1. Why are here this evening? Why are you not at home relaxing or doing some things with your family? Why do some of you drive great distance to worship God in the vening when you have already done so in the morning?
2. Its not because you have to, at least unless you were told to be here by parents.
3. It may be that you want to worship God. It may be that you desire the fellowship , But I believe that, as well as I know you, you are also here because your faith is important to you and you do desire to become mature in your faith. You want to become more and more the person whom God wants you to be. And so the worsd of James are very important to us.
4. For he is teaching us how to be mature and complete.
5. One area that frustrates us is the struggle we have with sin. We want to live for God and yet we seem to do the opposite .
6. Reminds of time when I was struggling with stress. Easy to come home and get upset with children. Each day before I went home I’d ask God to help me not get upset. I was determined to be gentle and kind. Then suddenly, without warning something set me off. Iit seemed there was no way out. So it may seem with areas of sin.
7. What is the sin that you struggle with? What is it that seems to so easily make you feel defeated?
8. Whatever it is, our passage this evening, can help us deal with this struggle and overcome it, so we may be more mature.
9. We need to be aware of how sin works so we can not fall into its trap.
10. It is easy to misinterpret these verses and become wrongly discouraged, so we must look closely to what James is saying.
1. In vs, 12 James say "blessed or joyful is the man who perseveres under trial.
a. The joy here is a "distinctive religious joy" which is one of the benefits of salvation.
b. Almost sounds like vs. 2-3, in which James talked about joy, trials and perseverance
2. While this theme continues, there may well be a difference in the meaning of the ideas of trials.
a. Greek word can mean either an outward circumstance of trial or a temptation to sin.
b. It is debatable from the teaching here which meaning James is referring to.
3. Does vs. 12 belong with what goes before or after?
a. If before (trials per NIV), if after temptation (per KJV) - could be either (show it makes no difference).
4. KJV says "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation". To endure is to stand the test - to not fall because of it. Remember that temptation is not sin but it is that which can lead to sin.
5. Why are we blessed?
a. Because we will receive the crown of life - the victor’s crown of eternal life.
6. There is a great danger in how we read this verse. It can make us say that it is in resisting temptation, to not sin, that we receive salvation. And so salvation is something to receive by not sinning. True to extent but we would all fail.
7. And so, Gene Getz says, to withstand temptation means to not give up one’s faith in the midst of trials and difficulties. But that does not do justice to the meaning of word as temptation. So we still faced with idea that we arev saved when we do not sin.
8. Yet we read passages that seem to dispute what James is saying.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Rom 10:9-10 "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."
9. How deal with this?
a. Remember the purpose of testings (including temptation). To prove that something is real or not real. (eg. said few weeks ago - if gold tested under fire, if there is anything left it is real gold, at least what is left is real.)
b. James writing to believers (perhaps also those who think they are will read it), and so he is not saying that our actions bring salvation but is evidence of our salvation.
c. He is not saying that because we withstand the test we will get the crown, but when we withstand the test.