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

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 Strong’s 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.


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.


        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 people’s 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 bad—not 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
                       ii. Faith would change the way your life your
                  (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
                      (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

James 1:2  My brethren, count it all joy when ye
fall into divers temptations;

                 (1) People lack joy and its secular counterpart,
                 (2) I understand that if you don’t 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
        questions—at 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 can’t?" 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 won’t ask the questions
        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 today’s
            a. Today’s education won’t 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 God’s 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
        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 them…
            a. right versus wrong
            b. good versus bad
            c. moral versus immoral
            d. legal versus illegal
        2. But God calls is…
            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,
        1. The two worlds I am speaking of is God’s and the devil’s.
        2. Only Christians can attempt this.
        3. Unsaved people can only live in the devil’s 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 devil’s 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.  Let’s graduate to a better life

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