"THE TESTING OF OUR FAITH"
Many [are] the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
I. WE EXPERIENCE MANY DIFFERENT TESTINGS IN LIFE.
A. The tiles that were used on the nose cone of the space shuttle were subjected to all kinds of severe testings.
1. The purpose of the tests was not to destroy the tiles but to to prove their worth.
2. The question was, will they stand up under the extreme heat and pressure of the re-entry of the shuttle into the atmosphere.
B. God allows us to go through testings, the purpose is often two fold.
1. It is never to destroy us, but to prove to us the truth about ourselves. I may be bragging about certain things, and even believing that it is so. But when put to the test, I find out that I am not as strong, or great as I thought I was.
2. The testings prove to me the faithfulness of God when I cling to Him and His promises.
C. Testings then play an important part in the development of our Christian life.
D. God allowed His own Son to be tested by the devil.
1. In the book of Hebrews we are told that Jesus was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.
2. We are also told that because He suffered temptation, He is able to help those who are tempted.
D. Abraham's devotion to God was tested when God asked him to offer his son whom he loved, as a burnt offering sacrifice unto the Lord.
1. The burnt offering sacrifice was a sacrifice that indicated a total consecration to God.
2. It is one thing to say, "I love God above every earthly treasure and another thing to prove it in the hour of testing."
3. Abraham proved his devotion to God.
4. I have heard people sing, "I surrender all, I surrender all, All to Thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all."
a. It is one thing to sing it, another thing to do it, should we be called upon to do so.
E. Job's faith was severely tested when Satan was allowed to strip him of everything.
1. Having lost his fortune, family, friends, Job fell on his face and declared, "Naked I came into the world and naked I shall go out, the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord."
2. Job proved his faith.
F. Joseph's commitment to purity was tested when the wife of Potiphar sought to force him to go to bed with her.
II. WHAT SHOULD BE MY ATTITUDE TOWARD THE TESTINGS THAT I AM PUT THROUGH?
A. I know what my attitude often is. I hate tests thus it is often complaining.
B. James tells us to "Count it all joy."
C. Peter wrote in his first letter,
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
1. Note that Peter called on them to rejoice.
2. Peter practiced what he preached. Gamaliel had just offered his counsel concerning the Apostles,
And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten [them], they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
D. Jesus told His disciples to rejoice and leap for joy when they were hated, reproached and avoided for the sake of Jesus. He said,
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you [from their company], and shall reproach [you], and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.
Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward [is] great in heaven:
III. THE RESULTS OF THE TESTINGS.
A. The trying of your faith worketh patience.
B. Paul wrote to the Romans,
We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
1. Patience is one of the basic foundations of our Christian experience.
2. It is one of the first lessons that God seeks to teach us.
3. God is in no hurry to accomplish His eternal purposes.
a. What He is going to do, He will do in His time.
b. I want to see things done today, preferably before 1:00 this afternoon.
c. I want to see the Lord come before the year is out.
d. At the end of book of Revelation Jesus said, "Behold I come quickly." John responded, "Even so come quickly, Lord Jesus." I'm with John.
e. It seems that John the Baptist was getting a little impatient as he was in prison, and he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask Him if He was the One that they were looking for, or should they look for another. It was as though John was saying, "Let's get the show on the road, enough of this waiting."
4. I the scriptures we are exhorted to be patient.
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
a. David said in,
I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
5. The Bible tells us that God is longsuffering.
a. When the Lord revealed Himself to Moses He said, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
6. In Numbers 14:18
Moses said, The LORD [is] longsuffering, and of great mercy.
7. David in Psalm 86
said, "But thou, O Lord, [art] a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth."
8. Paul writing to the church in Rome said, "Do you despise the ` riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; don't you know that it is the goodness of God leads you to repentance?"
IV. BUT LET PATIENCE HAVE [HER] PERFECT WORK, THAT YE MAY BE PERFECT AND ENTIRE, WANTING NOTHING.
A. This is God's ultimate purpose in allowing you to go through the various testings. That you might be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
B. The next time you find yourself going through a test, "Count it all joy." If you can, you are coming close to God's desire for you to be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing.