James 5:13-20 - Prayer: The Enduring Evidence of Faith

Discussion Questions

  1. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful?
     
  2. Read James 5:13-20. Notice James’ emphasis on prayer and confession. Do you ever confess of your sins? In what ways could it be improved?
     
  3. Before studying this passage, what statement did you most agree with: sickness is always the result of personal sin, sickness is never the result of personal sin, or sickness is sometimes the result of personal sin? What statement do you agree with now, and why? And how might James 5:15; 1 Cor. 11:30; and John 9:1–3 factor into your thinking?
     
  4. How do you usually respond if someone “falls off the radar” due to sin and stops gathering with our church? Read James 5:19–20; how should this passage inform your actions if people do this?
     
  5. If someone asks you to pray for them to be healed, is it ever appropriate in light of James 5:16 to ask that person if there might be any unconfessed sin in their life that is contributing to their physical sickness? If you asked for prayer for healing and someone asked you this question, how would you respond? How should you respond?
     
  6. As we conclude our study in James, take time to review the book and discuss what truths have been most impactful for you. Read Romans 12:9-13 and note themes in James that are echoed in Romans.
     
  7. Take time to pray for one another in your community group.

James 5:7-12 - Living with an Eternal Perspective

Discussion Questions

  1. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful?
     
  2. Read James 5:7-12. What examples of patience does James give? What reasons does James give for being patient?
     
  3. In what circumstances do you find it most difficult to be patient? What examples in Scripture can be a reminder and encouragement to you during those times?
     
  4. Aside from exterior circumstances, what are some desires, motivations, or mindsets that might foster an attitude of impatience? How can we be on guard against such an attitude? (See 2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
     
  5. Read Matthew 5:33-37 and 12:36-37. How do these two passages contribute to a right understanding and application of James 5:12? Consider whether you are someone who is known to follow through on what they say, or if you find yourself having to convince others that you mean what you say.
     
  6. Discuss how your community group can help each other cultivate greater patience in light of the Lord’s return.

1 Samuel 2:1-10 - “Not By Might Shall a Man Prevail”: Glorying in the God of the Underdog

Discussion Questions

  1. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful?
     
  2. Read 1 Samuel 2:1-10. What is the focus of Hannah’s prayer? What themes do you see throughout her prayer?
     
  3. Hannah endured mocking and sorrow “year by year” (1:7) because “The Lord had closed her womb” (1:5–6). And yet, God did this to bring Hannah to a place of exulting in Him. How have you seen God’s sovereignty over your suffering, and how has God used your pain to bring you closer to him (Rom 8:28)?
     
  4. What attributes or characteristics of the Lord does Hannah mention in her prayer? Which attributes of the Lord are most meaningful to you? 
     
  5. What are some ways that this passage is similar to what we’ve been reading in James over the past several weeks? (See James 1:9-11, 4:6-10, 4:13-16, etc.)
     
  6. Take time to pray in your community group, praising God for who He is by focusing on His specific attributes.

James 5:1-6 - A Warning to the Rich

Discussion Questions

  1. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful? 
     
  2. Read James 5:1-6. What sinful ways did these particular rich people use their wealth? How does this compare to how you use your wealth?
     
  3. In what ways might you be like the rich people in this passage? In what ways might you be like the oppressed? 
     
  4. What truths in James 5:1-6 can be an encouragment to you if you are being oppressed, or treated unfairly?
     
  5. What does James 5:2-3 reveal to us about the nature of earthly riches? What are some ways you have seen earthly riches fail someone or do them harm?
     
  6. What does James 5:4 reveal to us about the nature of God?

James 4:13-17 - If the Lord Wills

Discussion Questions

  1. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful? 
     
  2. Read James 4:13-17. What are some ways people might misapply this text?
     
  3. How might James 4:14 affect the way you view your life, your goals, your accomplishments?
     
  4. James 4:15 reminds us that God is sovereign over our lives. How should this knowledge influence our prayers for our church, our own lives, and the lives of our unsaved friends?
     
  5. James tells us in 4:15 that we ought to have a mindset of “If the Lord wills” before declaring future plans. How might saying this out loud benefit you and those around you? Who could you ask to help you grow in this area? 
     
  6. Read James 4:17. What is a truth that you have learned from James over the past several weeks? How can you put it into practice and do “the right thing”?

James 4:1-12 - Pursue Humility

Discussion Questions

  1. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful? 
     
  2. Why does James use such strong metaphors (murder and adultery) when referring to the proud?
     
  3. What are some ways a believer might unintentionally be embracing friendship with the world?
     
  4. How does James’ strong language in James 4:4 affect the way you view worldliness and sin in your own life? How can Hebrews 12:4 challenge you in your fight against sin? What do these passages reveal about the severity of the fight?
     
  5. According to James 4:6-10, how can a person draw near to God?
     
  6. What are some common themes that you’ve noticed so far in the book of James?

James 3:13-18 - Wisdom From Above

Discussion Questions

  1. 1. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful? 
     
  2. What are the differences James 3:13-18 points out between wisdom that comes from above and “wisdom” that does not?
     
  3. Some of the people James was writing to were self-deceived into thinking they were wise when in fact they were not. How can believers avoid being self-deceived into thinking we’re something we’re not? What role does your community group and church body have in helping to avoid self-deception?
     
  4. What do 1 Corinthians 1:30 and Colossians 2:2-3 tell us is necessary for being “wise and understanding”?
     
  5. Compare the values in James 3:17 with the things that our culture values. In what ways are the world’s values similar? In what ways are they opposed?

James 3:1-12 - The Power of Words

Discussion Questions

  1. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful? 
     
  2. Do you find it easier to honor God with your speech in conversations with Christians or with non-Christians? Who or what do your conversations tend to focus on in each of those situations (yourself, others, God, entertainment, etc.)?
     
  3. How have you seen the destructive power of the tongue impact your own life or the lives of others?
     
  4. When have you witnessed or experience the power of words in building someone up?
     
  5. How do the words you use reveal what is in your heart?
     
  6. When do you find it most difficult to control your tongue? What can you do to find victory over temptation in such situations? What are some ways you can prepare for such situations ahead of time by giving the Holy Spirit control over your speech?

James 2:14-26 - Faith and Works

Discussion Questions

  1. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful? 
     
  2. After studying James, what is genuine, saving faith based upon? What then does it lead to?
     
  3. Does this text challenge your thinking of your personal salvation? Based on the fruit shown through life, would you say you have genuine, soul-saving faith?
     
  4. How does the idea that even demons “believe” challenge our ideas of salvation?
     
  5. How can you grow in your good works this week? Is there an area of your life that the Lord is asking you, or providing an opportunity for you, to grow in, like He gave Abraham? Is there perhaps a way your community group, as a whole, could serve together and grow in good works together?
     
  6. Are there areas in your life that your behavior may not match your faith? How could a person evaluate this?

Genesis 1:26-31 - Race/Gender

Discussion Questions

  1. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful? 
  2. 2 Corinthians 3:18 tells us that as we behold the glory of the Lord we are transformed into His image. Is there anything in your life that is competing with the Lord for your attention, and thereby hindering your conformity into Jesus' image? 

  3. What distinctions does the world use to determine a person’s “value?” What distinctions do you use? What does God say we should value in a person?

  4. How might a recognition of Imago Dei (image of God) impact the jokes you tell, change the way you think/talk about ethnicity, and influence your posture towards refugees, sojourners, and immigrants?

  5. Could an outside observer tell from your friendships that you recognize the dignity and worth of all kinds of people from all different ethnic, socio-economic, and educational backgrounds? If not, what might you do to grow in this area?

  6. People try to find a sense of identity in many different things (skills, accomplishments, possessions, relationships, etc.) How can this be dangerous? What does does finding your identity in Christ look like?

Luke 13:1-5 - A Christian Response to Tragedy

Discussion Questions

  1. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful? 
     
  2. How should we respond to someone who argues that suffering and evil prove that God does not exist?
     
  3. Is suffering always, never, or sometimes the result of personal sin? What are some Scripture passages that inform your answer?
     
  4. Do we have a tendency to look down on people who are going through difficult times as though they have somehow deserved it? What does Luke 13:1-5 say we have in common with those people, and how might that help change our attitude towards them? 
     
  5. What are some practical ways your community group can minister to those in our church body who are suffering?

Mark 5:1-20 - The Spirit Realm

Discussion Questions

  1. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful? 
     
  2. When you think about the spiritual realm, what is your response? (Fear, fascination, etc.) How does/should knowing God is all-powerful, even over the spiritual realm, impact those thoughts?
     
  3. What are some similarities you see between the story of the demon-possessed man and the work of the Gospel?
     
  4. The formerly-demon-possessed man was told “Go to your home and to your people and tell them what the Lord has done for you.” Who are “your people” that God wants you to go to? 
     
  5. How have other people’s testimonies impacted your life? What has the Lord done for you in your life? How has he had mercy on you and changed your life? What are ways you can use the testimony of what God has done for you to impact the people he’s placed in your life?

James 2:1-13 - Consistent Compassion

Discussion Questions

  1. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful? 
     
  2. When have you been guilty of treating people differently because of what they could offer you? What does James think of such partiality (See James 2:4)? What do such decisions reveal about our thought patterns?
     
  3. Will God judge our behavior toward others, and if so, what criteria will He judge by (See Matthew 12:36; 18:21-35, and Colossians 3:22-25)?
     
  4. Consider the people whom you pray for on a regular basis. Does the focus of your prayers reveal any partiality in your heart (i.e. praying only for people who are similar to you)?

Titus 2

Discussion Questions

  1. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful?
     
  2. Paul focuses on self-control a lot in this passage. Why is self-control so important for a Christian? (See 2 Corinthians 5:19-20)
     
  3. Who are the younger women and men in your life? How can you encourage them to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives? 
     
  4. Who are the older women and men in your life that you look up to as models? What is one thing you have learned about godly living from them and their example?
     
  5. If another believer were to use your life as their model, what weaknesses would they have in their walk with God and their friendships with other people? What strengths would they have?

James 1:19-27 - Avoid Spiritual Deception

Discussion Questions

  1. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful?
     
  2. How do you regularly prepare your heart to receive God’s Word? (James 1:21)  Is there a practice that you find particularly helpful that might aid others in their reception of God’s Word?
     
  3. How is God’s Word a mirror for your life? What are some practical ways to make sure you are “looking intently” into the mirror of God’s Word instead of just “glancing” at it?  (see Psalm 119:105)
     
  4. How can you apply “visiting orphans and widows” in our culture and what does it mean to “keep oneself unstained from the world”? (James 1:27) Which of those do you find it easier to focus on? What are some ways you can improve in those areas?
     
  5. Since religious works can be manufactured and deceptive, how can you know the difference between counterfeit and true good works?

James 1:13-18 - Resisting Temptation

Discussion Questions

  1. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful?
     
  2. How can you identify and overcome the sinful desires that “wage war” within you? (see Romans 7:15-25)
     
  3. While you might not actually say “God is tempting me," what are some ways in which you may be guilty of blaming God or others for your sin? (Since God is sovereign over your circumstances, what are you really saying when you use your circumstances to excuse sin?)
     
  4. What should your response be when you recognize the source of your sin and the effect sin has as stated in James 1:15? (see Matthew 5:27-30)
     
  5. What are some of the good gifts that God has given you and how can you give Him the glory for those gifts?

James 1:1-12 - Rejoicing in Trials

Discussion Questions

  1. What was your biggest take-away from the sermon?  

  2. What trials in your life have caused some of the greatest testing to your faith? What was the outcome?

  3. What trials are you currently facing right now?  How is this passage encouraging in those areas?
  4. Would you describe your relationship with Christ by saying that you are a servant (verse 1)? Why or why not?
  5. When faced with a trial, what should you pray and how should you pray?

Psalm 19 - God's Three Masterpieces

Discussion Questions

  1. Psalm 19:1 tells us the heavens declare the glory of God. What aspects of creation cause you to be in awe of who God is and what He has done? 
     
  2. What is the difference between hidden faults and presumptuous sins in verses 12 and 13? Why is the Psalmist asking the Lord to keep him from presumptuous sins? (See Numbers 15:27-31)
     
  3. What does it mean for “the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart” to be acceptable in God’s sight? If we desire our words and thougths to be acceptable in God’s sight, what impact might this have on our interactions with social media and various forms of entertainment?
     
  4. What are some ways you can choose to show reverence for God and for His Word this week?

Revelation 21:1-8 - Our Eternal Home

Discussion Questions

  1. In Revelation 21:1, the first heaven and first earth had passed away. How does this give perspective to things we value and esteem here on earth? What other passages of Scripture help us with this perspective?
     
  2. Revelation 21:3-4 paints a beautiful picture of God dwelling with mankind. When you think eternal life in the new heavens and new earth, what do you look forward to most?
     
  3. What does it mean to be “one who conquers” (vs. 7) and what Scriptural support can you use to backup your answer? (see the letters to the churches in Rev. 2-3)  What truths of God’s Word can you use to evaluate your own life to see whether your are “one who conquers?” (see Matt. 5:2-12; Gal. 5:16-26)
     
  4. Does the image of the new heavens and new earth in Revelation 21 give you hope or cause for concern? Why?

Revelation 19:11-21 - Return of Jesus

Discussion Questions

  1. What do the different names for God in Revelation 19:11-21 tell you about his character, who he is, what he is doing?

  2. How does the powerful, second coming of Jesus in Revelation 19:11-16 grow your adoration and awe of Christ?  How does the imagery of His return encourage you in the midst of circumstances, emotions, or media that promote the idea that things are out of control in this world?

  3. How might Revelation 19:17-21 help us, as Christians, to be patient, humble, and loving despite persecution, mockery, or cultural pressure? (See 1 Peter 3:8-12) How might we use this same truth of the coming judgment to lovingly guide non-Christians toward the truth of the Gospel?

  4. Jesus is coming again!  Do you regularly pray for His return?  How might regular prayer for His return encourage/challenge your daily perspective on life?