Faithlife Sermons

Tested

Foundations 360  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 7 views

Trials are a reality in the Chrisitan life. God has given us a reason and the resources to deal with those trials. One day, there will be a rest from all trials.

Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
James 1:1–12 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.
Introduction: P.R. Van Gorder wrote in our Daily Bread, “While visiting an inlet of the sea that reached deep into land, leaving a sheltered bay, I noticed that the pebbles on that protected beach were rough and jagged—not smooth and polished. But out on the open shore where fierce waves break over the rocks, the pebbles were sleek and round.
The same is true of Christian character. Just as the harsh treatment of the ocean waves makes the rough stones smooth, our trials, diffi­culties, and testings can produce in us the luster of Christian matu­rity. When circumstances become difficult, we can rest assured that God has only one design in view—the perfection of our character.”

Trails are a Reality in the Christian Life (vv. 1-3)

Today, I am preaching on a common experience that everyone here can relate to - the testing of our faith. I have always been told that in the Christian life, you are either exiting a trial, in the midst of a trial, or about to enter one. There is a lot of truth in that.

Trails are a Reality in the Christian Life (vv. 1-3)

At the risk of oversimplifying things, I want to point out that James said, “when you meet trials,” not “if you meet trials...”
James was writing to the believers who had been scattered abroad after Steven was martyred in . These believers were dealing with twin trials - persecution and poverty. However, the principles that James is talking about here apply to any trials that believers deal with.
Sometimes Christians think that if they obey the Lord, they will be spared from trials. Becoming a Christian does not provide immunity to the trials that are a part of life.
However, becoming a Christian does provide meaning and purpose to your trials. (We will see that in a few minutes as we move into vv. 3-4)
The question then is not, will we encounter trials as we walk with Christ, but how will we respond to the trials that we will do encounter as we walk with Christ.
There are a number of ways in which we could respond to our trials...
We could rebel against God who permits the trials to come into our life by adopting an attitude of defiance, boasting in our own power to endure the suffering in our own strength.
Hebrews 12:5 ESV
5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
We can lose heart and give up questioning the Lord’s care for us - which develops an attitude of fatalism (Hee Haw: If it weren't for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.)
We can grin and bear it, stoically suffering to the end or we can throw pity-parties looking for sympathy.
We can throw pity-parties looking for sympathy.
Or we can follow Jame’s command and count it all joy.
It’s not a suggestion or unsolicited advice. This is a command that James was writing. And may I say that this command ranks up high on the hard to do scale right next to, ‘In all things give thanks.”
This is not a natural reaction to trials…it’s a supernatural reaction.
Illus. Johnny Hunt said, “when we express joy in response to the hard knocks of life, we’re expressing an uncommon attitude toward a common experience.”
Also note, James did not write that the trial would be joyful. He simply told them how they should react knowing that the trial had a greater purpose in God’s plan. Which brings us to the next point...

Trials Come for a Reason in the Christian Life (vv. 3-4)

James says that trials come to test your faith. Think of testing in terms of refining gold in order remove impurities. Gold is melted and the impurities rise to the top. The refiner then removes the dross - the impurities - in order to produce a better product.
I am reminded of what Peter wrote:
1 Peter 1:6–7 ESV
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
God permits trials not to impair us, but to improve us.
God permits trials not to impair us, but to improve us.
God permits trials not to punish us, but to purify us.
God permits trials not because he hates us, but to humble us.
God permits trials not to trouble us, but to train us.
God permits trials not to shame us, but to sanctify us.
If we approach the the testing of our faith with the knowledge that God wants to accomplish something through our trials, then we will benefit from them.
1 Peter 1:6–7 ESV
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:6 ESV
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,
1 Peter
Testing our faith produces steadfastness. Some translations say endurance. Some say perseverance. To get an idea of what is meant here, I want to share what several commentators have said about the word used in the original language, Hupomone (Who-pom-in-aye)
Hupomone is that spiritual staying power that will die before it gives in. It is the virtue which can endure, not simply with resignation, but with a vibrant hope.
Hupomone is the attitude of the soldier who in the thick of battle is not dismayed but fights on stoutly whatever the difficulties.
Hupomone is victorious endurance. “It is unswerving constancy to faith and piety in spite of adversity and suffering.” It is the virtue which does not so much accept the experiences of life as conquers them.
You can’t produce steadfastness without having your faith tested in the furnace of affliction.
Then James goes on to tell us why we need steadfastness...
James 1:4 ESV
4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
The idea of being perfect here is not the idea of moral perfection. James is referring to spiritual maturity. The goal of every believer ought to be to become spiritually mature. Our trials apply the pressure needed to get out all the bad stuff.
Illus. Think of yourself as a tube of spiritual toothpaste. Pressure brings out what’s really on the inside. If there is no pressure, then nothing comes out. Nothing changes.
By the way, a sure sign that we are not spiritually mature is when we complain and moan about our trials…and everything else for that matter.
Spiritual maturity enables us to count it all joy when trials come into our life because we know they are a means to a greater end.

God Gives Us Resources to Handle the Trials (vv. 5-8)

The good thing about our trials is that God makes readily available everything we need to handle our trials - if we ask.
Wisdom is the first thing we need to handle our trials. In context, James is talking about the wisdom needed to understand what God is accomplishing through the trials. The wisdom to bear afflictions.
Illus. Ralph Martin - The readers are facing some real problems arising from persecution, and it is the gift and application of wisdom to see these trials in their proper light and respond accordingly. (Vol. 48: Word Biblical Commentary : James. . Dallas: Word)
These believers had been scattered because of the persecution they faced. They had suffered the loss of their homes and possessions. Some may have been outcasts from their families because of their faith. And many experienced persecution in the placed they had fled too. They needed wisdom to understand how to endure their troubles in a way that brought Glory to God.
Prayer is the means by which they were to obtain the wisdom needed for their trials. James said, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God.” Ask is used here in the sense of prayer. And it is used in the sense of continual prayer... “Let him be asking of God.”
God is the source of all wisdom. And the Word of God tells us that If we “ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
Someone has said that, When life knocks you to your knees, you're in a good position to pray.
Illus. Warren Wiersbe (Be Mature [Victor Books], p. 29) tells about a secretary of his who was going through difficult trials. She had had a stroke, her husband had gone blind, and then he had to be taken to the hospital where, as far as they knew, he would die. Wiersbe saw this woman in church one Sunday and assured her that he was praying for her.
She startled him by asking, “What are you asking God to do?” He replied, “I’m asking God to help you and strengthen you.” “I appreciate that,” she said, “but pray about one more thing. Pray that I’ll have the wisdom not to waste all of this!” Wiersbe observed, “She knew the meaning of .”
And last, but not least, Faith. James said, “Let him ask in faith...”
Faith is essential to the Christian life. The Bible tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God. And what does the Bible tells us about praying in faith?
Matthew 21:21–22 ESV
21 And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
James 5:17–18 ESV
17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
Hebrews 10:22 ESV
22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 10:22
James clearly states that those who do not ask in faith, but have doubts are like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”
All of these resources are freely available to believers from a God “who gives generously to all without reproach.”
Matthew
Matthew 7:7–12 ESV
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! 12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew

Rest and Reward Await those who Remain Faithful Under Trial. (v. 12)

Matthew 7:7–8 ESV
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Rest and Reward Await those who Remain Faithful Under Trials (v. 12)

i’M REMINDED OF THE WORDS

I’m reminded of what Paul wrote in Romans...
Romans 8:18 ESV
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:17 ESV
17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
It has been said that “today’s mighty oak tree is yesterday’s little nut that held it’s ground.” The suffering we face now is producing in us something great for the Glory of God.
One of the most difficult concepts for us to understand, is the temporary nature of our trials. In the scope of eternity, our lives are barely a blip on Heaven’s radar screen. And while the trials may seem to have no end, For believers, there is a day of rest coming.
Hebrews 4:1 ESV
1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.
Let’s not get confused here…going to heaven isn’t the main goal of Christianity…becoming more Christlike is. But there is a place for those who remain steadfast in their faith that God has prepared for them - a place of rest.
Not only that, but James says there is a reward for those who remain steadfast under trial - it is the Crown of Life. This does not mean that eternal life is the reward of suffering through trials. We only receive eternal life through faith in Christ.
Heibert wrote, “It is God’s gracious reward for those who have been rendered fit for that life by their approved character.”
D.J. Moo wrote, “The crown is the emblem of spiritual success, given by the King of the universe to those who 'keep their faith' in the midst of suffering and temptation.”
The crown was an adornment worn around the head as a crown of victory in the Greek athletic games. They didn’t receive that crown until the race was finished. In this life we are told to run the race with endurance and not shrink back when the trials come. Neither will we receive ours until the race is finished and we have kept the faith.
Related Media
Related Sermons