James: Encountering the Torah of Freedom – Chapter 2 Part 1

Welcome Home everyone. Its great to back in the saddle. Amen

James’ Jewish perspective.

My big idea for us today is that we would resist the sin of favoritism and be aligned in the wisdom of the law of Christ Jesus. My prayer for us today is that by hearing this message we would continue to embrace the mercy of Christ toward others and grow into a kingdom mindset that is Christ Jesus Himself. If you have your Bibles today you can join me in James chapter 2, verse1

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 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,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: 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? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong? 8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. 12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

James 2:1-13

In order to help me share with you today, I have separated my thoughts into 3 sections or points.

Don’t Show Favoritism Based on Appearance

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 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,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

James 2:1-4

In Deuteronomy 1:16-17 Moses brings this idea of Judges presiding over disputes involving the Israelites and foreigners

And I charged your judges at that time, “Hear the disputes between your people and judge fairly, whether the case is between two Israelites or between an Israelite and a foreigner residing among you. 17 Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid of anyone, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too hard for you, and I will hear it.”

Deuteronomy 1:16-17

And again, in Acts 10 Peter spoke to the house of Cornelius, the Centurion. “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but He accepts from every nation those who fear Him and does what is right.” This idea of ungodly favoritism is well documented in the Bible. And our first thought tends to be, what’s in it for me? We see the gold ring and the fine clothes, and we think what’s in it for me or my church. Financial/economic class? We suppose that this is also the case for James’ listeners. We miss the nuance… We miss the phrase “in your meeting…” This word in the original language is found 57 times in the NT translated primarily 2 ways. Synagogue (56 times) or once it is translated Assembly/Meeting. It omits the Jewish identity of Christianity.

The distinction James is drawing is not just between the rich and poor, but between the non-believing Jews/seekers or Gentiles that have come to join their Messianic Jewish service. Not a Christian church service like we have here, but a Jewish synagogue service and one that expresses their Hebraic faith in Yeshua/Jesus the Messiah.

Partiality in the church is evil and leads us away from the words of Christ/ ”love your neighbor as yourself.” My prayer for this ministry here is that I love each of you equally. That is why, from the beginning, I have removed myself and Pastor Frankie from the burden of knowing who and how each of you gives of your tithes and offerings. Any differing factors of how we relate one to another is predicated by time and relationship not by any form of favoritism, subconscious or otherwise.

Don’t Be Aligned with Those Who Do Evil

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: 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? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong.

James 2:5-7

First, just like our Lord Jesus God has chosen the poor to be rich in the kingdom.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3

So, I struggled with this next part a bit. And eventually I found that I had been reading it incorrectly and a wonderful commentary helped me to see my error.

This commentator continues to say, “why treat these nonbelieving Jews in some special way when they are the ones who oppress you and drag you into the religious courts.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Romans 12:18

This does not mean that you are required to continue to expose your-self to torment or to those who continue to abuse you. At the same time do not be vengeful.

Do not be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:21

We will do well to avoid these situations altogether if possible.

Be Aligned with the Kingdom Torah

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

James 2:8-11

What does he mean the kingdom Torah? I’m so glad you asked. This idea of the royal law or the Kingdom Torah is the law of Moses, carried out by you and me through the Holy Spirit and perfected under the blood of Christ Jesus.

This is the Law of King Jesus.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Matthew 5:17–

Christ is the fullness of the Law/Torah and the Prophets.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:36-40

Love God (the first 4 of 10 commandments) Love your neighbor as yourself (the remaining 6 of 10 commandments)

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

James 2:12-13

This is James’ Torah of Freedom. Mercy was Christ’s example to us. He gave it to us freely. And this is how we honor/love God and how we love our neighbors as our selves. You have all heard of the Golden Rule?

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 7:12

Will you join me as we seek love God and love people. This is truly an authentic expression of our relationship united in Christ and each other? Rejecting division, embracing God’s reality in Jesus, and encouraging one another. It’s just between you and God.

Here’s the thing, If we love God and abide in Christ we will find ourselves more and more loving each other. You will we more and you will love better. We will experience God in spirit and in truth and we will share that amongst each other. Share all the ways God has shown you mercy and grace.

Will you allow the Holy Spirit to stir faith in someone through your testimony? Would you join me as the Holy Spirit moves on us to be unified in the spirit of Christ? These are the kingdom values. This is truly the work of God. The intentional actions of the body of Christ. Remember the devil seeks only to kill steal and destroy. Steal your freedom, kill your joy, and destroy your destiny for hope and love. He’s stealing from your neighbor, your family, and your loved ones today. But God has a plan!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and we can receive from Him today His Righteousness, His purpose and His calling. Will you call on him today? Your salvation/forgiveness is just one prayer away. Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today?

Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. Is there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today. You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late.

It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here.

Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life. If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me?

Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.

“‘“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’

Numbers 6:24-26