James Series Outlines: Living For God

Week 1 – Faith & Endurance

[James 1:1-27]

Faith Under Pressure

James is half-brother of Jesus, chief elder of Jerusalem Church

Embrace the Trials [1-4]

  • Consider it a Great Joy
  •  Faith is Forced into the open & shows its true colors when under pressure
  •  Produces Endurance that results in being Perfect & Completely Developed in your Faith

Ask for Help [5-8]

  •  Pray Boldly to God
  •  Fully Believe – Don’t be Double-minded
    •  Unstable in all his ways
    •  Double-minded means no divided loyalty – faith in God alone

Cheer for Right Reasons [9-12]

  •  If in Humble Circumstance – boast in true riches of God, boast that heir of God
  •  If Rich – humbled by human frailty – boast that you realize true riches are in God alone.
  •  The one who endures receives the Crown of Life

Every Good Thing from God [13-17]

  •  God’s not trying to trip you up. God doesn’t tempt you.
  •  You lust, then you sin
  •  Don’t be deceived. There’s nothing evil about God. 
  •  Every good thing comes from Him. He is unchanging.

Receive the Word [19-21]

  •  Listen Carefully
  •  Speak Slowly
  •  Be Patient
  •  Get rid of moral filth & evil
  •  Humbly accept Word that saves your soul

Respond with Action [20-27]

  • Don’t just receive – DO!
    •  God’s Word shouldn’t be in one ear and out the other
    •  Don’t deceive yourself & live a life full of hot air
    •  Don’t be like a person who looks in the mirror & walks away forgetting immediately
    • True religion is reaching out to people in need & keeping unstained from the world
  1.  Read verses 1:2-4. In this passage, joy is linked to faith. What must we believe if we are to consider our trials a joy? Why are trials a joy?
  2. Read verses 1:5-8. This passage tells us that if we lack wisdom, we should ask God, but to “ask in faith without doubting.” What does it mean to ask in faith without doubt? 
  3.  Read verses 1:2-3, 1:12-15. These passages mention the words “trials” and “tempted”. These are translated as the same Greek word (“peirazó” test/tempt &“peirasmos” trial/temptation). 

What is the relationship between trials and temptations? 

How are they similar and different? 

How can a trial turn into a temptation? 

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Week 2 – Warning Against Prejudice

[James 2:1-13]

The Sin of Partiality… Favoritism Forbidden

D A Carson  Why is it that we constantly parade Christian athletes, media personalities, and pop singers? Why should we think that their opinions or their experiences of grace are of any more significance than those of any other believer? When we tell outsiders about people in our church, do we instantly think of the despised and the lowly who have become Christians, or do we love to impress people with the importance of the men and women who have become Christians? Modern Western evangelicalism is deeply infected with the virus of triumphalism, and the resulting illness destroys humility, minimizes grace, and offers far too much homage to the money and influence and ‘wisdom’ of our day.

We always get caught looking at the outward… God sees inward (heart)

Favor some over others [v. 1]

Special attention / special treatment [v. 3]

Discriminations  Judgments guided by evil motives [v. 4]

God has chosen the poor to inherit the Kingdom [v. 5]

1 Corinthians 1:28  God chose the lowly things of this world & the despised

Favoritism dishonors poor [v. 6]

ROYAL LAW – Love neighbor as self [v. 8]  quoting Leviticus 19:18, Jesus also quoted this Leviticus verse in Matthew 19:19 & Matthew 22:29, Galatians 5:14

Favoritism is a sin [v. 9]

One law broken = you are guilty [v. 10]

Quoted OT “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17) and “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14, Deuteronomy 5:18)

Judged by law that sets you free [v. 12] – Law of freedom, Law of liberty  the Gospel (James 1:25)

No mercy for those who haven’t shown mercy [v. 13]

Matthew 7:2 (Sermon on the Mount)  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Galatians 5:14  For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”

  1. Why do you think God has special concern for the weak and vulnerable people of the world? 
  2.  Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-29. This passage says that God chose the lowly. Why?
  3. Read Deuteronomy 10:17-18. If we show partiality, how do we become a stumbling block? 
  4. Why is favoritism so easy?
  5.  How can favoritism impact the church?
  6.  How can we avoid showing favoritism to people?

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Week 3 – Faith Without Good Deeds is Dead

[James 2:14-26]

Faith and Action Work Together

Faith isn’t shown… it’s exhibited.

  • o To show is to be visible, to put something on display (“look at me”)
  • o To exhibit is to manifest a quality or behavior (visible action)

What good is speaking when action is needed? [v. 14-15a]

The verbs in v. 14 are present tense – describes someone who often claims to be a believer but lacks evidence of faith

Goodbye – Have a Good Day – Stay Warm – Eat Well

Can that kind of faith save anyone? [v.15b]

Faith that doesn’t affect behavior is superficial and cannot save.

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” [Romans 10:9 NIV]

If it’s not something that you will act upon, it’s not faith. It doesn’t matter how much you declare it with your mouth—it won’t make it any more real.

1 John 2:4,6 – “Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him… Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked.”

DEAD FAITH / USELESS FAITH – Faith by itself isn’t enough [v. 17]

Produce good deeds or it is dead and useless

Your choice – Faithful obedience or dead faith that has no effect on life

DEVIL FAITH – Even the demons believe [v. 19]

Mark 1:23-24 – “Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit began shouting, ‘Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!’”

The demons believed Jesus was the Son of God, but they didn’t TRUST Him as LORD.

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.” [Matthew 7:21 NLT]

BUT, the demons trembled in terror (see v. 19). Those with a false faith don’t even tremble in fear of God. So, is it better to have demonic faith or false faith?

Hebrews 11:6 – “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”

Faith and action work together

Abraham 

  • o Abraham was right with God by shown action
  • o His actions made faith complete – demonstrated his faith before man
  • o Abraham believed God, God counted Him as righteous because of his faith

Rahab

  • o Shown to be right with God by her actions [v. 25]
  • o “By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.” [Hebrews 11:31 ESV]

Faith without good works is DEAD

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” [James 1:22 NIV]

John 14:23 “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word.”

“When you produce much fruit, you are My true disciples. This brings great glory to My Father.” [John 15:8 NLT]

Fruit means you are true disciples

Fruit means great glory to our Father

Deeds are a natural result of being faithful to God

Remember – Love God, Love Others

“For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.” [Galatians 5:6 NLT]

FAITH EXPRESSING ITSELF IN LOVE

  1. Read James 2:19-20. What are the similarities and differences between false faith, dead faith, useless faith, and devil faith? Is one worse than the other?
  2. One of the most confusing topics in Bible study is the faith and works concept. James and Paul both wrote a great deal about the relation between the two; however, it can often cause misinterpretation. 

Read Romans 3:28. What does this say about faith and works?

Read Romans 4:1-5. What does this say about faith and works?

Read Romans 5:1-5. What does this say about faith and works?

Read James 2:17,26. What does this say about faith and works?

How does Romans relate to James? Is there a contradiction between the two?

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Week 4 – Controlling the Tongue

[James 3:1-12]

Blessings & curses pour out of the same mouth

If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. [James 1:26]

Judgement of Words Coming [v.1-2]

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! [Psalm 141:3]

But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. [Matthew 12:36-37]

Teachers will be judged more strictly [v.1]

We all make mistakes [v.2]

If we could control tongue, we’d be perfect and could control ourselves in every other way

Small Thing – Big Consequences [v.3-5]

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. [Matthew 12:34]

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. [Matthew 15:18]

  • o Large horse led by small bit, huge ship with small rudder 
  • o Tongue is small thing that makes grand speeches 
  • o Tiny spark becomes great forest on fire
  • o Tongue corrupts entire body, can set whole life on fire

No one can tame tongue [v.7-8]

  • o Restless
  • o Evil
  • o Full of deadly poison

James does not say that the tongue is untamable. He says NO ONE can tame it. It’s humanly untamable. Only the Holy Spirit can tame it.

Spiritually mature person can bridle his tongue through the Holy Spirit

Sometimes we praise God, sometimes we curse those made in image of God [v.9]

Blessings and curses pour out of the same mouth

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.  [Proverbs 12:18] 

  • • Spring does not have both fresh water and bitter water
  • • Fig tree does not produce olives, grapevine does not produce figs
  • • Can’t draw fresh water from salty spring

Gentle tongue is a tree of life [Proverbs 15:4]

  • • Every thought captive to the obedience of Christ [2 Corinthians 10:5] 
  • o Be intentional!
  • • Walk daily under control of Holy Spirit [Galatians 5:18]
  • o Thy will be done!
  • • Renew your mind by memorizing Scripture [Romans 12:1-2]
  • o Drown yourself in the Word!
    • ♣ What you put in… that’s what’s likely to come out!
  1. 1) Read James 3:1, 6. There are great warnings in the text. 

What are the warnings?

How can and should we react to these warnings?

  1. 2) Read James 3:8. The Bible says that the no one can tame the tongue. It is restless, evil, and full of deadly poison. Consider these descriptions of the tongue. 

Why is it considered as a restless evil?

Why is it considered full of deadly poison?

  1. 3) Read James 3:9-10. This passage speaks about our mouth pouring out both blessings and curses. Why is this bad?

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WEEK 5 – True Wisdom

Read James 1:5-8. How does James describe wisdom at the beginning of the letter?

In James 3:13-18, two kinds of wisdom are described. Read the passage. What are the two kinds of wisdom?

Reread James 3:14-16. This passage describes the one kind of wisdom—earthly wisdom. How is it described?

Reread James 3:17. This verse describes wisdom from above. How is it described?

What does James say you should do if you are wise?

Read these passages. What does the passage say about wisdom? What does this mean to you?

Job 12:13. 

Ecclesiastes 10:10

Daniel 2:20-23

Colossians 1:19

Read Proverbs 1:1-7. 

What is the purpose of the Book of Proverbs?

What is the foundation of true knowledge?

Spend some time reading Proverbs 1 and Proverbs 2, and then pray for wisdom. Pray God will share His heart with you… “Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise” (Proverbs 1:23).

Knowledge Test

  1. 1) Who was renamed by God?
  1. a. Abram/Abraham
  2. b. Saul/Paul
  3. c. Jacob/Israel
  4. d. All of the above
  1. 2) What are the wisdom books of the Bible?
  1. a. Psalms
  2. b. Proverbs
  3. c. Ecclesiastes
  4. d. Song of Songs/Song of Solomon
  5. e. Job
  6. f. All of the above
  1. 3) Who is the only woman whose age is mentioned in the Bible?
    1. a. Esther
    2. b. Naomi
    3. c. Sarah
    4. d. Ruth
  1. 4) How old was Moses when he died?
  2. a. 100 years old
  3. b. 110 years old
  4. c. 120 years old
  5. d. 130 years old
  1. 5) What did the infant Moses in the Old Testament and the converted Saul of Tarsus in the New Testament have in common?

Both escaped danger by being transported in baskets (Exodus 2:3, Acts 9:25)

  1. 6) Which spice is mentioned the most in the Bible?
  2. a. Garlic
  3. b. Cinnamon
  4. c. Coriander
  1. 7) Who is the oldest man in the Bible?

Methuselah – 969 years (Genesis 5:27)

Knowledge Test

  1. 1) Who was renamed by God?
  1. e. Abram/Abraham
  2. f. Saul/Paul
  3. g. Jacob/Israel
  4. h. All of the above
  1. 2) What are the wisdom books of the Bible?
  1. g. Psalms
  2. h. Proverbs
  3. i. Ecclesiastes
  4. j. Song of Songs/Song of Solomon
  5. k. Job
  6. l. All of the above
  1. 3) Who is the only woman whose age is mentioned in the Bible?
  2. a. Esther
  3. b. Naomi
  4. c. Sarah
  5. d. Ruth
  1. 4) How old was Moses when he died?
  2. a. 100 years old
  3. b. 110 years old
  4. c. 120 years old
  5. d. 130 years old
  1. 5) What did the infant Moses in the Old Testament and the converted Saul of Tarsus in the New Testament have in common?
  1. 6) Which spice is mentioned the most in the Bible?
  2. a. Garlic
  3. b. Cinnamon
  4. c. Coriander
  1. 7) Who is the oldest man in the Bible?

What does the word “wisdom” mean in Scripture? Read these passages:

James 3:13, 17 1 King 3:9-12

Psalm 111:10 Proverbs 1:1-7

Proverbs 2:6-12

How does wisdom relate to intelligence and education?

What does the word “wisdom” mean in Scripture? Read these passages:

James 3:13, 17 1 King 3:9-12

Psalm 111:10 Proverbs 1:1-7

Proverbs 2:6-12

How does wisdom relate to intelligence and education?

What does the word “wisdom” mean in Scripture? Read these passages:

James 3:13, 17 1 King 3:9-12

Psalm 111:10 Proverbs 1:1-7

Proverbs 2:6-12

How does wisdom relate to intelligence and education?

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Week 6 – Drawing Close to God

[James 4:1-10]

Warning against worldliness

The Evil Within

What is causing quarrels & fights? – Evil desires at war within you [v.1] {COVET}

You want what you don’t have, you scheme to get it [v.2]

You are JEALOUS & can’t get it so you wage war to take it away {MURDER}

You don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God

And when you ask you don’t get because your motives are all wrong. [v.3]

You only want what gives you pleasure – LUST

Enemy with God

You Adulterers, friendship with world makes you enemy with God [v.4] {ADULTERY}

Do you think Scripture has no meaning? [v.5]

God is passionate that the Spirit He has placed within us should be faithful to Him

And He gives generously [v.6]

God opposes proud, gives grace to humble

Resist & Purify

Humble yourself before God [v.7]

Resist devil and He will flee

Draw near to God & He will draw near to you [v.8]

Wash your hands, purify your hearts

Loyalty divided between world & God

Let there be tears, sorrow, deep grief, sadness, gloom [v.9]

Humble yourself & He will lift you up in honor [v.10]

  1. 1) Read James 4:2. This passage says that you want what you don’t have and scheme to get it, rather than ask God.  

What does this mean?

How do we do this?

What can we do to stop this in our own lives?

  1. 2) Read James 4:3. This passage says that when we ask for something from God our motives are wrong. 

Do motives matter?

What is wrong with the motives?

  1. 3) Read James 4:4. This verse says that if you want to be a friend of the world you make yourself an enemy of God. Why does this happen? Is there a way around this?
  1. 4) Read James 4:9. This passage says we should let there be tears, sorrow, grief, and gloom. Why is this important?

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Week 7 – The Warnings

[James 4:11-James 5:6]

WARNING AGAINST JUDGING OTHERS [4:11-12]

Don’t speak evil against each other

God alone is judge

He alone has power to save or destroy

What right do you have to judge?

Matthew 7:2 – For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. [NIV]

Romans 6:14 – For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. [NLT]

WARNING ABOUT SELF-CONFIDENCE [4:13-17] – Arrogance 

Your life is like the morning fog – it’s here for a little while, then it’s gone

Should be saying, “If the Lord wants us to” 

  • ♣ Recognizing God is in control
  • ♣ Desiring His will for your life
  • ♣ Trusting His plan – It’s a sin to know what to do & not to do it!

We assume we are in control of time & events – boast of proud intentions

1 John 2:16 – For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not from the Father but from the world.

Consider Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-21) 

God blessed him so much, he decided he would build bigger and retire well. God calls him a fool. That very night his soul would be required.

WARNING TO THE RICH [5:1-6] – Greed & Justice

Rotting of wealth and the wealthy

Wealth rotting away, silver corroded

Wealth will eat away flesh like fire

Isaiah 1:17 – Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

Wealth will testify against you on judgment day

Hear the cries of the field workers you cheated

You spent years in luxury, satisfying every desire

You condemned and killed innocent people who didn’t resist

Consider the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)

Rich man dressed in purple & fine linen, lived in luxury every day.

Lazarus was a beggar at his gate, covered in sores licked by dogs

The rich man likely passed by Lazarus many times

The rich man begged for Lazarus to come cool his tongue

The rich man was reminded – he received lifetime of good things while Lazarus received bad things. Now Lazarus is comforted and the rich man is in agony.

  1. 1) Read James 4:6, 11-12. How does speaking against another believer make us a judge of the law? Why is it bad to be a judge of the law?
  1. 2) Considering James 4:13-17, and the Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-21), what is the right way to plan for the future?  Are you planning your future in humility or in pride?
  1. 3) Read James 4:17. How does this change how we think about sin? How does this change things for you?
  1. 4) As we look at the three warnings (warning against judging others, warning about self-confidence, warning to the rich), how do these warnings relate to Living Like Jesus? 

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Week 8 – Patience and Endurance

[James 5:7-12]

Patience doesn’t mean sitting around doing nothing 

Patience means expectantly waiting for the Lord in readiness

Impatience is a form of unbelief

PATIENTLY WAITLY FOR THE LORD’S RETURN [7]

The farmer waits

Early rains in Israel – late October / early November — soften soil for plowing

Late rains in Israel – late April / May – mature the crops

Eagerly look for the valuable harvest

Eternal perspective—our inheritance is imperishable, unspoiled, unfading – as children of God we are co-heirs with Christ.

Lord’s coming is near

1 Peter 4:7 – The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. 

Hebrews 6:12 – We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

DON’T GRUMBLE ABOUT EACH OTHER [9]

Luke 21:19 – By your endurance gain your lives.

Brothers and sisters (mentioned v. 7, 9, 10, 12)

PATIENCE IN SUFFERING [10]

Example of the prophets

Great honor to those who endure

Matthew 5:10 – Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Romans 2:7 – to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;

Example of Job

Job committed himself wholly to God, in the end demonstrating a perfect spirit of enduring submission

Lord was kind to Job with tenderness and mercy – COMPASSION

Not giving more than could bear

Happy ending to the trials

NEVER TAKE AN OATH [12]

Just say a simple “yes” or “no”

Don’t try to strike a bargain with God

Lack of faith

  1. 1) Read 1 Corinthians 13:4, Galatians 5:22-23, and 2 Peter 3:9. Define “patience.”
  1. 2) Read Romans 5:3-5, 2 Thessalonians 1:4, 2 Timothy 3:10-12, and James 1:2-4. Define “endurance” or “perseverance.”
  1. 3) Read James 5:7-8. What can we do to keep an eternal focus?
  1. 4) Read James 5:9. 

What happens when we grumble against others?

What is something we could do to keep us from grumbling?

  1. 5) This passage ends with the topic of not taking an oath. When we suffer, it’s easy to try to bargain with God and promise we will start or stop something if He moved a certain way. Why is bad? Is this real faith?

————————————————————————————————

Week 9 – The Power of Prayer

[James 5:13-20]

THE POWER OF PRAYER

Pray in times of Trouble

Pray in times of Happiness

Pray in times of Sickness

Call elders of church to come, pray, anoint – reestablish person’s fellowship with community of faith

Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick

Confession

  • o Confess sins to each other
  • o Pray for each other
  • o Do you have an accountability partner? 

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Intense, not wavering

1 John 5:14 – And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.

Elijah – prayed for no rain, it didn’t rain 3 ½ years; prayed again & it rained 

  • o Elijah fed by ravens (1 Kings 17:1-5)
  • o Elijah prays for rain (1 Kings 18:1-2, 41-46)

RESTORE WANDERING BELIEVERS

  • o Knew the truth
  • o Wandered
  • o Brought back
  • o Saved Still

Only a believer can wander away from truth 

Galatians 6:1-3 – If another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently & humbly help that person back onto the right path.

This is at the end of the book of James to remind us…

DON’T GIVE UP HOPE

Maybe you’re finding it hard to embrace the trials

Maybe your faith is lacking in action

Maybe you’re practicing favoritism

Maybe you have an issue with controlling your tongue

Maybe you’re seeking wisdom in the wrong places

Maybe you struggle with the evil within

Maybe you need to wash your hands, purify your hearts

Maybe you are too judgmental of others

Maybe you have placed your confidence in yourself

Maybe you’re grumbling about others

Maybe your patience is lacking

Even so…. You can be saved still.

  1. 1) James 5:15 is known as the prayer of faith, otherwise known as the prayer offered in faith. This verse says that a prayer that is offered in faith will heal the sick. This is hard to understand when we pray and a person does not recover. Let us read some passages about prayer to get a better understanding of prayer. Read these passages. What can we glean about prayer for each passage.

Matthew 7:7-11

Luke 18:1-8

John 14:12-14

2 Corinthians 12:5-10

  1. 2) The beginning of this passage discusses praying in times of trouble, in times of happiness, and in times of sickness. Is one of these more difficult for you? Why?

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