Summary: Turning Trials into Triumphs - James chapter 1 verses 2 -12 - sermon by Gordon Curley. PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Rejoice (vs 2).
• Recognize (vs 3).
• Remain (vs 4).
• Request (vs 5-8).
• You probably know the saying;
• "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade"
• The idea behind that proverb is simple;
• Lemons suggest sourness or difficulty in life, while lemonade is a sweet drink.
• And the saying is making the point;
• Be positive in the face of adversity or misfortune.
• So, "When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade!"
• If we are honest it is easier to smile at that statement than to practice it,
• But the basic philosophy is sound, in fact, it is Biblical!
• The Bible is full of people who turned defeat into victory and trials into triumph
• Instead of being VICTIMS, they became VICTORS.
• Now James in his letter (chapter 1 verses 1-12);
• Gives us four key words ifif we are going to turn our trials into triumphs,
• Four commands to obey.
(1). Rejoice (vs 2).
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters] whenever you face trials of many kinds”
• Remember this letter was written to Christians who were suffering for their faith.
• Verse 1 informs us that James wrote to the 12 tribes scattered abroad.
• These people were facing trials for one reason and one reason only – their faith!
• Now because we are God’s scattered people and not God’s sheltered people,
• We must experience trials.
• We cannot always expect everything to go our way.
• Some trials come simply because we are human.
• i.e. things like sickness, accidents, disappointments, even seeming tragedies.
• We live in a fallen world so expect things to go wrong!
• Other trials come because we are Christians.
• i.e. So many of our brothers and sisters in the world face persecution for following Jesus.
• Just recently on Palm Sunday (9 April), in northern Egypt
• 44 people died following blasts on two churches in the St. George's Coptic Orthodox church;
• In Tanta, in Gharbiya governorate in the Nile Delta region
The Open Doors Website says (http://www.opendoorsuk.org/persecution/trends.php)
“In some ways the 2017 World Watch List has a depressingly familiar feel. For the fourth year in a row, the level of overall persecution has risen. North Korea is still number one. Islamic extremism continues to strangle the expression of the Christian faith. Millions of Christians around the world now live their lives against varying levels of discrimination, discovery, violence and arrest…”
It goes on to say:
“Yet, there is some good news - above all, the fact that the church is growing. There has been a remarkable growth in believers from a Muslim background (BMBs), not least from those who, having encountered extreme Islam, choose Christianity instead. And all around the world, persecuted Christians are continuing to discover a depth, a strength, a brightness to their faith that can only be found in the darkest times.”
• God’s scattered people are not God’s sheltered people:
• As Christians we will experience trials.
• We cannot expect everything to go our way.
Note: Now this verse is full of gems, full of important little words;
• The first one I want you to notice is the word, “Consider”,
• Some translations have the word “Count” as an alternative.
• This word, “Consider”, or “Count” means, ‘to think, regard, to look upon’.
• It is a financial term that means to evaluate.
• In other words our outlook determines the outcome.
• Let me say that again, our outlook determines the outcome.
• Corrie ten Boom in her book ‘The Hiding Place’
• Relates an incident that taught her always to be thankful.
• She and her sister, Betsy, had just been transferred to Ravensbruck.
• This was the worst German prisoner of war camp they had ever seen.
• As they entered the barracks, they noticed two things;
• It was extremely overcrowded and it was infested with fleas.
• That morning, their Bible reading was in 1 Thessalonians and the passage they read had said;
• “Rejoice always, pray constantly, and give thanks in all circumstances”.
• Betsy told Corrie to stop and thank the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters. Corrie at first flatly refused to give thanks for the fleas,
• But Betsy persisted, and Corrie finally succumbed to her pleadings.
• During the months spent at that camp,
• They were surprised to find how openly they could hold Bible study & prayer meetings;
• Without the guards interference.
• It was not until several months later that they learned why;
• The reason the guards would not enter the barracks was because of the fleas.
• TRANSITION: to rejoice is to recognize in trials that God is in control;