Men's Workout #19 - September 16th

We started off our time together by singing Hymn #54, "My Lord, I Did Not Choose You."

Afterwards, we turned to the book of James to read and identify propositions.

Trials are a joy and a blessing.

  • We don't consider trials as happy or celebratory things.
  • The world looks at trials as evil things that just land on your lap. In contrast, Christians know that trials are designed by God and He uses them to produce something good within us.
    • Some examples of pain that yields good results - the pain of a needle, a dentist appointment, the discipline of studying
  • It takes effort to consider trials as things to be joyful about.
  • When someone goes through serious pain, it can mess with the mind and get you to think things that you wouldn't think otherwise. And yet, there are some believers who have gone through serious pain and still trust in the Lord.
  • Question: Could/should a parent "design" experiences or trials for their children in order to sanctify them?
    • No. The trials that James talks about are engineered by God.
    • The role of the parent is more of a benevolent giver, than to go as far as designing experiences. We should leave the design and bestowing of trials up to God.
      • However, parents should aim to foster endurance, character, and maturity in their children.
  • Question: Could trials be related to the Lord's discipline referenced in Hebrews 12?
    • Hebrews 12 is more referring to corrective discipline, whereas the trials found in James is is more about training and sanctification.
  • Christians can be encouraged when they are in the midst of trials.

God gives wisdom to those who ask in faith.

  • We can be confident that God hears our prayers and gives generously to those who ask.
  • For the believer, prayers should be made across the whole spectrum of needs: simple things, lofty things, and everything in between.
      • Don't only pray for your heart, attitude, character, and interaction with coworkers; pray also for physical, basic things, like food, success at work, or resolving an issue at work. Trust and have confidence in knowing that God hears our every prayer.
      • Jesus prayed for daily bread! There is nothing too mundane to ask of God in prayer.
      • Praying for all things demonstrates that you have an abiding relationship with God.
    • Test your heart.
      • Some people say that "prayer is not a way to change God but to change us"
      • As you pray and ask of God, you have opportunities to test your heart and work out truths in the context of your life.
    • Sometimes God's answer to our prayers is "no."
        • God said no to Jesus, God said no to Paul; God can certainly say no to us!
        • James 4 teaches us that God is sovereign. He will say "no" to our plans if they are in oppositions to His own plans.
      • Question: Can our prayers change God? Or do they not change God?
        • We don't have the capacity to fully understand how the two interplay. But we do know that prayer is a means by which God does things.
          • This is not to say that God is limited by our prayers. To put it differently, God will act for good even if we don't pray for good.
        • Just to give a sense of how big God is, if you don't pray, He can get someone else to pray - He's the sovereign God!
        • When thinking about the responsibility of the believer vs. God's sovereignty (and other topics for that matter), we ought to properly use the knowledge that God gave us as he intended to give us. He didn't intent for us to hack theology.
      • Question: Is wisdom the only thing we can ask for in faith?
        • No . There are other passages that generalize the principle of asking in faith. James is drawing from the broader principle that we should pray in faith.

      The source of sin is our own lust

      • When we deal with sin, we're dealing with our desires. If you want to break sin's neck, you must deal with your desires.
        • For example, we must deal with what makes money desirable, not just with the surface issue of money (i.e., a materialistic, greedy heart vs. a situational lacking of money)
          • Matthew 6:24 teaches us that we cannot serve both God and wealth.

      Question: What is the crown of life?

      • This is likely referring to eternal life. If it isn't, we're not sure what else it could be. However, we know for certain that the crown of life is not referring to a works based salvation.
        • For example, the thief on the cross next to Jesus at His crucifixion didn't go through trials or a proving grounds as a prerequisite for receiving eternal life.
      • Keep in mind that this is written through believers. A genuine believer will endure through trials. Unbelievers will not have the strength to endure through trials.
      • "Once" is idiomatic by NASB. Translated from the Greek, verse 12 reads: "...having been tested and approved, he will receive the crown of life..."

      Question: How should we view Peter's denial of Christ in light of this text?

      • Peter's denial of Christ is not the best example of the application of this passage in James. The Peter that denied Christ was the Peter before Pentecost. We wouldn't say that Peter didn't exercise faith before that, and we definitely wouldn't say he didn't exercise faith after that.
      • A more fitting example of Peter's faith would be his perseverance through his trial of imprisonment.
      • When it comes to denying the Lord, it is black and white - if you deny Christ, Christ will deny you.


      • Sassoun volunteered to coordinate church gatherings for holidays, such as picnics and BBQs. He'll work with the Planning Team on this.
      • On Sundays that don't have scheduled homegroup meetings, we should think of things to do with our children.
      • Question: How can we encourage one another?
        • We have to be friends. Loving others is predicated on having a relationship with others.
        • When we're task oriented it's harder to think about the people around you. We need to be people-oriented.