Passing the Test

Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:01:36
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →
Intro: talk about school ending, tests, and my success in high school vs college and how God tests us the same way
This morning we’re going to be looking at verses 2-8. These verses are the first part of James’ introduction which runs all the way through verse 18. In his introduction, James tells us that his letter is going to be about taking tests. Taking the kind of tests that show whether our faith is real or not. In the first part of his introduction… the part we’re looking at this morning… he explains why we’re tested. He tells us the purpose for the tests we have to go through.
The experts say that when you develop teaching curriculum, you write the test questions before you write lesson plans. That’s kind of like how God does it. God builds tests into every part of our lives. Faithfully passing those tests is what God wants of us.
Failing those tests is Satan’s desire for us. By God’s grace, He gives us everything we need to pass the tests He places before us. We just have to choose whether we’re going to listen to Him, or whether we’re going to listen to Satan’s lies.
This morning, I want each of us to see God’s tests for what they really are—an opportunity for joy. And when we see their real joyful purposes, I want each of us to rejoice in passing the tests God has in store for us.
James 1:1–2 ESV
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
So, in verse 2, when James writes “My brethren count it all joy when ye fall into diverse temptations.” What he is telling us is to take joy in the fact that your faith is going to be examined. Take joy in the fact that God cares enough about you that He is going to test your faith. He’s going to test your faith so you can know that it is really real. He’s telling us to take joy in the pop quizzes of life. He’s telling us to rejoice in passing the tests God has in store for us. Now back to our purposes. The first joyful purpose for testing is that testing produces patience.

Testing Produces Patience

Look at verse 3:
James 1:3 ESV
for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
Testing produces patience
We all know what the purpose of tests in school is, don’t we? It’s because the teachers are mean, right? Well, that might be the case, but what is the purpose of God’s tests? Is it because He’s mean? No! His purpose is to grow us. You know, when God saves us, He’s not finished with us. As a matter of fact, in many ways He’s just starting with us.
Philippians 1:6 ESV
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
He says, “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” In so many ways, salvation is just the starting point. That’s one of the reasons Jesus compared salvation to being born again. I’ve never known anyone to be born all grown-up, have you? I’ve known some kids who thought they were all grown up, but never knew any who were born that way. The same thing happens when Jesus saves us. We’re babies in Him. But babies grow. They grow fast, don’t they? Before you know it, they grow up, go off to college and get married. Just how fast it seems that our kids grow up is how fast we’re supposed to be growing in the Lord. That’s what James says that testing is for. The purpose of testing is to “work” things in us—to make us grow. Our bodies grow naturally. It doesn’t take any effort to physically grow. But spiritual growth only comes with effort. You know, a lot of times we’re like I was in high school. We don’t want to put forth the effort. That’s why God puts the tests in there. He puts them there because He knows that, if they weren’t there, we would just sit back and be spiritual babies forever. We would never grow the way He wants us to. But He won’t let us do that. He won’t let us be babies forever. Because He says that if He starts something, He’s going to finish it. So the purpose of testing is to work things in us—to make us grow. What does that growth look like? It looks like patience. As it’s used here in verse 2, patience means perseverance. It means endurance. When I think of endurance, I automatically think about a long-distance runner. I don’t know if any of you are long-distance runners or not. You can look at me and tell I’m not. So what would happen if we all decided to go run a marathon after church together? By the way, a marathon is a little over 26 miles long. So, after church we’re all going to run to Macon, OK? What do you think would happen? I know I probably wouldn’t make it to the interstate, much less to Macon. Why wouldn’t I? Because I don’t have the endurance it takes. Now, think about what it takes for long-distance runners to build up that kind of endurance. They have to really train hard. Train—that’s another word for purposely afflicting pain on yourself. For a runner to be able to endure the race, they have to continually test their body to its limits. That’s the same reason that God tests us. He tests us to build our endurance. To increase our spiritual fitness so we can endure to the end. So we can persevere. There’s a fruit of the Spirit that covers that, isn’t there? Remember the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5
Galatians 5:22–23 ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace”…what? Patience, KJV calls it longsuffering. Longsuffering is endurance. It’s perseverance. It’s patience. It’s the kind of patience and perseverance and endurance that comes from being tested. So growth from testing looks like patience.
The first joyful purpose of testing is that it produces patience. The second joyful purpose is that

Testing Produces Perfection

it promotes perfection. Look at verse 4:
James 1:4 ESV
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Testing promotes perfection. Perfection, not in the sense of sinless perfection. He’s talking about perfection in the sense of completeness, fullness. Being complete and full and growing closer to the Lord everyday. But how do we do that? We do that through testing and trials.
Let’s use the example of Gold. Gold is one of the more precious metals in existence, which is why we use it in wedding rings, it is precious. But if you ever get a chance to see gold when if first comes out of the ground, it is ugly. It usually has a large number of impurities, and it has to be refined. The refine gold by heating it up to the point that it is a liquid, and all of the impurities can be skimmed off. Till that point the impurities are glued to the structure of the Gold. Body of Christ you ar 100 times or 1000 times more precious in the eyes of God than Gold, but it is only in the trials that we can be purified and made complete.
That’s why God tests His people. It’s not because He’s mean. It’s because He loves us and wants us to be holy as He is holy. And many times, the only way to spur us on to holiness is by putting us in the fire for a little while. Think back over your life for a minute. If you were to graph out your Christian walk on a chart, where have been your biggest times of growth? Have they been when your personal seas were the calmest? Or have they been when the storms were raging in your life? Most of the time, the storms draw us closer to him. Most of the time the tests in our lives bring us closer to completeness in Him. Completeness, fullness, perfection. Perfection is a joyous thing. And that’s what comes from testing.
So first testing produces patience. Second, testing promotes perfection. Third we need to understand that

Testing Promotes a Desire for Wisdom

Look at verse 5:
James 1:5 ESV
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
Testing wants wisdom. It seems like one of the first things we say when we are in the middle of a test is, “I don’t know what to do.” That was true in school and it is true now in our spiritual life.
Do you remember who the Bible calls the wisest man who ever lived? His name was Solomon. Solomon was the son of King David. And before David died, he said that Solomon would succeed him as King of Israel. What a huge responsibility. Can you imagine what must have been going through Solomon’s mind when David died and he was handed the crown? How in the world would he be able to effectively lead God’s chosen people? How would he be able to lead the nation of Israel as well as his father did? That’s some kind of test, isn’t it? But is it really any bigger than some of the tests we have to go through? God, I just got the results of my biopsy back—I don’t know what to do. God, I just lost my job—I don’t know what to do. God, I just… you fill in the blank. Most of the time when God places a test before us, we don’t have a clue what to do. We find ourselves in the same position as Solomon. A king without a clue.
1 Kings 3:7–9 ESV
And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”
Solomon prayed to the Lord to give him wisdom. He said, “And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” Doesn’t that sound like Solomon was overwhelmed with the test that lay before him? He said that he felt helpless like a little child. He felt confused to the point of not knowing whether he was coming or going. So what did he do? He wanted wisdom to enable him to pass the test. The tests that God places before you can make you feel like Solomon did, can’t they? They can make you feel overwhelmed. They can make you feel helpless. They can make you feel confused. Feeling overwhelmed, helpless and confused makes you want wisdom, doesn’t it? So where did Solomon go to find it? He went to the Lord. And the Lord gave it to him. He gave him so much of it that he was known throughout the world for his wisdom. Now, Solomon ended up abusing the wisdom God gave him. But the point is, the tremendous test he was facing made him want wisdom. He wanted wisdom, so he asked God for it. And God did exactly what He says He will do for you here in James 1:5. He will give it to you. He’ll give it to you liberally, freely, abundantly. Testing in your life will make you see the need to have the wisdom that only God can give you. It will make you see that need and when you ask, God will fill that need.
Testing finds faith. You think back to Solomon. When he asked God for wisdom, where else could he turn? He couldn’t turn to his dad. David had already died. He couldn’t turn to his brothers or the rest of his family. They were a wreck. There weren’t any “how to be a king” classes he could take. The test God placed in front of him pointed him in the only direction he could really go—to God. But Solomon still could have refused to humble himself enough to ask God for wisdom. He could have been determined to go it alone. To be the man. To rule the kingdom the best HE could. But he didn’t. For that one moment in his life, he turned off his pride and looked to God in faith. That’s what testing will do for you. It will allow you to find faith.
The fact is that each and every one of us in here will go through tests in our life. How are you going to pass those tests? Are you going to be like I was in high school? Praying for the Rapture to come before the next big test? Or are you going to prepare for it ahead of time? I can tell you right now—you have no hope of passing anything without Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Because really, that is the first and biggest test of all. It only has one question, but it has an eternal grading scale. The question is asked by your maker—the One who created the heavens and the earth. His only question is, “What will you do with My Son?” So, I’m going to ask you—what have you done with Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God this morning? Have you trusted Him as your Lord and Savior this morning? If you have, He will give you the patience to pass the tests of life. He will give you the completeness and perfection you need to pass the tests of life. He will give you the wisdom you need to pass the tests of life. And He will give you the faith you need to pass the tests of life. He will give you everything you need to pass the tests of life if He is your Lord and Savior. If He isn’t, you’re on your own. What a lonely place that is. What a helpless place that is. Don’t leave this place this morning without trusting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Don’t leave this place having to face the tests and trials of life alone. In just a few minutes you will have the opportunity to come forward and publicly proclaim your trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. If you find yourself still unable to do that this morning, I would ask that while I pray, you simply do as the demon-possessed boy’s father did. Say to Jesus, “Lord, I believe—help my unbelief.” If you ask, you will receive. Ask Him this morning.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more