Wisdom in Dealing with Power Dynamics
Rusty Wirt   -  

Title: Wisdom in Dealing with Power Dynamics

Main Verse: James 2:1-13


Key Thought:  Obedience to Jesus requires us to examine our relationships with the people in our community. We tend to give preferential treatment to the rich and powerful, hoping that this contact will somehow benefit us. James’ teaching upends this thinking. He challenges the people of faith to care for and honor the poor. Doing so is clear illustration of our devotion to Jesus’ life and commands.


Why are we fascinated with celebrities?

As Hunter S. Thompson said:

“Myths and legends die hard in America. We love them for the extra dimension they provide, the illusion of near-infinite possibility to erase the narrow confines of most men’s reality.”

James Houran, clinical psychologist writes:

“Historical studies show us that human societies have always had a need to ‘worship’ things — and sure enough this was often special people in society — the best hunters, athletes, the most beautiful, the smartest, the most spiritual.” and

”In essence, people seem to confuse having a lot of information about a celebrity with genuine intimacy,”


At best, powerful people can inspire us.

At worst, powerful people can make long for the wrong thing or lead us in the wrong direction.


Consider how these celebrity Pastors have damaged the church like Brian Houston, Mark Driscoll, Carl Lentz and others


Supporting Points:

Historical Background: Jerusalem society was highly stratified

  • Pharisees
  • Sadducees
  • Essenes
  • Scribes
  • Zealots
  • Samaritans
  • Slaves


The church cannot break apart this caste system outside the church. But what we can stand against preferential treatment inside the church

  1. Favoritism does not belong inside the Church community (2:1-4)
    1. See also Lev. 19:15, Job 34:19
    2. Especially for clothing, or wealth
    3. Materialism perverts the human soul… how else do we account for the adulation we give to selfish celebrities who spend their lives exploiting us? The answer can only be that a materialistic focus fosters spiritual derangement” (Kent Hughes, Greed as Idolatry)
    4. The unique contribution of the first century church was its environment of equality
    5. Equal in value, but not equal in leadership
  2. The church needs to be reminded that God has chosen the poor (2:5-7)
    1. Four tires, one is low, we give it special attention
    2. The poor are often rich in faith
    3. The rich and powerful often exploit the poor
  3. The church needs to submit to the royal law (2:8)
    1. God’s law is our final authority
    2. We are to act
    3. God’s eternal mercy is more powerful than short-sighted judgements



How can favoritism creep into friend groups, classes and social circles inside the church.

How can you show mercy instead of judgement this week?



Take notes below