Sunday, February 6, 2011

Book of James - Part 5: Judgment without Mercy


The Book of James
Part 5 - Judgment without Mercy
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org


SCRIPTURE READING

James 2:1-12
1 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

 5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

 8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

 12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

INTRODUCTION

The Apostle James, brother of Jesus, and leader of the Jerusalem council, writes to us, and the Twelve Tribes in the Book of James, a warning of what will happen to those who love with favoritism, which is a sin.

James poses the question for you in today’s verses...
Do you love others unconditionally?
       I.            JUDGES WITH EVIL THOUGHTS

a.      Not having the Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ

                                                             i.      James makes it plain to the reader, that this behavior is not following the pattern of Jesus Christ or His followers.

                                                          ii.      We are called to live a life of conduct which is mirroring the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostles.

1.      Jesus did not show favoritism while on earth!
a.      Tax collectors
b.      Sinners
c.      Prostitutes
d.     Sick
e.      Lepers
f.       Centurions


2.      When given the opportunity, the Apostles shared the very same message of Hope they gave to the poor, with Kings, leaders and teachers of the Law.

a.      They did not reserve Hope and Salvation for those THEY felt deserved it.

b.      They offered the very same Hope and Salvation to ALL!


b.     Picking and choosing whom to love...the beginning of clicks

                                                             i.      Social status in a church is despicable, and detestable to the Lord.

1.      God has called us to be ONE Body of Christ!

                                                          ii.      When we show favor...we begin clicks

1.      When we begin clicks, we begin division in the body

2.      When we begin division in the body...we weaken it!


c.      Addressing the rich while ignoring the poor

                                                             i.      James tells the readers exactly what they are doing wrong.


d.     Partiality proclaims a terrible attitude and a terrible spirit

                                                             i.      This is not the Love of others the scripture teaches.

                                                          ii.      This behavior is just another example of selfishness and self-centeredness.


e.      God is no respecter of persons...and neither are true followers of Christ

                                                             i.      This is not a “new” thing...God has told His people from the beginning not to behave in this manner!

1.      Leviticus 19:15 “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.”

2.      Deuteronomy 1:17 “Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.”

3.      2 Chronicles 19:7 “Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.”

a.      bribing leaders...a no, no
b.     Man who wanted his will done in the Church
                                                                                                                                     i.      Upset with church, threatened to hold tithe

                                                                                                                                  ii.      At the time he believed he was one of the biggest contributors to the church, therefore, felt as if he had a claim or stake in its operation.

1.      Elders are the spiritual leaders of the church, and obey God and His Word alone...neither man nor money.

2.      Jesus tells us in Mark 12, a rich many gave a small percentage from his wealth, a widow gave 100% from her poverty...it was the woman’s two pennies which was the greater gift to God.

a.      The rich man’s drop in his bucket was nothing compared to the widows giving of the entire bucket!

3.      I told him to keep his tithe; God does not want it anyway.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

We cannot bribe leaders, the church, nor God into doing OUR WILL.

We cannot look at the rich with more favor than the poor!  God sees us ALL as equal!


Galatians 3:27-29
27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

4.      Acts 10:34 “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:”

5.      Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25

6.      1 Peter 1:16-18 ...Be ye holy; for I am holy.

17And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your life here on earth in fear:

18Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;”



   II.            BREAKING THE LAW MAKES YOU A LAWBREAKER

a.      vs 8 Show favor to everyone, whether rich or poor

b.     vs 9 Favoritism to one class = sin

                                                             i.      Love your brother, love your neighbor, love your enemy

                                                          ii.      I Corinthians 13 What is love?

1.      Not feelings or emotions, but ACTIONS

2.      How you treat others, that is love...

c.      vs 10-11 If you break one law, you are a law breaker

III.            JUDGMENT WITHOUT MERCY

a.      vs 12 Again, James says...Be doers of the Word, and what the Word says!

b.     God shall have judgment without mercy for those who have shown no mercy...Jesus teaches of this very situation.

                                                             i.      Richman and Lazarus

1.      Luke 16:19-2619 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Sheol, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.

In life, the rich man was only concerned with his riches.  This selfishness breeds apathy,  and the rich man never showed mercy to Lazarus, whom he had to pass each day to leave and enter his home.

c.      vs 13 “Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

d.     This presents the fact that one who shows mercy in this life will have nothing to fear at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

CONCLUSION

If we show favoritism among other believers, this is not truly loving others, and God calls this behavior a sin.  The scripture says when we do this, we become “judges with evil thoughts”, and we are not behaving as God wants us to.

Breaking even one law makes us breakers of the law, and in danger of judgment if we do not repent, and show favor to all others, regardless of how rich or poor you think they may be.

When we pick and choose whom to love and show favoritism to, we not only become judges with evil thoughts, but this is the beginning of clicks and social castes, which divide the Body of Christ, and weaken the church.

The scripture says when we look with favor on the rich, and ignore the poor, that we judge the poor without mercy...the Word of God promises that on judgment day, He will show mo mercy to those who did not have mercy in this life.

We must repent of our evil thoughts, and look at all brothers and sisters as equal in the kingdom.  Show mercy to all, even the poor, so that mercy will be shown to you on the day of judgment.

If you are in this sin, confess it to the Lord and repent, so that you may be forgiven.  Then go and show mercy to others...go and sin no more.

Can you answer James’ question properly today?

Do you show favor to all...or reserve your best for those you feel are more worthy?