James 1:2-8 What People Need This is an auspicious occasion. Today, we are recognizing our graduates, those finishing a level of school and moving on to the next phase of their lives. We are honored to have several young people present this morning who are making that step. I have known most of the graduates for the greater part of their lives. It will not be a surprise to them to hear me say that they need Jesus. They do. Neither will it surprise them to hear me say that everyone needs Jesus. No matter what success a person may reach in life, without Jesus, their eternity is lost and their lives will fail. Typically, I would say that Jesus is all we need. In one sense, He is. If you have Jesus, you have all you need to equip you for time and for eternity. But James reveals to us that we need more than Jesus. Because of our fallen nature, we need Jesus to do a work in us and James lists some of the tools that God uses. It is that list that I want to speak about today. Young people, as you graduate from one place in life to another, let me share with you a few more things you need so that Jesus can complete His work in you. I. You need problems. James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; A. No one wants problems. In fact, we all work as hard as we can to avoid them, but James teaches us that we need them. B. The word that James used is "temptations." 1. According to Strongís concordance, the word means a provocation, aggravation, or a solicitation to adversity. 2. We can just redefine it to say "problems." C. I fear that too many people are either not being exposed or not being properly guided through the problems of life. 1. Illustration This past week, we had two more school shootings. One in Jonesboro, GA, with one killed and another in Santa Fe, Texas, with ten killed. Of course the nation is still reeling from the shooting last February of this year in Parkland, Florida, with 17 killed and another 14 injured. You may not have been aware of it but there have been several other school shootings in-between these two being in Birmingham. There was a school shooting in Birmingham on March 7 killing one and another a week later, March 14, killing two. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_ States Interestingly, school shooting deaths in 2018 exceed military deaths for the year. 31 have been killed in school shootings this year while while only 29 have died in combat and non-combat military duties. https://www.bustle.com/p/school-shooting-deaths-in-2018-already- exceed-military-deaths-theres-more-9137419 2. What is happening here? (a) I am certain that there is no standard answer. (b) But some people are reacting like they have never had a problem before or else like they have never learned how to react during a problem. (c) A large part of that is probably due to the absence or the near absence of parents in the home. 3. I understand that people today are experiencing problems that I never experienced or at least in ways that I never experienced them: (a) bullying, violence, abuse (b) neglect, betrayal, loneliness (c) a drug and sexual culture that is beyond the ability of grownups to handle let alone children 4. But peopleís response to their problems is beyond reason and understanding. It is an act of desperation and quite honestly, of evil. D. James teaches us that problems do not have to be badónot if you have Jesus. 1. Problems are nothing more than classrooms for Christians. 2. They are the place where God teaches us about ourselves, Himself, and His power. 3. What kind of lessons does God teach with problems? (a) \\#3\\ He teaches us about faith. James 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. (1) Faith is looking beyond the visible to the invisible, beyond this world to the spiritual. (2) Part of the reason some people are reacting so badly to their problems is because they believe that this is all there is. (3) They lack faith to see the invisible. (4) Friend, this is NOT all there is. This is very little of what is. God is. Eternity is. and God steps out of eternity and into our lives every day. i. You need faith to invite Him into your life. ii. Faith would change the way your life your life. (5) Faith is taught by the problems we have. (b) \\#4\\ Problems and faith bring patience. James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (1) We want what we want and we want it now. (a) Patience is the ability to wait WITHOUT frustration. (b) We lack patience today because we lack the faith to see that God is working in our lives to make us who He wants us to be. (2) In talking to Barbara Waters yesterday, she shared of an incident among her acquaintances where a man was driving a large truck, stopped at a red light, and the man from the car following came to his window with a gun to complain that he was driving too slowly! (3) Fits of rage cause violence and a lack of patience causes the fits of rage and a lack of faith causes a lack of patience and a lack of problems causes the lack of patience. (c) \\#2\\ Problems, faith, and patience will bring you joy. James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; (1) People lack joy and its secular counterpart, happiness. (2) I understand that if you donít have Jesus. (a) This is all there is. (b) There is little hope of it getting better and no reward at the end! (c) We need Jesus and problems for Him to teach us who He is and how much He loves us and what great power He has so we have a reason to rejoice! E. Let me tell you a fact. 1. You are going to have problems whether you have Jesus, faith, patience, or joy. 2. In fact, problems often bring people into services just like this searching for some answers. 3. Jesus is the answer. 4. Then you need to let Jesus use your problems to do a work in you. II. You need questions. A. Questions can cause a Christian to get wisdom. 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. B. Like people do not want problems so people do not want questionsóat least not questions that they cannot answer. 1. One of the reasons we go to school is to learn answers. 2. School teaches us to answer a lot of questions. 3. Questions like who, what, when, where, and how. 4. But school cannot answer the question, "How do we make it when we canít?" or "What happens after death?" or "Who decides what right and wrong is?" 5. These kinds of questions require wisdom to be answered. C. The problem is too many people wonít ask the questions anymore. 1. I believe in education. I could certainly do with more. 2. But I am going to put a big part of the blame on todayís education. a. Todayís education wonít allow you ask and explore the answers to those kinds of questions. b. With arrogance and high-handiness they pretend to be giving a full and impartial education when they only allow their own views to be taught. c. Would you please look at how that is doing? (1) Students killing students. (2) Protestors putting the blame on the gun and never asking the question "Why did the child pick the gun up? and even more "Why did the child do with it what he/she did?" d. Look at all the places where humanistic education has replaced Godís wisdom. (1) Free sex - Are children being raised in better environments today? (2) Freedom from religion - Are people free of guilt and shame today? (3) Discipline - These children who were never spanked, are they better behaved and rounded out than those of us who were? D. You who are graduating today need to be aware of that. 1. You must be certain that you ask and seek out the answers to such questions. 2. If you do, you will find the gates of wisdom and if you will enter, you will be wiser than all of your teachers. 3. If I might do so, let me give you a question that may get you started toward the gates of wisdom. a. Ask yourself, if there is a God, where will He send me when I die? b. Ask and answer that question and it just might start you on the wisest question you will ever undertake. E. People need problems and people need questions. III. \\#8\\ People need a single direction. James 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. A. To be double-minded means to be divided in loyalties, in determination, in direction. 1. You can use the word philosophy, code, standard, or several other words but the bottom line is that he is either pulling or being pulled in two different directions. 2. Jesus said it: Mt 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. B. Too many people are being pulled by two worlds. 1. Man calls themÖ a. right versus wrong b. good versus bad c. moral versus immoral d. legal versus illegal 2. But God calls isÖ a. righteousness versus sin b. obedience versus rebellion c. light versus dark d. God versus the devil C. The result of trying to live in both worlds is plain, instability. 1. The two worlds I am speaking of is Godís and the devilís. 2. Only Christians can attempt this. 3. Unsaved people can only live in the devilís world. 4. Christian, you are being pulled apart. No wonder you feel like you are coming apart at the seams. 5. Choose God and get your foot out of the devilís world! D. By the way, for the lost and the Christian who chooses to go with the devil instead of God. 1. You are not going to find any more stability over there. 2. In fact, you will find the opposite. 3. Sin and the devil will make you more crazy that you have ever been. E. Choose God. Choose God. Choose God! What do people need? They need Jesus. Without Jesus, all is lost. But Christians, we need to let God change and shape us with problems, questions, and a single mindset. Letís graduate to a better life today.
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