Summary: James speaks abruptly to believers who recognize status. This message teaches that all people matter because the ground is level at the cross.
All People Matter To God
* Let’s begin tonight by reviewing our “Core Values”. 1) The Bible is our guide book. 2) God loves us and has a plan for us. 3) All People matter to God. 4) We seek to honor God in all we do. 5) The Local church (that’s us) is the hope of the world. We can and have visited these 5 beliefs repeatedly in the last 5 years and perhaps God is urging us to revisit them again because tonight’s text from James speaks directly to our third value, ‘all people matter to God.’
* Consider the different emphasis and inflections from these 5 words. We may begin by drawing attention to the last 2 words know that God cares for all people. John 3 tells us that “God loved the world” & not just the chosen. Romans 5 tell us that God demonstrated His love in that while we were sinners He sent Christ to die for us. Based on these text we can then inflect the word ‘matters’ because scripture, history, and activity, clearly reveal God cares for us, His crown creation so we can now emphasize people. Joel Hemphill wrote many years ago, “God loves people, any shape any color any size. You don’t have to be an angel to be really special in His eyes.”
* Finally consider the word “ALL.” “ALL” people matter to God. This word is encouraging, sobering, and convicting, because it is revealing. It encourages us to know that everyone is on God’s radar, it is sobering because this means even those who are different than us has the heart of the Father, it is convicting because that person who we don’t like, has hurt us, or even is antagonistic is one that God loves. Finally, when we say ‘all’ people matter to God it reveal the wickedness & corrupt of our hearts.
* One of the outstanding attributes of the Bible & particularly James is the fact that ‘truth is given’ while the chips fall where they may. Let’s read our text.
* Let’s re-read verse 12. The concept of ‘freedom’ or ‘liberty’ is big to James. In fact, he is the only writer who mentions it & he mentions it twice in just a few verses. Obviously in Christ, James was given a divine sense of release from the bondage which had a strangle hold on those outside of faith in Christ. So his words are both a reminder and a warning for the true believers.
1. The Principle – Knowing he was speaking some strong truths which would not be easy for those of faith to hear, James continues the pattern of keeping the familial connection with his readers. This is why we read “My Brothers,” or “brethren”, he wants us to know that the desire is not to put down but to build up. He tells us to ‘hold on to faith in Jesus, the glory of God, without sinning and the particular sin he names hits us all. It goes by many names; favoritism, discrimination, bigotry, prejudice, and even bias. Candidly, all of these things in our life are from Satan himself. When preference invades our lives what follows is judging (and judging by OUR STANDARD). Have you ever wondered why Jesus (Matthew 7) tells us to Judge not? It is because we do not have enough information on other people to make quality judgments.
All People matter to God – Pg 2
* Chuck Swindoll tells the story of a man in the Northeast on a commuter train with 2 or 3 small kids. The kids were running crazy while the Father seemed oblivious. Finally, someone said something to the dad about how the kids were misbehaving which was making the ride for everyone else very difficult. After speaking to him harshly, the dad kind of snapped out of his trance-like state with apologies. He said, “I’m sorry. My kids & I just came from the hospital where my wife died of an extended disease. The kids don’t understand & I’m just trying to figure out where to go from here.”
* Now all the whispers about the misbehaving kids changed as the travelers had full knowledge. Yet, the damage was done like it is done in so many areas of our lives these days. Even as believers in Christ, we find ourselves showing partiality or favoritism and thus, violating the very scripture we say we live by. This principle is to place your ‘faith in Jesus’ for salvation, to ‘focus on Jesus’ as your example, and then, in Him, ‘forsake the status signs’ which the world tries to force on us.
* Honestly, James didn’t leave any of this to our imagination. He paints an illustrative picture which is all too familiar. (Red verses 2-4)