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Posts Tagged ‘Joy’

The Test of Faith

March 14th, 2011

Background

James 1:2-4

  • James is the brother of Jesus but doesn’t mention this – only referring to himself as the servant of God; the bond-slave of Jesus Christ.
  • Although James cared about God’s teaching, he was an unbeliever of Christ for a large part of his life (John 7:5, Mark 3:21).
  • James believes in Jesus when the risen Christ appears to him (1 Corinthians 15:7). James was profoundly affected and later became leader of the Church in Jerusalem.
  • The book of James assumes that all readers are followers of Jesus Christ. Of 108 verses, 60 are commands. It is important to remember that Christianity is not moralism – James tells Christians how to live in a godly way in light of what we have become in Christ. First we must accept the Saviour, then we can receive advice.
  • We must look at our brothers and sisters and be able to see qualities of Christ, the refining of godly character. Non-Christians looking in must be able to see this life lived out – to see the action that comes from being loved by God.

The doctrine of joy in trials

  • Count it only joy when you meet trials and times of testing, rather than looking at it as punishment or the absence of God.
  • The word ‘meet’ is not sufficient, we will be set upon by trials and they will be sudden and savage. Everybody who wants to live a life in Jesus will be persecuted (2Timothy 12). But we must find God’s purpose within the trial, rather than just praying that he remove it.
  • Trials might come in God calling us to hard things which might require the laying down of cherished things. Whether these sacrifices of our own desires are sinful or not, God is calling us to sonship and His intent is for us to receive the riches of Christ.
  • We must count it (the testing of faith) all joy because trials produce endurance/steadfastness. We gain stability in the place of anxiety and confusion. God wants to show us what we’re made of and to trust him in our time of testing. All things work together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

James 1:12

Difference between temptation and trial

  • Temptation and trial are similar in that they both mean ‘testing’.
  • Temptation is often associated with overstepping and being indulgent. God sees it as selling ourselves short and settling by not attaining to that which he has purchased for us. We must trust his ways, otherwise we will be left disappointed and bitter.
  • We are also tempted to doubt, fear and avenge. But His perfect love drives out fear.
  • There are two shades of testing. Trials test us to prove character and to show us what we’re made of. Temptation aims to disprove and tests us for destruction.
  • The Devil is the one who tempts us, but he can only do it with our own desires and with a door that we have left open. Do not give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:22).
  • Temptation can lead to sin and in doing so, will affect our view of God. We must repent and break the barrier that we have created with it.
  • 1 Corinthians 10 – God will not tempt us beyond what we can handle. He is sovereign and has control over everything, even the Devil. He does not commit evil but permits it to happen for His purposes.
  • Evil comes from ourselves and what man has done with his relationship with God. We ushered death into the heart of creation.
  • We have a will and our will may suggest ideas to us, but if we are in Christ, then our will is under the control of the Holy Spirit.

Tempted in every way but without sin

  • It was God’s will to lead Jesus into temptation and to test his resolve, but Jesus’ weapon was scripture. The words of God in the hands of his children are powerful.
  • Jesus experienced temptation to a far greater extent, we give in before it can fully take hold.
  • Because Jesus was tempted, we have a high priest who can identify with our struggles and walk us through them.
  • God wants to establish us; He is looking for progress and wants to restore and build us up. We must take action (Job 5:17-18).

Hebrews 10:19-25 – The Call to Worship

August 29th, 2010

Worship is not just a part of our church meeting, but the whole of our life. Sometimes the word used for “worship” in the Bible (e.g. Philippians 2) refers to “lifestyle” – how we live our life. It is the life of obedience to God, of bowing down to Him.

However, in looking at corporate worship – what happens when we meet together as the church to worship God? Often we get so locked into our own musical style, but we need to not be so narrow-focused – we need to look at what the Word of God defines corporate worship as and how we can express it. We should have an expectation to meet with God.

There is a concern that there is a greater focus on worshipping God with our minds, and less on heart (will & affections), strength (physical actions), and soul (emotions & desires). The word Jesus uses to describe worshipping the Father in Spirit and in truth is to “kiss” – we come to an intimacy with God, to embrace Him with passion. God made us for relationship – to dwell with us. Sin separated us but the cross reconciles us.

We are now the temple, the dwelling place of God – the holy place that is flooded with God’s presence.

Five reasons/exhortations to worship:

1. The worshipper’s invitation
i. With confidence: Jesus is our High Priest who identified with us and opened the way to heaven, which gives us confidence to approach God. God wants us to cry out to Him.
ii. To enter the holy place: God wants to take us beyond intellectual truth and to experience the presence of God. He wants to lift our expectations. We don’t stop short at the outer court; we come right in with joy, enthusiasm and exaltation.
iii. By the blood of Jesus: we cannot come into God’s presence without the shedding of blood to atone for our sin. We testify together what the Word says the blood of Jesus does for us; we live in victory.
iv. By the new and living way: worship needs to be fresh and not always predictable, while at the same time preserving structure. We need to have bigger expectations of what will happen within that structure.
v. Through Christ our High Priest: our worship needs to be Trinitarian – to the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit. Jesus makes our worship acceptable to God. We worship in the Spirit. God is a worshipping God – each member living to worship each other. God sings and spins around with delirious delight over us! We get to join in with His celebration.
vi. With a true, sincere heart.
vii. By faith: in full assurance of faith. Faith grows when we declare truth together.

2. The worshipper’s hope
• We sing songs about our prophetic direction – where we are going as the church and what our mission is.

3. The worshipper’s motivation
• We stir each other up to love and to do good works.

4. The worshipper’s commitment
• We should not and cannot neglect meeting together – it is vital.

5. Worshippers fellowship in the gospel
• Worship goes hand-in-hand with evangelism and spreading the gospel.
• We will naturally witness  to others if worship is our lifestyle.
• Our times of corporate worship can be the times where unbelievers meet God and find saving faith.

Joy…Because of You

May 18th, 2009

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Joy… Because of Salvation

May 4th, 2009

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In my last 3 messages as an Elder at CCK we are going to ‘go out with Joy’ as we consider first of all ‘Joy…because of Salvation’.

Hebrews 10:14 ‘Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect for ever those who are being made holy.’

Firstly, One sacrifice. The priests of Israel offered up daily sacrifices for sin in the Temple. But despite the daily and continual sacrifices permanent cleansing from sin was never accomplished. The Priest of the new order, Jesus Christ offered up himself in sacrifice for our sins once and for all. This good news is so good that throughout Christian history so many have been unable to accept how good it is and have tried to add their own offering to the offering of Christ. But Christ sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:12) to demonstrate his work was finished and his sacrifice was accepted. Nothing else is necessary to achieve the forgiveness of our sins other than this one sacrifice.

Secondly, Perfect for ever. The logical outcome of one sacrifice for our sins is that we become perfect for ever. Challenging as this concept may appear it is:

  • Our legal status. 2 Corinthians 5:19
  • How God sees us. Ephesians 1:4
  • The very meaning of eternal salvation.
  • The way we ought to live, actually reckoning ourselves dead to sin. Romans 6:11
  • An assurance of our salvation. Cf. Hebrews 10:14 and Hebrews 7:25

Thirdly, Being made holy. ‘Perfect for ever’ is justification which must be accompanied by sanctification – ‘being made holy’. This is the most succinct statement of these two great doctrines in one verse. Being made holy is not a matter of going back to the Law for our sanctification. We are joined to Christ who is our righteousness and holiness
(1 Corinthians 1:30). As we draw our life from Christ we will grow in holiness.
If you’ve lost the wonder of your salvation think and pray this verse and go out with joy!