The Book of JAMES
James J. Barker
THE VALUE OF TRIALS Part 1
- James was
probably the first book of the New Testament to be
- The epistle of
James is the first in a group of epistles often called the "general epistles,"
which also include I and II Peter, I,II, and III John, and
- They are
sometimes referred to as the "catholic" (not Roman Catholic) epistles in
the sense that they are universal, not being addressed to any particular
individual or church, but to God’s people everywhere.
- There is some
disagreement over which James wrote this epistle. I believe the author is James, the
Lord’s brother (cf. Matt.13:55; Acts 15:13; I Cor. 15:7; Gal. 1:19; 2:9). He did
not believe in the Lord until after His resurrection (cf. John
- The epistle of
James has been misunderstood. Some have wrongly supposed that James was teaching
that one is saved by works. The great Reformer, Martin Luther did not believe
the book of James belonged in the Bible and called it an "epistle of
- But there is no
contradiction. Paul emphasized our
justification before God, and James our justification before
- Our text
tonight deals with being tested.
The word translated "temptations" in James 1:2 literally means "trials"
or "testings" (margin).
- Frances Ridley Havergal
wrote, "Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the
Sun of Love." She was right in that
nothing happens to us that God does not allow.
God has a purpose in these various trials and testings.
- I would like to preach tonight on "The Value of
Trials." James says we should be
joyful when we find ourselves going through a trial.
- Our Lord said in John 16:33, "These things I have spoken
unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have
tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the
TRIALS DEVELOP CHRISTIAN
- It has rightly
been said that character is formed under pressure, and James explains this in
- Through trials
and testings we develop patience. Webster’s Dictionary defines patience as the
ability to "bear pains or trials calmly or without complaint; manifesting
forbearance under pressure; remaining steadfast despite opposition, difficulty,
- Later in the
epistle, James says, "Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of
the patience of Job" (5:11).
- The Bible
teaches that God is trying to produce Christ-likeness in all of us. This process
necessarily involves suffering, frustration, and sometimes great difficulties
- There is a
distinction between temptations and trials. The Scofield Study Bible
says, "Temptation" is used in two senses: (1) Solicitation to evil (e.g. Gen.
3:1-6; Matt. 4:1; I Cor. 10:13; II Cor. 11:3, 4; James 1:14).
(2) Testing under trial (e.g. Gen. 22:1; Luke 22:28;
cf. Luke 4:2). Cf. Matt. 6:13 (solicitation to evil) and I Peter 1:6 (testing
under trial)" (page 1307).
- The word as it
is used here in James 1:2 means trials or "testings" (margin). These are from
God, though He may use Satan, as in the case of Job.
GOD DOES NOT TEMPT US
- God never tempts a man to do evil (cf. James 1:13-15).
- The devil
tempts men to do evil (Matt.4:1-11). In fact, he is called "the tempter."
- In Matthew 4,
the devil came to our Lord when He was in the wilderness. In Matthew 4:3 we read, "And when the
tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these
stones be made bread."
- In I
Thessalonians 3:5, the apostle Paul wrote, "For this cause, when I could no
longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter
have tempted you, and our labour be in vain."
- It is difficult
for us to go through trials and troubles and testings, but if we know the Lord,
we can see His hand at work and truly "count it all joy"
- God is working
in all of the events of life and is seeking to build Christian character. We can
be sure that God is dealing with us for our own good (1:3; cf. Rom. 5:3, 4;
- It is a fact
that without trials we would never develop patience. Even worldly people
recognize this principle. Charles Kettering was a successful inventor and
- Many people do
not recognize his name, but most of us have heard of the famous Sloan–Kettering
Cancer Center in Manhattan.
- Charles Kettering invented the electric starter,
developed the first electric cash register, and founded the Delco Company. When
Delco became a subsidiary of General Motors, Kettering became VP and director of
research for GM. He said these words: "Problems are the price of progress. Don’t
bring me anything but problems. Good news weakens me."
- A young
preacher once asked an older pastor to pray that God would give him more
patience, because he realized that he was very impatient. The old preacher knelt
down and began to pray that God would send trouble and difficulties upon the
young pastor. Finally the younger man tapped his older friend on the shoulder
and whispered: "You must have misunderstood me; I asked that you would pray that
I might have more patience, not more trouble." The old preacher replied:
"Remember the Scripture says, ‘Tribulation worketh patience’ (Rom. 5:3). That is
the only way!"
WE MUST LET PATIENCE HAVE HER PERFECT
- We must "let
patience have her perfect work" (1:4), that we "may be perfect and entire,
- Matthew 5:48 is
to be understood as a literal command – "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your
Father which is in heaven is perfect."
- This Christian
perfection can never be attained without patience having "her perfect work"
- When Fanny Crosby was
just eight years old, she wrote these words:
- "Oh what a happy soul am I
Although I cannot
I am resolved that in this
Contented I will
How many blessings I
That other people
To weep and sigh because I’m
I cannot and I
- God is trying to refine
the gold from the dross in His fire. His fires of persecution, sickness,
sufferings, and sorrow determine if our faith is genuine. "As soon as the
Refiner sees His reflection in the molten metal, He turns off the heat" –
- An Englishman
named Sir Philip Sydney was shot in battle.
- As the doctor
cut out the bullet, some of the other soldiers standing by, pitied his pain, but
he replied: "Though I groan, yet I bless God I do not grumble. God allows his
people to groan, though not to grumble."
- Let’s not
grumble; let us "count it all joy" (1:2).