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Know the Truth About Trials and Temptations

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Know the Truth About Trials and Temptations

 

1 Peter 1:6-9 (NIV)
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
7 These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

(1:6-9) Introduction: this passage is one of the great passages dealing with the trials and temptations of believers.

1.  Know the fact: life is full of trials and temptations (v.6).

2.  Know the purpose for trials and temptations (v.7).

3.  Know how to conquer trials and temptations (v.8-9).

 1. (1:6) Know the fact—life is full of trials and temptations.

Any thinking person can look around and see that life is bombarded with all kinds of trials and temptations. There are all kinds of trials, such as...

·  sickness·  disease·  suffering·  sorrows·  criticism·  loneliness ·  ridicule·  abuse·  loss·  disappointment·  emptiness

There are also all kinds of temptations such as...

·  greed·  selfishness·  hoarding·  drunkenness·  deceit·  strife·  drugs·  anger·  gluttony ·  immorality·  sorcery·  indulgence·  backbiting·  whispering·  revellings·  envy·  jealousy·  uncleanness

The list of trials and temptations in the world are as unlimited as acts of behavior. For every act there can be the sin of too much or the sin of too little, the sins of commission or the sins of omission. Life is fraught with trials and temptations.

This is especially true with genuine believers, for believers stand in opposition to the selfish, immmoral, greedy, and unjust ways of the world.

1.  Trials and temptations are only for a season; they are only for a little while, for a short time. The idea is that our salvation is at hand; we shall soon be delivered from the sufferings of this earth. Therefore, we can stand up under whatever suffering is attacking us.

2.  Trials and temptations cause a heaviness within us. The word "heaviness" (lupēthentes PWS: 1917) means to be grieving; to suffer sorrow, stress, pressure, and mental anguish. We all know what it is to feel heavy and weighed down with grief; to suffer stress and pressure; to be mentally in anguish, wondering, questioning, and suffering under the weight of trial or temptation.

 Thought 1. This is a dark picture of the world and of life, a picture of all kinds of trials and temptations. But we must face reality; it is a fact. As we walk throughout life, we are bombarded with all kinds of trials and temptations. Our human experience proves it. But why face it? Why think about it? Why not ignore the fact, think positively, and look at only the good and move on? There is one reason: facts cannot be handled unless they are dealt with. Ignoring and denying trials and temptations will not conquer them, not permanently and not eternally. The only way we can ever conquer anything—no matter the trial or temptation—is to squarely face it and fight against it. The way to conquer the trials and temptations of life is the subject of this great passage.

 Acts 14:22 (KJV) Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

Romans 5:3 (KJV) And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

1 Corinthians 10:13 (KJV) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

2 Corinthians 4:8 (KJV) We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

1 Thessalonians 3:4 (KJV) For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.

Revelation 2:9-10 (KJV) 9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. 10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

Job 14:1 (KJV) Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.

Psalms 119:143 (KJV) Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.

2. (1:7) Know the purpose for trials and temptations.

When a believer is saved, why does God not just go ahead and give him a trouble-free, perfect life? Sometimes it would seem that God should do this. If God loves us and really cares for us then He should not let terrible things happen to us. Why does God let them happen? Why do the trials and temptations of life fall upon us, especially with such heaviness and sorrow? Scripture says there are two reasons why the believer is tried and tempted.

1.  The believer's faith must be tried. The word "tried" (dokimion PWS: 4057) means to prove; to test; to strengthen; to show that your faith is genuine (A.T. Robertson. Word Pictures In The New Testament, Vol.6. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933, p.83).

It is just like gold. Gold has to be put to the fire in order to clean out all the impurities and dross and to make it pure and clean. Now note what this verse says: we are much more precious than gold. Gold perishes, but not believers. Believers are to live forever. Therefore, if gold has to be put to the fire to be made clean and pure, how much more do we?

The point is striking: God uses the fire of trials and temptations for a good purpose. He uses them to make us clean and pure and to make us trust Him more and more.

Þ  When we are faced with some trial or temptation, we draw nearer to God. We cry out to God more than when things go well. We even tend to clean up our lives in order to secure His help us as we go through the trial. We just live more pure, clean, and righteous lives. In fact, the greater the trial and temptation, the more we see that we need God. And the more we see our need for God, the closer we usually draw to Him; and the closer we draw to Him, the cleaner we live. The fire of trials causes us to live more pure and clean lives and to learn to trust God more and more.

This is a most wonderful point: our trials and temptations are purposeful. God uses them to make us much more pure and to stir us to draw closer and closer to Him and to trust Him more and more. We become a stronger person through trials—much stronger, much more stedfast, persevering, and enduring.

There is another fact that should be noted as well. When our faith is tried and proven, when we walk strongly through the trials and temptations of life, the world sees it. They see the power of Christ in our lives and the rejoicing of our hearts in Him. Some are attracted and want to know Christ for themselves. Standing fast through the trials and temptations of life wins people to Christ. God uses the trials and sufferings of life to pour His strength into us and to attract the lost to want Him in their lives.

Isaiah 48:10 (NIV) See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

Isaiah 63:9 (NIV) In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

Luke 6:49 (NIV) But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 (NIV) 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

Psalms 119:67 (KJV) Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

Hebrews 12:11 (KJV) Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

1 Peter 4:12 (KJV) Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

2.  The believer's faith is tried in order to show forth the praise, honor, and glory of Jesus Christ and of the believer. When Jesus Christ appears—when He returns to earth—two things are going to be seen.

Þ  First, Jesus Christ is going to be seen exalted higher than the heavens themselves; He is going to be seen in all the honor and glory of the universe.

Þ  Second, believers are going to be seen exalted higher than anyone could ever ask or even think; they are going to be exalted in the very same honor and glory of Christ Himself. They are going to be seen as joint-heirs with Christ in receiving all the inheritance that God Himself possesses. Just imagine! All the honor and glory that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself possesses shall be poured out upon believers.

Matthew 5:11-12 (KJV) 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

 Matthew 13:41-43 (KJV) 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

 

"Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them" (Luke 12:37).

"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:3).

"And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together" (Romans 8:17).

"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor. 4:17).

"Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself" (Phil. 3:21).

"When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory" (Col. 3:4).

"That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thes. 2:12).

"For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance" (Hebrews 10:34).

"Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward" (Hebrews 11:26).

"And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away" (1 Peter 5:4).

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2).

 3. know how to conquer trials and temptations.

The trials and temptations of life are not to defeat or discourage us. On the contrary, we are to conquer them. We are to use them as stepping stones to become stronger and stronger in life. But how? How can we conquer trials and temptations when they are so devastating, destructive, powerful, damaging, and threatening?

Scripture gives four ways.

1.  Trials and temptations are to be conquered by our love for Jesus Christ. We do not see Christ, but we love Him. Think about it: we have transgressed God's law. We have ignored, neglected, and disobeyed God; rejected and cursed God. We have even committed high treason and rebelled against God. Therefore, we are guilty and must bear the judgment and condemnation. We must bear the punishment for our rebellion against God. We are to die without God—to be exiled and cut off from God forever and ever. But note the glorious love of Jesus Christ. He has stepped forward and offered Himself as a substitute and sacrifice for us. Jesus Christ has taken our guilt upon Himself. He has died for us; He has borne our judgment, condemnation, and punishment. No one could ever do any greater thing for us than what Jesus Christ has done. He has loved us supremely: He has died for us even when we have rejected and disbelieved Him. This is the great love of Jesus Christ for us. And this is the reason we love Him. We love Him because He has done so much for us—gone to the ultimate limit to save us by bearing the judgment for us.

Now, note what the verse says: we have not seen Him, but we love Him. We do not have to see Christ to stand up for Him and to please Him. Christ does not have to be standing over our shoulder for us to stand against trials and temptations. We love Christ; therefore, we...

·  obey Him

·  keep His commandments

·  turn away from temptations

·  walk through trials

It is our love for Christ that stirs us to stand up for Christ against all the trials and temptations of life, no matter how severe and ferocious they are. True love does all it can to keep from hurting the person loved. In fact, when we love someone, we do all we can to please that person, no matter what it may cost us—even if it costs us our life. So it is with our love for Christ. If we truly love Him, then we will never hurt Him—not by displeasing Him, not if we can help it. On the contrary, if we really love Christ, we do exactly what He says: we stand against all the destructive trials and temptations that devastate human life and doom it for eternity. We stand and bear all the sufferings in order to prove the power of Christ. We want some people to see the power of Christ and the great hope He gives—we want them to see so that they will turn to Him for salvation. How do we overcome trials and temptations? First, we conquer them by our love for Christ.

"If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever" (John 14:15-16).

"Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him" (John 14:23).

"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love....Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you" (John 15:10, 14).

"Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity" (Ephes. 6:24).

"I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints" (Philemon 4-5).

"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8).

2.  Trials and temptations are to be conquered by our belief in Jesus Christ. Again, note the verse: we do not see Jesus, but we do believe in Him. The word "believing" (pisteuontes PWS: 340) is in the present continuous tense. That is, it is continuous action, continuous belief—a belief that continues on and on in believing and trusting in Jesus Christ. The point is clear: if we are continuing to believe in Jesus Christ, then we are following Christ. We are doing what He says...

·  rejecting and turning away from all temptations.

·  standing firm and relying upon His presence and power to conquer and to carry us through all trials.

"Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent" (John 6:28-29).

"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked" (Ephes. 6:16).

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6).

"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed" (James 1:2-6).

"Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone" (James 2:17).

"And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment" (1 John 3:23).

"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5:4-5).

 3.  Trials and temptations are to be conquered by rejoicing and by the unspeakable joy that fills our hearts. The unspeakable joy of Christ is not always present, but it often is. We are creatures of emotion, creatures who do not experience any one feeling for more than a brief period. But every genuine believer experiences the unspeakable joy here and there. Words cannot describe it: it is just being full of glory, just as Scripture says in this verse. Matthew Henry states:

 "This joy is inexpressible, it cannot be described by words; the best discovery is by an experimental taste of it; it is full of glory, full of heaven. There is much of heaven and the future glory in the present joys of...Christians" (Matthew Henry's Commentary, Vol.6, p.1007.)

 The point is this: joying and rejoicing in the Lord and His presence will stir us to stand against temptations and trials. Joy and rejoicing will help us to focus upon Christ and His glorious power.

"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full" (John 15:11).

"Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:24).

"And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name" (Acts 5:41).

"And when they had laid many stripes unto them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them" (Acts 16:23-25).

"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Romans 14:17).

"As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things" (2 Cor. 6:10).

"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice" (Phil. 4:4).

"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works" (Hebrews 10:24).

"For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds" (Hebrews 12:3).

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy" (1 Peter 4:12-13).

"Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The lord hath done great things for them" (Psalm 126:2).

"I will greatly rejoice in the lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels" (Isaiah 61:10).

4.  Trials and temptations are to be conquered by keeping our eyes focused upon the salvation of our souls. This is the end, the very goal toward which we are moving, the salvation of our souls. As in any work or task, we must keep our eyes upon the goal. The more focused we are upon the goal, the stronger we become to stand against all obstacles. So it is with salvation. The more we focus upon the salvation of our souls, the stronger we become...

·  to reject and turn away from temptation.

·  to conquer the trials of life.

"And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved" (Matthew 10:22).

"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:18).

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24).

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Romans 8:1).

"Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us" (Romans 8:34).

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:9-10).

"Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21).

"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:10-11).

"Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Rev. 22:14).

—Preacher's Outline and Sermon Bible - Commentary

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