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November 24, 2020 3:00 am
You don't know matter what we do to try to avoid life's challenges and difficulties. Seems like trouble has a way of finding us pain and disappointment are a part of everyone's story. So how should we handle ourselves when the wheels fall off. Alistair Begg explains how to we experience joy even when trials come. That's the title of today's message on Truth for Life. What I skip straight to the first verse where James is introduced to is as a 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 and notice what he is. He is a servant, 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, 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 send by Jesus who is the right thing to believe 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 of the 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. James takes this and he explodes it, 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 that he begins chapter 2 addressing the believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, 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 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 Christian's homeland is heaven that our ultimate destination. Is there 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 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 on the one end of the heavens to the other never sit 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 know more about this now 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 adjust could make me weep thinking about all these life's just going here. There everywhere. While I'm sure you feel the same note, once he is identified himself and identified his recipients. He gets 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, but 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 my scores to go to my work.
How should I treat other people. How do I 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 artists of Phillips paraphrases it and 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 lives. 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 we're in the middle of this situation and living in this world, places, demands upon us and confronts us with challenges and Buffett says in ways that are painful and sorrowful conferences 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 common 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 and 30+ 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 at us 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 why 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've 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 all resented 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 a Lloyd 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 going to 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. What you see when when this begins to to infect a life or a congregation that will have a very different impact on Cleveland very different busy 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 anything 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 mass 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 and 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 that is absent from the trouble but is by your attitude and 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 no rings 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 negative. My jacket off and show you my biceps but I don't and I would be good. Human humility forbids, but the final matters be a sorry spectacle because unless you stressed 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 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 hear the phrase Abba father. I bet most of you think first of all about of 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 never cry out Abba father. You see unbelieving people cry out all God what you think you're doing God I tell you Christian prayers to 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, but we will go on Shelley, as we will Pallister bed with a reminder that we can find joy in trials. This is Truth for Life. Alister will be back in just a minute to close this program with prayer so please keep listening dealing with trials isn't anyone's favorite subject, but it is an important one. All of us will experience hardship in the Bible gives us insight into why God allows suffering and how he uses it to accomplish his purposes in our lives. So today we hope this message is a source of insight and comfort for you if you listen to Truth for Life or any time now. You know that we teach the whole Bible we don't skip the hard parts like this study on suffering. The reason is we believe it takes the whole Bible to make a whole Christian our mission to Truth for Life is to teach the Bible.
All of it in a way that's clear and relevant to everyday life. Hopefully you've come to rely on this teaching as a trustworthy source of God's truth as we consider the challenges and turmoil were all facing our world having a source of truth. We can turn to is as important now as ever and today we want to ask you to please support this daily program along with Alister's entire free online teaching library by giving generously the end of the year is a very important time for us to Truth for Life.
We rely entirely on your giving to fund our budget to be able to end the year with the resources we need to continue so please let us hear from you today when you do we want to say thank you by sending you a book by Christopher Ash. The book is called repeat the sounding joy, and it takes us through the first two chapters of Luke's gospel in a way that invites us to experience the first Christmas through the eyes of those who were there including Mary Jesus mother Elizabeth Zacharia, the Advent devotional is a wonderful way to discover fresh insights that bring the Christmas story to life.
Requester copy of Truth for Life.org/donate or tap the book image on the mobile app you can also call 888-588-7884. Now here's Alister to close our time today. Small wonder that James writes let know 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 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 who are surprised that we even have a wheelbarrow in we will even have anything in givers, Lord, for presenting our front in the face to the community that suggests that this would be a nice place to come 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. May your grace and your mercy and your peace rest upon your people now and forevermore.
Amen. About Lapine. Be sure to join us tomorrow as Alister concludes his message challenging us to see things differently when trials come the Bible teaching of Alister bank is furnished by Truth for Life where the Learning is for Living