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Something God Can't Do

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
September 28, 2021 8:00 am

Something God Can't Do

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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September 28, 2021 8:00 am

The assurance that God does not tempt us to do evil; the difference between temptation and trials of faith; how to avoid succumbing to temptation; based on James 1:13-18.

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For the Lord of Hosts has planned who can call you for today's James said, when you're tempted, don't say, God is tempting me, he says, because that's one of the things God can't do. God cannot cause you to be tempted and therefore, if temptation comes, we're going to learn as we go through this passage that it comes from a very different source. But James said, let's be clear, God cannot be tempted with evil, neither does he tempt any of us.

And I'll unpack that further as I move through this message. Now, we already saw that James opened his letter by saying, count it all joy when you go through trials of various kinds. When you go through trials of various kinds, he said, our response ought to be to count it joy. And then we saw his rationale, he said, because as you go through your trials, if you go through them right, he said, they will develop in you perseverance.

And we looked at the Greek word that's translated perseverance and saw that it means cheerful endurance. Count it all joy when you go through trials of many kinds because God wants to teach you how to cheerfully press through and endure those trials, because they are going to lead you to maturity, they're going to help you grow up. If you go through your trials right, they will take you from spiritually immature to spiritually mature.

Or to use another analogy, they will take you from a weakling to a person whose muscles are developed. God wants us to be spiritually mature and strong enough to go through whatever he wills for our lives, and therefore the trials are going to help us get there. So we saw that we are to count it all joy when we go through trials. But now I want you to notice that this part of James 1 introduces another issue, not the issue of trials that he spoke of versus earlier. This introduces the issue of temptations.

Temptations. So what I want to do as I begin this discourse is make sure you have a distinguishing understanding between trials, which he spoke of earlier, and temptations. Trials on the one hand and temptations on the other. So let me begin by having you jot down two definitions, working definitions for these two words.

Jot this down. Trials are challenges designed to help us succeed. Trials are challenges designed to help us succeed. Trials are any and everything you go through that God wants to use, whether God brought it or not, he wants to use to build your spiritual muscles, to teach you how to cheerfully endure, to cause you to grow up. Those are challenges that the Bible here calls trials. Challenges designed to help us succeed.

And I'm gonna make sure you understand that more as I talk. But let me give you the definition for temptations. Temptations, on the other hand, are enticements designed to cause you to fail. Enticements designed to cause you to fail. Things that lure you out of the will of God, if they can.

Things that will cause you to make wrong turns, bad decisions, go into a sinful place in your life. So on the one hand, you have trials, the goal of which God has to make you succeed. On the other hand, you have temptations, the goal of which is entice you and cause you to fail. Now let's park there for a little while because before we talk about how to get through the temptations, I wanna make sure you really have a great understanding of the difference between the two. Because we're supposed to count it joy when we go through trials, we're supposed to avoid and escape temptation.

So you really gotta know the difference. Let's talk about trials a little more. Trials, let me give you some analogies. Trials are like exams that you get in school.

Trials are designed to prove that you know what you know, that you have embraced what you have embraced, that you are equipped and prepared to go to the next level because you got it on this level. That's what a test is. You who have been through school or maybe there's some students listening right now, I know sometimes your exams feel like the teacher's trying to punish you, but a good teacher is trying to help you succeed. And the exam is not designed for you to fail. Now you can fail an exam, but that wasn't the purpose. The purpose was to see if you are prepared and equipped to go to the next level. You can't prove to the teacher and you can't prove to yourself that you're ready to go to the next level if you don't pass certain exams. Now if you're equipped, how many of you have ever been, you walked in, you knew the test was that day, you walked in confident, cocky, you knew that you knew that you knew, you weren't scared of that test, I'm going to ace that test, I'm going to be done far before the deadline because I know this stuff. How many have ever taken a test like that? I know this stuff.

A few of y'all. Other folk, I can tell by your hands staying down that you went in every test you ever took in school, you went in praying, you went in, oh God, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, help me out. You weren't trying to graduate summa cum laude or magna cum laude, you were just trying to graduate, thank you Lord.

Alright, I get it. But hopefully you made it through. Others of us, we knew certain things and the test didn't scare us at all because we had prepared, we had equipped ourselves, we had studied and we knew that we were ready to go to the next grade because I've learned everything I'm supposed to learn at this grade.

That's a good feeling. That's what the trials of life are supposed to do. They're designed, even if God didn't send the trial, remember I said in an earlier message, trials can come from God or they can be of our own making. How many have ever created a trial for yourself? You just ended up creating, you made some dumb decisions and mistakes and you end up creating your own trial.

So they can come from us, they can come from God, a trial can come from the enemy who's trying to knock you off. But the fact of the matter is, God will use any trial we go through, any challenge we go through and His purpose is for it to show that we are prepared and equipped and we can handle whatever we need to handle and we're ready to go to the next level. It's a good feeling when you're ready to go to the next level and you know it. It's a good feeling when you don't have to see that the test handed back to you graded because you know you got an A. I already know I got an A and the only question is did I happen to get one or maybe two wrong and get a lower A than a hundred.

That's the only thing I'm waiting to see. But I know I know this stuff. That's a good feeling and you can live that way in life. If you track with the Lord, God can bless you so that every trial you go through, you can count them joy because you know you're prepared and equipped. That's trials.

It's like exams. They didn't come to punish you, they came to prove that you're ready to go to the next level. Still ahead, the second half of today's Destined for Victory message with Pastor Paul Shepherd, Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. We want to thank all of you who sustained Destined for Victory with your prayers and financial support, gifts that help Pastor Paul share the gospel with a growing audience. So as God leads, please prayerfully consider making a gift to Destined for Victory today. You can give securely online at or call 855-339-5500. Well, if you want God to take you to the next level of your Christian journey, be faithful right where you are. Up next, the rest of today's Destined for Victory message, something God can't do.

Once again, here's Pastor Paul. I know some of the younger students might not remember this, but us old heads, when we were in elementary school, first day of school, you would line up in the schoolyard according to class. And there was always the occasion when you would look at you're in your new grade. I was in third grade last year, now I'm in fourth grade. Here I am standing here beginning of the school year and I'm in the fourth grade line. And we often had the occasion of looking over in the third grade line and seeing somebody who went through third grade with us. Some of y'all remembering, went through third grade and we would say to somebody else in line, why Johnny over there?

And then somebody would say, he got left back. Left back was our way of saying, Johnny should be over here with us. But Johnny was goofing off instead of studying. Johnny was not learning. Johnny was not obeying the teachers.

Johnny wasn't doing what he needed to do. And as a result, although he ought to be in fourth grade, he is still in third grade because a good education system will not pass you on until you have passed the test of this level. And unfortunately these days we got some bad education systems and folk are trying to worry about their budgets and all of that and they're moving kids through and it's so sad.

We have some children graduating high school, teenagers graduating high school and they still can't read at a decent level. But we passed them through. Shouldn't be that way because tests are designed to prove that you're prepared to go to the next level. That's trials. That's exams.

All of us go through that. Or let me give another illustration. A lot of y'all took a turkey out of an oven and instead of just looking at the outside, you took a meat thermometer and you stuck it in.

Why? Because you understood that you can't prove the turkey is ready to be devoured until you check the inside. Some of y'all knew that the outside might look good but that's no guarantee that the turkey is ready to eat. So what you did was got a meat thermometer because I heard it. You know I'm not a cook but I heard it.

I heard that what you got to do is stick it in the thigh and they said if it's consistently 165 degrees when you stick it in the thigh then it's ready to go. Y'all can serve it on up cause it's cooked through and through. I came to tell you that some of us have to get through a better job of dealing with our trials cause some of y'all are turkeys that are not ready yet.

Not ready yet. You look brown on the outside. You look good on the outside.

You look edible on the outside. Come to church and say praise the Lord on the outside. Got you a big bible on the outside. Know all the Christian jargon on the outside but when God sticks you, when life sticks you, when challenges stick you, you are not 165 degrees. You are not prepared to bless the world because you are not cooked through. And so I want to tell you God wants us to go through trials right so that we are prepared for what comes next. That's the trials that he speaks of.

Now here's what I want you to know. Those kinds of trials can really promote you to the next level which is why saints of God, you want to be careful how you go through the challenges you face in your life cause if you go through them wrong you're going to have to take some makeup exams. And I don't know if you've ever been through makeup exams. They're not fun. It's not fun to be delayed in your growth.

It's not fun to be stagnant in your development. God wants us to be fully developed followers of Christ so no matter how rough the trial is for God's sake go through it right and pass the test because if you do God wants to bless you on the other side. There's a wonderful illustration of that in the book of Genesis, the book of beginnings chapter 22 when God said to his servant Abraham, I have given you this son of promise whose name was Isaac. He had lived with Isaac and enjoyed Isaac and when Isaac was a teenager, Abraham who now is a hundred and some years old, he is a hundred plus the number of years that Isaac is because Isaac was born to him when he was a hundred years old. So at the time Genesis 22 rolls around, if Isaac is 15, Abraham is 115. And he says to Abraham in Genesis 22, I want not to tempt you to evil.

He said I want to test you. So he says to him I want you to get up take your only son. He meant by that that by this time Ishmael and his mother have been dismissed from Abraham's family. And so Isaac is the only son currently being raised in Abraham's house and he says I want you to take your only son Isaac, take him up on Mount Moriah and offer him as a sacrifice to me.

What a trial. You've been through some tough trials in your life but imagine being Abraham who waited a very long time to have this son of promise. He's now been enjoying this boy and God likes to wait till something gets real good.

And then he comes up with the exam and he says I want you to take him and offer him as a sacrifice. Now, here's what I need you to understand. If you're not really familiar with Bible teaching and you're kind of new to the faith, I want to assure you there is no place in the Bible where God ever endorsed anyone practicing human sacrifice.

I need you to understand that very clearly. That's not a biblical practice. In fact, the only time God actually endorsed and it was followed through with a human sacrifice, it wasn't a sacrifice on wood as a result of killing and then burning a sacrifice, it was a sacrifice of his son on the cross. That's why we celebrate as Christians because when Jesus hung on that cross he was the sacrifice for my sin so that you and I could be free forever of the sin debt that we owed God.

And I want you to know that Jesus is the only sacrifice that was ever needed. So this was a test of Abram's faith. He says, Abraham, I want you to sacrifice your son. Abraham didn't know whether God was going to have him go through with it or not. But God gave him a test to see his obedience and he passed the test. He goes up to Mount Moriah, he has his son with him. Now when you see these old Sunday school pictures and you'll see this little boy walking with this old man, that's not accurate.

He was a teenager. In fact, the Bible tells us in Genesis 22 that Isaac carried the wood for the sacrifice. Now Isaac is thinking this is a sacrifice of a large animal that's going to take place. So we're not talking about a few little pieces of wood. We're talking about a big bundle of wood enough for a sacrifice. And Isaac is carrying it.

That tells you that he's a teenager. He's strong. And he asked Abraham at one point, he says, I have the wood. You have the knife. But where is the sacrifice? And Abraham said, my son the Lord will provide.

Jehovah Jireh, God will provide the sacrifice for himself. And that moment comes in Genesis 22 when Abraham has to show Isaac what God has told him. And Isaac lays out the wood and they're prepared seemingly for the sacrifice.

They just need the actual animal. And instead Abraham grabs his son and says, son, you've got to trust me. This is what God said. He wanted done. Now I submit to you that wasn't just a test of Abraham's faith. That was a test of Isaac's faith too. You know why? Because Isaac is grown.

The boy's a teenager. If he doesn't want to be on the wood, he's not getting on the wood. Come on now. Think of this.

15, 16, 17 years old and your daddy's 115, 16, 17. If you don't want to get on the wood, you're not getting on the wood. Do we all understand that? Isaac could have said the devil is a liar. God ain't told you nothing like that. You're tripping.

You think I'm going to get on this wood. God didn't say anything. You missed that, pop. That's all it would have been. But Isaac surrendered to his daddy just like Abraham surrendered to his heavenly father. In fact, it's a beautiful picture of what happened on Calvary because that's exactly what God did with Jesus. When Jesus said, why has thou forsaken me? God in heaven was saying, trust me on this son.

I know what I'm doing. And one day I'm going to raise you up. And that's what Abraham determined. He said, well, if God makes me kill this boy, I know he's going to raise him up because he made me promises about my descendants. And so I know God is going to do it. That's a sample of how you got to go through your trials right.

When you go through your trials, don't try to figure everything out in advance. Don't ask God to make sense to you. See, some of you all are missing an A on your test because you keep asking God questions.

How many know when the teacher's sitting at the desk and you got the test in front of you, you can't be raising your hand talking about, I don't understand. And God blessed him to be surrendered in his heart so much so that Abraham lifted up his knife ready to kill the boy when the Lord said, no, no, don't do that. That's not what I want. I just wanted to prove that you were surrendered. And then God made him promises because you've obeyed me. There's nothing I won't do to bless you. I came to tell somebody listening to this message, that's what God is saying about you.

You got to pass your test. You got to go through it right because God's got some great plans for you on the other side of this examination and you got to get ready to go through it right. There are some things God can't do. There are some things God won't do.

He'll never force you to obey him, to follow him or to do anything against your own will. Instead, he invites you to take part in his plan, both for you and for the world. And part of that plan is that we share the gospel with as many people as we can. Friends like you do that every day through your prayers and financial support. And when you give a generous gift today, we'd like to bless you right back with a gift of our own, a booklet from Pastor Paul based on his message, Junk Removal for the Soul.

All of us have some habits from our old life that we need to set aside so we can embrace the newness of who we are in Christ. And Pastor Paul offers some practical biblical advice about doing just that in this booklet. And it's our gift to you this month by request for your generous gift to Destin for Victory today. So call us at 855-339-5500 or visit to make a safe and secure donation online. You can also mail your gift to Destin for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. Again, our address is Destin for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. And if you need prayer today, use the Contact Us feature at and share your request with us so that our ministry team can join you in prayer.

When you stop by, be sure to ask for Pastor Paul's monthly letter of encouragement, yours at no cost or obligation. I got a question for you. If temptations don't come from God, where do they come from? Come from Satan. Satan, he is the one who hates our souls. He is the one who hates your relationship with God. He is the one who wants to mock God at every opportunity. That's tomorrow when Pastor Paul Shepherd shares his message, Something God Can't Do. Until then remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are destined for victory.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-19 04:08:19 / 2023-08-19 04:16:43 / 8

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