Summary: To show that we can never truly have faith unless our faith is tried.
-Q: Do you have a “TRYING FAITH”?
-That's what we're going to consider this morning together
-ILLUSTRATION: Bulletproof Waistcoat
I read an amusing story about the first Duke of Wellington. An inventor was trying to interest him in a bulletproof waistcoat he had made. It was absolutely marvelous and could save the great man’s life if somebody tried to assassinate him. The Iron Duke asked the man to put it on, and he examined it carefully, and then, to give it a test, he sent for a rifleman - but the inventor bolted out of the other door!
-ILLUSTRATION: Wallenda – Wheelbarrow Over Niagara
-Both of these are stories about faith, TRYING FAITH
-Faith is not truly faith unless it is tried
-By tried, I mean tested
-Fought in the hard fires of life
-Job / financial loss
-Loss of loved one
-There are three responses to trying faith
1. The Faith Is Shunned
-Those who never respond in faith to God at all
2. The Recipient Is Bummed
-Those who respond in faith, but when things don't go as they think they should, they ditch it
3. Perfection Is Won
-Those whose faith is tried and they come out on the other side with an even greater faith
-Perfection is possible
-Perfection is desirable
-Our goal should be to be in the third category
-But how do we get there?
-The answer is “TRYING FAITH”
-Just what we started with in the first place
-Q: Do you remember our goal?
-Perfection Is Won!!!
-Q: How do we get there?
-But let me share with you some specifics on how this perfection is won through TRYING FATH
-TRYING FAITH is the catalyst
I. Perfection Is Won When Faith Is Tried Joyfully
-This is an extended state of well-being rather than an immediate feeling of happiness or pleasure
-This requires looking ahead rather than at the present
-This is what makes a prisoner sings songs at night in jail
-This is what makes a man being stoned forgive his executioners
-Two ideas behind the word translated “count”
A. Consider, think about
-We think about the joy of the Lord
-We look at trials through the eyes of faith
B. Place in authority, governance
-We let joy reign
II. Perfection Is Won When Faith Is Tried Patiently
-ILLUSTRATION: Making Syrup
Think of the process of refining maple syrup. Maple trees are tapped with buckets hung under the taps, and out drips a sap which is thin and clear, like water. On a good day, 50 trees will yield 30-40 gallons of sap, but it is essentially useless at this point with only a hint of sweetness.
Then as the buckets fill, they are emptied into large bins that sit over an open fire. The sap comes to a slow boil; and as it boils, its water content is reduced and its sugars are concentrated. Hours later, it has developed a rich flavor and golden-brown color, but it must be strained several times to remove impurities before being reheated, bottled, and graded for quality. In the end, those 30-40 gallons of sap are reduced to one gallon of pure, delicious maple syrup, which is far better than the cheap, imitation, colored sugar-water that passes for maple syrup in the grocery store.
So it is when we come to faith in Christ. We start like raw, unfinished sap, which could have been tossed aside as worthless. But God knew what he could make of us. He sought and found us, and his skillful hands are transforming us into something precious, sweet and useful. The long and often painful refining process brings forth a pure, genuine disciple easily distinguished from cheap imitations.
-Patience cannot ever be learned except through trial
-It is not a natural trait
-ILLUSTRATION: Impatient Baby
A. Those who wait patiently do not seek to rush what God is doing
B. Those who wait patiently do not complain
III. Perfection Is Won When Faith Is Tried
-We must accept that God is seeking to do something in us through our trial
-It's a matter of coming to grips with it
-The word “let” here refers in the original Greek to a blood covenant
-So, in essence, we are to be contracted to perfection
-And whatever it takes to get there
IV. Perfection Is Won When Faith Is Tried Wisely
-This verse seems a little out of place
-And as such is often taken out of context
-But, we must consider it within the context of what James is writing about
-In our trials, we should ask for wisdom
-The answer is, so that we do not waste what God is doing in us through our trial