James: Faith and Obedience

Sermon Study Notes

Read James 1:19-27

  • Do you find it easy to listen to others? Why or why not?
  • How do you feel when you are not being listened to?
  • When in your life have you felt encouraged by being listened to?
  • What has being slow to speak got to do with being slow to become angry?
  • Why do you think James describes people who do not control their speech as having a religion that is worthless? (Verse 26)
  • How does James suggest we can become slow to anger? (Verse 21)

The “word” in verse 21 refers to God’s communication through the bible and through the incarnation of Jesus.

  • Being 21st century Sydney-dwellers, what parts of the word do we as a culture find easy to accept? What parts of the word do we find difficult?
  • Do you think the church is disproportionally concerned about some parts of the word, and not concerned about enough about others?
  • What parts of the word do you find particularly challenging?
  •  Verse 25 describes the word as ‘the perfect law that gives freedom’. How can law give freedom?
  • In what ways does your understanding of God’s love for you influence how easy or hard it is to accept that obedience to God’s word leads to freedom?
  • If the freedom that James is talking about is the freedom to live as we truly are – to flourish as our true selves – what would that freedom look like in you?

Words of encouragement

Words have the power to build up and also to tear down and destroy. In this exercise we will form words that will build up. You will need a pen, paper and envelope for each member of the group.

  • Each person write a letter of encouragement to themselves. Be conscious of the power of the words you choose and write with the aim of encouraging yourself toward freedom and spiritual maturity. You may like to include a bible verse or other words you think God is speaking to you.
  • Place the letter in an envelope, seal it and address it to yourself. Then give it to the group leader.
  • Group leader – hang on to the letters and post them in 6 months time.