 8-11 as we see that showing partiality is a sin:James 2:8-11 "If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "Youshall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, youcommit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shallkeep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He whosaid, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." Now if you do notcommit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of thelaw." NKJVJames here is reaching back to the Old Testament for one of Gods laws.Lev 19:18 " shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord."Our neighbor is not just the person who lives next door to us. Neighbor heremeans anyone who needs our help, whom we come in contact with. It is not amatter of geography, but of opportunity.God the Father gave it in the law, and God the Son reconfirmed it to His disciples(John 13:34) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as Ihave loved you, that you also love one another. (NKJV)God the Spirit fills our hearts with Gods love and expects us to share it withothers. (Romans 5:5) Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of Godhas been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (NKJV)So we are instructed to Love our neighbors as ourselves.Ladies, we only believe as much of the Bible as we practice.D.L. Moody, who was a great preacher, evangelist and publisher in the 1800soften said, "Every Bible should be bound in shoe leather!"It was so fitting for D.L. Moody to reference shoe leather. When he wasseventeen years old, he went to work in his uncle‟s shoe store. One of hisuncle‟s requirements was that D.L. Moody attends church. It was then that heaccepted Christ into his life. 7
  8. 8. Ladies, what we do, what we say, how we act should reflect our Christian walk.If someone was to follow in your footsteps, would they find Jesus?Finally, James gives us the conclusion as he gives us motivations againstshowing partiality in James 2:12-13 James 2:12-13 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law ofliberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy.Mercy triumphs over judgment." (NKJV) The two verbs used by James in the original Greek are in the continuous tense.It reads: "So keep on speaking, and so keep on doing." In other words, do notput on a show to give the impression that you do what you say. It must flow out ofyour life; it must be a continuous practice. It will not take people long to knowwhether your actions are the natural outcome of what is in your heart.Ladies, here in verse twelve James is telling us that we will face the judgment ofGod for showing partiality.Therefore, we should speak and act like people who will stand before God andgive account for what we have done.We should treat people with love and respect no matter what their socialstanding and wealth, their clothing or appearance. We are to reach out to themthrough our speech and behavior, no matter who they are. God is going to judgeus on the basis of how we have loved and reached out to people, regardless ofwho they are. Both Jesus (John 5:24) and Paul (Romans 8:1) assured us that Christianbelievers will never be judged for their sins, but our works will be judged andrewarded. Romans 14:10-13; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 .Our Words will be judged:Note the words spoken to the two visitors in James 2:3. What we say to people,and how we say it, will come up before God. Even our careless words will bejudged (Matthew 12:36).Our Deeds will be judged:We need to practice what we preach. Our deeds will be judged accordingly.God examines the heart and knows our heart intent. You cannot hide from him.He will forgive your sins, but you will still pay the consequences. 8
  9. 9. Our Attitudes will be judged:James 2:13 "For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy.Mercy triumphs over judgment" NKJVMercy is precisely what the believers were not showing when they insulted poorpeople. If they continued to discriminate, they would be in danger of facing theirown judgment without mercy.Ladies, our beliefs should control our behavior. If we really believe that Jesus isthe Son of God, and that God is gracious, His Word is true, and one day He willjudge us, then our conduct will reveal our convictions.One of the tests of the reality of our faith is how we treat other people. One daywe will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and be held accountable forour actions.What will be said of you, what will be said of me at the judgment seat of Christ?We are all held accountable, individually for how we treat others. Do we treatsome better than others? Do we judge people based on appearance like theillustration pointed out today? Do we judge others based on their religiousbeliefs? Your actions reveal your heart.Jesus did not look at the outward appearance; He looked at the heart.Even His enemies knew He did not show partiality based on status orappearance:Matthew 22:16 "And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying,"Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor doYou care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. NKJVWhat do people say about you, do you have a reputation of not showingpartiality?The late Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, who was a Greek Scholar, and wrote the KeyWord Study bible that I handed out at our „how to study the Bible‟ class, told thisstory:“Let us not be like that half-witted man who wore a most curious coat. All downthe front it was covered with patches of various sizes, mostly large. When askedwhy the coat was patched in such a remarkable way, he answered that thepatches represented the sins of his neighbors. He pointed to each patch, andgave the story of the sin of someone in the village, then went on to another, untilhe had related the sins of all in the village. On the back of his coat there was asmall patch. On being asked what it represented, he said, "Thats my own sin,and I cannot see it!"—Faith, Love & Hope Spiros Zodhiates 9
  10. 10. It is true how we judge others and make a point to show their faults and sins, butwe cant see what we are doing.It is Christ who is the link between us and others, and He is a link of love. Weneed to look at everyone through the eyes of Christ.Ladies, James tells it like it is. He is telling us to NOT show partiality to anyone,we are to show Christ‟s love to all. It is only through His love that we treatpeople as He would.Remember, you are a sinner saved by Grace and God gave you the mostprecious gift of salvation to be with Him forever. Don‟t pass judgment on othersbecause you will answer for it at the judgment seat of Christ.I have enjoyed studying God‟s word with you and look forward to being with youagain as we continue our study on the Book of James.Until then,God blessTo view this study and archives on the book of James go to: other Bible studies and inspirational articles go to:Empowered Bible Study MinistriesJoin us on:Facebook; Twitter; GodTube; YouTube 10