Welcome to week eight of our summer sermon series on James called Faith that Works. This week our conversation will look at what the Bible says about recognizing and cultivating authentic faith in our lives, and developing a faith that works.
Building healthy and life-giving relationships.
What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20–30 minutes checking in with each other.
Share part of your story
What is your favorite childhood summer memory?
Take a moment to update one another on prayer needs. How has God been showing up in your life? Has there been progress through your continued prayers together? How can the group continue to pray for you?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Read together James 2:14-26. What’s the main idea?
Authentic Faith Responds
James is talking to a group of people scattered throughout the Mediterranean world. In what ways does it seem the early church was failing to prove their faith genuine?
It isn’t just the early church that struggles with living out their faith. What are some ways that we see inauthentic faith today? Why do our actions need to follow what we say we believe?
We cannot earn our salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9), it is a gift given through the work of Christ. But our effort to walk it out is vital. How is effort different from earning?
Response follows belief. James was concerned that the early church was lacking in their response to the needs around them. How should our response to needs reflect our faith?
One of the ways we respond is through serving. Throughout this sermon series, we have considered the idea of both spontaneous and consistent serving. What are the differences between the two, and why are both important?
Authentic Faith Submits
Have someone read aloud James 2:19. How does acknowledgment, or belief in God’s existence, differ from actual obedience to God? Do you think this difference exists in our culture?
Have someone read aloud Luke 6:46. How does Jesus’ statement reflect his hope and expectation that we obey Him?
Why do you think obedience is such an important part of our faith? Do you think our culture views Christians as people who obey Jesus?
Student Ministries Pastor Aaron Buer mentioned that Jesus wants to not only be our Savior but also our King. What are some ways we can use our love for God to motivate our obedience? Where do you think you need to obey God?
Authentic Faith Trusts
James points to an important biblical figure in James 2:21-24. Who is it? What types of things did he do to surrender to his faith? What things do you think the early church needed to surrender?
God asks us to surrender as well. What are some types of things that God asks us to surrender to him today?
God wants our whole life. What’s the difference between giving God slices of our life and giving him the whole thing? What makes giving him the whole thing so difficult?
How might surrendering to God affect our finances, planning, time management or reputation? What other areas of our life might be affected by surrender? What area do you feel like you struggle to surrender?
Authentic Faith Risks
Have someone retell the story of Rahab and the spies (see Joshua 2 if you need help). What are some of the things Rahab risked by hiding the Israelites?
Following God can involve risk today. What are some of the things people might risk by following God today? How are these risks countercultural?
Has God ever asked you to risk something before, or have you felt like following God resulted in you taking a risk? If so, what was it and what was the outcome of that risk? How did taking the risk change your trust in God?
This weekend’s message posed the question, “How do you know if your faith is authentic?” How would you answer this question? What’s one thing you can do this week to live out an authentic faith?
INVEST IN OTHERS
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
Discuss how you and your group can better engage the people in your life outside your small group.
As your group reflects on the sermon this week, talk about ways that you are currently serving and challenge each other. For ways to get connected at our church and in our community, go to adabible.org/serving.
Download a printable PDF here.