Assignment 7 D James 2
James 2:1-13
Show mercy to all regardless of your feelings.
#Love
#judgment
#Mercy
Published July 22nd, 2019
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Main point summary
Bracket**
Notes**
notes
Main point summary
Show mercy to all and avoid judgment by human standards because we have all fallen short of God's standards.
Bracket**
editing
NT
James 2:1-13
esv
mine
My brothers, 1 w show no partiality
Friends, welcome everyone, without prejudice towards those who make you uncomfortable
as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, x the Lord of glory.
In the same way that Jesus our savior welcomed all, especially those who were looked down upon by society.
actionmanner
For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly,
What if a fine looking respectable member of society enters Christ’s Church
and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in,
But alongside him comes a poor man, smelly, in rags, comes in,
series
and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say,
And you welcome the respectable man,
“You sit here in a good place,”
Ushering him to one of the front pews,
ideaexplanation
y while you say to the poor man,
But you usher the poor man to a hard metal chair against the back wall,
“You stand over there,”
or, “Sit down at my feet,”
alternative
progression
have you not then made distinctions among yourselves
Are you not dividing people
and become z judges with evil thoughts?
According to your own feelings and opinions?
actionresult
conditional
ground
Listen, my beloved brothers, a has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be b rich in faith
Pay attention, friends: did Jesus not call the lowest of society to have the greatest faith
and heirs of c the kingdom,
And to join Him in bringing His kingdom to earth,
d which he has promised to those who love him?
Which God the Father delighted in giving freely to those who love him?
But you e have dishonored the poor man.
But you looked down upon the lowly man.
concessive
Are not the rich the ones who oppress you,
Aren’t the highest in society the ones who look down on you,
and the ones who f drag you g into court?
And make your life unnecessarily difficult?
Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable h name by which you were called?
Aren’t they the ones who dishonor Jesus who chose you be like Him?
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture,
If you genuinely desire in your heart to live out the command:
i “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself”,
you are doing well.
Then you are acting like Jesus.
But if you j show partiality,
However, if you pick and choose who to love,
you are committing sin
Then you are not acting like Jesus
and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
And you violate what Jesus called the second greatest law.
negativepositive
For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point k has become accountable for all of it.
It does not matter if you have one little sin in your closet or a whole house filled with sin: it all looks the same to God.
For he who said,
l “Do not commit adultery,”
also said,
l “Do not murder.”
If you do not commit adultery
but do murder,
you have become a transgressor of the law.
So speak
Therefore, use your tongue wisely
and so act
And act wisely
as those who are to be judged under m the law of liberty.
Like people humbled by the love of God liberally given
to you.
For n judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy.
Because God is merciless toward the unmerciful.
Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Acting with God’s mercy wins out every time over actions based on unmerciful human feelings.
inference
Do not show partiality based on limited human judgement.
Honor and love each person as you love yourself.
We have all fallen short of the law.
Show mercy to receive mercy.
discourse
Notes**
Title: “The quality of mercy is not strained.” This is a well known quote from “The Merchant of Venice” by William Shakespeare. In old English, the verb strained meat constrained or forced. The poet was saying: “You cannot force someone to possess the attribute of being merciful.” Would you call yourself a merciful person? Could you be forced to be merciful? If you were forced to act in a merciful way, would you really possess mercy or just pretend to practice it? In what situations in your life do you regularly show mercy? In society today, we see less and less mercy. In the public acts and statements of our politicians, we see almost no mercy. Rather, we see harsh unrestrained judgements. In his letter, James communicates no-holds-barred instructions on how to live as a disciple of Christ. In between chapter one’s instruction on the attributes of the disciple and the second part of chapter two’s instruction on the relationship between faith and works, James inserts a warning in Chapter 2:1-13. My paraphrased version: Friends, welcome everyone, without restraint or prejudice toward those who make you uncomfortable, in the same way that Jesus our savior welcomed all, especially those who were looked down upon by society. What if a fine looking respectable member of society enters Christ’s Church but alongside him comes a poor man, smelly, in rags, comes in, and you welcome the respectable man, and you welcome the respectable man, ushering him to a good seat, but you usher the poor man to a hard metal chair against the back wall. Are you not dividing people according to your own feelings and opinions? Pay attention, friends: did Jesus not call the lowest of society to have the greatest faith and to join Him in bringing His kingdom to earth, which God the Father delighted in giving freely to those who love him? But you looked down upon the lowly man. Aren’t the highest in society the ones who look down on you, and make your life unnecessarily difficult? Aren’t they the ones who dishonor Jesus who chose you be like Him? If you genuinely desire in your heart to live out the command: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”, then you are acting like Jesus. However, if you pick and choose who to love, then you are not acting like Jesus and you violate what Jesus called the second greatest law. It does not matter if you have one little sin in your closet or a whole house filled with sin: it all looks the same to God. Therefore, use your tongue wisely and act wisely like people humbled by the love of God liberally given to you because God is merciless toward the unmerciful. Acting with God’s mercy wins out every time over actions based on unmerciful human feelings . James has issued this warning: Show mercy to all and avoid judgment by human standards because we have all fallen short of God's standards. Imagine yourself in this fictional story: George is 45 years old, married, a successful business man who prides himself on making time for family and Church on Sundays. Dressed in his best suit and tie, prominently carrying his Bible with his name embossed in gold letters on the black leather cover, he escorts his family through the Church parking lot, waving to friends, smiling, genuinely looking forward to group worship. As he and the other people enter the Church, they pass a man who is seated against the brick wall in the shadow, head down over his crossed arms, apparently asleep, poorly dressed, presumably homeless. No one stops to greet him or invite him into the Church. After checking his kids into Sunday School, George and his wife find their usual seats. As the clock strikes nine AM and the Church bell rings, the Church becomes quiet, expecting their pastor to appear. A minute goes by. Then the apparently homeless man comes slinking down the center aisle, head down, hat still on, and posture slumped. They wonder where he is going since the pews in front are full as usual. One of the ushers tries to guide him to the back but is ignored. Does he intend to sit on the floor? To their amazement, the man walks up to the lectern and takes off his hat, revealing that he is their pastor! Silently he stands making eye contact with those who are still looking up. Then, he opens his Bible and reads from: Matthew 25:35-40 (NIV) 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me . Why did no one invite me into Christ’s Church? Why did no one offer me food or drink or clean clothes? Why are you here? To worship God? In what ways? By loving your neighbor as yourself? End of story. At this point in the sermon, what would you say next if you were the pastor and you were teaching from James 2:1-13? Would you say the following? Let me be clear: I do not judge you. Like you, I fall short of God’s standards. I pass by people in need. I need the teachings of James as much as you do. In chapter 1 , James taught that we will be tested every day as the people in this story were tested. If we respond with faith, we will be blessed but if we fail to be merciful we will miss the blessing. Why did the people in this story miss the blessing of being merciful? Why do we pass on the opportunities we have to bless others? How would you react if you were one of the church members in this story? Would you have followed James’ advice from chapter 1 to be quick to listen to the pastor and slow to be angry that the pastor tested you or would you have closed your ears and felt tricked? As the disheveled man walked down the aisle, would you have tamed your tongue as James instructed in chapter 1, or would you have whispered negative comments? Why do we fail to comply with James 1:22 - to be doers of the word? We interact with our world through our five senses. If something or someone looks bad or smells bad then it or he or she must be bad because it feels that way to us. In the story, the church members made human judgments about the man based on their human feelings. The important point is: Our feelings are real but they are not reality. You might feel like you should be able to fly but if you jump off the roof of a building, then the reality of gravity will take over. When reality contradicts our feelings, that’s when the pain occurs. In the story, the people felt pain when the pastor revealed the reality of who he was. When the people entered the church, they probably felt really good about themselves like they were flying like eagles - but then their feelings about themselves went splat on the concrete sidewalk of God’s reality. Some of you may recall the movie “The Sixth Sense”. If you did not see it, it is about a little boy who is able to see dead people who seem alive to him and his counselor who seems alive to the viewer but is actually just another dead person. The boy’s mother is worried about him, uncomfortable with his “reality” that she cannot see. James is telling us that we need to remember that God sees what we do not see and hears what we do not hear. We should be humbled because we lack a sixth sense - God’s sense of the ultimate reality. When Jesus read the minds of his listeners, answering their unspoken questions and challenging their unspoken feelings, He was using His sixth sense and it made people very uncomfortable. He encountered two reactions: the awestruck wonder of a heart open to God’s truth (painful though it can be) vs a hard-hearted attachment to human feelings. When the pastor revealed his true identity, some of the people would have looked down - the awestruck humbled group but some would have stared at the pastor in anger - the hard-hearted group. In this passage, James is asking: Are you going to DO life according your limited fallible senses or are you going to DO life according to what God tells you to do based on his unlimited infallible sixth sense? Are you going to look upon the lowly with mercy? Are you going to be able to smell the stinky and touch the terribly dirty? In God’s kingdom, the kingdom that Jesus brought to earth, there is no court for human judgement based on limited human feelings. When the people in the story entered the church greeting each other and ignoring the downtrodden man, were they acting like God’s kingdom people? James asks: Why do you honor those who look down on you? So you can be like them? Because you think it would feel good to be like them? - to be a hypocritical Pharisee who prays: Thank you Lord that I am not like that man? ( Luke 18:11 ). Or is it because being like Jesus is uncomfortable? It requires us to step out of our comfort zone - to put aside our feelings. But then we must consider: Jesus was willing to step out of the ultimate comfort zone, Heaven itself. Today’s psychological literature is all about feeling good about ourselves. God could have sat in heaven feeling good about himself but instead He entered into our pain. Often, feeling good about ourselves is achieved by looking down on others, by feeling that we are better than them. To this, James says: It does not matter if you have one little sin in your closet or a whole house filled with sin: it all looks the same to God. Therefore, speak to the silent, awake the sleeping, raise up the downfallen, help the dirty get cleaned up, reclothe the unattractive, feed the physically hungry and feed the spiritually hungry. Why? Because Jesus said it was as if you did it for him! If Jesus appeared right now, what would you be willing to do for him? Acting with God’s mercy wins out every time over actions based on unmerciful human feelings. Mercy requires that we focus on God’s ultimate reality. In summary, James is telling us: Show mercy to all and avoid judgment by human standards because we have all fallen short of God's standards. How merciful are you? By whose standards are you DOING life? Prayer: Holy and merciful Father: Help us to remember that only you know what is really going on in any person’s life - that only you know ultimate reality. Help us to put aside our feelings in favor or your reality. Help us leave the judging to you. Help us share your mercy, revealing that your kingdom is here now. Story: George is 45 years old, married, a successful business man who prides himself on making time for family and Church on Sundays. Dressed in his best suit and tie, prominently carrying his Bible with his name embossed in gold letters on the black leather cover, he escorts his family through the Church parking lot, waving to friends, smiling, genuinely looking forward to group worship. As he and the other people enter the Church, they pass a man who is seated against the brick wall in the shadow, head down over his crossed arms, apparently asleep, poorly dressed, presumably homeless. No one stops to greet him or invite him into the Church. After checking his kids into Sunday School, George and his wife find their usual seats. As the clock strikes nine AM and the Church bell rings, the Church becomes quiet, expecting their pastor to appear. A minute goes by. Then the apparently homeless man comes slinking down the center aisle, head down, hat still on, and posture slumped. They wonder where he is going since the pews in front are full as usual. One of the ushers tries to guide him to the back but is ignored. Does he intend to sit on the floor? To their amazement, the man walks up to the lectern and takes off his hat, revealing that he is their pastor! Silently he stands making eye contact with those who are still looking up. Then, he opens his Bible and reads from: Matthew 25:35-40 (NIV) 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Why did no one invite me into Christ’s Church? Why did no one offer me food or drink or clean clothes? Why are you here? To worship God? In what ways? By loving your neighbor as yourself? We have been studying James, a practical no-holds-barred letter about Christian living, the sort of living Jesus spoke of. In chapter 1 , James starts off teaching us that we will be tested as you were tested today. If we respond with faith, we will be blessed but unfortunately, none of you were blessed today. He instructs us to be quick to listen, slow to anger, to be doers of the word, with tamed tongues. You never asked me a question so you had no chance to listen. Some of you might have been angered by my presence. Some of you may have whispered negative comments as I walked down the aisle. None of you were doers of the word. Let me be clear: I do not judge you. Like you, I fall short of God’s standards. I pass by people in need. I need the teachings of James as much as you do. After chapter 1, it would seem logical for James to go on to talk about faith and works as he does in the second half of chapter 2 but he inserts an interlude, verses 1-13 and this is our main passage to examine today. I read it partly from my own paraphrase: Read: We interact with our world through our five senses. If something or someone looks bad or smells bad then it or he or she must be bad because it feels that way to us. Listen closely now: Our feelings are real but they are not reality. For instance, you might feel like you should be able to fly but if you jump off the roof of this Church, then the reality of gravity will take over. And when reality contradicts our feelings, that’s when the pain occurs. When I stepped up to this podium and removed my hat, your feelings that I was not worthy of being invited into Christ’s Church hit the reality that I do belong here. When you came in, you may have felt really good about yourselves like you were flying through life - but then you fell and hit the concrete sidewalk of God’s reality. Reality hurt some of you: the ones I saw looking down, humbled, broken-hearted. But some of you stared at me defiantly, perhaps feeling fooled - unfairly tested. Many Pharisees felt unfairly tested by Jesus. They did not feel good about his reality. Some of you may recall the movie “The Sixth Sense”. If you did not see it, it is about a little boy who is able to see dead people who seem alive to him and his counselor who seems alive to the viewer but is actually just another dead person. The boy’s mother is worried about him, uncomfortable with his “reality” that she cannot see. James is telling us that we need to remember that God sees what we do not see and hears what we do not hear. We should be humbled because we lack a sixth sense - God’s sense of the ultimate reality. When Jesus read the minds of his listeners, answering their unspoken questions and challenging their unspoken feelings, He was using His sixth sense and it made people very uncomfortable. He encountered two reactions: the awestruck wonder of a heart open to God’s truth (painful though it can be) vs a hard-hearted attachment to human feelings. When I revealed my true identity, those of you who looked down are in the awestruck humbled group but those of you who stared at me in anger fall into the second group. In this passage, James is asking: Are you going to DO life according your limited fallible senses or are you going to DO life according to what God tells you to do based on his unlimited infallible sixth sense? Are you going to look upon the lowly with mercy? Are you going to be able to smell the stinky and touch the terribly dirty? This section is a follow up to chapter 1 v 9-11 where James refers to the poor being elevated and the rich withering. In God’s kingdom, the kingdom that Jesus brought to earth, there is no court for human judgement based on limited human feelings. When you entered here today greeting each other and ignoring me you were not acting like God’s kingdom people. James asks: Why do you honor those who look down on you? So you can be like them? Because you think it would feel good to be like them? To be a hypocritical Pharisee who prays: Thank you Lord that I am not like that man? (Luke 18:11) Or is it because being like Jesus is uncomfortable? It requires us to step out of our comfort zone. But Jesus was willing to step out of the ultimate comfort zone, Heaven itself. Today’s psychological literature is all about feeling good about ourselves. God could have sat in heaven feeling good about himself but instead He entered into our pain. Often, feeling good about ourselves is achieved by looking down on others, by feeling like we are better than them. To this, James says: It does not matter if you have one little sin in your closet or a whole house filled with sin: it all looks the same to God. Therefore, speak to the silent, awake the sleeping, raise up the downfallen, help the dirty get cleaned up, reclothe the unattractive, feed the physically hungry and feed the spiritually hungry. Why? Because Jesus said it was as if you did it for him! If Jesus appeared right now, what would you be willing to do for him? I paraphrase James closing as: Acting with God’s mercy wins out every time over actions based on unmerciful human feelings. Mercy requires that we focus on God’s ultimate reality. In summary, James is telling us: Show mercy to all and avoid judgment by human standards because we have all fallen short of God's standards. How merciful are you? By whose standards are you DOING life? Prayer: Holy and merciful Father: Help us to remember that only you know what is really going on in any person’s life - that only you know ultimate reality. Help us to put aside our feelings in favor or your reality. Help us leave the judging to you. Help us share your mercy, revealing that your kingdom is here now.
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