For Your Connect Groups – 2 July 2017

Today we continued in James, this time looking at James 3:13-4:10.  May these notes aid your review and sharing together as you connect.

Pray Together

  • What are some of the church needs you’re aware of?
  • Who in the church needs your intercession?
  • What are you and your loved ones praying for at the moment?
  • What wider situations can you pray into?

Read Together

We covered a good amount of text this morning, so do re-read the text.  James is telling that, rather than merely spouting pithy sayings, true wisdom is displayed in the way we live.

Wisdom

Knowledge is the stuff you know.  Understanding is deeper, learning how things connect together and work.  But wisdom is deeper still, which is applying what you know and understand so that you change how you live.  James indicates there is wisdom from above, but also a false wisdom.

Discuss:

  • How does James describe the false wisdom?
  • How does James describe the wisdom from above?

We looked at a few Biblical texts on the source of wisdom.  Take a look at these verses, and note what you learn:

The Beautiful Life

Recall how we could render the Greek for “good conduct” in v13 as “beautiful way of life.”  James expands on this in v17.

I think we often consider that the Christian life is one of trying to avoid sin and vices.  If we concentrate on not doing various bad things, then we’re doing well.  However, as we heard, the purity spoken of here in v17 speaks to single-minded devotion to God.  The good fruit is the outcome of that, which is a lifelong work; it doesn’t come from simply trying to avoid evil.  N.T. Wright argues that:

virtue … is what happens when someone has made a thousand small choices, requiring effort and concentration, to do something which is good and right.

Read Psalm 101

Note how active David is to live in a beautiful way of life!  I will ponder the blameless way, I will walk with integrity of heart, etc.

Discuss

  • What things are there that distract you from actively pursuing single-minded devotion?
  • Often the hardest is when “good” things get in the way.  Are there any things like that for you?

Isaiah 32:17      And the effect of righteousness will be peace,

and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.

Friendship with the World

In chapter 4, James rebukes his readers for their worldliness.  As we heard, this is spiritual adultery: choosing to ally with and live like the world is to be unfaithful to the God Who purchased us out of that world!

Discuss

  • Do you find yourself struggling with friendship with the world?  Perhaps as you try to “fit in” or even “reach” your peers and colleagues?

If you do struggle here, read Jesus’ prayer in John 17:14-19.  How does Jesus’ prayer speak into this?  What is the primary thing given to help you?

It is a heavy text this week.  Refresh yourselves in James 4:6

James 4:6  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Keep Each Other Accountable

Remember, your Connect Group is meant to be a place you can safely share your struggles and know your brothers/sisters who love you will pray for you.

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Pray for One Another

Share your prayer needs and requests.  Commit to pray for one another, not just now but throughout the week.

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