Trust our good God in your trials

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Aim: To help you to see the goodness of our God and to trust in him in whatever he may bring you to face.

The main text we are going to be in is James 1:16-18. We need to look at the command in 1:16 and then give some context to understand what James is doing here.
James 1:16 ESV
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.
To find out what James mean when he says this we need to look back at what he has already said in chapter 1.


It seems that at least part of what he means is believing things that aren’t true about God. In chapter one, James give us two examples of what it looks like to be deceived when facing trials of various kinds.
Answer the question: How are we deceived in the midst of trials of various kinds?

Our own hearts deceive us into thinking that God is not good in the midst of our trials and temptations.

James gives us two ways we do this:

1. We doubt that God gives the good gift of wisdom generously and without reproach. (James 1:5-8)

2. We doubt God’s goodness to us when we face temptation to sin. (James 1:13-15)

1. We doubt that God gives the good gift of wisdom generously and without reproach. (James 1:5-8)

(first half of verse James 1:5) we can doubt God’s goodness we look at him and think that he withholds good things that we need,
IKEA dresser illustration.
(second half of verse James 1:5) we can doubt God’s goodness when we think that he looks down upon us with disapproval that we are needy and bothering him in our asking for help.
Me scoffing at helping Hannah pack her lunch in the morning if she is running late.
like a needy child going to their dad asking for help figuring out how to go down the slide.
When James says that we aren’t to ask from a doubting heart, I think this is what he means.

But God is not like either of those examples:

He doesn’t withhold all that we need from us:
Romans 8:32: He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Nor does he look down on us in disapproval when we come to him for help:
Ps 25:8-10: Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.
God does not withhold what we need from us. He is not stingy. He does not get frustrated when his children come to him in need.
We deceive ourselves when we think that God is different from this.
Faith trusts that God gives wisdom generously and without reproach.

2. The other way we deceive ourselves is that we doubt God’s goodness to us when we face temptation to sin. (James 1:13-15)

We can believe that God is tempted to do evil things, that he doesn’t have our best interest in mind in everything that he does—that God tempts us, purposely putting us in circumstances where we are exposed to what we struggle with, like he is setting us up for failure.
like bringing an alcoholic to a bar
Instead of taking ownership of our own hearts and sin, when we doubt the goodness of God we attempt to shift the blame for our sin onto him.
“God if I wasn’t so busy with school and work I wouldn’t be short with my wife and kids.” “God if I just had a wife I wouldn’t struggle with lust, or I’d be satisfied. God if they just weren’t woke then I could get along with them.”
Instead of coming to God to fight our own temptations before they turn to sin, we blame the wickedness of our own hearts on him.

But it is not true that God tempts nor that he desires evil for us!

1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Psalm 119:68 ESV
You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.

So James is saying: “Don’t believe the lie that God is not for you. Don’t let your trials and temptations lead you into thinking that your God is not good to you, because that is not true. It’s a lie. Don’t be deceived, my beloved brothers.”

Don’t be deceived that God is not good in trials like miscarriages, gravely ill parents and grandparents, riots, a pandemic, depression, health scares, struggling wives, fear, anxiety, depression, traffic, snow storms, less sunlight, piles and piles of homework, a car that stinks in the snow, a long commute, shoveling, wearing masks, less social gatherings, people leaving our youth group.

In all these things and more, do not be deceived into thinking that God is not for you.

Then in verse 17 he gives us the reason why we shouldn’t be deceived into thinking that God isn’t good.

James 1:17 ESV
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
What does he mean by every good and perfect gift?
Well, James uses two different words for gift here: one, δόσις, is not found anywhere else in the NT.
The other word, δώρημα only other time it appears in the NT in Romans 5:16 referring to the gift of God’s grace in our justification:
the gift (of grace) is not like the effects of one man’s sin
James is saying here: “Look to the grace that God has given you in Christ. It’s free undeserved grace. Not like the wages of sin being death. You didn’t earn this. Look at all that God purchased for you in Christ.
All good and perfect gifts come to us from out of grace.

James continues: v17: from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

notice in the Greek text the present tense participle, καταβαῖνον, suggesting continuous or repeated action, indicating that God continuously lavishes these good and perfect gifts on us.
The Father of lights... recalls his creation of the lights in the heavens (Gen 1:14-19).
James reminds us that God is the creator of all things, speaking them into existence (Gen 1:14-15) and gave them a purpose, just like the sun and the moon and the stars.
We are reminded that God is sovereign, he does not change. What he creates in his sovereignty has always been and will always be good.
God does not change.
Malachi 1:6 For I the Lord, do not change.
Hebrews 13:8 ESV
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
James then reminds us, brothers, that it is not just the original creation that is good, but also the new creation that he creates in the same way, by his word.

The proof of the goodness of our God.

James 1:18 ESV
Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Of his own will, or by his own willing...
the same sovereign one that made the sun, willed that we would be born again.
He brought us forth (ἀπεκύησεν gave us birth), by the word of truth, the gospel, and he did this through Christ.
John 1:12–13 ESV
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Just as the first literal fruits to appear on a tree promise more to come, so also the first generation of Christians anticipated the rebirth or new creation of many more redeemed people in future ages. (Blomberg)
We, as believers form the first harvest that God is reaping from all that he fashioned, prior to the eventual re-creation of the entire cosmos. God’s gifts thus ultimately lead to eternal life.
The same creative power and goodness that God used in creation, he executes with believers in making them alive.
Ephesians 2:4–7 ESV
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

So brothers, in all your days, trust our good God in your trials. In the midst of trials, in the midst of temptations and fighting sin, don’t be deceive into thinking that God withholds from you what you need, or looks at you disapprovingly when you ask him for wisdom and help, or that he tempts you to sin. No, remember his goodness to you in Christ. He, who does not change, is for you and is good to give you all that you need in Christ

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