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To know that God works together for good in the life of His people is one thing, but it is another thing to begin to thank God for what He allows in our life. It is good to grow to understand the heart of God in the midst of a storm. Job, Paul, Jonah, and David were faced with distinct trials and struggles and in the middle of their anguish they understood the heart of God. As a matter of fact, James exhorts us to count it all joy when we are faced with different kinds of trials.
Trials that Work us
James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
James states that trials test our faith, and in the process, work character in our life. Trials teach us how to be content. Philippians 4:11
Trials that Make us
Job 23:10-11”But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.”
You know the story of Job who lost many things in his life – his business, his children, and his health. Job was tested greatly. However, he soon understood that in his darkest hour God was making him. Job said, “I shall come forth as gold.”
Trials that Help us
Jonah 2:1-4 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.
It is never wise to go against God’s calling. God will never leave His children but will chastise them. (Proverbs 3:11-12) Jonah’s problem was that he lost his focus, and his vision was marred by bitterness. God prepared a great storm for a purpose. God wanted Jonah to refocus and to return to a life in the will of God. Jonah said, “Yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.”
Trials that Break us
Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
When you read the Scriptures you will notice that God is not a respecter of persons, even a person who has a heart for God. As the Word of God states in Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
Please note that not all trials are a result of sin. However, David paid a great price and Psalm 51 is a Psalm of David’s repentance. Through David’s storm, and God’s mercy, David realised that God delights in broken people that take God seriously.
It has been said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”
Trials that Humble us
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
For any Christian to finish well, the grace of God is key; and the grace of God is given to the lowly. Paul would have never finished what God called him to do without God’s grace.
1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
Paul realised when his prayers were not answered the way he wished, that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness; for when we are weak, then we are strong in God's grace through Christ.
Proverb 6:23 “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:”
There are 3 ways in which we can receive reproof.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
John 16:8 “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:”
Psalm 141:5 “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.”
10 points of Receiving or Rejecting Reproof & Correction
1. Christians who Receive Reproof will increase, and grow in their Christian faith.
Proverbs 9:8-9 “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”
2. Christians who Receive Reproof will not Backslide.
Proverbs 10:17 “He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.”
3. Christians who Reject Reproof are Silly and Foolish.
Proverbs 12:1 “Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.”
4. Christians who Receive Reproof will be Honoured.
Proverbs 13:18 “Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.”
5. Christians who Receive Reproof Demonstrate Spiritual Maturity.
Proverbs 15:5 “A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.”
6. Christians who Reject Reproof will Die Spiritually, and most likely will Die a Physical Death.
Proverbs 15:10 “Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.”
7. Wise Christians Receive Reproof instantly, Foolish Christians learn the hard way.
Proverbs 17:10 “A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.”
8. Christians who Reject Reproof do not like Godly Counsel, nor will they seek Godly Counsel.
Proverbs15:12 “A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.”
9. Good Godly Reproof is Hard to do, but Demonstrates True Love.
Proverbs 27:5-6 “Open rebuke is better than secret love. vs 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”
Ecclesiastes 7:5 “It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.”
10. Christians who Reject Reproof will end up being destroyed.
Beginning from Psalm 90 and reading through to Psalm 100, we see clearly that David was meditating on the character of God and praising Him accordingly. He rejoices in what God has done, is doing, and will do. Arriving then at Psalm 101, David penned down what I like to call, “The Psalm of Separation,” or, “The Psalm of Commitment”.
This Psalm is David’s commitment to God that he will walk with integrity in all godliness and uprightness. Verse one presents the theme of his praise (mercy and judgment) and the object of his praise (unto thee, O LORD). Verse two records David’s commitment to the Lord.
The remainder of the Psalm, then, goes on to elaborate with specific detail what he meant by verse 2. In verses 1-4, David is focusing on dealing with himself before God. In verses 5-8, David is focusing on dealing with others before God.
The purpose of making any commitment to God is so the committed one will always resort back to what he ‘officially’ promised to do. Being committed is not a bad thing – it’s a good thing, but it must be a commitment to God and His ways, not ours. Commitment is good, but what we commit to may not be so good; therefore, we must be careful. When we sing “Have Thine Own Way, Lord,” what some of us actually mean is “Give Me My Way, Lord”— it doesn’t work that way. Commitment is on the basis of what God says and wills for your life. Commitment is when I consciously acknowledge the Word and will of God, and pledge before God to walk in that way.
An illustration that comes to my mind is an anchor. Just as one, at the command of his Captain, would let down the anchor of the ship to keep the ship from drifting, so ought we in like manner, in response to the commands of God, let down our anchor of commitment in order to keep ourselves from drifting.
If the Captain, or even others on board, notice the ship is drifting in any way, the anchor must be checked and re-committed to keep the ship from drifting. Though we at times might wander off in our own ways, we must always come back to our anchor of commitment to keep ourselves from drifting.
We all have an anchor, but we all have not let down our anchor. Our anchor of commitment is God’s Word, and unless we let down the anchor we will be drifting. Some have let down their anchor, but have been drifting and don’t care to return to their anchor to check it and re-commit it; till then, you will continue to drift.
Have you offered up a psalm of commitment to God ?
Have you let down your anchor?
Is your anchor still holding or are you drifting?
Consider David’s commitment:
Psa 101:1 A Psalm of David.
2 Peter 1:5-7 “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; vs 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; vs 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”
In verse 1 the Apostle Peter writes to all who have obtained this precious faith, and in this passage we see a call to…
Note: God has given us all things necessary to fulfill His Will in our life regarding our Character and Spiritual Growth.
A man of God once said“we must be diligent in cultivating it. God does not make us holy against our will or without our involvement. There must be desire, determination, and discipline on our part.”
The Apostle Peter assumes that they already have faith in Christ. So he instructs them to add to their faith, to build-up their faith, to build on their faith.
Let us take the time to look at these 7 Graces very briefly.
(2 Peter 1:5-7) “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue…”
Virtue = Moral Excellence, It is to have Spiritual courage. It is to have the strength to stand for what is right in an ungodly world.
We do this by putting on the Armor of God. (Ephesians 6:13) “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Note: This Virtue is to be accompanied by Knowledge.
(2 Peter 1:5) "… and to virtue knowledge;"
Knowledge = It not just any kind of knowledge, it is knowledge that is from above, it is divine instruction in Righteousness, it is knowledge of spiritual truth.
CH Spurgeon once said “Scripture is a never-failing treasury filled with boundless stores of grace. It is the bank of heaven; you may draw from it as much as you please, without let or hindrance. Come in faith and you are welcome to all covenant blessings. There is not a promise in the Word which shall be withheld. In the depths of tribulations let this freedom comfort you; amidst waves of distress let it cheer you; when sorrows surround thee let it be thy solace.”
Remember the Hymn Eliza E. Hewitt wrote “More about Jesus”
“More about Jesus in His Word,
Holding communion with my Lord.
Hearing His voice in every line,
Making each faithful saying mine.”
Note: With Virtue, and Knowledge, God wants us to add Temperance.
Temperance = This is to have Self-Control… to be biblically proper, it is to have godly discipline,
Someone has defined this as “the controlling power of the will under the operation of the Spirit of God.”
Note: The next thing to add it “Patience”
Patience = endurance, perseverance, and constancy
Remember that the Hebrews writer states running the race with “Patience” The Christian life is not a sprint; it is a Marathon. We must always remember that the Christian life is a challenge to endure hardness by the Grace of God. Paul said “I finished my course”
It is good to start in the faith with a great thunder of glory; we must finish the race with much trials and testing.
Someone said “Perseverance is the art of bearing up and pressing on in the face of all that seems to be against us.”
(Acts 14:22) “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
Godliness = to live godly, to be like God. To be Holy as God is Holy.
Vernon Mcgee once said “There is a time in every boy's life when his dad is his hero and sometimes his idol.”
We are to have a strong passion to be like our God. Not to be a God, but to be like God in His character. To be like God or to be godly, addresses our way of life or our way of living …
We always see in Scripture that to be godly, there must be a rejection of worldliness.
(Titus 2:11) “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
(Titus 2:12) “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”
As you know the world is always fighting against God’s ways. The World wants to redefine the constitutions of God in Marriage, Church, and in moral ethics.
Notice what Peter writes in this first epistle setting up the platform for his second letter.
(1 Peter 1:14-15) “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: vs 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
Brotherly kindness = Love for God’s people
(John 13:35) “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
Brotherly kindness is the salt that helps make salty Christians.
It is a sad thing when you see siblings in the home and Christian’s in the church purposely dodge each other when they see each other.
Brotherly Kindness is an area in which God wants us to increase. God wants us to have a growing love one toward another. Not one that is stagnate or stale.
(1 Thessalonians 4:9) “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. Vs 9 And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;”
Last but not least
Charity = Unconditional Love, a Super-natural Love, Divine Love, Christ-kind of Love, the laying down of one’s life kind of love.
Without this “love” we are nothing and we will mount-up to nothing. 1 Peter 4:8
God’s amazing love shed abroad in our hearts through Christ is the rudder on a ship that controls the large vessel
It is the engine on the plane that gives it power to fly
It is the wick in the oil that keeps the flame alight
It is the greatest among faith and hope
It is never character that ever fails
Once again the Apostles Peter states this character trait in his first letter.
1 Peter 4:8 “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”
Fervent Love = undying, without ceasing, Love
and to the courage of David the knowledge of Solomon;
and to the knowledge of Solomon the patience of Job;
and to the patience of Job the godliness of Daniel;
and to the godliness of Daniel the brotherly kindness of Jonathan;
and to the brotherly kindness of Jonathan the love of John.”
James 4:13-15 “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: vs 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. Vs 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”
The Bible likens life to a vapour. A vapour is the mist or fog that you see in the morning that disappears soon after. Life is just for a moment.
Here are some reasons why life is but for a moment:
1. Death is Certain
a. Old age
If any of us lived to see a hundred years that would still be a very short time. When you view life in the light of eternity, life is only a vapour.
b. Sudden death
No one is guaranteed that they will live to their full age. The news is full of tragedies such as car accidents, murders, and heath issues (Cancer); and all these things can come upon us like a thief in the night.
2 Corinthians 4:17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;”
c. God can cut our life short if He chooses
Luke 12:20 “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?”
We must remember that God gives life and God can take it away at any time. If God decides to cut our life short, then that is totally up to Him. That is why it is important that we live surrendered lives to Christ.
2. Coming of Christ is soon
James 5:8 “Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”
Death is not only certain, but the coming of Christ is very soon. Many things around us are happening that the Word of God predicts that prove the end time is near. Life is a vapour because Jesus is coming very soon.
Because life is only for a moment the Bible instructs us to live according to the will of God. It a sad thing when a Christian chooses to live life as if they are going to live forever on earth.
James 4:16 “But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.”
We have a limited time on earth, but the flesh continues to fight against God’s will and desires to live for self. Notice what the Word of God states.
Ephesians 5:15-18 “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, vs 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Vs 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. Vs 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;”
a. Do not be foolish but walk with wisdom.
b. Do not waste time but make every opportunity count for God’s glory.
c. Strive to know and to do what God wills and do not seek to do what you want to do.
d. Be controlled by the Holy Spirit, and do not be overcome with the lust of your flesh. In other words, do not just live for yourself.
We must live with eternity in view. Someone once said, “For a little reward men make a long journey; for eternal matters many will scarce lift a foot once from the ground.”
Notice what Moses said. Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
1 Corinthians 10:31“...whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
Note: In chapter 9 Paul was encouraging the Corinthians regarding his calling, his purpose, and his lifestyle.
He mentions that the motivation for all that he did in his ministry, his work, and his relationship with others was all for the Gospel’s sake. (We can say, “All for the glory of God”)
1 Corinthians 9:23 “And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.”
Towards the end of chapter 9, he mentions that he must be disciplined to maintain this kind of living - living for the glory of God and the sake of the Gospel.
1 Corinthians 9:27 “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
If a Christian cannot live their life to the glory of God then life is not worth living.
In Chapter 10:1 Paul then say “Moreover, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;”
To be ignorant is “not to know.” In other words, Paul needed Christians to know some things…he needed to make them aware of some important things.
Many times when people do things that are wrong it may be that they aren’t aware that it is wrong. But when it is brought to light and a person receives some instruction, wisdom or understanding, they are then accountable to repent, to change, and to do.
James 4:17 “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
As Paul shares a few imperative things (We will see in the next few weeks) with the Church of Corinth, he concludes with
1 Corinthians 10:31“...whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
When you live your life to give God the Glory;
· Your Decision-making changes
- Your agenda changes
- Your attitude changes
- Your desires change
- Your affection changes
· Your Passions change
- Your passion for the Church of God changes
- Your commitment to the Lord changes
- Your giving to the Lord changes
- Your ministry toward the Lord changes
· The Way you do things changes
- The way you work changes
- The way you study changes
- The way you submit to your husband changes
- The way you love your wife changes
- The way you treat people changes
· The Way you live changes
- What you watch changes
- What you listen to changes
- What you speak about changes
- What you wear changes
- What you think about changes
- Where you go changes
In Christ Alone,
C Haddad - Galatians 2:20
"...whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31
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