This time we will be looking at James chapter 2.
My mind is alert, my heart is receptive and I will never be the same, in Jesus' Name.
Whether you are a believer, a church goer or non church goer, a non-believer, or just sitting on the fence because you grew up a certain way and you know you should be this way or that, but it doesn't appeal to you or it's "too judgy". Sometimes walking away from what we grew up with in church, can change but changing for a reason other than walking away. We are to be the church not the buildings that we meet in. We should be the light in the darkness, the hope shown in the way we treat each other, the way we view others. As Christ followers, not just fans, but real true followers, we know our Hope and Faith is in the Lord. We know that without HIM there is no life. One day, we will be accountable for the things we believe now whether it's at judgment day or it's when things in our country get worse and they take away your freedom to believe. When do I judge? When it becomes a Matthew 18:16 issue.
Matthew 18:15-19Amplified Bible (AMP)
Discipline and Prayer15 “If your brother sins[a], go and show him his fault in private; if he listens and pays attention to you, you have won back your brother. But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two others, so that every word may be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 17 If he pays no attention to them [refusing to listen and obey], tell it to the [a]church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile (unbeliever) and a tax collector. 18 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whatever you bind [forbid, declare to be improper and unlawful] on earth [b]shall have [already] been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose [permit, declare lawful] on earth [c]shall have [already] been loosed in heaven.
19 “Again I say to you, that if two [d]believers on earth agree [that is, are of one mind, in harmony] about anything that they ask [within the will of God], it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
If you say you are a Christ follower and your fruits show it, I will confront, but if you don't bear the fruit of a Christ follower, I will allow God to handle it and you may not enjoy the consequences of your actions.
While I was reading James 2. A memory from a few years into church ministry popped into my heart, mind and soul.
"A young homeless man walked into our church. He had been there a few times to get clean clothes and food. The food we gave him was not easy for him to cook so he gave it to someone else in need. About his 3rd visit, the secretary called me and said "your friend is here". I went and talked with him and asked him what he needed. He said, "easy to eat food that doesn't have to be heated." So I went to the pantry and found food that could be opened, with pop tops or just easy open. He said "thank you" and left. A few weeks later, he came back, same thing. This time, I took him to the hall and called Steve to come meet me, he was somewhere in the church. We sat down with this young man, asked him what he needed prayer for, and we began to pray, he was addicted to Heroin and other things . We put our hands on him, this man began to shake as we began to pray. He left again with a bag of food and clean clothes. He again returned a few weeks later. "He came in and said "He has no hunger for the drugs, he is clean and his grandma invited him to come home and live with her!" He said, "thanks for praying". He was never looking for a hand out, just help to make it. For us, this was the first of many times we had seen God work and change lives. So thrilled that that memory has stayed forefront in my heart, mind and soul."
I have to admit I do get scared when I face a homeless person, but I also need to remember the least of these. No one really wants to be homeless, on the streets, never knowing where their next meal or even morsel is coming from. No one wants to face that, yet, many are one paycheck from just that. Saving money is hard/heart work.
But let's read James 2 and see what James says okay? I promise it will be gentle and we will break it down.
I am using the Amplified, I like it at times because it explains a bit better.
James 2Amplified Bible (AMP)
The Sin of Partiality
What is it about man that makes us uncomfortable with situations such as this? Why do we show partiality based on outward appearances? Why do we make assumptions and judge people by what we see? Read Luke 18:10-14. Does the story Jesus tells in this scripture provide an idea or clue as to the reason that we might not treat others the same? What is it?
Luke 18:10-14Amplified Bible (AMP)
10 “Two men went up into the temple [enclosure] to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood [ostentatiously] and began praying to himself [in a self-righteous way, saying]: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men—swindlers, unjust (dishonest), adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing at a distance, would not even raise his eyes toward heaven, but was striking his chest [in humility and repentance], saying, ‘God, be merciful and gracious to me, the [especially wicked] sinner [that I am]!’ 14 I tell you, this man went to his home justified [forgiven of the guilt of sin and placed in right standing with God] rather than the other man; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself [forsaking self-righteous pride] will be exalted.”
What are the arguments James makes for partiality? Can you find them? Search deep and wide, not just surface.
Faith and Works14 What is the benefit, my fellow believers, if someone claims to have faith but has no [good] works [as evidence]? Can that [kind of] faith save him? [No, a mere claim of faith is not sufficient—genuine faith produces good works.] 15 If a brother or sister is without [adequate] clothing and lacks [enough] food for each day, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace [with my blessing], [keep] warm and feed yourselves,” but he does not give them the necessities for the body, what good does that do? 17 So too, faith, if it does not have works [to back it up], is by itself dead [inoperative and ineffective].
18 But someone may say, “You [claim to] have faith and I have [good] works; show me your [alleged] faith without the works [if you can], and I will show you my faith by my works [that is, by what I do].” 19 You believe that [g]God is one; you do well [to believe that]. The demons also believe [that], and shudder and bristle [in awe-filled terror—they have seen His wrath]! 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish [spiritually shallow] person, that faith without [good] works is useless? 21 Was our father Abraham not [shown to be] justified by works [of obedience which expressed his faith] when he offered Isaac his son on the altar [as a sacrifice to God]? 22 You see that [his] faith was working together with his works, and as a result of the works, his faith was completed [reaching its maturity when he expressed his faith through obedience]. 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and this [faith] was credited to him [by God] as righteousness and as conformity to His will,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man (believer) is justified by works and not by faith alone [that is, by acts of obedience a born-again believer reveals his faith]. 25 In the same way, was Rahab the prostitute not justified by works too, when she received the [Hebrew] [h]spies as guests and protected them, and sent them away [to escape] by a different route? 26 For just as the [human] body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works [of obedience] is also dead.
What about what is happening in our country right now? Lumping everyone together and saying they are bad, this color, this religion, this or that? Breaking the entire law? All of them because of what we think, yes! Don't lump people groups together to make them all appear bad. There are bad people who make bad decisions but as a whole they are not bad.
Was there ever a time in your life where you were loved by someone that would demonstrate the idea of "love your neighbor as yourself"?
How can we love your neighbors as ourselves? How can you show someone you really do care?
- James 2:2 Lit synagogue. This word comes directly from the Greek for “gather together,” and in the present context might refer in particular to a synagogue where Christians were allowed to meet.
- James 2:2 In the Greco-Roman world men wore simple clothing and no jewelry except for a ring. The wealthy were distinguished by the cleanliness of their clothes and a gold signet ring.
- James 2:2 Lit brightly shining.
- James 2:3 Lit brightly shining.
- James 2:7 Lit good.
- James 2:11 Lit a transgressor of Law.
- James 2:19 A reference to the Shema, the Jewish confession of faith.
- James 2:25 Lit messengers.