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Genuine Faith in the Midst of Trials

Feb 8, 2016

Summary: This is the first message in a series through the book of James. This messages is the first looking at the subject of genuine faith when we face persecution.

GENUINE FAITH – PART 1

GENUINE FAITH IN THE MIDST OF TRIALS

JAMES 1:1-4 JAMES, A SERVANT OF GOD AND OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, TO THE TWELVE TRIBES SCATTERED AMONG THE NATIONS: GREETINGS. 2 CONSIDER IT PURE JOY, MY BROTHERS, WHENEVER YOU FACE TRIALS OF MANY KINDS, 3 BECAUSE YOU KNOW THAT THE TESTING OF YOUR FAITH DEVELOPS PERSEVERANCE. 4 PERSEVERANCE MUST FINISH ITS WORK SO THAT YOU MAY BE MATURE AND COMPLETE, NOT LACKING ANYTHING.

INTRODUCTION: FIRST AND FOREMOST, CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY. IT IS MORE THAN THAT. FOLLOWING CHRIST IS NOT A THEOLOGY, NOR IS IT SIMPLE RELIGIOUS TEACHING. A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST, HAS, AT HIS FOUNDATION, A LIFESTYLE THAT IS BASED ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. THIS RELATIONSHIP BEGAN WHEN WE INVITED CHRIST INTO OUR LIVES. IN THE GOSPEL OF MARK, THAT INVITATION FINDS ITS FULLNESS WHEN WE LOVE THE LORD WITH ALL OUR HEART, ALL OUR MIND, ALL OUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL OUR STRENGTH. THE CHRISTIAN WALK HAS BOTH INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL PARTS.

IT IS A RELATIONSHIP OF GREAT INTIMACY, AND GREAT DEPENDENCE.

AS WE COME TO THE FIRST IN OUR SERIES ON THE BOOK OF JAMES, WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND A FEW THINGS

1. JAMES IS THE FIRST, OR ONE OF THE FIRST BOOKS WRITTEN (THERE IS SOME DISPUTE AS TO WHETHER JAMES OR GALATIANS IS REALLY THE EARLIEST NEW TESTAMENT BOOK.

2. IT IS A MISUNDERSTOOD BOOK. MARTIN LUTHER DID NOT BELIEVE THAT JAMES SHOULD HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT DUE TO THE FACT THERE SEEMS TO BE SO MUCH TALK ABOUT WORKS.

3. AS AN EARLY EPISTLE, JAMES LETS US SEE THE FIRST STRUGGLES OF THE EARLY CHURCH.

4. AS WE EMBRACE THE TRUTH OF THE BOOK OF JAMES, OUR LIVES WIL BE THE BETTER FOR IT

JAMES IS THE HALF BROTHER OF THE LORD, YET IDENTIFIES HIMSELF AS A SERVANT OF CHRIST.

JAMES IS WRITING TO A SCATTERED CHURCH, A CHURCH THAT HAS BEEN DISPERSED DUE TO PERSECUTION. IT IS IN THE MIDST OF THIS PERSECUTION, AND SCATTERING THAT JAMES SEEKS TO GIVE THOSE WHO READ HIS LETTER HOW THEY CAN FOLLOW CHRIST AS LORD OF THEIR LIVES MORE EFFECTIVELY WHERE THEY ARE.

TRANSITION: WITH ALL THAT HAS GONE ON IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH UNIVERSAL, I HAVE SAID, AND WILL SAY AGAIN, THE ENVIRONMENT WE EXIST IN RESEMBLES MUCH MORE CLOSELY THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE FIRST CENTURY CHURCH THAN WE IMAGINE OR COMPREHEND. AND, IF I AM CORRECT, WE NEED WHAT JAMES IS TEACHING.

I. WHY WE HAVE TRIALS

a. WE DO NOT HAVE TRIALS BECAUSE WE WANT THEM

i. THE WORD FOR TRIALS MEANS AN UNWANTED OR UNWELCOME TRIAL

THERE WAS A TIME IN OUR LIVES WHEN SHERRY AND I DISCIPLINED OUR CHILDREN. ONE PARTICULAR INCIDENT THAT WOULD REQUIRE A SPANKING, OUR TWO CHILDREN, WE ONLY HAD TWO THEN BOTH ASKED FOR MOM TO SPANK THEM BECAUSE MOM SPANKED HARDER.

b. THE REASON OR PURPOSE FOR THE CHILD IS LINKED TO THE CHARACTER OF GOD

i. VERSES 2-4 AND VERSES 5-8

c. REASONS WE MAY HAVE A TRIAL

i. TO STRENGTHEN OUR FAITH

ii. TO GET OUR ATTENTION

iii. TO CONQUER OUR PRIDE

iv. TO REMIND US OF OUR WEAKNESS

v. TO DIRECT OUR ATTENTION TOWARDS GOD

vi. CUT OUR DEPENDENCE ON WORLDLY THINGS

d. THE KINDS OF TRIALS – VARIOUS

NOW, WITHOUT GETTING TOO DEEP, WE CAN PROBABLY/BIBLICALLY COOK TRIALS DOWN INTO THREE GENERAL CATEGORIES

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