NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow (Sun., Oct. 30). This guide will enable your follow-up of the sermon that I’ll preach, God willing, that morning from James 3:13-18. You’ll find these LIFE group discussion guides categorized each week here on my site under the category title LIFE group guides.
To appreciate God’s peace as we live by his wisdom and how wise it is to live in his peace.
“Are any of you wise and understanding? Show that your actions are good with a humble lifestyle that comes from wisdom. … (17) What of the wisdom from above? First, it is pure, and then peaceful, gentle, obedient, filled with mercy and good actions, fair, and genuine. (18) Those who make peace sow the seeds of justice by their peaceful acts.” (James 3:13,17-18 CEB)
Icebreaker questions are meant to simply get us all talking. Choose one of the following to discuss as a group.
1. Recount a funny instance of your knuckleheadedness when you failed to use “wisdom.”
2. One thing I do to try and bring peace in a tense situation is to __________.
These questions are intended to help us grapple directly with the sermon’s primary Scripture text.
1. We’re to have a humble lifestyle (vs. 13). In context, what would such a lifestyle look like?
2. How would everything change if the wisdom from above was not “pure?” (vs. 17a)
3. Compare the wording of the seven qualities of pure wisdom from above (vs. 17) in several different English translations. What variation in wording do you notice?
4. Pick a word from vs. 17 and explain how such is crucial to forming or keeping peace.
5. Substitute the phrase “right relationships between people” for the word “justice” in vs. 18. How does this help you understand James’ point with this whole passage?
These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us through his word.
1. God is what he expects of us. Recount an instance in the life of Jesus Christ that depicts him living out each of the seven qualities mentioned in vs. 17.
2. Would you say there can be wisdom in a church without peace? How about real peace without wisdom? How do you think James would answer those two questions?
3. What sort of things would you expect to be common in a church that was well exercised in the seven qualities enumerated in vs. 17? What would you expect to be hard to find?
4. James points to the seven qualities in vs. 17 as distinctives of true heavenly wisdom. What would you say the church today tends to emphasize as her “wisdom distinctives?” How does the list you come up with differ from the list here in James?
5. James says the experience of peace among Christians doesn’t just happen, rather, it is the result of deliberate effort. It’s like the work of a farmer (“sow … seeds of justice;” vs. 18). What qualities must a farmer exhibit when planting seed and expecting a harvest? How are those qualities necessary for the work of planting seeds of peace?
6. As a group, recite and practice the last sentence of vs. 17 until you have it memorized.
7. Pick one of the seven qualities in vs. 17 that you would say best completes the following sentence: “If I was truly wise, I would personally work hard at becoming more __________.”