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The Genuine Article (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
September 20, 2021 4:00 am

The Genuine Article (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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September 20, 2021 4:00 am

If it were possible to avoid suffering, most of us would. In this world, however, adversity is unavoidable. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing! The way we face challenges reveals a lot about our faith. Hear more on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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Were given the choice, none of us would choose to suffer, but did you know the trials can actually be good for you to find out how today on Truth for Life as we continue the series called faith that works as Alister bag with part one of a message titled the genuine article. I invite you to turn to James in chapter 1 as we resume our studies in James this morning before we look at our text will just pause and pray gracious God. As we come now before your word. We recognize that what you have to say to us through the Bible is actually more important than what we have to say to you through our songs in our prayers. And so we ask for a spirit of diligence for an awareness of your divine work within us, as we open our eyes to the pages of the Bible as we seek to open our hearts to receive the word that James says needs to be planted in us accomplish your purposes. We pray for Christ's sake. Amen.

Our text this morning is verse 12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him like many young couples when Sue and I were first married.

Back in 1975 and when we lived in Edinboro, the capital of Scotland part of our challenge was in furnishing our flats or our apartment, and mainly with the secondhand furniture and we would go to the new town in Edinburgh which is actually an oxymoron in many ways by the pretty old Newtown at the time and I down there on a number of streets. There were all of the secondhand shop and on pleasant days. Much of the furniture was actually out in the street so that you could see it from the road and stop and examine it and handle it, and so on one particular occasion we were there and looking. I think it was at a cabinet I submitted moving parts. At any rate, and in the course of that entering into price discussions with the shop owner who was out in the street with us. I said to them why would I buy this secondhand peace when I can actually go in for probably the same money I get a new piece from one of those hypermarkets well he obviously was thrilled that the challenge was laid down by the question because his eyes lit up and he said well I'll show you why you shouldn't do that. Then he proceeded to take this cabinet and to open the doors and to close them with such forcefulness that any lesser piece of material would've really been destroyed and the more he banged and opened and closed it and showed us the way in which everything was put together in the joints were in wonderful place. He smiled triumphantly, as in every occasion. The doors went right back into place and then having done that, he said now come with me. You need to through the shop and into a back shop where he obviously had his party piece for occasions such as this because he had another piece of furniture.

A new piece of furniture that was made by, with chipboard and had a white sheet of plastic veneer on it and he said now this is probably the kind of thing you're talking about whether it was or not. Didn't matter for the occasion, but he then proceeded to subject this piece of furniture to the same kind of treatment that he given to the use piece that was out on the street and with great triumph. He showed how it very quickly became a real mass and how it it it it it affected the screws that were in, and so on and it really it really wasn't feeling very well and then he said you see you can have a piece like this that may look a little better on the outside than what I have out there.

But the real issue he said is it day by day usage and the test of time. In the opening and closing the slamming and everything else and he said it is that prove whether you have the genuine article are not and he said I suggest to you that you reject this piece. I still have in mind. He loved waggle the door reject this piece. He said, and come with me and purchase the genuine article. And of course we were sold and we did and he he spoke a tremendous amount of truth. Another reason I begin. There is because I've decided that an act heading for this study of verse 12 is simply that phrase the genuine article, because in James in these opening verses and we come to the end of a section here in the 12 verse is actually addressing the question of faith as a genuine article. What does faith look like, how do we know whether our faith is the real thing. And the answer that James gives, at least in part, is genuine faith is to be discovered in their warp and woof of life in the day by day opening and closing if you like in the facing up to the challenges and the trials that come our way. In verses 2 to 4. He's already established the fact that trials are not unnatural, nor are they uncommon nor are the obstacles to spiritual growth. That of course is very important because we may be tempted to think that that is the case, listening to people on a daily basis to suggest somehow or another the victorious Christian living means the absence of trials that if you really want a man or woman of faith than these events that would threaten to harm you or undo you would somehow or another be uncommon experiences, and indeed if you wanted to make any kind of spiritual progress.

Then you would need to ensure that your life was free of these encumbrances and what James says is the exact opposite of that. What he says in his opening verses 2 to 4 is said by Peter in his opening section, as we saw in one of our studies earlier wherein first Peter chapter 1 and in verses six and seven addressing again as James does the issue of all kinds of trials.

He says these have come so that your faith may be proved genuine so that your faith may be proved genuine, so the experience of trials and of difficulties not uncommon, not unusual, not unproductive, but in fact purposeful in the plan of God, no verse 12. I think you will agree completes the thought of verses 2 to 4. Indeed, linguistically, you can see verses 5 to 11 in brackets and read from verse four immediately to verse 12 and find that the whole thing holds together in terms of logical thought and that's why when we dealt with verses 5 to 11. We said that we need to understand this in light of the structure that he is laid down concerning the notion of persevering faith, but our concern is not so much with that this morning as it is to recognize that in verse 12 he introduces us to the truly happy individual.

The word that is used here blessed Makarios is not an unfamiliar word in the Bible. It's occurs often in the Psalms. Of course we have the Beatitudes of Jesus, the brother of James, and here James provides us with his own little beatitude the blessing that accompanies this man the true happiness which this individual experiences is a happiness that is not tied to circumstances, it is not tied to circumstances, but it is a happiness which is known by the individual who doesn't try and difficulties or run from reality, but instead perseveres in the face of the trial know in order to help us come to terms with this verse I want to ask five straightforward questions on their very simple but I hope it will be equally helpful. I just read the verse one more time blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. First of all, what are these trials that are these trials up in verse two and we are introduced to them as trials of many kinds, the word in Greek is the word that gives is multi multicolored.

The idea of a rainbow and all of the variety of colors and hues that are represented in the panorama of a rainbow's beauty that is the word that is used to describe the trials that are experienced by those who are living the Christian life.

They are trials of many kinds. Interesting that he doesn't begin to list it doesn't say in what I have in mind is this and this. He deals with a generic way, which if you think about it is actually far more helpful because if he had said I have in mind a B and C than those of ours who could look at a BNC say.

While I have no awareness of this experience of this right now.

Then we would either have to go and seek out a BNC because of these trials are the key to maturity emigrant have to have them in order to become mature or we have to just decide whenever to become mature at all. He does mention, parenthetically, that poverty introduces us to a trial that needs to be dealt with that prosperity in itself may become the occasion of trial. But beyond that, he simply calls him trials of various kinds, which means that all of us have an immediate point of application. I don't need to ask you what your trial is what your trials are to be aware of the fiber you have some just to live life and to be honest is to know that. So, for example, some of us are facing the trials of adolescents either as adolescents order the parents of adolescents. In summary, to others, it's a bit of a chore and we're saying I didn't realize that it could be such a trial. Some of us are facing the trials of diminishing physical capacity. For whatever reason, simply the passage of time. The fact that things are no longer working the way they once did, for summarizes Rico tie said remarkably when he was preaching here we have a furniture problem insofar as our chest has now dropped down into her drawers that the impact of gravity is taking its toll. The trials of normal job.

The trials of the same job the trials of unusual summonses.

I wish I had a job someone else's. You can have my job trial trial. The trials of not having children. The trials of having to the trials of being an only child.

The trials of having siblings who drive you nuts know these trials are all kinds of trials. They are not uncommon. They are not unusual and they are not obstacles to spiritual growth and a tremendously encouraging factor is this, and you need to go to first Peter again to get this verse 10 of chapter 4. You can deal with it later, but Peter employs the very same word of God's grace as he employs of human trials. Its manifold trials, manifold grace or multicolored trials, multicolored grace, in other words, the grace of God is more than able to meet all the kinds of trials that are faced by God's people as they walk the path of faith.

Question number two what is it mean to persevere under trials.

What is it mean to persevere under trials and you'll notice that it is not suggesting that we fly above the trials, but rather that we are flying through the trials every so often we are flying, the pilot will tell you that he has spoken to air traffic control idea spoken to some of the planes are flying ahead of us and there is no possibility of us being able to go above the law or around the turbulence that we now face. Therefore, he has asked everybody to please be seated and everywhere just give one more little talk on our belts, 11 are the say that just one more little time on your belt and we're going to fly through this we learn to fly through the Christian life is all about flying through and anybody who comes to you with a story about getting above it and beyond it, and so on is teaching you from an empty head and from a closed Bible. James is absolutely categorically clear when you face trials of all kinds.

Not if you face trials. But when you face the challenges. The challenge of perseverance. What is it mean that the persevere under trials.

That's our question what it means refusing to run away from the challenges refusing to run away from the challenges some of us are experts at running away soon as it becomes difficult.

We just one change jobs change: change location change school change courses alive and think chemistry would be this part. The only way to deal with this is make a run for it know you could actually try and see it through.

Not running away but running on running with perseverance as a writer to the Hebrews as in 12 running with perseverance the race that is marked out for us.

It means not only that, but holding on, no matter how hard it might be because in this way, we actually prove to ourselves as well as to any who may be watching that perseverance in the face of trials is not only possible, but it is profitable music. How do we prove to ourselves that our faith is genuine is one trials, when the trials come and everything goes SKU with now we find out whether these professions in these testimonies in these verses and all that stuff. We said about the grace of God and the peace of God, and the securing providence of God.

Now we have an opportunity to find out whether the profession of our lives is matched by the experience of our life naturally means to persevere in not just possible by God's grace, but also profitable on account of God's grace in their Spurgeon's morning and evening, which you can read later on, or if you choose is exactly along these lines, I give you just a little a little piece from he says he would glorify his God must set his account. Upon meeting with many trials. No man can be illustrious before the Lord, unless his conflicts be many if then yours be a much tried path rejoice in it because you will the better show forth the all sufficient grace of God.

As for his failing you never dream of it. Hate the thought, the God who is been sufficient until now should be trusted to the end and Spurgeon on two Corinthians 12 nine thirdly, what is it mean and to stand the test, you notice that the verse goes on because when he has stood the test. The word is documents in Greek it means approved after testing and that is the word that he uses here when he has stood the test when he is the one who has the seal of God's approval on his life because he is a persevering believer, but without the trials. There is no test and without the test. There is no graduation. We don't have the seal of approval without going through the text. God is purposeful and what he does in the lives of his children. That's what James is saying. How long does this test take. When I looked at this at first I thought you know when he has stood the test.

This is a moment in time and then I looked and I said no when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life and you receive the crown of life and eternity. When does eternity come just after you finish with time.

When will you be finished with time at the end of your life.

How long is this test going to last the whole life.

He basically were honest, the whole of our lives to just one gigantic series of tests there's something reassuring about that, though, is there because it gives us gives us an opportunity to think seriously and realistically about the things that we and other people are going through when were tempted to regard them as intruders rather than as James has welcoming them as friends. Every so often when you're flying and I'm sorry is my last flying analogy for the morning, but at 18 1/2 hours from Johannesburg to New York is put flying firmly in my mind for a while, but you've had the experience you find yourself sitting next to a pilot and you say where you going says I'm going to the simulator and wiring to the simulator while I'm going to simulate and I'm going to have experiences of turbulence and stress and the loss of, and in general the loss of two engines or an aborted takeoff or whatever else it is so that if and when that ever happens. I might be prepared and ready to go. And of course you are very interested in that and wishing the best and hope that he finishes his course successfully just in case the tour was a river back together again in a real-life situation, but when you think about of the Christian life has no simulation.

The Christian life is a real-time experience all the time every day and what James makes so obviously clear is that the experience of joy and trial is an experience that is a simultaneous experience. It is not as we've said before that in the absence of trial is the discovery of joy but rather that joy a joy that is an unfathomable joy may be discovered on account of the trial court to this verse to you before from the hymn, but it is a useful verses that is the hymn begins my God, I thank you Lewis made the earth, so bright, and all of the wonderful things in the air and then the hymn writer says I thank you to that all my joy is touched with pain that shadows fall on brightest hours and thorns remain so that Eric's bliss may be my guiding and not my chain. You see the blisters and the encouragements of our earthly journey make Shayna's to a constant fixation with wanting more and more and more of that affirmation that approbation that good sign that save time and God in his heavenly wisdom brings into our experience pain in the reality of joy and order that we might become more like a son. Trials are unavoidable for finding out that God uses them to test our faith and to make us more like Jesus listing the Truth for Life with Alister Bragg.

Our mission here at Truth for Life is to teach the Bible with clarity and relevance as we study the book of James were learning how this practical instruction is relevant to our lives, particularly in the midst of trials when you donate today to Truth for Life. This is the mission you're supporting bringing clear relevant Bible teaching to others through this daily program and when you give a gift today we want to say thank you by inviting you to request a terrific children's book.

It's called Bible stories every child should know this is a collection of more than 120 short stories from both the old and the new Testaments. All of the stories in this book include colorful illustrations and the written in a way that kids preschool age and up are able to easily understand them. Each story is just a few pages long so the book provides you with countless nights of bedtime reading at the end of each chapter, there are a few short questions that can help you dive a little deeper into God's word with your kids. One of the things we love about the book is that it links Old Testament stories to God's eternal plan, especially to its fulfillment in Jesus. Your children will learn how God leading the Israelites out of Egypt points forward to Jesus who leads his people out of sin.

If you have a young family or if you know a young family request.

The book Bible stories every child should know when you donate today to give simply tap the book image you see in the mobile app or visit us online at if you prefer you can call us at 888-588-7884. We also mention you can purchase additional copies of Bible stories every child should know give as gifts, or if your teacher purchase these to use with your Sunday school class books are available to buy our Bob Lapine thanks for listing today, life's challenges can sometimes feel overwhelming. Many of us have probably been tempted to give up for the runaway one time or another. But as believers were instructed to persevere. Join us tomorrow as will continue learning how to stay the course in the midst of trials Bible teaching of Alister Bragg is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living

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