James 2:1-13 - Showing Partiality and Favoritism

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5 point I want to make today.

·         The command--The picture --The wrong --The warning against --The motive against


Definition: To favor some people over others or to pay special attention to a person because of his wealth, social status, popularity, looks or influence, and note this is given to believers in Jesus Christ (v.1).

1.      Do not profess faith in Jesus Christ and at the same time be a spiritual snob

2.      Do not have you own little group while ignoring others.

a.       If you belong to Jesus & another person belongs to Jesus, he is your brother; we are all one in Christ & a servant of God.

b.      If a sinner comes in this classroom, remember that he is a human being whom Christ died for.

c.       He stands at the foot of the cross, just as you & I.

—    `You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor. (Leviticus 19:15 NKJV)


1.      One rich—one poor

2.      Partiality shown to the rich

a.       One man comes in sharply dressed wearing gold rings LIT. “Gold-fingered.

1)      So you immediately think he is rich and escort him into a good seat down in front

2)      Jesus condemned this Matthew 23:1-7.

b.      The other is dressed very sloppy, is dirty, and smells really bad.

1)      So you tell him he needs to stand up over there, or sit here on the floor at my feet.

2)      He is treated as being less important than the rest of us.

3)      The parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-25)

c.       This is not of Christ.  Our Lord was born into poverty

1)      Jesus looks at the heart Matt. 22:16 & so does the Father 1 Sam. 16:7

2)      Samuel was made aware of God’s method of evaluating people

—    But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV)

3.      How do you think you would react if Michale Jordan came in verses a person who seems to be a nobody?

III.             (V. 4-7) THE WRONG OF PARTIALITY

1.      It sets one up as a judge (v.4)

a.       It makes you out to be as God

b.      It says who can & cant worship God, who is and is not acceptable to God


d.      Only God can determine who He will accept and not accept

—    Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God. (1 Corinthians 4:5 NKJV)

2.      It reveals evil thoughts (v.4)

a.       This person focuses on outward things that change and corrupt and decay and waste away

b.      It is says that material things such as clothes and cars are more important than the person himself is.

c.       They had wrong motives and false standards, this was not of God but of the world.

—    Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."   But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Matthew 19:21-22 NKJV)

—    "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matthew 6:19-20 NKJV)

—    Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4 NKJV)

3.      It discriminates against the poor: A people especially loved by God (v.5)

a.       God loves the rich & the poor.  He is not a respecter of persons however,

b.      God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise…1 Cor. 1:26-27

c.       The poor have a real dependence upon God for their daily needs

1)      Physical—Matthew 6:11  Give us this day our daily bread

2)      Spiritual—Matthew 5:3  Blessed are the poor in Spirit

d.      Heirs of the kingdom—all that God has will be mine as well, for I am a Co-Heir of Christ.

e.       Jesus welcomes all—the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out…John 6:37.

4.      It shows a disgraceful attitude (v.6A)

a.       Partiality can cause hurt and pain in the heart of the person who is being discriminated

b.      Partiality makes a person feel unwelcomed not wanted, or of little value and worth

c.       We are to be like Christ: to love and reach out to all of those who are in need Matthew 25:34-41

—    If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?   Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:15-17 NKJV)


—    But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:17 NKJV)


5.      It shows foolish behavior: (v.6B-7)

a.       The readers of this letter flattered the rich, & this was wrong because…

1)      It was inconsistent with the Christians faith showing partiality &…

2)      These were the very people who were oppressing them

3)      It also honors those who are so oppressive.

4)      It honors those who blaspheme [to speak of God in an irreverent manner] the name of Christ.

a)      Paul Himself was one who persecuted the Church…Acts 26:9-11

b.      The rich usually feel self-sufficient-trusting in the money

c.       We must be content with what we have because desiring to be rich is a temptation and a snare from the devil.

—  Now godliness with contentment is great gain.   For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.   And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.   But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.   For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.   But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:6-12 NKJV)

d.      If God does bless you & your family financially here is what you are to do

—    Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.   Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19 NKJV)


1.      It is a sin; it violates the royal law of love (vv.8-9)

a.       Believers are to love people, & not to show partiality against someone. 

b.      Partiality is a sin [miss the mark] and it makes us a transgressor [cross the line] of the Royal law.

1)      Remember that God Himself gave us this law in the O.T. & Jesus reinforced it to be obeyed.

—    `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' (Matthew 22:39 NKJV)

2)      If a person loves God and loves his neighbor as himself he will want to obey all laws.

—    For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Galatians 5:14 NKJV)

3)      It is the very commandment that leads to eternal life

—    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 John 3:23 NKJV cf 4:7-12 & 4:16)

—    If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?   And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. (1 John 4:20-21 NKJV)

2.      It makes one guilty of the whole law (v.10).

a.       We cant pick and choose  what laws we will obey and what ones we will disobey

1)      The Pharisees were guilty of this & Jesus rebuked them…Matt. 23:23

b.      For the law says don't commit adultery, but it also says do not kill.

1)      Now, if you don't commit adultery, but yet you kill somebody, you're guilty of violating the law. It doesn't matter which one of the commandments you violated.

2)      Well, I've never done that, don’t not look at others as you standard of judgment.

3)      Do you love your neighbor as yourself? Whoops! If you keep the entire law yet you break one of the commandments, you're as guilty as if you've broken all of them.

c.       Thank God that through Jesus Christ we can be counted righteous. Thank God that He recognizes our weakness and inability to keep the law on our own, and sent His Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

3.      It is just as serious as adultery and killing

a.       Partiality is equal as murder


1.      So speak and so do is in reference to James 1:25

a.       Law of liberty is the law of Christ.

b.    Jesus said “and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” & “If you love Me keep my commandment…John 8:32 & 14:15

c.     What is His commandment?

"This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12 NKJV)

2.      We shall be judged

a.       We should speak love and kindness to all people

1) Our words will be judged…Matthew 12:24-37

b.      We should show love and kindness to all people

1) Our deeds will be judged…Colossians 3:22-25

c.       God is going to judge us on the basis of how we have loved and reached out to people no matter who they are.

3.      We shall receive exactly what we have done…Matthew 18:21-35:

a.       Our Attitudes God is going to treat us exactly the way we have treated others

1)      If we show mercy & forgiveness to others, then God will show mercy & forgiveness to us.

2)      If we do not show mercy & forgiveness to others, then God will not show mercy to us.

3)      If we judge others then God will judge us.

4)      Mercy triumphs over judgment.

b.      If you have truly experience God’s mercy in your life then you will show it to others.

A.       The Picture Against Partiality

Read James 2:1-13.  Why should believing in “the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory” (v.1) keep us from showing partiality?

1.      If we say we have faith in the Lord Jesus the Lord of glory then we are to be servants just like James 1:1.

2.      You become a judge with and evil thoughts (v.4)

3.      God does not show favoritism.  He has chosen the poor of this world to become rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom (v.5).

4.      God does not dishonor the poor man, but showing partiality does dishonor the poor man (v.6).

5.      We are to love our neighbor as ourselves (v.8).

6.      Showing partiality is a sin & have transgressed the Law (v.9 & 11).

7.      Breaking one law means you have broken all the laws (v.10-11).

8.      We are be doers of the Word (v.12)

9.      You will be judged in the way that you judge others (v.13).

a.       God has given us mercy, therefore, we are to show mercy to others

b.      If we judge others than we will be judged

How would you react if someone came into our class who was an unbeliever, wearing sloppy clothes, was dirty or had body odor & then Michele Jordan came in (vv.2-4)?

If you showed partiality to Michele Jordan, do you think that this is a way to win the unbeliever to Jesus?


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