Summary: These verses follow teaching on testing and trials. Is it possible that testing and trials could be considered good and perfect gifts from the Father of the heavenly lights? It all depends if you're walking with Him or away from Him.
(Pastor Steve starts the first section - co-preaching with Pastor Karenlee)
The Scripture that we’ll be taking a look at today is …
“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
“He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created.”
Working our way through the first chapter of James we have noted:
Joy in trials brings perseverance, endurance, maturity and completeness
The Rich and the Poor both have humiliation and trials
Perseverance through trials brings eternal life
Trials can lead to temptation when the way of the flesh calls for escape
Yielding to temptation leads to sin which, unchecked, leads to death
Without pausing James goes immediately into verse 16 which says:
“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers.”
With regard to trials and temptations we have not only the input that comes into our mind through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch but we have the onslaught of the deceiver as well.
“[The devil] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
What is the intention of a lie? To deceive!
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that will he also reap.”
“Jesus answered: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you.’”
For instance when facing a severe trial, where not only you but a loved one may encounter harsh circumstances, the temptation will often arise to totally avoid the situation.
We can have victory through trials by reliance on God
We will experience defeat try to avoid the trial God has allowed you to go through.
If God is allowing testing, He is right there with you.
If God is allowing testing and you bail out in order to save yourself from facing difficulties or even death you are choosing to leave God behind and go it on your own.
“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers.”
God doesn’t call us to the easy way of life!
There may be pain ahead! There may be suffering ahead! There may be death ahead.
Should we try to escape the pain, suffering and even death if God has called us to it??
Once again, what should our attitude be?
Where do You want me right now for You and Your kingdom here on earth?
Escape is the way of the world. With escape the light at the end of the tunnel is indeed a train!
Facing the trial may look like disaster but the path with Christ is always best.
= (Pastor Karenlee) ==================================================
16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers.
When talking about deceiving, satan’s deception has not changed. From Eve until now his lie is the same that God can not be trusted. Satan says “Does He truly mean what He says”? Trying to put this wedge between God and ourselves creating this doubt and uncertainty within us.
So although James is talking about trials and temptation in life, he also goes deeper by saying do not be deceived about the Truth of God which is expressed in the next two verses. So lets read that
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created.
In other words James is saying that we must have a true understanding of the nature and character of God, so that when faced with temptation and trials we will already have this firm foundation of Truth through His Word to rest and draw upon to combat the deceptions of satan.
From the Word of God what do we know about the character of God:
Luke 18:19b – Jesus says “No one is good—except God alone. God is Good
Leviticus 19:1-2 - The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy. God is Holy
Ps 116:5 - The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.
God is gracious, righteous, compassion
1 John 4:16a - And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.