Will this be on the test?
01/09/2022

Will this be on the test?

Speaker:
Passage: James 1:1-4
Service Type:


(Sermon 8/7/16 - revised) 

Intro: My Mom has some of the “old classics” on the wall at her house…

(3 Slides) “Greatest Hits” - Verses we know and think we live because we know.

There’s a difference between reading it and living it. 

Like tools we don’t use, it is useless until we put it into PRACTICE. 

Matthew 7:24, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

Tools: Fancy tool box

Warning: Let’s be careful not to let our desire for new, interesting things go beyond our obedience. 

A.W. Tower puts it like this:

“We settle for words in religion because deeds are too costly. It is easier to pray, ‘Lord help me to carry my cross daily’ than to pick up the cross and carry it; but since the mere request for help to do something we do not actually intend to do, has a certain degree of religious comfort, we are content with repetition of the words.”

Abraham added works to his faith and was commended for it. 

A main theme in the book of James is: Action, not words.

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

To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:

Greetings.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

James 1:1-4

Background: 

“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ…”

It’s mainly held that James, the half-brother of Jesus, was the author, because He was a prominent leader in the church and the other James was martyred too early to have written the book. 

James rejected Jesus as Messiah at first, but here he becomes a pillar of the church and writes a book in the NT.

To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations…”

Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The audience is generally considered to be Jewish Christians, who were dispersed outside of Palestine due to persecution.

A Jew writing to Jews.

A date between AD 44-46, seems likely, which would make James the first written book in the new Testament. 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, WHENEVER you face trials of many kinds…” 

Trials are a given in the life of a Christian. 

What Trials?

1. Normal problems - something that breaks the pattern of peace, comfort, joy, or happiness in life.

  • It would apply to things like disease, death of a loved one, or even dealing with a difficult person. (common to everyone alive)

Trial - a test of the performance, qualities, or suitability of someone or something

2. Trials resulting from obedience

  • Jesus says, In this world you will have trouble. 
  • But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b
  • It dispels the myth that following Christ promises some sort of blissful, problem-free life. (lock and key, bow and violin)

For sure, it has to do with persecution for the original audience.

Jesus was essentially crucified by the Jews. 

Steven was stoned by the Jews. 

Even James, the writer of this book was martyred.  

  • The defining moment for a believer is when a price is paid as a result of following Jesus. 

Example: Have you ever paid price for obeying the Lord?

Obedience marks the life of a Christian. 

Crossroads: The Choice to obey or not.

Joy during temptation is a choice.

James’s point is that hard times can either 

strengthen a person or become a temptation to give in

Example: “stay in the struggle.” The world offers an out.

“…because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance…”

Why is faith tested?

Did you ever think that everything is a test of your faith?

Why a test?

1. To pass the test.

In school, after you pass a test, you move to the next level.

Example: 

When a child goes to kindergarten, they are taught their ABC’s. 

If they stopped there, the letters would be useless.

Letters form words and words can be written and read. 

When a child learns to read, he or she can study many other subjects.

God allows his people to be tested so they can move on to maturity in faith. 

Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.

Deuteronomy 8:2

Walking with Jesus is progressive..

Example: The Beatitudes of Matthew 5. 

ring analogy 

A person with an appetite for evil cannot work on being pure in heart.

When you are uncomfortable or stressed out, take inventory.

Ask yourself: Is my faith being tested?

2. To reveal the quality of faith. (FAITH IS UNSEEN)

“Many CLAIM to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find?”

Proverbs 20:6,

Example: How do you know someone is faithful? 

 

What’s the purpose of a waiting period or a wilderness experience? 

Deuteronomy 8:2, “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.”

Example: Ever smack your finger with a hammer, been pushed to the limit?

Have you ever run into the same struggle over and over?

Why is faith tested?

3. Tests require perseverance. 

The thief on the cross went to heaven in a matter of hours. 

It’s easy to proclaim like Peter, “I’ll die for you, Lord!”

But most of us have the high calling of living for him instead. 

“…because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance…”

Perseverance - steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success

There are very few virtues that are not perfected slowly over time.

Generosity, Humility, Contentment, Reliability, Courage, Gratitude, Temperance, and Patience to name a few.

Philippians 2:12b-13, “…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

Continue The goal is perseverance. 

Testing of faith produces it…

“Let perseverance finish its work…” 

Example: In the KJV, it says, 

“Let perseverance finish HER work…” Interesting it personifies it. 

Think of a woman sweeping and cleaning up leaves on the street.

A clean street is not the only desired outcome of the work.

Application:

Maybe the reason Paul’s people kept drinking milk instead of moving on to real food was because they kept starting over. 

“… so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.”

Why is faith tested?

4. Perseverance produces mature faith.

KEY WORD: PRODUCE (Fruit)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23a

Think of the opposites of these:

Hatred, despair, rage, cruelty, corruption, inconsistency, hardness, impulsiveness.

“Consider it pure joy…”

The payoff in heaven…

“That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, ‘No future bliss can make up for it’ not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.” 

― C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

These (trials) have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Peter 1:7

5. Mature faith glorifies God.

Application: Remember people are watching how you respond to challenges and setbacks. Be a good example. 

Consider it pure joy…”

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