Summary: Part 5 of our Fracture series looks at the barrier of favoritism. We tackle what the bible has to say about social and class warfare and how we need to keep this out of the church.
Part 5- “Member’s Only”
Pastor Ryan Akers
I am excited about this message today. Because it’s a message that I think affects all of us but none of us want to openly admit that we struggle with what I am about to talk about. That’s what makes it fun because it’s so challenging. Before we dive in let’s recap the series.
If you haven’t been here or just haven’t been listening we are currently in a study of the book of James called Fracture. Why is it called Fracture? Let me go back to what I said 4 weeks ago in the first sermon. The whole idea behind the letter of James is to try and bring a people back to Christ who had fallen into the trap of shallow religion. The people had become satisfied with simply showing outward religious marks. Basically they were satisfied with simply looking like Christians instead of truly being Christians. They were play-acting. They were failing to let our Father transform them into what He wanted. I gave a quote that first week that said it well.
“The result of such religiosity is a FRACTURED, fragile Christian community confronted with a multitude of issues that threaten to disrupt and destroy. The only hope for such people is a recovery of authenticity in their faith practices and the total commitment of their hearts to God. That is the fundamental intent of this short letter. James means to call his readers home. They need to turn away from the popular forms of shallow faith and return to the ways of “true religion.”
God wants us to be whole and holy. Not fractured pieces that only look good on the outside but are filthy on the inside. He wants all of us be spiritually mature and complete. So to start this series I wanted to hit hard and we tackled the question, “Are you really saved?” I wanted to challenge your assurance of salvation because before we can even begin to repair the fractures in your life we need to make sure you understand what it means to be saved. Then the next week we looked at what it means or looks like to revive authenticity. That it is not by our works alone that saves us or makes us good, but there needs to be complete transformation by total submission. Law cannot be elevated above gospel. None of us are righteous no not one and without Christ atonement we are nothing. Law and Gospel work together. Week 3 we got into James and looked at what it means to persevere through trials. What it means to have joy through our most difficult struggles. And last week we tackled the goal of true religion, which is to have a right and righteous vertical relationship with the father and to have right horizontal relationships with others around us. To love God and to love our neighbor.
I have enjoyed all of that so far but I am really excited now because we are going to begin to tackle specific areas of your life that may have become sin, barriers that made you into a fractured Christian. Today is one I think definitely most, maybe not all, but definitely most in here have struggled with. It is the barrier of favoritism. I have titled today’s message, “Member’s Only.”
My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? 2 For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. 3 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, 4 doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives? 5 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 he promised to those who love him? 6 But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? 7 Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear? 8 Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 9 But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law. 10 For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. 11 For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law. 12 So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. 13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. James 2:1-13