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Scripture Reading: James 2:1-4
No Respect of Persons
1. Have you ever been treated inferior or caused to feel less important than others? Or, have you treated someone else in a similar way? If so, the sin of “respect of persons” may have been committed against you or by you. (Discrimination)
a. Preference, favoritism, “Partiality…respect to the position, rank, popularity, or circumstances of men, instead of their intrinsic conditions…” (Vine, III:179); to treat with disdain.
b. It is unrighteousness, Lev. 19:15.
c. The good reject it, Prov. 28:21.
2. Such honoring & preferring of some over others is sin (in this case, the rich at the expense of poor brethren), Jas. 2:1-13 (1 Tim. 5:21).
I. WHY RESPECT OF PERSONS IS A SIN WE MUST REJECT, Jas. 2:1-13.
A. It is Incompatible with Christianity, Jas. 2:1.
1. Saved without partiality, Acts 10:34-35.
a. Cleansed by faith, Acts 15:9.
b. Same Lord, same call, same salvation, Rom. 10:12-13.
2. How unbelievable then, that we who have received salvation w/o partiality, should show it toward others.
3. Lord should have first glory from all.
B. It Judges a Person by Wrong Standards, Jas. 2:2-4.
1. Placing physical values above spiritual worth. Regarding the outer man (appearances) above inner:
a. Race, income, social status, family, knowledge, beauty, culture, etc., Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11.
b. Causes division, 2:4; 1 Cor. 12:20-26.
c. Often, from seeking a personal advantage.
2. Favoritism happens whenever we operate upon false standards of judgment, Jno. 7:24.
3. It elevates us above the Law & the Lawgiver, Jas. 4:11-12.
C. It Reveals Evil Thoughts, Jas. 2:4 (Matt. 15:19).
1. Reveals attitudes of division, separation, superiority, etc., that cause division, cf. 1 Cor. 1:10.
2. God is holy & impartial; we are to be like him, 1 Pet. 1:15-17.
D. It Contradicts the Nature of God’s Character & Judgments, Jas. 2:5; Deut. 10:17; 1 Cor. 1:26-29.
1. God’s character is totally impartial; His people must be, too. God is impartial & just:
a. In His love for mankind, Jno. 3:16 (Rom. 5:8).
b. In making salvation available to all sinners, Acts 10:34-35 (1 Tim. 2:3-4; 2 Pet. 3:9).
2. In His judgments (reward & punishment), Rom. 2:4-11 (2 Cor. 5:10).
a. God’s judgments look at the heart and conduct, not material considerations, Lk. 6:20 (Matt. 5:3); Mk. 12:41-44; Matt. 15:23; 19:13-14.
b. Wisdom from above is impartial, Jas. 3:13-17. We must be.
E. It Dishonors the Affected Brother, Jas. 2:6-7.
1. Tenderly affectionate, preferring (not humiliating), others, Rom. 12:9-10.
2. An inconsistency of respect of persons: It often honors those who don’t deserve it, Jas. 2:6-7.
F. It does not Love its Neighbor, Jas. 2:8-11.
1. James anticipates an objection, 2:8-9 (“Isn’t honoring the rich person showing him love?”).
2. No, not when loving one person humiliates & hurts another, we have not loved our neighbor.
3. We are to serve, not devour one another, Gal. 5:13-15.
4. We transgress God’s law (we sin) when we love one person while showing partiality to another, Jas. 2:10-11.
G. It does not Show Mercy to Others, Jas. 2:12-13.
1. Law of liberty judges us, so we must make sure we “speak and do” according to it, Jas. 2:12 (1:22, 25).
2. Must be sensitive & sympathetic toward others without showing respect of persons; Jas. 2:13; Matt. 5:7 (Gal. 6:2).
II. HOW TO AVOID BEING A RESPECTER OF PERSONS. Rom. 12:9-21
-Through association, communication, sharing life together, being careful to include all, by seeing others for their spiritual worth and not their material circumstances, Acts 2:42-46.
1. Love, 1 Ths. 4:9-10
2. Fairness, Matt. 7:12
3. Sharing together, Rom. 12:15
4. Humility, Rom. 12:16
1. Where there is respect of persons there will be division, resentment & hostilities, Jas. 4:1; Eph. 4:31-32.
2. Where there is no respect of persons (favoritism) & impartial treatment of all, we will find mercy, love, unity and holding of “the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ” without partiality (Jas. 2:1; Eph. 4:1). Rom. 12:3