Saturday, December 1, 2018

Trusting God in Our Trials


Pastor Gary Giddings

Church of the Full Gospel

Sand Lake, Michigan

1 Peter 1:3-7 - 3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

As much as we don’t like it when troubles and problems come our way, we find that God uses these things to teach us to trust and to depend upon Him. We wish that God would automatically help us when the way gets rough, but we are learning that He waits for us to call upon Him. Note that Jesus waited for Peter to call upon Him when Peter began to sink in the Sea of Galilee (Matt. 14:28-31).

V. 3 - We have a LIVING HOPE because Jesus arose from the dead; we don’t serve a dead Savior, we serve and worship a LIVING SAVIOR. The Apostle Paul wrote, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:19-20).

V. – 4 We have an inheritance reserved in heaven that can’t be corrupted, can’t be defiled and will not fade away! We CAN have treasure in heaven because Jesus said, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:20-21). How do we lay up treasure in heaven? We love God and obey Him which means we do what is pleasing in His sight. We honor Him in all that we do. It isn’t about giving Him SOME of our time, talent and resources. We give ALL to Him! As an old song goes, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing though. My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue … and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”

V. 5 - We are “kept by the power of God.” This power is the Grace of God. Our part is to surrender to God’s work in us. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “By the Grace of God I am what I am: and His Grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the Grace of God which was with me” (1 Cor. 15:10). Truly God’s Grace will lead us all the way home.

V. 6- How can we rejoice and be in heaviness (be sad) at the same time? Though our OUTWARD circumstances may seem very daunting and overwhelming to us, INSIDE we have the life of Christ, the New Creation life by which we REJOICE. We are told that “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). Various temptations will prove whether or not we are careless or disobedient concerning the will of God. This “temptation” is an examination of what our motives are. The victory is ours as we exercise our faith in God and let our light shine in these “jars of clay.”

V. 7 - The trial of our faith is “much more precious than of gold that perishes.” The word “trial” has the thought of testing, yes, but also of “trustworthiness.” God trusts us with the things that He allows us to go through. God is proving the “genuineness” of our faith in Him. He already knows but we don’t know. We are learning to allow Christ to live through us. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20). Psalm 119 is all about the Word of God. The one who wrote this definitely had experience following the Lord. He had his ups and downs, but He learned to TRUST God. Reading this Psalm shows what FAITH IN GOD can do: It can go through hard and difficult times because this FAITH is based on the eternal Word of God.

Psalm 119:143 “Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.” We are learning to depend on God and His Word for our comfort and encouragement. When we are tempted to get discouraged about our situation, remember what Jesus said when He was tempted: “IT IS WRITTEN …” Jesus used the Word to combat the enemy. What a great example for us! The Psalmist was feeling the heat of being in a “tight and narrow place” and it must have been awful! Our natural reaction IS NOT to be calm and rational as we try to figure out how to get out of a big mess. We tend to let our words fly and/or we might let our fists fly! So when we can’t take the pressure anymore, what can we do? We go to God’s Word. It is BOTH in the good times and in the bad times that God’s Word is our source of hope and strength. It is in God’s Word that gives us eternal enjoyment and pleasure of which we never have to be ashamed. God’s Word gives us comfort and peace as we rest in Him.

Psalm 119:144 “The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.” God’s Word is RIGHT and His Word is EVERLASTING. Just as a comparison, look at any book that man has written and notice how soon it is OUT OF DATE. Why are man’s writings so dated? There are new discoveries, new insights, new thinking, etc. But when God says something in His Word, you can count on it FOREVER. God’s Word doesn’t need to be updated or amended. We look to the Lord for our understanding and we LIVE. Let the Lord DEFINE who you are. Let Him set the boundaries of your life and live freely within those terms.

Psalm 119:23-24 23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes. 24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors. Have you heard of William Wilberforce? He was a Christian and a Member of Parliament in England in the late 1700s and early 1800s. He led a campaign to legally end the slave trade in the English Empire and it succeeded after more than 20 years of work. He had committed Psalm 119 to memory and it is said that he would recite it while walking back home from Parliament.
Think of how verses 23-24 must have helped Wilberforce to keep going in the face of great opposition. Most of the other Members of Parliament didn’t want to end the slave trade that brought them wealth and power. Many spoke against and vilified Wilberforce for his stand. How did Wilberforce know that slavery was wrong? The Bible tells us that we (ALL people) are made in the image of God and Jesus that died for ALL. Look at these verses that speak of how the Word of God strengthens those who put their trust in Him, even in times of great difficulty and adversity.

Psalm 119:41-42 41 Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word. 42 So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.

Psalm 119:49-50 49 Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. 50 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.

Psalm 119:51-52 51 The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law. 52 I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself.

Psalm 119:61-62 61 The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law. 62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.

Psalm 119:86-88 86 All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me. 87 They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts. 88 Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.

Psalm 119:95-96 95 The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies. 96 I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.

Psalm 119:107-108 107 I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word. 108 Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments.

Psalm 119:110-112 110 The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts. 111 Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart. 112 I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.

Psalm 119:157-158 157 Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies. 158 I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.

Psalm 119:161-163 161 Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word. 162 I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. 163 I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love. We praise God and we rejoice that our name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. No matter what happens here on earth, WE HAVE A HOME IN HEAVEN. Of course it isn’t easy when we are rejected and not included with others when we stand for Jesus. But because of our experience with Him, we can REJOICE with joy unspeakable that is full of glory!

1 Peter 1:8-9 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. The greatest story ever told is the story of Jesus laying down His life for us. We enter this story when we accept Him as our Savior. “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Whatever trials or troubles that the Lord allows to come our way, we can TRUST Him because He never makes a mistake. Before honor comes humility (Prov. 15:33). We have the example of Jesus who humbled Himself: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).