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Created in God's image
March 29, 2010
by Pastor Rick Messer, Howard Lake Christian Church

When people ask about our religion or faith in Christ, what they really want to know is whether Christianity really works or not. That’s why it is so important for us not to show favoritism toward others.

When my wife and I go to the movie theatre, I like to be there early for two reasons – good seats and previews. Why do I like previews? I like them because they show you the best part about a movie that’s getting ready to open.

Just like those movie previews, I believe the church is to be like a preview – a preview of the kingdom of God. I believe that Jesus will return for His bride, the church. However, until Christ returns, we are to display a glimpse of that future glory while living on this side of eternity.

I pray that people will see a church that loves its members with the love of Christ, without showing favoritism. The Bible says, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” (James 2:8-9 NIV)

Favoritism is a very insidious and pervasive sin that can ruin our witness. It’s the sin of making judgments about people on the basis of external factors, which results in dismissing some people and showing favor to others.

And don’t think this was just isolated to the church in James’ day – we see it all the time in the church today. We see people showing favoritism based on race, music styles, clothing, haircuts, denominations, money, schools, education, locations . . . the list could go on and on, and sadly, it has crept back into the church of Jesus Christ.

As followers of Christ, we are not to prefer some people over others on the basis of their ethnicity, clothing style, haircut, skin color, tooth color, eye shape, nose size, ear size, body size, hair length, eyebrow density, or any other aspect of their outward appearance. We are simply to give love and grace to all different kinds of people without regard to their external appearance.

When we were born again, we were given a new nature. The Apostle Peter talks about this in 2 Peter 1:3-4: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

Our new nature is based on the fact that we are believers in Jesus Christ. Jesus, the Lord of Glory, the King of Kings, came and loved every class of person: Pharisees, sinners, lepers, Samaritans, prostitutes, tax collectors, fishermen, soldiers, commanders, demoniacs, rich people, poor people – the Lord of glory slighted no one.

As we journey through this life following our Savior, I pray that as followers of Christ, we will rid ourselves of favoritism and emulate Jesus in the way we treat all men and women, recognizing that they, too, have been created in the image of God.