Follow Through Applying God's Word in Trials and Temptations
Sermon Summary
This message explores how a follower of Christ is to apply God’s Word in trials and temptations. The book of James deals with both of these topics and gives really good direction for following through with God’s principles when going through difficult circumstances or facing difficult temptations. Study this message and the associated passages of Scripture to discover how to apply God’s Word in these areas in your life.

Community Group Discussion Guide
1. Which of the two main points of this message is hardest for you or do you find that trials and temptations are usually travel companions?

2. Read the following passage from Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians and discuss some of the principles that can be applied when facing trials.
2 Corinthians 4:6-9 “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

3. Pastor Larry made the following statements. Read them and discuss whether or not you agree with him.
“Satan would not be effective at all in his temptations if it were not for our own evil desires. Instead of worrying so much about Satan, we need to be worried about ourselves. We need to be concerned about our own hearts and heads are!”
James 1:14-15 “but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.” Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

4. What are some ways we can apply the Word of God when we are tempted?
James 4:6-8 “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
Here’s Pastor Larry’s application list taken from these verses:
Depend on His Grace (He forgives)
Stay Humble (Reject pride)
Submit to God (Obey His Word)
Resist the Devil (he will flee)
Come Near To God (Your daily walk)
Wash Your Hands (Repentance)
Purify Your Hearts (Holiness)



Full Sermon Notes
Applying God's Word in Trials & Temptations

“Released from my chains, I'm a prisoner no more
My shame was a ransom He faithfully bore”  (2015 Music at North Point)

Today we're going to talk about applying God's Word in trials and temptations.
And we all face those times don't we. But thank God we don't have to be chained by the trials or the temptations. You see, God's grace found in the Cross will get you through any trouble and the mercy found in the Cross overcomes not only the penalty of sin, but the power of sin!

Let's pray for God's guidance today as we learn what it means to follow through by applying God's Word in trials and temptations.

“Father God You know how much I need You and how I depend upon You for everything in life! I depend on You when I prepare these messages and I depend on You when I teach them! Let me be filled with Your Precious Holy Spirit so that You Word will be proclaimed today and not a man's opinion. You know the trials and temptations that every individual in this room is dealing with in their lives. I ask that You would teach us how to apply Your Word to each and every situation we face in our lives! In Jesus name I pray and I believe! Amen!”

Alright, let's just jump right in there. We are using the Book of James as our textbook for this series, so let's go to the first chapter of James, verse 12 and we'll start reading there. James 1:12. While you're turning there let me share with you a little background information about the book of James. While it is a Christian book, it is very Jewish in it's tone! It is a style of writing known as paranetic.

Dr. Harold S. Songer states that "Paranesis is general ethical instruction and exhortation and flourished in the first Christian century in both the Jewish and Greco-Roman cultures. It was characteristic of paranesis to place together in loose organization a series of exhortations without any concern to develop one theme or line of thought in the entire writing. The most common method of joining materials in paranetic literature was to utilize catch or key words which tied paragraphs or sayings together."

So that's why, with the book of James, there are so many different types of following through that are talked about. And the components of a certain moral instruction may be found scattered in different chapters. It's an interesting type of literature that God used back then and He will use again today!!


Applying God's Word in Trials
James 1:12...

Applying God's Word in Trials

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

James tells us three things about trials in this one verse. First, blessed is the man who perseveres under trial!

Blessed is the man who
perseveres under trial!

We must understand this! He didn't say a blessed man has no trials! He said blessed is the man who perseveres under trial! That's a big difference! Let me remind you what James 1:2 says. We read it last week...

James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

The joy isn't that we are going through a tough time, but that God is going to use the trial for our good! Why does it surprise us when we face trials and difficulties? Somehow we have come to believe that if a person is living right they will not face difficulty. Somehow we have come to expect God to remove from us the hardships of this life. It's like a bargain, "God if I live for You then I expect You to shelter me from all troubles." But this is not what the Bible teaches.

We will be blessed when we persevere under trial! The blessing of God is not that we won't ever face a trial! In fact, if we would read the Word of God and apply it correctly we would understand this. Jesus said this...

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

In our modern world and especially in America, the avoidance of pain has become the number one goal in life! Bring on the comforts and God forbid I have to do anything that might cause me discomfort. Instead of what is the right thing to do, we look for what is the least difficult thing to do! But when Jesus prayed for His disciples and for us He said...

John 17:14-16 “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.”

So Jesus asked that we would be protected from the evil one, Satan, but He didn't pray that we would never face difficulties. Jesus didn't want us to be defeated by the enemy, but He never said we wouldn't face enemies. He never said we wouldn't be tested!
James actually used the word, test, in our text!

“Because when he has stood the test!”

Life has test. I fact James had said in in those first few verses of chapter 1...

James 1:3 “because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

James said the testing of your faith develops perseverance. If you're never tested your faith is never developed! While Paul doesn't use the word test in 2 Corinthians 4, I think he did a good job of explaining God's principles and His promises about some of the test we go through… Listen carefully to what he said…

2 Corinthians 4:6-9 “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

Boy, talk about applying the Word of God when we're tested through trials! Paul gives us some real powerful points of application. When you're in a dark time of testing, let His light shine out of darkness! How do you do that? Paul said "God made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ!"

God's light is in your heart and you have the knowledge of the Glory of God in the Face of Christ!! Apply the Word of God during your trials. How do we do that? Lot's of ways, but one of the most important is found in understanding what Paul was saying in verse 7...

2 Cor 4:7 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

Talk about getting an attitude adjustment and boost when you're going through a trial.
You must realize that according to the Word of God your survival and ability to make it through a trial is not up to you, your power, your strength, your wisdom, or your resources! This all-surpassing power is from God and not from us!!! And because of this we can know that...

2 Cor 4:8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

So being blessed by God when we follow through with His word doesn't mean we won't have trials and difficulties, but it does mean that through those times of darkness, God's light will shine through in the face of Christ and James tells us a third thing about a person of faith who endures trials...

“He will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him!”

Some have misunderstood this passage to mean that a person who endures a trial or a test gets to go to heaven because of the good things they did. This is not what this means. Although it does have some application to eternal life, the crown of life in this context, I believe has much more to do with the kind of life you can have here on earth if you follow through with God's truth! When you face a trial, a test, a difficulty, a dark time in your life it can become one of two things: A cursing or a blessing! If you allow Satan to use the trial to discourage you, to depress you, to dog you, to drag you down, then the trial becomes a curse in your life. If on the other hand you decide to let God's power and wisdom get you through the trial it will end up being a huge blessing.

Or, in the words of James, the trials become a crown of life for you. Is there a Bible verse that explains this concept? Yes and it's well known, but maybe not always applied.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

You've probably heard me say this, but this verse doesn't say all things are good, but in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. So when you're going through a trial, a tough time, a dark time, a really difficult time, follow through by applying the Word of God to the situation.

"Can you tell me one more time, how is that done?" There are so many different ways, but here's a recap of some of the ways to apply God's Word during difficult times.

Remember He didn't say a blessed man has no trials! He said blessed is the man who perseveres under trial!!

Remember God is going to use the trial to develop a faith in you that will persevere no matter what comes your way!

Remember Jesus said to be at peace because He had overcome the world!

Remember it's not your power you're depending on, but God's!

Remember your going to receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him and that applies to your life here and now!

Some Bible scholars believe when James said you will receive the crown of life, He was not implying some kind of award or trophy or plaque, but was actually saying this...

When you follow through by living God's principles you will be Crowned with Life!!

In other words the reward is the amazing life you will be privileged to live for God in this world, and then because of God's amazing grace the eternal life you are promised.

Now let's look at the second area in which James told us to follow through by applying God's Word.

Applying God's Word in Temptation

James 1:13-15 “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

In these verses James tells us three major things about temptation. Let's look at them.
First of all, temptation doesn't come from God!

Temptation does not originate with God!

James 1:13 “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;”

God is not tempted by sin and it would go against His nature to tempt someone to do wrong. God does allow us to be tested by trials and difficulties, but He doesn't test us with temptation. Oh, to be sure you will face the test of temptation, but it doesn't originate with God. We know from other places in the Bible that temptation sometimes comes from Satan. Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan. Job was persecuted and tempted to sin against God by Satan. And we know that Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan. We'll talk about that in a few minutes. But here's an even bigger problem than Satan tempting us! You might ask "what could be a bigger problem than Satan tempting us?" It's found in the second thing James tells us about temptation...

Temptation originates within!

James 1:14 “but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”

Satan would not be effective at all in his temptations if it were not for our own evil desires. Instead of worrying so much about Satan, we need to be worried about ourselves. We need to be concerned about our own hearts and heads are! Way back in the Old Testament we are given this warning...

Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

And Jesus gave us this warning...

Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

In fact what I'm about to tell you is a truth many have failed to realize! Satan is certainly a force to be reckoned with, but he's not the most powerful enemy when it comes to temptation! "Wait a minute Pastor, what are you saying? I though Satan was like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour!" You're right, but check this out...

James 4:7 “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

In other words, when you've submitted yourself to God you can actually resist the devil and he will flee from you. You can stand up to Satan, stand your ground, be strong in the Lord and Satan's roar fades as he flees from you! However, when it comes to your own evil desires here's what Paul told young Timothy...

2 Timothy 2:22 “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Did you hear that? Paul told Timothy to flee the evil desires of youth. Here's what God's Word is saying…you should have a greater fear of the power of your flesh! I'm going to date myself, but there was a comedian named Flip Wilson years ago and he was famous for saying, "The Devil Made Me Do It!" But I'm afraid Satan sometimes get's blamed for things he didn't do. In fact, James explains our issue even further in chapter four of his book. Listen...

James 4:1-8 “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

And one other thing about applying the Word of God to the issue of temptation. We must never forget that...

Temptation is deadly!

James 1:15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Some of you out there today are playing with fire and you're going to get burned, and I mean severely burned! You know who I'm talking to. God is speaking to your hearts this morning. Your marriage, your children, your very life is on the line! You know, I've had people ask me how I'm able to live for the Lord and be faithful in my family and ministry.
I'm quick to point out that I'm not a perfect man, but God gave me a verse to live by many years ago and it is found in 1 Corinthians 10:12...

1 Corinthians 10:12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

I live with that verse daily. I know if I don't keep my eyes on Jesus every day I could get stupid and fall into serious sin. People ask me how I stay humble and I tell them I know me! That's pretty humbling in and of itself! Some people say, "Don't be so hard on yourself!" And I say, "God gives grace to the humble!" So let's read my life verse again and the verses that follow...

I Corinthians 10:12-13 “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

And what is that way? James has already told us, but I'm going to tell us again. Repetition is good for the soul!

James 4:6-8 “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

Depend on His Grace (He forgives)
Stay Humble (Reject pride)
Submit to God (Obey His Word)
Resist the Devil (he will flee)
Come Near To God (Your daily walk)
Wash Your Hands (Repentance)
Purify Your Hearts (Holiness)

In other words, when it comes to trials and temptations, don't just listen,
Follow Through

In closing, let me show you how Jesus applied the Word of God when He was tempted.

Matthew 4:1-11 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ’”  Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ’”  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.
“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ’”  Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Let’s pray!