Summary: In the body of Christ, God does not show favoritism and He expects you to do welcome those who would be welcomed by Him. Every person does matter to God.
God doesn’t play favorites
Shortly after the close of the Civil War, a former slave entered a fashionable church in Richmond, one Sunday morning at the beginning of a communion service. When the time came, he walked down the aisle and knelt at the altar. A rustle of shock and anger swept through the congregation. A distinguished layman immediately stood up, stepped forward to the altar and knelt beside this Christian brother. Captured by his spirit, the congregation followed. The layman who set the example: Robert E. Lee. There’s a monument I would like to see, Lee and an ex-slave kneeling in prayer at the alter of Christ.
When anyone walks in to this place they must feel like the only one who is getting honored is Jesus Christ and no matter what background that person is from they will respect the fact that God is center focus in his church and not people. Not the pastor. Not the leadership. James is instructing the church on how to do visitor and greeter ministry. He shows us that if you show favoritism it can be smothering to the newcomer and wrongly focused to the believer seeking Jesus.
As a body of believers Jesus does not want the warmth or honor of our welcome to be determined by the status or apparent wealth of the visitor. James is forbidding a practice already in progress. James speaks through the Holy Spirit in a very straight forward manner
1) Having partiality is a partial faith (verse 1)
a) Partial disciple
i) Translated: Brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? What a question to ask.
ii) What is favoritism but discrimination, of this should we not say repent?
iii) Believers were judging people based only on externals. Social distinctions did not exist in the early church. Masters sat beside their slaves during worship and sometimes the slave was the leader of the meeting.
iv) We may have people that we are partial to when it comes to teachings or worship. But we should not be partial to people who are different than us
b) Partial Church
i) Only accepting certain people will not make a full church but a partial church
ii) Many times certain offices in the church are reserved for the rich and the powerful… I’m just not going to make it that easy for you.
iii) The Jewish practice was to put the important people closest to the sacred scrolls. There is no place of prominence here. Some churches have the chair on the stage and sure it is easy access for the pastor to the pulpit, but I always wondered what are those other guys doing up there.
c) Partial Jesus
i) If we are a partial disciple in a partial Church then it is true that we serve only a partial Jesus
ii) Being impartial is one of God’s attributes.
(1) Deut 10:17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.
(2) Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.
(3) Rom 2:11 For there is no partiality with God.
(4) Gal 2:6 But from those who seemed to be something whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.
(5) Eph 6:9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
(6) Col 3:25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
iii) It is an attitude of Jesus’
(1) Matt 22:16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians saying “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men.
(2) Luke 20:21 Then they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: Partiality affects teaching…
(3) There were many times that Jesus spent time with sinners with out the disciples
(4) He spent time with the Father with out the disciples
iv) It is a command of scripture
(1) Lev 19:15; You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. It works both ways…
(2) Deut 1:17 You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s.