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"Dare You To Love"

February 11, 2018 Speaker: Eric Naus Series: Faith That Works

Passage: James 2:1–13

Community Group Discussion Questions:
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Read James 2:1-13 aloud as a group and then explore the following questions together:

  1. In verse 1, James brings up the topic of “partiality” (notice that the same word is used in verse 9). “Partiality” means showing someone preferential treatment based on superficial reasons (like their appearance, wealth, or status).  We might translate this word “favoritism” or “discrimination.”  Have you ever experienced partiality in the church?  Why is this kind of sin especially opposed to “the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 1)?
  2. In verses 2-4, James gives a vivid example of partiality: a rich and poor man come into the Christian worship service, and they are treated very differently. Can you think of modern day examples where churches are tempted to show preferential treatment to those with more wealth or status?  Can you think of subtle, heart-level examples where you have treated people differently based on whether you perceived them to “benefit” you?  Share your struggle with the group.
  3. In verses 5-7, James points out the irony that many people were becoming Christians from among the poor, while unrighteous wealthy people were oppressing the Christians to whom he writes. These facts made it even more obvious that favoritism toward the rich was ridiculous.  In light of this, what practical steps can we take as Christians to make sure we treat our brothers and sisters with equal dignity and love?
  4. In verses 8-9, James reminds his readers that all the commandments of God can be summed up in the greatest command to love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18; see Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 22:34-40). However, showing partiality is completely the opposite of showing neighborly love!  Loving your neighbor is enormously important to God, therefore, partiality is enormously offensive to God!  Based on this teaching, what positive things can we do as a church to promote brotherly love and break down discrimination and favoritism wherever we find it?
  5. In verses 10-11, James insists that you cannot “pick and choose” which commands you want to keep, ignoring the sin of partiality. And then, in verses 12-13, James reminds his readers that on the final day of judgment, their faith in Christ will be proved or disproved by whether they’ve shown mercy to others.  Why is showing mercy such a powerful evidence of true salvation?  Why is showing partiality an especially grave sign of false conversion?

Prayer suggestion: Repent together of any sins of partiality that the Holy Spirit has convicted you of during the course of this study.  Pray for our church and for our lives as individuals, that we would demonstrate the gospel by loving one another well. 

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