“THIS IS A TEST”
April 30, 2017 10:30 AM
Rev. Jeremy B. Stopford, Pastor
TODAY’S SPECIAL: “A Name Funny”
A husband has to go away on a business trip. Really bad timing – his wife is about to deliver a set of twins (boy & girl).
Sure enough, she goes into labor the minute his plane takes off. So his brother takes her to the hospital. She has a rough labor and it takes a long time to recover her communication skills.
But the hospital needs names for the babies before they can release them from the hospital. So it’s up to the new uncle to name them.
When the husband finally comes home, he is a bit worried about what his brother named his children. So he carefully asks his wife what are their names.
She replied, “Well, he named our daughter Denise.”
“Hey, that’s not so bad” he says and smiles.
“I know, but he named your son Denephew!”
INTRODUCTION: Lord willing, next Sunday we will be starting a new series of messages from the Book of James. It takes 15 minutes of SLOW reading to read James in one sitting. Try it! Then try it EVERY DAY this week!
In James we will learn about temptations. Sometimes we really test God, don’t we? Just like we used to try our parents’ patience (perhaps some of you still do!), so we often try God’s patience. All the time!
But the Scriptures also show a different kind of test, where God Himself purposefully tests His children! He could have a sign which reads, “THIS IS A TEST”.
“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.” (Prov. 17:3). The Lord tests! Why? Let’s look at several of His tests to find out. PRAYER
#1. LISTEN TO ME! (Ex. 16:4; Deut. 8:1-3)
A. Exodus 16:1-8
We remember the Exodus history well. In Egypt in slavery. The 9 plagues. The 10th plague “when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” And God did – except for those homes in which there was no blood shed – and from the firstborn slave to the firstborn in the Pharaoh’s home, every firstborn died. The Egyptians kicked out the Israelites, and they left in a hurry!
Exodus 16 shows us that by now, what little food and water they had was gone. They blame Moses and Aaron! (v. 3). Egypt would have been better, they reckon, forgetting that they were slaves.
And ultimately, their grumbling wasn’t against Moses and Aaron, it was against the Lord Himself (v. 8)
V. 4 – God is going to test them to listen to Him! Will they trust Him for their daily provision? Will we?
B. Deut. 8:1-3
Moses, like a wise grandfather, writes to the 2nd generation – those who had been under 20 years of age OR who had been born in the wilderness. They are outside Jericho, ready to cross the Jordan, when Moses recounts the events of the previous 40 years of wanderings and displays of God’s faithfulness.
Here is a new test, with the 3-fold purposes: remember (v. 2a), humble/test (v. 2b), and teach (v. 3)
Jesus used this verse at His temptation.
Point: God tests us in order to cause us to turn our attention, not on the test, but on Him – AND to be people of His Word!
Am I? Are you?
#2. THE BELIEVER’S REQUEST TO BE TESTED. (Ps. 26:2; 139:23)
A. Psalm 26:2
This test is to show the difference between the godly and the ungodly, and to point to the worship and mindset of those who know Jesus, and the mindset of those who don’t.
B. Psalm 139:23-24
This psalm is a tribute to God’s omniscience (His all-knowing) and His omnipresence (He’s everywhere!) (vs. 1-12 in particular).
AND from vs. 13 on, He talks about His knowing everything about the entire person – He knows us just as we are!
As with Psalm 26, in the last verses there is the believer’s call to ask God to test, to examine him, to see if there is any wicked way in him, AND to lead him in God’s way – the everlasting way. This should be our daily prayer!
#3. THE TEST TO FAITH. (John 6:6)
Jesus already knew what He was going to do – and we, too, know the story of the feeding of the 5,000 (plus!), don’t we?
Philip is us! He thinks it through and THEN he trusts – as often do we! Finally, Andrew (v.9) asks, “how far will so few fishes go?” Jesus says – “SIT DOWN!” This is a call, a test to faith!
CONCLUSION. Rev. 3:10. The test of the world from which the true believer is sheltered – hold on to what you have! The “hour of trial” is when a world or a nation tries to live as if God does not exist, and then they don’t even trust Him even if He did exist. The believer stays true during that test! And may we have that identity, too!
Close in Prayer