Connect Blog on James 2:1-13

Authorship … While the Book itself offers no evidence of authorship, the early church fathers accepted James, the half-brother of Jesus (Mark 6:3) and leader of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13; Galatians 2:9), as the author of the book that bears his name.

James did not initially believe in Jesus as the Messiah (John 7:2-10). He became a believer after witnessing the resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:7). He was present on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:14).

Date … Most believe the Book of James to be among, if not the earliest, of the Epistles (45-55 A.D.)

Recipients … probably Jewish believers who had fled their homeland because of religious and government persecution.

Josephus, a Jewish historian, mentioned the martyrdom of James around 62 A.D.

Pastor’s Notes:

This passage, following James’ description of pure religion (1:27), calls us to examine how we look/judge/treat others, and why we would treat others differently.

HONEST EVALUATION – Do you treat people differently based on who or what they are? Do you show partiality based on a person’s place in society?

James’ rebuke of favoritism…

“My brothers, do not show favoritism as you hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. 2 For example, a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and a poor man dressed in dirty clothes also comes in. 3 If you look with favor on the man wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here in a good place,” and yet you say to the poor man, “Stand over there,” or, “Sit here on the floor by my footstool,” 4 haven’t you discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

“My brothers” – Of all peoples, Christians, recipients of God’s grace, should not show favoritism. Following the example of God’s redemptive blessing, Christians should always show impartiality toward others. Race, creed, color, social and financial standing … should not determine our response toward others.

“do not show favoritism” – stop it; put an end to it.

Can you think of someone who has responded to you in a prejudicial manner, or someone you responded to in a prejudicial way?

“as you hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.” – Favoritism/prejudicial treatment runs contrary to the teachings and example of Christ.

James provides an example… “For example, a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and a poor man dressed in dirty clothes also comes in. 3 If you look with favor on the man wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here in a good place,” and yet you say to the poor man, “Stand over there,” or, “Sit here on the floor by my footstool.”

Name ways people tend to categorize people?

“haven’t you discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” Favoritism discriminates creating in a way class distinctions; assigning status according to one’s place in society, not on the basis of their heart (or their relationship with God through Christ).

God has not made us judges, and such judgment is “evil.”

“Listen, my dear brothers: Didn’t God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that He has promised to those who love Him? 6 Yet you dishonored that poor man. Don’t the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? 7 Don’t they blaspheme the noble name that was pronounced over you at your baptism?”

“Listen, my dear brothers” – Pay attention

“Didn’t God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that He has promised to those who love Him?” It is the poor that have proven to be example and essence of spirituality. The needy, trusting in God for their provision, are examples of who and what God is looking for to conduct his kingdom’s work. The dregs of society, recognizing their insufficiencies, have embraced God’s concern and care for them. The rich and powerful, however, tend to ignore their spiritual plight, trusting in their personal resources to meet their needs.

“Yet you dishonored that poor man. Don’t the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? 7 Don’t they blaspheme the noble name that was pronounced over you at your baptism?”

Instead of compassion born out of commonality the dispersed church showed disregard for the poor by elevating and honoring the rich above them. The irony of this is that the poor best represented/mirrored their lives.

It seems, that the Jewish believers, who were forced to flee their homeland by the rich and powerful, and live in poverty were now, for selfish reasons, exalting the very ones who were responsible for their persecution.

May we never forget that we, like EVERYONE ELSE, are just sinners saved by grace.

“Indeed, if you keep the royal law prescribed in the Scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well. 9 But if you show favoritism, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of breaking it all. 11 For He who said, Do not commit adultery, also said, Do not murder. So if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you are a lawbreaker.”

Favoritism, prejudice, partiality is sin; it violates the law and the heart of God.

Don’t point to all you do right if you get this wrong … committing the act of favoritism makes you a lawbreaker, no different that one of the more hideous acts of sin!!!

“Speak and act as those who will be judged by the law of freedom. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who hasn’t shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

The “law of freedom” is grace. Salvation is not according to who you are or what you have done, it is by grace. So respond to others as God has responded to you.

Thank God for mercy, rather than judgment. You don’t want what you deserve.

So it is not what a person deserves that matters, but grace.

#James #Favoritism

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Atkins First Baptist Church

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201 N Church St
Atkins, AR 72823

www.atkinsfbc.com

(479) 641-2693