TRIALS AND TEMPTATIONS
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | October 8, 2017
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Gainesville, FL 10/08/17
“Trials and Temptations”
INTRODUCTION: The Epistle of James was most likely written by James, the brother of Jesus (Gal. 2:9) and the head of the church at Jerusalem (Acts 15:13). James resisted Jesus’ early ministry (John 7:2-5) but became a follower of Jesus after the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:7). James probably led his other brothers to the Lord and was present at Pentecost (Acts 1:14). He calls himself a “bond-servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ” and writes his letter to the “diaspora,” fellow Jews scattered across the world (James 1:1). A main leader in the Jerusalem church, James headed the Jerusalem Council and supported Paul’s gospel ministry (Acts 15). Tradition has it that James was thrown down from the Temple gable, stoned, and beaten to death with a club. The theme of the letter is found in James 1:2: The trials of our faith bring us joy. James begins by explaining the difference between a test and a temptation. Trials have a good purpose but temptations pull us down.
*Trials provide a testing of our faith and challenge us to overcome trying circumstances. As we succeed, we experience joy and learn endurance. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance (1:2-3).
*Trials are a training ground for our faith development. Endurance produces maturity. The more you persevere, the more you mature. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (1:3-4).
*Trials often cause us to question God and ask why we are going through such difficulty. The best response is to ask God for wisdom and discernment in our time of trouble. We should not doubt God’s willingness to answer our requests but we should be bold and trust God to give us understanding. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do (1:5-8).
*Our identity and status are not based on our circumstances and wealth. Our relationship with the Lord enables us to face any trial. We need to trust God where we are and depend upon him. Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business (1:9-11).
*God has promised a reward to those who persevere and remain faithful in all trials. Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him (1:12).
*Temptation is not from God. Temptation arises from our lusts and entices us to do what is contrary to God’s will and way. When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed (1:13-14).
*Yielding to temptation produces sin and death. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (15).
*A warning: Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters (1:16).
GOD’S GOAL (1:17-18).
*God gives good gifts. God wants the best for you. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (1:17).
*God wants us to be born into his family. He wants our lives to reflect his goodness and his purposes. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created (1:18).
When we face our trials with faith and resist temptations to sin, we experience the joy of being part of the eternal family of God.