Transcript: Good morning. Today’s sermon is inspired by somebody that contacted me this week and got me really thinking about faith and what it’s like as a Christian to sometimes deal with trials. And we know that the end of our trials results as Christians in a stronger faith and God will use us for more and more in our walk as Christians like everyone to turn in their Bibles to the book of James, chapter one. Or you can look at the screen, verse one. I’m going to read verses one and three. James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad. Greeting, my brethren.
2My brethren, count it all ioy when ye fall into diuers temptations,
3Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience,
I felt this was an appropriate verse based on the subject matter today. So trials of faith. What is a trial of faith for a Christian? I’m not talking about someone that has not yet become a Christian. This sermon is for people that already are Christians that have received the Holy Spirit because they believe on the word of God. So the first part of this is, what is a trial of faith? When we have a trial of faith, what do we do and what happens when we succeed at trials? Or we could even ponder, what if we don’t succeed? Well, God will see it through, that ultimately the outcome will be profitable no matter what happens. So what is a trial of faith for a Christian? Remember Job?
The book of Job is inspiring for many people because of the trials that Job goes through and all the experiences he has. And the outcome is one that is very good, although there are tragedies along the way, especially at the beginning. But it’s a great book for a natural lesson, and it’s an outstanding book for spiritual wisdom with regards to faith. Perhaps right now we’re going through trials. Some of us have loved ones that are currently lost, meaning that they’re not saved. And there seems to be no indication at all that they have any interest in the word of God or being born again of the Spirit. And sometimes we witness to those loved ones and there is no response. So it can be discouraging. And I think this experience is not an uncommon one among the Christians that I know. Also, a lot of times when you’re a Christian, you don’t have any more income or your income plummets. I’ve seen this as a common denominator among many Christians that I know people that are truly born again. The money is not flowing like it once was necessarily.
I’m not saying that all Christians have income problems. I know from personal experience that my household went through a tremendous change when I became a Christian. So I think that experience is one that we can relate to. Times are tough betrayals. You ever notice as a Christian that times can be really trying. There’s betrayals, people that you thought were your friends, people that even came to you as Christian friends and wound up using you for ulterior motives of their own for their own gain, or people that just wanted to make you suffer. Unfortunately, this happens, and with all the people that I know that are Christians, many people encounter these types of hurdles or stumbling blocks in their walks as Christians.
Health Problems Sometimes the stress of being a Christian you’ve gone through the born again experience and it was very powerful, hopefully for everyone. Although the experiences of becoming born again vary greatly depending on who you are, sometimes there are health problems that come up in the book of Job, we know that he was suffering physically in the flesh, and Satan was the root cause of that. But sometimes it’s just stress, the stress of life that causes health problems. And in some cases, God allows a certain amount of attacks from non-believers to get through to Christians to do something to realign their paths. And this is talked about in scripture, so that is something that is a reality that we deal with. But in all of this, God’s strength is perfected in weakness, and that’s something that I think we can be joyful about. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a whole lot of money, or that if you’re surrounded by loved ones who haven’t yet been born again of the spirit, or if you’re going through tough times and betrayals, even if you have health problems, in the end, God doesn’t need an army as men count armies, or a physically formidable person or what people think greatness is to do his will. God has a different way of doing things. It says in Two Corinthians, chapter twelve, and he said unto me,
9And he said vnto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weaknes. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest vpon me.
10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christes sake: for when I am weake, then am I strong.
These words are spoken by Jesus Christ ultimately, and it’s a great encouragement for all of us to realize that as Christians, we outwardly may not be the people that look like we’re going to ultimately win in the end because Jesus wins. Think about the parable of the mustard seed, or think about Mary being lowest state, meaning that she didn’t have a big ego. Maybe she wasn’t that good looking. We really don’t know anything about her physical appearance, but we know that Mary was found in favor by God because she had a low estate. She wasn’t some big ego princess living in a castle, or certainly wasn’t some beauty queen, as I was taught, a young floating around in her white and blue robe and all that stuff. That’s not the Mary of the Bible.
Think about David. David was smaller than Saul’s next smallest soldier. David was the least among the army. He was just a young lad, and look what God did to use David. Gideon defeated a great amount of soldiers by just having zeal, having a small group of people with zeal, and putting his trust in God, following God’s instructions. I’m not going to get into all these parables and accounts in the Bible in any further detail, because the sermon is meant for Christians, Christians that have already read and understood these. The whole point I’m trying to make is God uses small things or people of small or meek stature to do his will. Often throughout Scripture, think about sparks, starting fires. God’s word is as a fire. One little spark can start a fire, which can change matter.
Think about just in practical terms. A little spark starts a fire in a steam engine that powers a locomotive. One little spark. And that’s how God works. Oftentimes in the Bible is that he uses something very small, whether it’s a person or a thing, to do his will because he can multiply things like the parable of the loaves of bread. He can keep multiplying things to do his will. A lot of times, larger sized churches often have diminutive faith, and that’s because our nature is falling. People is such that we get our egos become problematic when we start acquiring possessions. Sooner or later, we start thinking of ourselves as being better than we actually are. And a great example in the Bible is Solomon. Solomon started having people flattering him, and he started believing the hype.
Even though God gave him tremendous wisdom, Solomon succumbed. His own ego brought him down, and he did some very bad things. So it’s best just for us to trust in the Lord, to direct our paths, and he’ll put us where we need to be in life. We don’t have to be members of megachurches or have great wealth or great possessions to do God’s will. So what do we do? First of all, there’s going to be stumbling blocks. As Christians, what do we do when those stumbling blocks come up? We obey God. I’m going to reference Acts, chapter five, verse 32. I’m going to come back to that in a minute. We have hope and we do not use others as a standard. Knowing Jesus Christ is a very personal thing. Every one of us has gone through different experiences in life and benchmarking yourself to somebody else in Christ. I don’t think is what God wants have a unique relationship with Jesus Christ. No one else knows all the events of your life except for you and the Lord. It says in Romans twelve, verse two,
And bee not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renuing of your minde, that ye may proue what is that good, that acceptable and perfect will of God.
Don’t conform to the world. The world will mislead you, especially in matters of Jesus Christ. Rather, trust in the Lord. Read the word of God with faith and great things will happen. You may not experience immediate gratification or see immediate results, but God is going to do great things. So what else do we do? We obey God. It says in Romans, chapter twelve,
14Blesse them which persecute you, blesse, and curse not.
Sometimes as I mentioned earlier, people can come in our lives that are real stumbling blocks. They try to harm us, or they try to distract us from a purpose. They may steal from us. They may use the name of Jesus Christ to gain our trust and confidence and try to get something from us by using his name and earning trust. And I personally have been threatened and attacked. I’ve had a lot of crime done against me and my family as a result of my faith, and I could have taken secular action in a number of cases, or I could have just took matters into my own hands for vengeance. But the Holy Spirit inside me gives me that peace and gives me the strength to be able to endure things. And rather than taking vengeance on people which threaten me, I put them on a Church prayer list. Or I just pray for them. And I don’t tell people about this. This is between me and the Lord. But I think you can all relate. There are challenges in our lives and we need to react to those challenges in a way that God tells us in this verse in Romans, chapter twelve is a great one to commit to memory. I mentioned earlier Acts, chapter five, verse 32.
And we are his witnesses of these things, and so is also the holy Ghost, whom God hath giuen to them that obey him.
This slide is about obedience to God, and ultimately we obey him by being born again of the Spirit. We have to remember that we are spiritual creatures in Christ and that we have a supernatural ability that natural people don’t have, and that is the peace of the Holy Spirit. I can feel God’s presence in me through the power of the Holy Spirit, giving me peace and tranquillity, and it’s kind of like I may internally be angry with someone, but the Holy Spirit takes that edge off tremendously and redirects me to being a peaceful person with great mercy. God is going to have vengeance in the end. Vengeance is his. It’s not ours. During our short time here in the Earth. Job, chapter two, verse seven.
¶ So went Satan foorth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Iob with sore biles, from the sole of his foote vnto his crowne.
8And hee tooke him a potsheard to scrape himselfe withall; and hee sate downe among the ashes.
9¶ Then saide his wife vnto him, Doest thou still reteine thine integritie? Curse God, and die.
10But he said vnto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh; what? shall wee receiue good at the hand of God, and shall wee not receiue euill? In all this did not Iob sinne with his lippes.
Keep that in mind that ultimately whatever is in our heart comes out of our mouths and that’s what defiles us. And we’re reminded of that in the New Testament. Jesus Christ tells us that so when the anger happens because we’re being treated unfairly or this world is putting us through trials that are probably beyond our natural ability to cope with, we need to remember that we have the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost and the peace that he gives us and we want to really guard our tongues. And that’s ultimately made possible by being born again of the Spirit. So this is a great reminder for all of us that Job did not curse God with his lips. And this is what’s amazing is that this guy was basically smoked with sores from Satan and lost his family, lost possessions and still he persevered because he was a perfect man according to God, because he trusted in the Lord, he believed God.
We need to obey God by seeing evil as a Christian, not as a natural person. And what I mean by that is naturally people often and we’re conditioned as children on this. We see bad things as people that murder and rape and drug dealers and paedophiles and thieves, pimps and Harlots and everybody’s got their own, I’m sure list of what they consider to be worse sins than others. But all sin keeps us from the Kingdom of Heaven. That’s why we have to be born again of the Spirit. Remember when Jesus walked among us and he still is among us. But when he was in the flesh, he got upset at the scribes and Pharisees and the money changers in the temple. So spiritually the evil that God sees is commercial Christianity. All these merchants trying to make a buck off the name Jesus Christ by selling their DVDs or their merchandise, whether it’s televangelism or some type of Ministry that they name after themselves, none of them use the unbroken scripture, the Word of God.
None of them do. Because if your goal is to become rich and famous in the name of Jesus Christ, God’s never going to allow it. Another thing is scholarship in and of itself is not bad. But without the Holy Ghost and tampering of God’s Word, if you think of yourself as wise, God will show you you’re a fool. You don’t go to a University to learn about Jesus Christ. What you do is God puts a trial on you and he determines whether you have faith and he gives you the Holy Spirit and he decides what gift you get and where you’re going to be seated in the Kingdom of heaven. It’s not something that happens at a University and certainly Jesus calls the scribes and Pharisees blind guides. Because hell expands, they keep people from faith.
I says in Matthew 23
14Woe vnto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; for yee deuoure widowes houses, and for a pretence make long prayer; therefore ye shall receiue the greater damnation.
Don’t put on a show for Jesus Christ. If you’re a Christian, you don’t have to worry about this because you’re a true believer. But remember what Jesus hot buttons are trying to make a buck off of his name and trying to pretend that you’re better than anybody else. When all of us are made righteous by Grace through faith, not of anything we can do in our fleshly bodies. Here’s a slide right here at the top. I chose a cartoon. A lot of us can relate to televangelist or merchants, people that are trying to make a buck off the name Jesus and 0% of them that are in it for their own Fame and fortune. That one of the big shots that want people to think there’s something special. 0% use or believe the word of God.
I’ll guarantee you that my walk in the commercial market is one where there are no greater evil people in this world than the people in the commercial Christian markets. Down at the bottom of the slide, I wanted to keep this in person. I wanted to make a cartoon depiction of what natural people may be offended by a drug dealer or a murderer, as shown in the cartoon here, making money off of illegal drugs and in the process of doing that, having to kill people. Some of you may recognize who that cartoon character is based off of, but the whole point here is look at evil the way God does, where Jesus was most offended by those trying to use his name for their own gain. So what happens when we succeed at trials? We’re stronger as Christians by going through trials, though we cannot always see the outcome. That’s important to remember, we can’t always see the outcome. Consider how God uses David, Mary, Gideon, and the parable of the mustard seed. These are reminders to us that you don’t have to have a great estate in order to be a great servant of God. So is your faith this strong?
In Matthew 21, it says,
21Iesus answered, and said vnto them, Uerily I say vnto you, if yee haue faith, and doubt not, yee shall not onely doe this which is done to the figge tree, but also, if ye shall say vnto this mountaine, Be thou remoued, and be thou cast into the Sea, it shall be done.
Do you believe this? At one point I remember thinking, wow, this is impossible. But as a Christian who has gone through trials of faith, I absolutely believe every word of God without hesitation. And I know that this verse is as true as any other verse in scripture. So in conclusion, pray about your faith. If you’re going through trials. God will provide you the strength you need to endure whatever trials they are. Remember the outcome will be positive. And I’ll pray that this is a blessing to everyone listening. And I’d like for you to consider sharing this with others this week. If you feel convicted until next time, God bless everyone. Take care, care and have a great rest of the week. Bye.