20 September 2012

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?





James 2:1-13

How does the world look at others? Better yet how do you look at others? Do you judge a person by their outward appearance?Which is a no,no! As the old saying “never judge a book by its cover.” Do you look with'in the person to see who they really are? The reason I ask that is because every human being, even Christians are not naturally inclined to be impartial [Which means: fair, unbiased]. We tend to put people in groups…..we tend to put them in predetermined categories or pockets. Ranking their worth or their success by:
  • Their looks
  • Their cloths
  • Their race
  • Their social status
  • Their personality
  • Their intelligence
We also tend to [sadly] rank people by their power and wealth: What kind of car they drive or how many vehicles they have sitting in their drive way, How expensive their toys are [e.g: ATV, Sea Doo, Snow machine…..maybe in our area what brand of tractor or equipment], What type of house they live in or how big there farm is, What neighborhood they live in. But all these things are meaningless and add no eternal value to a person’s soul. And they hold no favour with a holy God. Listen to what Moses said about this……Deut 10:17 “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial (does not show partiality) and takes no bribe.” What’s amazing about that statement that Moses makes is that God expected His people to reflect that same impartiality toward one another.....Deut 1:17 “You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God's. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.” Why do we tend to put people in categories? Just because they are different financially or physically, socially. If you think about for a minute, we are really all the same whether you have more, less or have a terrible background than your neighbor. We are all sinners in need of a Saviour whether you're rich or poor. In the mirror of scripture we are all criminals who deserve HELL. So why do we look sideways at people before we get a chance to know them? What are we to do, so that we do not fall to this kind of behavior? The true Christians must not fall to this kind of behavior because as will see…..its sin! (v9). James feared that the early church believers we’re falling to this kind of thinking. Remember what James said earlier James 1:9 “Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation,…” Let the poor brother in the Lord, glory or rejoice in his position as a son of the Living God. For his home is the same as my home, your home….the same thing was said to Philemon......in Philemon 1:13-16 “………..no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. Let me warn you this morning! If this is happening in your life, you must stop this wicked behavior? If this is happening in your life you need to repent and show mercy to those who have less than you? Every soul is precious to God…..remember that!

Christ came to save the meek, the poor……Luke 4:18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

He came to save the lost not the self-righteous and the ignorant!.....Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."

Why?  He was one of them…….Matt 8:20 “And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head."

This is the Gospel……….Listen to Paul as he implies this truth that Jesus spoke...in 1Cor 1:26-29 “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.   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.” We are called to love the church not by whom they are but by whom they love! Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. All true born again believers have one thing in common….And that is? His saving grace found in the gospel. Richard Baxter says "We must feel toward our people as a father toward his children; yea, the most tender love of a mother must not surpass ours. We must even travail in birth, till Christ be formed in them. They should see that we care for no outward thing, neither liberty, nor honor, nor life, in comparison to their salvation... When the people see that you truly love them, they will hear anything from you... Oh therefore, see that you feel a tender love for your people in your hearts, and let them perceive it in your speech and conduct. Let them see that you spend and are spent for their sakes." There are 2 major behaviors True Christians Must Do! First behavior we must have is to show love and mercy for all people……at all time.
  
A TRUE CHRISTIAN SHOWS LOVE AND MERCY TO ALL THE UNLOVABLE (V1- V5)

Showing the same mercy to others as Christ showed you.....But, what does James mean by favoritism? Favoritism (means) lifting up someone face, with the idea of judging by appearance and on that basis giving special favor and respect. It pertains to judging purely on a superficial level, without consideration of a person's true merits, abilities, or character.
James warns us about this in (v5) “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?” James here is pointing out the inconsistency between God's character and the attitude of a believer who are disrespectful of poor people. We must show the same love and mercy as our Lord Jesus Christ did when He saved your undeserving soul. Jesus Christ set the example for all of us to follow [remember Simon says?] Luke 19:41-42 “And when He drew near and saw the city, He wept over it, saying, "Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” We have a duty and responsibility to show……

MERCY FOR THE POOR........Prov 19:17 “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.”

MERCY FOR THE WEAK.......Gal 6:2 “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

MERCY TO OTHER BELIEVERS......1Cor 12:25-26 “that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”

MERCY IS INSEPARABLE FROM THE LOVE OF GOD......1John 3:17-18 “But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

Charles Spurgeon says “I wish, brothers and sisters, that we could all imitate "the pearl oyster"— A hurtful particle intrudes itself into its shell, and this vexes and grieves it. It cannot reject the evil, but what does it do but "cover" it with a precious substance extracted out of its own life, by which it turns the intruder into a pearl! Oh, that we could do so with the provocation's we receive from our fellow Christians, so that pearls of patience, gentleness, and forgiveness might be bred within us by that which otherwise would have harmed us.” We were once the poor person who desperately needed the Savior! But now we are rich in Jesus Christ our Lord.

A TRUE CHRISTIAN SHOWS GENUINE CHARACTERISTICS OF HAVING RECEIVED GOD'S MERCY (6-v13)

A born again, a true believer is ready to face the Lord because he or she has the liberty through the blood of Jesus Christ! The Pharisee's thought the other way just like the situation that James speaks about the rich and the poor man! James was warning us about showing favor to others and looking down on the feeble and the poor! 

JOB'S FRIENDS…….Listen to what Bildad said to Job “you must repent" Job 8:4-6 “If your children have sinned against Him, He has delivered them into the hand of their transgression. If you will seek God and plead with the Almighty for mercy, if you are pure and upright, surely then He will rouse (to wake, to rise up) Himself for you and restore your rightful habitation.

THE BLIND MAN THAT COULDN'T SEE........John 9:1-3 “As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

THE PHARISEE AND THE TAX COLLECTOR......Luke 18:9-14 “He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'   I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

Whose prayer do you think God listened to that day? It surely wasn’t the self-righteous ignorant man who thought he was better that’s for sure. We need to understand something…….. a person who shows no mercy and compassion for people in need…Demonstrates that he or she has never responded to the Great Mercy of God and as an unredeemed person will receive only strict unrelieved judgement in eternal Hell. Are you doing this or thinking this in your life? I’m not saying it’s going to be easy……because we are prone to judge people by the outward appearance or mostly because of their past. Warren Wiersbe said these words of wisdom that rings true in the church today!. He said “we are prone to judge people by their past, not their future. When Saul of Tarsus was converted, the church in Jerusalem was afraid to receive him! It took Barnabas, who believed in Saul’s conversion, to break down the walls. We are prone to judge by outward appearance rather than the inner attitude of the heart. We do not enjoy sitting with certain people in church because they “are not our kind of people.” Jesus was the Friends of sinners, though He disapproved of their sins. It was not compromise, but compassion, that caused Him to welcome them, and when they trusted Him, forgive them.” Jesus was a friend of sinners……He showed the same grace whether you had much or had little. Jesus equally loved all the disciples….even Judas when he betrayed Jesus that night in the garden. Jesus ate with sinners….spoke to sinners….lived with sinners!

My question for you is! Are you sinner? Or are you better than everyone else? Love like Christ…..not because someone looks good! But because Jesus came to save sinners like you and me. Those wretched….nasty….rotten…sinners like us! Who have a future of eternal glory with Jesus Christ. That’s what a Christian looks like at work! Think back to the people who welcomed you into the flock and those who didn’t? Despite what the world thinks and people think about you ….we have been cleansed by the spotless, sinless, Lam of God who took away my sin. As John wrote in 1John 3:9-18 “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." SDG



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