Sunday, September 24th, 2017
James 4: 1-10
James is an amazing letter that is more prescriptive in it’s application that most, if not all, New Testament writings. It was likely written to predominantly Jewish Christian house churches outside of Palestine, based on its mention of the “twelve tribes in the Dispersion” (1:1). It contains distinctly Jewish content with a heavy focus on persecution and poverty. Authorship has traditionally been attributed to James, the brother of Jesus and an early leader of the church in Jerusalem.
James’s readers were in social and spiritual conflict. Many believers were living in ways contrary to the teachings, or way, of Jesus. James corrects them and challenges them to seek God’s wisdom to work out these problems.
The bottom-line throughout the letter is this: Christians must live out their faith. They should be doers, not just hearers, of God’s Word.
As you discuss these texts together, work hard to facilitate each person’s contributions, pray for one another throughout the week, and invite the Holy Spirit to illuminate the truth for your group.
- In 4:1-3, James asks a rhetorical question, interrogating the church about their passions. He suggests that they prohibit the churches from obtaining what they long for. How are these passions related to what James said about wisdom in 3:13-18? What passions (greed, lust, fears, etc.) are you currently wrestling with that are preventing you from enriching your relationship with God and others?
- James 4:5 claims that being a friend of the world means to be opposed to God. Describe what being a friend of the world looks like. How does John 17:15-16 compliment James? How can we safe guard ourselves to be a part of this world, but not of it?
For Further Discussion:
- What do you think James meant in verse 5 when he wrote, “The Spirit which God has caused to dwell in us has an envious yearning“? Does the fact that God has emotions surprise you? Do you struggle with the concept of God as a jealous God?