Summary: The church does not and should not have a caste system. The church is not a place of racism nor classism, yet why are we not growing?
The sins of Favoritism
(Instruction: Come in dressed well)
Jesus Christ is the Lord who left the glory of heaven and came to this corruptible world to save sinners like us. He humbled himself, laid aside His position in heaven, and became like us. He was born is dire poverty so that we might have the riches of heaven. He did so because He loved us. If Jesus loved us this way, then we who are believers and followers of Him should not act differently. We must love the poor and the lowly just as He did. All followers of Jesus must do what He did, humble ourselves, and reach out to bring ALL men to Him so that they may be saved. We must reach out to the rich as well as the poor.
1) There was a problem with favoritism/prejudice in the 1st century and there still is today in the 21st century. It was a Jew/Gentile problem as well as a rich/poor problem.
Behind the line in World War I, rest homes were operated which were designed to serve as places of fellowship for all soldiers – whether officers or enlisted men. Over the entrance of such houses were posted these words” Abandon all rank, ye who enter here.” So must it be in the church. (Shelly 25)
(3) Let us note what James has to say about this problem:
2) As for the Jew/Gentile problem, James addressed it in Acts 15. The Jerusalem council had decided to welcome the Gentiles into the church with a few conditions. There is nothing in the conditions that did not apply also to the Jews. They sought unity in the church.
General Robert E. Lee was a devout follower of Jesus Christ. It is said that soon after the end of the American Civil War, he visited a church in Washington, D.C. During the communion service, he knelt beside a black man. An onlooker said to him later, "How could you do that?" Lee replied, "My friend, all ground is level beneath the cross."
In this passage, James is showing us the error of favoritism. There are five sins connected with the favoritism:
1. Showing partiality or favoritism sets one up as the judge of men. It makes one as though he or she is God. We tell who can and cannot worship God, we decide who is and who is not acceptable to God. This is something only God can do.
i. Jesus told us (Matthew 7:1)
ii. Paul reminds us (Romans 14:4)
iii. James says elsewhere (James 4:12)
In his autobiography, Mahatma Gandhi wrote that during his student days he read the Gospels seriously and considered converting to Christianity. He believed that in the teachings of Jesus he could find the solution to the caste system that was dividing the people of India.
So one Sunday he decided to attend services at a nearby church and talk to the minister about becoming a Christian. When he entered the sanctuary, however, the usher refused to give him a seat and suggested that he go worship with his own people. Gandhi left the church and never returned. "If Christians have caste differences also," he said, "I might as well remain a Hindu." That usher’s prejudice not only betrayed Jesus but also turned a person away from trusting Him as Savior.