Summary: Advice from a friend . . . it can be extremely helpful and life changing if listened to and applied. Jim has a lot to teach us.
According to Jim
Practical advice for practical living! Wisdom that we often fail to apply or live out and therefore we pay the price. Let’s listen and learn!
1My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. 2Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. 3If 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," 4have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5Listen, 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? 6But 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? 7Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong? 8If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right. 9But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
(He chose the world’s down-and-out as the kingdom’s first citizens, with full rights and privileges. This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God.)
A. According to Jim there can be no class system for people in church!
There is no room for judging people according to skin color, social status, sexual orientation (don’t get nervous you know exactly where we stand on that – remember house rules – Word is the supreme authority here), or economic condition. There is no room for prejudice in form, shape, or color. The church must be an equal opportunity environment. If that is true, why do we continue to segregate and isolate?
This is not a new thing. From the very beginning of the existence of the church there has been this tendency to want to draw lines of separation. Jews here and gentiles over there. Rich here and poor over there. They started it and we have perfected it.
White here and black over there. BMW drivers over here and bike riders over there. House dwellers in this body and apartment dwellers in that body. There are white churches, black churches, Hispanic churches, seeker churches, and deep Christian churches!
Jim says that is SIN and at that moment we become law breakers! It isn’t just a preference! It is that we have allowed our comfort zone to trump God’s Word!
Have we forgotten one of the most profound and closest truths to God’s heart that we learned in children’s church? Red, yellow, black and white they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world!
We all stand equal in the eyes of God. Get your nose down. Accept people from all walks of life. Sit next to people who aren’t like you. Speak to folks who aren’t like you! Quit settling into comfortable cliques. God has called us to be open!
In his autobiography, Mahatma Gandhi wrote that during his student days he read the Gospels seriously and considered converting to Christianity. He believed that in the teachings of Jesus he could find the solution to the caste system that was dividing the people of India. So one Sunday he decided to attend services at a nearby church and talk to the minister about becoming a Christian. When he entered the sanctuary, however, the usher refused to give him a seat and suggested that he o worship with his own people. Gandhi left the church and never returned, “If Christians have caste differences also, “he said, “I might as well remain a Hindu.”
Why I am thankful and declare here that we will continue to be a church that loves everyone at every level!
10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11For 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.
(You can’t pick and choose in these things, specializing in keeping one or two things in God’s law and ignoring others. The same God who said, "Don’t commit adultery," also said, "Don’t murder." If you don’t commit adultery but go ahead and murder, do you think your non-adultery will cancel out your murder? No, you’re a murderer, period.)
B. According to Jim there can be no class system for sin in our lives!
We have created a class system for sins too. We try to justify our sin by excusing ourselves because we haven’t committed sin in another area. We keep score. I did this, but I didn’t do that and that would have been worse. Sin is sin! Sin is the same. Sin may have various level of impact. Some sins are more devastating in their natural repercussions. Usually murder has a more devastating natural impact than say lying. At least that is how we see it because we see in the natural. But what Jim reminds us is that in the supernatural realm there is just destruction. Murder and lying have the same exact supernatural result separation from God. In God’s eyes sin is sin! So he tells us to quit trying to downplay our sin. If you have ever uttered the words, “It doesn’t hurt, impact or affect anyone but me” you have set up a class system for sin! We must understand that it is an all or nothing deal. We either keep all the law or we have kept none of the law.