HANDOUT FOR SERMON: MERCY TRIUMPHS OVER JUDGMENT. James 2:1-13 Personal Favoritism, December 17th 2023 Manchester, TN
INTRODUCTION: We will continue our study of the Book of James. In Chapter one we looked at eight different instructions to the followers of Jesus. God’s intention is to help these believers “build” a stronger faith and moral life. Christians are to see themselves as different from the world. When we consider the eight items of Chapter one, let us find our “weakest” link or links in the “chain” of qualities that God revealed. Focus then on these and work on improving so that we practice pure and undefiled religion before God. This moves us towards maturity in Christ.
In many ways the Book of James is retelling the teachings of Jesus from the book of Matthew. Such as the sermon on the mount, Matthew 5-7. Matthew 18 (the lost sheep, brother sins against you, forgiving debts) and Matthew 22:34-40 (loving the Lord with all your heart and loving your neighbor as yourself). The “ten commandments,” given to the Jews in the Old Testament, can be divided into two categories: the first is “love God” and the second is “love fellowman.” Jesus knew that His disciples needed guidelines on how to live in the “real world” as His followers. James helps us know in what areas we must grow and mature.
LESSON: 1.MERCY TRIUMPS OVER JUDGMENT, James 2:12.
Let us begin by reading James 2:1-13 and see how we must grow and what we need to be aware of if we are truly the followers of Jesus.
Define Mercy: compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. Kind forbearance toward an offender or an enemy. Synonyms: leniency, grace, pity, charity.
Define Judgment: The ability to make considered decisions, form an opinion or come to sensible conclusions. The process by which a verdict is reached.
The phrase “mercy triumphs over judgment” reflects the undeserved loving grace and compassion which reflects God’s gracious gift of salvation and the goodness He shows towards humanity. The followers of Jesus are called to show this same mercy and grace to others. We must show this mercy in matters of forgiveness and showing love towards other.
2.THE CHRISTIANS ASSEMBLY, James 2:1-7 What is God’s instruction to us in reference to interaction with others in our assemblies? God wants us to look deeply into our hearts and challenge ourselves as to how we think, interact, and treat others.
There is a danger of favoritism or partiality among God’s people! Jesus identifies this and warns us against this. What does the words “partiality or favoritism” mean? The meanings are unfair bias in favor of one thing compared with another, prejudice, a particular liking or fondness for something. The practice of giving unfair preferential treatment to one person or group at the expense of another.
What did favoritism show itself in the assembly described in the Book of James? The actions of these people demonstrate a judgment mistake. It started with evil thoughts, James 2:4, and it was based on appearance and resulted in inequality. Is it possible for us to do the same today? This type of behavior is a sin! All sin comes to be because of either the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17).
What did Jesus teach in Matthew 22:37-40? With the work of Paul and the Church in Corinth, who did the Gospel appeal to? Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-31.
3. WHY IS SHOWING PARIALITY OR FAVORITISM A SIN? James 2:8-13 If we truly are followers of Jesus, we will never show partiality. Reference is made to the “royal law”! Why is it called “royal”? It is called royal because it is a law given to us by our King, The Lord Jesus Christ. If you show favoritism, you commit sin (James 2:9) and judged by God as transgressors law. This is very serious. Let us reconsider the three instructions to us in the first 12 verses: Verse 1, Do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus with partiality, Verse 8. You shall love your neighbor as yourself, Verse 12, Speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. Remember, Jesus gave us everything we needed but did not deserve. Everything Jesus did for us is founded in His mercy. Remember this in our interaction with others. Always remember there is someone in front of me who needs “my mercy” just as I needed “Christ’s mercy!”