James 1:1-6, 12 Godís Chill Pill Do you ever just need God? I mean, do people ever get to you? Do situations ever get too much? Do problems ever seem to get out of hand? Do you ever seem to lose control? When some are in that kind of condition, people say they need a "chill pill." Tonight, let me speak to you about God's Chill Pill. James gave us Godís prescription for a time like that. Letís see some thoughts from the text. I. The situation with which James dealt. A. There is a lot we do not know about the book of James. B. In fact, we are not even certain which James wrote it. 1. There are five mentioned in the New Testament. 2. Most believe this is the half-brother of Jesus, one of the half-brothers who rejected Jesus as Messiah until after He arose from the grave, one who actually attempted to get Jesus to go into the city, announce who He claimed to be, and get Himself arrested and stoned. \\#John 7:1-5\\ C. The book of James is thought by some to one of the earliest books written of the New Testament, maybe as early as 45-47 AD, just 10 years after Jesus was crucified. D. Persecutions of the Jewish Christians was going on. 1. \\#1\\ James was writing to the Jews scattered. 2. \\#2\\ They were going through different temptations. a. Such persecutions had been on-going since the church was birthed and are recorded in Acts. b. Still, they had not been around so long that people should have considered them normal. c. These trials might have been common but they were not normal. d. These people were going through some times that were different. 3. \\#3\\ Their faith was being tried. That is a reference to their persecutions for their faith. E. I point that out to say this, "If what James was writing would work for these people with their trials, it should surely work with us in our trials. II. Notice the prescription. It had five parts. A. \\#2\\ CONSIDER THIS: James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 1. The word "count" means to consider or to reckon this to be so. 2. What does James tell us to consider? He tells us to consider these trials to be joyful. a. I have preached this text many times over the years and I still cannot speak on this verse without a bit of surprise and amazement. (1) Iíve got problems, situations, aggravationsóand the Bible wants me to be happy about it. (2) Why would I do that? b. First, why not? (1) I would not count my temptations joyful because they are unimportant. a. They are important. b. They are important to me and they are important to God. (2) I would not count my temptations joyful because they do not matter. a. They do matter and how I respond to them matters. b. Some want to pretend that if they give in to wrong or evil, it does not matter. (3) I would not count my temptations joyful because dealing with them is easy. a. Even following Godís prescription, overcoming temptations is never easy. b. If overcoming them was easy, they would not be real temptations. c. Then why rejoice? I gave you three reasons not to so let me give you three reasons to do so. (1) Because God has not forgotten me. a. God never forgets us but I think we are even more on His mind when we are being tempted. b. Psalm 89:33 Psalm 89:33 Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. (2) Because every temptation has a victory. 1Cor 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. a. There is a way out of every temptation and a victory over every trial. b. Even if I have failed this temptation 1000 times before, God can give me the victory this time. (3) Because every trial performs a work. That takes us to the second part of the prescription. A. \\#2\\ Consider this: B. \\#3\\ KNOW THIS: James 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 1. James specifically tells us that our trials work, do, accomplish something in our lives. a. Trials are not exercises in futility. b. They are not frustration without a purpose. c. They are not Godís punishments for failure. d. They are not just tests of our endurance. e. They are there to work on us, to grow us, to change us in one or more areas. f. James lists one area our trials work on but he did not say that was the only area that our trials work on. 2. The area James says our trials work on is our patience. a. Trials give us patience. b. Patience comes from two means: (1) God can give them to you directly. He did not give me a lot of them. (2) Or God can grow them through trials. Guess how I got what little I have. c. So all of our trials are doing something for us. (1) They are gifting us with patienceóthat is of course if you let them. (2) Otherwise they are exploding you with frustration and anger. d. Patience is not, however, the end of what trials produce. (1) They are but the first step. (2) James also tells us what trialsí last step of production is. James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (3) It is our perfection. (4) Interesting play on words: Patienceís perfect work is to perfect us. e. Someone would ask, "How does patience make us perfect?" (1) Patience is the first and the most oft used character quality in the process of producing a godly character. (2) You cannot love, be meek, be kind, be faithful, be forgiving, be loyal, persevere, or develop any of the other godly character qualities if you cannot first be patient. (3) That will make patience the first needed and the most often used godly character quality. 3. So know that your trials are doing a good work in you. A. \\#2\\ Consider this: B. \\#3\\ Know this: C. \\#5\\ REQUEST THIS: James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 1. Godís prescription for tough times requires that you get more wisdom. a. That is logical. b. Wisdom is the ability to see things (our trials) as God sees them. c. God is telling us to rejoice because they are an opportunity to become a better Christian. d. It will take God giving us the ability to see that from His perspective to do that. 2. James does not tell us the many ways that wisdom can help us, but he does assure us that if we ask for it, God will give it. a. He tells us that God does not upbraid us when we ask for it. b. That is God does not taunt us, mock us, provoke us, aggravate us for it. c. God just gives it. d. In fact, of all the blessings that we ask God for, wisdom seems to be the one over which God has promised and immediate and unobstructed answer. A. \\#2\\ Consider this: B. \\#3\\ Know this: C. \\#5\\ Request this: D. \\#6\\ BELIEVE THIS: 1. James did not introduce something new that needed to be believed. 2. He was saying believe that if you ask God for wisdom, God will give it to you. a. \\#8-11\\ James moved on to tell us that a person who will not believe will not receive from GodÖ. b. That he is a double-minded or unstable person in the faithÖ. c. That one of the greatest privileges that even the most lowly Christian hasóeven over the richóis to be able to petition God for wisdom and to receive it. 3. All to emphasize that you and I need and can get wisdom to overcome any and every temptation we have! 4. It makes it seem that we would be a foolish person not to request and believe that God will give us wisdom. 5. These four steps in Godís prescription takes us to Godís intended destination: A. \\#2\\ Consider this: B. \\#3\\ Know this: C. \\#5\\ Request this: D. \\#6\\ Believe this: E. \\#12\\ BE THIS: Blessed! James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 1. Even when life is tough and temptations and trials are daunting, God wants His people to be blessed. a. Blessed means to be happy, approved, to live in a state of godly privilege. b. There is much talk of privilege today. Blessed is a state of privilege granted by God which no Christian needs to feel guilty about for everyone is invited to have it. 2. In this context, being blessed means three things: a. You endured and over the temptation. b. You have earned the crown of life. (1) If it is a literal crown, you will have something to lay at His feet. (2) If it is symbolic of a rank or place of service then you will have a position to serve God for all eternity. (3) If it is both, you have a win-win situation. c. You will have demonstrated your love for Jesus. (1) We are not trying to live the victorious life JUST for what it can do for us. (2) We are also trying to live the victorious life to demonstrate to Him our love. I do not like to call sin a sickness because if it is, it is a sickness that many choose to have; but there are some ways that sin and sickness are alike. One is that the afflicted can do very little to help himself. He needs a Healer. When we are having one of those days, we need God. Godís prescription may be just the medicine God would give.
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