James: Wisdom on this Side of the Cross – Part 5

James: Wisdom on this Side of the Cross – Part 5

Writings – James What James wants us to see. James 5:1-6 and 4:1-10 August 26, 2018

I. James HELPS us to SEE…
A. Seeing SUFFERING as GROWTH. (1:1-18)
B. Seeing OURSELVES in the SCRIPTURE. (1:19-27; 2:14-26)
C. Seeing OTHERS as God DOES. (2:1-13)
D. Seeing our own HEART in our WORDS. (3:1-18)

We’ve moved through James rather quickly, but as we have focused here I have come to realize that James is helping to clear up our vision. He wants us to see clearly. To understand life and the world and our relationships and even our own heart by seeing what God sees as He looks at it.

1. Kid’s question – Do you think having enough things will make you happy?
2. How has this series on James helped you to see things differently?

II. Today, SEEING what really LASTS. (5:1-6)
A. “All up in your (FINANCIAL) BUSINESS.” (5:1-6)
B. HARSH words to make a POINT. (5:1-6)

Our focus for this final week in the series is on the danger of wealth and possessions. James uses some very strong language to drive home his point. He challenges all of us in North America to rethink our financial priorities and practices.

3. What’s your initial reaction when someone probes into the way you use your finances? Why is that?
4. James uses really strong language in 5:1-6. Is it overstating it to get people’s attention or does he really mean what he is saying?

III. The ISSUE is always a HEART problem. (4:1-4; 1:23-25)
A. CHOOSE your “FRIENDS” wisely… (4:4)
B. …because your “LOVES” shape your LIFE. (4:1-4)

James talks about our finances, but as is always the case, finances are a symptom of a heart issue. We saw the same thing with favouritism and with the use of the tongue. Our heart gives direction to our life, more than we realize at times.

5. What does it mean to be a “friend” of the world? What does it look like?
6. Is it really true that what we love determines our actions?

IV. LOVING the One who HAS and LOVES us. (4:5-10)
A. It starts with OPENING to GRACE. (v.6; Is. 43:18-19)
B. Combining ACTION and RECEPTIVITY. (v.7-8; Phil. 2:12-13)
C. It may not BE what you EXPECT. (v.9; 1:2-4 ; Job 5:17-18; Ps 51:17)
D. He WILL if you are WILLING. (v.10; Lam. 3:22-23)

Once again, since it is a heart issue we come back to how we allow our heart to be transformed. Information plays a role, and there are things that we are to do, but much of what needs to happen has to do with us opening ourselves to experience and know the love and grace that God has for us.

7. Is it hard for you to receive from others? Why do you think that is?
8. How has the way God has lead you thus far surprised you? Have you found him to be faithful?