March 4, 2007
If there is no such thing as a Christian life without trials, what purpose do they serve, and how do we stand the test to receive the crown of life? Alistair Begg teaches that trials are a lifelong test, proving our faith either weak or genuine and sturdy. Ultimately, God’s will for us is to see difficulty as a short-term obstacle resulting in the long-term joy of loving and trusting Him.
Sermon Transcript: Print
I invite you to turn to James and chapter 1 as we resume our studies in James this morning. And before we look at our text, we’ll just pause and pray:
Gracious God, as we come now before your Word, we recognize that what you have to say to us through the Bible is actually more important than what we have to say to you through our songs and our prayers. And so we ask for a spirit of diligence, for an awareness of your divine work within us as we open our eyes to the pages of the Bible and as we seek to open our hearts to receive the Word that James says needs to be planted in us. Accomplish your purposes, we pray. For Christ’s sake. Amen.
Well, our text this morning is verse 12: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
Like many young couples, when Sue and I were first married back in 1975, and when we lived in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, part of our challenge was in furnishing our flat, or our apartment, and mainly with secondhand furniture. And we would go to the New Town in Edinburgh, which is actually an oxymoron in many ways, but—it was a pretty old New Town at the time. And down there, on a number of streets, there were all of these secondhand shops. And on pleasant days, much of the furniture was actually out in the street so that you could see it from the road and stop and examine it and handle it and so on. And on one particular occasion, we were there and looking, I think it was at a cabinet—something that had moving parts at any rate—and in the course of entering into price discussions with the shop owner, who was out in the street with us, I said to him, “Why would I buy this secondhand piece when I could actually go and, for probably the same money, get a new piece from one of those hypermarkets?”
Well, he obviously was thrilled at the challenge that was laid down by the question, because his eyes lit up, and he said, “Well, I’ll show you why you shouldn’t do that.” And then he proceeded to take this cabinet and to open the doors and to close them with such forcefulness that any lesser piece of material would have really been destroyed. And the more he banged and opened and closed it and showed us the way in which everything was put together and the joints were in wonderful place, he smiled triumphantly as on every occasion, the doors went right back into place.
And then having done that he said, “Now, come with me,” and he took us through the shop and into a back shop where he obviously had his party piece for occasions such as this. Because he had another piece of furniture, a new piece of furniture, that was made with chipboard and had a white sort of plastic veneer on it. And he said, “Now, this is probably the kind of thing you’re talking about.” Whether it was or not didn’t matter for the occasion. But he then proceeded to subject this piece of furniture to the same kind of treatment that he’d given to the used piece that was out on the street. And with great triumph, he showed how it very quickly became a real mess, and how it affected the screws that were in and so on, and it really wasn’t faring very well.
And then he said, “You see, you can have a piece like this that may look a little better on the outside than what I have out there. But the real issue,” he said, “is its day-by-day usage, and the test of time, and the opening and the closing and the slamming and everything else.” And he said, “it is that which will prove whether you have the genuine article or not.” And he said, “I suggest to you that you reject this piece,” and I still have it in mind—he loved to waggle the door—“reject this piece,” he said, “and come with me and purchase the genuine article.” And of course, we were sold, and we did. And he spoke a tremendous amount of truth.
Now, the reason I begin there is because I’ve decided that an apt heading for this study of verse 12 is simply that phrase: “The Genuine Article.” Because James in these opening verses—and we come to the end of a section here in the twelfth verse—is actually addressing the question of faith as a genuine article: What does faith look like? How do we know whether our faith is the real thing? And the answer that James gives, at least in part, is that genuine faith is to be discovered in the warp and woof of life; in the day-by-day opening and closing, if you like; in the facing up to the challenges and the trials that come our way.
In verses 2–4, he’s already established the fact that trials are not unnatural, nor are they uncommon, nor are they obstacles to spiritual growth. That, of course, is very important. Because we may be tempted to think that that is the case, listening to people on a daily basis who suggest somehow or another that victorious Christian living means the absence of trials—that if you really were a man or a woman of faith, then these events that would threaten to harm you or undo you would somehow or another be uncommon experiences. And indeed, if you wanted to make any kind of spiritual progress, then you would need to ensure that your life was free of these encumbrances.
And what James says is the exact opposite of that. What he says in his opening verses, 2–4, is said by Peter in his opening section, as we saw in one of our studies earlier, where in 1 Peter 1:6–7, addressing, again, as James does the issue of “all kinds of trials,” he says, “these have come so that your faith … may be proved genuine.” “So that your faith … may be proved genuine.” So, the experience of trials and of difficulties: not uncommon, not unusual, not unproductive, but, in fact, purposeful in the plan of God.
Now, verse 12, I think you will agree, completes the thought of verses 2–4. Indeed, linguistically, you can see verses 5–11 in brackets and read from verse 4 immediately to verse 12 and find that the whole thing holds together in terms of logical thought. And that’s why when we dealt with verses 5–11, we said that we need to understand this in light of the structure that he has laid down concerning the notion of persevering faith.
But our concern is not so much with that this morning as it is to recognize that in verse 12, he introduces us to the truly happy individual. The word that is used here, “blessed,” makarios, is not an unfamiliar word in the Bible. It occurs often in the Psalms. Of course, we have the Beatitudes of Jesus, the brother of James. And here James provides us with his own little beatitude. The blessing that accompanies this man, the true happiness which this individual experiences, is a happiness that is not tied to circumstances. It is not tied to circumstances. But it is a happiness which is known by the individual who doesn’t try and duck the difficulties or run from reality but instead perseveres in the face of the trial.
Now, in order to help us come to terms with this verse, I want to ask five straightforward questions of it. They’re very simple, but I hope they will be equally helpful.
Let’s just read the verse one more time: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
Well, first of all, what are these trials? What are these trials? Up in verse 2, we’re introduced to them as “trials of many kinds.” The word in Greek is the word that gives us multicolored, the idea of a rainbow and all of the variety of colors and hues that are represented in the panorama of a rainbow’s beauty. That is the word that is used to describe the trials that are experienced by those who are living the Christian life. They are “trials of many kinds.”
It’s interesting that he doesn’t begin to list them. He doesn’t say, “And what I have in mind is this and this.” He deals with it in a generic way, which, if you think about it, is actually far more helpful. Because if he had said, “I have in mind a, b, and c,” then those of us who could look at a, b, and c and say, “Well, I have no awareness of this or experience of this right now,” then we would either have to go and seek out a, b, and c—because if these trials are the key to maturity, then we’re going to have to have them in order to become mature—or we’d have to just decide we’re not going to become mature at all.
He does mention, parenthetically, that poverty introduces us to a trial that needs to be dealt with, that prosperity in itself may become the occasion of trial; but beyond that, he simply calls them “trials of various kinds”—which means that all of us have an immediate point of application. I don’t need to ask you what your trial is or what your trials are to be aware of the fact that you have some. Just to live life and to be honest is to know that.
So, for example, some of us are facing the trials of adolescence, either as adolescents or as the parents of adolescents. And somebody told us it’s a bit of a chore, and we’re saying, “I didn’t realize that it could be such a trial.” Some of us are facing the trials of diminishing physical capacity, for whatever reason—simply the passage of time, the fact that things are no longer working the way they once did. For some of us, as Rico Tice said remarkably when he was preaching here, we have a furniture problem, insofar as our chest has now dropped down into our drawers—that the impact of gravity is taking its toll. The trials of no job, the trials of the same job, the trials of a new job. Someone says, “I wish I had a job.” Someone else says, “You can have my job!” Trial, trial. The trials of not having children. The trials of having children. The trials of being an only child. The trials of having siblings who drive you nuts.
No, these trials are all kinds of trials. They are not uncommon, they are not unusual, and they are not obstacles to spiritual growth. And the tremendously encouraging factor is this—and you need to go to 1 Peter again to get this. It’s 4:10. You can deal with it later. But Peter employs the very same word of God’s grace as he employs of human trials. It’s manifold trials, manifold grace, or multicolored trials, multicolored grace. In other words, the grace of God is more than able to meet all the kinds of trials that are faced by God’s people as they walk the path of faith.
Question number two: What does it mean to persevere under trials? What does it mean to persevere under trials? And you’ll notice that it is not suggesting that we fly above the trials but rather that we are flying through the trials. Every so often when you’re flying, the pilot will tell you that he has spoken to air traffic control, and he has spoken to some of the planes that are flying ahead of us, and there is no possibility of us being able to go above, below, or around the turbulence that we now face; therefore, he has asked everybody to please be seated, and if we could just give one more little tug on our belts—I love how they say that: “Just one more little tug on your belt”—and we are going to fly through this. We’re going to fly through it.
The Christian life is all about flying through it. And anybody who comes to you with a story about getting above it and beyond it and so on is teaching you from an empty head and from a closed Bible. James is absolutely, categorically clear: “When you face trials of all kinds”—not if you face trials, but when you face them—the challenge is the challenge of perseverance.
What does it mean, then, to persevere under trials? That’s our question. Well, it means refusing to run away from the challenges. Refusing to run away from the challenges. Some of us are experts at running away. Soon as anything becomes difficult, we just run: change jobs, change home, change locations, change school, change courses. “Oh, I didn’t think chemistry would be this hard. The only way to deal with this is make a run for it.” No, you could actually try and see it through! Not running away but running on; running “with perseverance,” as the writer to the Hebrews says in 12: running “with perseverance the race” that is “marked out for us.”
It means not only that but holding on no matter how hard it might be. Because in this way we actually prove to ourselves, as well as to any who may be watching, that perseverance in the face of trials is not only possible, but it is profitable. You see, how do we prove to ourselves that our faith is genuine? It’s when trials come. When the trials come and everything goes skew-whiff, now we find out whether these professions and these testimonies and these verses and all the stuff we’ve said about the grace of God and the peace of God and the securing providence of God, now we have an opportunity to find out whether the profession of our lips is matched by the experience of our lives. And that’s what it means to persevere in them—not just possible by God’s grace but also profitable on account of God’s grace.
This morning’s reading in Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening, which you can read later on if you choose, is exactly along these lines. I’ll give you just a little piece from it. He says,
He who would glorify his God must set his account upon meeting with many trials. No man can be illustrious before the Lord unless his conflicts be many. If then, yours be a much-tried path, rejoice in it, because you will the better show forth the all-sufficient grace of God. As for his failing you, never dream of it—hate the thought. The God who has been sufficient until now, should be trusted to the end.
That’s Spurgeon this morning on 2 Corinthians 12:9.
Thirdly, what does it mean, then, to stand the test? You’ll notice that the verse goes on, “because when he has stood the test…” The word is dokimos in Greek. It’s a well-used word. It’s the word that you find, for example, when Paul writes to Timothy as a young man—a verse that was given to me on a Bible when I left Scotland at the age of fifteen and left my Bible class behind, and the leaders gave me a Bible as a gift to take away down to England, and in the front of the Bible they wrote 2 Timothy 2:15: “Study to show yourself approved unto God.” That word there, “approved,” is the word dokimos. It means “approved after testing.” And that is the word that he uses here: “when he has stood the test,” when he is the one who has the seal of God’s approval on his life because he is a persevering believer.
But without the trials, there’s no test, and without the test, there’s no graduation. You don’t get the seal of approval without going through the test. Some of us want to graduate without taking the courses. In fact, you can do that, I believe, in America. I see it all over the place. I think for a certain sum of money, I could give you a list of credentials that would make your head spin. I see it all the time. You get a PhD from here and a master’s of something from there and everything else; and you just send the money, and it all comes to you. I can’t imagine what you would do with it. How embarrassing would it be when the person said, “And what was your thesis in?” and you have to say, “Well, the, um, the…” The person said, “That’s good, good, yes.” It’d be worthless, wouldn’t it? Just be silly. A qualification without any study, without any test.
So it would be silly to think that maturity and completeness in the Christian life would be a maturity and completeness that was conferred upon us without taking the courses and without going through the examinations. God is purposeful in what he does in the lives of his children. That’s what James is saying.
How long does this test take? When I looked at this, at first I thought, you know, “when he has stood the test,” this is a moment in time. And then I looked, and I said, “No, ‘When he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life.’” When do you receive the crown of life? In eternity. When does eternity come? Just after you finish with time. When will you be finished with time? At the end of your life. How long is this test going to last? The whole of life. See, basically, if we’re honest, the whole of our lives is just one gigantic series of tests. There’s something reassuring about that though, isn’t there? Because it gives us an opportunity to think seriously and realistically about the things that we and other people are going through, when we’re tempted to regard them as intruders rather than, as James says, welcoming them “as friends.”
Every so often when you’re flying—and I’m sorry; this is my last flying analogy for the morning. But eighteen and a half hours from Johannesburg to New York has put flying firmly in my mind for a while. But you’ve had the experience: you find yourself sitting next to a pilot, and you say, “Where are you going?” And he says, “I’m going to the simulator.” “And why are you going to the simulator?” “Well, I’m going to simulate. And I’m going to have experiences of turbulence and stress and the loss of an engine, or the loss of two engines, or an aborted takeoff, or whatever else it is, so that if and when that ever happens, I might be prepared and ready to go.” And, of course, you’re very interested in that, and you wish him the best, and you hope that he finishes his course successfully, just in case the two of us are ever back together again in a real-life situation.
But when you think about it, the Christian life has no simulation. The Christian life is a real-time experience all the time, every day. You don’t go in a simulator to find out how to deal with your children. You don’t go in a simulator to deal with the sudden loss of a loved one. You don’t go in a simulator to be prepared for whatever it might be that comes your way and hits you like a ton of lead. And what James makes so obviously clear is that the experience of joy and trial is an experience that is a simultaneous experience. It is not, as we’ve said before, that in the absence of trial is the discovery of joy but rather that joy—a joy that is an unfathomable joy—may be discovered on account of the trial.
I’ve quoted this verse to you before from the hymn, but it is a useful verse, isn’t it? It’s the hymn that begins “My God, I thank you, who has made the earth so bright,” and all of the wonderful things in the earth. And then the hymn writer says, “I thank you, too,” or “I thank you…” Let’s say “too.” It might be “more.”
I thank you, too, that all my joy
Is touched with pain,
That shadows fall on brightest hours,
And thorns remain;
So that earth’s bliss may be my guide,
And not my chain.
You see, the blisses and the encouragements of our earthly journey may chain us to a constant fixation with wanting more and more and more of that affirmation, that approbation, that good time, that safe time. And God in his heavenly wisdom brings into our experience pain in the reality of joy in order that we might become more like his Son.
A few Sunday nights ago, we tried to reckon with this in relationship to the statements made by Andrew Murray—who, interestingly, spent a long part of his life in South Africa. But Andrew Murray wrote in his journals of his experience of dealing with trials. And many of you were not present on that evening, and I want just to mention these four things to you. I’m going to say them in their long form to begin with—don’t try and write them down—and if you do want them, I’ll give them to you in their abbreviated form as soon as I give you the long version. All right?
This is Andrew Murray, and our question is, how do you persevere under trial? What does it mean to persevere under trial? Andrew Murray said, “In my experience of trial, I will say this: One, God brought me here; it is by His will that I am in this tough spot, and in that fact I will trust. Number two, God will keep me here in His love and give me the grace to behave as His child. Number three, God will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons He intends for me to learn, and number four, God, in His good time can, if he chooses, bring me out again—how and when he knows.” So, says Murray, “let me say,” and here’s his summary: “One, I am here by God’s appointment. Two, I am in His keeping. Three, I am under His training. Four, I am here for His time.” Here by his appointment, here in his keeping, under his training, and here for his time.
No wonder the Puritans said that providence is a soft pillow. We are not tossed about on the sea of chance. We are not being manipulated by blind deterministic forces. Under God we are being trained in the school of his providence. And what Murray puts so articulately there, Andraé Crouch, in a different genre, puts so poetically and so lyrically and so melodically when, in that wonderful song of his, “Through It All,” remember, he says,
And so I thank him for the mountains,
And I thank him for the valleys,
And I thank him for the things he’s brought me through,
’Cause if I never had a problem,
I’d never know that God could solve them,
I’d never know what faith in him could do.
Through it all,
Through it all,
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus.
Persevering under trial.
Fourthly, what then is this “crown of life”? What is this “crown of life”? “Because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life.”
Now, crowns appear in the Bible as symbols of a number of things: of joy, crowned with joy; of royalty; of victory, the victor’s crown in the whole athletic metaphor; and also as a symbol of honor and of dignity. But in actual fact, the notion that is conveyed here in this phrase and by the grammar is that the crown is the crown that consists of life—that he will receive the crown that consists of life.
Derek Prime puts it this way: the crown “is a picture of eternal life” that God promises to his people. “A picture of” the “eternal life” that God promises to his people—the idea of God being present at the finishing line, welcoming us over the finishing line and crowning us with honor and with blessing and with the life that is truly life. When Paul writes to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6, he urges him to “take hold of … eternal life to which” he’s been “called.” I think Phillips paraphrases it, “Take hold of the life that is truly life.”
And the fifth question and the final question is, who are those who love God? Because this “crown of life” has been promised by God “to those who love him.” “To those who love him.”
If you’re tempted to think here somehow or another that our love wins, or our love earns, this crown, then you’re thinking immediately wrongly. Neither our faith nor our love wins or earns anything. It is all on account of God’s grace and his goodness. Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:9, remember, he says, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” “Who love him.” So the question is, who are those who love God? And the answer is, those who love God are those who have responded to God’s amazing love towards them in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. First John—the Apostle of Love—1 John 4:19, he says succinctly, “We love because he first loved us.” And the person who loves God is the person who has been made aware of God’s amazing love in Jesus—a love that is an initiative-taking love, a love which is the love that calls us out, a love which comes and seeks us when we’re not seeking him.
Those who love God are those who have responded to God’s love in this way, and they are those who at the same time express their love for God in a life of purposeful obedience. Still in 1 John, now in chapter 5, John says quite straightforwardly, “This is love for God: to obey his commands.” “This is love for God: to obey his commands.” Jesus said it, didn’t he? “If you love me, you will keep my commands.” You see, the idea that love for God is an introduction to do whatever we want, again, we can’t get to from the Bible. No husband or wife worth their salt is prepared to make a lifelong commitment to an individual who says, “I love you, but I want to do what I want anytime I want with anyone I want,” saying that there’s not a chance of that happening, because that would not be love.
The crown of life is given to those who love God.
The love of God, in the children’s hymn, is “very wonderful”:
Jesus’ love is very wonderful ….
So high you can’t get over it,
So low you can’t get under it,
So wide you can’t get round it.
The hymn writer at a more adult level says, “O love…”
O love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give you back the life I owe,
That in your ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
Let’s end here, because this is of absolute, crucial importance. It causes each of us individually to ask ourselves the question, “Do I love God?” “Do I love God?”
You say, “Well, that’s a very simple question.” It’s a very simple question, but it is a complex question too, isn’t it? Because we’ve already said that the answer to the question lies in the fact that the person who loves God is the person who has discovered that they’re not roaming the universe looking for God as if somehow or another mice went looking for cats or as if Adam and Eve went looking for God in the garden, but they are individuals who realized that when they were perfectly content in their garden, or in their lifestyle, or in their vacation home, or in their successful career, that God came looking for them and loving them in Jesus, and that it was the discovery of God’s amazing love that broke their heart, showed them their sin, turned them over to God, and their life is now lived in response to God’s amazing goodness in the obedience that marks their relationship. Do you love God?
I mean, that’s the question, isn’t it? That was the question that Tevye asked Golde in Fiddler on the Roof, wasn’t it? You say, “What?” Well, I know it’s a long time ago, but if you remember that—you can go and listen to it later on, tomorrow or whatever. It’s a wonderful section, isn’t it? Where he says that he’s given Perchik permission to marry Hodel, the daughter. And Golde says, “But Perchik’s a nothing! He’s got no money! He’s useless!”
And, you remember, Tevye says, “Oh yes, but he’s a good boy, and I like him. And what’s more, Hodel loves him. And it’s a new world, Golde, love.” And then he says to her, “Do you love me?”
And she says, “What are you talking about? Do you have indigestion? Why don’t you go and lie down for a while, Tevye? What is up with you?” She says, “I’m your wife.”
He says, “I know. But do you love me?”
And then she says, “Do I love him? For twenty-five years I’ve lived with him, fought him, starved with him. Twenty-five years my bed is his. If that’s not love, what is?”
And Tevye then says, “Then you love me?”
And she says, “I suppose I do.”
And he says, “And I suppose I love you too.”
And then they sing together, “It doesn’t change a thing, but even so, after twenty-five years, it’s nice to know.”
Isn’t that what Jesus asked Peter when he made him breakfast? That was his question: “Peter, do you love me?” Three times—one to match each denial. Made a hash of it, made a hash of it, made a hash of it!
“Do you love me?”
“Do you love me?”
“Lord, you know.”
“Do you love me?”
“Okay. Now you go out and feed my sheep.”
That’s the question, you see: Do I love God? Not a notion of an existence of a higher being, not a concept of doing my best to placate a deity, but have I come to an awareness of the fact that God has gone to the extent of the gift of his only Son as an expression of his redeeming love so as to take me in my unloveliness and make me lovely on account of Jesus? That’s the question.
Do you remember when you got married? I hope so! Came down the front of the church. The minister was there. Your wife was there, to-be, your husband. And the minister addressed you and asked you those questions, which were addressed to your will, not to your emotions. He didn’t say, “And how are you today? How are you feeling about Susie today?” Never asked that question. He said, “Do you take this woman to be your wedded wife?” “I do.” “And do you take this man to be your wedded husband?” “I do.” And back up the aisle went a couple that arrived as individuals.
To become a Christian is much like that. You stand, as it were, before God the Father, who looks down upon his Son Jesus and upon the sinner who stands with Jesus. And the Father asks Christ, “Do you take this sinner?” And Jesus says, “I do.” And then he says to the sinner, “And do you take this Savior?”
Now, if you ask me if I’m married and I say, “I, I, I don’t know. Well, I think, yeah, well, hmm…” There’s a severe problem somewhere, you would agree with that, wouldn’t you? You want a resounding yes from me that goes back thirty-two years, to ’75, to Philadelphia. And so does Sue. And that’s what I want from her. No if, buts, and maybes.
So, my dear loved ones, do not sit out here Sunday by Sunday being confronted by the straightforward questions of God’s Word such as “Do you love me? Have you bowed your will to Jesus Christ?” and satisfy yourself with a kind of “Erm, eh, I don’t, um…” It will not do! It will not do. It’s a yes or a no. It’s an in or an out. It’s a single or a married. It’s a love or a hate.
And I’m not soft selling you on anything. It would be one thing if I said, “And if you love God, and let me tell you how it will be: no more turbulence, no more trials. Let me explain to you how your profits will go up and your mortgage will come down and your health will be perfect,” and what a bunch of absolute trivial nonsense!
No, it may all hit the fan. But right where you are, because God knows your heart, you can cry out to him today and say, “Lord, I thank you for loving me in Jesus, for bearing my sins. And I want to love you too.”
 See James 1:21.
 See James 1:9–10.
 Hebrews 12:1 (NIV 1984).
 Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening (1865), March 4 morning reading.
 2 Timothy 2:15 (paraphrased).
 James 1:2 (Phillips).
 Adelaide A. Procter, “My God, I Thank Thee” (1858). Lyrics lightly altered.
 Attributed to Andrew Murray in V. Raymond Edman, They Found the Secret: Twenty Transformed Lives That Reveal a Touch of Eternity (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1960), 97–98. Paraphrased.
 Andraé Crouch, “Through It All” (1971). Lyrics lightly altered.
 See Isaiah 35:10.
 Derek Prime, From Trials to Triumphs (Ventura, CA: Regal, 1982), 28.
 1 Timothy 6:12 (NIV 1984).
 1 Timothy 6:19 (NIV 1984).
 1 Corinthians 2:9 (paraphrased).
 1 John 5:3 (NIV 1984).
 John 14:15 (paraphrased).
 H. W. Rattle, “Jesus’ Love is Very Wonderful” (1992).
 George Matheson, “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go” (1882). Language modernized.
 Sheldon Harnick, Fiddler on the Roof (1964). Paraphrased.
 John 21:15–17 (paraphrased).
Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.