The Testing Of Our Faith
Trials test and refine our faith. Our faith is strengthened as we go through the trials.
Alright, thank you very much. And how are you today? Hello my friend, how in the world are you? I’m glad to be back with you. This is your friend Bob Cook. And we’re trying to put a handle on God’s Word as we look into portions of it here and there, currently.
We are in 1 Peter 1. And the apostle Peter is remarking to his friends, to whom he’s writing, that he is aware of the fact that they really rejoice in their salvation although they’re unhappy at the same time. Is it possible to have joy and still be upset? And the answer is ‘yes’ because happiness has to do with circumstances. I’m not happy if I break a tooth and the, the raw nerve is exposed and I’m suffering agony. I’m not happy about that. But I can rejoice in that I know the dentist and he’s going to take care of me.
Happiness has to do with circumstances, joy has to do with people. And so, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season if need be, you’re in heaviness through manifold testings.” Why? In order that — now there’s a purpose to the testings. This is something I have to learn and relearn day after day. There’s a purpose to the testings that I face, they’re not accidental. There really aren’t any happenstances, no accidents in the Christian’s life. And this is not fatalism. This simply a serene trust in, in the wisdom and the pre-planning of your loving heavenly Father in order that what? The trial of your faith.
Now stop here long enough to think about something. Our Lord Jesus said to Simon Peter one day, “Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired thee that he might sift thee as wheat. But I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not. And when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Now our Lord Jesus didn’t say, “I’ve, I’ve prayed for you that your will power doesn’t fail, or that your courage doesn’t fail, or that your conduct doesn’t fail, or that your track record doesn’t fail.” He didn’t say any of that because Peter’s courage failed, and Peter’s conduct failed, and Peter’s track record was solid with failure. Isn’t it true?
So our Savior didn’t say that. He said, “I’ve prayed for thee that thy faith fail not.” What does God want from me? He wants that absolute commitment and trust that says, “Halleluiah anyway, I’m trusting God.” “Thy faith fail not.” Now see, the testing is the trial of your faith. It’s the refining of your faith. God lets me go through the wringer so I can realize that He brought me through.
You go back into Deuteronomy. And it said, “He led thee, and fed thee, and allowed thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” He lets you get hungry so He could feed you, so He can teach you something. That is a Cook generalization of that whole passage there in Deuteronomy. He lets you, He lets you get hungry so He could feed you, so He can teach you something.
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, in heaviness through manifold testings…” Why? “That the trial of your faith might be found unto praise, and honor, and glory.” See, God is in the business of testing and trying in order to teach me how to trust Him, so that that trust will be reflected in praise to my Lord when I see Him face to face. You follow that?
“In heaviness through manifold testings…” You don’t have to like it. But you can realize that God has a purpose in it, and that that glorious purpose is that you would better reflect the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. And the dynamic of it all is that, that it’s the trial not of your willpower but of your faith. What is it that, that comes out of the fire of testing strengthened more? It’s your faith in God, it’s your faith in God.
Someone said to me just yesterday, “The older I get the less sure I am about things and people. Where I used to make categorical judgments, I don’t do that anymore because I realize I can’t be sure of all of that. But I can be sure of my Lord.” Interesting, isn’t it? As the years go by, there are some things that you knew you knew, that now you’re not quite so sure of. But as the years go by, if you know the Lord, you’re more sure of Him, and your faith in Him grows stronger all the time.
It’s the trial of your faith, the commitment of the situation to God no matter what. Risking the situation on God — that’s what faith is. Risking the situation on God. He said, “The trial through faith.” We’re putting it through the wringer, we’re putting it through the refining fire so that faith, when I comes out, will be pure just like pure gold. And there won’t be any element of mistrust in it. The ‘what if’ syndrome will have been burned out. The ‘I, I wonder if God will answer my prayer’ syndrome will have, will have gone forever. The trial of your faith when it comes out of the refiner’s fire will be ‘I believe God’. You see the difference? Well that’s what it’s all about.
Now somebody’s going through some trials right now, I’m sure of that. And let me address myself to you, beloved. No amount of my preaching and lecturing is going to make you feel any different. But I want you to remember that God hasn’t forgotten you, that He does have plans for you. He says, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, plans of good and not of evil, to give you a desired end.”
He has plans for you. And what you’re going through right now is not because God has forgotten you or is angry with you, but that He is refining the one thing that is worthwhile, and that is your faith in Him. See, God doesn’t need your conduct to help Him, He doesn’t need your money to finance Him, He doesn’t need any ideas that you have to inform Him. But He does want your faith to depend on Him. And that’s what He’s working on when He puts you through the wringer. You follow that? It’s a great truth, isn’t it?
“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,” — When? — at the appearing of Jesus Christ. God wants you to shine when you show up in His presence. He wants you to shine when you show up in His presence.
Some family group was, was talking together and I overheard them. And the mother looked at the young man — he must have been 13, or 14, something like that; an age at which it is an insuperable obstacle to get cleaned up — you know that. And she looked at him and she said, “Son, I know you want to be comfortable, but we’re going to meet somebody important. Get dressed.” And she sent him back to his room to get slicked up a little. And he came back later on, and looked pretty presentable.
“I know you want to be comfortable but we’re going to meet somebody important. Get dressed.” Why? I want you to show up well when we meet that important person. Now God has in mind having you show up well when you meet the Lord Jesus Christ, not for your sake but for His. “That ye might be found unto praise, and honor, and glory at the appearing.” See, He gets the praise, and He gets the honor, and He gets the glory. But you’ll reflect it all if you shine. And the shine comes through the testing, it doesn’t come any other way.
So God wants you to reflect His praise, and honor, and glory when the Lord Jesus comes again. And the only way you’ll reflect it is if you shine. And if, and the only way to shine is to have gone through the refiner’s fire. That’s how you arrive at the truth there, at the close of verse 7 in 1 Peter 1.
Now, you have a connective pronoun, “whom having not seen, ye love”, “whom having not seen, ye love”. Now, you talk about salvation, “salvation wherein ye greatly rejoice.” Now he’s talking about a person. “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, receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”
Now the reason that you can go through the testing victoriously is as follows: You rejoice because of the salvation God has given you. There is a thrill in realizing that your sins are forgiven, the penalty’s paid, the law is satisfied, God’s holiness has been vindicated, the courts of heaven are forever open to you — you can go right in to the throne room of heaven, come boldly to the throne of grace, and obtain mercy, or find grace to help in time of need. You’re saved, saved to the uttermost — what a thrill.
Says, “You are, you, you greatly rejoice in that salvation, even though you’re going through testings.” You rejoice because you know God is doing something with your faith. He’s shining it up and, and, and purifying it. But then you rejoice not only that but because there’s a wonderful person that you love, “whom having not seen, ye love.” There’s a person to whom you’ve committed yourself. “In whom though now you see Him not, yet believing.” And there’s a person who is the very source of your joy. “Ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
Now it must be admitted that many people miss this because we fear — many of us — getting too emotional about our religion. People say to me sometimes, “This is a very private matter, and I don’t, I don’t believe in being emotional about it.” In that, that same person will shout and holler and, and, and make all sort of noises at a ballgame, cheering on his team or, or berating the umpire, or whatever it may be. Emotion. Well, the Bible is full of emotion of a good kind. And here is a sample of that. He said, “You love, you believe, and you rejoice.”
Now before time runs out on us, let me just point out that this is the way it always works. You love, you believe, you rejoice. And then in verse 9, “You receive.” You know the problem that we face in, in religion is not an intellectual problem primarily. It’s a matter of who has priority in your heart. “Whom having not seen, you love.” Have you given your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ? I have to ask you that. Your, your theology may be impeccable. You may have all of your various beliefs lined up in neat rows on the library shelf of your soul. You may be able to argue successfully the moot points of theology. You may be very faithful in church attendance and all of that. That still doesn’t answer this question: Do you really love the Lord Jesus? God wants your love.
Jesus asked Simon Peter in that post-resurrection appearance, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” And He used the word, agape, Calvary love. Simon Peter answered with, with brotherly love. He says, “You know I love you like a brother. I’m fond of you.” Oh we come short, even in our appraisal of our own heart’s attitudes toward the savior. But what He’s looking for is our love. “Whom having not seen ye love.”
Then what’s the second thing? Believing. And that’s commitment, commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ because you’ve given your heart to Him. Commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. I asked my father one time how he ever got along with my mother, because I knew him to have some sharp angles, shall we say, in his own personality. And he smiled, he said, “Well, whatever I suggested she always said, ‘Whatever you think, dear.’ And then I ended up doing what she wanted.” (Laughs) Quite an admission for a feisty old gentleman.
But there it is. Commitment follows love. “Whatever You want Lord. Not as I will, but as thou wilt.” And then joy follows commitment. It doesn’t work any other way. You have to commit yourself to God’s will before you’ll ever know the joy that passes understanding. We’ll get this, at this again the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today help us to love Jesus. Help us to commit ourselves to Thy will. And then grant us Thy overflowing joy. I pray in Jesus name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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