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Faith That Works - Part 2



"5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."
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 ask that you would consider sharing our website with all of your family and friends. To God be the glory!

As we journey through life we can expect trials to test our faith. In fact, the Christian life is filled with the ministry of trials. They are inevitable. At any given time, in any given church, there are probably as many trials as there are people. God chooses what we go through; however, we choose how we go through it. The trials are designed to work for our good and God’s glory.

As you can imagine, it can be difficult to remain joyful in the midst of trials. However, as we undergo trials, we can pray, asking God for wisdom with great confidence that He will hear and answer our prayer. Trials are an wonderful opportunity to reveal our level of wisdom. It is my prayer that this study will help us all to approach trials with greater confidence, more endurance, biblical insight, that we would be able to count it all joy when we fall into various trials.

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father,

Father, as always, we thank You for Your Word. Lord, we pray that would we hear and apply these principals to our lives. Help us O' Lord to make them personal. Father, we pray that whatever the trial, the struggle we find ourselves, that we would trust You will be faithful to provide all that we need to overcome them with endurance and greater faith in You. Lord, we ask that You would do Your perfect work in every life, Your gracious work for Christ’s sake.  
In His precious name.
Today's Message: Faith That Works - Part 2
Every trial that finds its way into our life came with intentional purpose. In spite of what many people think, there is a need for the trial. Trials don't make us what were, trials reveal who we already are! Trials are the soil in which we grow. God is in the business of growing Christians. When trials come, we are reduced to prayer, and all we can do is call upon God.

I believe that we have all known people, who believe they are saved, who believe they knew God, until some difficulty enters into their life, exposing the reality that they never really knew God at all. Even the smallest of trials, proved they were unable to hold on to the resources provided in those who really believe in God.

I am convinced, that trials that come into our life, to o sort of prod people out of their security, to awaken them to the fact that they either do trust God, or they do not. Trials affirm the legitimacy of our faith.  That is exactly what James has on his mind in the opening section of this marvelous epistle.

Open your Bibles with me to the first chapter of James verses 5-8. Throughout the entire epistle, James is concerned with the issue  issue of living faith, and with genuine salvation. I believe that this is an important issue among Christians today, understanding the genuineness of our faith. We need not only to be able to recognize this in our own lives, but in the lives of other people as well.

I invite you to follow along with me as I read to set the text in our minds, while we prepare our hearts for a Word from our Lord. James 1:5-8

"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." 

Before we begin, allow me to remind you of the parable of the soils, that Jesus tells us about in

 . "The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant. And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.

“Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance."

Notice the end of verse 13, "and in time of temptation fall away." The word used here for time is not chronos, meaning chronological time, its kairos, meaning for a destined time. A particular season, a time of opportunity. In other words, a time in one's life, in a time of testing or temptation, they stood apart from God, they fall away. They never really knew God at all. The testing manifested that.

 In I John 2:19, we learn that in a time of testing, "They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us." They heard the gospel, they personally receive the Word, they responded with joy, they believed and they fell away.Trials never destroy faith, they only test it to see if it's real, genuine faith.

God sends trials to wean us from the world, to call us to concentrate on eternal things. He sends trials to reveal to us what we really love, to teach us the value of His favor and blessing.  He sends trials to enable us to help others in their trials.  He sends trials to develop in us greater strength of greater usefulness and sometimes he sends trials to chasten us for our sin and push us toward perfection. However, James is concerned with primarily one reason God sends trials and that is to test the genuineness of our faith. True faith will endure any trial. 

I'm sure you will remember, that last time, we discussed that the first attitude characteristic is joy in the midst of trial. A joyous attitude. James said "consider it all joy. The second characteristic is you have to face trials with an understanding mind You need to have some knowledge, to know that trials produce staying power, they produce endurance. And thirdly, you need a submissive will. Let it do what God wants it to do. Let it teach you to value God’s blessing. Let it develop strength in you so that you can be used for greater ways.

Today, I want to share with you two more. The forth one is a believing heart. A believing heart. Let's imagine for a moment, that you're in the middle of a trial,  and you are really trying your best to keep a joyous attitude, an understanding mind, and a submissive will.  But you are having difficulty, you are really having trouble grasping what’s happening. You're lacking wisdom. You need to understand it.  You need practical insight to face the issues of life. You will not be able to maintain, unless God gives you more wisdom that just your human faculties.

So, in verse 5, James says "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." Wisdom is always at a premium, but especially when you're going through a difficult trial. Enduring a trial for holy purposes always demands God's wisdom, because you're not going to find the answers in human reasoning. And, for those of us who know and love the Lord, He provides that wisdom. So, I suppose we could safely say, that trials also enhance our prayer life. Trials cause us to desperately call upon God for what we do not have, when going through a trial. I believe that God desires that we recognize our bankruptcy of human reasoning and realize the right answers can only come from God Himself.

I love the way Job chapter 28 puts it. Listen as I read, "But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? “Man does not know its value, Nor is it found in the land of the living. “The deep says, ‘It is not in me’; And the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’  “Pure gold cannot be given in exchange for it, Nor can silver be weighed as its price. “It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
In precious onyx, or sapphire.  “Gold or glass cannot equal it, Nor can it be exchanged for articles of fine gold. “Coral and crystal are not to be mentioned; And the acquisition of wisdom is above that of pearls. “The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, Nor can it be valued in pure gold. “Where then does wisdom come from? And where is the place of understanding? “Thus it is hidden from the eyes of all living And concealed from the birds of the sky." The true wisdom that is needed
to understand the trials of life is not available in the world around us.

Verses 23-24 says "God understands its way, And He knows its place. “For He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens." In other words, if you want wisdom, you go to God! At the risk of sounding a bit simplistic, when you're going through a trial, the place to go is to God. The promise of God in this one verse, I believe is one of the greatest promises in all of the scripture! If you need wisdom, go to God, He'll give it to you. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God." Furthermore, I believe this is as much of a command as pray without ceasing is. Its an imperative. Let trials drive you to prayer.

Proverbs 2:2 says "Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding." 

Then, in verses 3-6, "For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will discern the fear of the Lord And discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding." God has wisdom, and He wants to give it to a seeking heart.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:7-8, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." In other words, no wisdom needed for perseverance through a trial is ever withheld from that believer who asks God for it.

Verse 6, "But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. " He's talking about genuine trust. Having described the willing Father, now James turns to the waiting child. If you lack wisdom, it's not God's fault. If you are going through trials and you can’t understand why, the simple reason is that you haven't asked God for it. And, if you have asked him for it and you still don't know, then you haven't asked Him with true faith. You haven't sought Him with all your heart, believing that God can and will answer.

I have seen a number of Christians, who pray, doubting that God will answer. Others are angry, wanting to argue with God about why He did what He did. Allow me to be clear on this, you are not to debate whether or not God has the right to do what He did. Unwavering faith believes that God is loving, He is sovereign and believes that God will supply everything that is needed and goes to God in prayer.

You are not going to receive what you ask for, unless it brings glory to God, as John 14:13-14 says "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it." Persistent, every increasing trust in God that is in line with God’s will is potent and brings the wisdom needed for every trial. What a powerful truth!

In verses 7-8, James says "For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."  The one who doubts God, the one who debates God, the one who wavers in his trust, who isn’t fully committed to the Lord, isn't going to receive anything. Because that person, is characterized as a weak and doubting Christian, who is acting like an unbeliever. He is wavering back and forth, not knowing whether to trust God or whether to abandon God is unstable. They will receive nothing, being unstable in all their ways. Loving the world and trying to love God at the same time is impossible. The word used for double minded is dipsuchos, meaning
soul divided between God and the world. He cannot endure the trials of life, because he hasn't enough faith.

In Closing..

When facing a trial, the way to endure that trial is to receive divine wisdom from God. Wisdom comes to those who true faith, true stability and trust God in the midst of any trial. A humble spirit and a believing heart, a heart that genuinely believes is essential in persevering.

Since Christ is the sum of all wisdom, and since we are to pray for wisdom in the midst of our trials, it is obvious that the ultimate goal of trials, our ultimate desire in our trials, is and should be Christ likeness. Trials reveal to us how much progress still needs to be made. Trials strip us of superficiality and confront us with the opportunity to see what is really important. Trials enable us to take the elements of our faith and to put them together to joyful use.

Believers are in for a life of trials, and the purpose of trials is the greatest good of the believer and for the glory of God. Sadly, many Christians today, waste the experience. Rather than praying, seeking Him with all of our heart, we tend to grovel and complain, failing to grow as we ought. Our first response in any trial must be prayer. We must understand that our trials are not ultimately about us, but about Christ and His kingdom.

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

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