James was a leader of the first Christian community ever. He was in a leadership role for 20 years and during this time the church fell on hard times; famine, persecution, and poverty. James lived with wisdom and courage during this difficult time. The book of James is really a letter of wisdom. Instead of writing to one church community, like Paul did, James wrote to all of the Christians to encourage them to live out their faith. For this series I will write some of the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.
Small Group Questions | Faith Works | James 2:14-26
James was a leader in the early church. He was known as a pillar and peacemaker in the early church. His goal isn’t to teach new theological information but to get in our business and change how we live our lives. In our passage today James is going to teach us about genuine faith and how genuine faith is alive and active in every aspect of our lives. For us to realize what genuine faith is, we need to see some other examples. James teaches us about faith that is solely intellectually based; it has no substance. Then we learn about faith that is emotion driven with no action. Finally we learn from two examples in the Old Testament about having a dynamic faith.
1) Neal opened the sermon with three examples of people who’s words didn’t match their actions. Think about a time in your life where someone’s words didn’t make their actions. Now share about a time when your words didn’t match your actions.
2) Read James 2:14-17. James gives a very practical example of helping someone in the church who is in need. Jesus spoke about helping others (read Matthew 25:37-40). How can you be prepared to live out your faith by helping others?
3) James teaches us that faith without action is dead. Read Hebrews 11:1, 6, and Romans 10:17. James is condemning a faith that is solely intellectual without action. What can you do this week to proactively live out your faith?
4) Read James 2:18-19. The contrast of intellectual faith is emotional faith. Read Mark 9:14-29. Thinking about faith that has deeds, this father brought his son to Jesus for healing but he struggled in his faith. Where do you struggle in your faith walk?
5) James makes an interesting point the demons shutter (an emotional response) but also have a solid doctrine. Read Mark 3:11-12, Luke 8:31, and Mark 5:1-13. What do these passages teach us about the demonic world and their understanding of God?
6) Read James 2:20-24. James gives us Abraham as an example of a balanced faith. Read Genesis 12:1-3,15:5-6, and 22:8. Thinking of these three examples in Abraham’s life, what do we learn about his faith combined with action?
7) Read James 2:25-26. James also teaches us about the life of Rahab. Her story is much different (read Joshua 2:1-11 and 6:17. What must it have been like for Rahab to act in faith based on her knowledge of God? How can we live out our faith daily?
Close your time in prayer.