Study # 7
Thesis: Having seen that eternity hangs upon our decisions, we need to understand the nature of temptations/trials.
Introduction: Last week we looked into the abundance of James' references to our future experience beyond resurrection in order to help us understand what James meant when he said 'Consider all joy'. The term 'consider' is always used in contexts of decision making in the New Testament, and the grammatical structure of the phrase 'all joy' points us beyond the present to the future promised experience of undiluted joy. A parallel text is 1 Peter 1:3-9 where it is the clear-eyed consideration of the future that enables the believer to endure the present with more than a teeth-gritting, short-tempered tolerance. James is calling for a careful and thoughtful consideration of the future when dealing with the present. This evening we want to spend some time examining the present difficulty. What does it mean to be tempted or tried? and what are the implications of the reference to various trials?
October 8, 1997
- I. What Does it Mean to Be Tempted or Tried?
- A. The use of the term in the New Testament.
- 1. Acts 16:7; 24:6 -- making an attempt...
- 2. John 6:6; Hebrews 11:17 -- when God is the One making the attempt...
- 3. Matthew 4:2 -- when the devil is the one making the attempt...
- 4. Mark 10:2 -- when men are the ones making the attempt in respect to God...
- B. The issues involved in making the attempt...
- 1. There is always a certain objective in view. [This is the agape issue].
- 2. There is often a method-issue involved. [This is the faith issue]
- 3. There is always a certain pressure involved.
- a. The pressure is either at the values level where one objective is pitted against another...values in conflict,
- b. Or the pressure is at the methodological level...pitting methods against each other
- 4. There is always a decision-unto-action involved.
- 5. There is always a perspective on the result involved. [This is James' initial command, and it is intimately connnected to the whole process, whether is it men, Satan, or God who are looking ahead.]
- II. What are the Implications of Variety?
- A. The difficulties can be as varied as the issue of colors--a basic set of three that can be mixed and mingled into an innumerable host.
- B. The 'piling on' effect makes the situation more difficult.