Summary: Correct Theology teaches us that God is for us always regardless of life situations.
THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT??
JAMES 1 :2-18
JULY 29, 2001
INTRODUCTION: A Priest is walking down the street one day when he notices a small boy trying to press a doorbell on a house across the street. However, the doorbell is just out of his reach. After watching the boy’s efforts for some time, the priest moves closer to the boy’s position. He steps smartly across the street, walks up behind the little fellow and, placing his hand kindly on the child’s shoulder leans over and gives the doorbell a ring.
Crouching down to the child’s level, the priest smiles benevolently and asks, “And now what, my little man?”
To which the boy turns and yells; “NOW WE RUN!”
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Our text for this day speaks to us about rethinking reality God’s way. This is the reality of CORRECT THEOLOGY. Often things are not as they appear to be, especially in the economy of God. Our text addresses five areas that are transformed by a correct understanding of God and what He is about concerning our lives. The sad reality of this text is that we often see only the negative and not the positive BLESSING God has for us.
THESIS SENTENCE: Correct Theology teaches us that God is for us always regardless of life situations.
CORRECT THEOLOGY TEACHES...
I. THE TRIALS OF LIFE ARE A BLESSING/ GIFT FROM GOD (vv. 2-4)
The definition of “Trials” here is that of a ship running into a reef. This is not a minor difficulty, this concerns major obstacles!
A. The truth of scripture has always taught, God works through adverse circumstances.
1. The story of Abraham and Isaac is referenced in James 2:21. The outcome was “Righteousness.”
2. Joseph endured great hardship as found in Genesis chapters 37, 39-50. The outcome, The Descendants of Jacob/ Israel were saved as well as all the inhabitants of Egypt and the whole region. Joseph became second in charge of the greatest nation of his day. 3. James also references Job in chapter 5 verse 11. Job lost all, but in the end gained more than he had lost. The outcome was deeper faith and real blessing!
B. The truth of scripture teaches that adverse circumstances develop Character.
1. James shares a trilogy with us: trials lead to testing and testing to perseverance and perseverance to perfection.
2. Perfection is here understood, as it should be throughout all of scripture, as being mature and complete, not lacking anything.
3. The real focus here is on the “LONG SOAK” that marinade that makes the food taste the way it is supposed to. The goal is for us to be the people GOD intended us to be, which means that our focus is always on HIM and considering the Process to be like HIM, PURE JOY!
CORRECT THEOLOGY TEACHES...
II. WISDOM IS A BLESSING/ GIFT FROM GOD (VV. 5-8)
Since we struggle with understanding what it means to be mature and complete, James continues to refine our theology. Correct theology teaches that wisdom is needed to understand God and Wisdom comes from God alone.
A. Wisdom is a matter of belief
1. “BUT when he asks, he must believe...”
2. The scripture is clear, if we lack, we are to ask!!
3. This all comes about with the understanding, that if we ask, HE will give, and not just a little, but “GENEROUSLY” to all, “With out finding Fault!!!” 4. Belief then is a trust in God that He is who He says He is! It is an understanding that God longs for our best and will give it to us as we seek HIS FACE!
ILLUSTRATION: Wisdom is what Solomon asked of the Lord in I Kings 3. The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon’s reply was “...Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. The Lord’s reply was, “since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for -- both riches and honor -- so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings (VV. 5 -13).”
B. Wisdom is the opposite of unbelief
1. When we ask, we are to not doubt.
2. James illustrates this by a nature metaphor: doubting is like being a wave on the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
ILLUSTRATION: Jesus address this area of asking and doubting as He dictates a letter to the church at Laodicea, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm -- neither hot nor cold -- I am about to spit you out of my mouth (Rev. 3 15-16).”