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Faith That Works At The Intersection of Life



"12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. 18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures."


Good Morning my beloved,

Welcome to worship this Lord's day! We're so glad to have our brothers and sisters from around the world here with us today. Please know, that we continue to lift all of you up in our prayers. We would  ask that you would do the same for us. We praise God that He continues to grow our ministry, allowing us to reach even more people! We invite you to share it with all of your family and friends.


When trials come we are faced with two choices, the choice to either pass or to fail the test. Those who persevere in the midst of their various trials are assured that their perseverance will be finally and fully awarded with life. In other words, Jesus will indeed save His people from their sins. And one of the means of this salvation is the successful undergoing of trials. Genuine faith looks at every challenge or difficulty  as an opportunity to grow and to develop a deeper dependence on God.

We have the ability to make any situation we go through easier on ourselves if our attitude is correct. With the right attitude, we can indeed count it all joy when it seems to be so hard; when you're struggling with the inward self and outward circumstances of your life. The truth is, it is easier with God, but never it is really easy. And, there's a difference.

In our human perspective it's easy to look at our problems from the view of how we feel and how difficult it is, rather than what God is doing. While God is not blind to our pain, He is much more interested in re-creating us, and transforming us, so that we become people who reflect and carry his love and character in our very beings. We can count it all joy when we enter trials, not because we enjoy them, but because God is using them to transform us into the image and character of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Seen in the correct perspective, God is trying to make it so that we never lack anything good. God uses our trials, our difficulties to get us to that point. If we look at from God's perspective, it really is an act of love. Though it's not fun, however, we can count it all joy because it shows that we are so loved by God. If we have our priorities in order, being aware of what God is doing, the motivation behind it all, the wonderful love that He that He is demonstrating toward us, we can thank Him for our trials. 

 Let us pray.

Heavenly Father,

Father, we thank You for this Word. Thank You for reminding us that we need a renewed mind, a mind set on the things above and not set on the things on the earth. A mind that is saturated with Your Word, a mind that is transformed and not conformed. Help us O' Lord, to bring every though captive, under the control of the Spirit and not under the influence of this broken and fallen world. 

Thank You for giving us the truth, that You give us by Your Spirit, that shows us that we have a conquerable flesh. Lord, we pray that You would grant us the strength of spiritual accountability to stop sin at the point where it begins, that we would not fulfill the desires of the flesh. Fill our hearts and minds with the richness of Your Word. That we might celebrate in the victory in the power of the blessed spirit.

Father, we pray for those who are still under the power of sin, that today would be that day, that You would touch their hearts, open the ears and eyes to the truth, that all sin is a murderer which brings is death. Physical and spiritual death, eternal separation for You. Lord, let them come to You today, with a contrite and repentant heart and receive the precious gift of salvation. May it all be for our Fathers glory and for Your sake.
In Your name we ask and pray

Today's Message: Faith That Works At The Intersection of Life

It is normal for unredeemed people not to accept the blame for their own sinfulness. When they are tempted and fall into sin, it is typical for them to put the blame anywhere else.  In fact, children come into the world refusing to take responsibility for their behavior.  When you reprimand your child for the first time, their initial response, their knee jerk reaction is to say, I didn’t do it or it wasn’t my fault, you just don’t understand. Accepting the responsibility for weakness, fault and temptation is not something that our society does well. Unfortunately, the way the culture treats sin has made its way into the church. It is not acceptable for those of us who are in Christ to think casually about sin. 

We must remember though we are saved, our baptism does not drown our flesh. Every man is tempted. Both the Christian and non-Christian alike. Even the most righteous of men fight the battle of temptation, it is how we deal with it, however, that is the mark of the genuineness of our faith or the lack of truth saving faith. I believe that the key to winning most spiritual battles, is by learning to do the opposite of what your sinful nature wants to do. The grass always looks greener on the other side. We would do well to keep in mind, that it is fertilizer that cause the grass to grow!

Open your Bibles with me to the the book of James, as we continue in our study of the wonderful, practical epistle, we will looking at verses 12 through 18. 

Up to this point, James has been talking about trials. He had been using the same verb peiraz the same noun peirasmos meaning trials or tribulations. We have learned that trials, the outward circumstances, which test our faith and produce spiritual growth. Those trials can become temptations. And, rather than being an opportunity for spiritual growth, it can be a solicitation for evil. The same word that means an enticement to evil is also used to speak of a trial. I have often heard people say, that if God didn't want us to fail he would not allow us to be tested. That by failing, we give God an opportunity to demonstrate His grace toward us. That if God brings the trail, then it's His fault when we ultimately fall into temptation. That's heresy! Not to mention a very unhealthy position to take. 

As humans, it's tempting for us to blame God, primarily due to our pride, we resent being challenged and tested. When under extreme pressure, we are confronted with the true condition of our hearts. Every circumstance, every trial of life that we face, requires us to make a decision. The potential for trails to become a temptation depends on our response. If you make the decision to respond in obedience, then you will find the trial is a means of spiritual growth. If, however, you make the decision to respond in disobedience, it has then turned to a temptation.

I invite you to follow along with me as I read to set the text in our minds, as we prepare our hearts, for what the Spirit of God has to say to each of us. James 1:12-18

"Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures."

In our passage today, we see James make a shift from trials, which lead to spiritual growth and blessing, to temptations, which lead to sin and death. The temptation to blame others for our sin, is really as old as sin itself. In Genesis chapter 3, where we find that blaming God for our temptations is nothing new. No need to turn there, I'll just quickly read it to you. Genesis 3:8-12, "They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate." 

The real issue here, is he’s not blaming Eve but he's blaming God, "The woman whom You gave to be with me."  If only God had not given in such a wife as Eve, he would not have disobeyed! And, of course, Eve passed on the blame saying, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." Basically saying, "I didn’t make that serpent, you did! You put me in that situation. It's your fault." Unfortunately, many Christians have been taught to believe, that everything good comes from God, and everything unpleasant comes from Satan. The reality is, that God does allow challenging and sometimes painful things to happen to us, to bring about change, for our greater good and His glory.

Isaiah 63:17 says "Why, O Lord, do You cause us to stray from Your ways and harden our heart from fearing You?"

Verse 12, "Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him."

When we are hurting, struggling during a difficult trial, we need to put our focus on the right place. We must fix our eyes on God, Who is all loving and all-powerful. However, often in our painful and difficult trials we tend to remember God's love and power, yet forget his character. Over time our perseverance will bring great victory, a crown of life as a reward we can enjoy today and for eternity.

In verse 13, James says "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone."

We all sin, but rather than accepting responsibility, to acknowledge our err and repenting, we blame God for our circumstances, blaming our weakness, blaming our propensities, blaming our environment, blaming our friends, blaming our family, anyone or anything except ourselves. Verse 13, is an exhortation that forbids anyone from ever blaming God. I find it very peculiar, that God is responsible for our temptation and sin. Here, James absolutely forbids such a thought. You have a present passive participle,  you have a present passive participle., "Let no one say when he is tempted." In other words, while in the process of being tempted, don't be tempted to let yourself off the hook. When you're on the edge of yielding to temptation, don’t you make the excuse that I am tempted of God. Don't do that!

Now, here is a little something that you might find interesting. I do, I guess I'm sort of a geek when it comes to the Bible, even the smallest of details fascinate me. I can't seem to learn enough. The choice of prepositions used in this verse, in the English has only one spelling and meaning. In the Greek, however, Greek there are two words, one is apo and the other is upo

As meaningless as they may sound, they are actually very important words. Apo means remote. An indirect relationship, remoteness, distance. Upo on the other hand, means direct agency, the one who actually is doing it. Here, the choice is Apo, remote.  In other words, not that God is directly tempting me, but that remotely he is the real cause of this problem.  That at a distance, God is the one who created me this way, who created my circumstance, put me in this environment, He caused all these things to happen, therefore, He is really responsible. 

While it is not common for someone to say, God is causing me to do evil, it is however, quite common for someone to say, God put me in these circumstances, so He is responsible for it. They feel as though God is indirectly to blame. Don't see yourself as some poor victim of God's allowance of something to take place. Attempting to escape the responsibility for sin, is a favorite human pastime. Allow me to put it another way, anytime you put the blame on anything other than yourself, you're ultimately saying God is to blame, since He created everything. James makes it clear, there is no place for such foolish fatalism.

In Matthew 6:13, Jesus prayed "And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil." I recently read that someone said, we actually have to plead with God not to lead us into temptation, because if we don't don't, He will do it. As a result of trails, our weaknesses are exposed, so that we can confess them, and He can heal them.When we can clearly see our weaknesses and our need for healing, our response should be to come to Jesus for the restoration needed in our lives.Otherwise, our sinful inclinations will  destroy us. God's intention is always our restoration, never our downfall.

Now, here is something that I believe is very important, in verse 13 says, let no one say when he is being tempted, I am tempted by God, who is the indirect cause. The reason is, for God, literally in the Greek text it says, is inexperienced with evil, neither tempts he any man. Pagan gods, and pagan deities, in religious history are always liable to temptation. I want you to really get this. The gods of paganism are always liable to temptation to evil and they themselves are frequently seen as sinning and tempting others to sin. And, the reason is, these false gods are the creation of the minds of fallen men. They manifest the same corruption and the same wickedness from which they come. Their character is corrupt because their creator is corrupt. Corrupt men!

God, however, cannot be tempted with evil. The word used is only found in the New Testament, apeirastos, which means, God is not experienced in evil, He has no capacity for evil. The whole realm of evil with all of its base on holy immoral nature, has no way that it can penetrate the nature of God. Because evil repulses God, it can find no place in his holy character. Holiness cannot be penetrated by sin. God is holy! 

In fact, I Peter 1:16 says  "You shall be holy, for I am holy." And Leviticus 19:2 says "You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy"

Revelation 12:10 tells us, that "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night." Satan goes to God to tempt God to violate His covenant with his people because of their many sins. I believe that Satan at any time and place he has access, would want to come against God, but God has no vulnerability God is a holy God, too pure to even look upon iniquity. 

Before we move forward, I want to call your attention to II Samuel 24. "Now again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and it incited David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah." David committed the sin, the sin of numbering the people, instead of trusting God, he was going to trust in the might of his people. It appears to say that He incited David, meaning He Himself tempted David to that evil. That is the only place in all of the Bible where that thought is introduced. In I Chronicles 21, we have a parallel passage, which says Satan stood up against Israel and enticed David to number Israel. The broader picture is that God allowed it to happen because David had the choice to respond or not to respond to the enticement of Satan. David, in fact, chose to do evil.

In verse 14,  "But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust." Because of the nature of evil, God cannot be the source of temptation and sin, its against His nature. Not only what evil is, but the nature of man. Each and every individual is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Temptation does not come from God. The word used carries the idea of luring an animal into a trap, drawn by an inward power. I'd like you to just think about that, the reason that animals are baited and trapped, is because it looks enticing. However, instead of the anticipated pleasure, comes the unexpected pain of capture and death. That's temptation! God doesn't do that, Satan doesn't do that. Lust is what does it. The sinful nature of men. Our fallenness has as a part of it's entity, the desire for evil. People are literally driven by their lust.

Lust is the word epithumia, the root is thumos, the preposition is added to it. It means the desire of the soul. The nature of men and his own peculiar desires. The issue is there is a propensity to desire things that satisfy and if lured to those things outside the will of God, there is the capacity to take the bait. The problem is not the devil, its the nature of men. The enemy is us.  Even sex, a glorious gift given by God, when perverted and sought for beyond the will of God becomes a trap, even to the point of death, when the person who is driven by lust for those things outside the will of God.

Having identified that lust is the nature of man, James goes on to discuss it in practical terms in verses 15 and 16. "Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren." James is saying  when lust has conceived, is like a mother conceiving. It will bring forth a child. The child is sin. I believe that this is very vital. You see, most people tend to think of sin as a solitary act, a series of behaviors.  Here, God is saying that sin is a not an act, sin is actually the result of a process. It begins with a desire. You start with a desire, an emotion which turns to a deception in your mind, you begin to justify your right to have what you want. You rationalize it. You deceive your mind and convince yourself it will satisfy you, it will meet your need.

When sin is conceived, it gives birth to disobedience. Then, the act occurs. Sin is conceived as a desire  in the emotion, it is justified in the mind, the mind leads the will to plan, it is conceived in the will and birthed by a behavior of disobedience. We need to guard first at the level of emotion, secondly at the level of mind , in order for the mind to be brought into captivity to Christ. Therefore, it is imperative, that you do not continually expose your emotions to things which lure you away from God. You need a renewed mind, the mind of Christ.

Deuteronomy 6 says "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart." 

And in Matthew 22:37, Jesus said "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind."

If your thoughts and emotions are under the control of God and your feelings have been brought captive to Him, you will stop sin where it begins. In contrast, if you continually expose them to every wicked desire of the world, you will pay a heavy price. For the wages of sin is death!

Then he says in verse 17, "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow."  It's all flowing downward from above. How foolish to grab the bait of sin, when every good and perfect gift, is pouring down like rain from heaven.

You know, I am reminded of Nathan rebuke in II Samuel 12. "Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.”

Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these! Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.’” Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has ]taken away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die." David's sin was Bathsheba. Why would David take what was forbidden with all God had given him.

Notice He is called the Father of lights. The lights they have in mind are the sun, the moon and the stars. The celestial bodies. What a terrific statement! He is the Father of lights, but with Him, there is no variation and no shifting shadow. God created them, they brighten, them dim, God’s brilliant bright light of glory, His light of goodness and grace, there is no varying. Malachi 3:6 says "For I, the Lord, do not change" In other words, nothing can interrupt the flow of His heavenly light.

Verse 18, brings us to the nature of regeneration. "In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures." The proof of regeneration. God cannot tempt us, because He regenerated us to be like Himself. God gave us new life, sin brings death.  God recreates us for the purpose of doing good, not evil. The nature of regeneration precludes God from ever leading us into sin. It's against the very nature of God.

In Closing..

Defying our old sinful nature is not easy task. We must be willing to get into God's Word every day and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us. We must make up our mind that in order to be a strong Christian, we must be willing to do what it takes.

Do not be deceived into believing that good and perfect gifts come from the world, from people or even from ourselves, they only come from God.

We must stop deceiving ourselves into believing that we can satisfy our greatest desires through temptation. God is the only one that can give us the desires of our hearts, what our soul truly needs. What He gives will not deceive us, however, we must stop deceiving ourselves. God is the only source of good and He is the source of all that is good. Be not mistaken: it is God, not temptation, supplies all that satisfies.

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Copyright © 2019-2021 All Rights Reserved

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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