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 | Do Good | James 4:1-17
James continues his writings and addresses the wars that wage within the human heart. James surfaces how our selfish desires put us in wrong relationships with others. He continues to address how our selfishness puts us in wrong relationship with God. The Bible is full of examples of how to be in right relationship and probably has just as many of how to be in wrong relationship. James has a deeper reason for what he is writing to us. This self-centeredness, and fighting, leads to quarrels among believers in the local church. James started this section with talking about the war with our personal desires and ends it with the will of God.
1) Neal shared a story with us from 2012 about two runners. The first place runner slowed down before crossing the finish line and the second place runner helped him win the race. What do you think about this act of sportsmanship?
2) Read James 4:1-3. James teaches us that the personal wars we face come from personal issues. Read Psalm 133:1, Colossians 2:2, and John 13:34-35. What do these passages teach us about being in right relationship with others?
3) James knew that slander was occurring in the church (read James 4:11-12). James is specifically addressing how we treat other Christians in this passage. Come up with five ways that your group can stop talking negatively about people and move to a position of building others up.
4) Read James 4:3. James is clear that our personal wars impact our prayer life. Read Matthew 6:5-15 and talk about what Jesus teaches us a vibrant prayer life.
5) Read James 4:7-12. James has a logical progression from submitting to God, drawing near to God, and living a humble life. Read 1 Peter 2:13, Romans 3:23, and Ephesians 4:2. Talk about how important: submit, confess, and humble are.
6) Throughout the book of James we’ve been encouraged to live a humble life. A humble life is the opposite of a prideful life. Read Deuteronomy 8:2-3, Psalms 25:9, & Matthew 11:29. Where is God inviting you to a humble life?
7) Read James 4:13-17. James longed for the early church to find the will of God. We long for everyone to do the same. What are some ways this passage teaches us to walk in line with God’s desires for our life?
Close your time in prayer.