Summary: While testing is an everyday part of the Christian life, we can take comfort in the promises God has given us.
1. God promises His perfect provision—God is always good. (17a)
2. God promises His permanent position—God never changes. (17b)
3. God promises His purposeful plan—God has a plan. (18)
Two brothers were left alone in the kitchen. The older brother pulled the egg carton out of the refrigerator. He pulled the eggs out of the refrigerator and told his little brother, “I’ll give you a dollar if you let me break three of these eggs over your head.” The little brother said, “You promise?” And the older brother said, “I promise.” Then he pulled out an egg and broke it over his brother’s head. It oozed down through his hair and ran down his face. Then he pulled out the second egg and broke it over his brother’s head. This one was really messy. It went all the way down the back of his neck and inside his shirt collar. After the second one, the little brother really braced himself. He knew the third egg was going to be really nasty. And he waited. And waited. He waited but the third egg never did come. Finally, he spoke up. “Hey, when’s the third egg coming?” Finally, the older boy told him, “It’s not—if I broke that one over your head, it would cost me a dollar.” I can’t even imagine what happened next. All I know is, it couldn’t have been pretty. You know, that’s one thing about kids. They’re innocent enough to believe the promises they hear. If somebody promises them something, they believe it. Some people call that naïve. I call it trusting. But what happens to that innocent trust that children have? It starts to go away when people around them break their promises. Just like the younger brother with egg on his head, we say things like, “you won’t fool me again.” “I won’t fall for that again.” Sometimes, after the biggest promises have been broken, we can get to the point where we say, “I’ll never trust anyone again.” The fact is, we live in a world where people break promises. But even though people break promises, God doesn’t. From the first page of the Bible all the way through to the last page, God is a God who makes promises. But the wonderful thing is, He not only makes promises, He keeps them. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been looking at the overview James wrote for his letter. In that overview, he tells his readers what his letter is going to be about. In verses 2-18, he tells his readers that his letter is going to be about testing. Not just testing for testing’s sake, but testing for a reason. He talks about the tests that God places in our lives. Tests that if we pass, prove our faith. Tests that if we fail, prove our need for Him. Two weeks ago when we looked at verses 2-8, we saw God’s purpose in testing. We saw that God’s testing produces patience, perfection, wisdom and faith. Then last week when we looked at verses 9-16, we saw the nature of God’s testing. We saw how God’s intentions for His tests are good. And we saw how Satan’s intentions for God’s tests are evil. This morning, we’re looking at the last two verses of James’ overview. In these two verses, James outlines some of God’s promises that can give us joyful hope in testing. You see, even though testing is an everyday part of the Christian life, we can have joy in the promises God has given us. No matter what kind of trial or test you’re going through this morning, I want each of you to place your hope in the promises of God. Trust Him. He is faithful and He always fulfills His promises. In order for you to be able to place your hope in the promises of God, we’re going to look at three of His promises that can give you joyful hope in testing. The first promise is of God’s perfect provision. Look with me at the first part of verse 17: