Summary: Sermon preached to coincide with Adult Study on James called Pressure Points.
Pressure Points - Favoritism/Partiality
Scripture: Matthew 22:15-22
I’ve been preaching once a month on the subjects that are coming from the Adult SS Class’s study of James. Last week we talked about temptation - that was at the end of their section. This month, I thought we could get in on it at the first of their study on partiality - showing favoritism.
On Thursday, when I sat down to put pen to paper, I went on FB and the very first post that popped up on my newsfeed was this -
Nana’s Favorite picture . . .
I figured that was a sign, right there, that today was the day! to preach on this subject.
How many of you grew up with siblings?
How many of you will admit that you were your parents’ favorite?
How many of you KNOW that your younger brother or sister was your parents’ favorite?!!?
We are all likely very aware of the fact, that no matter how hard parents try NOT to, they do have favorites. They don’t admit it, and they try hard not to, but there’s something in our nature, that causes us to have favorites.
And if you were not your parents’ favorite child, you don’t mind letting everyone know about it, because the injustice of it still bothers you, even after all these years! And if you were the favorite, you keep quiet about it, don’t you? Because, either you know it’s wrong, and you feel guilty about it, or you know you have a good thing going, and you don’t want to mess it up!
One way or another, we know playing favorites is wrong. It offends our sense of justice.
And yet, it seems like we come by it, so easily, so naturally - we gravitate toward people who are like us - we want to be with people who build us up - who LIKE us - who make us laugh. Don’t we want to be with people aren’t - who aren’t - well . . . WEIRD? Don’t we?
Last week, it was pretty easy to show that Jesus didn’t give in to temptation. And before that, that the didn’t become overwhelmed with the trials of his life here on earth.
Did Jesus show favoritism?
His disciples? What about the inner circle? Peter, James and John? What about the Pharisees - was he partial against them?
What is it - exactly - in its biblical context? Is there a nugget of truth we’re missing when we just think about partiality or favoritism as we would today - discrimination/prejudice? Or is it all those things, but something a bit different than what we normally think of as favoritism?
Let’s look at some verses:
Deut 10:17: God who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed.
Deut 16:19: You must judge the people fairly. You must never twist justice or show partiality.
2 Chron. 19:7: Fear the Lord and judge with integrity, for the Lord our God does not tolerate perverted justice, partiality, or the taking of bribes.
James 2:9: If you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.
Galatians 2:6 By the way, their (the leaders of the church) reputation as great leaders made no difference to me, for God has no favorites.
Eph 6:9 (Masters with slaves)- Don’t threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites.
Col. 3:25 But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites.
Acts 10:34 (Peter in speaking about the Gentiles) I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism.
Romans 2:11 For God does not show favoritism.
James 3:17 Wisdom from above . . . shows no favoritism.
It certainly appears that God has no favorites!
It also seems like partiality in the Bible is the same as it is in the 21st Century. The same Greek word is used in the New Testament - meaning in the face of - or like we would say - on the surface. In other words don’t favor someone just because of their face - their facade - their outward appearance.
So does that mean we can’t have special friends? Does it mean we can’t hang out with the people we like the most? What’s the answer?
Take your Bibles and turn to Matthew. Matthew chapter 22, verses 15-22
With the other passages we sited earlier, this may seem like a strange story to talk about favoritism or partiality. But actually, it has all the elements we need to learn about what God wants from us when it comes to not playing favorites.
The Pharisees were Jewish through and through. They were strongly opposed to Roman rule. The Herodians, on the other hand, supported Roman rule. But here the Pharisees actually enlist the help of the Herodians to try to trap Jesus.