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Summary: James warns against showing friendliness to some vistors to the service and then not being as friendly to others as we should.

INTRODUCTION

1. Open your bible to James 2:1&ff. Do you make an effort to shake hands and be friendly with everyone that comes to the services of the church? Or do you just come and go and speak to only a few others? Is there anyone in this building that you haven’t already shook hands with this morning? If so then you need to do so before they leave!

2. Hopefully the things that we will discuss this morning will motivate each one of us to appreciate and respect one another more than we have been appreciating one another.

3. Hopefully what James teaches us will motivate us to be a lot more friendly and give out a lot more hand shakes and hugs than what we have done in the past.

4. God loves every person in the world and we need to show love and encouragement to every one that God gives us an opportunity to show friendliness to.

5. Let’s observe some reasons that James gives in regard to why friendliness is so important.

DISCUSSION

I. FIRST, JAMES 2:1-4 TEACHES CHRISTIANS THAT THEY ARE NOT TO SHOW RESPECT OF PERSONS. IF A PERSON IS GUILTY THEY BECOME JUDGES WITH EVIL THOUGHTS.

1. In verses 1-4 James gives an illustration of how a local congregation could be guilty of showing partiality to one who was rich and showing special favors to him.

(1) James also illustrates how that the local congregation could be guilty of showing disrespect to the poor man.

(2) Let’s read James 2:1-4, “1 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?”

2. James uses one of many ways that prejudice, partiality or showing respect of persons is often shown toward other people. Turn to Colossians 3:11 and hold your place.

(1) In the first century the Jews were guilty of showing prejudice toward those who were Gentiles – those who were of a different nationality. People in the 21st century are often guilty of showing respect of persons if another is not of the same color of skin.

(2) Prejudice is also often shown relating to how much education or lack of education that one has or doesn’t have.

(3) Let’s read Col. 3:11, ““where there is neither Greek nor Jew [nationality is not to make any difference], circumcised nor uncircumcised {terms distinguishing the Jews from the Gentiles}, barbarian, Scythian [terms referring to those that many would think of as being uneducated], slave nor free {terms referring to social standings}, but Christ is all and in all.”

(4) In Christ, none of the distinctions apply, which are so important to men of the world. One who is wealthy, or highly educated, or has an extremely high intellect, or occupies a position of power and influence in politics, military circles, or society, has no spiritual advantage over the lowliest saint.

3. I am going to tell you a true story that I borrowed from a bulletin that illustrates that every human being is of equal worth in the sight of the Almighty.

The following borrowed story is designed to make us “think” about how Christians should accept people that are different than ourselves into THE WORSHIP SERVICES. Brethren, let us never be guilty of the sin of partiality or looking down on others as illustrated in this story.

I saw him in the church building for the first time last Wednesday evening. He was in his mid 70s with silver hair and a neat brown suit. Many times in the past I had invited him to come. Several friends had talked to him about the Lord and had tried to TEACH the Good News of Christ to him. He was a well-respected, honest man with so many characteristics a Christian should have, but he had never put on Christ in baptism. A few years ago, I asked him, after finishing a pleasant day of visiting and talking, “Have you ever been to a church service in your life?” He hesitated, then with a bitter smile he told me of a childhood experience some sixty years ago.

He was one of many children in a large impoverished family. His parents had struggled to provide food, with little left for housing and clothing. When he was about ten, some neighbors invited him to worship with them. The Bible class had been very exciting. He had never heard such songs and stories before. He had never heard anyone read from the Bible before. After class was over, the teacher took him aside and said, “Son, please don’t come again dressed as you are now. We want to look our best when we come worship the Lord.” He stood in his ragged, unpatched overalls, looked at his bare, dirty feet and said, “No ma’am, I won’t ever!” And he never did.

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