Summary: Aren’t you glad that we don’t have to take tests in order to get into heaven? We just need the grace of God who sent Jesus so that we could have eternal life. That’s the good news. But here on earth, as Christians, we have tests in life. . .
Passing the Servant’s Test, James 1:2-4
Paul Redwine, Northside Christian Church, June 15, 2003
[Illustration - Joke] A young man had just gotten his driver’s permit and inquired of his father, an evangelist, if they could discuss the use of the car. His father took him to the study and said to the boy, "I’ll make a deal with you, son. You bring your grades up from a C to a B- average, study your Bible a little, and get your hair cut and we’ll talk about the car."
Well, the boy thought about that for a moment and decided that he’d best settle for the offer, and they agreed.
After about six weeks the boy came back and again asked his father about the car. Again they went to the study where his father said, "Son, I’ve been real proud of you. You’ve brought your grades up, and I’ve observed that you’ve been studying your Bible and participating a lot more in the Bible study class on Sunday morning. But I’m real disappointed seeing as you haven’t got your hair cut."
The young man paused a moment and then said, "You know, Dad, I’ve been thinking about that, and I’ve noticed in my studies of the Bible that Sampson had long hair, Moses had long hair, John the Baptizer had long hair, and there’s even strong argument that Jesus Himself had long hair."
To which his father replied, "Perhaps, and they walked everywhere they went!" And you’re going to do the same!
[Illustration - Joke] A man came in to heaven and Peter decided to go on a vacation so he asked the man to take over
while he was away. Peter told the man to give everyone a test before letting them into heaven. Peter leaves and a man waits for the next person who comes up, who says, ’’Please let me in to heaven.’’ The man taking over for Peter says, ’’I have to give you a test first.’’
The man coming into heaven says, ’’Oh no. I’m not too good at tests!’’
The other man says, ’’Spell LOVE’’ The man spells it, and he is let into heaven.
Then a woman comes floating up and says, ’’Please let me into heaven,’’ and the man replies, ’’Only if you pass this test.’’
The woman says, ’’Oh no, I’m not very good at tests.’’
The man says, ’’your test is to spell the word LOVE.’’
She spells it correctly, and is let into heaven.
The next person that comes floating up is the man’s boss who fired him before he died.
He says, ’’OK honey, let me in to heaven.’’
The man says, ’’I have to give everyone a test before I let them in to heaven.’’
She says, ’’OK, make it an easy one!’’
Then the man says, Super-cala-fradge-alistic-ex-pialidocious.’’
Aren’t you glad that we don’t have to take tests in order to get into heaven?
[Central Thesis] We just need the grace of God who sent Jesus so that we could have eternal life. That’s the good news. But here on earth, as Christians, we have tests in life. That’s what James talks about in the first four verses of his letter
Crayons illustrate the different kinds of tests in life
Temptation -- yellow or green
For example, your children test you by using crayons to write on the wall
Normal everyday stress -- red
Interpersonal Conflict -- blue
Sometime you have both -- purple
Physical Suffering -- brown
Intense Physical Suffering/martyrdom -- black
James talks about many "trials," "manifold temptations," "various trials"
In the original language of the New Testament, the phrase "various trials" literally means
"multicolored trials," indicating that in life, we face so many different types of trials and
Last week we talked about servant hood, and how James’s desire was to wear the title not of "the Brother of Jesus," but "a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ," verse 1.
In Preparing for tests in Life, we must:
I. Know that they Will Occur, verse 1
Know that they will occur, "when you fall into diverse temptations."
You will fall right into them -- they’re pop quizzes in life!
I remember in high school and college that pop quizzes did not bother me if I was
-- prepared for them.
-- I knew they were going occur.
-- If I didn’t, I was up a creek.
We can’t cheat on them:
[JOKE] Two young engineers applied for a single position at a computer company. They both had the same qualifications. In order to determine which individual to hire, the applicants were asked to take a test by the department manager. Upon completion of the test, both men had each missed only one of the questions. The manager went to the first applicant and said, ’’Thank you for your interest, but we’ve decided to give the job to the other applicant.’’