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 | How to Treat People | James 5:1-12
As James nears the end of his letter there is a palatable shift in his writing style. James begins chapter 5 with a stern warning to those who are increasing in wealth by oppressing the poor. It seems that many of these verses are written directly to people who aren’t connect to the local church. There are people who are increasing their wealth by taking advantage of others and James calls out that behavior. Then there is a shift, James writes again to the Christians in the church. He gives them a double reminder to be patient. The characteristic of patience is a fruit of the Spirit that all believers need to actively grow in.
1) Neal started the sermon with a story about the President of North Macedonia. There was a girl in his country who was being bullied and the President stepped in to show her value. Share about a time when you treated an oppressed person with dignity.
2) Read James 5:1-6. James condemns the people who are oppressing the poor and not paying the wages of the works. Read Deuteronomy, 24:14-15, Leviticus 19:13, Jeremiah 22:13. Talk about how you can honor people in all walks of life.
3) It appears that the wealthy people were taking advantage of day labors and not paying them their wages. Read what Jesus taught in Matthew 6:19-24. Do you have an area in your life where you hoard material possessions that you can give away?
4) James isn’t condemning material wealth, he is condemning wealth by unjust gains. Read Matthew 20:1-6. How can you have a balance in your life of saving for: retirement, college, and your future while being generous to those around you? See 2 Corinthians 12:14, 1 Timothy 5:8, and Matthew 25:27.
5) James shifts his attention back to the early church (Read James 5:7-9). James uses the illustration of farming to exhort the church to be patient. Read Galatians 5:22-23, 6:9, Mark 4:28-29, and Luke 8:11. Where is God inviting you to be patient?
6) James furthers the example of patience (Read James 5:10-12). Read Acts 14:22, John 16:33, and 2 Timothy 3:12. Share about how the faith of the saints who’ve gone before you is an encouragement to stand strong in your faith.
7) What three examples of patience does write that resonate most with you? Why do these resonate with your current stage of life today?
Close your time in prayer.