Writings – James The way we “see” others. James 2:1-13 August 12, 2018
I. WHAT is FAVOURITISM? (v.1)
A. Literally “TAKING up a PERSON”. (v.1)
B. “SEEING” them as a MEANS to an END. (v.1)
James has talked about trials and also how the word of God is meant to be believed, a belief that naturally leads to obedience and action. The text this week talks about one of the pitfalls we, as followers of Jesus, need to avoid. Treating people differently… playing favourites. It’s a common practice, and one that we often don’t even realize we are doing.
1. Have you ever felt like someone sized you up and wrote you off without even getting to know you? What was that like for you?
2. Take a moment and think through your friends and acquaintances. How many of them are really only a means to an end for you?
II. DISCRIMINATING is making DISTINCTIONS. (v.2-7)
A. IMPOSING a system of VALUE… (v.2-3)
B. …CENTRED around OURSELVES. (v.4)
C. We don’t SEE as God SEES. (v.5)
D. When we USE people we get USED. (v.6-7)
The issue with playing favourites is that we are seeing the world from the wrong vantage point. We aren’t looking at everyone from the perspective of the Kingdom of God, but from a system that uses people to meet our own needs. The irony is that it never seems to work the way we think.
3. Jeff says that our “distinctions” in regards to people are often due to a value system centred on ourselves. What do you think about that?
4. What does see when he sees you? When he sees someone that you have a hard time loving?
III. SEEING ourselves CLEARLY
A. We are UNQUALIFIED as JUDGES. (v.4-7)
B. All PEOPLE are the SAME under SIN. (v.9-10)
C. BELIEVERS BELONG to God. (v.7)
To see others clearly we have to start by looking honestly at ourselves. We have this assumption that there is a “pecking order” and we hope to fall in the upper half. The bad news is that we are all at the bottom. The God news is that it’s about whose we are, not how good we are.
5. If all people are the same under sin, what are the implications that flow out of that?
6. How can you live with a growing awareness that you belong to God, and not to yourself?
IV. LOVE is the law EMBODIED. (v.8; Mt. 22:36-40)
A. REJECTING “our” system of VALUE. (v.2-3; Mark 8:33)
B. EMBRACING what God VALUES. (v.5; James 1:27)
C. LOVING as we have been LOVED. (v.8; I Jn 4:19)
This “perfect Torah” that James writes about gives us great insight, it we are willing to look at it and not forget what we have seen. It calls us to exchange our value system for the values of the Kingdom of heaven, and to share what we have been given with the whole world.
7. What types of people do you “value” and why? Who is Christ calling you to value?
8. Reflect on God’s love for you. What are the implications that flow out of that in your relationships with others?