Summary: Count trials a joy.

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James 1:1-4

Although we praise the Lord for the contributions that have been made to the world through Martin Luther, his comments about the book of James is in error. He called it a straw book because he thought James taught salvation through works. We know that salvation is through faith in Jesus plus nothing. Of course Paul taught salvation through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Paul deals with the inner faith of man=s heart as God sees it, while James deals with the outward fruits of faith as man sees them. God knows whether I am a true believer on the basis of my faith in Him. But man can only know whether I am a true believer as they observe my fruits. Jesus said we can tell the true from the false only by a persons fruit or actions. What he does with his faith.

The letter was written in a sense to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad. It seems James had a special burden for the scattered Jews. Most were scattered because of being persecuted for their faith in Jesus.

With this in mind, James opens with the first four verses pleading for reality in religion. Their are some key words in which we ought to key in on. The words are count, know and let.

You all have heard the saying, Cheer up, things could be worse. So I cheered up and sure enough things got worse. There are a number of sayings that are meant for good advice. There is the one when life hands you lemons make lemonade. Another, behind every cloud there is a silver lining. The idea in all of these one liners is to let us know we have a choice in how we look at life. We can look at the problems or we can focus on the blessings.

If anyone has a reason for looking on the brighter side of life, we do. As believers, we have been born again. We have our sins under the blood of Jesus. We are heaven bound. Why shouldn’t we be happy?

The first point I bring to your attention, the one James focuses on is, COUNT TRIALS JOY 2. Trials mean present tribulation, hard times. Who among us would not be glad if the fruits of patience could be produced by some pleasant experience? But we aren’t living merely for the present. For the true Christian, there is the future prospect.

Why are we to count it joy when suffering through some affliction? God is growing us to spiritual maturity. You didn’t get to where you are in your spiritual life by just walking around. There have been some hard knocks in life that caused you to trust God. As a matter of fact, many of us are Christians because of some crises in life. Not one of us has the right to question God’s methods producing spiritual fruit in our lives. God knows that the bitter agonies and suffering are needed to conquer sin. It was through the agony and shame our Savior suffered to answer the sin question. Many today are suffering through some trials that be brought on by a job. Others are suffering through agonies that brought on by their children. Let me add something here. That wayward child mom and dad isn’t enjoying life as he would have you to believe. They aren’t as happy as they might let on they are. They know sin is against God.

Students in school take a test that is usually intended to be a positive experience. I know that now. I use to think it was the day of reckoning. In taking a test, they have the opportunity to express what they have learned to their teacher. But to the student that hasn’t studied, usually my case, it is a time of dread. He dreads it because whenever the test comes, he will not be prepared.

As Christians, if we stay prepared so that we are ready at the time of testing, we can have the pleasure in knowing we have passed the test. The way to stay prepared is to be totally surrendered to the will of God. To know Him as our Savior and walk in His will for our lives. That is how we can count trials joy.

James also keys in on another word; know. KNOW TESTING LEADS TO PATIENCE, 3. A young preacher was preaching to congregation when two of his professors walked in to hear their former student. He was on a roll letting her fly. He was preaching hell and it hot. After the sermon the professors commented to each other the progress. One said to the other, his sermon was good but no power in it. The other said give him a few more years, he hasn’t been through the fire yet.

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