Sunday Sermon 10.31.2020
We are living in the days of testing.
My husband, the President, and Justin Turner, to name a few. Who do you know that’s been tested? Who do you know that has tested positive?
Of the three I listed above, two tested positive, one tested negative. One failed the test.
The Bible is always relevant, check out this passage about testing positive, in 2 Corinthians 13:5.
” Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular check ups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.“The Message
Paul, the writer here, urges the people of the churches in Corinth to test themselves and see if they test positive for Jesus. And if they test negative, to do something about it.
How simple is that? What a clear challenge.
Using the original language, a transliteration of that verse would more accurately read, “Test, scrutinize and prove yourselves. Could your convictions relating to God and your convictions relating to Jesus Christ be approved or rejected?”
I love the fact here that the testing is done as a self assessment. We look at ourselves seeking proof, or evidence that Jesus Christ resides in us. No one else is judging us, we get the first look, the first cut as it were.
How do we know if Jesus is in us? How can you tell? What evidence or proofs are there?
We can tell if Jesus is in us by what comes out of us. The evidence is our actions, words, habits – our fruit.
There are all sorts of things that are tested and done so with the sole intent as to prove its quality and what lies within.
Athletes are tested.
Coach Bear Bryant said, “If a man is a quitter I’d rather find out in practice than in a game.” He therefore designed grueling practices for his teams all intended to show the quitters. He said, “Championships are won when the stages are empty.” He knew if an athlete could survive the practice runs and plays, they proved themselves worthy and passed the test for the big game.
Swords are tested.
Taken from the sheath long before war, swords are tested in peace, under stress, fire and disaster drills when there is no real danger. They are tried, scrutinized, and approved for battle.
Gold and silver are tested.
Gold is put in a crucible and heated to 1100 degrees Celsius allowing the dross (impurities) to rise to the surface, where it is then skimmed off. The process is repeated until there are no impurities left.
Silver goes through “fire assaying”, which is the process of separating all of its impurities. Again, the goal is to test what is inside as pure, to at least 92.5% silver. Thus silver 925.
We, people, believers are tested, too.
We are told in 1 Peter 4:12, to not be surprised or think that it is strange that we are being tested.
1 Peter 1:7 says that the test is to prove the genuineness of our faith and remove the impurities. When the heat is up, the impurities come out until all that’s left is Jesus. So that one day, when the heat comes up, all that comes out of us is Jesus, no more impurities.
Psalm 66:10 – “For you, God tested us; you refined us like silver.”
James 1:2-4 is a classic passage, reminding us that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. Very much like the practice runs and plays by Coach Bryant, the practice sessions for us in the heat of life will reveal what we’re made of and whether or not we are quitters.
Those who persevere, do not quit. With each test, they are proven solid in their faith and test positive for Jesus emanating from their life.
If in the test, they test negative for Jesus, they do something about it. They check the symptoms and do what is needed to correct the evidence.
Testing negative for Jesus is no reason to quit. The testing is meant to produce perseverance in you. Get back up, get right, and keep on walking. “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.” Proverbs 24:16
THAT is perseverance. Doing something about the negative test and getting ready for the next test. Cuz you know, it’s coming.
The tests will continue until there are no impurities left. Until only Jesus is left. Only his reactions, words, mind, attitude, feelings, emotions, ways, and thoughts.
So we will have ample opportunities for testing positive for Jesus.
And there is even a promise –
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”James 1:12
One other thought in closing.
The heat of life, the tests of life come to us to reveal to us what lies within our heart. To give us firsthand evidence or proof of what we’re made of. God already knows whether we test positive or negative for him – he wants us to know. So he has designed these practice runs to reveal what is in us. Deuteronomy 8:2; Job 23:10
Returning to and reviewing our starting text, the charge is – give yourselves regular check ups – check for firsthand evidence of Jesus in your life and seek to test positive, but if you fail, do something about it.
Because we are living in days of testing, and we need to test positive.
Go with God.