Summary: In order to attain Christian maturity and holy conduct it is essential to have a firm foundation. The believer must be able to stand with confidence. He dare not be pushed down by trials. He must not be pulled over by temptation. This kind of stamina can
THE BOOK OF JAMES
LESSONS FOR THE MATERIALIZING CHURCH -- PART 1
James 1:1-8 -- TRIALS
In order to attain Christian maturity and holy conduct it is essential to have a firm foundation. The believer must be able to stand with confidence. He dare not be pushed down by trials. He must not be pulled over by temptation. This kind of stamina can be achieved by pursuing, perceiving, and practicing the Word of God. Trials from without and temptations from within are no match for a Christian who stands in the truth from above.
I. THE CONTENT OF JOY – vs. 1-3
1. Joy Is A Choice
a. Joy is not allowing ourselves to drift through life experiences. All this does is put us at the mercy of our experiences and the interactions and activities of others.
b. Joy is not pretending to be happy. All this is, is a pretending – a putting up of a good front, no matter what the circumstances
c. Pure Joy is a calculated response to trials
i. Trials are essential elements of Christian pilgrimage.
ii. Trials are providential and not fated.
1. They are natural outcome of the adversarial behavior of the hostile world toward God’s people.
2. They are designed tools in the hands of a sovereign God Who employs them to refine faith, enhance godly fellowship, and augment the Christian journey.
John 15:18-20 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember the words I spoke to you: ’No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
1 Peter 1:6-9 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
iii. It is possible to experience real victory over such circumstances.
iv. We are admonished by James to respond to difficult circumstances with the fruit of the Spirit, starting with joy.
v. Christians are to allow the Holy Spirit to generate joy from within as the dominant attitude of their spirit when they face life’s trials.
2. Faith Is Tested
a. There is no doubt about the testing of our faith
i. The word “Whenever” does not mean if, but when
b. The question is, how do we respond to this testing? The answer is found in another word; “consider”
i. The word “consider” is a command. In fact it is a command with official authority.
ii. It is the biblical equivalent of when your older brother or sister told you to clean your room. And you said “Why do I hafta?” And they said, “Cause mom said so.”
iii. The first part was command without official authority, and the second was command with official authority
c. James is saying (with authority), “Hey chalk this up.”
i. Trials are meant to be faced with joy
1. Not joy for the trial
2. Joy in the trial
ii. Joy in trials keeps the struggle from
1. Removing new growth in my life
2. Removing new insights I may have
3. Removing new depth in my Christian walk
4. Removing new dependency on my Lord
d. Now, trials are not things we bring on ourselves
i. The word face means to fall into something that is around us.
ii. It is used of the man who “fell into robbers” and was helped by the Good Samaritan.
iii. Nobody goes out looking for someone to rob them.
iv. These are trials external to us and diverse
KEY THOUGHT: REJOICE IN THE TRIALS THAT WE FACE, NOT LETTING THEM DESTROY WHAT WILL COME OUT OF THEM.
II. THE COURSE OF PERSEVERANCE – vs. 3-4
3. Faith Develops Perseverance
a. James tells us that this is something already know
i. We have already experienced the pain of a problem and the profit of our persistence through it.
b. James is now asking us to understand and appreciate the spiritual significance trials have in our lives.
i. We are on a journey of faith