Book of James

Considering Suffering

Book of James

We often feel lost in the face of trials and difficulties. But despite our confusion, every situation is being used of God.

My Sr. Pastor gave a very helpful sermon today illuminating the purposes of God in our suffering. I thought I would share my notes here in hope that his message would be an encouragement to you too.

[Author’s Note: These are my personal notes. So keep in mind I’m paraphrasing and fallible.]

Sermon Series: Serious Faith. Living Like It Matters
Message Title: A Serious Testing
Preaching: Pastor Sam Polson

Big Idea: God uses trials to train Christians.

If you’re going to have a serious faith you’re going to have serious testing.

Sermon Text: James 1:2-8 (NKJ)
“2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

Main Points

Trials involve…

  1. Serious Problems
    • Christians can anticipate serious problems (James 1:2).
      • “when” suggests the definitive nature of trials.
      • “various” indicates the wide spread of trials
    • But we can celebrate serious problems. We celebrate the outcome of trials (“count” them as joy)
  2. Serious Purpose (Character & Completion)
    • God uses trials to make our faith more productive (James1:3 “faith produces patience”)
    • Trials produce patience and character.
    • We must yield actively to this pruning from the Lord (James 1:4 “let” suggests this)
    • Trials fully form us (v. 4 “that you may perfect and complete”)
    • 1 Peter 1:6-7 corroborates this perspective.
    • Jesus had the same training (Hebrews 5:8).
  3. Serious Provision (Wisdom)
    • God promises wisdom (James 1:5)
    • Wisdom is the ability to see earthly matters from a heavenly perspective.
    • God gives us wisdom regarding our trials. God reveals Himself.
    • You only realize God is all you need when you realize God is all you’ve got.
    • When you ask for more wisdom, you are asking for more of God.
    • When God gives you wisdom, you will be able to count trials as joy.
  4. Serious Principle (Faith)
    • Faith is the principle of the Kingdom. (James1:6)
    • We must live in faith.
    • Our problem is not our problems. Our problem is our unbelief in our problems.
    • We doubt God’s purposes in our problems.
    • We either plant seeds of faith or unbelief.
    • The Harvest of faith is joy
    • The Harvest of unbelief is…
      • An unsettled life (James 1:6b)
      • Unanswered prayer (James 1:7)
      • An unstable soul (James 1:8)

Conclusion
Christians don’t determine God’s love by circumstances. We look to the cross to see God’s love. We access that love through faith.

So how do gain faith to pray? By praying. Prayer produces the faith it requires.

(The complete audio and video of this sermon will be available HERE.)

Published by

Derek Griz

I am a Christian, a husband, a father, and a pastor (Immanuel Church). I write from those perspectives. Connect with me on Twitter (@derekgriz).

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