Faithlife Sermons

James 1 | Spiritual Formation: Steadfastness

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Hey y’all, how are y’all? Are you ready for the break next week? Ready to eat like a carnival raccoon? Me too.
I feel like I haven’t seen y’all a ton this month. I do want to thank Matthew for filling in for me, Joel for MCing, and who ran the game? Y’all the best. I was in London seeking out church partnership. We have partners locally, nationally, and we need international partners, so that was what and why I was there. I really got to see what the Lord is doing in the city of London and how we might can join in with that process.
Anyways. Last week was fields of faith, how did you like? enjoy it would go again? I thought it was even better than last year’s. That band was killer. Some of y’all closed the place down I saw. That’s pretty cool.
Who in here has a job? cool, how is your boss? Who has a good boss? who has a not so great boss?
Well let me tell you about one of the best bosses I had. When I worked at Truett’s which is a chickfila, every night you might have a different boss. Different shift manager, and there were some who were better than others. Just a fact, we had one guy who was great, all of them weren’t bad, but we had a couple who were better than the others. One guy’s name was JK, he was about this tall, you knew exactly what to expect from him, we knew exactly how the shift was going to go when we walked in. It didn’t matter if it was a Saturday night and we are getting crushed or a slow night and we are joking around. The restaurant could have been on fire and JK, he would have been the exact same. He never let his emotions get in the way of doing his job. He was the definition of level headed. just even keel, slammed, slow, people dying, he getting chewed out, never changed, man was steady. And that’s what made him a great manager, dude was constant, you knew what you were going to get. This made him steady and fair, he knew the rules, went by them, and was constant. unchanging for the most part. Which compared to the other managers, they would let their emotions dictate what was going on. If we were getting crushed, we were getting yelled at, which doesn’t help. JK had figured it out, dude was steady, unwavering. Didn’t matter. anyone have a boss like that? cool, they’re the best.
Anyways, the reason I’m telling you this is tonight we are going to be in James, we have three weeks left in the semester that this looks normal, next week is break, then we have two weeks then we are going to do the ask me anything and then it’s Christmas break.
So I got to thinking, what could we do for three weeks. and a reoccurring thing that I’ve seen in, kind of the baptist world at least, is we are really good at theology, we are good writing, most baptist preaching is good solid preaching, but i think we lack a little bit of spiritual formation. All spiritual formation is learning how to actually walk the Christian life, we are very good at teaching you what is in the bible, but i think we may have misstepped on how to actually apply and use that knowledge, and how to do it for yourself. Basically we do a lot of spoon feeding sometimes, and we spoon feed you steak and stuff, but you need to now how to feed yourself, so we are gong to do an overview of kinda what does the Christian life look like? What actually is the Christian life, what does it produce? So we are going to be in James 1 tonight, so if you have a bible, go ahead and turn over to James 1, if you don’t have one, throw a hand up and we will get you one. If you don’t have a bible take one home we want you to have the text in front of you when we study it.
so while you are flipping over there to it let me give you some context to what is going on in the book.
So James is written by James, James was the half brother of Jesus, so this guy grew of with Jesus and didn’t believe him. He only came to believe Jesus was who He said He was after Jesus came to him after Jesus was resurrected, which who would have loved to have been in the room for that.
That’s an all time told you so. Like imagine, I kinda hope Jesus snuck up on James and scared him, “hey buddy”
But James went on to become one of the first christian leaders in Jerusalem. Went from a skeptic to full on believer.
and when this book was written there was not much else to go on, it was word of mouth, the christian faith was working how it works at this point and this is what James is writing, how to faithfully walk with Jesus. What does faith in Christ mean for our lives, what does our life become?
So that’s where we are at tonight in James 1, what becomes of our lives when we are walking with Christ, what does our life look like?
SO the main thing to take from toight is this idea of steadfastness and we are going to really look at the meaning here. but lets read this passage together and then let’s look at how it teaches us about how the christian life is carried out.
So let’s read this together James 1:1-18, pray with me for our time in the word.
James 1:1–18 ESV
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. 9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. 12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Count it all Joy
Okay, so what do we see going on here?
look at how James starts this letter he addresses this to the twelve tribes in dispersion. So he is writing to a Jewish people that has been dispersed, scattered, spread about. And it might be in your bible but in mine dispersion is capitalized, which means this is a historical thing. So this is probably speaking about the destruction of Jerusalem by Romans, they destroyed the temple, and scattered a bunch of people
So James is writing to those people, and not on their best day, this was down right apocalyptic for them, end of all things sort of stuff. The Temple is gone, Jesus has gone back to heaven, its crazy for them, their homeland is destroyed.
they had to go somewhere.
So He is writing to the dispersed Jewish people and what does he say.
“Count it all joy my brothers.” if you like writing things down or highlighting things in our bible, thats worth a highlight, a little note there, you can preach that to yourself, “count it all joy”
Count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds.
Just come out swinging, no “sorry your town got murdered” nope, just count it all joy
Count it all joy,
so the question we are answering tonight is how do you get there? How do you get to a posture of count it all joy. Not an over night thing.
We talk a lot in here and in church in general as having a a joy that cannot be killed, an everlasting joy, and that is easy to have when life isn’t that bad but look at who he is writing to, have this un killable joy when everyone around you has been killed. Count it all joy, rejoice.
and he says, count it joy because your faith is being tested, be glad this suffering is happening because it is apart of redeeming and restoring the world.
He is saying, Count it all joy because this is testing your faith, this is going to make your testimony for the cause of Christ stronger, the world is treating you like they treated Jesus, count it all as joy.
This testing of your faith produces steadfastness, and when steadfastness has it’s full effect, we are lacking in nothing, we are content, we have the joy that is un killable.
So what is steadfastness? James talks about this a pretty good bit.
What is it? thew word can be translated a couple way, i think some versions translate it as endurance, which is not bad, trails make you able to endure things, but i feel like steadfastness is something more. it seems like a steadiness that doesn’t go away,
Where are my region champ cross country runners at? Okay is runners high a thing? Where you almost forget you are running and your worried about other things rather than thinking about being tired? have you ever gotten to that? running and running, not thinking about it?
That’s steadfastness, that is a different level of endurance. Hill is coming up, me i’m dying, but runner, don’t matter, we running. It’s raining, I’m running, doesn’t bother you. you keep on keeping on.
That is the kind of faith that steadfastness produces, a faith that doesn’t go anywhere when suffering comes, a faith that wades in to the suffering. That is steadfast faith. That is what the Christian life produces.
Count it all joy, that you get to suffer like Christ did, that you suffer for the kingdom, that in this suffering, the Lord will use this for His glory. Count it all joy.
So how do we get there? James is kinda working backwards, so we are too, telling you the end of where we are gong then showing you how er got there.
So how do we get to steadfastness? Just ask for bad things to happen? no.
We get to steadfastness by cultivating our walk with the lord, becasue he is the one that produces it, this is a fruit, the Lord produces this fruit in your life, so how do we do it?
how do we cultivate this?
if we read the next part of the passage it is prayer. James 1:5
James 1:5 ESV
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
We are going to talk more on prayer in couple weeks, but Prayer is a thing that a lot of neglect, not because we don’t want to pray but because we do not know how to pray. I think for a good bit of us, prayer is something we do before we eat, and only do when things are going bad, and yeah, do those things, but prayer is not just a help line, but it is communion with God Himself.
It is where your theology meets reality. We experience mercy, forgiveness , joy, grief, grace, all of it is done in prayer. Prayer is going to build a base for when suffering comes, that will build steadfastness.
you can’t expect to run a marathon and not have trained a little bit. You gotta have something there of suffering is going to knock you over.
Prayer and not just prayer, prayer and expecting God to answer it. Look at verse 7 and 8 James 1:7-8
James 1:7–8 ESV
7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
how many of this is us, we ask the lord for things, we pray but don’t expect. This is wrong of us. We approach a lot things like this in the church, we come to worship not expecting God to do things, we just do it to do it sometimes.
This is telling us to expect God to act.
So what does this do with steadfastness, ask for it. IF you are having trouble praying here is a real tangible prayer you can pray right now, pray that the lord strengthens your faith, ask the lord for joy, ask the lord for steadfastness.
Start tonight, ask the Lord to strengthen your faith, and expect Him.
open the psalms and see how David prayed, it’s not a list of things but it is His heart that he is showing to the Lord.
Prayer and anticipation will cultivate steadfastness
Killing sin
Then last thing James talks more about suffering and steadfastness, and gives us one last way that the Christian life is walked. Look at verse 15 James 1:15
James 1:15 ESV
15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
I know you have heard me use this quote but i love it and i think you should remember it, John Owen wrote, “Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.” put your flesh to death,
This is the disciple part of spiritual discipline you know what to do but it is actually doing it. You know the stuff that pops up on your phone that you shouldn’t be looking at, kill it. You’ve got an anger problem put it to death. When temptation comes run, you know you are supposed to, but actually doing it the hard part. But the part that will kill you is not doing, not being disciplined not killing sin is what will kill you. Look desire breeds sin, and full grown sin is death.
Sin is cute at first, it seems harmless, bit a fun, but that allows this to grow, the fun gets more fun if you know what i mean, then that sin stops becoming fun, but you can’t kill it. Kill it when it’s young.
Y’all know what kudzu is, it’s an invasive plant that kills the other plants and literally take over what ever it is on. If you have kudzu on your land, you have to burn it. SO when you see some of it, burn it quick, kill it or it will take over everything.
Sin is like Kudzu, look harmless, might even seem pretty, but that kudzu will destroy everything it touches.
Be killing sin or sin will be killing you.
Okay so what do ewe do with this? If you have wanted to be closer to the Lord, if you want your walk with the Lord to be strengthened go home and ask the Lord to give you a steadfast faith.
Ask the Lord to show you want sin you have that need to be killed. and ask him to help you kill it. Deal with it now.
When you leave here tonight know that the Lord will answer prayers, it may not be how you want him to, but he will give you what you need more than what you want.
If you are a follower of Jesus, this text is calling us to cultivate a stedfast faith, to see suffering and know that the Lord is going to use it for his glory. Count it all joy.
If you are not a follower of Christ, know that this text is giving you a glimpse of what sin becomes, and with out Jesus sin cannot be killed, you have a sin problem that only jesus can fix. Sin leads to death, but Christ leads to Life and steadfast joy. Christ is calling you to come and know Him. If you have any questions about what it means to follow jesus, come talk to me, talk to one of the adults, talk to the friend that you came with, talk to someone.
Coe see Christ as Lord, Come see Christ as king.
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