Opening Scriptures:

Isaiah 54:16 Behold, I myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals, and brings out a weapon for its work

I Peter 1:7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ

James 1:3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be complete, lacking in nothing

Job 23:10 But I know the way you take, and when I have tried you, you shall come forth as gold

In a wood shop full of tools, some of the older ones have a stamp that says “drop forged”. It means the steel was heated to around 1500 degrees and then placed in a hydraulic drop forge where a hammer repeatedly slammed it with tons of force. This doesn’t simply flatten and shape the steel, but actually changes the molecular structure in order to increase the steel’s dynamic grain flow. Pressure changes the molecular structure. Pounding rearranges the dynamic grain, making it stronger. Fire and extreme heat make steel easy to work with.

When your faith has been drop forged, there is a mark on your life for all to see.

Galatians 6:17 From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

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Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Faith is simple:
-Faith believes that God is…He is real
-God rewards those who seek Him

The problem comes with the many false beliefs about faith. Such as:
-If you have faith, you won’t be sick, poor, lonely or afraid of the future
-If you have lots of faith, God will answer all of your prayers
-The amount of faith that you have is directly proportionate to the amount of stuff you accumulate

This kind of false faith has been around since the Garden. Deception is truth mixed with a lie. So don’t fall for the bait and switch of faith.

So how do we learn real faith? We look to those in the Bible that bear the mark of real faith.

James 5:11 We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.

Job was a man who had it all. Those who looked at Job must have thought that God really loved him because he had a lot of stuff. He was a good guy. In today’s world, we would say that he was a picture of a faith-filled life.

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.

One day Satan asked God if he could have Job and show God how quickly he would turn from following Him.

Job 1:12 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord.

Job lost all his vast wealth and his children, yet he still served God

Job 1:22 Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.

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Then Satan approached God again, asking this time to attack Job’s flesh. Even after great affliction, Job does not relent of his love for God.

Everyone begins to question and try to figure out why Job is suffering. What did he do to deserve this kind of treatment from God? Why doesn’t he have enough faith to get on the other side of this?

His three friends have their own theories:
-Job is suffering because of sin in his life
-Job must be a hypocrite
-Job is being prideful and he is getting less than what he deserves

Their conclusion was that suffering is the direct outcome of sin and lack of faith. Their eyes were on the temporal comfort, not on the eternal treasures that God wants for his children.

Three lessons from this story:

-You don’t know what has already been planned

This story is not about Job’s faith in God, but about God’s faith in Job.

Everyone thought Job was being punished, but the truth was that Job had been chosen by God to be his champion to defeat the devil.

-God is more interested in your character than He is in your comfort

Job 23:10-11 But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside. There is an end to the trial

-There is an end to the trial

I Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

God wants endurance from us. It is a witness to the world around us.

Tested faith is strengthened faith. Strengthened faith is precious faith. Precious faith, more precious than gold, is faith that can be truly used for the glory of God.

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I Peter 1:7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ

To find the “proof” of something is to find the sterling core, the proven character. The proof is the strength, the quality, the depth, the true measure of your faith.

The world needs to see people of true faith. They need to see a sterling quality of faith that is different. It is called the mark of Jesus.

The end result is not gaining stuff here, but storing up treasures there.

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Questions:

-What are some false beliefs about faith that you’ve heard or maybe believed?  What are the Biblical truths about faith that disprove these false beliefs?

-How does changing our perspective from temporal comforts  to eternal treasures effect the way we look at suffering?

-How do we reconcile the story of Job with God’s character?  Is God still good even though He allowed Job’s children to be killed?  How does this show God’s sovereignty?

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