a Test Series – James 2:5-8
Intro: “It is well with my soul!”
One of my favorite hymns, one you hear often with funerals, written by Author Horatio G. Spafford and composed by Philip P. Bliss is “It is well with my soul!” When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like the sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well with my soul.’ Tho’ Satan should buffet, tho’ trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul. My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious tho’t! — My sin, not in part, but the whole, Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll, The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, ‘Even so,’ it is well with my soul. “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” 3 John 1:2
When it all settles isn’t that what we all really want? But at what cost? What are you really willing to surrender, or give up? What are you willing to give? Christ gave His life… His words to us: “You Do Well!” Text: James 2:5-8
“Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? 7 Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called? 8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well.”
Application: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself!”
I must say with this application the question must be asked; DO YOU LOVE YOURSELF? You can never love your neighbor if you can’t love yourself!
Story after story movie after movie the football coach or basketball coach is pictured as a mean coach yelling at his players. All those who weren’t apart of the team might believe from a spectators position this coach didn’t care, all a long he really did, he didn’t want to baby them, he wanted them to grow and be a successful ball player. James the pastor of this church really cares and he wants his church members to be more than a spectator he wants them to grow. He wants them to learn and to live.
1. Learning the Evil Results of Partiality: vs. 5-7
“Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? 7 Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?
So we see in this script for today the discussion of partiality continues, there is a crucial focus on showing no favoritism. It is a simple test and many fail. It will be a key all will face in the test of life. Our trials, our temptations, the way we handle it and learn by it will help our results - be pleasing to God.
Couple of key words in this text, the first one is listen, now remember we were taught in chapter one “to be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath,” Partiality is contrary to God’s plan. James contrasted God’s exaltation of the poor with their abuse by his readers. Their practice of discrimination against the poor was contrary to the way God had purposed to treat them. Another key word is chosen; Christians need to adopt God’s outlook for the poor. God chose the poor. Paul used “chose” to describe the election of believers to salvation: “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Ephesians 1:4
In our text today chose describes spiritual blessings God has reserved for the poor. God chose the poor to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him. The world may look on poverty-stricken people as insignificant and worthless. God sees them as abounding in the riches of faith. Their faith allows them to experience God’s wealth—salvation and its accompanying blessings. This does not suggest all the poor are converted, nor does it mean God practices a bias against those who are not poor. The poor God blesses are those whose poverty is primarily to be “poor in spirit.” Often those who are economically poor are better placed than the wealthy to understand God’s purposes. They are more likely than the rich to be prospects for conversion. The poor mean something to God and if they mean something to God they better mean something to the church!
Learning the evil results of partiality will make it easier for you to experience God’s love and your role. It is not a test you can skip you will have to take it and this loving pastor of Jerusalem just wants you do well! “Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said: "Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God.” Luke 6:20
2. Living by God’s Law: vs. 8
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well.”
James designated the command to love your neighbor as yourself: “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:18
This is the Royal Law; He may have used the term royal because Christ, the true king, set forth the law: “And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39
In the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus defined a neighbor and discussed the demands of loving a neighbor. Jesus defined a neighbor as anyone in need. He urged us to show our love to neighbors by responding to their needs. Some of James’s readers felt they had been obedient to God in the matter of showing love for the poor and needy. Wherever that was true, James gave credit. If they were really putting God’s law into practice, this was noble and commendable. The command to love our neighbor as we love ourselves is an impossible standard without the power of the living Christ: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35
Whenever Christians have applied this standard, it has remade communities, societies, and homes. Whoever follows this life of service will receive the Lord’s commendation at the final judgment: “His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” Matthew 25:21
Heaven is a kingdom that is promised. It is not only good, thus attracting your desires, but certain, and so supporting your hopes. Look on it not only as a kingdom, but as a promised kingdom; and count him faithful who made the promise. Heaven is not only prepared but promised. You need not have just vague hopes but a steadfast confidence.
I remember as a young child and even as a parent when a teacher graded your homework assignment, if it was a great work or if I had done well the teacher would put a smiley face on the top of the assignment or I might even get a gold star! The test is inevitable you can’t play hooky the day of the test, you can’t get someone else to take it for you, you can’t cheat, God knows. YOU MUST TAKE THE TEST. For the Christian you will get a golden star, God will be smiling: You will hear God say: YOU DID WELL! This pastor loves you as James did the church of Jerusalem, please DO WELL!
In : Sermon
Tags: "life is a test series" "book of james"
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