James 4:11-17

Talks for Growing Christians

Finding Fault and Planning Ahead without the Lord

James 4:11-17

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Lesson Number 8

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. It is a sin to speak evil of a fellow believer.
  2. It is a sin to plan ahead without the Lord.

Practical Application

  1. Remember, there are also sins of omission.


  1. What is the theme of the epistle of James?
  2. James points out the particular area of struggle, the particular problem, and then what does he do?
  3. What is our responsibility in dealing with life’s problems?
  4. How many commands are listed in the five chapters of James?
  5. How are we able to follow these commands?
  6. What is meant by “DV?”


  1. “Practical Christian Living.”
  2. He doesn’t leave us stranded because he gives us the solution to the problem.
  3. We are given commands to do something, then we are to heed them.
  4. There are fifty-four commands. These commands are the solutions to the problems.
  5. By asking God for help.
  6. DV is short for two Latin words – Deo Volente, which means “God willing.”


  1. “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren.” (James 4:11) Speaking evil of a fellow believer means to find fault with him/her and publicize it. This is a sin and it leads to contempt. When we find fault with fellow believers, we not only judge them, but we judge God’s law of love. Essentially, we are disagreeing with God and thus we are finding fault with God. Are you a fault-finder? How dare we judge one another? How dare we disagree with God?
  2. “…you do not know what will happen tomorrow…You ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills…” (James 4:14-15) Planning ahead without consulting the Lord not only lacks common sense, but it is a sin. It is a form of arrogance and boasting and evil (James 4:16). It is not wrong to plan ahead. In fact, goal-setting and counting the cost are biblical principles. It becomes a sin when the Lord is not consulted. To make plans apart from the Lord is to presume upon God and assume that we know the future.


  1. “To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17) There are sins of commission, but there are also sins of omission. Sins of omission take place when we don’t do what we know we should do. Review your life this past week and consider your sins of omission. For example, did you see someone in need that you could have helped? Determine to be more aware of others” needs this coming week.

Key Verses

  • “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren.” James 4:11
  • “You ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills.” James 4:15
  • “To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” James 4:17

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