This Remembrance service will include a 2 minute silence.
We also continue our sermon series entitled ‘Joy Bringers’.
This week’s preaching comes from Chris Hughes.
Transformed by trials
Authorship – Neither of the disciples called James, but James the brother of Jesus, who when Jesus was in the flesh did not believe (John 7 v 5) but following a personal appearance from the Risen Christ (1 Corinthians 15 v 7) came to faith, becoming a leader and pillar of the Jerusalem church (Acts 15 v 13 & Galatians 2 v 9.)
Audience – Dispersed Jewish Christians who possibly were once part of the Jerusalem church and now, as a result of severe persecution, were scattered throughout the Roman Empire (Acts 8 v 1.)
Aim – To express pastoral concern, as well as to encourage during times of trial, with such trials being inevitable because of their faith (John 15 v 20, 2 Timothy 3 v 12 & 1 peter 4 v 12); and because of their humanity.
Such trials are not pointless, but have a purpose, and here we see that trials have three positive benefits, offering us: –
1 – Gladness to Possess
“Consider it PURE JOY, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” In the Bible trials and joy are not to be separated (Habakkuk 3 v 17 – 18, Matthew 5 v 11 – 12 & Acts 5 v 41.) This means that trials are not to be received with resignation, or with resentment, but with rejoicing, because they have been delivered to our doorstep with God’s permission, which means that there is a divine purpose behind them, enabling them to be received with joy.
2 – Gains to Pursue
There are two joyful gains to be found in trials – “because you know the TESTING OF YOUR FAITH produces PERSEVERANCE.”
A – Trials test faith
If faith is to be trusted then it must be tested, and trials do just that (1 Peter 1 v 6 – 7) as they authenticate and strengthen genuine faith (e.g – Abraham – Genesis 22.)
B – Trials develop perseverance
Genuine faith will produce perseverance under trial (Romans 5 v 3) with the ability to endure without necessarily understanding (e.g – Job.)
As a result of both these gains trials can be joyfully received.
3 – Growing to Perfect
Perseverance is not an end in itself – “perseverance must FINISH ITS WORK.” That works takes time, with its goal being – “so that you may be MATURE and COMPLETE, not lacking anything.” Perseverance is designed to enable us to grow in Christ likeness (Romans 8 v 29) and to slowly move towards perfection, resulting in the present joy of gradual transformation, as well as the future joy of knowing that one day we will stand before him in glory and be perfect in every way.
Challenge – Are you responding to your trials with pure joy, because you know that they are strengthening faith, producing perseverance, and making you more Christ like?
1 – What hope does James’ coming to faith provide for you?
2 – How, like James, can you develop greater humility?
3 – A – what difference does it make to know that trials have a divine purpose?
B – Does your faith strengthen or weaken during trials? Do you persevere or
C – What are the areas of your life where growth in Christ likeness is required,
and how is this going to be achieved?
Title: Transformed by trials
Reading: James 1 v 1 – 4.
Preacher: Chris Hughes