10 December 2006

The Joy of Trials

And why faith causes it.

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Frank Turk

The PyroManiacs devote space at the beginning of each week to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. As our brother Phil is prolly in an airport or an airplane today making sure Darlene gets home safely, I have found a little bit of Spurgeon for your weekend/Monday enjoyment. This exerpt, delivered on Lord's Day Morning, February 4th, 1883, is a little encouragement I found in Spurgeon's archive. Given what's going on at the D-Blog and from Antonio's corner of the blogosphere, I needed a glass of water. You should read the rest of this sermon just because, well, it's just fine.

And yes, I know that this is the same graphic Phil used last week. His picture server is a sort of locked box, and he only gives us a list of active links we can use on a ration system -- and the current list doesn't have any other pics of Spurgeon. So you get a repeet there.

Without further preface we will come at once to the text; and observe that in speaking about affliction, for that is the subject of the text, the apostle notes, first, the essential point which is assailed by temptation, namely, your faith. Your faith is the target that all the arrows are shot at; the furnace is kindled for the trial of your faith. Notice, secondly, the invaluable blessing which is thus gained, namely, the proving of your faith, discovering whether it be the right faith or no. This proof of our faith is a blessing of which I cannot speak too highly. Then, thirdly, we may not overlook the priceless virtue which is produced by this process of testing, namely, patience; for the proving of your faith produces patience, and this is the soul's surest enrichment. Lastly, in connection with that patience we shall note the spiritual completeness which is thus promoted:—"That ye may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing." Perhaps you have noticed that little variations I have made in the text; but I am now following the Revised Version, which gives an admirable rendering. I will read it. "Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into manifold temptations; knowing that the proof of your faith worketh patience. And let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing."

I. First, let us think a little upon THE ESSENTIAL POINT WHICH IS ASSAILED by temptation or trial. It is your faith which is tried. It is supposed that you have that faith. You are not the people of God, you are not truly brethren unless you are believers. It is this faith of yours which is peculiarly obnoxious to Satan and to the world which lieth in the wicked one. If you had not faith they would not be enemies of yours; but faith is the mark of the chosen of God, and therefore his foes become the foes of all the faithful, spitting their venom specially upon their faith. God Himself hath put enmity between the serpent and the woman, between the serpent's seed and the woman's seed; and that enmity must show itself. The serpent bites at the heel of the true seed: hence mockings, persecutions, temptations, and trials are sure to beset the pathway to faith. The hand of faith is against all evil, and all evil is against faith. Faith is that blessed grace which is most pleasing to God, and hence it is the most displeasing to the devil. By faith God is greatly glorified, and hence by faith Satan is greatly annoyed. He rages at faith because he sees therein his own defeat and the victory of grace.

Because the trial of your faith brings honour to the Lord, therefore the Lord Himself is sure to try it that out of its trial praise may come to his grace by which faith is sustained. Our chief end is to glorify God, and if our trials enable us more fully to answer the end of our being it is well that they should happen unto us. So early in our discourse we see reason to count it all joy when we fall into manifold trials.


Colin Maxwell said...

Preaching through James 1 myself on this very subject of temptations. Never thought I would mention my preaching in the same breath as Spurgeon's...but there you go.

reglerjoe said...

Very good. Amen.

T-Shirt Ninja said...

That post was mega-encouraging.

Steve Scott said...

You know, if Madonna ever converts to Christianity, maybe her first post-conversion song would be "Like a Spurgeon."

donsands said...

"proving your faith, discovering whether it is the right faith or no"

Good words from Charles Haddon.

Trials can be heavy and even depressing. I can remember some intense times, and I felt like giving up, but God's grace sustained my faith.

I have also seen those who professed faith, and as trials came, they went out from the body of Christ, which proved that God's grace was not upon them.

The Good Reporters said...

Great post.

Seth McBee said...

I sometimes wonder if the reason for trials on this earth is so that when we get into heaven and have no more trials we can better love God and worship Him with thankfulness, and maybe even one of the reasons that the "angels long to look"

May He be glorified.

Call to Die said...

This past Lord's day my preacher spoke twice on the suffering of believers, once from Lk. 6:20-23, then from the book of Job. In preparation for Sunday school this week I'm reading about suffering from John Piper's Desiring God. I believe that the Lord will use these things, along with this current post, to prepare me for the trials that lie ahead.