1. Lent – Mardi Gras
  2. Introduction: Gen 22:1-3, 9-18
    1. Slide 4 James 1:2-4 – Consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
    2. Slide 5 Pop Quiz
      1. The pop quiz comes at an unexpected time to test how well you have learned something that you haven’t had a chance to „cram“ for.
      2. We prefer tests that come at expected times so that we can prepare for them.
  • We prepare by cramming info into our short-term memories
    1. True learning is about knowing the information, understanding it and being able to consistently use it over time.
    2. Example: Carpentry – can I build the house? Can I build it tomorrow? Next Year?
  1. Most of life’s tests come like the pop quiz, at unexpected times.
  1. Slide 6 Examples of testing
    1. Adam and Eve were tested in the garden of Eden
    2. Abraham was tested when he offered up Isaac (Heb. 11:17)
  • Jesus was tested in the wilderness
    1. Jesus was tested many times including by His suffering and death. He passed the tests and the result is salvation for the whole creation.
  1. If the Father tested Adam and Eve and even His own Son, why would He not do and or allow the same for us.
  1. Source of tests
    1. God – Genesis 22:1
    2. Satan – Job 1:9-11
  • Self – inflicted
  1. Slide 7 We all test things all the time
    1. Airplanes and cars are tested.
      1. I don’t want get in a plane that hasn’t been tested… did they just draw this up on paper? What about t he tires on the landing gear.
    2. We use meat thermometers to test meat to see if it is done
  • If we tie a knot we tug on it to make sure it will hold…
  1. Why do we do this? To damage the thing tested? No, to see if it is ready, if it is strong enough, to see if it is finished…
  • Purposes of Testing
    1. Slide 8 Maturity
      1. James 1 – The tests are used to bring us to maturity.
        1. Hebrews 12: 7, 11 – Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
      2. Slide 9 – Ministry/Calling
        1. 1 Tim. 3:10 – “They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.”
        2. Joseph – Gen 50:18-20
        3. Abraham was tested before the promise was fulfilled. Gen 22:1 – Sometime later God tested Abraham…
        4. 4 – Jesus was tested, through temptation, before He was released into ministry.
  • Testing is repeated
    1. We will all undergo repeated testing throughout life
    2. Every new endeavour will be tested – new job, new business, new vision, new marriage, etc.
    3. Every calling will be tested
      1. Will stand in there and persevere, or will we run away…
    4. The honeymoon is over when the testing begins.
  1. Testing is normal and proper
    1. It does not mean that something is wrong.
      1. Sometimes we think that if I am not having fun anymore or its hard or that suffering and disappointment have come, that I have done something wrong or that “something is wrong”. This is not necessarily true.
    2. Slide 10 12:5-7 – endure hardship as discipline, God is treating you as sons & daughters – And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
  1. Eight Leadership Tests
    1. Slide 11 Test of honesty and integrity
      1. Biblical Illustrations
        1. Daniel 1:8 – But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.
      2. Explanation:
        1. A test of integrity is an experience where I am tested to see whether or not I will live according to my values and beliefs.
        2. Often occurs under some sort of pressure.
          1. Temptation, expectations of others, etc.
        3. Integrity means that God and others can count on me to be honest and consistently act in accord with that which I believe to be true or that which is required of me.
  • Examples:(Robert Clinton)
    1. Temptation – tests my convictions
      1. Jesus in the Wilderness
    2. an alternative in guidance situations – which tests calling
    3. persecution – which tests steadfastness
    4. loyalty – which tests allegiance
    5. restitution – which tests honesty
  1. Leadership Application: Integrity is like the foundation of a building. Until the foundation is solid it can’t be built upon, or if it is, it will eventually come crashing down.
    1. Example of the houses that collapsed in Turkey and Syria
      1. Pancake building collapse
    2. Slide 12 – Test of Obedience
      1. Biblical Illustrations:
        1. Gen 12:1-2 – Some time later God tested Abraham… Then God said, “take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.
        2. Rich young ruler – Luke 18:18-25
      2. Explanation:
        1. A test of obedience tests our ability to recognize, obey and trust God’s voice.
        2. Level 1 obedience: Can I obey the revealed will of God, the Bible.  Things everyone is called to live by.
        3. Level 2 obedience:
          1. Can I obey when God asks me to do something I don’t fully understand or that doesn’t make sense?
          2. Can I obey God when He asks something of me that He’s not asking of others?
            1. Sometimes, when we experience a higher level of testing in an area, it is a sign that our calling lies in that area.
  • Examples:
    1. Learning about possessions and giving
      1. Paying Tithes/giving financially
    2. Learning to put God first in the choice of a mate
    3. Learning to be willing to be used by God in ministry
    4. Willing to forgive
    5. Willingness to confess a sin to another person or admit a mistake
    6. Willingness to right a wrong or make restitution
  1. Slide 13 Test of Faithfulness
    1. Biblical Illustrations
      1. Luke 16:10 – Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much…
      2. Luke 19:11-27 – vs. 17 – Well done, my good servant! His master replied, because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.
    2. Explanation
      1. A test of faithfulness occurs when I am tested to see whether or not I will follow through on commitments I have made regarding tasks or people.
      2. Usually, we start with small responsibility and work towards greater responsibility.
        1. If we are faithful with little we will increase.
      3. Level 1 Testing: Can I carry out my responsibilities with consistency and excellence.
        1. We need to give ourselves to the small responsibility with the same passion, excellence, and positive attitude we intend to give to the large responsibility.
          1. Sometimes being given a small amount of responsibility, or a responsibility we don’t really want, disappoints us and tests our faithfulness.
          2. From the toilet to the pulpit…
        2. Level 2 testing: Can we maintain faithfulness when…
          1. We don’t get promoted as fast as we think we should
          2. Others we think are less worthy get promoted before we do
          3. People we believe are important (leadership) don’t seem to notice us.
          4. It’s not fun anymore
          5. Leatherby’s Story
  • Examples
    1. Practical Ministry before “Spiritual” Ministry
      1. Elijah & Elisha, Joshua
    2. Private before public
    3. helping before leading
    4. serving another’s vision before being entrusted with your own
    5. Joseph
  1. Leadership/Calling Application
    1. This test comes to prove our potential for greater opportunities.
    2. If I demonstrate faithfulness with little it shows that I can be entrusted with much.
    3. The “promotion” might not come in the timing we want.
  1. Slide 14 Conclusion
    1. What do we do with all of this?
      1. Be aware that tests will come and will come regularly. Pop Quizes are coming, so be ready!
      2. Identify the tests you are in the middle of right now
        1. Where are you being tested (Integrity, Obedience, Faithfulness)?
        2. How are you responding?
          1. Are you allowing the trial to drive you to God and help you grow?
          2. Or are you complaining and becoming bitter?
        3. What do you sense God is asking you to do? To stand firm on? To not give in? To step out in faith? To go back and current or make right?
        4. What will you concretely do?
        5. Let’s take time to pray and ask God for His grace and help in these areas.
      3. Next week
        1. Motivation Test
        2. Authority Test
  • Warfare Test
  1. Test of Time
  2. Trial by Fire