Welcome to week two of our summer sermon series on James called Faith that Works. This week our conversation will look at the way we view and treat people differently.
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 ice cream flavor and why?
What’s the big thing on your mind this summer and how can your group be praying about it?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Have someone read James 2:1-13 aloud. What’s the big idea?
James tells his readers not to show favoritism. What example does he give? Why do you think he chooses this example?
Just like the first century, today we show favoritism based on what’s on the outside. What types of things does our culture show favoritism toward? How does our culture discriminate based on the outside? Where is it easiest for you to show favoritism?
How does James describe favoritism based on outside things (James 2:4)? His description packs a punch. Have you thought about it that way before and how do you feel about it?
James says the outside is a terrible barometer of what’s going on inside. How does James contrast the rich and the poor?
We discussed some of the ways our culture shows favoritism. Do you feel like that is a good way of judging another? How can you get to know what a person is like inside? What often keeps you from doing something to get to know someone?
Pastor Bob King gave three ways we can work on our inside: serving, small group and spiritual disciplines. How have you found these three things helpful in your growth? What are some spiritual disciplines you regularly practice? What do you think about fasting?
James reminds his readers no one is perfect. What is the significance of the “royal law” James references in James 2:8? Do you think the “royal law” can be kept by playing favorites or discriminating?
James calls showing favoritism to people because of things on the outside sin (James 2:9). How does that make you feel? Have you considered it that big of a deal?
James makes a powerful statement in James 2:10. What does he say and what do you think he means? How can remembering this help us not play favorites?
James ends the section on favoritism with an encouragement and a warning in verses James 2:12-13. What is the encouragement and what is the warning?
If we acknowledge we are guilty, recognize Jesus as savior and ask for his forgiveness, we receive a great amount of grace and mercy from God. How does the grace and mercy we receive relate to the idea of showing favoritism? If we continue to judge people based on externals, what does that say about our understanding of what Jesus did for us?
James says to “speak and act.” Why do you think he pairs those two ideas together? Which one is harder for you?
We can add something simple to our daily routine to remind us that the grace and mercy you received from God should lead you to show grace and mercy to others. What are some simple things you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you remember?
This week we talked about the danger of favoritism. What challenged you the most about today’s discussion? What’s one next step you can take to grow in this area?
INVEST IN OTHERS
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
What are some fun ways you can serve in your community? How can your group make a service project happen this summer? Who will own it?
Download a printable PDF here.