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091115 How To Live Your Faith 03 When Life Hands You Lemons
 

091115 How To Live Your Faith 03 When Life Hands You Lemons

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Sermon 3 in a series on the Book of James. The text of this sermon is James 1:2-4. It was presented at Palm Desert Church of Christ on November 15, 2009, by Dale Wells.

Sermon 3 in a series on the Book of James. The text of this sermon is James 1:2-4. It was presented at Palm Desert Church of Christ on November 15, 2009, by Dale Wells.

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    091115 How To Live Your Faith 03 When Life Hands You Lemons 091115 How To Live Your Faith 03 When Life Hands You Lemons Presentation Transcript

    • James 1:2-4 NIV
      Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
    • “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade”
      Normal people don’t enjoy trials
      We do everything possible to avoid them
      James writes people who knew hardship
      Most faced loss of homes, jobs & security
      Had to flee for their lives to strange places
      Not inconvenience, but threats to survival
      Separated from family & friends
    • They were members of a new people & family
      Ephesians 2:19 NIV Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household
      James: three principles to profit from trials
      As relevant for us as for the early church
    • What SHOULD you do? What DO you do?
    • 1. Don’t let troubles get you down
      James 1:2 NIV Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds
    • What do you do when life hands you lemons?
      Hardships are not avoidable, but inevitable
      We areto face hardships with pure joy
      Gk pas– all, complete & whole
      James is not telling us to “fake it”
      Not contrived joy,as religious obligation
      Rather, pure joy – the “real thing”
    • What kind of hardships are we talking about?
      Gk peirasmós – external adversity that provides testing towards an end
      Describes a young bird “testing” his wings
      Used to describe the trials faced by Israel
      Hebrews 3:8 NIV do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert
    • One great promise regarding hardships
      1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
      This is our confidence in life’s hardships
    • Trials come in many forms
      James 1:2 NIV Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds
      Gk poikilósmeans varieties of trials
      Three varieties of trials or temptations faced by sincere Christians
    • Three varieties of trials faced by Christians
    • Cause-and-effecttrials
      Basic principle of Scripture:
      Galatians 6:7 NIV Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
      Some come because of disobedience
      We “play with fire” to see how close we can get to sin without being burned
    • James 1:13-15 NIV
      When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; (14) but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. (15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
    • Spiritual trials
      Peter tells us not to be surprised:
      1 Peter 4:12 NIV Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.
      He goes on to say:
      1 Peter 4:16 NIV However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
    • Jesus talked about these trials
      John 16:33 NIV “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
      John 15:20 NIV Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
    • Spiritually mysterious trials
      The hardest trials to accept
      The hardest to express pure joy about
      No rational reason for the trial – or at least not one that we can identify & understand
    • This is the kind of trial faced by Job
      Friends convinced that Job had hidden sin
      Wife certain that it was God’s fault
      Job didn’t understand the “why” of his trial
      At the end, he still doesn’t understand why
    • But God gives Job the response that is right for every hardship
      Commit complete trust & faith to God
      Acknowledge that God’s ways are not ours
      Job committed himself to his faithful God
      Conclusion: You can always trust God!
    • 2. Troubles should make you better, not bitter
      James 1:3 NIV because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
    • God is not behind our hardships, but we can find Him in them!
      He uses them for our good
      Romans 8:28 NIV And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
      Practical result of facing trials with faith
      The result is the virtue of perseverance
      How can hardships lead to perseverance?
    • What kind of “testing” are we talking about?
      Gk. dokı́mion, literally “proving” or “trying”
      It is the word used by Peter:
      1 Peter 1:7 NIV These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
    • Like a refiner’s fire that burns alloys from precious metal
      God allows testing & uses it for our good
      As we commit ourselves to Him
      He allows impurities to be removed from us
      He leaves perseverance in their place
    • Note where this testing takes place
      James 1:3 NIV because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
      Faith is essential to the Christian
      Hebrews 11:6 NIV And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
    • God allows testing at that essential place – our faith
      As we are tested, our faith grows
      We trust God more and ourselves less
      1 John 5:4 NIV … everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
    • What is “patience” or “perseverance”?
      Not “passive” patience – laziness
      Rather, “active” patience – “staying power”
      “Stick-to-it-iveness”
      Paul made a similar point:
      Romans 5:3 NIV Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance
    • Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV
      Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (2) Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
    • “Keep on keeping on!”
      God invites us to trust Him & to realize that the testing of our faith is for our good – it develops perseverance in our lives
      Later, James shares moreinsight & advice about how we should respond to trials
    • James 5:7-9 NIV
      Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. (8) You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. (9) Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
    • Within that context, he refers to the examples of Job and the prophets
      James 5:10-11 NIV Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. (11) As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
    • 3. Keep on keeping on
      James 1:4 NIV Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
    • Trials can be beneficial if we trust the Lord
      He will use those negative experiences for very positive results in our lives characters by teaching us perseverance
      But perseverance is not an end in itself
      James: three benefits of perseverance
    • The first benefit of perseverance is maturity
    • Mature (téleios) means to be perfect, complete, or full-grown
      Jesus used this word:
      Matthew 5:48 NIV Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
      “No way! No one can be perfect but God!”
      Why would Jesus give such a command?
      We can never reach perfection in this life, but that should be our goal
    • Paul put this into perspective:
      Philippians 3:12-14 NIV Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. … I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
    • The second benefit is that we can be complete
    • Gk. holóklēros, means entire or perfect in every part
      Found in only one other place in NT
      1 Thessalonians 5:23 NIV May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole (holóklēros) spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    • That is what James is saying
      As we allow patience to have its perfect work, we become well-rounded disciples
      But if the first two statements are not clear enough, he adds the third
    • The third benefit is that we are “not lacking anything”
    • James 1:4-5 NIV
      Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
    • What a powerful statement!
      We become more and more like Jesus – perfect, well-rounded,mature, full-grown, complete, whole, lacking nothing!
      James 1:4 NIV Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
    • Which benefit is most important?
    • The ultimate benefit is eternal life
      James 1:12 NIV Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
    • Beyond the immediate benefits of perseverance is the ultimate benefit
      Eternal life that no one can take from us
      Life is not always fair
      Our victories are not always obvious
      We can be sure of one thing: ultimate victory is ours in Jesus Christ
      As we are faithful and as we persevere, the “crown of life” awaits us in the victory circle of the kingdom of God!