SERIES: The Book of James
TEXT: James 2:1-7
MESSAGE: “Reflecting God’s Impartiality and Compassion”


1. The Sin of Partiality

 “favoritism is an indication of a heart that at best is in need of spiritual help and at worst is a heart without grace.”R. Kent Hughes


My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 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, which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called? — James 2:1-7


Two adversaries (in a dispute with each other), if one of them is clothed with precious garments, goodly apparel, and the other is clothed with, vile clothing, (the judge) says to the honorable (wealthy) person, ‘either clothe him (the poor person) as you are clothed, while you contend with him, or be clothed as he is, so that you may be alike, on an equal footing.’ — Maimonides on Hilchot Sanhedrin


One shall not sit, and another stand, but both shall stand; but if the Sanhedrin, or court, are pleased to let them sit, they sit; but one does not sit above, and the other below; but one by the side of the other. — Maimonides


“they love the places of honor at the banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues, they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and they loved to be called ‘rabbi’ by others.  — Matthew 23:6-7


2. God’s Impartiality and Justice

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” — 1 Samuel 16:7


For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. — Deuteronomy 10:17


You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. — Deuteronomy 16:19


You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God’s. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.’ — Deuteronomy 1:17


3. Jesus’ Mission to the Marginalized

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” — Luke 4:18-21


“So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” — Acts 10:34-35


For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. — 2 Corinthians 8:9


“it means to see that you are deeply in debt before God, and you have no ability to even begin to redeem yourself. God’s free generosity to you, at infinite cost to him, was the only thing that saved you.” — Tim Keller


“so the wisdom of God comes to the poor man to show him the vastness of what he has in Christ, and the wisdom of God comes to the rich man to show him the hollowness of everything that he might be tempted to use as basis for significance.” — Alistair Begg


4. Serving the Least of These

35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:35-40


5. Living Out Our Faith

“The Christian life is marked by a focus on God and our neighbors. The more we love Him, the more we learn to love our neighbors. And the more we love our neighbors, the more we become like Christ. We get closer to God with each act of love, and each act of love brings someone else closer to Him as well.” – John Barry


“Until we embrace our mutual brokenness, our work with low-income people is likely to do more harm than good. I sometimes unintentionally reduce poor people to objects that I use to fulfill my own need to accomplish something. I am not okay, and you are not okay. But Jesus can fix us both.” — S. Corbett, When Helping Hurts


“The love of God is the first and great commandment. But love of our neighbor is the means by which we obey it. Since we cannot see God directly, God allows us to catch sight of Him through our neighbor. By loving our neighbor, we purge our eyes to see God. So love your neighbor and you will discover that in doing so you come to know God.” – Saint Augustine of Hippo

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