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Summary: This is the 2nd sermon in the series "Momma Says...".

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Series: Momma Says… (James)[#2]

DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER

James 1:9-11; 2:1-13

Introduction:

[Items needed: A big target on a bulletin board (have a picture of Jesus underneath the target); a table with several darts on it; a blank piece of paper in the bulletin; and extra pencils in the pew.]

I would like everyone to draw a picture of someone that you dislike or someone who has made you angry on your piece of paper, (no names please). Once you do that I would like you to come up front and we will put the picture on the board and you can throw a dart at it.

[After a couple of minutes has went by, send everyone else back to their seats. While they are going back to their seats began to remove the target from the wall.]

“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

“You can’t judge a book by its cover”. You don’t what’s inside a person by what they look like. Many people make their decision about a person based upon…

The Cover

Here is some of the “covers” people use:

1.Appearance. Beauty is everything in our world. If you’re cute, you’ve go it made. If you’re plain, tough! We judge people on their appearance- how they look and how they dress.

2.Ancestry. We judge people according to their race, their nationality, and their ethnic background.

3.Age. You’re too young or too old.

4.Achievement. Our society loves winners and forgets the losers. Success and status are key words.

5.Affluence. We judge people by their wealth and their economic status. What attitude do you have toward people who make more money than you do? What attitude do you have toward people who make less money than you do?

James 1:9-11 (NLT)

“Christians who are poor should be glad, for God has honored them. And those who are rich should be glad, for God has humbled them. They will fade away like a flower in the field. The hot sun rises and dries up the grass; the flower withers, and its beauty fades away. So also, wealthy people will fade away with all of their achievements.”

The Picture

James gives us a picture of what favoritism looks like in a church.

James 2:2-4 (NLT)

“For instance, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in shabby clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, "You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor"—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that you are guided by wrong motives?”

Favoritism is…

1.Inconsistent with God’s character.

James 2:1 (NLT)

“My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim that you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people more than others?”

If you want to be like Jesus you can’t play favorites. God loves everybody. If there is one place in the world where there shouldn’t be any kind of discrimination, it should be the church. There is discrimination everywhere in the world; but there ought to be one place no matter who you are or what your background is that you’re welcome.

2.Inconsistent with God’s methods.

James 2:5 (NLT)

Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the kingdom God promised to those who love him?

Favoritism is unreasonable. It doesn’t make sense. James says that God has chosen the poor. He’s not saying that it’s good to be poor and bad to be rich. He’s not saying that only the poor will be saved. Everybody in this room is rich compared to the majority of the world; but it doesn’t make a bit of difference to God. Aren’t you glad God doesn’t check your wallet before He saves you? Aren’t you glad your salvation isn’t based on your savings account?

3.Inconsistent with people’s actions.

James 2:6-7 (NLT)

“And yet, you insult the poor man! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear?”

James was writing during a time when the poor would be charged excessive interest for even the basic necessities of life. It was the upper class that were persecuting the Christians. James says, “Why are you worried about impressing them. They’re certainly not worried about impressing you”.

These same people that they were trying to impress were making fun of their faith in Jesus Christ; but they let it slide. Why would they do that? Because favoritism ignores the sin in order to benefit from it either on a material level or just to be socially acceptable.

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