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Evening Bible Study

Wednesdays

6:00 PM

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WEDNESDAY 

Evening Bible Study

 

6:00P.M.

First Missionary Baptist Church

Wednesday Night Bible Study

Jeremie Turner, Sr. Senior Pastor

Subject: The Book of James
(An Expository Study)

James 2:1-13

TEMPTATIONS AND TRIALS: COMMON TO ALL CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS, 2:1–26

Temptation 1: Showing Partiality and Favoritism, 2:1–13

(2:1–13) Introduction: this passage begins a new section in James, a discussion of various temptations and trials that are common to all believers. There are certain temptations and trials that are constantly confronting us. One of the strongest is that of showing partiality or favoritism, of discriminating against people.

4. Showing partiality shows a disgraceful attitude (v. 6a). It dishonors, humiliates, shames, disgraces, and insults the poor and lowly person. Just think of the hurt and pain within the heart of the person who is publicly discriminated against—the pain and hurt when he sees us shun, bypass, ignore, and withdraw from him. No believer is to ever make a person feel unwelcomed or of little value and worth.

Thought 1. Believers are to have open hearts and arms, welcoming everyone into their lives, homes, and churches. Believers—all believers—are to live as Christ lived: to love and care for all and to reach out for all.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5:3).

“The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Mt. 11:5).

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Lu. 4:18).

“But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?” (Js. 2:6).

“The poor is hated even of his own neighbor: but the rich hath many friends” (Pr. 14:20).

“All the brethren of the poor do hate him: how much more do his friends go far from him? He pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting to him” (Pr. 19:7).

“Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard” (Ec. 9:16).

5. Showing partiality shows foolish behavior (v. 6b–7). Two things are said about the rich that need to be heeded.

⇒ The rich and high usually oppress the poor and they readily grab what they can, using the very laws of the land to do it. The idea is that they use the law unjustly in order to protect and increase their wealth and power.

⇒ The rich and high usually blaspheme the name of Christ. They blaspheme His name by denying, mocking, ridiculing, persecuting, neglecting, ignoring, and rejecting Him as the Savior of the world.

Simply stated, the rich and high usually feel self-sufficient. There is a reason: they have everything they need upon earth—food, clothing, shelter, pleasure, possessions, position, recognition, and varying degrees of authority. Therefore, they think little about needing anything. They forget two things:

⇒ that everything they have fades away ever so quickly, including their health, body, and life; that they are subject to accident, disease, and death and that it is at most just around the corner.

⇒ that they must face whatever lies right beyond this world and life: God Himself.

The point is this: Why would the church and its believers show partiality to such people over the poor of the earth? There is no question, a list of sins could be drawn up and discussed about the poor as well. But why show partiality to the rich who are the very ones who oppress the needy of the world by their banking and hoarding and often by their finagling and scheming, ignoring and neglecting. The church and its believers are not to discriminate and show partiality and favoritism to anyone.

“If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother” (De. 15:7).

“The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men” (Ps. 11:4).

“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble” (Ps. 41:1).

“For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul” (Ps. 109:31).

“He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again” (Pr. 19:17).

Additional Notes:

What is God saying to me in this text?

How can I apply this?

In what areas can I apply this?

 

4 (2:8–11) Partiality—Favoritism—Love: the warning against partiality is strong. There are three warnings.

1. Showing partiality is sin; it violates the royal law of love (v. 8–9). The great law of God is the law of love:

“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Le. 19:18; see Lu. 10:29–37).

Note how important this law is: it is said to be the great “royal law according to the Scripture.” It is royal for at least three reasons.

a. It is the royal law of God’s kingdom. It was given by God Himself and reinforced by His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, when He came to earth.

“And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mt. 22:39; see Lu. 10:25–27).

b. It is the great law that embraces or includes all other laws. That is, if a person loves God and loves his neighbor as himself, he will automatically be obeying all the other laws.

“And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mk. 12:31).

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Ro. 13:8–10).

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Ga. 5:14).

c. It is the very commandment that leads to eternal life.

“And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live” (Lu. 10:27–28).

“And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment” (1 Jn. 3:23).

“Beloved, let us love one other: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another. God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us” (1 Jn. 4:7–12).

“And we have known and believed the love that God to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (1 Jn. 4:16).

The point is this: believers are to love people, not show partiality, discriminating against some. Showing partiality is sin and it makes us a transgressor of the law.

2. Showing partiality makes a person guilty of the whole law of God (v. 10). How is this possible? How can a person be guilty of all the law if he breaks only one law? Men follow God or else they do not follow God. There is no such thing as subtracting the laws that one does not like and keeping the laws that one does like. Every law has been given by God. They all form a whole pattern, a complete style of life. They are all necessary to point one in the right direction and toward the right goal.

Thus, to offend in one point or to slip from one law makes one short of the goal. One side-steps from the right direction. One goes astray from the whole law of God and one becomes guilty of the whole law.

Simply stated, if a person breaks one law, he has violated the law of God, the whole package of God’s law. Although he broke only one law, he is still guilty; he is still a transgressor. He has still broken God’s law. He is no less guilty than if he had broken every law. He stands as a transgressor before God and he must be forgiven by God just as much as any other transgressor.

This is significant for us to notice and heed, for it means …

• that we cannot pick and choose what laws we will keep and what laws we will violate.

• that we cannot build up a merit system with God by keeping most of the laws and be allowed to break a few of the laws.

• that we cannot become more acceptable to God because we keep most of the laws and break only a few.

• that we are not more righteous than other people because we keep more laws than they do and break fewer of what men call the more meaningful laws.

The point is this: showing partiality makes a person a terrible law-breaker, the most serious offender imaginable.

⇒ We are guilty of breaking the great royal law of God, the law of love, the very basic law of God’s kingdom.

⇒ We are guilty of breaking all the laws of God. We stand as guilty as the most base transgressor of God’s holy law, and we are just as liable and subject to punishment as any other transgressor.

“He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he” (Pr. 14:21).

“The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men” (Pr. 24:9).

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (Js. 4:17).

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 Jn. 3:4).

“All unrighteousness is sin” (1 Jn. 5:17).

3. Showing partiality is just as serious a sin as adultery and killing (v. 11). This is just giving an example of what has been said. But note: the verse may also be saying that partiality is equal to murder. Partiality is a sin that selects and favors one person over another. It ignores and neglects a person. It casts one into oblivion, wipes one out; treats one as though he is nothing, absent, or non-existent. Thus, it is comparable to murder. It is the same root, the same cause, the same selfishness, the same lust, the same sin as killing.

This stresses the seriousness of showing partiality. Scripture is clear in its warning: the church and believers are not to show partiality or favoritism to anyone. We are to love all people no matter their social standing or wealth.

“Let love be without dissimulation [hypocrisy]. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good” (Ro. 12:9).

“Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Ro. 13:10).

“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification” (Ro. 15:1–2).

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Ga. 5:14).

“If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well” (Js. 2:8).

 

Additional Notes:

What is God saying to me in this text?

How can I apply this?

In what areas can I apply this?

 

5 (2:12–13) Partiality—Favoritism: the motivations against showing partiality. There are two things that should stir us to love and care for all people, showing no favoritism whatsoever.

1. We shall face the judgment of God (v. 12). Therefore, we should speak and act like people who will stand before God and give account for what we have done.

⇒ We should speak love and kindness to all people.

⇒ We should do or show love and kindness to all people.

Who a person is—his social standing and wealth, clothing and appearance—are to have no effect upon us whatsoever. We are to receive people, actually reach out to them through our speech and behavior, no matter who they are. God is going to judge us on the basis of how we have loved and reached out to people, regardless of who they are.

“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day” (2 Th. 1:7–10).

“And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day” (De. 11:28).

“But if ye will obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord; then shall the hand of the Lord be against you, as it was against the fathers” (1 S. 12:15).

“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Ep. 5:6).

“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Th. 1:8).

“For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him” (He. 2:2–3).

2. We shall receive a reciprocal reward for our behavior. God is going to treat us exactly as we have treated others. If we have shown mercy, then He will show mercy to us; if we have not shown mercy, then He will not show mercy to us. And note: there is only one thing that will rejoice victoriously over judgment and that is mercy. The judgment of God is going to swoop down and consume a person who has not shown mercy. Our only hope against the burning fire of God’s judgment is mercy. Therefore, we must be merciful in order to escape the terrible judgment of God.

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt. 5:7).

“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Mt. 6:14–15).

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Mt. 7:1–2).

“So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses” (Mt. 18:35).

 

Additional Notes:

What is God saying to me in this text?

How can I apply this?

In what areas can I apply this?

 

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