Summary: Part 10 in a study on the book of James
A Life of Works Produced by Faith
“The Problem With Partiality”
Date: October 13, 2002 A.M Service
Place: Allendale Baptist Church
Text: James 2:1-9
Some have said this book of James is very similar to the book of Proverbs. They both address practical areas of the lives of those who strive to life of Godliness. The main idea in the text this morning, the main thought that James is pointing to these new Christians, is that God wants his people to demonstrate pure religion by overcoming the practice of partiality and by producing deeds of compassion.
The world is filled with hatred, discrimination and prejudices. We see it on the news and read about it in our papers. There are those who demand special treatment because of their race, religion or social standing. And not only do some demand this special treatment, but also society gives into the demands of some because they are more prominent, or wealthy.
James is telling us a life filled with hatred, prejudices and partiality, for the Christian, is a life that is in direct conflict of a life of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
This morning my desire is to address this matter in two aspects of how this message speaks to us; first of course in our personal life. As I said earlier, our desire as Christians should be teachable and moldable before the Lord, willing to receive the “Law of Liberty”, with open hearts, and willing to change anything in our lives that is not pleasing to Him. Second, as the church, the body of Christ, our attitudes and our ideas of others must change, and we must ask God to let us see trails, circumstances, and yes other people as God sees them.
First let’s see…
I. The Problem With Partiality (verse 1)
A. The word “faith” James uses here is not referring to the act of believing, but to the entire life of Christian faith which has as its focus Jesus Christ
1. Jude verse 3 says; “Beloved, while I was diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”
B. John MacArthur says; “This faith Jude is referring to is the whole body of revealed salvation truth contained in the Scriptures. It is a call to know sound doctrine, to be discerning in sorting out truth from error, and to be willing to confront and attack error.”
C. In verse 1, James commends Jesus as “the Lord of Glory”
1. What James is saying here is, Jesus is the glorious Lord. A term that presents the full presentation of God’s presence and majesty.
2. As believers, Jesus is the object of our faith. We have made a trust and commitment to Him.
3. And as seeing Him as such, it is inconsistent with our faith to practice partiality or to show favoritism.
D. The practice of favoritism that James was addressing in his day involved giving benefits to people who had outward advantages such as money, power, or social prominence.
1. His readers were courting the idea or already showing favor to these important people over those of lesser prominence.
2. James says this must stop.
3. As I shared with someone from another church, about our building program the first thing they asked was how in the world is our little church going to pay for a building that size. Then almost immediately they said there is a subdivision of big, nice homes about a mile from you, the first thing I would do is visit every house in that neighborhood and get some of that money coming into the church.
4. I reminded them that yes folks in nice homes and nice subdivisions need Jesus, and so do those who live in less expensive houses. And if we as a church are faithful in sharing the gospel with all, this pastor is just dumb enough to believe God will provide all our needs.
II. The Example of Partiality
A. Then James gives just one example of partiality in the church in verses 2-3.
1. A rich man with fine clothes and expensive jewelry enters into the church the same time a poor man dressed in shabby clothes.
a. The rich man may have driven up in a brand new Lincoln Towncar.
b. The poor man in what we used to call a Hooptie.
c. The rich man in nice tailored clothes
d. The poor man in shabby torn clothing
2. These two men were also received very different attitudes in our worship.
a. The rich man being seated. Tradition tells us that the early church did not have many furnishings, especially chairs. But he was shown favor.