Summary: What does it mean to love your neighbor?
We have been worshiping God with the Letter by James in the New Testament. The Letter was not only breathed out (inspired) by God, James knew Jesus Christ since he grew up with him in the family; Jesus was James older brother; their mother was Mary but of course Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and is God. James realized this later in his life.
God will empower people and those truly empowered by God will direct others to Jesus Christ!
And God will not contradict what is true; God will not contradict what James truly experienced in life. James became a Pastor/Teacher for the early Christian church. James was practical in his teaching with the foundation of God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and existing Scriptures at that time.
We have learned much even from just one chapter from James: Christians are to consider trials in life as pure joy, to ask God for wisdom, be humble in all circumstances, not be deceived by giving in to temptations, be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry, rid of all moral filth and evil, listen to the Word of God and do what it says, be careful of what you say, look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep away from being polluted by the world.
Just a lot of do’s and don’ts? Why should we do what God says??
Doing what God says is always the right thing and doing the right thing brings blessings, not cursings, to oneself and to those around them!
And, how can Christians do what God says??
God will not ask the Christian to do anything they are not capable of doing!
God will empower the Christian to be able to do the right thing!
I encourage you to read James 1 over and over again until you grasp the main points of what God is saying. But always first things first: believe in Jesus Christ as your only Savior and Lord and yield to God the Holy Spirit in your heart; then you can actually do the right things! Take a moment to quietly pray about these 2 things….
Open your Bibles to James 2; we will read the entire chapter but will focus today on loving our neighbors. Read along with me…..
And so we note in v1-3: God tells Christians not to show favoritism: giving special attention to some and care less of others. Sounds easy enough doesn’t it?
But let’s be honest with ourselves; we show favoritism all the time, don’t we? We stereotype people and we show prejudicism. It may be subtle, but we all show favoritism. God definitely tells u not to show favoritism but because we have a very hard time with it, I believe there is a deeper issue which God wants us to learn, and I believe it is here in context!
Let us look at v4; what do you think v4 is saying?? Let’s look at other English translations of v4:
Have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
Have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
v4: favoritism is a sinful act of selfishness! (also v9)
Favoritism is a sign of our own selfishness which we need to deal with. Our selfishness leads to showing favoritism!
And as we noted earlier, God will not ask a Christian to do something without reason or empowerment; v5-13 points this out.
v5: God chose those poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and inherit the kingdom!
Who are the poor in the eyes of the world? A way to answer this is to answer the question: What does the world look for in riches??
God will choose people who are not in love with the world system.
How much are we in love with what the world offers compared to our love for God? One way to to check is to look at our calendars and checkbooks; is time and money spent more for the world in comparison to what we give to God?
We need to note here that God never says it’s totally wrong to be rich; just look at King David, Joseph of Arematea, Nicodemus, and many others in the New Testament God used for His glory!
But let us always remember that God loves everyone in the world but only those who love the Triune God will inherit the kingdom of God!
Christians are loved, chosen, and promised eternal life in heaven.
But God warns Christians, not only to be good stewards of time and money but
v6-7: favoritism by a Christian actually supports the evil world system
v8 restates the 2nd greatest commandment for a Christian; what is the 1st greatest commandment for a Christian??