Summary: Favouritism-Free Zone - James chapter 2 verses 1-9 – Sermon by Gordon Curley (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


(1). The Principle Stated (vs 1).

(2). The Principle Illustrated (vs 2-4)

(3). The Principle Explained (vs 5-9)


We all have our favourite things in life.

• e.g., Tea or coffee?

• e.g., Mountains or beach?

• e.g., Spring or autumn?

• e.g., Chinese food or Indian?

• e.g., Football or rugby?

• e.g., Tomato sauce or Daddies brown sauce?

• e.g., Dogs or cats?

• e.g., Manchester United or some other team?

• We all have our personal like or preferences.

• They are neither right nor wrong. They are simply our preferences.

• In the little things of life these personal likes and dislikes are fine.

• Because they help define who we are.

• And without these differences’ life would be pretty boring.

Now favourite things are very different to favouritism.

• Favouritism is the dark side of personal likes or dislikes.

• Favouritism can easily lead to hurt feelings,

• And a feeling of inadequacy by those who are wronged.

• As it goes deeper it can lead to complete exclusion, sexism, racism,

• Injury and even death.

• Favouritism at its worst is pretty-nasty.

TRANSITION: Do you know that God does not show favouritism?


• This was a tough lesson that the apostle Peter had to learn,

• He was a Jew (God’s chosen people) and did not want to mix with those Gentiles.

• But in Acts chapter 10 verses 34-36 he learnt an important truth.

“Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.

You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.”

• Favouritism is showing a bias or partiality for one person or people group,

• Over another person or people group,

• Even when they have equal claims.

• The Bible teaches that God has created all people equal in worth.

• A person's physical appearance, gender, possessions, skills, intelligence level,

• Or even religious affiliation does not determine his/her value.

• All human beings were created in his image,

• Therefore, the Bible instructs us to "show no partiality”.

• TRANSITION: Now God shows no favouritism.

• But unfortunately, too many of his followers do!


• 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 Jesus Christ.

• 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 afterwards 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 go worship with his own people.

• Gandhi left the church and never returned, he said:

• “If Christians have caste differences also, I might as well remain a Hindu.”

• That usher’s prejudice not only betrayed Jesus Christ,

• But also turned a person away from trusting Him as Saviour.

So, the apostle James deals with the issue of favouritism in this section of his letter:

• First, he introduces a principle in verse 1,

• Second, he illustrates it in verses 2-4,

• Third, he explains it in verses 5-11,

• Fourth, he applies it in verses 12-13.

• I have been asked to speak on verses 1-9,

• So, we will keep with the first three points of that outline.

(1). The Principle Stated (vs 1).

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favouritism.”

Notice the description James uses for his readers, ‘brother and sisters’:

• He is reminding them by that simple description that ‘in Christ’ they are family.

• The Church is never a club you attend, it is a family you belong to.

• Maybe James is reminding these Christians that you can choose your friends.

• But you are stuck with your family!

• I think the point he is making is very clear,

• The world in which we live may live and act one way,

• Quote: “Birds of a feather will flock together”

• But in the Church of Jesus Christ we are to be different!

• We are a like the sweets, ‘liquorice allsorts’ we come in all shapes and sizes!

• From various social backgrounds etc.

• And of course a greater mix of people, will result in a greater mix of problems,

• And one of those problems can be favoritism.

• Remember the early Church was a strange mixture of people,

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