God Is No Respecter of Persons - The Haves and the Have Nots
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Delivered By
Pastor Ed Dinkins
Delivered On
May 24, 2015
Central Passage
James 2:1-13
Fourth Sunday Service

Commentary - Data Source: http://rondaniel.com/library/59-James/James0201.html

"Personal favoritism" is one long word in the Greek language in which James was writing. It comes from two words - the first meaning "receive" or "take," and the second meaning "face" or "person." The word James uses literally means, "taking at face value," or "receiving someone by what they appear to be." In other words, he is saying, "Don't let your Christianity be influenced by people's face value, by what they initially appear to be."

You see, the world has trained us to respect the smart and belittle the dumb. We love the beautiful and hate the unattractive. We admire the famous and disregard the nobody. We all do it, every day. We make judgments about people based on how they look, how they speak, how they stand, what kind of car they drive, or where they work.

It's not a sin to make the observation, but we enter into sin when we decide that someone isn't worthy of our friendship, of our smile, of our time, or our efforts. And worst of all, we make decisions about who is worthy of salvation based on people's face value. We determine how important they are in the kingdom of God by their outer appearance.

I recall a time that I was teaching on a midweek evening a number of years ago. Everyone was all settled in and the study had begun. But then I saw a man walk in who looked terribly suspicious. I knew by the way he was dressed, the way he appeared, and the look in his eyes he was there for trouble. "Probably strung out on drugs, he's going to make a scene," I thought. "Where are the deacons when you need them?"  But how wrong I turned out to be - what a blessed brother in Christ this person was! He wasn't there for trouble - he was there for the Word.

Others have made distinctions by appearance as well. I think of the prophet Samuel, who was a very godly man. After King Saul had proven himself to be wicked, the Lord told Samuel,1Sam. 16:1 "...I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.” Samuel came to Bethlehem and had a big dinner for Jesse and his sons. When Jesse's oldest son, El-ee-AWB, walked in, Samuel thought, "Look at this guy - he's tall, strong, and handsome. This must certainly be the guy that the Lord has chosen."  1Sam. 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God {sees} not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 

God makes judgments based on people's hearts, not their beauty, their income, or their race. When we had the opportunity after worship to introduce ourselves to someone else, some may have only sought out the friendly faces, the people their age, those that appeared to be on the same social level, or the same ethnic persuasion. It is instinctive, but it is wrong. Although we are naturally partial to those who are similar to us, we are supposed to be ridding ourselves of natural, sinful tendencies. We are supposed to be becoming more like the Lord.

If we are to be more like Him, we need to do as He does and follow what He says. Jesus said, John 7:24 “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” And Paul wrote, Rom. 2:11 For there is no partiality with God.  That is why the proverb says, Prov. 24:23 ...To show partiality in judgment is not good."

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