sermon: The Continuous Testing of Our Faith
The constant tests to which God submits His people enable them to build character by responding in faith. The identity of the children of Light consists of the quality of responses they make. God perfected Abraham's faith by putting him through a series of increasingly difficult trials until his faith became unshakeable. The apostle James defines trials as blessings in that they prove the ability of God's people to resist temptation, developing patience and perseverance in the process (James 1:2-3). God permitted Satan to tempt Christ in all the ways He Himself tests His people; yet He successfully resisted compromise. Knowing that Satan plays upon human weaknesses, the children of Light must pre-set their minds to obedience, offering resistance just as Christ did, recognizing not only the force of temptation but also the consequences of compromise. Trials enable their deepening of faith in the same way that Jeremiah learned faith in the miry dungeon or that Job, watching his family and fortune vanish, grew in faith. God's people must walk by faith and not by sight in the same sense that Noah, knowing that his civilization would end, was unaware of specifically how or when that end would come. Noah, unlike Lot, did not become involved with worldly solutions to issues, but waited patiently for God's deliverance. God commissions His people to separate from the world, recognizing that He orders their steps. Christ fully experienced the human condition (Hebrews 4:14-23) and therefore qualified as a High Priest, mediating for all who abide in the faith.
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