Summary: Trials are inevitable and become beneficial. James helps us prepare for what IS coming.
1. I like what one man wrote about God’s curriculum for life:
• He has a course entitled, “Testing 101”
• The Class Yell is “Ouch!”
• The school colors are Black and Blue
• The class motto is: This too shall pass
2. Testing is a common experience – especially for those in the dispersion (Acts 8.4?)
3. James 1.2-4
4. Making Lemonade out of Lemons
• Charles Goodyear went to jail for a contempt of court citation. Imprisoned, he went to work in the kitchen and worked on an idea in which he developed the method for vulcanizing rubber.
• Martin Luther was forced to stay in Wartburg Castle and his lemonade was his translation of the Bible into the German language
• Charles Kettering broke his arm on the starting crank of his automobile – his lemonade was the development of the self-starter for engines.
• Jacob Schick could not shave at -40 degrees and invented the electric razor
• It is easy to talk about making the most of bad situations, it is another to do it
5. James (Jacob) begins this letter with a bit of “Reality Therapy” in dealing with trials
A. Trials Are Inevitable
1. “WHEN not IF (James 1.2)
2. Following Yeshua (Jesus) is not Easy
a. He Never said it would be easy(Foxes; count the cost; plow)
b. He only said it would be rewarding
c. We will be disappointed if we look for ease
3. Trials are universal
B. Trials Are Diverse
1. “Various Trials”
2. Generally unexpected – Luke 10.30
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.
Encounter/Meet = Fell
3. Come in Many Forms
a. Visible/External Trials
b. Invisible/Internal Temptations
c. Same word for both
II. Picking Up the Pieces
A couple visited a world-famous weaver where they watched workmen on their looms. They noticed that the underside of the rugs were not very attractive. Their guide told them, “Do not judge the work or the workers by looking at the wrong side.” Trials often display the “wrong” side of life. Our Maker sees the finished pattern as it develops in our lives.
A. The Pieces Are Revealing
1. Who We Are – 1 Peter 4.12-19
2. Who God Is – Abraham’s God who put him to the test (Genesis 22); Joseph
B. The Pieces Are Beneficial
“Satan tempts to bring out the bad; God tests to bring out the good.” Griffith Thomas
1. Trials Test Faith – in trials, whom do we trust?
2. Trials Produce Steadfastness/Perseverance
Cannot be attained by observation; reading; listening to a sermon; even by prayer
It has to be experienced so we will “trust and obey”
C. The Pieces Are Maturing
Reaching the end of a job interview, the Human Resources person asked the young MBA fresh out of MIT, "And what starting salary were you looking for?"
The candidate responded, "In the neighborhood of $125,000 a year, depending on the benefits package."
The HR person said, "Well, what would you say to a package of 5-weeks’ vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental, company matching retirement fund to 50% salary, and a company car leased every two years - say a red Corvette?"
The graduate sat up mouth agape and said, "Wow! Are you kidding?"
And the HR person responded, "Certainly.....but you started it!"
That's the trouble with many of us – we want to start at the top and work our way up from there.
We as Christians are sometimes the same way. We want what's at "the top" without going through what lies below. For example, we want patience (and we want it right now!), but we don't want the trials that develop patience. We'd rather start at the top. James said,
Have you prayed for patience lately? Expect God to give it to you immediately. And, on top of that, you'll never have any problems in life at all. None! Everything will always go smoothly. You'll suffer no injustices, experience no heartaches, and never know what it means to fail. Am I kidding? Certainly........but you started it!
1. Job; Solomon (Ecclesiastes 12.13)
2. Immature Response – Boast in Self 1 Corinthians 1.26
Three faux boasts – own wisdom; own power; own pedigree
3. Mature Response – Boast in God – Romans 5.1-5
4. Proper Perspective – Ephesians 2.8-10
a. God’s Call Results in Our Salvation – God’s Work FOR Us
b. God’s Work Results in Our Sanctification – God’s Work IN Us
c. God’s Leadership Results in Our Service – God’s Work THROUGH Us