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Face Value or Faith Value? (A Case of a Near-Sighted Usher) (James 2:1-13)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 23 March 2014 00:00


03-23-2014 Face Value Or Faith Value? James 2:1-13


Review: 26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. One way the world can defile/spot Christians is set forth in 2:1-13.

1. James calls attention to a spot to be removed from the ugly behavior of believers (2:1).

2 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of {who came from} glory, with partiality. {a compound word: the face + to receive = “to receive the face,” or “to take things at face value.” Sometimes our eyes can get in the way of our ears being swift to hear.

2. James clarifies by exposing the evil thoughts behind our ugly misbehavior (2:2-4).

Having identified the bad attitude behind their ugly actions, James now illustrates it in 2:2-4.

2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

3. James corrects the unbiblical thinking that leads to ugly behavior as believers (2:5-13).

- Correction in light of who is rich in faith and will be heirs in the coming kingdom (2:5).

5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

- Correction in light of present realities and our responsibility to fulfill royal law (2:6-11).

6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? 7 Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?

8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

- Correction in light of our future judgment at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2:12-13).

12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

* To exclude others based on externals (merely what we see) is inconsistent with how the Lord Jesus Christ, who came from glory, and while in spite of what He saw and knew to be true of sinners like us, graciously included all of us in His merciful work of redemption.

* To act in mercy and grace is to give people the permission to take advantage of us.

* People will not care how much we know until they know how much we care!






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