Today’s Bible Teaching and the song is about “Our Testing”. 1 Peter 1:7 “so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Testing is a needed process to strengthen and prove our Christian character or to separate the fake from the genuine.
We read about this test in Daniel about the fiery furnace and the lion’s den. Their testing process was not easy, but it was very difficult. However, the result made their “Christian character” stronger, and they discovered that they could still worship the Lord while being tested. We see in Daniel 3:25 the result of their test, “And he answered, and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the son of God.” I can imagine them praising and worshiping the Lord in the midst of the flames in the furnace and seeing the expression of shock and confusion on the faces of the enemy when they came out unharmed and their clothes not even or smelling of smoke.
As followers of Jesus, we will be tested, but just like the three Hebrew men in the fiery furnace, we will not be alone because the Lord Jesus will be with us. Rev. 3:10 says, “Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.” There are many followers of the Lord both in the Bible and not in the Bible who have and are being tested. Hebrews 11 gives a sample of those in the Bible who were tested and yet remained faithful. There are people not in the Bible who also have been or are being tested like Joni Eareckson Tada, Corrie Ten Boom, David Ring, and many others.
What will our test show? Will we be proven to be a follower of Jesus or just a Christian fan? Benjamin Franklin said, “How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few, His precepts!” and Billy Graham said, “We are the Bibles the world is reading; We are the creeds the world is needing; We are the sermons the world is heeding.” Jesus said in Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” The Apostle Paul who was severely beaten several times, put in prison, and finally beheaded by the Romans said in Philippians 2:16 “holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” Not being a true follower of Jesus means that you are running your race in vain because, in the end, you will not receive the crown of salvation.
You Can Bear it (written by Kirk Franklin)
I’ve gone through the fire
And I’ve been through the flood
I’ve been broken into pieces
Seen lightnin’ flashin’ from above
But through it all I remember
That He loves me
And He cares
And He’ll never put more on me
Than I can bear
Never put more on me
Never put more on me
Never put more on me
His word said He won’t
I believe it
I receive it
I claim it
No he’ll never
Put more on me
Than I can bear
By Ray Stedman
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
Oh what an encouragement this is! This is written down that we might understand three specific things about our testings: First, they are common to all. I do not know anything that is harder to believe, when we are under Testing, than that. We all think, Why isn’t this happening to others? They deserve it so much more than me. Why is it happening to me? Well, it is just your turn, that is all. Everybody goes through it. You are not permitted to witness their martyrdom, but you will not be allowed to miss yours. You do not see what they go through most of the time, but no one is left out. Trials are common to all. Their time is coming, if it has not already, so do not ever allow yourself to think that what is happening to you is unique. It is not at all. It is very common, and the minute you start inquiring around, you will find a dozen that have gone through it too.
Second, though they are common trials, they are also controlled pressures — God is faithful, he will not allow you to be tempted above your strength. Again, that is hard to believe, is it not? We say, Well, it has already happened. I am already beyond my strength. No, you are not. You just think you are. God knows your strength greater than you do. He knows how much you can handle, and how much you cannot. One of the basic principles of training in an athletic contest is to develop things you do not think you can do right now, to put more pressure on you than you think you can handle, is it not? And you discover you can handle it. This is what God does with us. He puts the pressure on, but it is controlled pressure. It will never be more than you can handle as long as you understand the third thing.
The third thing is the conquering grace that he provides, the way out that is always present, never failing. What is that way of escape? It is dependence. Discipline is necessary, but so is dependence. All through the Old Testament the heroes and heroines of faith have taught us that in the hour of Testing God strips away all human support so that we may learn that he is enough. God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in time of trouble (Ps.46:1), and we will never discover that until everything else has been taken away.
Then we begin to discover that God can hold us steady. He himself is the way of escape, and that is why he puts us through pressures and testings.
Lord, I pray that this may be my experience in the days that lie ahead in this troubled world.
What three aspects of our trials and temptations are assured to us as God’s people? How does this address our complaints, as well as our confidence in God’s purposeful ending?