The Trials of a Child of God
by Cooper Abrams
1. As we noted last week the first thing that God said in the New Testament after being silent for four hundred years was "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience" (James 1:2).
Note that James says in Verse 13 that God does not tempt man to do evil, but man is tempted when he is drawn away (enticed) by the lust (or desire ) of his flesh.
God does however test the child of God to prove the quality of his faith. This is not a solicitation to do wrong, but to do right.
2. We saw last week that a trial is an opportunity to prove the truth of God's Word. It is an opportunity to be a witness and testimony of the power of God working in a believer's life to overcome sin.
When a teacher gives a test in School, is to prove whether or not the student knows the subject matter. It is not intended to provide an opportunity to make mistakes and put down false answers. The test is also a means of determining areas which need further study. If a chemist tests a formula it is to prove if it will do what the chemist formulated it to do...if the test fails...then this is indication things are not right and attention should be given to correct the problem.
3. We also said that there are I believe three sources or difficulties which come in the believers life.
(1) Trials allowed by God to test the faith of the believer. Its goal is to prove the faith of the child of God. It produces grow, which leads to maturity, and a better life, and reward.
This is the message we dealt with last week.
(2) Trials which come from God in the form of chastening of the disobedient believer. Its goal is to bring the wayward sinner back from sin and its destructive forces in his life.
We will deal this source of trials today.
(3) Trails which come by just living our lives in a world dominated by sin. It comes because of the effects of sin in the world.
EXAMPLE: Death, it
comes to all in time. It comes because of the sin.
EXAMPLE: Murder, assault, violent crimes: Source is in living in world with sinful men.
EXAMPLE: Disease: Again: Randomly, effects people. Source: effects of sin in the world.
EXAMPLE: Accidents: Carelessness, neglect.
All these can come by change in the believer's life as well as in the unbeliever.
The difference is that in a believer's life, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28). In other words, no matter what comes in the life of a believer, IF he loves God...meaning he lives for God...the ultimate out come will be for the believer's benefit.
I. WE SHOULD NEVER GROW WEARY OF FIGHTING SIN IN OUR LIVES.
A. V3-4. Christ endured great hostility because he opposed sin. This hostility was so great they who were offended at his message and sought to kill Him.
1. Verse 4 sets the attitude for our fighting sin in our lives.
2. We are to keep fighting even if it kills us. In fact the Jewish believers that the Book of Hebrews addresses were tired and weary and on the verge of quitting under the pressure.
3. See Hebrews 10:32-36. READ . Note the promise 10:37-39.
B. Sin is a real force in the life of a believer that he has to deal with.
1. There are times when there are victories and there are times of peace. Things can go smooth for a while, however, temptations will come also and they could come repeatedly.
2. We can grow weary in well doing.
II. THE SOURCE OF MOST TRIALS IS SIN.
A. Some times the trials in our lives are caused by ourselves. Probably more trials come to us this way than through Satan's attempts to defeat us.
1. The Bible says we are sinners. That means everyone.
2. We have a carnal nature. Think for a moment about the reasoning of the philosophers of today who say that man is basically good, or has a spark of divinity in him and all you have to do is give a man the opportunity and he will do right. It will come out.
3. How foolish is man's attempts to justify himself and to cover up his failure.
4. Christians should fully understand the carnal nature and what it is capable of. The more opportunity to sin the more man will sin.
EXAMPLE: Given the chance, carnal man will do cruel and perverted things. Homosexuality is growing like wild-fire and our society has grown from a state of normal relations to one of perversion. In the Holocaust there were plenty of people willing to murder the Jews. Mass murders are happening all over the world and have been since the world began. Murders, drugs and crime are increasing and we can not build prisons fast enough.
Remove the law and people grossly sin. The law against abortion was declared illegal. The effect over 12 million American children have been killed.
The point is this: Believe it --it is truth--- it is an absolute fact..given the opportunity man will sin and the greater the opportunity the greater man sins. If a dictator took over this town and wanted to cruelly execute men/women/children there are people here who would help him do it!
5. Christians you have that nature in you and you will always be in a war with it.
a. Paul battled the flesh and wrote, "For I know that in me, ( that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not" (Romans 7:18)
b. READ Romans 7:21-25.
6. Note Paul's conclusion in Romans 7:2, "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. "
a. 1 John 4:4 says, "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."
b. READ Romans 8:1-4. God sent Jesus Christ, and He condemned sin in the flesh.
C. THE BIBLE SAYS THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH. Sin is always destructive. It always brings heart ache and difficulty in time.
II. GOD'S PROVISION FOR THE BELIEVER IN SIN.
A. God says Heb. 6:6, "those He loves he chastens and he scourges every son whom He receives.
1. This should bring comfort to the believer. God is working in your life and he is going to guide you back from doing destructive things in your life.
2. It shows how much God is involved in your life. He takes a personal interest in you and how you are doing. As a loving parent he will chasten a believer to keep him from destroying himself with sin.
B. One clear statement is that God does not chasten the world.
1. This answers the question: How can men do cruel things and seemingly get away with it.
2. In the end they do not. Hitler, ruled for 10 or 12 years, yet in time his sins destroyed him. The wealth the drug dealer has destroys him. The thief is never satisfied, and his in destroys him in the end.
3. The Bible says "It
is appointed unto men once to live and then comes the judgment"
Even if a person seems to get away with sin, at the judgment he will come face to face with it.
C. Hebrews 12:9-10 says our earthly fathers corrected us and we profited from it.
1. It was no fun, but it was necessary.
2. We need correction because we have a nature to do wrong.
3. Corrections if heeded sets us on the right path. "it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who been trained by it."
4. He you were destroying yourself would you not want someone to love you enough to help you??? That is what love does. He loves enough to chasten.
III. WHAT IS THE CURE FOR TRIALS OF CHASTENING.
A. Parents punish their child when they do wrong and the reason they do is to correct them and keep them from harm.
B. The child that is chasten and then obeys does not have to fear being punished again.
C. Hebrews 12:12-13 gives some directives.
1. "Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed." Did you ever see someone who has given up?
2. "Make straight paths for your feet. " If you a want to go down a straight road, you must chose to do so and then look for one and then start down it. If you chose a rough road, you should expect bumps. The illustration here is that if you chose the rough road you will break your leg. So if you do not want to break a leg, then stay off rough roads.
Hebrews 12:14 say to, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." Note that this is presented as natural for the child of God. It says that if the rule of a person's life is to always be at odds with everyone, he will not see the Lord. It means the person is lost!
3. Note it says that we need to guard lest ANY "root of bitterness spring up and cause trouble". God warns that MANY become defiled by bitterness. Bitterness can bring chasten of God.
4. V16, Warns against sexual misconduct.
5. Also warns against yielding
to sin of lust for material things. Of letting the material part of life
take control of you. The Lord warns that this is a trap which can
utter destroy a person. Esau wanted his inheritance back, yet he lost it
forever. Sins destructive work most times can not be corrected.
God will forgive, by the results of sin is far reaching.
1. God's purpose in the trials of chastening? To correct the sinning believer. To keep him from doing wrong and getting deeper and deeper into sin.
2. 1 John 5:16, there is sin that leads to physical death. It does not say a particular sin, but just says sin. If a person refuse to repent, and turn from sin he can expect to be chastened by the Lord to correct him, and at some point..God will take a believers life. I believe the that point is reached when rebel feels the heart, and no refuses to deal with the problem.
The our Loving God, stops us.
3. If you drink, it can kill you. As will using all types of drugs.
Smokers never like to hear their smoking is sin. Yet, God said "do
you not know that your body is the temple of God".
It breaks my heart to see the lady on TV, who is hooked to an oxygen mask, and is begging others to quit smoking. Its to late for her.
This means we should not defile it. We should not put anything in it which is harmful. We should take care of it, as for the believer, God indwells us.
I receive a lot of criticism for preaching against, drinking and smoking. But God is my witness, I do not do it to condemn, but to help....
To help as best I possible can....because I have been given a responsibility to in love warn those in my charge against sin in any form.
To those that drink and are not alcoholic. You need to understand this.
You should quit for three reasons:
1. One you may become in time an alcoholic.
2. Every drink, destroys brains cells that will never be replaced and slowly destroys your liver, digestive track and other parts of your body. It is slow poison.
3. THIS IS THE GREATEST REASON: For the sake of your testimony for Christ.
It is a small thing to give up something which is harmful to you, so that you can be greater used of the Lord.
Suppose you never become an alcoholic, suppose there are other around you who are struggling with the destructive effects of alcohol. They are really trying to over come it. You drinking, is an source of temptation to them. You are endorsing it and making it harder.. You in fact are putting a stumbling block in front of a weaker brother. Some young person could be influenced to take that first cigarette or drink because of you.
4. BITTERNESS, UNFORGIVING SPIRIT: You will never have peace or overcome sin until you forgive in Godly love, those you harm you, even as Christ forgave those that persecuted Him.
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