Tuesday, June 17, 2008

JAMES 2:1-13 | Lesson # 3 | PARTIALITY


2:1-13                                                           Lesson # 3



I.    Greetings.


II.   Introduction.

            Note:   Tell a personal story of being excluded from the group when you were at school or some social setting.  Then see if some of them

will share a short story of their own.

            Q Have you ever experienced being excluded?  What happened and how did you feel?

               An = After they have shared then ask another question that reverses the situation.

            Q Some people are shown favoritism, what types of people are given preferential treatment?  Can you give an example?

               An = See what types of people get mentioned.  Usually, the popular, powerful            and rich.

            Q Is it right to show favoritism towards certain people and not others?

            Q Is this ever done at church?  Is it right?

               An = After they have discussed this a bit then explain to them that most churches struggle with this issue because it is a common

social issue in all societies.  The Bible addresses the real problems and real issues we face and it addresses this one in our text today.

            We will deal with the issue of partiality and how it relates to the question of good works.


III.  Favoritism/Partiality:  James 2:1-7.

>>>> Have someone read James 2:1-4.

            Q In verse 1 to whom is James directing his remarks?

               An = "My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ".  This is us, those who believe in Christ.

            Q Also according to 2:1 what are we not to do?

               An = We are not to show favoritism.  We are to be different than most organizations or social gatherings.  After all we are believers in

the "glorious Lord Jesus Christ".

            Q Why do you suppose James brings this issue up?

               An = Because it was being done there.  Lets see how it was practiced in their day.  

>>>> Have someone re-read James 2:2-4.

            Q How did they discriminate in their gatherings?

               An = They gave preferential treatment those dressed well, with jewelry as far as seating goes, but to the poor they were required to sit

or stand just anywhere.

            Q Do we practice favoritism towards the rich in our church?  How?

               An = Among school children the favoritism is shown to the popular or "kool kids".  But among the older folks our greatest temptation is

often to show partiality towards the rich.  We cater to them and often aspire to be one of them.  Many sell their souls to join those ranks.  Riches of

themselves are not evil, but there are dangers, they can become our god, a false god.  Notice when we follow false gods we mistreat people.

            Note:  We wind up judging people with evil thoughts.

            Q Can we make people not want to come to church or to be hurt spiritually when we discriminate against people?

               An = See if you can get them to articulate how it is done and how such people feel.  Try to let them do all the talking.

>>>> Have someone read James 2:5-7.

            Q What does James tell us about the poor in 2:5?

               An = The poor are especially chosen of God to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom of God.

            Q Can you give an example of someone in our church who is poor in the eyes of society but rich in their faith?

               An = See if they will share.  It is good for them to learn and know of those who really do such things.  You might mention a few names

to spur their memories but only do this if it is necessary.

            Q What does James tell us about the rich in 2:6-7?

               An = They are usually those who exploit us, drag Christians into court and slander the glorious Name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

            There are some folks who are rich but truly try to act like Christians.

            Matthew Henry tells us, "It is expected from those who have wealth that they be rich in good works;  but it is expected from the poor in the

world that they be rich in faith."

            Q Are there those in our church who are rich in popularity or riches that really try to help others?  Who are they?  Mention those not in

this room.

               An = Let them share, but do not embarrass someone present.  Remind them that mentioning someone present could be easily seen as

"catering to them to get something or some favor out of them".  If they are truly good people they do not want public recognition, they are just glad to be

able to serve.


IV.  Obeying God in Whole and Not in Selective Parts:  James 2:8-13.

            Q Can we pick and choose which parts of the Bible or God's will that we will obey?  Give an example of this?

               An = Let them share and then let them know that when we pick what parts of God's Word we will obey what parts we will not we have

affectively "put our will over God's".  We have taken God's place.

>>>> Have someone read James 2:8-9.

            Q What law are we breaking when we show favoritism?

               An = "Love your neighbor as yourself".  We sin and we become law-breakers.  When we show favoritism we are not showing the respect

to "the non-favored" that God would wish us to show.  

            Note:  The Jews understood this.  >> Have someone read Leviticus 19:15.

>>>> Have someone read James 2:10-11.

            Q What is James point here?

               An = If you break one law, you basically are breaking what God's will is and so are simply a "law breaker".  You cannot pick and choose

what to obey and what to not obey.  You cannot be moral in the sexual realm but show favoritism and expect God to regard you as righteous.


V.  The Hope for Guilty Churches and Guilty Individuals:  James 2:12-13.

            RQ Are we guilty of this in our church?

            RQ Are we guilty of this personally?

            RQ Is there hope for us, given the fact that God will not count us righteous if we have shown favoritism?  

            Note:  James ends this section on an interesting note, lets read and see how he does it.

 >>>> Have someone read James 2:12-13.

            Q What is our hope of freedom from judgment depend upon?

               An = If we give mercy to others.  If we do not show mercy to others neither will we receive mercy.  If we do show mercy then "mercy

triumphs over judgment!"

            Q How do we show mercy to the poorly dressed, or not-socially acceptable members who come to church?

               An = By giving them the same acceptance and same care that we would show one of the "favored ones".

            Q How do we do this?  Would it look like in our church or in our group?

               An = Let them brain storm on how to do this better.

Note:  Remind them as they choose to show mercy to the "less-favored" they will receive mercy and forgiveness for their past sins of favoritism.