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June 16, 2022 12:00 am
Next time you step through the doors of your local church, throw your prejudices and stereotypes and self-righteousness outside. When you leave, don't pick them back up.
Peterson paraphrases this text the road 126 to 31. He says the ends I don't see many of the brightest and best among you that many from high society.
Isn't it obvious that God chose men and women.
Their culture overlooks and exploits abuses chose these nobodies to expose the hollow pretensions of the somebody's for everything that we have right thinking right living a clean slate and a fresh start comes from God my way on Jesus though everything we have is a gift from God and evidence of God's grace to us were tempted to think of ourselves as special. You can import sometimes were tempted to think of ourselves as better and more important than others. When that happens, it leads to prejudice and bigotry and other sins today on wisdom for the heart. Stephen Devi returns to James chapter 2 were in a passage which teaches us that in Christ we are all one in the way we live is supposed to reflect that reality. After a bit of review. Stephen will conclude a message started last time, called don't be a snob I mentioned earlier that. And I sure seated these men I need to correct that in order to show you how deeply rooted this problem was I didn't want to bring up until now, if you look at verse three that the speaker is unidentified. He isn't actually Asher.
You would think of the ushers who help people find a seat. Maybe you help today in James day we know again from church history. The Osher would've actually been someone appointed to meet visitors justice today. We can't be sure exactly when the practice started but we know in the early church. It was actually I get this. The deacon that made sure people will care for the service. It was the deacon who ushered people to their see it was the deacon who kept the service free of any disturbance affected if anyone came in late, the deacon's job is to write down their name and charge them feel Me that part up with everything else. Mr. we know from history that the pastor would appoint the deacon assigning them to help the latecomer to be seated so that the pastor would not be interrupted as he delivered the sermon. If I can go all way back to the fourth century. That's interesting. I read one early church document that revealed that one of the reasons they had the deacon that is so that when a wealthy person came in the way the pastor would not be tempted to stop the service and direct that man, to the best seat so they protected one another because it has no business in the church so I say all that to tell you that the problem isn't in on spiritual Asher this is a problem with the character of church leadership that it's made its way down to the pew in fact, that never really change, but it's now exacerbated because of that the attitude of the man in the pulpit and the deacon elders and deacons were as partial and prejudice and so the church is not the Reformation of culture. It is a habitation.
The culture I wonder if the average church today beginner services on Sunday morning by effectively saying that while the instruments play please stand up and shake hands with at least two people who aren't in your click James provides a summary of the scenario you write several things.
Verse one is the first have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil motive to this is the summary what's going on in the church. James first of all, says it is nothing less than sinful thinking. He says how evil is it to come into the assembly and make all these distinctions among yourselves to create classism in the church and he just called it what it is evil injurious harmful call what you well. It's not right. Partiality and favoritism and prejudice. None of that is a face issue. It's a soul issue.
It's not a skin problem.
It is a sin problem.
So the guy with money and the guy with connections gets the cheese seat while the poor guy gets his clothing dirtied even more by having to sit on the floor or maybe on the undoubtedly weary feedings told us stand over there about all and you just stay there church ladies and gentlemen must be must be the one place on planet Earth where this is wiped out in here and we demonstrated out there is church should be the place to demonstrate how to think correctly how to place value on people correctly in James is already upset the apple cart by starting with orphans and widows in their poor people.
This is convicting confused longtime pastor of the Wheaton Bible church told the story in his commentary on James and the poor woman committed believer moved into town. She was on the other side of the railroad tracks from the church that she thought she'd visit she heard it was evangelical so she went and visited the church she stayed right afterward to talk to the pastor about joining. She could tell he wasn't too happy with how she looked and talked wasn't too sure he wasn't that is that she provide anything for the church so we told her not to be too hasty and I just read, but to go home and read her Bible every day for an hour and see how she felt about the decision after that she did a week later she was back. She waited around all after the service approach. The pastor again.
It was a little irritated.
He thought he take care of but said to her latte. What want to go home and pray every day about this decision and ask the Lord if you really want you in this fellowship. He didn't see her for several months. Finally one day he was walking downtown in the paths cross, cough nervously and then as well.
What if you decided, and she said no, I did exactly what you asked me to do. I would home and prayed every day and one day while I was praying the Lord said to me, don't worry about not getting in the dead church.
I've been trying to get in there for 20 years and I can either well. It is tragic isn't it when the church does in here with the world does out there see your pigeonholed out there. Your value is based on what you have been aware what you drove to get there and how much you have in the bank and on and on. James says to them. Stop doing that in here, I not only condemns their sinful attitude, but he also challenges the fact that their thinking is contrary to the nature of the gospel. Verse five listen, my beloved brethren. The note that he speaking to believers listen, my beloved brethren did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs to the kingdom which he promised to those who love them.
Now, don't misunderstand.
Like liberal theologians to say what all the poor getting the heavens as if you know what is effectively saying is that the gospel is available to the poor man just like it's available to the rich man God is no respecter of person fact the gospel of Christ. Love is especially precious to the poor person was nothing to someone who is considered without value stunning to them to learn that they have eternal value there amazed at the gospel levels the ground.
Haven't you ever wondered why it is that when you share the gospel of Jesus Christ with a poor man or woman there more receptive immediately than the rich man James is telling them that they're not thinking correctly and contrary to the gospel. Just look at how the gospel is received. This is his point. Even the historical movements of Christianity.
I'm plowing through Spurgeon's biography and it's interesting. I thought they are very famous with the here and yes, the Queen did in the Prime Minister and many others, but his movement was classified as a movement among the workers.
It was a blue collar movement is, and always think about it, perhaps because the poor have little optimism that this life can offer any solution in a long already for veteran. Maybe it's because the poor have no unrealistic sense of self-importance beats because the poor person more immediately recognizes the good news of the gospel babies because the poor have little if anything to hold them back from embracing Christ babies because the poor anticipate with greater joy, the thought of the future, the benevolent sovereign when a more wealthy perhaps it's because the rich are lured into believing that God is blessing the confused financial security with spiritual security.
The rich depend on themselves and look down on anything that's free. Maybe it's because the rich are interested in joining only those things that will enhance them and the reputation not humble maybes because the rich aren't intrigued by a heaven that promises much of what they already have maybes because having all their earthly needs met. They fail to consider their greatest need, but isn't it interesting that the apostle Paul would would speak in the church and he would say. Consider your calling, brethren, not many EY's not minding paradise, well-connected, powerful, not many know all those of the rich and wealthy classes are called. You got anybody important, I need your charts in his newsletter Leonard Ravenhill tells about a group of tours visiting a picturesque village in England. They walked by an old man sitting beside a fence in one of the Taurus in a rather patronizing way asked him where any great man born in this village. The old man responded not just babies. I love the treatment of Eugene Peterson as he paraphrases this text that I read prescriptions 126 to 31 he says take a good look friends.
I don't see many of the brightest and best among you, not many influential that many from high society. Isn't it obvious that God chose men and women.
Their culture overlooks and exploits and abuses chose these nobodies to expose the hollow pretensions of the somebodies for everything that we have right thinking right living a clean slate and a fresh start comes from God.
By way of Jesus Christ, who was by the way, poor man was nothing about him that we would steamed.
So how dare we treat people differently than Jesus Christ treated them.
How would we have treated him, how can we look down our noses at nobodies when they happen to be God's favorite flavor. Are we in agreement with the gospel in and we demonstrated even in the assembly while younger Christians watch us younger people. If you could climb back into the scenario.
This church service.
If you're sitting there and your younger Christian white injurious if your younger person you might want to, so he got see that there will back and you might come away with some wrong conclusions. You might assume that the rich man must be more important to the church than the poor man, you might conclude that God likes this guy better because he made them rich or the maybe God doesn't like poor people because the church obviously doesn't either. Or maybe poor people deserve to sit on the floor or it looks like money does talk, even in their see all the above to be learned in one morning service in the seating of two men in this manner, the congregation learns just a little better how to play the role of snob and receive people because of their face rather than their faith. James also goes on in the summer to say your favoritism doesn't make logical sense to me.
It's hard for us to climb back and this was so offensive. This was so confrontive and now even even goes one step further. Verse six. Look, there you dishonored the poor man.
Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court. In other words, what in the world are you thinking your fawning on Sunday over the very person who may drag you into court on Monday in the first century there was the legal custom call summary arrest. If a creditor met a debtor on the street he could seize them by the collar of his robe and literally drag him into court and oftentimes the wealthy then were able use their influences in property disputes engaging with the good from the poor because the port couldn't afford representation in Roman law pandered toward those who could be represented by the vast that is the foundation of our legal system and all of its warts and blessing begins, James is not condemning the rich for having that kind of connection. He's condemning them for using it to gain advantage over the poor. We recently saw that in Beijing, which ordered the bulldozing and dismantling of hundreds of homes of poor people to make room for Olympic buildings. They had no voice quickly. James goes on at one more reason partiality is sinful or seven tells us, do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you been called these are the unbelievers. Not only that they are the scoffers they are the mockers.
They are those who blaspheme some of the church cow towels to them. They are effectively forging friendships with blaspheme. I read a lot more than I will share with you but all is that this is a side argument is 111 note I was reading one author was talking about people came to see Nixon and he served in the in the White House and he was in charge of traffic and that he want to talk about.
He was a believer talk about those years.
Any any anyone talking to people in the lobby who were infuriated with next. Some policies I miss you just really angry just getting there. They would be liens in the lobbying.
He wrote an Lamb's in the Oval Office. He said it was remarkable to watch them as they came in and soon as they were in the presence of the most powerful man in America. They wilted they forgot their arguments that they brought up anything negative. It would be with an apology, they would find themselves agree with the president shake his hand thankfully saw them and leave this author went on to say the group that did that for most of any group were those who were religious leaders, James Wright, their blaspheming the fair name of our Lord by which you have been called and you're honoring them your honoring those who dishonor the father affect the phrase translated by which you have been called, is the same Greek word used for a woman taking the name of her husband and marriage taken the name of Christ. He's your bridegroom.
Yours bride are you going to pander after are you going to fuss over someone in the assembly who blasphemes the name of your bridegroom, will you give the chief seat of honor to someone who will dishonor the Lord's name and reputation, James would say how wrong is that you go back to verse one he gives again and why favoritism and partiality are especially sinful. Go back there and will wrap this up. He says my brother and don't hold your faith in whom our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.
In other words, we have come in here and we as an assembly in this unique manner of worship are in the presence of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, you can translated our Lord Jesus Christ, who is glory dioxide is the word which gives us our word. The doxology here is the glory of God, a reference. Many believed to the Shekinah glory. The demonstration on earth of God's glory in heaven. Isaiah prophesied the glory of the Lord will be revealed as a 40 verse five, Paul wrote to Titus, we have this hope the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus. Titus 213. This is the glory of Christ, the bright shining Shekinah glory and we have assembled here in the presence of Jesus Christ, who is glory Shekinah glory is visible. And here's the point. This is the point when you think about coming in here, in his presence. We are all shabby compared to his holiness. We are all turning compared to the glory and security of this eternal. We are all homeless were all clay pots and how you act like a snob over the glory of Christ and his gospel is this the we are shabby compared to him. He is now may the Saints the we are dirty daily. We been made clean through Christ we understand forgiveness though hopeless. We been granted a future and hope the homeless. We been now given equal standing and equal inheritance together as sons and daughters of the King though clay pots he has chosen to pour into us the treasure of his gospel which he wants us if we are willing to grow up to pour out on others. We are not to be snobs. We are to be's pickets of grace. I never forget mechanic who was working on my truck years ago. My original F1 50 given to me by my father worked on a Ford assembly line. I was the first F1 50 on my fourth one now he was working on my truck in his backyard is a backyard mechanic. He's the guy could afford. And while he worked on my truck I was working on him a couple hours he could go nowhere. I was paying him to listen telling about the church. The gospel Christ the Lord, my testimony and forget his name was DeAngelo. One point he pulled his head out from underneath the hood of the truck and he said you know I work late on Saturday to make ends meet. This is my other job and and and any times I'm working early on Sunday morning and then he looked at me and he asked me a question. He said do you think it be okay if I came to your church with grease on my hands and the answer church is yes absolutely it's a demonstration that we have taken the education of our world and we have left it out there and we have a reformed culture in here that a lady came up to me. She said our first service we came from California and we been visiting around she said. We sat on the very back row in front of us was a guy with his arm around his wife and increase under his fingernails was obvious he was mechanic and she leaned over to her husband, she said, look at that this is the place for us. Come join this collection of clay pots are welcome to join the assembly of nobody's is Jim Elliott put it so well. Missionary to the occupant. We are nobody's attempting to exalt some who is our glorious Lord Jesus Christ powerful quote from Jim Elliott reminding us that we are nobodies who are trying to exalt our Lord and Savior, but it's not easy to live that way and the way we treat others, even though were bringing this lesson to a close. Stephen actually has one more lesson to teach on this topic. The series that were in his entitled the law of love from James chapter 2 you're listening to wisdom for the heart.
The Bible teaching ministry of pastor and author Stephen Davey Stephen pastors colonial Baptist Church in Cary, North Carolina, and you can learn more about us by visiting wisdom online.org referred from some listeners recently and Stevens here with those letters in hand.
Yet, I am Scott is good to be joining up with you in the studio friends.
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Stephen I know you have one more letter to Reba before you get to that.
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