Monthly Archives: September 2015

Sermon Notes – James, Faith in Action – Sermon 1: Faith on Trial

James – Faith in Action

Sermon 1 – Faith on Trial
James is a book of practical faith – faith lived with its shoes on – faith in action. Sent from the center of the newly birthed church to those new believers spread away from Jerusalem. It is a book that angered Martin Luther for its focus on “doing” and works and one that we must cling to in light of the fact that our faith must be one that we comprehend with our head, love with our heart, and live out with our hands.

James 1:1-8 (ESV)
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

• Trials – will come/inevitable “when you meet trials” , all sorts/shapes/sizes/durations of trials – “various kinds”
• Joy in trials – consider/perceive, accept trials with joy – “count it all joy” POINT of trials – testing faith = steadfastness = completion/maturity of who we are IN Christ
• Wisdom to face trials – we do not know how to face trials on our own – need wisdom from God – IT is available for the asking (IF asking is in faith)
• Trust in trials
How you view trials depends on what your perspective on life is.
What is goal of life? If it is to be happy and have joy and happiness in this life then trials are evil, BUT – if the goals is to be conformed to image of Christ than trials are necessary,
They are tools in God’s hands to (Romans 8:29) – 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
TRIALS are the tools God uses to conform us to the image of Jesus – the whole point of life is to be made INTO the image of Christ
-all in our approach –
Trials in light of eternity: Paul – “light, momentary affliction” vs “weight of glory” – Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:17 speaking of trials “17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,” LIGHT, MOMENTARY? – cancer, death, grief, addiction, suffering, constant pain? – But don’t dismiss this! Paul knew pain and suffering BUT he knew to view them from an eternal perspective. On Heaven’s shores all these trials will be a distant and faint, fading memory in view of knowing Christ and being in His presence.
We can receive with joy when we understand the point of life and the purpose of trials – Not jumping up and down but a receiving of trials with the joy that God is at work in us. Satan wants this world to be an anesthetic to lull us to sleep, God often uses trials to wake us up to the reality of Heaven and His goal of making us like Christ.
Our mistake in trials – In a trial we try and get OUT and make it worse – God wants us to go THROUGH
In wrestling, most wrestlers try to perform an “escape” – a move to get free. BUT in trials, it is a MISTAKE to try and escape. God brings us to trials in order to bring us THROUGH them, not to teach us to escape. We should wrestle like Jacob when he wrestled with God (literally wrestled) – Jacob wouldn’t let go until God blessed him. We must CLING to God in trials!
EX. – Tin roof thunderstorm as a kid – storm ends and we see clearly from the other side
God wants us to go through them AND the key here is James telling us to ASK – James 1:5-8
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
IF we ask, with a trust that God will show us how to withstand the trial then He will answer. BUT, BUT we have to ASK and WAIT/LISTEN for the answer. This is PRAYER!
Often we face trials with a one sentence prayer “Why GOD!?!?!” and never wait for the answer. Prayer – ongoing, honest, prayer, trusting even in the waiting is the key.
Key to surviving trials:
-receive with joy – our attitude towards the trial – thankfulness that God is conforming us to the image of Christ
-understand the eternal perspective – earthly trials (all of life) is preparation for Heaven
-never forget: (Romans 8:35 -39) JESUS – trials point us to Christ and make us like Him –
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? ….37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Trials POINT us to the Cross – to know Jesus – to make us like Jesus – to rely on Jesus!

Aftershock Youth Ministry

I am very excited that this coming Sunday, September 13th, we will be kicking off our AWANA for children ministry and our new Aftershock Youth Ministry for students in grades 6 -12. I am thrilled at all the work and service that has gone into renovating our youth house to be used by our students. It is a blessing to see a church invest so much in ministering to young people and pointing them to Christ. If you have a child or youth come join us this Sunday night at 5:00 p.m.!