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Summary: From the expositional study of the book of James this message looks at the instruction regarding prejudice in the Body of Christ.



JAMES 2:1-13 - ©DR. LARRY L. THOMPSON (2004)

“My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. [2] Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. [3] If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here’s a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," [4] have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? [5] Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? [6] But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? [7] Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong? [8] If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right. [9] But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. [10] For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. [11] For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. [12] Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, [13] because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” (James 2:1-13)


Many years ago, shortly after I had introduced the vision for our church; “To be an international community of Believers, glorifying Jesus Christ together by building radical relationships for life” I was invited to dinner from a very influential man in our church. He told me that he wanted Cynthia and I to come to his home and he would “grill.” I had no idea he was actually talking about grilling me! In one of the most uncomfortable conversations I have ever had in my life the gentleman said, “I like you but why do you think you have to change our church?” After assuring him that I never intended to change the church but simply allow the church to follow the leadership and direction of God’s Spirit. Then he asked me, “Have you seen the kind of people that have joined since you’ve been pastor? You’re not going to meet your budget bringing in those kind of people. I know because if it doesn’t change I’m leaving.” He did leave and it was terrible…we had to trust God and guess what, we continue to make the budget and God continues to be glorified in a church that realizes the value of EVERY SINGLE PERSON who walks through these doors regardless of their age, culture, race or socio-economic status. I thank God we are a GLOBAL fellowship.

The problem with my brother was simple. He needed an EXTREME MAKEOVER and he should start with a NOSE JOB since his was so out of joint. Interesting, isn’t it, the way we really see ourselves. Let’s go to today’s EXTREME EXAMPLE entitled, “The Christian Dating Service!”

Webster dictionary defines “prejudice” as “an adverse opinion formed without just grounds and prior to sufficient knowledge.” It comes from the two words “pre” and “judge.” James warns the church that prejudice and partiality are serious problems if they are displayed in the Body of Christ. I have told you before that James is the most practical book in the New Testament and nothing validates that more than the tremendous exposition in James 2:1-13. (READ TEXT)

There is a natural outline that is provided by James in dealing with this issue. It is so simple that all of our children can understand this truth and in live in obedience to the directive.


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

James confronts this practice of prejudice directly in verse 1, indicating that those who have a genuine faith in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ while embracing a spirit of favoritism or demonstrating prejudice is contradictory and incompatible to the life of a Christian!

James understands that if we are true Christians then we are children of God; and if we are His children, we should emulate Him. Paul declares categorically: “For God does not show favoritism.” Romans 2:11 (NIV)

The word, “Favoritism” in the Greek is prosoôpoleômpsia, (pros-O-pole-ape-see’-ah) and carries the idea of the literal meaning of “lifting up someone’s face,” with the idea of judging by appearance and on the basis of appearance then give special favor and respect. James is rebuking the church for not following the example of their God. God doesn’t judge by the face or the externals of man; God judges the heart of man.

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