Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Keeping the Royal Law by John

KEEPING THE ROYAL LAW (Jamesbs3.ser)
James 2:1-13

1. As we mentioned last week, the word law does not always refer to the ten commandments.
(1) It may refer to all of the revealed truth of God.
(2) In v. 8, it has a modifier, “basilikos.” Basilikos is ts here, “royal,” and that’s good. Specifically it means “belonging to a king.”
2. The ten commandments were given to Moses for the people of God.
(1) It is the highest of ethical and theological rules.
(2) But “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 5:43) is the highest of all ethical thoughts expressed anywhere. It's first mentioned in Leviticus 19:18, and James has it here in v. 8.
3. But let’s start where our text starts: With the “My brethren.”
(1) This is a good way for James to soften the harshness of what he is about to say.
(2) It also reminds us again that he was writing specifically to the Christian Jews.
(3) It marks the beginning of a new section each time you find it in this Book, and you’ll find those section-breaks occur about 15 times.
4. Did you note as we read this portion, that it sounds like a dialogue with one person’s words left out.
(1) This is speech device is called “diatribe.”
(2) It’s like listening to one end of a telephone conversation. (Generally, a diatribe concerns things already happening!)

I. DO YOU JUDGE ON “FACE VALUE?”

1. Here come two people into the worship service, one is obviously rich, the other is obviously poor.
2. Do you believe “clothes make the man?”
(1) If you do, you show favoritism to well-dressed individuals. (A gold ring symbolized wealth. In Mississippi when I was a boy, gold teeth symbolized riches to most poor people. Even when James was written, gold rings could be rented in some places. Not really a good indication of riches.)
(2) You give the rich man a choice seat.
3. If you have developed the eyesight of God, you see the rich and poor alike. In fact, God seems to pick out the poor for special blessing all through the Bible.
(1) But if you allow “face value” to influence you, you put up the SRO sign (standing room only) or you ask the poor man to take a seat under the footstool of the speaker!
(2) That’s the position of humility. (The Father said to Jesus, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” (Ps 110:1)
4. Partiality toward either the rich or poor is wrong!
5. Treat people like you would want to be treated if you were in their place.

II. DO YOU EMBRACE THE ROYAL LAW?

1. God loves you regardless of your position, your sin, or your ability! If you are going to be like God, you’ve got to love the same way! Ill. (W.A. Criswell) A man slipped into the worship service and sat on a back pew. When the sermon started, he got happy and yelled “Amen!” An usher eased over and told him politely to be quiet. In a moment, he cried out “Praise the Lord!” And the usher marched over and told him if he didn’t get quiet, he would have to leave! The man appologized. “I’m sorry! I’ve just got the Spirit, and I couldn’t keep quiet!” “Well, I don’t know where you got it, but you didn’t get it here! So keep quiet!” Do we love people whose emotional response to the Scripture and God is different to ours? God loves us all the same!
2. Who is your neighbor? Jesus discussed that with a Jewish religious leader. After He told the parable of the Good Samaritan, he asked the man which man in the story was a neighbor to the injured man. The leader apparently could not bring himself to say "Samaritan." He said, "the one who had mercy on him." (Luke 10:37)
(1) Well, those who live in your neighborhood are your neighbors, aren’t they?
(2) But what about the people in the poor section of town?
(3) What about the people who speak a different language and have a different lifestyle?
3. Jesus made it plain in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Whoever needs you is your neighbor.
(1) I heard a young minister tell his church, “I haven’t ever, and I will never, ask you to help anyone I know is living in open sin!” He got a strong “Amen!” from a lady right in front of me.
(2) Do you see what’s wrong with that?
a. Your neighbor may be living in open sin, and the Bible says love him! That means to treat your neighbor with love!
b. Do you think Jesus separated the men living in open sin from the ones who weren’t when He fed the 5,000? Of course not! Who do you suppose was there? Murderers? Homosexuals? Wife beaters? Wine bibbers? Idolators? Those hated Romans? Yes! And of course, regular citizens!
c. “God demonstrated His love for us in this: While we were still (practicing) sinners, Christ died for us.” (Parentheses mine). Romans 5:8.
4. If you embrace the royal law, you love everybody regardless of their circumstances, and you love them alike! (That’s really hard for me! Isn’t it for you?)

III. DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT BEING A SINNER MEANS?

1. V. 9 says you are committing a sin if you judge people by “face value.”
2. V. 10 says if you keep all the other points of law and stumble over one thing, you are guilty of all points!
3. V. 11 says the reason for this is simple. The one who said, “Do not commit adultery” said, “Do not commit murder.” Either one is disobedience to God, and that makes you a law-breaker! A spiritual criminal! A sinner!
4. The penalty for adultery is the same as the penalty for murder, coveting, lying, etc. It’s DEATH!
5. If you came to Jesus, you came as a sinner, right?
(1) That means God showed you mercy and love and forgiveness in saving you.
(2) It is no more than fair for God to expect you to do the same toward others! If He helped you in spite of your sin and treated you like somebody! He expects you to do the same!
6. That’s why we are to act and speak (v12) as those who will be “judged by the law of liberty.”
7. If we don’t (v13), God will judge us with the same judgment we give others.

CONCLUSION:

1. Do you look at the outward appearance of people to decide how to treat them? Or do you treat them with the same love and consideration in spite of what you see and what you feel?
2. The Law Jesus gave, the Law of the King, is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” When you meet anyone, ask yourself how you would want to be treated if your positions were reversed! Then do it that way!
3. You see, we are sinners, and whatever sin we see someone else doing, we are guilty of, too! God has shown mercy, love, forgiveness and acceptance toward us. We must show others the spirit and character of God within us, or we can expect God to judge us and treat us as we have treated them!
4. Do you have something you need to get straight with God? This is the time to do it!

Emmanuel Community Church 2/6/2005

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