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When Trials Come (Part 1 of 3)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
September 13, 2021 4:00 am

When Trials Come (Part 1 of 3)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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September 13, 2021 4:00 am

The book of James provides believers with practical advice for everyday life. Learn how to live God’s way in God’s world. Study along with us as we begin a new series titled Faith That Works on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.



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Today on Truth for Life are beginning a new series in the book of James is titled faith that works. If you've never read this New Testament letter you will find it is a very practical book that focuses on everyday Christian living today. Alister bag takes us into the text will be studying for the next few weeks. He begins by opening with prayer father, we thank you that we are able now to turn our thoughts away from everything else and everyone else to you and to the Bible that you have given to us.

We asked for your particular help that we might not do a disservice to its truth, either by our attitude, our demeanor or the words that we speak or think I speak to us in the stillness of these moments and be our teacher, Lord, we pray for Jesus sake and we are beginning this morning.

A new series of studies in this letter of James letter that is intensely practical. The kind of practical help of the people of God need in our everyday lives we are made very quickly aware as we read through these five chapters of James. I hope that you might possibly read ahead and read the whole letter so that you will be prepared for things that were made very quickly aware we do so on the five that God's word was not given to us.

Ultimately, that our knowledge might increase, but rather that our lives might be changed and the emphasis in this letter of James is not upon becoming Christians. But it is rather on behaving as Christians, and it is very very important that those of us who would profess to be Christians would face up to these particular and pressing challenges and they are challenging. I have read ahead, and I know it's difficult for somebody who uses words as much as some of us do to be confronted by James teaching on the use and abuse of the tongue.

The fact he says that it is really wrong that out of the same mouth in the same period of time should calm both words that build people up in words that tear people down our are you tempted to play favorites with people, particularly as it relates to church. If so, James chapter 2 is going to be distinctly uncomfortable for all of us.

You see whenever Faith doesn't issue in love whenever doctrine however Orthodox is unrelated to the living of life.

Whenever you attempt to settle down for a kind of self-centered Christian experience that ignores the social and material needs of other people or whenever our conduct doesn't match the creed that we declare then these five chapters's are some 108 versus have something to say to us that we disregard at our peril. When we read the Bible together and it obviously comes home to our hearts in different ways. We are after all individual, but many of us would consider ourselves part of God's family here at Parkside and so when we study the Bible together in this way, we would anticipate that God would speak to us not only as a family, but also as a wider church family. And when we look together this way going to discover that there is far more imperative than it than there is indicative you remember the indicative tends indicates what is the imperative tens has to do with exhortation and application and you will find that in the hundred and eight versus there are some 60 imperatives that just jump out and punch their way out through the text is aware, sometimes almost appearing to punch is on the nose, you may actually like to look for the mall, not right now, but at your leisure. I can give you one or two. For example, verse five. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, that's the kind of imperative statement verse one of chapter 2 don't show favoritism. And so it goes on almost of them there to be discovered and we will encounter them as we go.

Something that we ought to recognize is that we are all others in this together. We're all in this together.

If you look at chapter 3 and in verse two he says not many of you should presume to be teachers.

We shouldn't let add anymore teachers.

He says because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. And then notice what he says we all stumble in many ways something a little disconcerting about that. There's also something a little encouraging about it isn't, and that we can say all were all in this class together were all in the stumbling class.

We might not all be the fastest runner. Spiritually, we might all not all be heading for the fences.

We may only be making a single every so often, but we know this, that we are all finally in the in the stumbling group and I believe that God has something to say to us is the stumbler's God's word to stumbler's God will speak to resin in these early chapters may well be that the word of God through his servant James to his people here at Parkside will sound a little akin to the longing of Eliza Doolittle as she sings to Freddie and my favorite musical of all time is my fair Lady, I will have this morning about 430 at night. Couldn't remember where this song came from about 5 o'clock I asked my wife does this come from the sound of music. I was hoping dreadfully wooden is not my favorite, and she said no no no no, it comes from. It comes from my fair Lady, and Eliza seems to Freddie Singh Meno song read me no rhyme. Don't waste my time. Show me she says I don't want you to write me volumes. I don't really sing the songs if you love me, show me that's essentially the book of James as what God is saying to his word and James don't Singh Meno songs and we love to sing songs here done. We we understand the importance of don't read me no rhymes. Don't waste my time. Show me sooner was if the book of James takes root in my life in your life in our lives. Then there will be a visible impact on Parkside church. In other words, our doctrine must inevitably find itself on display.

Our faith must inevitably begin to function in a way that is unavoidable and difficult to mess for that reason. You see, it makes it distinctly challenging. This is not a walk around a gymnasium, pointing out the various exercise machines.

This is an invitation to get on the exercise machine and after a period of time for people to build a come with tapes is aware and measure the various bits that you got measure and for people to be able to say there is unobservable deference in you and directly as a result of becoming the doers of the word which is provided for us in these chapters Wallace get straight to the first verse where James is introduced to is as the writer James. He introduces himself, we can safely say that he is a brother of the Lord Jesus, I can detail out for you but I won't take time to do so.

In which case we might be tempted to say, well, why then, if he is the brother of Jesus. Does he not introduce himself as the brother of Jesus. Incidentally, there's really only one person who could introduce himself as James without everybody saying James who this is James from Jerusalem all really policing that would be like you are getting a phone call that says hello this is Elizabeth from Buckingham Palace. Okay, this is James K why not lay your credentials out. Why not Swinehart lien with your best foot, why not say hey this is James the brother of Jesus. I think you know the answer to that. I'm pretty sure were right because James understood that the wonder of his relationship with Jesus did not rely in the fact of them sharing the same birthmother not it was not a natural relationship that caused James to marvel. It was the miracle of God's goodness to him in opening his eyes to understand that Jesus was the person he declared himself to be that we could do a lot of background on this and we needn't but I'll give it to you as just the broadest of outlines.

John chapter 7, John tells us that the brothers of Jesus did not actually believe in him is a fascinating statement that many people were coming to believe in Jesus but the folks who live right next to in who if you like. Snuggled with him in his bed when they were growing up they didn't believe in it.

They do not believe first Corinthians 15 Paul, in his great chapter on the resurrection points out that one of the in one of the resurrection appearances, Jesus appeared specifically to James and by the time you get to the writing of the history book mainly acts in chapter 15. This James the brother of Jesus is in the very heart of the Council of Jerusalem where the focus of the Jerusalem church are hammering out the relationships between these Jewish believers in these Gentile believers and James is at the very core of calling for Christian unity in the whole experience.

James if you like is a wonderful illustration of what we study some time ago in two Corinthians 5 where Paul says in verse 16. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer remember we said there what Paul is showing is that there is a magnificent change that is brought about in the person who comes to believe in Jesus until he come to believe in Jesus, they blow their own horn. The to their own horn to go their own way to view things from a completely worldly perspective and they don't have any interest in these things when they are reconciled to God.

They then no longer look at people the way they once did, and they no longer looking Jesus the way the ones that and that is essentially the testimony of James. I no longer look at my brother the way I want. Instead know you will notice how he introduces himself. He's a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Look at how he keeps up the designations of Jesus Lord, which is the word that was used when they translated the Old Testament into Greek and they had to translate the unpronounceable word. Yahweh, and they translated it Lord. So whenever you find in the New Testament Lord is not an expression of devotion. It is a designation of identity and has what James as he says, I'm a servant of God and of the Lord. And then Jesus, that is Joshua which means God's salvation or God's Savior and Christ which is anointed one or Messiah. Notice 20 years.

He is a servant servant is an interesting how the service industry has gone down the tubes in the last 25 years in America when I came here for the first time in 1972. Probably the single most striking difference between Great Britain and America was the service that you received in America where was in a petrol station or in a restaurant or whatever lies. It was so wonderfully welcoming, one may question the sincerity in certain instances, but nevertheless it was much to be pretty fair to want to be left behind across the puddle doesn't have to be an erudite student of interpersonal relationships to recognize that it ain't what it once was servant hood is on the outs take even the way titles are given to people in the structures of business or academia. There is there's an almost frenetic desire to make sure that everybody realizes you're not a servant you're a manager or sub manager are an assistant assistant coach manager you are you are you are you know you really are and look at what we discovered James doing says my name is James and I'm a servant of Jesus to know if you're a Christian that's that's your your biggest deal in mind to. You may be a servant carpenter you may be a servant homeschool teacher you may be a servant acting chemically maybe a salmon mommy. Maybe a servant painter. You maybe answer whatever you are, but ultimately your best piece on your resume. Is this Audrey Bell Brenda George servant's of the Lord Jesus Christ and you don't even on our best days were unprofitable service.

Why would we be surprised by this. After all, the brother of Jesus would've paid attention to his brother and marveled at him and he said I didn't come to be served but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many.

Sir James Harris like and ambulate my brother and that James servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. What about the readers were there. The 12 tribes scattered among the nations. What is this me as distinctly Jewish. Is this a letter just for Jewish folks, in which case we would be hard-pressed to find any meaningful application. After all this time and to a congregation, such as this, we need to think it out during week I think would be help by turning over two pages to the beginning of first Peter and to see the distinct similarities between Peter's introduction and James's introduction.

They don't use the same terminology explicitly, but it is pretty similar. Peter designates himself an apostle of Jesus, one who has been set apart and sent by Jesus, who is he writing to leave right into God's elect. Who are they, well there strangers in the world where the weather scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, and so on and what is their distinguishing feature while they all belong to God the father sprinkled by the blood of Jesus and sanctified by the Holy Spirit and he turned back to James chapter 1 of the rights to these people.

The 12 tribes who are scattered among the nations. I think that what James is doing here is simply exploding the term, which was a comprehensive term for Israel itself. The Israel of God that had been redeemed out of the bondage of Egypt.

As a result of the shedding of blood in Israel that had been scattered and was at this point in time scattered throughout the world as well, and every Jewish person look to the possibility of the return to their homeland, and he always saw themselves in terms of their identity being directly linked to the Passover and to the prospect of their reunification and the same is true today. James takes this and explodes it and he includes in the terminology, it would seem, all regardless of nationality who trust in Christ as Savior we have to wait to verse 18 to get the first real indication of this, where he says in verse 18 of chapter 1, the father chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. And then you will notice that he begins chapter 2 addressing the believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. What we find then in these epistles, and expressly again back in first Peter Peter in chapter 2 picks up these Old Testament pictures and applies them directly to the variegated company of both Jew and Gentile, where he says in verse nine. You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into this into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God.

Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. And so, in the same way as the Hebrew people would look and do look for a day when they might return to Jerusalem so the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are scattered throughout the world, anticipating the day of their own great homecoming. That's why you see, it is important for us as nationalistic as we may be in our fervor, whether it be the land of our birth are adopted whole to always remember that the Christians homeland is heaven that our ultimate destination.

Is there and that the affairs of our world is dramatic and as unsettling as we are, even in a week such as this, both internally within the nation and externally throughout the world. The only real way for us to gain any sense of sensibility to the vastness of it all is to take refuge in the designations that we have before us here to recognize that we are those who are scattered throughout the world. But God knows that were scattered throughout the world and that God has a plan to deal with the scattering we been reading Matthew this week in our home to us. There's only two presented and by this is, this is what this is what Jesus says and then the Son of Man will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from the one end of the heavens to the other. There were sit and look up at the sky and imagine all the people in China and all the people in India and all the people in Pakistan and all the people in Indonesia and all the people all over the place.

Everywhere you say how in the world are all these people who believe in Jesus all going to get together in one tribe and company and nation and and all sing the song of the Lamb.

Don't worry about it it's not your to do, but that's God's purpose and when we see our place in the vastness of that scheme. Then we have an understanding of how we fit listening to Alister big Truth for Life with part two this message from the book of James tomorrow.

Alister reminded us today that if we are Christians. Our home is in heaven. In the meantime, we have been called to live out our faith here on earth course.

The challenge is that as Christians things we believe puts us in the minority and the opposition were going to face is strong that can be especially true for young adults today. If you are about to head off to college or entering the workforce for the first time you're going to face some headwinds some resistance to the things you believe. If you have a son or daughter who was in that situation they can expect the same colleges are overflowing with ideas and lifestyles that can raise questions and doubts about our faith. That's why we want to recommend to you a book titled surviving religion 101 letters to a Christian student on keeping the faith in college.

The author of this book Michael Kruger anticipates the kind of pushback. Young believers are to come up against on the college campus and in response he provides a reminder for us of what Christians believe and why we believe it so that students will have an answer for their faith when they face opposition surviving religion 101 is also a great conversation starter.

If you have a teenager at home.

This book helps explain that the Bible is trustworthy and that it's still relevant. It will help prepare your teenager to face these hard questions before they get to college, you can request the book surviving religion 101 when you give to support the teaching you here on Truth for Life. Simply The image you see on the app or go to our website Truth for Life.org/donate. We also mention if you would like to purchase additional copies of surviving religion 101. The giveaway the book is available to buy at our cost you go online to Truth for Life.org/store Bob Lapine thanks for starting the week with us. Please join us again tomorrow as were reminded that while there's no avoiding hardships or difficulties. There is a way for us to handle Bible teaching of Alister big is furnished by Truth for Life learning is really

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