Wk 7 // Big Jim // James' Closing Instructions
What’s a hobby or an interest that you once had, but over time your interest faded?
If we aren’t careful, how can our pursuit of the Lord become just another interest in our lives? Have you ever felt this struggle?
Most of our interests are not maintained throughout the course of our lives; they change as time goes by. Maybe it’s a sports team that you became interested in during a play-off run, or that TV show you could never miss but now doesn’t capture your attention. Tastes and interests change. However, if we aren’t careful, we can treat our faith like another phase. We must be doers of the Word (James 1:23)—and the Word speaks to all areas of our lives.
In this week’s message, Pastor Mike talked about living life to the fullest. And in order to live life to the fullest, we need to stay committed to the practices James teaches throughout his letter.
Spend a few minutes recapping this week's sermon together. Click here to view the sermon notes.
What was one takeaway from this week's sermon for you?
Were there any stories, ideas, or points that stuck out?
Was there anything that challenged you?
Have a volunteer read James 5:1-6.
How does James describe rich people?
What happens to people if they obsess over greed and materialism? Why do you think James had such harsh words for the material person?
James offered serious warning against those who long for riches and material goods. This topic has come up throughout his letter, and here James continued his push for helping others and becoming humble.
Have a volunteer read James 5:7-12.
Why did James urge patience? What was happening to his readers?
Why is it hard to wait and be patient in the midst of suffering?
The first example James gave was that of a farmer waiting for his crop to grow. What can we learn from the farmer’s patience that will help us be patient in difficult times?
In James 5:7-11, James told his readers to be patient and wait on God. These believers were enduring prejudice and discrimination for being followers of Jesus, and some of them considered God slow to act in their defense. James wanted his readers to find the strength in Christ to endure and even to find joy in the midst of their suffering.
The second example James gave was that of Job. Why do you think James used Job as an example?
James presented Job as a classic example of faithful endurance. Though Job complained, he never renounced God. God vindicated Job after he had endured many trials (see Job 42:12). At the end of verse 11, James reminds us of God’s compassion and mercy, which affirm the deep tenderness of God’s love toward us. That love doesn’t change with our circumstances.
Have a volunteer read James 5:13-18.
Why did James emphasize prayer in the spiritual life?
What is the purpose of prayer? How can prayer aid those who are suffering?
James used a series of questions followed by commands as an effective way of challenging his readers to prayer and worship. Prayers unite us with God and help us align ourselves with His will.
Have a volunteer read James 5:19-20.
In addition to prayer, what is another responsibility we have in each other’s spiritual journeys, according to verses 19-20?
Have you ever strayed from your faith as a result of suffering you were going through? What happened to bring you back to God? How did He use other believers to help you return to Him?
Although we all want to endure suffering with joy and patience, sometimes that is not our reality, and our trials take a toll on us emotionally and spiritually. That’s where our community comes in. James reminded his readers of the significance of a restoration ministry. The restorer guides the wanderer back, not with a spirit of judgment but with love.
Of the teachings in James 5, which did you most need to be reminded of today?
What is one action step you are going to take to live out that truth in your life?
Give your group members the chance to voice their own prayers of reflection based around the teachings in James 5. Close by thanking God for His Word, which tells us how to live for Him in every area of our lives.