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Who Cares About Poor People?

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
October 4, 2021 8:00 am

Who Cares About Poor People?

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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October 4, 2021 8:00 am

How God feels about the poor and how they are treated; the consequences of practicing favoritism; based on James 2:1-13.

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Music playing If you are and however you may be listening, thanks for making this part of your busy Monday. James, the brother of Jesus, wrote his New Testament Epistle to Christians who have been scattered all over the world due to intense persecution. And as we continue our journey through this book today, we'll see that he had some very practical lessons to share with them, sound wisdom that still holds relevance today. Stay right here or visit to listen anytime on demand. That's

And be sure to subscribe to the podcast at Apple Podcasts, at Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Now, here's Pastor Paul with today's Destined for Victory message, Who Cares About Poor People? So go with me to James chapter 2, and I want us to begin by looking at the first six verses of James chapter 2, and I've entitled this message, Who Cares About Poor People?

Who cares about poor people? James chapter 2, beginning with verse 1, My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism. I love James. This is just one of my favorite books, because James doesn't fool around with a whole bunch of theology.

Theology is good now because it gives us the foundational knowledge for our faith. But I love the fact that James is just a straight shooter. This is one of the earliest books written in the New Testament, before the church was fully formed and organized.

That's why you find James just making plain statements, and he's writing a general letter to the church, because the saints had been scattered in the early days of persecution. And he just jumps right in. My brothers, don't show favoritism. He says, Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.

If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, Here's a good seat for you, but say to the poor man, You stand there, or, Sit on the floor by my feet. Have you not discriminated among yourselves and, watch this, and become judges with evil thoughts? He says, Listen, my dear brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? And the first words of verse six are, But you have insulted the poor.

Pause right there. The first point James makes in what we call chapter two is that God cares about poor people, and how they are treated matters to him. I need you to take note of that. God cares about poor people, and how they are treated matters to him. I'm preaching to the 21st century church, mostly to people in America, though through our broadcast, we now minister to people on other continents.

We're hearing from people in Africa, hearing from people in Asia, hearing from people in Europe who listen regularly to our broadcast, and they're blessed by it. But I'm preaching, at least in this physical setting, I'm preaching to 21st century Americans who are exposed to a brand of Christianity that if we're not careful, we will get comfortable doing things that God is very uncomfortable with. And I want to pastor a church that will never, ever be comfortable making God uncomfortable. I want to pastor people who care about what God cares about, who hate what God hates, who love what God loves, so that we can stay in sync with that prayer we often pray, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.

God's will is being done flawlessly in heaven, and our prayer and our practice ought to be, Lord, may it be done here on earth through us just as flawlessly. So look at the context. James is saying if we're really followers of Jesus Christ, if we really want to be sincere in our discipleship, he says we have to make sure that in no way are we practicing favoritism.

In no way are we looking at some folks who because of what they have, they command a certain type of respect from us or a certain type of attention from us. And we've got to be intentional and deliberate, James says, about not practicing favoritism because God cares about poor people and he cares how we treat them. Let's establish that from other scriptures and not just this one. Psalm 82, the first three verses say God presides in the great assembly. He gives judgment among the, in quotes, gods.

What's that mean? That means God is the one in charge. Now, this is not a psalm of David.

This is a psalm of Asaph. And Asaph says, I need you to know that God is large and in charge. He presides in the great assembly of the earth. He renders judgment among the gods.

What's he mean there? He says he renders judgment even among people you think are big shots. God is really in charge. I know that there's a Forbes list of the 50 richest people. I know that there are people who are multi-billionaires because of great companies they have founded, but God is not impressed with the Fortune 500.

I need you to listen to me. God is not impressed by the things that impress us. God doesn't watch lifestyles of the rich and famous.

God's not holy. That's coming on. I got to see that. I need to see how many houses they have and how much acreage there is and all of that. I told you recently, I saw on the news because they were talking about some house that is on the market currently for $195 million. A house for $195 million and they had no buyers yet. And I thought, that's newsworthy? It was on the news. No buyers yet.

Sooner or later, whoever owns it is either going to sit on it or they will take a lower price. Either way, I got a question. Who cares?

Who cares? I don't need to know who buys the house. I'm doing kingdom work. You want to get out to the church of Jesus Christ and let us put some homeless people in there and disciple them and teach them the word of God and all that? Now you got my attention.

But I don't care what you end up selling your house for because the house is going to perish and so will you. So my job is to get you ready for eternity. My job is to teach you that a pew hall never follows a hearse and that only what you do for Christ will last. So listen, I'm just not impressed and more importantly, God's not impressed with what people have because he is large and in charge. And I love that this passage goes on to say, although people are considered gods in this world, very important people, he says, how long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? And then he says, defend the cause of the weak and fatherless, maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Then look at Proverbs 31 verses eight and nine. Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute, speak up and judge fairly, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

You say, oh, that's just Old Testament stuff. First Timothy chapter five verse 21, the apostle Paul says, I charge you in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels to keep these instructions without partiality, watch this, and to do nothing out of favoritism. So you can see by just this quick sampling, I didn't put more into my message because I didn't have that much time, but the Bible is full of admonitions against favoritism. You're listening to Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd, who is senior pastor of Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. He'll be right back with a second half of today's message. If you're enjoying today's message, this as well as many other great teachings by Pastor Paul are available online at Listen to Destined for Victory anytime by downloading our free mobile app. The app allows you to select from any recent message from Pastor Paul to contact us for prayer or order resources. You can even take notes on the daily messages right on your mobile device. Search Destined for Victory in the app store and download it today.

It's absolutely free. The Epistle of James is basically a how-to manual on living the Christian life, how to handle adversity, how to resist temptation, and today's subject, how to treat those who are less fortunate than you are. Here's Pastor Paul with the rest of today's message. Who cares about poor people? God cares about poor people, and there are a lot of church folk, not you, but others who don't care about poor people. I know them. I've met some of them. Many of you have as well who simply don't care, can look at somebody in need and not care, can have somebody walk in obviously looking like they are wearing shabby clothes, disheveled, didn't get a chance to go and get fixed up, don't have Sunday's best clothes. And when they show up at some churches, it becomes painfully clear to them that they don't matter. Church, I'm preaching this to tell you they do matter to God, and therefore they must matter to us. They've got to matter. We have to be a church, and all churches, I'm preaching to people who don't sit under my physical pastorate, but I'm kind of their radio pastor or internet pastor.

Let me tell you something. Although you're not here, when shabby people, when poor people, when people who have fallen on all kinds of hard times show up at your place, for God's sake, let them run into at least one person who really does care that they are there. We cannot grow our churches into country clubs. We cannot grow our churches into fraternities and sororities of the best and the finest. We can't be a place where the who's who matter. We've got to be a place where the folk who just don't show up on anybody's list of popular people come, and they find a warm welcome, and they find the love of God, and they find hope, and they find a future. We've got to be that place. We have to be that people who show them God cares about you, and we care about you, because poor people matter to God.

I am astounded by the indifference of so-called Christians when it comes to certain areas of our population. Just don't care. Look at you and not see you. Have you ever felt that feeling? Maybe it's not over your clothing. Maybe it's not over the fact that you know that you can't contend with them in terms of your bank account. But maybe it's about some other area, a line of demarcation, because, you know, we carnal human race, we got a bunch of lines that matter to us.

It can be a race line. You haven't been made painfully clear that you don't fit here. You ever felt that?

I have. I've gone places, and I'm Pastor Paul in certain worlds, but I'm a black dude there, and it doesn't matter anything else. They could care less. My degrees and my books and my sermons and all of that could care less.

I've served on the National Board of Religious Broadcasters, and they could care less about my little resume. All I am is what I look like to them. You ever felt that? If it wasn't race, you ever felt that because of gender? Ladies, have you ever hit your head real hard on the glass ceiling where you were smarter than the other men in the room?

But it didn't matter because you are not a man, and you slammed your head on that thing, and nobody, when they saw you bleeding, would even hand you a handkerchief. You ever felt that way? You ever felt singles like you're half a person because you're around a bunch of married folk who act like to be married is to be whole? And to be single is to be less than whole?

Come on, let's just talk Irish shop. All of us who were married, we were once single, and you just need to think back. There were times when they made you feel like, well, in fact, you ever had those relatives who the first thing they asked you is, is you married yet?

Come on, I'm trying to help somebody. We have all kind of lines in our way of looking at people. But this book tells you, James says, listen, God is against you putting people in categories and ranks and acting like these people are more important than those people. And he says God cares about people in all categories. Therefore, we have to learn to treat them all with honor and with respect. And so here he's talking about the socioeconomic lines, and he says just because one comes in with a nice ring and nice designer clothes, don't give them a certain seat based on their socioeconomic standing.

And then find the other person who's shabby, who's not put together, who clearly doesn't have much money, and then put them in an inferior place, or worse yet, humiliate them by not giving them a seat at all. And he says the basis for doing that is simply that they don't have money. Listen, I'm telling you folks, we've got to take it seriously because you've got to understand as we operate in the kingdom, this concept is growing and growing in my head. I'm sure I'm going to put together a sermon series on it shortly, but I'm becoming more and more aware of the fact that we've got to teach people that being a Christian is more than a matter of practicing a particular faith. Being a Christian means you are a citizen of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is ruled by a king, and what he says goes, and his values must be our values. We've got to learn to operate as kingdom people. We're in this world, but we're not of this world.

We've got to operate like people who are not of this world. This world might care that you're poor in a negative way, but the kingdom cares that you're poor in a positive way, and we've got to adopt the values of the kingdom. So James says God cares about them, and therefore how we treat them matters to God. So church, I want us to understand that as we deal with people in whatever category, but in this case favoritism as it would relate to socioeconomic matters, we must refuse to be like others even if they are Christian. We must refuse to be like others and disrespect the poor.

We've got to care. It's unfortunate in our world we divide Christianity up, and I hear people talking about, well, do you preach the social gospel, or do you preach the moral gospel? And what they're trying to say is there are some churches that are known for their stance on morals and all of that, and the implication is there are other churches that really could care less how you live, and so you can live as raggedy as you want in certain churches and be okay, but in our moral-based churches we stand for holiness and righteousness, and we're not going to let folk run up in here living any old kind of way. And then they're saying there are other churches that preach a social gospel, and their focus is on taking care of the poor and looking after prisoners and all of that, and that's what really counts because that's what mattered to Jesus.

And they try to put you in a category and find out which one you're in. Both are kingdom values. The kingdom cares how you live, and the kingdom cares that you are loved and well cared for by the other citizens of the kingdom. So if you ask me, what kind of church are you pastor, I'm going to tell you I pastor a church that's a kingdom church. And in the kingdom, since God cares how we live, I'm going to preach about how we live. And since God cares our response to the poor, I'm going to preach about our response to the poor, and I will not hold up holiness at the expense of love, and I will not hold up love at the expense of holiness. We're called to be kingdom citizens.

God cares about poor people. No one demonstrated kingdom living more than Jesus did. So if we want to be kingdom people we should follow in his steps. First, we follow him in salvation. Then we follow him in sanctification, the process of becoming more like him.

It's during this second stage, sanctification, that our growing faith should produce in us a greater desire to perform good works, loving others as we love ourselves, treating people of all races and all economic classes with love, honor and respect, just as Christ did. Stay with us for the next few days as we continue our journey through the book of James right here on Destined for Victory. In Psalm 107, King David writes, Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. If you need prayer today, the Destined for Victory ministry team would like to join you in prayer. From the homepage at, use the contact us feature to let us know how we can pray for you. While you're there, be sure to ask for Pastor Paul's monthly letter of encouragement, yours at no cost or obligation.

Well, we have a great resource to share with you today. A DVD from Pastor Paul called Get Your Hopes Up. You know, the word hope in English often conveys doubt.

I hope my team wins or I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow. But biblical hope has its foundation in God in whom there is never any doubt. Learn more about the biblical hope in this video message on DVD from Pastor Paul. That's Get Your Hopes Up, our gift to you this month by request for your generous donation to Destined for Victory. Call 855-339-5500 or visit to make a safe and secure donation online. You can also mail your gift to Destined for Victory, post office box 1767, Fremont, California 94538.

Again, that address is Destined for Victory, post office box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. He says if you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, love your neighbor as yourself, you're doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin.

That's the third point. Favoritism is sin, period. It's not a weakness. It's not an issue.

Not something you need to work on. Favoritism is sin. That's tomorrow when Pastor Paul Sheppard shares his message, Who Cares About Poor People? Until then remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are destined for victory. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-14 06:00:54 / 2023-08-14 06:08:55 / 8

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