Sermon Quotes: "Persevering in the Pandemic"

“By placing trials in this position of prominence in the letter, James suggests that the tough times the believers were facing were a key reason for his writing to them.” Doug Moo

“Profound good in our lives often emerges in a crucible of significant suffering…The endurance of faith is one of the Spirit’s finest fruits-and you only learn to endure when you must live through something hard…Endurance is a purposeful ‘abiding under’ what is hard and painful, considering others even when you don’t feel good.” David Powlison

“The heartbreaking perplexity of God-given hopes apparently wrecked by God-ordained circumstances is a reality for many Christians today and will be the experience of more tomorrow.” J.I. Packer

“The small word “it” contains the whole of life. It sums up in its tiny compass every one of the various trials which the present may contain, the future may bring, or the past may keep stored in memory…Life is full of hidden rocks, sudden violent winds of circumstances lying in wait for the believer. Every single one of them is embraced in James’ word it.There is no trial, no great calamity or small pressure, no overwhelming sorrow or small rub of life outside that plan of God, whereby it is a stepping-stone to glory.” Alec Motyer

“The strange ability to experience joy at the same time as sorrow is a hallmark of genuine faith.” Dan McCartney

“So James is very bold: we should, he says ‘consider it pure joy’ whenever we face trials of various kinds. This is not a perverse form of Christian masochism, but an entirely appropriate response if we remember the Christian’s goals.If our highest goals are creature comforts, this passage is incomprehensible; if our highest goals include growth in Christian character, James evaluation makes eminent sense.” Don Carson

“This hard saying by James is really a merciful one, for it teaches us to endure trials in a spirit that will make us feel them least.” Alfred Plummer

“James is bringing a word of caution. A believer might endure for a while, and then tire of enduring. In this case the desired growth to maturity is halted midway. There has to be a persistency of enduring. Steadfastness must have its full effect. The road is, therefore, hard and long, and the task is unremitting: to endure the first onset of the startling, unexpected trial, and to endure again while it persists, and then to go on enduring…We are called to persistent endurance. But the hard road has a glorious destination for us too: ‘that you may be prefect and complete lacking in nothing.” Alec Motyer

“This brings a whole new range of motivations on the call to endure. If the former motivation was to see realized in ourselves all that was intended in Christ, the present motivation is to please him who holds out the crown-to envisage his approval and to so live as to delight him.” Alec Motyer

“The Christian who perseveres under trial is blessed ‘because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him’ (1:12). In other words, perseverance is a necessary ingredient to genuine Christianity. A real Christian, on the long haul, sticks: he or she perseveres. There may be ups and downs, there may be special victories or temporary defeats, but precisely because the One who has begun a good work in us completes it (Phil. 1:6), real Christians stick (Heb. 3:14). They continue to be ‘those who love him.’ Thus Christians facing a trial must perceive not only the threat or the unpleasantness or the disappointment, but also the challenge for which God’s grace equips us: to press on-always to press on-knowing full well that the ultimate reward, meted out by grace, is ‘the crown of life’-the crown that is life, life in its consummated splendor, the life of the new heaven and the new earth, the heritage of all Christians. Thus, once again James is entirely realistic to perceive that the person who perseveres under trial is ‘blessed.’ It is an easy calculation, provided we remember the Christian’s goals.” Don Carson