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 | Finding Joy in all Things | James 1:1-18
The book of James is really a letter of wisdom. The book is full of short wisdom speeches and metaphors that helped the early church follow the teaching of Jesus. As we study this book together you’re going to see that James letter is primarily influenced by the teachings of Jesus, primarily from the Sermon on the Mount, and the Proverbs. In chapter one James gives an overview of almost every topic he will touch them. Then in chapters two through five he will expand on each of these topics. Today we’re going to talk about finding joy in our trials, finding joy in our position in life, and how to not be deceived by the things of this world.
1) Neal started the sermon with an illustration about the life of Forrest Gump. Forrest was unwilling to quit in many situations and, in the case of the shrimping industry, it worked in his benefit. Where have you persevered in life?
2) Read James 1:1-8. James encouraged the church to persevere in their faith despite what was happening around them. Read Acts 4:1-4, 7:54-60, and 16:22-24. Thinking of the persecution the early church faced, how did they handle it?
3) James teaches us that the testing of our faith develops perseverance. Share about a time in your life when you went through a difficult situation (you may or may not want to share the story). But share how you grew in your faith through that time.
4) Read James 1:5-8. We are reminded that we don’t have to go through trials alone. Read Psalm 34:18, 139:7-12, and 145:18. Thinking about how close God is to you, where do you need to ask for wisdom in your current life situation?
5) James moves on to teaching the church to find joy in their position (read James 1:9-12). Some believers were convinced that gaining wealth was better than a holy life. Talk about how Biblical giving has changed the way you think about money.
6) Read James 1:13-15. James gives the believers a practical, logical, progression of the path of sin. Thinking about your own life, where do you see your evil desires begin to give birth to sin? What boundaries do you have in place to flee from sin?
7) Looking at James 1:16-18, we learned that the unbeliever is deceived by unbelief and the believer is deceived by misbelief. Share a time in your life when you saw this play out. Maybe in a time you shared your faith or a time you realized you had been deceived in your faith.
Close your time in prayer.