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Lesson for November 8th, 2014

Faith That Works

Scripture Focus

James 2:14-26; Romans 3:27, 28; 4:1-5; Titus 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4:2; Joshua 2:1-21

Concept

Faith and works cannot be separated. When we try to separate them, we lose the right motives for both. Correct works are the expression of our faith and come naturally.

Materials Needed

Pens, paper, a timer, butcher paper, one black marker, tape, Bibles

Connecting with the Scripture Topic

  1. Play the “Good Works Game.” Set the timer for one minute. Have each person write down, as quickly as possible, all the good deeds someone might do on a given day. Share what they are and compare numbers. Then discuss whether or not the person with the greatest number is more likely to be saved than the person with the least. Why or why not?
  2. As a group, think of at least one dozen “good works” and write them on the butcher paper. Discuss what it would be like for the “doer” and the “receiver” if these works were done out of a desire to earn points with God rather than out of faith.

Sharing and Receiving Scripture

  1. Is it possible for a Christian to separate faith and works? Can you have one without the other?
  2. Thought Questions

Read James 2:14. What is your answer to James’ question?

  1. Yes, faith can save us because there’s no way that our works will ever be good enough.
  2. No, the Bible says that even the devil and the fallen angels believe, yet they won’t be saved.
  3. Yes, the Bible says to believe on Jesus and we will be saved.
  4. No, because sincere faith would not be faith alone; it would be faith with deeds.
  5. On the other hand, deeds without faith won’t save us either.
  6. Other...

Read James 2:18. What point is James trying to make?

  1. Faith comes first, and deeds follow.
  2. Both faith and deeds are equally important to God.
  3. We cannot separate faith and works.
  4. God would rather have us show our faith through our deeds, rather than having our deeds prove our faith.
  5. Works are more important than faith. People can see our works, but faith is invisible.
  6. Other...

Read about Abraham in James 2:21-24. What can we learn about faith and works from his example?

  1. He could not have obeyed such a dramatic command from God if he hadn’t had faith.
  2. To be saved, he felt that he had to obey God even though he disagreed.
  3. His faith was strong enough that he believed God knew the extent of the request.
  4. He believed that God’s promises would never change or fail and that God would be faithful.
  5. We will be considered friends of God if we have both faith and obedience.
  6. Other...

Read Joshua 2:1-21 and James 2:25. What can Rahab’s story teach us about the relationship between faith and works?

  1. If we’ll just believe, we can be saved even though we aren’t living right.
  2. Rahab risked showing her faith in God even though many of her people did not believe.
  3. In God’s eyes, actions speak louder than faith.
  4. If Rahab can be forgiven by faith manifested through works, so can we.
  5. We must act on what we believe—without hesitation—when we have the opportunity.
  6. Other...

Applying the Message of Scripture

Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.

  • Option 1: Discuss ways to find a healthy balance between deeds and faith. How can we keep from esteeming one above the other? Write down your answers to share with the whole group.
  • Option 2: Think of examples of Bible characters whose faith was manifested by their deeds. Write down what they did and share their actions with the group.
  • Option 3: What “works” can your church do in your community that will be a witness of your faith? Brainstorm and write down your ideas.

Valuing Scripture in Your Life

  1. Read James 2:26 and then review the past week. Has your faith been dead or alive? If your answer is “dead,” think of ways to make it come alive by actively living for Jesus in the coming week.
  2. Think of the last “good deed” that you did. What motivated you to do it? If your motive was love, great! But if you did it to earn favor with God, remind yourself of what the Bible says about how salvation comes.

Next Week's Scripture Focus

Matthew 7:16-18; 12:37; James 3:1-12; Deuteronomy 6:6, 7; Luke 9:51-56; Proverbs 16:27

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