Summary: In James chapter two, we learn about the royal command: to love our neighbour as ourselves.
JOURNEY THROUGH JAMES #4: THE ROYAL LAW: LOVE ONE ANOTHER
INTRO TO JAMES:
“James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.” (James 1:1, NKJV).
• Review Week #1: James = the half-brother of Jesus and a leader in the early church.
• Week #2: We learned that life is hard but God is good, and how to have joy.
• Week #3: We learned that if we obey the Word, we will be blessed.
THE BIG IDEA: In James chapter two, we learn about the royal command: to love our neighbour as ourselves.
I. DON’T PLAY FAVOURITES:
“1 My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim that you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people more than others? 2 For instance, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in shabby 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 you are guided by wrong motives?” (James 2:1-4, NLT).
• The first thing James says is: “If you’re a Christian, don’t play favourites!”
• Don’t judge someone based on external appearances: tattoos & jeans versus shirt & tie.
• STORY: When I first got saved, long hair & earring, loved and accepted by church.
STORY: HIS NAME IS BILL:
His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college. Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, conservative church. One day Bill goes there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans and wild hair. The service has already started and so Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat.
The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now people are looking a bit uncomfortable. Bill gets closer to the pulpit and when he realizes there are no seats, he squats down right on the carpet. By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick.
About this time, the pastor realizes that from way at the back of the church, an usher is slowly making his way toward Bill. Now the usher is in his eighties, has gray hair and a three-piece suit. He is a godly man, very elegant, dignified and courtly. He walks with a cane he starts walking toward this boy. Everyone thinks, you can't blame him for what he's going to do. How can you expect a man of his background to understand some college kid on the floor?
It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is silent except for the clicking of the cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can't hear anyone breathing. They watch as with great difficulty the usher lowers himself and sits down next to Bill to worship with him so he won't be alone. Everyone chokes up with emotion. The minister says: "What I'm about to preach, you won't remember. What you just saw, you will never forget."
• Another way to say, “Don’t play favourites” is: Love and accept everyone equally!
II. DON’T JUDGE PEOPLE BASED ON EXTERNALS:
“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 And yet, you insult the poor man! 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?” (James 2:5-7, NLT).
• “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the.” (1 Samuel 16:7, NKJV).
• Prejudice = to pre-judge. To judge someone before you know their character.
• ASK: How do people do this? Race, age, economic status, education, dress, etc.
• This doesn’t mean you have to be friends with everyone, but treat people respectfully.
III. LOVE AND ACCEPT ALL PEOPLE EQUALLY:
“8 Yes indeed, it is good when you truly obey our Lord's royal command found in the Scriptures: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 9 But if you pay special attention to the rich, you are committing a sin, for you are guilty of breaking that law. 10 And the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as the person who has broken all of God's laws. 11 For the same God who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." So if you murder someone, you have broken the entire law, even if you do not commit adultery. 12 So whenever you speak, or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law of love, the law that set you free. 13 For there will be no mercy for you if you have not been merciful to others. But if you have been merciful, then God's mercy toward you will win out over his judgment against you.” (James 2:8-13, NLT).