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James- Active Faith (Bible Study Series)

James- Active Faith (Bible Study Series)

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Published by alex-perednia-4856
An 8-part series on the Epistle of James... ACTIVE FAITH
An 8-part series on the Epistle of James... ACTIVE FAITH

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Published by: alex-perednia-4856 on Feb 01, 2011
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MIDWEEK BIBLE STUDY Pastor Alex M Perednia09/08/10 #1
JAMES: ACTIVE FAITH  James: The Man and His Message
(Overview of James)
 ______________________________________________________________________________ 
WARMING UP
Taking a look at the sermon topics below,
hich topic do you think you(and/or our church) need to hear most? Why?
(What are the top three votes& I will be sure to invite everyone out to Bible Study especially on those nights.)
How do I face trials and temptations without being crushed?
(James 1:3-5,12-18; 5:7-12)
When is studying the Bible dangerous to your spiritual life?
(James 1:16-27; 3:1)
Do I need a special theology degree to know God's will 
?
(James 1:5-8;3:13-18; 4:13-17)
In God's eyes, is it better for me to be rich or poor?
(James 1:9-11; 1:27-2:13; 5:1-6)
How can I know if my faith is real?
Or,
Does my faith need my works to go to heaven?
(James 1:26-27; 2:14-26)
Since my sins are forgiven in Christ, will I still be "judged" by God?
(James 1:12; 2:12-13; 3:1; 4:11-12)
How do I start a fire with my tongue?
(James 1:26, 3:1-12; 4:11-12; 5:12)
Why do relationships among church folk sometimes break apart into petty squabbling?
(James 1:19-21; 3:13-18; 4:1-2, 7-12)
Can I be friends with the world and with God?
(James 1:27, 4:4-10)
Should I expect God to answer my prayers?
(James 1:5-7; 4:2b-3; 5:16b-20)
Is confession only good for the soul?
(James 5:13-20)
All of these topics--- and more-- are addressed in the Letter of James. That ishow diverse and practical these five chapters are!
DIGGING DEEPER 
Let's acquaint ourselves with some background info on this letter with alittle quiz. Are you ready?
True
or 
False
?1. T or F: James was written by one of the Twelve Apostles.2. T or F: This is likely one of the earliest letters of the NT writtenand was addressed to Jewish followers of Jesus.3. T or F: James was probably strongly influenced by the OT book of Proverbs and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) in writing his letter.4. T or F: In contrast with Paul’s letters, James doesn’t emphasizetheological formulation, but stresses practical Christianity.5. T or F: In over 2,000 years of church history, James has beenre ered by everyone as one of the finest books in the NTAnswer Key
1.
FALSE 
James (
 Hebrew
- Jacob) was a common name. Although two of thetwelve were named James (Mark 10:2-3), the James who wrote this letter was thehalf- rother of Jesus (Matt. 13:55), who did not follow Jesus until after Hisresurrection (John 7:5, 1 Corinthians 15:7, Acts 1:14). After James' conversion, heecame a key leader in the Jerusalem church (Acts 12:17, Acts 15:13ff.) He wasknown as James the Just and was known for his personal piety.2.
TRUE 
The Jewish converts were probably scattered because of  persecution and many of them were very poor.3. TRUE The themes of wisdom and proper uses of the tongue are major themes of Proverbs. As we study this letter, we will note any direct connectionsetween the Sermon on the Mount and James.4. TRUE A tricky question, because the question assumes Paul is alltheology and no application. In that sense, it is
false
. Although Paul stressestheological formulation in his letters, he always stresses practical application too.For example, Romans 1-11 and Ephesians 1-3 are deep theological statements buteach of these letters ends with great practical helps (Romans 12-16 and Ephesians 4-6). Good theology is always practical!5. FALSE One well-known person who had seriously reservations aboutJames was the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther who called this “an epistle of straw” because he (mistakenly) thought that James contradicts Paul’s teachings onsalvation by grace through faith without works.
APPLYING THE WORD
:Imagine an un-churched friend asks you, "What is a good religion?” Or “Which religion does God want me to join?" How would you respond?Read James 1:26-27. These verses are the "center" of what James istrying to convey and ties together many of the sub-themes of the letter.a. How does James define "true religion"? Is this what you would havesaid to your unchurched friend? Does this contradict the classicevangelical position that "asking Jesus into your heart" is the way to besaved?. In v. 26, what is an example of "worthless religion"? In v. 27, what arethe two components of true religion? How does this view of "truereligion" challenge you?e. According to James, is it possible to be self-deceived about youreligion? (see also Matthew 7:21-23). How do we avoid being self-deceived?f. John Mcarthur wrote that, “James wrote… to challenge his readers toexamine their faith to see if it was genuine saving faith. Will youhonestly use the book of James to help to do some important self-examination?”
 
MIDWEEK BIBLE STUDY Pastor Alex M Perednia09/15/10 #2
JAMES: ACTIVE FAITH  How Do I Face Trials Without Being Crushed 
James 1:3-5, 12-18; 5:7-12
 ______________________________________________________________________________ 
WARMINGUP
When you hear the word
TEST 
, what comes to mind? Does that wordcreate a positive or negative image in your mind? In what ways cantesting be a negative/positive experience? Why does God test our faith?
DIGGINGDEEPE
Before we consider how to face trials
without being crushed 
, we needto be clear about the “many kinds” of trials (1:2) we will face asChristians. What are the “trials of 
many kinds
” that James is referringto? Here is the definition of a
trial 
y James: …Something that leadsto “the
T
 _____________ of your faith…” (1:2)
An examination of the context will show us that the kinds of trials thatJames has in mind come from two main sources.
Trials that come
rom circumstances
W
 _________ (James 1:2-4).What was the real life test that Christians were facing in 5:1-8?
Trials (or 
temptations
) that come
rom desires
W
 ________ (James1:13-15). This is clearly a different kind of “test” from the firstecause the source of the testing comes from within. This kind of test is more properly called a “temptation” (
nducement 
to evil).
With the help of James 1:12-15, how would you respond to some of these myths of temptation: “God is tempting me.” Or, “The Devilmade me do it.” Or, “When I am a strong Christian, temptation won’te a problem anymore.”
What is the “cycle of temptation” according to 1:14-15? What are theoutcomes if the cycle of temptation continues?
Consider the following kinds of trials. What kind of test are these…from
within
… from
without 
… or a combination? How would/do eachof these test our faith? How have you responded to them?
…a diagnosis of a serious illness
…whether to tell a life to protect yourself 
…a financial hardship, like a job loss
…whether to watch a racy video online
… losing a promotion because of your 
out-spoken
faith
…whether to
fight back 
hen slandered by a friend
…whether to break that diet and eat an extra helping of pie
…extreme disappointment about circumstances in our life
Let’s come back to the question, “Why does God test our faith?”
What are the reasons given in James 1:2-4? What does God wantto
produce
or 
accomplish
in us as a result of our testing? Let’stake a moment to reflect upon some key phrases to understand thekeys to facing trials without being crushed“Consider it pure joy…” (a joyful
A
 _____________)“…Whenever you face trials…”“…knowing that…” (an understanding
M
 _________)“…The testing of your faith develops perseverance…”“…Perseverance must finish its work…” (a
S
 ______ will)“…so that you may e mature and complete…”“…so that you (are)… not lacking anything…”
According to James 5:7-11, what are we commanded to do in theface of trials involving unfair (and even unjust) circumstances?Who is the great Biblical example that James cites for enduring suffering patiently?What is the “eschatological” reason (a reason pertaining to“last things”) that we can endure under unjust suffering?
According to James 1:12, what is God’s promise to those who enduretrials faithfully? How can knowing this help us when facing trials?
APPLYINGTHEWORD
In his commentary on James (1998 Moody Press), Bible teacher JohnMcArthur helps further answer the question, “Why does God test our faith?”He writes: “To test the genuineness of a diamond, jewelers often place it in clear water, which causes a real diamond to sparkle withspecial brilliance. An imitation stone, on the other hand, will have almostno sparkle at all. When the two are placed side by side, even an untrainedeye can easily tell the difference.He explains that it is important thatGod test us to reveal the real quality of our faith: “Many people havegreat confidence in their faith until it is severely tested by hardships or disappointments. How a person handles trouble will reveal whether hisfaith is living or dead, genuine or imitation, saving or non-saving.”How are you doing in the trials you are facing? Is the trial crushing your faith… revealing it wasn’t strong or genuine in the first place? Or, is thetrial developing a perseverance and maturity that you did not know youhad? Will you ask God to help “the testing of your faith to produce perseverance…(and the) maturity” of your faith?
 
MIDWEEK BIBLE STUDY Pastor Alex M Perednia09/22/10 #3
JAMES: ACTIVE FAITH When is Studying the Bible Dangerous to Your Spiritual Life?
James 1:19-27
 ______________________________________________________________________________ 
WARMING UP
It is not uncommon to see a road sign: “
CAUTION
:
Road Constructionin Progress”.
Perhaps you noticed the sign coming into Bible Studytonight, “
CAUTION
:
Bible Instruction in Progress.” 
According toJames 1:22-25 why should there be a “caution sign” posted whenever anyone studies the Bible? According to James 3:1, what people should be particularly careful to avoid the
dangers
of Bible study and why?
DIGGING DEEPER 
The central question of the book of James is
“How do I know if my faithis a real saving belief?”
If a friend asked you, “How do I know if myfaith is real?” how would you answer them?
James 1:22-25 clearly shows us that -- ecause God desires that wehave a faith that is “real” and “active”-- God expects that our BibleStudy e not
ust 
limited to acquiring
I
 ______________ 
ut focuson experiencing
T
 _________________ 
a
changed 
life as a resultof what we have learned! If we seek to study the Bible just for the
nformation
we can get out of it -- ut fail to experience
transformation
-- then we are in a dangerous place!
According to James 1:22-25, what are the two essential
ngredients
of “experiencing transformation” when we study the Bible?
I
 _________________ 
:
“Do not
merely
listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.” (1:22a)
“…the man who
looks intently
into the perfect law that gives freedom,and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard…” (1:25a)
O
 ________________ 
:
“…Do what it says.” (1:22b)
“…but doing it…” (1:25b)
Let’s try to be “doers of the word” tonight. Looking at 1:19-21, inwhich of these two areas of personal application (the control of 
 A
 ______________ 
or the good use of your 
 ________________ 
 
) doyou think you can use some transformation of character?
As we continue this study of James, we’ll be addressing both of thesetopics in detail. According to 1:21, what is the only way we can besaved from these terrible sins? Will you ask God to save you andtransform you by “the word planted in you…”?
Did you notice the two kinds of people described in James 1:22-25?
A
D
 _______________ 
person is one who “merely listen(s) tothe word (but) does [
not 
what it says.” (James 1:22)? What isGod’s warning to a person who practices
nput 
without
output 
of God’s Word?
A
B
 _______________ 
person is one who “looks intently intothe perfect law that gives freedom…doing it.” What is God’s promise to a person who practices both input and output of God’s Word? What is the personal enefit to such a person?
Right after warning people about avoiding the dangers of acquiringBible information without Bible transformation, James addresses acentral theme of the book:
the necessity
of an active faith.
How does James 1:26-27 answer the question: “How do Iknow if my faith is real?”
Are you at all surprised by this answer? How does
this
answer square with your answer?
Does this mean if someone starts an adoption agency or helpsout widows then they are guaranteed to please God and goheaven?
Another verse that talks about what “pleases God” is Hebrews11:1, 6. Does it
contradict 
or 
complement 
James 1:27?
APPLYING THE WORD
Will you ask God to transform you by becoming a more effective
doer 
of the Word?
An active faith that pleases God is one that “not merely listen(s) to theord ( ut) does what it says.”
(James 1:22). An active faith is thecentral theme of the book of James: It will be the issue we will beaddressing next week as we look very carefully at James 2:14-26 tounderstand the relationship between faith and works.

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