1. James addresses the issue of professing faith verses possessing faith.
A: In v. 14, James talks about the person who says they have faith, but clearly does not. This goes in line with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7:21-23. How does this fact cause you to examine your own life? How does it impact the way you care for other people in your life?
B: We saw that obedience is the difference between professing faith & possessing faith. However, obedience is not the means to salvation, but a product of salvation. Why is it important to understand where obedience fits in on the topic of salvation?
C: Read Romans 8:28-30. We see that for the one who possesses faith that faith leads to sanctification which leads to glorification. What are areas of your life where you see God conforming you to the image of Jesus?
2. When then talked about dead faith and examples given.
A: It was said that dead faith bears no fruit and that kind of faith is a fraud. The example of this fraudulent faith is seen in v. 15. The person says a Christian cliché rather than offering compassion. What are ways we can do the opposite of this person in v. 15 & show compassion to our fellow believers?
B: In v. 18 James talks about how works are the evidence of genuine Biblical faith. What are examples you’ve seen in other people’s lives of works giving evidence that Jesus is the Lord of their life?
3. James moves to talking about a living faith in v. 21.
A: What should we make of the fact that James chooses two examples of living faith that are so different from one another? What is the lesson behind these two examples?
B: Justification is a major issue for every person: “How does a person become right with God?” What makes the Christian answer to this question distinct from other religions?
C: With both Abraham & Rahab, we see a major concept of Christianity: justification by our faith is seen in our obedience to God. How have you seen this concept play out in your life? How has obedience taken place in light of your faith?
4. We ended with 3 points of application.
A: In light of the deception we read about in v. 14-20, it should lead to examination. Why is it so important for all of us to take time to examine our faith? Why is it so hard to make the time for honest examination?
B: As Christians, our faith is distinct from others because works aren’t the basis for salvation. How comfortable are you sharing with others this distinction? What would help you grow more comfortable sharing the gospel with others?
C: Finally, it was said that comprehension should lead to exaltation. Growth in your knowledge of God should increase your joy in God. How has that happened in your life?