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Wed, Jul 01, 1998

07 - Evaluation Testing

James 1:3 by Robert Dean
Series:James (1998)
Duration:1 hr 5 mins 15 secs

Evaluation Testing
James 1:3

The doctrine of gratitude (continued)

5)   Happiness is related to gratitude in various ways. a) For true happiness Bible doctrine must be more important than anything else in life. b) Gratitude is the basis for true happiness and you can't have happiness without gratitude. We see that linkage in Colossians 1:11, 12 NASB "strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light."

James 1:3 NASB "knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance."

In our English Bible we read "Consider it all joy, v. 2. That is the main verb. "…knowing," v.3. This is a participle. Usually when we have a word in English that ends in 'ing' it is a participle. In the Greek we have a present active participle from GINOSKO [ginwskw], and this participle lacks an article. Because it lacks an article we know that this is an adverbial participle of cause, so the whole thought should be express: "Count it all joy because you know (something)." You know a principle of doctrine, and that principle of doctrine is then given in the rest of verse 3: "that the testing of your faith produces [works out, or brings about the consequences or result of] endurance," in the soul.

What is the testing of your faith? This is a phrase that uses the word DOKIMION [dokimion]. That is the masculine noun form; the feminine noun form is DOKIME [dokimh], and the verb form is DOKIMAZO [dokimazw], a very important verb. It means to test, to examine, to try something to determine the genuineness of it. The noun means a test or an evaluation procedure. So what we are looking at here is the principle that we know that we are going to go through certain evaluation tests. The purpose of the evaluation is not to see how little we know or how big a failure we are going to be in that test, but to reveal what doctrine we do know and to give us an opportunity to use that to advance in the spiritual life. So this is a test or evaluation for determining the genuineness of something.

The doctrine of evaluation testing

1)  The Greek words DOKIMION and DOKIMAZO tell us that everything in our life as a believer is designed to advance us in the spiritual life. We should look at every situation we run into as an opportunity to choose for or against God. We enter into the spiritual life by faith alone in Christ alone. The next step after salvation is that we run into various tests of doctrine. We call these tests of doctrine because when we see the phrase "the testing of your faith," the word "faith" is the Greek word PISTIS [pistij] and it can have two meanings. The first meaning is an active meaning which relates to the faith-rest drill, actively believing the promises of God, mixing the promises of God with faith, putting our faith and confidence in doctrinal principles, doctrinal conclusions, doctrinal rationales. That is the active sense. But there is a passive sense of faith, and that relates to what is believed, the object of our faith in the faith-rest drill. In other words, what is believed is Bible doctrine. So what we have in a test here is not in terms of the active sense of the faith-rest drill but to evaluate the doctrine that is in our soul, because what happens in the dynamic of testing is you have to focus on doctrine that is in your soul and bring that up as the object of the faith-rest drill. So the test is on the doctrine in your soul. Each situation in life is an evaluation procedure to give an opportunity to use the doctrine that is in your soul. At that point you exercise volition. You can be positive towards doctrine or you can be negative to doctrine, reject the use of Scripture and try to do it in the power of the sin nature. If you decide to handle the test in your own power, using human viewpoint techniques to handle adversity in my life, you are under sin nature control. If you are positive to doctrine you come to the test and respond positively, applying the doctrine in your soul, you are under the filling of the Spirit so you produce divine good, you begin to experience the riches and the depths of life. The idea of eternal life in the Scriptures is not life without existence. That is just quantity. It has to do with the depth and the quality of that life. Jesus said in John chapter ten: "I came that they may have life, and have {it} abundantly." So what we are talking about here is that as we learn to grow in the spiritual life, going through the tests of doctrine, applying doctrine, we develop a capacity for life and for happiness. This increases enjoyment of life and we begin to look out into the whole realm of existence take pleasure in so many more things that we ever did before, because they are all part of God's creation. We provide evidence in our life of the grace of God in our life and the truth of Scripture. As this continues it produces in the lief steadfast endurance, persistence in the spiritual life; you hang in their in spite of any obstacles. The result is that you move toward the adult spiritual life and spiritual maturity. The result is that when you die and stand before the judgment seat of Christ you will be given rewards and inheritance and the Lord will says, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Situations in life provide us the opportunity to use the doctrine that is learned and stored in our souls so that we can advance in the spiritual life, experience the reality of divine grace in our life, and the sufficiency of divine provision, and demonstrate to humanity and to angels that the plan of God will work. People who say that doctrine doesn't work are those who never consistently applied it.

2)  There are two classifications of evaluation in the Scriptures. The first is a self-evaluation procedure. This relates to the confession of sin in 1 John 1:9; 1 Corinthians 11:28; 2 Corinthians 13:5 NASB "Test yourselves {to see} if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!..." At this point that is talking about being in fellowship, that is analogous to being in fellowship, filled with the Holy Spirit so that you are in a position where you can use doctrine. "…Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?" Paul is not talking about becoming a believer. Not only are we positionally in Christ, but Jesus Christ takes up residence inside of us and all three members of the Trinity indwell every single believer. So it is obvious here that Paul is writing to believers, so when he says to test themselves to see if they are in the faith, he is not saying "test yourselves to see if you are a believer." He is saying, "test yourselves to see if you are in fellowship." The second classification is evaluation by God. We find this in two passages. One is at the judgment seat of Christ, 1 Corinthians 3:13, where we will be evaluated by the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven. All the wood, hay, and stubble burns up, and what is left is the production of our life: divine good—gold, silver, precious stones. When that evaluation procedure is completed we are rewarded on the basis of what is left. What is left is a reflection of the capacity for eternal life, the capacity for relationship with God and the capacity for heaven that we have as a result of our spiritual growth on earth. What we are doing now determines who we will be and what we will have in eternity. When we come to understand that, that is the personal sense of our eternal destiny. What you do today determines who you will be in eternity. If you are a failure in the spiritual life today and you do not learn doctrine, do not apply doctrine in your life, then when you enter into heaven you will bring nothing with you; everything will be burned up. As the Scripture says, "saved, though as through fire." You are barely going to get in their, you have no capacity for your surroundings, you have no understanding of the dynamics of relationship with God because you've never been doing it. So you are just going to enter into heaven and have an eternal existence there, have a certain level of happiness and joy, but it will be different from the person who was a success in the spiritual life. The issue is your volition. You have every opportunity right now to be just as successful as the next person. 1 Thessalonians 2:4 tells us that God evaluates us on a daily basis.

3)  Tests are not designed to emphasize human failures and inadequacy but to highlight the divine good in the believer's life so that the believer can discard the bad, remove any distractions, and advance in the spiritual life.

4)   These tests are designed to evaluate the doctrine in your soul. These are tests of doctrine, tests of faith. Faith is PISTIS in the genitive case, a genitive of description describing the kind of tests, tests related to doctrine. What exactly is Bible doctrine? It is the teaching of God's Word in every area of life. It is the classification an categorization of the concepts and principles gleaned from the text of the original languages of the Bible. God does not say everything there is to say about any given subject in any given passage. You have to compare passage with passage, thought with thought. It is a long process. When we compare Scripture with Scripture we can begin to categorize doctrine into various topics and subjects and relate them to various issues. This makes it easy to understand those principles for you to grasp and understand those principles. We learn almost everything in life through categorization and classification. It makes learning and growing in any subject that much easier. Bible doctrine is the only source of knowledge about God, the only way to know and love Jesus Christ, the only source of divine viewpoint. Life is a constant battle between divine viewpoint and human viewpoint. The Bible in its entirety presents God's viewpoint, God's opinion—the only opinion that matters—on everything in life. That is divine viewpoint. For the believer the process of sanctification is the process of renovating out thinking, renewing our minds, by learning doctrine so that we can think like God thinks and look at life from the divine viewpoint. The human viewpoint is the viewpoint of the sin nature, it is the cosmic viewpoint, the viewpoint of Satan, the viewpoint of man apart from God. It is our job to destroy all human viewpoint in our souls, and is a never-ending battle. 1 Peter 1:6, 7 NASB "1 Pet 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 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." The purpose of testing is to produce that which is of eternal value at the judgment seat of Christ, and that, and that alone, is what brings glory to God in the angelic conflict.

5)  Doctrine in your soul is the prerequisite for evaluation testing. If there is no doctrine in your soul any situation you fall into is going to result in collapse and falling apart and going into carnality. The sin nature is going to dominate your thinking and your life is just going to go down the tube. If there is no doctrine to evaluate then that test is going to destroy you. First, the believer must renew his mind. He has to learn doctrine. There has to be an object of faith. Faith mixes with the promises of God, uses doctrinal rationales to reach doctrinal conclusions. Romans 12:2 NASB "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." For the believer, revelation is the new system of knowledge. When the believer applies doctrine in time of testing he is demonstrating by his life that everything in God's Word is true. His life is a testimony before the Supreme Court of Heaven in the angelic conflict to the veracity of God's Word.

6)  This evaluation testing is related to your role as the witness to all humanity and to angels in the angelic conflict.

7)  Evaluation testing is between each individual believer and the Lord and no one else can evaluate. (There is a difference between judging and evaluating)

8)  The issue is testing is not pleasing man but pleasing God. Don't worry about what other people think. The problem with too many Christians is that they are too concerned about what somebody else thinks and not concerned enough with what God thinks.

9)  All evaluation testing is designed to prepare the believer for the judgment seat of Christ. God wants you to reach the point where your production is gold, silver, and precious stones.