Over the last number of months we have shared with you our key verse for this series found in Hebrews 11:6, “For without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
From there we shared three very important takeaways:
- Notice the word “cometh”. The Greek tense for the word “cometh” is in the continual tense, meaning it is discussing those who continually come to God. It could read “those that cometh and cometh and cometh to God”. It describes a continual, communicative relationship.
- When we continually come to God, we must believe that “He IS”…not He was or He will be. That describes a vast majority of the Body of Christ. “God did a miracle in Biblical days” or “One day when we all get to Heaven, He will heal then.” God is not the Great I was or the Great I will be…He IS the Great I AM!
- He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Now we’ve left behind three quarters of the Body of Christ. Most don’t believe He is a rewarder…most believe He is a taker!
Then we gave you 4 View Verifications:
- How you view Him will determine how much you come to Him.
- How you view Him is how you will treat others. In other words, if you think He’s mad at you, it will be very difficult for you to treat others kindly.
- How you view Him will determine your outlook on life.
- How you view Him will determine your destiny.
Then we began to discuss 11 Characteristics concerning the Character of God:
- You can’t create God in your own image (Rom. 1:25).
- Heaven yes…Hell no!
- Sin ruins the view
- Will the real God please stand up? (John 10:10)
- The weather outside is frightful (Rom. 8:19-23, Matt. 24:1-8)
- Who’s in charge here? (II Cor. 4:4, Luke 4:6)
- Stupid is as stupid does (James 1:13-17).
“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
Last month we broke down these powerful verses for you. We noticed in verse 13 you see the phrase, “Let no man say.” In the Greek language this verse is written in the strongest tense possible. It is called the imperative tense and it’s as if Jesus is pounding the table and saying, “Let no man say!” It’s as if Jesus, by the foreknowledge of the Holy Spirit, was anticipating today’s generation that accuses our God of testing with evil!
Then we noticed the phrase “tempted of God” and that little word “of”. We learned that this is the Greek word “apo” which connotes an indirect action. If it was a direct action the Greek word used would have been “hupo”. We learned that this tells us something very important.
Many Christians will concede that God didn’t directly cause evil but they will say He indirectly allowed it to teach us something. However because James by the Holy Spirit used the word “apo”, this verse is telling us strongly that God does not directly or even indirectly cause evil!
We then learned that God will only test us with good, never with evil. We must remember that there are two tests we must pass in life…the adversity test and the prosperity test. The adversity test comes from the devil and must be resisted (see James 4:7). The prosperity test comes from God and must be accepted.
In verse 14, notice where the temptation truly comes from when we are “enticed with our own lust.” Notice it’s not even the devil who entices us. Remember this: I believe the devil could retire and leave us to our own choices and still do pretty well! I believe he sees some of our own choices and actually is inspired! “I never thought of that one!” the devil might say. “I’m going to try that one out on the next human being I see!”
Let’s continue this series…
Notice the progression in verse 14 and 15. We are “enticed” with lust. The Greek word here is a fishing term that means to be “enticed with bait”. Lust when it is conceived brings forth sin and sin when it is finished, brings forth death.
Please allow me to give you a little Pastor Jim parable to explain this verse. As a fisherman, I think I am duly qualified to do so. When I fish, I cast out some great looking lures that look just like real fish. The stupid fish, enticed, thinks this is lunch and bites down hard on the bait. When he tugs, I set my pole hard driving the hook into its mouth. Eventually I pull him into my boat. Now he is completely out of his element and he ends up as lunch on my plate.
In parabolic form, that’s exactly what these verses mean. What do you say, let’s not give in to the “lure” of lust unless we want to end up as lunch at the Red Lobster! Remember this: Man’s choice is the devil’s permission!
Lastly, look at verses 16 and 17. Here James by the Holy Spirit, is clearly telling us that we should not be deceived. How are we deceived? When we think God is a car-wrecking, cancer causing Creator and not a loving, life-giving Lord! Verse 17 clearly tells us that God is the giver of good gifts and in Him is neither a “shadow of turning”. In the Greek language this was referring to a Roman sundial in which the shadow would turn as the sun would set. God is telling us that He is good and He is the giver of good gifts that will never even slightly change!
Good God, bad devil, cursed world, stupid people! Stupid is as stupid does!
Join us next week as we continue to discuss 11 Characteristics concerning the Character of God.