Summary: God doesn’t play favorites. We are all sinners, no matter how miniscule the sin seems to us. But we are also all loved by God.
July 4, 1999 James 2:8-13
“Do you play favorites?” Part II
- talk about stages of life that increase freedom (being able to walk, driving, moving out of the house; then we go back into bondage once we get married); Ben, my son, talks about being able to do whatever he wants to do when he grows up. We tell him that there will never be a day when he can do whatever he wants to do.
- we value freedom; that’s why we fight for it with such energy being willing to give up everything for it
- this morning, we come to celebrate the freedoms that we enjoy. We celebrate the freedoms that we have as Americans and the freedoms that we have as Christians.
- Freedom never comes without the willingness of someone to pay a price, and both types of freedom that we enjoy had a high price to pay.
- A little over 200 years ago in 1776, a group of men convened to sign the Declaration of Independence. When those men signed that document, they knew that they were going to have to pay a price. [tell about the costs that they had to pay if information is available]
- Some of you in this room know full well the cost of freedom because you served our nation in one of its wars to help maintain our freedom.
- Just as our political freedom required a great price, even so our spiritual freedom required a much greater price. That freedom was bought with the blood of Jesus Christ.
- In order to help us value our freedoms and to keep us vigilant at maintaining those freedoms, we must constantly remind ourselves where we came from and what our lives were like before these freedoms were secured for us. That’s why we come to this passage this morning - to remind ourselves of where we were when we were enslaved to Satan and sin and to help us value the freedoms that Jesus purchased for us. We do this too in the hope that anyone here who is still in bondage to sin can receive freedom today.
I. God takes all sin seriously; He doesn’t have a favorite one to
punish (vs. 8-11)
A. Any sin violates our relationship with men (vs. 8)
- the great commandments “love God . . . love neighbor”
- story of the Good Samaritan
- keeping command #2 will mean that you are keeping commands #5-10 of Ten Commandments
- law “found in Scripture”, not in law books - doesn’t change
- “royal” - it’s one thing to break a local ordinance, but it’s quite another to break a federal law. The higher up the law originates, the more weight it is given, and the stiffer the penalty if you break it. This law came from the King’s throne. There is no higher up than that.
- Two actions in Scripture prove the value of man. First, God created man. Second, Jesus died for man.
- So when I do something to hurt man, I violate that command that says, “love your neighbor as yourself”, then I have done something that is very serious, because God values man highly.
B. Any sin makes us a sinner (vs. 9)
- last week, we spent time talking about God’s command to not show favoritism [do a little bit of review]
- part of the responsibility of every Christian is to tell people about Jesus and how they can get forgiveness for their sins. The greatest difficulty in getting people to come to Jesus for forgiveness is to get them to see that they are in need of forgiving.
- Many people say, “I’ve never committed an awful sin. I’m not that bad.”
- according to vs. 9, if you have committed the sin of favoritism, then you are a lawbreaker.
- can you imagine the scene behind prison bars? “What are you in for mac?. . .“
- favoritism alone can bring conviction. With conviction, there comes a penalty.
- “lawbreaker” - it’s what you are not what you have done; when a person gets out of jail, they are labeled a “con”. It doesn’t matter what they have done. They are forced to face the stigma that being behind bars carries with it. You and I are “lawbreakers” - sinners, regardless of what sin we have committed.
- Romans 3:23 - “For all have sinned . . . “
C. Any sin makes us guilty before God (vs. 10)
- “keeps the whole law” - “I kept 9 out of 10 commands. Isn’t that good enough?”
- story of rich young ruler. Thought that he had kept all of the commands. Yet still he lacked one thing. Jesus was testing him to see if he had kept the ten commands when he told him to sell all that he had. The first command was “You shall have no other gods before me.” If the man had really kept that command, then he would have been able to part with his riches.