Mahatma Ghandi was touched by the gospel when he was young. He hoped that the gospel would free India from its Caste system. He went to a church in his neighborhood and was met at the door, dressed in his humble lower class clothes. He was met by ushers who told him that there were other churches for “people like him.” Ghandi turned away from any further examination of Christianity because in his evaluation, it contained its own caste system. That story is told in the book “Growing More Like Jesus,” by Richard Strauss.”

Ghandi’s experience is an illustration of what James warns us about in James 2.
“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” (James 2:1–9, ESV)

Favoritism can be seen in a church when new members are treated as “outsiders”
Favoritism can be seen in a church when members only associate with People Like Us
Favoritism can be seen in a church when young people ignore or ridicule thoseo less popular
Favoritism can be seen in a church when poorer members look down on wealthy members, assuming they are snobs.

I. Favoritism is Excluded from the Christian Faith.
This is a STRONG COMMAND. John MacArthur points out that the word order is emphatic. “With respect of persons, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ the glory.” So James is saying in quite clear terms, “if you are going to show favoritism, don’t claim to be a Christian!”

The words “Show partiality” mean to “lift up somebody’s face, to raise the face of someone, to elevate them, to lift up their face.” The idea is to judge someone by the face …. superficial evaluation of a person’s worth based on nothing but what appears on the outside (MaCarthur)
This Christmas, the cast of Duck Dynasty came to NYC. They had a room in the Plaza and one of the Robertsons walked into the hotel and asked a doorman to show him the nearest bathroom. He led him to a door that exited directly to the street. Was it his shaggy beard? His blue jeans? Robertson called it “facial profiling.” The attendant did not know this important guest, so on the basis of the way he looked, he assumed that he was not a hotel patron.

We cannot “keep the faith” if we show partiality.

Favoritism can be shown in Many Ways
The illustration that James uses to teach these troubled Jewish believers is an illustration about the way the church assembly hypothetically show honor to a rich man while showing dishonor to a poor man. James 2:2-3
The word “synagogue” is used here and translated “assembly” in most English translations. This word usage reflects James’ Jewish audience. However, this could be ANY CHURCH TODAY!
Here’s the picture James portrays. A man enters the assembly with a “Gold Ring.” Even more than today, in the first century rings were a sign of WEALTH, success and accomplishment. In Luke 15, when the son returned, the FATHER put a RING on his finger. Rings were a sign of acceptance and wealth. People wore them as “bling.” The word here may in fact mean that he had rings on all of his fingers – a clear sign of someone who wanted others to know that he was an important and wealthy person.
You could “rent rings” to go to parties so that people would think that you are rich.
Many people wore RINGS, but Gold Rings were VERY RARE
“Clement of Alexander some time later said Christians should only wear one ring and on that ring it should have a dove, a fish, or an anchor to be used as a seal. That was a reaction against some of this abuse.” (MacArthur)

He also wore “Fine clothing.” The word in Greek is Lampros meaning “bright or clear.” It’s the word where we get the word “lamp.” Word used to describe the sparkling stars.

In stark contrast, a poor man entered the same church at roughly the same time. He was Poor – beggarly poor. This word reflects that his CLOAK was the ONLY ONE that he owned. He most likely smelled very bad – like a homeless person of our day.

One of the people in the church says to him“Come, sit at my feet” possibly meaning that he wouldn’t even give up his footstool upon which his feet were propped!

This illustration seems so obviously cold and mean spirited that we might be tempted to think that “this would never happen in our church!” But let me put it to you this way. Imagine that one of the town teenagers that play basketball here on Thursday night entered our service today. He might have a wife-beater t-shirt with both arms tattoed. He would be wearing his pants half-way down his backside, shoe-laces untied and shoes flopping. His ears are gauged wide showing about a 3/4 inch hole were God had put a perfectly good ear lobe, now a gap bigger than a bottle cap. He’s sipping on a Red-Bull. On this same Sunday, a Christian celebrity also walked into our church. Perhaps someone like Tim Tebow, James Dobson or Beth Moore? Who do you think would receive a positive greeting, and who would get sneers and strange looks? If we are honest, our first thought when seeing the street teenager is “hey man, this is church – have some respect and pull up your pants.”

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not advocating that we wear our pants half-way down our backside. I’m just suggesting that we are also prone to seeing people from a purely external perspective and ignoring the greater issues of the heart.

In our text in James, there was nothing wrong with offering a good seat to the rich man. The SIN is in the way that the POOR MAN is treated
The SIN is in the PARTIALITY

Other illustrations might include WEALTH, GOOD LOOKS, YOUTH, INTELLIGENCE.
Students:
Do you try hard to be in the “right group”
Do you exclude others to remain popular?
Do you make fun of other students because they are social outcasts, nerds, awkward?
Do you try to impress friends that are popular?

Adults:
How many friends do you have from a different ethnic background?
When was the last time someone significantly poorer or richer than you was in your home?
How do you regard groups of people that are friendly? Many of us want to be in a

At Faith Bible Church, we are trying to build small groups where we can share and relate. Someone may see some small group out there that is working well, where everyone knows one another, where there is intimacy and fellowship. We look at that group and call it a “clique.” We complain that the church is filled with “cliques.” But if you were in that group, you wouldn’t call it a clique, you would call it your small group or your fellowship group! You see, we judge people’s motives before we know any of the specifics.

God does not Show Favoritism! 2:4-7
God is the only judge.
One of the Attributes of God is that he is IMPARTIAL
Romans 2:11 “For God shows no partiality.”
Ephesians 6:9 “Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.”
Colossians 3:25 “For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.”
Acts 10:35 “but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”
2 Chronicles 19:7 “Now then, let the fear of the Lord be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the Lord our God, or partiality or taking bribes.””

The Birth of CHRIST shows God’s impartiality!
Notice the type of people that God includes in Christ’s Geneology (Matthew 1)
Tamar who committed incest.
Rahab, a professional prostitute.
Ruth who an idol worshipper from Moab
Bathsheba David’s wife through sin.
Solomon who allowed greatness to become his god
Reheboam who split Israel through his pride

Further, Jesus was Born in the tiny shepherding village of Bethlehem.
He was Attended by SHEPHERDS. Dirty, smelly, sleeping-with-the-sheep, bathing once a week shepherds!
The Ministry of Christ shows God’s impartiality
Grew up in Nazareth of which it was said, “can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
His disciples were from Galilee. On the Day of Pentecost, the Jews said, “Aren’t these men Galileans?”
His followers had no money, no education, no position, no special skills.

Praise the Lord!! He was IMPARTIAL in his choosing you!!
1 Corinthians 1:27–29 “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; ” “God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, ” “so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”
So, how can we be partial regarding other people!

The people we often seek to IMPRESS are the first ones to hurt us! (2:7)

LOVE keeps us from showing Favoritism. 2:8-9
“Really fulfill” “There are 8 occurrences in the NT, meaning: of course / to be sure / nevertheless” Horst Robert Balz and Gerhard Schneider, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990–), 407.

Royal Law. The ROYAL law is the SECOND COMMANDMENT. Matthew 22:38–39 “This is the great and first commandment. ” “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

If we truly LOVED, there would be UNITY in the church.
If we truly LOVED, there would be NO PARTIALITY in the church

ILLUS – Strategic Leadership Team… Establishing our VALUES, MISSION and then thinking about a STRATEGY to accomplish them.
Trying to find ways to allow everyone to have access to ministry, a small group.
Trying to find the best tools.
But the bottom line is that if we don’t have LOVE for one another, it doesn’t matter WHICH FORMS we use!
The early church did not have BLG’s or OLYMPIANS, or CHOIRS, or OFFERING ENVELOPES or VEHICLES. The church grew because they LOVED one another. Problems were solved because they LOVED one another. The world was transformed because they LOVED one another.

Today, we are called to LOVE and to lay aside partiality.