Summary: To note the value of trials and that Christians, with God, are able to overcome trials and temptations.
Persevering in Trials and Temptations
Text: James 1.1-18
Thesis: To note the value of trials and that Christians, with God, are able to overcome trials and
(1) The Book of James:
(a) Written by James the brother of Jesus
(b) Written to “spiritual Israel”
(c) Written between AD 40 and AD 65
(d) Possibly written from Jerusalem in the land of Palestine
(2) This is a book on Christian living.
(3) Let us note how we may persevere in trials and temptations:
I. Proper Reaction:
A. We should rejoice (v. 2).
1. Biblical Examples:
a. “Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5.11-12).
b. “So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5.41).
c. “But if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God” (1 Pet. 4.16).
2. James encourages Christians to “rejoice not because they suffer now, but because they know suffering is preparing them for the anticipated return of Christ” (Holloway 31).
B. We should not blame God for the evil (v. 13).
1. There is a difference between trials and temptations.
a. “Trials” (peirasmos) are outward tests (e.g., persecution).
b. “Temptation” (peirazo) is an inner enticement to sin.
2. God does not tempt us with evil because God only gives us what is good (v. 17).
3. Temptation involves (vv. 14-16):
a. Lust (Feeling – Satan presents it as attractive/appealing)
b. Sin (Action – We take the bait)
c. Death (Consequence – Rom. 6.23 – Wages of sin is death)
II. Positive Results:
A. There is a purpose for our trials (vv. 3-4):
1. Endurance –
(1) Literally, it means: “to remain under.”
(2) Thayer’s lexicon defines it as: “the characteristic of a man who is unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings” (644).
(3) Another lexicon defines it as: “the capacity to hold out or bear up in the face of difficulty” (BDAG 1039).
(4) Further, “there is always a forward look in it” (Barclay 358).
b. Illustrated – Job (cf. James 5.11)
2. Complete –
a. Endurance aids to our becoming the person God desires.
b. God will continually work on us in order that we may be like Jesus.
(1) He prunes us (John 10).
(2) He disciplines us (Heb. 12).
(3) He loves us!
3. Basically, “the difficulties of life are intended by God to refine our faith: heating it in the crucible of suffering so that impurities might be refined away and so that it might become pure and valuable before the Lord” (Moo 54).
B. We need help in persevering/overcoming.
1. God gives us wisdom if we are willing to ask for it (vv. 5-8).
2. We must have a spirit of humility and always recognize our dependence on God (vv. 9-11).
III. Precious Rewards:
A. We become the first fruits among His creatures (v. 18).
1. “First fruits” – “This expressive term of Christians signifies that we belong to God and constitutes a pledge to him of a larger group still to be gathered in unto salvation” (Shelly 37).
2. God will bless our lives.
B. We will receive the crown of life (v. 12).
1. “The crown signified the wreath of victory to the winner in the ancient games
(1 Cor. 9.25); it also was an ornament to evidence the bestowal of honor
(Prov. 1.9), and a sign of dignity (2 Sam. 12.30)” (Woods 55).
2. The Lord will place this crown upon our heads in Heaven.
(1) Message: The Victory is Ours!
(2) If we have allowed trials and temptation to get the best of us, we can still overcome by turning to the Lord.