Summary: Showing favoritism is a form of discrimination and prejudice.
DON’T SHOW FAVORITISM
PT 1: DON’T SHOW FAVORITISM
Jas 2:1 My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism.
Jas 2:2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.
Jas 2:3 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,”
Jas 2:4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
Favoritism: An inclination to favor some person or group.
Discrimination: unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice. Discrimination takes place when someone is treated less favourably on grounds of their race, colour, nationality or national or ethnic origin. It is not necessary to prove that someone intended to discriminate against you: it is sufficient only to show that the outcome of their action was that you received less favourable treatment.
Discrimination is a real problem within our society and there’s all types. There’s age discrimination, housing discrimination, disability discrimination, race based discrimination, pregnancy, religious, sex based and national origin discrimination.
And such was the case in the early church. Favoritism, discrimination had made it’s way into the church. How was it seen? Simply by showing special attention to one who had and one who had not. It’s the haves and the have nots. One man was rich and one was poor. The saints showed special attention to the one who was rich and treated the other man unfavorably.
Notice the strong language that James uses. You became a judge with evil thoughts. Whatever you thought that caused that type of behavior was evil and led to evil behavior.
Look at how they treated the man. You stand there. Sit on the floor by my feet. How arrogant! What a disgusting attitude this is!
Lev 19:15 “ ‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.
Peter had to learn this lesson about God in Ac 10:34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
Ro 2:9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; Ro 2:10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. Ro 2:11 For God does not show favoritism.
Eph 6:9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
Col 3:25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.
Col 4:1 Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.
The beautiful heart of God. God does not show favoritism, He does not discriminate, He is not prejudice. What does he say? He accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. Abraham Lincoln once said, God must love the common man; he made so many of them.
Pt 2: CHOSEN BY GOD
Jas 2:5 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? Jas 2:6 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? Jas 2:7 Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?Jas 2:8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. Jas 2:9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. Jas 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. Jas 2:11 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.
Jas 2:12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom,
Jas 2:13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
For those that were poor listening to this passage would have been so encouraging that God chose them. God chose them to be poor in the eyes of the world, but were they poor in his eyes. No. They were rich in the most important way you could be rich. In faith. And God says they were to inherit the kingdom. The way the brothers were treating the poor was an insult. The poor were not the problem, it was the rich. They were the ones exploiting people. They were the ones dragging people into court and suing them. They were the ones slandering the name of God.