Count it all Joy



Sunday 09/16/18 

Series: For edification

Message – Joy in Temptation


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Joy in Temptation!

Js. 1:1-4 Pray

Consider it Great Joy!


Happiness is always situational but Joy is ALWAYS rooted in RELATIONSHIP!

Whenever you are TOLD to do something in scripture it is often because it is the thing you are MOST UNLIKELY to do without being told.

Trial pi ras mos = temptation

In the Greek it actually reads more like this…

Let temptation lead your minds towards and be the grounds for gladness of heart realizing that this proving of your trust in Christ will produce patience leading to righteousness and maturity in Him.

Let’s read it in the Holman translation,

“(1) Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, (3) knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (4) But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”

Proving – Testing TRUST

Remember… The character of Christ being formed in us is what Christianity is all about because of the Fall – but TRUST in relationship is what LIFE is about because of Creation.

Two statements from Christ on this:

  1. “…but when the Son of Man returns, WILL HE FIND FAITH ON THE EARTH.”
  2. This is the work of God, “BELIEVE ON HIM WHOM the Father sent.”

This belief is not just about initial salvation, but about the salvation of the soul and ultimately the body as well. The early church talked MUCH about this – it is clearly seen in Romans 8 “For we were saved in THIS hope” What hope had he been talking about? The redemption and glorification of our bodies one day! But even in THAT passage Paul tells us that before the salvation of the body comes the salvation of the soul – which is CHRIST IN YOU our Hope of Glory!

So let’s go back and read the first four verses again,

“(1) Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, (3) knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (4) But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”

Now, for this statement Lacking nothing to make sense we need to know what the point of this letter is.

Lacking nothing is said within a context of producing Christ in you – righteousness. Which is why he later brings that up in the body of this chapter.

Then he offers an example of lacking something and our trust in Christ allowing Him to not only give but BE our answer.

James 1:5-12, HCSB “(1) Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, Who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.

Notice FOUR things of MAJOR importance.

  1. You are encouraged to ask!
  2. God is a GIVING God.
  3. God is a GENEROUS God Who give LIBERALLY (both freely and in abundance)
  4. He gives without criticizing.

(6) But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. (7) That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

One condition – TRUST HIM. In fact, if you don’t there it really doesn’t make any sense to come to Him anyway. To have it in your heart and mind to come to Him and then with that same heart and mind to not trust Him – is DOUBLE minded, by very definition.

(8) An indecisive man (double-minded)is unstable in all his ways.

This always reminds me of two other passages… one of them is found later in this same book – turn to chapter 4 verses 4-5 and Isa. 55:6-8…

James 4:4-8, HCSB “(4) Adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy. (5) Or do you think it’s without reason the Scripture says that the Spirit He has caused to live in us yearns jealously? (6) But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (7) Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. (8) Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people!”

Isa. 55:6-8, HCSB “(6) Seek the LORD while He may be found; call to Him while He is near. (7) Let the wicked one abandon his way, and the sinful one his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, so He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will freely forgive. (8) “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the LORD’s declaration.”

(9) The brother of humble circumstances should boast in his exaltation; (10) but the one who is rich should boast in his humiliation, because he will pass away like a flower of the field. (11) For the sun rises with its scorching heat and dries up the grass; its flower falls off, and its beautiful appearance is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will wither away while pursuing his activities.

(12) Blessed is a man who endures trials, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that He has promised to those who love Him.”

Notice it is not just our faith that is being proven, but the heart from which that trust springs forth. WE are being proven!!!

Now, about this crown business.

For many years there has been a popular doctrine that the five crowns mentioned in the New Testament…

  1. The “incorruptible crown” mentioned in 1Cor. 9:25
  2. The “crown of joy” mentioned in 1Thess. 2:19
  3. The “crown of righteousness” mentioned in 2Tim. 4:8
  4. The “crown of glory” mentioned in 1 Peter 5:4 
  5. This “crown of life” mentioned here in James 1:12 

…somehow refer to five literal separate rewards which believers may earn to be worn like some type of “iron on merit badge” to place on the sleeve of their heavenly robes. This is not only a gross misinterpretation of Scripture and fraught with theological problems – let’s just admit it, it’s just plain silly.

First of all, the figure of the crown as it is used in 1Thess. 2:19 is quite different than those mentioned in other passages. Paul had in mind the custom of cities preparing wreaths of various materials like olive, ivy, oak and even beaten gold in anticipation of the arrival of high ranking dignitaries. These wreaths were either worn on the body and clothing or strewn about the streets. and were emblems of joy and expressions of devotion given by the people to the visiting official. So it was quite natural that Paul would use it in this way to sum up what he was in the middle of saying in 1Thess. 2:19. In fact, I know it is a little diversion, but to prove the point go ahead and turn there…

1Thess 2:19-20, “(19) For who is our hope, or joy, or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? (20) For you are our glory and joy!”

As you can see, if this were to be taken literally, Paul, Silas, Timothy and perhaps others would have to wear all of the people in the church of Thessalonica on their heads. While that might be a fun thing to watch – it really would be a silly thing to say!

No in this (and most places) the word crown is metaphorical and is used to represent honor! Now that is NOT to debunk the biblical doctrine that there will be rewards on some level to those who served God with distinction and honor, but these are not an example of it.

So what does it say we will be crowned or honored with? LIFE

How does the New Testament define LIFE…How does our Lord define it?

Jn. 17:3,

“This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent–Jesus Christ.”

This makes practical sense. Do you remember the parable of the 10 minas, where Jesus in illustrating the honor bestowed upon those who are faithful stewards in this life over what He committed to their charge will receive more DUE TO THEIR FAITHFULNESS.

Luke 19:16-17,

“(16) The first came forward and said, ‘Master, your mina has earned 10 more minas.’ (17) “‘Well done, good slave!’ he told him. ‘Because you have been faithful in a very small matter, have authority over 10 towns.’”

The same general principle is mentioned in Luke 16:10.

So it is logical to assume that the reward is somehow connected to what this person was faithful over during temptation.

They are being invited into knowing Christ more – becoming more intimately acquainted with Him and therefore able to become more LIKE Him in the process.

When you are faithful over little, more will be given!


This service had content that is NOT written out here, so I would encourage you to listen to it WHILE you read…Blessings! 

I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

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Hi I am Pastor Mark...

I have been a pastor for nearly 30 years now (2018), though never quite like I am today. (more on that in a moment)

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my best friend, greatest personal support and most valued critic.
As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught. I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled). Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then,

"If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling."

~ Fredrick Buechner

As I said, as of 2009 I’ve been a Pastor for nearly 20 years. Earlier in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our church was not in keeping with the New Testament. This was a shock to me and it is was a revelation that did not come all at once but over the course of a few weeks.

We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until about 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We believe the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly and though we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me. I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!