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Summary: The way we behave toward people indicates what we really believe about God!

RICH MAN, POOR MAN

James 2:1-13

The secretary picked up the phone and heard a very countryfied voice on the other end saying; “I want to talk to the head hog at the trough!”

Puzzled, the secretary said, “Excuse me sir?”

He repeated; “I want to talk to the head hog at the trough!”

She then realized the man wanted to talk to the pastor. Somewhat indignant she said, “Sir if you want to talk to our pastor, you will have to address him properly. You should call him Pastor, or Reverend, or Brother, but you certainly cannot refer to him as the Head Hog at the Trough!”

The man on the other end said in a country drawl, “Oh I just wanted to donate $10,000. to the church.”

The secretary promptly replied, “Can you hold please, I think the big pig just walked through the door!”

Not only is the mature Christian patient in testing (James 1), but he also practices the truth. This is the theme of James 2. Immature people talk about their beliefs, but the mature person lives his faith. Hearing God’s Word (James 1:22-25) and talking about God’s Word can never substitute for doing God’s Word. James in this parenthetical passage is giving an example of pure religion as opposed to a person who seems to be religious (1:27; 2:15, 16).

James wanted to help us practice God’s Word, so he gave us a simple test. He sent two visitors to a church service, a rich man and a poor man; and he watched to see how they were treated. The way we behave toward people indicates what we really believe about God! We cannot-and dare not-separate human relationships from divine fellowship.

“If a man say, ‘I love God,’ and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (1 John 4:20)

Believers are to accept others without prejudice and to assist others without presumption. We would skip some passages of scripture if we didn’t go passage by passage or verse by verse.

I. EXHORTATION, (1)

“Don’t show favoritism!”

This is practical. He is saying, “You are prejudiced and it is inconsistent with our faith and unlike Christ.

The desire to be somebody was as prevalent than as it is now.

* The Pharisees in their attempt to obtain the praise of men would have loud and long public prayers.

* They would give alms with great fanfare.

* They insisted on being called “rabbi.”

* They wore broad phylacteries and enlarged the borders of their garments.

* They loved the uppermost rooms at feasts and desired the chief seats in the synagogues.

II. EXAMPLE - Illustrated us 2 & 3, vs. 4 are we guilty of the same

Any judge who allows judgement to be perverted because of a persons wealth is counted an evil judge. We assume the role of judges with evil thoughts.

“There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man” (Luke 18:2).

Every ancient city boasted a judge who tended to the disputes of the people. Most matters were settled by the elders and synagogue leaders. But secular affairs were often heard by a judge. In the day and area of which Christ spoke, these judges would have been appointed by Herod Antipas or directly by the Roman government Corruption filled the ranks of the judges as they took bribes in exchange for favorable verdicts. Officially, these men received the title Dayyaneh Gezeroth, which means “the judges

of prohibitions and punishments.” But the locals gave them a different name by changing one letter in the second word. The common people called the judges Dayyaneh Gezeloth, which means “robber judges.” Court decisions were not rendered justly but went instead to the highest bidder.

We are robber judges. The one showing favoritism takes it upon himself to determine who is most important

I. EXHORTATION

II. EXAMPLE

III. EXPLANATION, vs. 5-7

James explains why preferential judgement was wrong. He makes his point with 4 questions—each anticipate an affirmative answer.

Question # 1. A question about the poor, “Hath not God chosen the poor” (Verse 5)? 1 Cor 1:26-28

We cater to the rich, expecting something and avoid the poor because they embarrass us.

When the Son of God came to this earth from the glories of Heaven,

* He chose the poor for His home, being born into the family of Mary and Joseph, the humble carpenter.

* From the time of His birth, when He was placed in a borrowed cradle, until His death, when He was placed in a borrowed tomb.

* He had little of this world’s goods.

* He noted that the birds had their nests and the foxes had their holes, but He had no place of His own to lay His head.

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