Here are some study notes and questions for discussion in your Connect groups this week. We pray they will be beneficial to you.
- 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?
The text for our study this week is James 1:26 – 2:13. The title for our series in James is “Well Done is Better than Well Said,” and this week we discussed the subject of “provenance” – the documentation or other proof that shows the true value of something. What is the provenance of our faith? What shows its value? Three things are in our text:
- To bridle our tongues
- To love as Jesus loved
- To remain unstained from the world
We’ve already spoken about the importance of keeping watch over what we say. If we don’t, here James says all of our sacrifice and service for God is worthless! We deceive ourselves if we think otherwise.
- Why do you think God puts such a heavy weight on this? Read James 3:1-12 if you need insight.
- Have you been wounded by someone else’s speech? Did you forgiven them? Have you resolved the matter?
- Be honest, how high of a priority is this for you?
- If this is a priority for God, how can you make it a higher personal priority?
Unstained From the World
By the term “world”, James means the godless world system. Christ Himself came to this world, spent time with sinners and rebels, yet was without sin. He was unstained. We have the same call: to be in this world, but not of it. We’re residents here, but we are citizens of Heaven. We are Christ’s ambassadors.
- How does this work out in your context? For example, in the workplace it might look like joining your colleagues in conversation and for a meal, but remaining sober while they drink.
- Do you find this a challenge? What helps? What hinders?
In the early part of chapter 2, James zooms in on the subject of partiality. Literally, “judging according to the face.” It’s where you and I make decisions and show bias based upon what we see. James covers the more common case, where we might show favouritism to a rich person, but Exodus 23:3 shows that there is potential for the inverse too.
There are other outward reasons we may show favouritism and partiality. We think a person may be good for our career. We think a person is attractive. And so on. We sinfully relate to people because we perceive we may receive some benefit.
- Do you recall how Christ’s title “the Lord of glory” speaks into this sin? It may help to read back in James 1:16-18.
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.
Galatians 6:1–2 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Pray for One Another
Share your prayer needs and requests. Commit to pray for one another, not just now but throughout the week.