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How to Win Trials

Study of James  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Context of James

Author—James (the brother of Christ)
James did not believe in Jesus while He was on earth ()
It was probably not until Jesus appeared to James after His death that James finally believed in Him. ()
After Christ’s appearance, James became a catalyst in the church. Paul calls him the “pillar” in .
James was martyred in AD 62 (like all of the apostles). Tradition says he was thrown out of the temple and beaten to death with clubs. He died as his half brother Jesus died—by praying “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”.
Written around the mid 40’s AD
Written to 12 Tribes scattered abroad
James must have listened to Jesus’ preachings because there are numerous occasions in James where he is alluding to Jesus’ teaching (-Matthew 5:10-12) and (-Matt 5:48)
Written
Audience
Jews living outside of Palestine
Addressed to Christians—Addressing them not only as brothers in the flesh, but brothers in new birth
Reason for the letter
Spiritual maturity. Everything you see in this letter comes from spiritual immaturity (impatience in difficulties, Talking but not living the truth, No control over what you say, fighting and coveting, collecting material “toys”)
Looking over this list, does it remind you of how the church is today?
James is hoping for a “perfect man” 3:2. This does not mean sinless, but rather mature or complete! That is the goal of every Christian and that is why this letter was written
So, with all that in mind, let’s dive into this letter by James!

1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:

Greetings.

Testing of Your Faith

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

1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:

Greetings.

Testing of Your Faith

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.

Radical Command

Radical Command v.2

The first thing we see in this letter is a very radical command...”Count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds”.
This goes against every rational thing we know
We need to count it all joy when we “meet” trials of various kinds
Fall into doesn’t mean
The word meet isn’t talking about an accident or something that happens without you knowing, but rather, expect it to happen! Satan is fighting us, the world opposes us, so we should be steadfast and ready to do battle…Make war in your life!
Illustration about Whitney at Walmart
Steadfastness of your faith produces patience
So we have this radical command, but what can we do to prepare ourselves to perform this command?

Principles to Know v.3

What are some principles that, when remembered, can help us fulfill this audacious command?
What are some thi
Not a sinless person, but a complete and more Christlike person
Steadfast faith is hard, tiring, and may seem like it’s not worth it in the midst of it, but it is.
W
As Christians, our faith is always tested—Consider Abraham—God tested Him to increase his faith. That is a good thing. When we are tempted by satan, he is trying to bring out the worst in us. Testing our faith proves that we are truly born again!
Testing works for us, not against us—Testing or trying in this passage can also be translate “approval”. helps us to understand this better, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth”. Consider a gold prospector bringing a gold sample into the assayer’s office to be tested, the sample itself may not be worth much money, but the approval of the sample that it is gold is worth millions, because the prospector knows he struck gold! That is the same as our approval. at the time of our testing it may not seem like much, but when God approves of it it is worth so much more than we can imagine.
The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Two: Turning Trials into Triumphs (James 1:2–12)

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory

- 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth
Trials work for the believer, not against him. Look to what is coming and not what is happening
Trials help us to mature
Looking in life, immature people are usually impatient. God is trying to mature us and to make us the perfect and complete person.
God is trying to grow our patience because that is the basis for every other blessing. Patience is the key to learning other lessons. A child who cannot learn patience will not learn much else, that is the same with Christians.

A Surrendered Will v. 4, 9-12

God chooses to build our character through our maturity. If we continue to resist Him, He is going to chasten us into submission, and that is not a pleasant thing.
When we are truly mature God can
There are three works of God outlined in the Bible---Salvation, Sanctification, Service (what God does through us). God will not begin the service part until we are mature and “complete”
Part of God’s works through us involves weaning us off of bad habits. That’s where God testing our faith comes in. Obviously, wealth was a real problem in this time period with these people because James talks about that in verses 9-11.
God doesn’t want us trusting in our wealth, talents, or resources, but rather in His goodness. That’s why He tests our faith

Don’t be Afraid to Ask v. 5-8

God knew we were going to have struggles and difficulties through trials, so he tells us we can ask for wisdom.
Why should we ask for wisdom while going through a hard time? Why not strength or patience?
Because God doesn’t want us to waste this opportunity to grow!
God promises to give us this wisdom if we ask him with the right spirit and intentions
We can’t be tossed in the waves, but have that continued trust that God will lead us and protect us.
We need to believe God’s promises that all things WILL work together for our good, even if it looks bad in the midst of the trial
James ended this section with a beatitude in v. 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.

Notice how James started the section v.2 and ended v.12 with hope and joy! Outlook determines outcome. If we go into trials expecting a bad outcome, then we’ll probably get it, but if we go in trusting and remembering God’s promise, that’s when we will really grow!
Next we see that we will inherit a crown of life. God promises rewards and blessings to those who trust him! Who wouldn’t want that? God cannot deny His own, so therefore when we are with Him, He will reward us!
Finally, we see that crown is promised to all who “love” him. I find it very interesting that James used love here instead of “ to those who obey or trust Him”. But while thinking about it, love is the foundation of both of those imperatives in this section.
We have a joyful attitude in the midst of trials because we love God and he loves us!

Conclusion

What is keeping you from having joy in the midst of trials?
Maybe you’re not saved
Maybe you’re not growing daily
Maybe you’re not trusting God’s promises to you
Maybe you’re not remembering that trials are meant to grow you
Any of these may be the problem
How can I continue to grow my faith?
Trust God’s promises to you
Read the promises and mark them down
Pray diligently
Get to know others and how they overcome temptations and trials
What are you doing to fight temptations and to have joy through trials. God is willing to help, you just need to ask!
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