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November 30, 2020 7:00 am
Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet Ministry of confessing Evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free 1-800-488-1888 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically is nothing quite so practical as a smatter of our friends. If you don't believe it for yourself. You should be trying to raise the teenage daughter.
Her teenage son most important thing in their lives or their friends and if you want to lose them does drive their friends away they'll go to if you could include their friends. You include them see it in an extreme form there.
But if we think about ourselves.
We recognize that that is also true and James recognizes that Stroh and at the same time the kind of problems that flow from that natural disposition that we have what he talks about in these verses is a kind of preference that we have for those people as friends that we regard as special and therefore a corresponding neglect of people that we don't quite think are worthy of our attention. CS Lewis's address this in an essay that's not very well known, but should be called the inner ring's quest to be with the right people and analysis of that desire speaks about how we are so concerned whenever were in a group, not merely to be part of the group to get to the circle that seems to provide the inner dynamic are the leadership of the group and then to the circle within the circle and Lewis's point is that that's a hopeless endeavor because no matter what circle you're included in there's always another circle that's more exclusive and one be on that is more exclusive and Lewis rightly contrasts that with the attitude of God himself who didn't set up little exclusive circles where things would be important but rather reached out beyond the circle of the Godhead include people who otherwise would've had no hope of being included so Lewis talks about the extension of the grace of God Dawson, the Lord Jesus Christ who reached out to bring us close to him. That's the background for this particular problem. It has a very specific dimension.
James talks about it in the first four verses of this chapter, particularly verses two through four. Where he sets up what seems to be a hypothetical case but undoubtedly is based upon clear observation.
No doubt he saw this in the church in Jerusalem where he was working read those verses. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. You show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say here's a good seat for you, but say the poor man to stand there sits on the floor by my feet have you not incriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts picture is immediately evident, we can imagine how it happened not only in the church of Jerusalem, but also see how it happens in our own assemblies. There is a natural disposition to give preference to the people of the world because it is important we see it simply in the way we treat people who have money or who have position indicated in this place by the address by the ring. The ring was a symbol of the order of knighthood would mean one was a member of the equestrian class mobility would be the equivalent of a politician. Perhaps something like that in our time, we can see that it we can see immediately how this thing takes places in the churches today. I say there's also a certain kind of evangelical evangelism that capitalizes on this focuses on the important people that we have to be careful when we talk about that not to do the opposite. Because the opposite can be just as wrong, we can say no. The gospel is for the poor and those wretched rich people don't deserve it and I like to have anything to do with them. That's equally bad. The point I'm making is that there is a kind of evangelism that almost glorifies reaching the important people I let me say is a technique it's not necessarily impossible or non-Christian depends what you're trying to do. Suppose you're trying to work in a high school was many of the high school groups doing you're trying to reach a broad spectrum of the high school students because those in that age are so peer oriented and look up so high later.
Those that are there natural leaders, whether in sports or otherwise, it may be a wise technique to try to reach the people that are highly regarded by their peers in order that by reaching them you may have greater opportunity to reach the others. That's all right perhaps still point, but there's a kind of evangelism as you and I well know that doesn't see it in that light, but rather reaches the important people in order that we might parade the important people as our converts. There's a kind of church service that capitalizes on that where those who are the leaders in the sports world are the world of holy water politics are paraded before the congregation as if to say, look, brothers, we really haven't made. I think of James saw that he would see no difference in what goes on in our day, at least in those areas with what he saw happening in the church, Jerusalem, and that he condemned so highly it's a practical matter, I want you to see how he deals with the first of all what he holds before the people to whom he writes is the pattern of the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm sure it's no accident that as he begins this chapter he says my brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism hasn't said that earlier emphasis upon Jesus Christ is to show his example. Notice that word glorious brings before our mind, not the Jesus of the humiliation, but the Jesus who existed in the glory with the father before the incarnation and the know exists in the same glory. Now this is the Christ who, as Paul says in Philippians 2 vested himself of this outward glory, and took upon himself a human form and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross for our sakes, as James refers to Christ, I'm sure he has that example in mind and he saying look if you in your dealings within the Christian assembly are giving special deference to those that are important be challenged by this example of our Lord who didn't do that because if he did, he certainly would never have come to earth, but rather laid all of those prerogatives aside in order that he might identify and save people like you and me I think is perhaps another sense in which he brings forward Christ as an example that is an example of one who even in the days of his humiliation we buy is abrasive, to love, who is the Christ. We know as the Christ in glory.
Well we know is in glory. But we don't know him in his glorified form. The only Christ, we know the only portrait we have is the Christ of the gospel. So that's a portrait of Christ went about as a poor man in the midst of the poor and oppressed people doing good teaching and coming to the point where, in the fullness of time he died for our salvation. This is the Christ. We've gone to know and love. So when James begins to mention Christ here. I'm sure he's directing our thoughts to these things in order that we might put all of this in the proper perspective and then there's a second point, he really talks about this in verses five through seven. This is what I would call the inherent value of the person who is poor or unimportant in the world. Science I must be misunderstood at this point. When I say the inherent value of the one who is poor or unimportant in the world's eyes. I don't mean to say. By contrast with that the person who is of value in the world's eyes, and rich has no value spiritually. Obviously that's untrue to see. Our problem isn't in that direction. Our problem is in the other direction and therefore is James begins to write. She points out, not so much the fact that God is also saved rich people know that is true but the God apparently showed a special concern for the poor people in our day have been reminding us of that doing it rightly runs slider is one his book.
Rich Christians in an age of hunger is pointed out the need of vast numbers of people in our world and is pointed out again and again by ample quotation from the Old Testament as well as from the new.
The great concern that God has for poor people.
Again, we mustn't say that this does not mean that God is not concerned for those who are better off if that was the case. None of us would be saved because, in comparison with the poor of this world. You and I are very well off. Indeed it does mean that God has a special concern, as it were. Those who are deprived of this world's goods, poor and material things in his work in such a way so as James says these are poor in the world's goods and become rich in faith. I think what James is asking is something like this. God is acted in that way.
God is reached out to save the poor, whom he counts of special value should not. That also be the stance of attitude in the activity of those who are his people, then I don't know if he doesn't, with a little twist, twist of the knife as it were, but perhaps so he reminds them of those rich people that they give such deference to not always treated them very nice.
Here's the way he puts it, is it not the rich who are exploiting you, are they not the ones were dragging you into court, are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong. Certainly had examples of that in his own day. The book of acts gives us many examples. The first verses of acts for the case of the imprisonment of Peter and John by the Sadducees.
Knowing something of the Sadducees's we know what was going on the Sadducees with the privileged class I were the liberals of their day. They were upper cross. They had a great deal to lose. They were the ones who were most worried about the teaching of Christ before his crucifixion because as they said if all of the people going follow Jesus there's going to be something like a revolution.
The Romans are going to come in and take away our place in our nation and they put it in the right order was their place. They were worried about. They had too much at stake, so after the crucifixion and the resurrection. When Peter and John were out preaching.
These were the very people to want to do a prison. The apostles are other examples in the book of acts in acts 13 there's the story of the persecution of the apostles's when they were in Antioch of Presidio. Paul especially told their explicitly that it was those were well-off and did it because they had more to lose if there be trouble in the city, then in acts 19 we have a very clear example of the case of the ministry of Paul in Ephesus, whereas the result of his preaching. There was a movement of the people to Christ and some of the business of those who were producing idols of Diana of the Ephesians began to fall off is all right to have liberty of religion, freedom of expression and all that sort of thing. As long as the revenue soon as it began to cut in the business. This business of the idols was the lucrative business of Ephesus was trouble, those who had a great deal to lose startup.
The people caused a riot and eventually Paul had to leave the city else's James here you are giving deference to people like that. What's wrong with you our jewel where these are the very people who have made life so difficult for your brothers not only here in Jerusalem but in other places in the world I think certainly as he speaks.
Along those lines. While this may not affect us in precisely the same way it would've affected those of his day. It should certainly open our minds to the fact that God is doing things someone what we would regard as the underprivileged in our day and perhaps present before us a special challenge to work among these order that the blessing of God in their lives might go forward in many such might come to faith in Christ is one other thought to it's implied in the idea of Christ leaving his glory in order to come to earth as a true that in the perspective of Christ.
We are not the rich but the poor. We are the underprivileged that we are the nobodies who owed only by his grace to become somebody in responding to the gospel. That's the case then we of all people to go to those who have no stature in this world's eyes in order that is the gospel is preached and they respond to what they might find stature before God is doing something very interesting here.
I'm sure you've read this before.
Perhaps you've noticed it. What he's doing is building his argument in intensity.
First of all this talk about the problem and he suggested perhaps even obliquely that it is in conflict with the example of Christ.
That's all right were used to hearing that most of what we do is in conflict to the example of Christ. Secondly, he's gone to talk about the value of the poor in the sight of God and the oppression which is often caused by the rich and at this point is getting closer to home, speaking far more directly now in the latter verses beginning in verse eight he speaks as directly as possible saying that this favoritism which we tend naturally to call something unimportant or small or whatever it may be, is actually a very very serious sin. Here's the way he puts it, if you really keep the royal law found in Scripture love your neighbor as yourself. You are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law. That is, by that law as lawbreakers.
Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it for you said do not commit adultery also said do not murder. You do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you become a lawbreaker. Then he says, speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who is not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James is obviously thinking of that law which he quotes from Leviticus 1918, perhaps, is also say, thinking of the teaching of the Lord is.
It's recorded in Matthew 2240 gave an answer to a question. What was the first of the second of the laws first being love for God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. In the second love for our neighbors as ourselves. That's the royal law. Now James says if you break that lost no matter how you regard it, and you do break it if you show favoritism because you're not loving that neighbor as yourself. And he says you're a sinner and you stand condemned by that law in the sight of God say what's he doing when he gets to the end and is talking about mercy and judgment and all of those things I think he's nailing it down just as firmly as he possibly can. He's reminding us that there is a judgment and that the judgment does fall on those who break the law of God's always challenging people to re-examine their relationship to God in the light of the coming judgment is not to say that is teaching salvation by works, certainly not saying that if you keep this law on the next law. The law after that will after that do the ball you be saved by keeping the law, nothing of the sort of people of interpreted James in that way all the saying is if you're breaking the law consider it seriously consider what you're doing and re-examine your relationship to God. Because if you are related to them.
As you should be in Christ, and something of the spirit of Christ that went out to those who are destitute and needy and poor and unimportant should be in you and you should find yourself doing the same. In other words, he is drawing us back to the gospel. People of said there is no gospel in James, but it's not true.
The book is a very practical book and speaking of the living of the Christian life is not writing Romans worries explaining our need and God's answer to that need through the death of Christ, but it's there all the same is already spoken of the need for new birth in the first chapter verse 18.
He spoke of how God did it through word of his truth is also spoken of the need for faith in Christ at the beginning of this chapter brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. Now he adds to that that if we are saved in believers should be in office life matches our profession. Perhaps that's really the bottom line when these things must be applied to Christian people. All we read the words we know the teaching we can get discourses on what the doctrine says and that's right. We have to begin with that James says do you really live in a way that matches the things you teach in particular you do it in this matter of your friends who are your friends. They should be those who are friend less those do not attract the attention of the world. Those who will be neglected. It's not for Christian people. You and I for the sake of Christ realizing that we are in precisely the same position should reach out to those include the sake of Christ in the sake of the gospel. Let us pray our father, bless these practical truths to us again. You have already these other themes in James that we considered grant that your spirits and spirit who directed the ministry of Christ might direct our ministry also for his sake. You are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Aiken, God's living word with pastor, the Rev. Richard Phillips and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse.
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