Partiality Is Not Okay

Series: The Church Defined. James Dewhurst June 7, 2020

The Church Defined

Partiality Is Not Okay

Today we kick off a timely reopening series for June called – The Church Re-defined. Over this next month, we are going to identify what we’ve learned, that God is changing in His Church!

Perhaps you may have heard it described in some of it’s more popular and polarizing synonyms like bias, bigotry, discrimination, or prejudice. As hard as it is to admit, the truth is, we all have subtle our biases. They may not be the big, “hot button”, biases surrounding race or gender, but we all possess prejudices in subtle ways towards hairstyles, piercings, body types, dress, religion, nationality, age, immigration, economic status, and the latest headliner, Masks!

Partiality – is the sin of showing favoritism towards some and bias against others!

Romans 2:11

11 For God shows no partiality. (ESV)

Deuteronomy 10:17-19

17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. 18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. 19 Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. (ESV)

The Bible tells us that God doesn’t show partiality to anyone!

As King Jehoshaphat brought judicial reform to Israel, he laid out clear guidelines regarding their judgments, in:

2 Chronicles 19:6-7

6 and said to the judges, “Consider what you do, for you judge not for man but for the LORD. He is with you in giving judgment. 7 Now then, let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the LORD our God, or partiality or taking bribes.” (ESV)

In this passage, James directly lays out an example of partiality, which was showing favoritism to one based upon wealth and a bias against another based upon poverty.

-James then makes it clear that people of faith must show no kind of partiality!

-He goes on to introduce the standard of behavior set by God for how we treat others, which is famously known as The Golden Rule – “Love your neighbor as yourself!”

-Then James drops the bomb by declaring that partiality of any kind is a sin, and if we fail to change, we will be convicted by a righteous God who loves all impartially!

Partiality or Prejudice is not a skin problem, a gender problem, an immigration problem, an economic problem, or a mask or no mask problem. Partiality is a SIN PROBLEM!!!

James 2:19

19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! (ESV)

1 Samuel 16:7

7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (ESV)

Galatians 3:28

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (ESV)

Our holy God values us all the same. Red, Yellow, Black, and White, we are precious in his sight. The problem is, we still don’t see each other yet the way that God sees us!

Today, I want to share 4 reasons why God hates prejudices of all kinds:

Prejudice – is a preconceived judgment or opinion, not based on reason or experience.

The Latin root word for the term Prejudice means: “Judgment in advance”

(1) Prejudice REJECTS God’s Creation!

We need to be reminded that it was God’s idea to make us with different shapes, sizes, styles, nationalities, mentalities, and personalities. God knew that same was boring!

What a prejudice does is look at another person and tell God he made a mistake!

Pride, arrogance and an elevated sense of self-importance are at the root of prejudice!

Acts 17:26

26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, (ESV)

1 Corinthians 4:7

7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (ESV)

A famous philosopher once wrote – “Prejudices are what fools use for reason.”

Bigotry shows up in a division, but Wisdom shows up in healthy relationships!

(3) Prejudice DISOBEYS God’s Greatest Commandment!

James 3:17

17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. (ESV)

Galatians 5:14-16

14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (ESV)

In a time of historic division and anger, we must treat each other with love and respect!

The great Captain Kirk from Star Trek once stated – “The prejudices people feel about each other often disappear when they get to know each other.”

The church needs to be the answer, not the culprit, to racism, sexism, and political-ism!

When the world is divided, the church must be united! (Surrender our preferences!)

(4) Prejudice LIMITS the reach of the Gospel!

(Jesus died for all. We can’t love some)

Peter, a devout Jew, a disciple of Jesus and a fantastic preacher in God’s N.T church, struggled with a personal bias against Gentiles. But through a vision on his roof, God changed his heart:

Acts 10:34-35

34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. (ESV)

God showed Peter that people who were different than him were loved by God!

The Sin of Partiality is perhaps the most prevalent in America today! Studies show that within the first 30 seconds of meeting a person, we have already made judgments!

Jesus said:

John 7:24

24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” (ESV)

The church cannot be shallow, we must start seeing people the way God sees them!

1.We may be different but we are one big family!

1 Corinthians 3:1

1 But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. (ESV)

1 Corinthians 12:27

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (ESV)

Colossians 3:11

11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. (ESV)

Do you realize that as part of God’s family, I have more in common with a Guatemalan Christian, than I do with another middle-age skinny white guy who doesn’t know Christ?

2. We may be different but we need each other!

People find their identity in relationships – The reason there is such an identity crisis in our country today is that there are so many broken relationships!

Whatever it takes a church, we have to get partiality, bias, and prejudice out of our hearts!

Homework: Over the next week, I want to humbly challenge us to ask God to help us start seeing people differently. Not through our lense, but his. As our country continues to open, politics continue to divide, and riots continue to rage, we are going to see attitudes, actions, and responses that are different than ours. We are going to need to see God’s people the way Christ does. The church must model unity for the world!