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September 14, 2021 4:00 am
Being a Christian doesn't mean that life will be problem free impact as long as were alive will experience hardship and trouble can be part of the story just no getting around. So if we can't avoid trials. How do we respond when they come our way today on Truth for Life Alastair Beck answers that question in a way that might surprise you continue in James chapter 1. Get straight to the first verse where James is introduced to is as the writer James. He introduces himself. What about the readers why 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 do a congregation such as this, we need to think it out. Don't wait I think would be help by turning over two pages to the beginning of first Peter to see the distinct similarities between Peter's introduction. In 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, while there are strangers in the world where the weather scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia and Solon.
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 any rights to these people. The 12 tribes who are scattered among the nations. I think what James is doing here is simply exploding the term, which was a comprehensive term for Israel itself, and the influence 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, what 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 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 favor to always remember that the Christian's homeland is heaven that our ultimate destination. Is there and that the affairs of our world is dramatic and as unsettling as we are 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 scantily we been reading Matthew this week in our home to arrest.
There's only two 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 never 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 sitting yesterday in the airport, watching people come and go, just could make me weep thinking about all these lives just going here. There everywhere.
While I'm sure you feel the same note, once he is identified himself and identified his recipients he get straight to the matter at hand, what is going to do now. We can only dip into this and it's a start for us at least, what are you going to do now is to tell the redeemed people of God how to live in the world as helpful as here's a letter to tell us how to live in the world are we supposed to live on my scores and go to my work. I should I treat other people how to handle this. How do I handle and last, we should feel that he was taking a long time to get going. He launches right into the heart of things confronts his readers with the disturbing and yet liberating fact that the display of the Christian faith is not revealed in some blissful otherworldly experience, but is revealed in the rough-and-tumble of everyday life. I don't let's miss this consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds are as Phillips paraphrases it when all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives. My brothers don't resent them as intruders but welcome them as friends. When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your life's let's just be honest our lives are crowded in upon by all kinds of trials and temptations. If, if that is not true then were dead.
If you're alive is true, we are not yet the completed picture. We are not yet in heaven will in the middle of this situation and living in this world, places, demands upon us and confronts us with challenges and buffet size in ways that are painful and sorrowful confronts us with things that bring failure and tears doubts and disappointments, cries and groanings trials and temptations we are, as we've said before a congregation that turns to the Bible Sunday by Sunday and our lives are largely marked by quiet desperation hardship and difficulty trouble various forms of suffering come to all of us at some time or another one of the greatest illusions of life is this to look at another person. I don't care who the person is any person and think. I wish I was her. She's she's obviously got it down or what is he no about this, if ever it ever we were to start at any point in this room and just share one area one area of trial or temptation.
We would be here for a solid month of Sundays before we completed the project.
I don't need to go beyond my own heart to tell you that in 50+ years of pastoral life have introduced me to it.
On every front. We all face trials and temptations that are variegated. The word in Greek is multicolored. They come out is whenever, wherever, in all kinds of ways and we are all in this class. There is no exemption from this class this you cannot you cannot pass out of this class, you can say what I did that I don't need to take that in this course know you never get out of this course. That's my experience.
Just when you think you finished one then you get another one, and the world says do you deny it, conceal it, shooing away. Maybe it'll run off and leave you or deny that it has an impact on you live above it, or choose to go beyond it. Whatever it might be presented and grow better as if a horrible intruder had come into your house and simply scattered everything all around and run away and left you desolate but no joint daily say consider it on alloyed joy. Consider it pure joy when you face trials of various kinds. How can this possibly be. This seems to be an absolute contradiction doesn't joy trials. Most of our contemporary life is live trying to deal with life in such a way that we don't have to have trials and if we can avoid trials that will have joy but if we have trials we can possibly have joy. Therefore, we gotta get rid of these trials in some way so that we can get on with joy. James is not if you want to know pure unadulterated joy then you will find it in your trials easy when when desk begins to infect a life or a congregation that will have a very different impact on Cleveland very different because people are so used to the Christian success story there so used to the Christian overcoming story so used to the beautiful people story so that the unsuccessful non-beautiful non-over comers as a little boy going in there. Most people have it all together.
Why do they think that because we don't tell the truth because we are one of the finest cover-up societies known to man and we baptize it with Christian orthodoxy because if we were ever to admit the story match that we really are, then maybe that would magnify the wonder of who God really is and draw people to God rather than to lives.
Now I know you think all kinds of things. I'm sure but I for a long time now have imagined everybody that I see with a wheelbarrow.
I've told you this before and I have a wheelbarrow to and when you see me you can think of me and my wheelbarrow and I have stuff in my wheelbarrow. I may have a hitch to the back of my car, you may like my car, you may hate my car but I have a wheelbarrow and in that wheelbarrow.
I have trials and temptations and fears and failures, disappointments and heartaches and longings. I don't wake at 3 o'clock in the morning just to think about the soccer scores from England and neither do you. We are all in this together and says James the way in which you can counted joy is not by moving yourself into assisted the that is absent from the trouble but is by your attitude in the trouble and how do we do it will look at verse three. Consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds. Why would I do that. Verse three. Here comes the answer because you know because you know in other words, we have to bring how we feel under the dictate of what we know, if we continue to put what we know under the proviso of how we feel that we will make all of our knowingness subservient to our feelings but is this true in so many areas of life. I think it is now will come back to this room.
We need to start but you see that there is a progression because you know what will you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Faith by itself, does not develop perseverance. It is only faith when it is tested by getting my jacket off and show you my biceps but I don't and I would be good. Human humility forbids, but the final matter to be a sorry spectacle because unless you stretch those things out unless you task them, they atrophy, they just go away and faith becomes significant under stress. So the very things that we seek to avoid the very things that make as the Puritans had it right. Trials come to makers and to remake us in shunning trials. We miss blessings.
That's what James is saying. Consider it pure joy when you face trials of various kinds, when whatever it is we don't need to go into all the details on whatever might be different from one to another, but all of us understand whenever you face that consider it pure joy because you know that now you have a chance to turn this tiny little muscle into something of significance. And when the testing is significant and is succeeded upon perseverance is produced and it is perseverance that gives way to maturity. Take for example one illustration will finish wheat we see the apostles Creed together from time to time. How does it begin.
II believe in God the father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. I believe I believe in God the father is what we say what you know we don't really know that we believe in God is our father until the day when everything collapses around us until the day when it seems that his fatherly care has been removed from us until the day when it appears that he doesn't even hear our prayers, let alone answered our prayers until the day when it is faith with the lights out until the day when it is faith in the waiting room.
Then we discover whether we believe that he is father when you when you hear the phrase Abba father. I bet most of you think first of all, about a song and secondly about some kind of exultant response. You know father role. Yes, you know daddy know you know sort of very strong and emotional and and and just serve rising up on the crest of it all, but an actual fight. Romans chapter 8 is all about suffering is all about suffering and it is out of the experience of suffering that Paul says and this is the wonder of it that in the experience of that you would ever cry out about father you see unbelieving people cry out all God what you think you're doing God I tell you Christian through all of the paints when they can pray all father.
My father sometimes that's all. Sometimes that's all prayer all you can get out father. That is one of the indications of the reality of saving faith that one were small wonder that Jesus told the Pharisees. I have no interest in your convoluted lengthy prayers. All of your shambles in your shibboleths when you pray, say I am strong sense that God desires to do something imparts a church along these lines and that's not it's a scary prospect actually you would never want to be the teacher you should never want to be the teacher because you have to study. Sleep with it be confronted by preaching in front of your wife.
She nudges you, you know she knows and then there's everybody else. Well, we will go on showing this, we will, we can find joy in our trials because of what we know because of who we know listening to Alister big on Truth for Life.
Alastair will be back to close with prayer in just a minute so please keep listening your Truth for Life.
We teach the whole Bible, even the hard parts and we hope that as you hear the messages on this program. Your faith in God will be strengthened especially during hard times and if your college student.
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There's no question that the college campus, even a Christian campus can be a testing ground for what we really believe and as a result, we have chosen a book titled surviving religion 101 to help you deal with the doubts you may be experiencing as well as to help you face some of the challenges to your faith. You may be up against. This book tackles many of the common objections you will hear, and it equips you to engage in a conversation with others with honesty and with compassion. Most importantly, it reminds you of what God says in his word, his voice is the one we need to follow not tomorrow's the last day I'll mention the book surviving religion 101 so if you'd like a copy. Don't delay, you can request your copy when you give a donation online at truthforlife.org/donate or call us at 888-588-7884. If you'd rather mail your donation along with your request for the book surviving religion 101.
Write to us at truth for PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, Ohio, or ZIP Code is 44139. Now here's Alister closest today with prayer. Small wonder that James writes let not many of you become teachers for those who teach will be judged with greater strictness, Lord, we come to you this morning pushing the wheelbarrows of our trials and are temptations we pray that you will so within us the seeds of reality that reality about which James writes here that the joy that comes by not denying their existence or running from them were hiding them.
But in recognizing that it is down this very road of sadness and pain and disappointment and often fear and discouragement that you fashion in your people the things that make is useful to others that we meet. We were surprised that we even have a wheelbarrow in we read even have anything in forgive us Lord for sending out front in the face to the community that suggests that this would be a nice place to calm if you've got your act together, but not until we marvel that you took us when we were such a mess fight if you'd waited for us to be in a position where we would ever have been deemed acceptable to you, then, of course, we could never have come. We thank you for your amazing and redeeming love mail your grace and your mercy and your peace rest upon your people now and forevermore, I'm Bob Lapine. None of us would choose to go through a trial, trials are painful and hard, but the fact is, there is something for us to gain in the process will find out more as we listen tomorrow. The Bible teaching of Alister big is furnished by Truth for Life learning