Seriousness of Discrimination Cornerstone Bible Baptist Church by alicejenny



DATE: 9/20/09

TEXT: Read James 2:1-13


Illustration: In His autobiography, Mahatma Gandhi wrote
that during his student days he read the Gospels seriously and
considered becoming a Christian

He believed that in the teachings of Jesus he could find the
solution to the caste system that was dividing the people of

So one Sunday he decided to attend services at a nearby
Church and talk to the minister about becoming a Christian

However, when he entered the sanctuary, the usher refused to
give him a seat and suggested that he go worship with his own

Gandhi left the Church and never returned

He wrote, “If Christians have caste differences also, I might as
well remain a Hindu.” (Our Daily Bread, March 6, 1994)

In our text we find that the subject of discrimination

Look at four phrases:
   Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13

We find in v.1 the phrase - “respect of persons”

In v.3 you see the phrase - “And ye have respect to him,” and

In v.9 - “But if ye have respect to persons”

As well, you have the phrase - “Are ye not partial in
yourselves” in v.4

These phrases speak of showing favoritism and being

When we think of discrimination we usually think of racial

Illustrations: Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on a bus
in Montgomery, Alabama

George Wallace blocking the entrance of the University of
Alabama to black students

The student sit-in at a Woolworth’s diner in Greensboro, N.C.

The murder of three students in Mississippi

The marches of Martin Luther King …

All find their roots in the fight against racial discrimination in

Racial discrimination is still a hot subject

Today, the terms “hate crimes” and “racial profiling” have
become a part of our vocabulary

   Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13

But, in my opinion the group that is the greatest victim of
discrimination in America is Christians

Anti-Christian bigotry is accelerating at a rapid pace

It has come to the place where anyone and anything can have
a voice in America except the Christian

Illustration: There is an organization called Lambda that
advertises itself as a non-profit, gay, lesbian, bisexual,
transgender agency with the mission, “to create social change
and achieve civil rights, dignity, and self-respect for gay,
lesbian, bisexual, and trans-gendered individuals through
education, youth advocacy, anti-violence efforts, and fighting
discrimination of all forms, to achieve full participation in
society of persons belonging to a sexual minority.” (Lambda
Web Page,

I know this isn’t popular, but I want to say that there is
nothing dignified or self-respecting about a lifestyle that is
immoral, sinful and clearly in contradiction to the Word of

When I make that statement I am not being homophobic or

I am simply being Biblical

Groups like Lambda can promote their agenda, champion their
cause, and have a voice in public life

However, if you are a Christian you are told that you must
divorce your faith from all public life

   Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13

During the past presidential elections, the ADL (Anti-
Defamation League) condemned the presidential candidates
for talking about their religion

Howard Berkowitz, ADL National Chairman, and Abraham
Foxman, ADL National Director, said - “Public profession of
religious beliefs should not become an elemental part of our
political campaigns.”
i(Article entitled, “ADL to Presidential Candidates: Keep
Emphasis on Religion Out of Campaign” December 20, 1999,
ADL Web Page)

I think of a case in New York that involved a first grade
teacher that refused to allow a six-year old student from
reading a Bible story to his class

The mother of the first-grader sued the school and a New
Jersey federal district judge ruled in the school’s favor

The mother appealed on the ground that the boy’s rights to the
free exercise of religion and free speech had been violated and
the Third Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the argument,
noting that public schools should have discretion “regarding
what subjects are appropriate for elementary school classroom

In other words, a Bible story is inappropriate for elementary
school children, but sex education is alright

I could go on and on …

But what is really tragic is that this anti-Christian bigotry is all
done in the name of the constitution and the separation of
Church and State
   Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13

Discrimination in this country is not just a racial issue

It is also a religious issue

In our text before us in the book of James, it’s not Christians
that are being discriminated against, but Christians are the
ones that are doing the discriminating

This ought not to be so!

Let’s notice what James has to say about discrimination




We read in v.1 –

“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.”

What James is saying is – “Don’t say you have faith in Christ
and then have respect of persons”

James tells us that discrimination on the part of a Christian is a
contradiction and a dishonor to our faith

When he speaks of faith he is speaking of the relationship we
have with the Lord Jesus because we have put our faith in Him
as Saviour

Why is discrimination a dishonor to our faith?

   Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13

Because of:

A. “Who” we are

He calls us “brethren”

When we were saved we became a part of God’s family

As believers, we are brothers and sisters in the Lord

The Bible often speaks of saved people as the children of God

Regardless of our race, skin color, occupations, vocations, or
backgrounds, we are brothers and sisters in Christ

Illustration: In the 1800’s, a German anthropologist,
Johann Blumenbach, divided the human population into five
races: Caucasian (European), Mongolian (East Asians),
Malayan (Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders), Ethiopians
(sub-Saharan Africans), and Americans (Native Americans).
(15,000 Illustrations by Paul Lee Tan)

However, when God looks at his children He does not see
Caucasian, Mongolian, Malayan, Ethiopians, and Americans

He sees His creation, His children

He sees us as brothers and sisters in Christ

Humor: I think of a little story I read about two apples in a
tree that were looking down on the world

   Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13

The first apple said, “Look at all those people fighting,
robbing, and rioting

No one seems willing to get along with his fellow man

Someday apples will be the only ones left

Then we will rule the world”

The second apple replied, “Which ones—the greens or reds.”

Unfortunately, people tend to look at people based on their
race or the color of their skin

But God does not see red or yellow, black or white …

He sees us as a redeemed people who make up a spiritual

When we consider the fact that we are brethren, discrimination
on the part of any Christian is a dishonor to our faith

Because of: “Who” we are

B. “Whose” we are

Notice, we belong to the – “Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of

When you think of Jesus you think of one that showed no
favoritism or discrimination

You think of one that “so loved the world”

   Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13

He died for all men, regardless of who they were or what they
have done

The Bible often speaks of a lack of favoritism or
discrimination on the part of God

Romans 2:11 - “For there is no respect of persons with God”

Acts 10:34 - “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a
truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:”

Ephesians 6:9 - “And, ye masters, do the same things unto
them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also
is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with Him.”

Thank God He is no respecter of persons!

If God had shown favoritism, they none of us would be here

If Jesus had been discriminatory, He would not have died for
the sins of the whole world

I’m part of God’s family because God is no respecter of

God loves the world (not the world’s system) and all the
peoples of the world

When you consider the fact that we belong to One who never
showed favoritism or discrimination, it is a dishonor to our
faith when we discriminate

  Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13




Beginning in v.2, James takes us into a Church service

We find the word “assembly” which indicates that what he is
about to say involves discrimination being found in the

One place discrimination should never be found is in the

Illustration: David Jeremiah in his book on James tells a
story about a Sunday morning in the Bel Aire Presbyterian
Church where Ronald and Nancy Reagan attended when he
was governor of California

When in attendance, the Reagan’s usually sat in the same seats
just off the center aisle about two-thirds of the way into the

On this particular morning the governor and his wife were late
and by the time they got there, two college students were
sitting in those seats

An usher came down the aisle and asked the students if they
would take different seats

They moved, and the Reagan’s were brought and seated

   Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13

The pastor of the church, got up and left the platform, walked
down and over to the college students and said, (very vocally)
“As long as I am pastor of this Church, that will never happen
to you again.” (Turning Toward Integrity by David Jeremiah)

I commend that pastor because I don’t care if it is the
president of the United States; the church is not a place to
show favoritism or discrimination

In the church, anybody and everybody should be somebody!

There are at least five areas where we as believers can be
tempted to discriminate:

      We can discriminate on the basis of appearance
      We can discriminate on the basis of ancestry
      We can discriminate on the basis of age
      We can discriminate on the basis of achievement
      We can discriminate on the basis of affluence

In our text, the church discriminated on the basis of
appearance and affluence


A. The Illustration of the Practice of Discrimination

In vs. 2-3 James describes the discrimination this church was

We read - “For if there come unto your assembly a man with
a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor
man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth
the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good
                              - 10 -
   Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13

place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here
under my footstool.”

James describes two different people that came into the church

One was dressed in fine clothing and jewelry

The other was dressed in shabby clothes

The one that was dressed in fine clothes and jewelry was given
the royal treatment

He was ushered to the best seat in the building

Yet, the visitor dressed in shabby clothing wasn’t even offered
a seat, but was told to stand or sit on the floor

It was simply a case of showing favoritism to one and being
discriminatory to the other based on appearance and affluence

An Illustration of the Practice of Discrimination

B. A Condemnation of the Presence of Discrimination

What does James say about how they treated these folks?

He says in v.4 –

“Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become
judges of evil thoughts?”

He condemns their partiality and discrimination

First he condemns how they treated the one as somebody

                             - 11 -
   Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13

They gave the one visitor the royal treatment just because he
was dressed in nice clothes and wore expensive rings

He had the appearance of affluence and they treated him as

Furthermore, he condemns how they treated the other as

The fellow that came in wearing shabby clothes was treated as
if he was nobody

Instead of offering him a seat they told him to stand and if he
wanted to sit down, he could sit on the floor

They treated him as a nobody simply because of his

James says they had “become judges of evil thoughts.”

The word “thoughts” speaks of motives

Maybe they thought, “We are in a building program and if we
treat this fellow right, he’ll drop a nice check in the offering

When they saw the other shabby dressed fellow, they saw one
that couldn’t help them

It may have been a case where they didn’t even care if his kind
ever came to their church

Whatever the case, their motives were wrong

                              - 12 -
   Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13

If a judge allowed what a defendant looks like or dresses like
affect his decision, it would be a terrible injustice

To render a verdict in favor of the defendant just because they
are rich, popular, or affluent would be a verdict rendered with
the wrong motive

James says, “You have become like a judge that renders a
decision based on appearance and affluence”

Truth: I can only speak for The Cornerstone Bible Baptist
Church, but everyone is welcome here

There is no member more important than another

We have people from all walks of life

When people walk through the doors into this Sanctuary they
leave their titles and reputations outside

The person that has nothing is just as welcome here as the
person that has everything

God forbid that we ever treat someone above another just
because of who they are or what they have

As long as I am pastor here, there will be no restrictions of
who can attend regardless of race or riches

All will be treated equally

After condemning their discrimination, James reminds them in
v.5 –

                              - 13 -
   Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13

“Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the
poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom
which He hath promised to them that love Him?”

They treated the poor with disrespect, but James tells them
that God has special interest and blessings for the poor

Throughout the Bible, we see that God shows special concern
to those that are poor

 In the Old Testament, God made special provisions for the
poor when it came to the sacrifices

If a person could not afford to bring a bullock, goat, or sheep,
they could offer a turtledove or pigeon

God made it possible that even the poor could offer a sacrifice

 Also, every seventh year all debts would be cancelled in
order to help the poor

 When the fields were harvested, the corners of the field
were to be left so the poor could glean food for themselves

 The poor were never to be charged interest on a loan

 If they had to sell their property, a kinsman was to redeem
it for them

God established certain provisions and protections for the poor

When it came to their faith, they may be poor materially and
financially, but they were rich spiritually

                              - 14 -
   Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13

They were rich in faith and were heirs of the kingdom of God

God did not favor the poor over the rich nor love the poor
more than the rich either

But He did look on their circumstances with great interest and

James says in v.6 -“But ye have despised the poor.”

The word “despised” speaks of how they dishonored and
mistreated the poor

James says, “You have mistreated and acted discriminatory
toward the very people God treats with special blessings”

He was showing them how disgraceful was their

He adds in vs. 6 and 7 - “Do not rich men oppress you, and
draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme
that worthy name by the which ye are called?”

James asks, “Is it not the rich that oppress you?”

The word “oppress” mean’s to tyrannize, to exercise
inordinate power over others

They very class of people they were showing favoritism was
the class that was abusing them

Again, James is showing how disgraceful discrimination is in
the Church

                             - 15 -
   Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13

In the Church anybody and everybody should be somebody

Rich or poor, new suit or old clothes; no one should be treated
as a nobody but everybody as somebody





For a moment skip down to v.12 –

“So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the
law of liberty.”

He reminds them that one day the Lord will judge them

The fact that discrimination will one day be judged of the Lord
should make us look at discrimination in a different light

Someone might say, “Well, preacher, I can’t help but feel the
way I do for it’s the way I grew up. Where I grew up,
everybody felt that way.”

My answer to that would be that it may have been what you
grew up in but you better grow out of it, Why?


A. The “Sinfulness” of Discrimination

                             - 16 -
   Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13

We read in v.8 –

“If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well”

James calls the command to love your neighbor as yourself the
royal law

He no doubt called it that based on what Jesus had said

In Matthew 22:36, a Pharisee, had asked Jesus the question –

“Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law”

The purpose of the question was to trip Jesus up, but the
answer He gave is classic:

Matthew 22:37, 38 – “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love
the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul,
and with all thy mind. This is the first and great
commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt
love thy neighbour as thyself”

What Jesus did in that answer was give a summary of the Ten

The first four of the Ten Commandments are covered in the
statement –

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and
with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”

                             - 17 -
   Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13

If a man loves the Lord in such a way he will not put any other
gods before him, he will not worship idols, misuse the name of
the Lord and will keep the Sabbath holy

The rest of the commandments are summarized in the
statement –

“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”

If a man loves his neighbor as himself, he will honor his father
and mother

He will not commit murder or steal

He will not commit adultery or give false testimony against
his neighbor and will not covet what his neighbor has

James says if a person will love his neighbor as himself, …

That is, treat him with respect and without favoritism, he does

But if not, we read in v. 9 –

“But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are
convinced of the law as transgressors”

Shooting straight from the hip, James says discrimination is a

It is a violation of God’s Royal law!

                                - 18 -
   Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13

In case someone might say, “Well, I know I should not feel
this way about others, but it is not as bad as some sins I could
be guilty of,”

James says in vs. 10-11 –

“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in
one point, he is guilty of all. For He that said, Do not commit
adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no
adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of
the law.”

All sins may not be in the same category and have the same
magnitude, but if you break one law, any law, you still are
guilty of breaking the law and have sinned

Just because you don’t break certain laws doesn’t excuse you
when you break others

Whatever law you break is sin

Since the Royal Law of loving your neighbor as yourself
covers all the Commandments that relate to our relationship
with others, to break one is to break them all

It is sin!

Since we know that God does not condone sin, then secondly
you must consider:

Not only The “Sinfulness” of Discrimination

                              - 19 -
   Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13

B. The “Seriousness” of Discrimination

Again I bring you back to v. 12 –

“So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the
law of liberty”

One day God will judge our sins

James says we need to speak and act as people that one day
will face God with what we say and how we behave

This makes discrimination a very serious matter

In fact, notice v.13 –

“For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath
shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.”

James says that if we do no show mercy, we will be shown no

But if we show mercy, mercy will triumph and we will be able
to rejoice in the Day of Judgment

How does discrimination affect our future?

It will not cause us to lose our salvation, but it will affect our
rewards and what our reaction will be when we stand before
the Lord

To sum it all up, there is no place for discrimination is either
our personal lives or our churches !!

                               - 20 -
   Anybody & Everybody is Somebody – James 2:1-13

It should not matter to us who a person is, where they are
from, or what they have

For the Christian and for the Church, anybody and everybody
should be treated as somebody




Because of “Who” we are

Because of “Whose” we are


The Illustration of the Practice of Discrimination

A Condemnation of the Presence of Discrimination


The “Sinfulness” of Discrimination

The “Seriousness” of Discrimination

                             - 21 -

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