The first sermon in our Faith Works series is in the books. If you were not able to watch it, I encourage you to go to our FaithPoint Facebook page or my page and watch the sermon recap video. I am excited about this series and I hope that you are too.
Here are some suggestions for getting more our of this Faith Works series:
- Be expectant. Be expectant that God will speak to you through this series. Pray that God would speak to you. Put yourself in a position to hear from Him. Prepare yourself before you come to FaithPoint that you would be ready and excited for God to speak to you.
- Repent of sin. The Holy Spirit convicts us all of sin. There are things in our lives that are a barrier or wall that is blocking us from growing or conforming more to the image of Jesus. Sin is a big deal. The wrath of God was poured out on Jesus on the cross for sin. Sin will kill you. Confess it, kill it, bury it, move on. Don’t go back to it. Don’t try to dig it up.
- Apply the truth of Scripture. Obedience is greater than sacrifice. Jesus wants us to be disciples and make disciples. A disciple obeys their master. You cannot call yourself a follower of Jesus if you are not willing to do what it takes to follow. I encourage you not to just hear the Scripture preached but to do what it says. This will help you grow. Applying the text of Scripture is nourishment for your soul.
- Pray for your pastor. Pray that I would be faithful to God and faithful to the Scripture. Pray that I would be a good expositor of the Scripture and communicate well. Pray that God would use me and my work as I study and prepare to do a work in you.
Here are the notes from the sermon on Sunday:
The text for this sermon comes from James 1:1-18. The title of this sermon is: Testing of Your Faith. This is week 1 in our Faith Works series.
Faith comes from hearing and hearing through the Word of Christ. Romans 10:17.
Why is this series called Faith Works?
If you are a Christian, you know by now that it is impossible for you to stand on your own in your own power in the face of overwhelming adversity. You do not have the strength to tackle every trial and temptation that comes your way.
Let’s jump into the text.
James 1:1 James was the half brother of Jesus. He was skeptical at first, not convinced that Jesus was truly the Son of God. Then after Jesus died, and rose from the dead, it clicked for him. He became one of the lead elders of the church in Jerusalem and he was devoted to Jesus. James would ultimately be killed for following Jesus by having his head bashed in.
Vs 2: It is not if trials come. It is when trials come.
What is a trial?
- Difficult marriage
- Kids don’t listen and are acting a fool
These all fit into the only category listed of various.
Did you notice the tone of this verse? It is a command to be obeyed. Not a suggestion. So, we see very clearly that trials are going to come and we are called to count it all joy when the various trials come.
Vs 3 Trials are the road to maturity.
- Riding a bicycle
- Tests in school
Steadfast: faithful, devoted, dedicated, constant, solid, fixed in place.
Trials help us see that we are on the road to maturity. God is conforming us to the image of Jesus.
Let what God wants to do in you, take hold in you. Let it take root and grow. Let it thrive and flourish.
Vs 5 Trials help us be self aware of our need for God. Then doubt enters the octagon.
I believe. Help my unbelief.
God I believe you can help me in this situation but I am losing my grip. I want to hold on to that belief but I can feel it slipping away. I can’t see anything because all I see is the storm.
I believe. Help my unbelief.
Vs 8 The double minded man does not even call out to God because he does not believe that God will do anything in his life. He plays the game. He actually wants to look like he has all his crap together. He wants to dress out but doesn’t want to actually play in the game. “I want to wear the jersey, but I don’t want any pads.”
I am pleading with you to drop the act. Stop acting like you got it all together when you know you don’t. We all struggle. We are all on this journey together. God put you here at FaithPoint because there are no perfect people allowed. This is a safe place.
You can say that you are broken.
You can say that you are struggling.
You can say that you feel like you are drowning.
You can say that you don’t understand.
No one is going to judge you. No one is going to condemn you.
The next fight. Comparison enters the octagon.
When you are in a trial, the wickedness of our hearts comes out in comparison.
A study was done a couple of years ago and the results were this: Instagram causes depression.
You are in the middle of your trial, struggling with doubt, eating a whole case of Pringles and binge watching some show on Netflix. Then you pick up your phone and what do you see?
James wants us to see that everyone is on a level playing field.
Everyone will experience doubt. Everyone has seasons of happiness and joy. Everyone has seasons when it is going well and….everyone has seasons of trials and storms.
Vs 13-15 Don’t view this trial with the wrong glasses. Don’t misunderstand that God wants to mature you, grow you, and make you more like Jesus. If you try to blame God or take your focus off Him during this trial, you will lose what God wants to do in you.
Vs 16. Do not be deceived. Your flesh is going to tell you that God hates you. God doesn’t want to help you. God has left the building and left you alone to struggle in your own mess. Do not be deceived.
Vs 17 Everything good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of Lights.
Vs 18 God chose you from the foundation of the world. He loves you. He made you or wants to make you part of His family.
My MRSA story.
Sometimes God in His loving Fatherly way has to cut out the infection that is in us or else it will kill us. God wants us spiritually healthy and there are things in our lives that are holding us back from being conformed to the image of Jesus. There are things in our lives that we are holding on to that is letting doubt and comparison win in our lives. There are things that we are holding on to that we know are going to ultimately kill us but we don’t want to let them go because we know it is going to hurt.
The pain of having gunk removed in our lives pales in comparison to the unspeakable joy we will experience because He took what needed to be removed out of us and replaces it with more of Himself.