Summary: Message 11 from James exploring James' instruction to prepare our heart to receive God's implanted word being able to save our souls from temptation.
Chico Alliance Church
May 6, 2018
Pastor David Welch
“Preparing to Plant”
James provided instruction to his readers that would serve as a test of their faith. True faith manifests in specific ways. James wrote how a person who claims to live by faith should be living. His letter issues over 50 instructions (commands) regarding faith accompanied by divine insights to motivate the implementation of that instruction into our life. A One of the main things that tests our faith is trials. James recorded numerous instructions and insights regarding the divine response to trials.
I. Faith’s response to trials 1:2-18
A. Consider it all Joy knowing trials produce endurance.
B. Continue enduring knowing endurance produces maturity
C. Confidently ask God for wisdom knowing He will give it.
D. Focus on your spiritual riches. (Instruction #4)
E. God rewards endurance 1:12
Keep your eyes on reward. Fix your eyes on Jesus.
From Preaching the Word - James: Faith That Works.
In 1952, Florence Chadwick stepped off Catalina Island, California, into the waters of the Pacific Ocean, determined to swim to the mainland. An experienced swimmer, she had already made history as the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways. The weather that day was foggy and chilly; Florence could hardly see the boats accompanying her. Still, she swam steadily for fifteen hours. When she begged to be taken out of the water, her mother, in a boat alongside her, told her that she was close and that she could make it. But Florence, physically and emotionally exhausted, stopped swimming and was pulled into the boat. It wasn’t until she was on board that she discovered the shore was less than half a mile away. At a news conference the next day, she said, “All I could see was the fog. . . I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”
Following are some summary thoughts for you review now addressed in sermon. Last week we explored James’ instruction regarding our response to temptation. Some circumstances in life test our resolve to trust God no matter what. Some circumstances test our resolve to live according to God’s ways. We also face things in life that tempt us to make choices contrary to God’s ways. One is a difficulty presenting an opportunity to develop our faith and grow. Other choices in life intend to destroy our faith.
A couple weeks ago we explored James’ instruction to take responsibility for our poor choices and understand that failure to address the desires of our flesh lead to death and destruction.
F. Don’t blame God for temptations 1:13-18
1. Instruction: Don’t blame God for temptation
Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God.”
Continually resist or stop saying “I am being tempted by God” when tempted.
2. Insights into why we can’t blame God
a. God cannot be tempted by evil.
b. God does not tempt anyone with evil
c. Temptation arises from within ourselves
James pinpointed the source and course of temptation. Temptation comes from unaddressed unhealthy inner desires. Bonhoeffer, in his book entitled Temptation (page 33), describes how this works:
With irresistible power desire seizes mastery over the flesh.... It makes no difference whether it is sexual desire, or ambition, or vanity, or desire for revenge, or love of fame and power, or greed for money.... Joy in God is... extinguished in us and we seek all our joy in the creature. At this moment God is quite unreal to us, he loses all reality, and only desire for the creature is real... Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God.... The lust thus aroused envelops the mind and will of man in deepest darkness. The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us. The questions present themselves: "Is what the flesh desires really sin in this case?" "Is it really not permitted to me, yes—expected of me, now, here, in my particular situation, to appease desire?"... It is here that everything within me rises up against the Word of God.
James identified the source of temptation is our unbridled passion. He further described the course that such unbridled passion takes.
Step one: Temptation comes from unbridled passion or desire.
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. James 1:14
Before conversion, these desires had full manifestation and rule.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the desires of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:1-3