Summary: This message encourages believers to understand the nature of trials and their results.
Trials and Temptations: Who¡¦s Responsible?
We¡¦ve all heard the old saying that the two certainties in life are death and taxes. As accurate as that might be, I¡¦d like to suggest two more certainties ¡V trials and temptations. As soon as we are mature enough to have some idea of what is going on around us, we begin to feel the power and influence of these two realities.
Since trials and temptations are certainties, we need to understand where they come from and how they operate. In James 1:12-18, James deals with some key issues related to trials and temptations. In these verses, James goes beneath the surface of trials and temptations to demonstrate the inner workings and results of them. In particular, James deals with the issue of the their nature (what are they?) and their result (what do they produce?).
I. Trials test our faith to produce perseverance which results in
blessing (vv. 1-4, 12).
A. A quick refresher course in trials (vv. 1-4).
1. We should be joyful when all kinds of trials
test our faith.
2. We rejoice because trials produce perseverance.
3. Perseverance brings maturity.
B. A final element in the process of trials.
1. Those who persevere through trials are blessed.
This is a beatitude.
a. It refers to the pleasure God takes in such
b. It refers to the joy such a person receives.
2. The blessing of perseverance is a crown of life.
a. The crown refers to the wreath given to the
victor in the races.
b. This crown is a crown of life. In other words,
the crown is life.
1) Not physical life.
2) Eternal life.
3. This crown is for every believer.
a. All true believers love God.
b. An indicator of that love is perseverance in
the midst of trials.
APP: Surely, this is what Paul had in mind in 2 Cor. 4:16-18 when he said,
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So, with verse 12, James puts the last piece in place regarding trials. The immediate purpose of trials is to produce perseverance. The ultimate result of perseverance is blessing. It is the blessing of eternal life. It is not that we earn eternal life by persevering. Rather, after we have persevered, eternal life awaits us. The promise of life encourages us to persevere. The glory of heaven helps us endure difficulty on earth.
TS ¡V James now shifts the focus from trials to temptations.
II. Temptations assault us to produce sin which results in death
A. The connection between trial and temptation.
1. The same Greek term is used for both. It is the
2. James is indicating to us that temptations always
accompany trials. They are not the same but any
given circumstance can present both a trial and a
ILL: Let¡¦s say that a man gets laid off from work. That is a trial. He begins to experience the pressure of needing income. Temptation then uses that same circumstance to lure him into stealing.