Faithlife Sermons

This is only a Test

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This message focuses on the reality that God is constantly teaching and testing His people as a means for spiritual growth and preparation for eternal life responsibilites.

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One of the best ways to understand other people is to ask them, “How do you see your life?” You will discover that there are as many different answers to that question as there are people. I’ve been told life is a circus, a minefield, a roller coaster, a puzzle, a symphony, a journey, and a dance. People have said, “Life is a carousel: Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down, and sometimes you just go round and round” or “life is a ten-speed bicycle with gears we never use” or “life is a game of cards: You have to play the hand you are dealt.”
If I asked how you picture life, what image would come to your mind? That image is your life metaphor. It’s the view of life that you hold, consciously or unconsciously, in your mind. It’s your description of how life works and what you expect from it. People often express their life metaphors through clothes, jewelry, cars, hairstyles, hairstyles, bumper stickers, even tattoos.
If you see life as a race, you will value speed and will probably be in a hurry much of the time. If you view life as a marathon, you will value endurance. If you see life as a battle or a game, winning will be very important to you.
Warren, Rick. The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? (p. 45). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
God continually tests people’s character, faith, obedience, love, integrity, and loyalty. Words like trials, temptations, refining, and testing occur more than 200 times in the Bible. God tested Abraham by asking him to offer his son Isaac. God tested Jacob when he had to work extra years to earn Rachel as his wife. Adam and Eve failed their test in the garden of Eden, and David failed his tests from God on several occasions. But the Bible also gives us many examples of people who passed a great test, such as Joseph, Ruth, Esther, and Daniel.
The Bible offers three metaphors that teach us God’s view of life: Life is a test, life is a trust, and life is a temporary assignment.
God’s view of life: Life is a test, life is a trust, and life is a temporary assignment.
Character is both developed and revealed by tests, and all of life is a test.
You are always being tested. God constantly watches your response to people, problems, success, conflict, illness, disappointment, and even the weather! He even watches the simplest actions such as when you open a door for others, when you pick up a piece of trash, or when you’re polite toward a clerk or waitress. We don’t know all the tests God will give you, but we can predict some of them, based on the Bible. You will be tested by major changes, delayed promises, impossible problems, unanswered prayers, undeserved criticism, and even senseless tragedies.
Hezekiah

Key areas of testing

The priority test

2 Chronicles 30:6–9 NIV
6 At the king’s command, couriers went throughout Israel and Judah with letters from the king and from his officials, which read: “People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. 8 Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. 9 If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.”
2 Chronicles 30:
The priority test

2. The fear test

The fear test
2 Chronicles 32:1–8 ESV
1 After these things and these acts of faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them for himself. 2 And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and intended to fight against Jerusalem, 3 he planned with his officers and his mighty men to stop the water of the springs that were outside the city; and they helped him. 4 A great many people were gathered, and they stopped all the springs and the brook that flowed through the land, saying, “Why should the kings of Assyria come and find much water?” 5 He set to work resolutely and built up all the wall that was broken down and raised towers upon it, and outside it he built another wall, and he strengthened the Millo in the city of David. He also made weapons and shields in abundance. 6 And he set combat commanders over the people and gathered them together to him in the square at the gate of the city and spoke encouragingly to them, saying, 7 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. 8 With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
2 Chronicles

3. The pride test

4. The absence test

When you understand that life is a test, you realize that nothing is insignificant in your life. Even the smallest incident has significance for your character development. Every day is an important day, and every second is a growth opportunity to deepen your character, to demonstrate love, or to depend on God. Some tests seem overwhelming, while others you don’t even notice.
Warren, Rick. The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? (p. 46). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Warren, Rick. The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? (p. 46). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
James 1:12 NIV
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
The way God works is similar to how a carpenter works to build a house. A carpenter doesn’t start nailing pieces of wood together and hope that he eventually comes up with a house. No, first a design is created of what the house is supposed to look like. Measurements are determined along with a plan as to where critical components will be placed or run such as electricity, plumbing, water and heating. Only when the carpenter can see the finished work on his blueprint does he begin digging the foundation and ordering the materials. 
When God says that He works from the end to the beginning, He is saying that He has already completed the blueprint in the spiritual realm for what you are to do in the physical realm. He knows your destiny. His goals for you are already made. His desires for you have already been determined. He has already dreamed His dream for you. What He is doing now is simply rolling back through time to look for your cooperation to begin walking in what He has already prepared for you to do. 
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