Life of tests and examples in Bible (I)
Today’s sermon is first of two part sermons about life of test.
People say “Life happens!” What does that mean? It means as you get older, your life gets complicated and difficult things happen that sometimes alter your directions of your life. This is common to all men, not only for Christians but for non-believers. You might still wonder why Almighty loving God allows that for his dear children. This is fundamental yet difficult to answer question even for mature Christians.
Do you recall the story of Job – how he went through many trials and test? He was a wealthy man with many possessions. Yet in a very short time, he lost all of his possessions, he lost his health, his children died. Difficult things after more difficult things... Life was miserable for him. And his wife gave him the advise – “Curse God and die”.. Our text comes from book of Job:
8 “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there,
and backward, but I do not perceive him;
9 on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him;
he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. (Job 23: 8-10)
The Bible basically indicates that life is filled with tests, where God continually tests people’s character, faith, obedience, love, integrity, and loyalty. People say “you are born with such characters..”
But the true character is both developed and revealed by testing.
The truth of the matter is – All of life is a test. You are always being tested. God is watching how you response to people, problems, success, conflict, illness, disappointment and in any other situation you face in your life.
I would like to look at several ways God’s people have been tested.
1.A test of patience
The Lord has a timing for fulfilling his plan and purpose. Sure, sometimes trials and tribulations seem to take forever to pass. But James says or hardship will produces patience (steadfastness)
2 Count it all joy, my brothers,[a] when you meet trials of various kinds,3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
I do not particularly love that verse to be honest. When I go through hardship, it is hard to “consider it joy”, I just consider it to be horrible. But God is author and finisher of our lives, He knows what is best for us. If he considers I need more patience – so be it! I know many of you have gone through (or going though) difficult time. But praise God that he has been right by your side as you go the rough roads.
The Bible says in James, “Remember the patience of Job”. Yes – life of Job was a test of patience. One major facts about job is that he never turned his back on God. Book of Job has 42 chapters. The most of books you will find Job questioned and Job complained to God. And it is okay to do that. God is bigger and stronger than you think. That is way we are encouraged when we are told “Remember the patience of Job”
So, would you be willing to wait for God’s timing? Because he promises that when the patience has its full effect, we may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
A.Patience has its full effect: Things you consider bad at the time of trial become the source of blessings
B.Complete, lacking in nothing: when you see the bad things turns into the blessings you may realize God is in complete control.
2.A test of faith
Trials can test our faith. Do we believe in God even in the midst of pain and suffering? Do we believe in the promises of God when things seem impossible? Do we trust God even if He does not deliver and when we do not understand His ways?
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar (네부카네져), we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)
Daniel’s friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were faced with a test, a test of faith. And they showed their faith.
Their answer was simply this:
“It is not that we cannot do it. – it is that we will not do it” Their action shows the principle based on faith in God. The principle of worship God but no other!
King Nebuchadnezzar became furious and put them in the fiery furnace 7 times hotter than the normal. King Nebuchadnezzar looked into the furnace, he saw 4th men “looks like the son of God” And God miraculously protected them and delivered them from any harm. Their faith was tested and proved to be faithful.
When your faith is tested, I challenge you to pass that test by trusting and believing in God’s promises. And see how God will deliver you from the trials and glorify you in the midst of darkness.
SO, here is the thought:
How would you know if you are faithful unless you are tempted with unfaithfulness?
3.A test of love
Trials can test our love. We often pray and sing that Jesus you are my first and only… but your trials and tribulations can reveal whom or what you love the most in your life. They reveal priory and desire. Peter was an example of this test: When Peter denied Jesus three times. And let’s look at the scripture in the book of John
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. (John 21:15-17)
Here Jesus asks Peter 3 times if Peter loves Jesus. This is after Jesus was resurrected from the dead and Peter became renewed by Spirit. Peter tells Jesus that he loves Jesus more than anything. And Jesus responded by telling him to serve others. And until the time of death, Peter served others by spreading the gospel of Christ. It was not because of Peter was obligated to serve. Peter served and laid his life for Christ, because he loved Jesus
So what is it that motivates your life? Do you do things out of obligation or do you do things out of your love for Jesus?
Even if your current job (most of you being students) does not call to serve others and spreading gospel, you must believe that you are being trained to be what God want you to be. If this training is study and learning, then shouldn’t you be the best student you can be, all because you love Jesus?
Conclusions: So why does God give us the trials in life? As mentioned earlier, the test will show our true self and at the same time, develop our character in help of Holy Spirit. And God promised that He will made us like the pure gold, (Job 23:10) after God puts us through test. Something so desirable, valuable, important, and adorable. That is How God sees each one of you.