June 21, 2020

How Culture Crept Into the Early Church | James 2:1-2

How Culture Crept Into the Early Church | James 2:1-2

We've been studying the book of James learning that God sends us trials to test the purity of our faith. In Chapter One, we learned that God sends us various trials. In Chapter 2, we look at a different type of trial - the trial of favoritism. 

In 2 Minutes, you will discover: 
1. The fascinating history of Roman's wearing 6 rings on every finger (and why they did it)
2. What a glowing white toga represents in James 2:2
3. The challenging question of "Would you pass this test?"

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Thank you for all that you do. God bless!

Transcript

Hey! Welcome to The Simple Truth. I’m Julie Carruth. 

In the Book of James, we’ve learned that God tests our faith to determine the purity of our faith. The past few weeks we’ve learned about tests based on various trials. We begin today’s lesson with a different type of test.  In James 2:1 we read, “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.”

So, if we put this verse into context with the previous verses, James is saying that God tests us by how we respond to people with different social backgrounds, or as the NIV puts it “favoritism.” 

James illustrates favoritism for us in James 2:2.

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

Now, the history behind this is fascinating. In the original language, the word for gold ring literally meant gold fingered. In that day, Romans wore rings on every finger, and many of those fingers had multiple rings on it. 

James also refers to the fine clothes, which in the Greek means, radiant, glowing, white apparel. A shining white toga was a clearly identifiable status symbol. Why? Because it showed you didn’t do dirty work. You hired others for that. 

Now contrast that image with the man in filthy old clothes. He’s got one outfit. He’s worked all day in the fields; and let’s be real here, he probably smells. 

So you’ve got to 2 very different people that have walked through your door of the church, and as an usher, you have to seat them. Where do you put them? Would you pass this test of favoritism? Tomorrow, we’ll dive deep into Verses 3 and 4 and explore what happens when we choose the wrong way to deal with this test. 

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