Randy Smith

Quotes of Author: Randy_smith

1.
When did Christ defeat Satan? Well, it was predicted immediately after the fall in the third chapter of the Bible, when it says Christ will “bruise [Him] on the head” (Gen. 3:15). 1 John 3:8, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (cf. Jn. 12:31). We see this victory ultimately happen through His Passion when our Savior defeated the devil and dealt Him a mortal wound. Hebrews 2:14, “That through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Colossians 2:15, “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.” And then He, 1 Peter 3:22, ascended to “the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.” The war is over. The mission is completed. Satan is defeated. And while he still, 1 Peter 5:8, “Prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,” his ultimate defeat is guaranteed. Romans 16:20, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” Revelation 20:10, “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

When did Christ defeat Satan? Well, it was predicted immediately after the fall in the third chapter of the Bible, when it says Christ will “bruise [Him] on the head” (Gen. 3:15). 1 John 3:8, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (cf. Jn. 12:31). We see this victory ultimately happen through His Passion when our Savior defeated the devil and dealt Him a mortal wound. Hebrews 2:14, “That through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Colossians 2:15, “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.” And then He, 1 Peter 3:22, ascended to “the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.” The war is over. The mission is completed. Satan is defeated. And while he still, 1 Peter 5:8, “Prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,” his ultimate defeat is guaranteed. Romans 16:20, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” Revelation 20:10, “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”      

Reference:   Sermon, What Really Makes you Rejoice? Luke 10:17-24, February 24, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Satan-Outcome
2.
It seems so many in the church today want to talk about their experience. True disciples should be talking more about their commitment.

It seems so many in the church today want to talk about their experience. True disciples should be talking more about their commitment.    

Reference:   Sermon, Single-Minded Devotion, Luke 9:51-62, February 10, 2019.


3.
It’s said people today will not settle for a no-nonsense approach to discipleship. Maybe the church has failed because don’t trust our Lord’s words and don’t talk this way enough. Maybe this is what people really want. It is not some superficial religion with emotional ecstasy or countless man-made rules or trite worship. Where is the fulfillment in more of the world with an outward veneer of religion? The world can provide that better than us. That does not meet the human soul in its desperate condition for true satisfaction that only comes from a confrontation with the living God.

It’s said people today will not settle for a no-nonsense approach to discipleship. Maybe the church has failed because don’t trust our Lord’s words and don’t talk this way enough. Maybe this is what people really want. It is not some superficial religion with emotional ecstasy or countless man-made rules or trite worship. Where is the fulfillment in more of the world with an outward veneer of religion? The world can provide that better than us. That does not meet the human soul in its desperate condition for true satisfaction that only comes from a confrontation with the living God.    

Reference:   Sermon, Single-Minded Devotion, Luke 9:51-62, February 10, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Discipleship
4.
Strong Christians refuse to make it about themselves and the engagement in petty battles. It’s not about personal vendettas, but winning the war for Jesus. Weak people get easily offended and use their energy to defend their wounded ego. Their will and their kingdom now becomes more important than God’s will and kingdom. And when Christians get there, they are in the flesh and being used by the devil. They are defeated.

Strong Christians refuse to make it about themselves and the engagement in petty battles. It’s not about personal vendettas, but winning the war for Jesus. Weak people get easily offended and use their energy to defend their wounded ego. Their will and their kingdom now becomes more important than God’s will and kingdom. And when Christians get there, they are in the flesh and being used by the devil. They are defeated.

Reference:   Sermon, Single-Minded Devotion, Luke 9:51-62, February 10, 2019.


5.
What are some traits that mark an Olympian? 1. They have a “whatever-it-takes” attitude. They’ve made the decision to pay any price and bear any burden in the name of victory. 2. They have a plan to push forward when they encounter obstacles. They know facing adversity is part of being successful. 3. They have strict accountability. 4. They consider “very good” (or worse, “good enough”) to be “bad.” They are driven to perform at an elite level. 5. They set high goals for themselves. Motivation is keeping your eyes on the goal. 6. They are humble to know others can provide advice to make them better. 7. Levels of priorities are set and their life stays in-tune with those priorities. The same single-minded devotion expected from an Olympian is the same single-minded devotion our Savior expects from His followers. Yes, the fruit of sacrifice and self-denial will be different. Yes, the goals and rewards are different. And yes, the source of strength is different. However, the traits that mark an Olympian that I mentioned earlier could also apply to the traits that mark a disciple of Jesus Christ. If anything, we should be more motivated (see 1 Cor. 9:24-27a).

What are some traits that mark an Olympian? 1. They have a “whatever-it-takes” attitude. They’ve made the decision to pay any price and bear any burden in the name of victory. 2. They have a plan to push forward when they encounter obstacles. They know facing adversity is part of being successful. 3. They have strict accountability. 4. They consider “very good” (or worse, “good enough”) to be “bad.” They are driven to perform at an elite level. 5. They set high goals for themselves. Motivation is keeping your eyes on the goal. 6. They are humble to know others can provide advice to make them better. 7. Levels of priorities are set and their life stays in-tune with those priorities. The same single-minded devotion expected from an Olympian is the same single-minded devotion our Savior expects from His followers. Yes, the fruit of sacrifice and self-denial will be different. Yes, the goals and rewards are different. And yes, the source of strength is different. However, the traits that mark an Olympian that I mentioned earlier could also apply to the traits that mark a disciple of Jesus Christ. If anything, we should be more motivated (see 1 Cor. 9:24-27a).      

Reference:   Sermon, Single-Minded Devotion, Luke 9:51-62, February 10, 2019.


6.
Salvation is not a decision; rather it’s a faith commitment to follow Jesus.

Salvation is not a decision; rather it’s a faith commitment to follow Jesus.    


7.
When we love money, we bring upon ourselves unnecessary sorrows that are inherited consequences of this sin. Grief, guilt, dissatisfaction, remorse, lack of fulfillment, worry, disregard and despair are some of the many wounds caused by the sword of money love.

When we love money, we bring upon ourselves unnecessary sorrows that are inherited consequences of this sin. Grief, guilt, dissatisfaction, remorse, lack of fulfillment, worry, disregard and despair are some of the many wounds caused by the sword of money love.  

Reference:   Purchasing Pain, 1 Timothy 6:9-10, October 14, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Money-Deception
8.
Contentment is simply acknowledging that God has given me enough. It is understanding that all of which I have is a gracious and sovereign gift from His hands. It is accepting what the Lord has entrusted to my care with an attitude of gratitude.

Contentment is simply acknowledging that God has given me enough. It is understanding that all of which I have is a gracious and sovereign gift from His hands. It is accepting what the Lord has entrusted to my care with an attitude of gratitude.  

Reference:   Purchasing Pain, 1 Timothy 6:9-10, October 14, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Contentment
9.
Money is a self-defeating pursuit. In my efforts to find contentment in money, I actually become more discontent if I love money. The more I believe money will satisfy my needs, the more I will depend on money, only to realize that I never have enough. As long as there is always a new item to purchase, I will never be satisfied or content with what I possess.

Money is a self-defeating pursuit. In my efforts to find contentment in money, I actually become more discontent if I love money. The more I believe money will satisfy my needs, the more I will depend on money, only to realize that I never have enough. As long as there is always a new item to purchase, I will never be satisfied or content with what I possess.  

Reference:   Purchasing Pain, 1 Timothy 6:9-10, October 14, 2018.


10.
If I look to money as my source of satisfaction, I am no longer looking to God. Money has replaced the living God as the primary affection of my heart. And the moment I depend more on my money is the moment my money has become my god. The First Commandment teaches us that the glorious God will not permit other gods before Him (Ex. 20:3). Money is clearly one of America’s greatest idols.

If I look to money as my source of satisfaction, I am no longer looking to God. Money has replaced the living God as the primary affection of my heart. And the moment I depend more on my money is the moment my money has become my god. The First Commandment teaches us that the glorious God will not permit other gods before Him (Ex. 20:3). Money is clearly one of America’s greatest idols.    

Reference:   Purchasing Pain, 1 Timothy 6:9-10, October 14, 2018.


11.
You see, doing good in dependence on God does just the opposite of paying Him back. All Christian labor for Him is a gift from Him. Good deeds when done as a pure act of His grace do not pay back grace, but borrow more grace from Him. Without God’s grace we would not and could not serve Him. Therefore, even our service does not put Him in debt to us, but rather puts us deeper in debt to His grace. And that is where God wants us to be throughout eternity.

You see, doing good in dependence on God does just the opposite of paying Him back. All Christian labor for Him is a gift from Him. Good deeds when done as a pure act of His grace do not pay back grace, but borrow more grace from Him. Without God’s grace we would not and could not serve Him. Therefore, even our service does not put Him in debt to us, but rather puts us deeper in debt to His grace. And that is where God wants us to be throughout eternity.

Reference:   Sermon, Does God Owe or Own You? Luke 7:1-10, October 21, 2018.


12.
For the Christian, it’s all about understanding God’s amazing grace and then responding with an eternal attitude of gratitude. It’s God’s grace that motivates us and it’s God’s grace that empowers us to obey Him – obedience not to earn His grace, but obedience that flows from His grace and demonstrates His grace to ourselves and others.

For the Christian, it’s all about understanding God’s amazing grace and then responding with an eternal attitude of gratitude. It’s God’s grace that motivates us and it’s God’s grace that empowers us to obey Him – obedience not to earn His grace, but obedience that flows from His grace and demonstrates His grace to ourselves and others.  

Reference:   Sermon, Does God Owe or Own You? Luke 7:1-10, October 21, 2018.


13.
What moves God is not our supposed goodness or trophies of righteousness, but rather our desperation and cry to Him for grace. If we could earn it, grace would no longer be grace. Grace by its very definition is giving us what we do not deserve. If we were entitled to God’s favor, it would be a wage that we are due. But since we have merited nothing from God and God being God owes us nothing, we see His favor both in salvation and the blessings that follow all as a token of His undeserved grace to the praise of His glory.

What moves God is not our supposed goodness or trophies of righteousness, but rather our desperation and cry to Him for grace. If we could earn it, grace would no longer be grace. Grace by its very definition is giving us what we do not deserve. If we were entitled to God’s favor, it would be a wage that we are due. But since we have merited nothing from God and God being God owes us nothing, we see His favor both in salvation and the blessings that follow all as a token of His undeserved grace to the praise of His glory.  

Reference:   Sermon, Does God Owe or Own You? Luke 7:1-10, October 21, 2018.


14.
The more I trust in my self-righteousness, seen by God as “filthy rags,” the more my sense of “deservedness” or entitlement will actually keep me from knowing Christ. Hell comes from pride leading to merit leading to divine entitlement. Heaven results from unworthiness leading to desperation leading to grace and mercy.

The more I trust in my self-righteousness, seen by God as “filthy rags,” the more my sense of "deservedness" or entitlement will actually keep me from knowing Christ. Hell comes from pride leading to merit leading to divine entitlement. Heaven results from unworthiness leading to desperation leading to grace and mercy.  

Reference:   Sermon, Does God Owe or Own You? Luke 7:1-10, October 21, 2018.


15.
The world is the system of every age, the philosophy that opposes the things of God. The world is forever brainwashing, seeking to squeeze people into their mold. If the Bible calls for something, most often the world will be against it. The world will persecute people that oppose its standard. Nobody opposes the world more than Jesus. In biblical times confessing Jesus would put you out of the synagogue. Now confessing Jesus will put you out of the good graces of politics, Hollywood, the press, academia and personal acquaintances.

The world is the system of every age, the philosophy that opposes the things of God. The world is forever brainwashing, seeking to squeeze people into their mold. If the Bible calls for something, most often the world will be against it. The world will persecute people that oppose its standard. Nobody opposes the world more than Jesus. In biblical times confessing Jesus would put you out of the synagogue. Now confessing Jesus will put you out of the good graces of politics, Hollywood, the press, academia and personal acquaintances.    


16.
Jesus had to be our Immanuel to be our Savior and once He becomes our Savior He becomes our Immanuel.

Jesus had to be our Immanuel to be our Savior and once He becomes our Savior He becomes our Immanuel.  

Reference:   Sermon, The Presence and Purpose Of God In Jesus, Matthew 1:21-23, December 23, 2019.


17.
John began his epistle by saying, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life” (1 Jn. 1:1). There was a time when God’s people cried out for a word from their Creator (400 years of silence), now they heard from the living Word Himself in face-to-face dialogue. There was a time when no one could see the face of God without dying (Ex. 33:20), but Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9). There was a time when touching the ark improperly resulted in death (2 Sa. 6:6-7), but now John reports that God was touched with his own hands.

John began his epistle by saying, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life” (1 Jn. 1:1). There was a time when God’s people cried out for a word from their Creator (400 years of silence), now they heard from the living Word Himself in face-to-face dialogue. There was a time when no one could see the face of God without dying (Ex. 33:20), but Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9). There was a time when touching the ark improperly resulted in death (2 Sa. 6:6-7), but now John reports that God was touched with his own hands.  

Reference:   Sermon, The Presence and Purpose of God in Jesus, Matthew 1:21-23, December 23, 2019.


18.
Though still set apart, retaining all His holiness and deity, God in His infinite wisdom became a man that first Christmas morning and chose to dwell intimately and personally amongst His creation. The God who created stars larger than our earth’s orbit and ten million times brighter than our sun, created the womb where He would grow and the manger where He would lay. The God who dwelt in perfect glory through eternity past would be wrapped in swaddling cloths to share space with barnyard animals. The God who deserved every right to born in a palace to royal people, humbled Himself and chose Bethlehem and a poor betrothed teenage couple named Mary and Joseph. Most humiliating was the fact that God, though without sin, took on human flesh with all its weaknesses and problems and chose to dwell among sinners.

Though still set apart, retaining all His holiness and deity, God in His infinite wisdom became a man that first Christmas morning and chose to dwell intimately and personally amongst His creation. The God who created stars larger than our earth’s orbit and ten million times brighter than our sun, created the womb where He would grow and the manger where He would lay. The God who dwelt in perfect glory through eternity past would be wrapped in swaddling cloths to share space with barnyard animals. The God who deserved every right to born in a palace to royal people, humbled Himself and chose Bethlehem and a poor betrothed teenage couple named Mary and Joseph. Most humiliating was the fact that God, though without sin, took on human flesh with all its weaknesses and problems and chose to dwell among sinners.  

Reference:   Sermon, The Presence and Purpose of God in Jesus, Matthew 1:21-23, December 23, 2019.


19.
If you want God’s empowering grace you must have a humble heart. “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Jas. 4:6). First this means that you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, and second it means that you admit you have room to grow and need God’s strength, His help to succeed. Run to God for that grace to battle sin and not away from Him in your sin.

If you want God’s empowering grace you must have a humble heart. “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Jas. 4:6). First this means that you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, and second it means that you admit you have room to grow and need God’s strength, His help to succeed. Run to God for that grace to battle sin and not away from Him in your sin.      

Reference:   Sermon, Are You Committing Adultery? James 4:4-6, September 9, 2018.


20.
God displays righteous jealousy (cf. 2 Cor. 11:2) that desires faithfulness from His spouse. If God cared not for His people, there would be no jealousy. But it is because He values an intimate relationship with His bride, the church, He is deeply grieved when we pursue other lovers. True love is rightfully jealous. God loves His people so much that He wants us totally for Himself in an exclusive relationship. He will not stand for spiritual adultery.

God displays righteous jealousy (cf. 2 Cor. 11:2) that desires faithfulness from His spouse. If God cared not for His people, there would be no jealousy. But it is because He values an intimate relationship with His bride, the church, He is deeply grieved when we pursue other lovers. True love is rightfully jealous. God loves His people so much that He wants us totally for Himself in an exclusive relationship. He will not stand for spiritual adultery.      

Reference:   Sermon, Are You Committing Adultery? James 4:4-6, September 9, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: God-Jealousy
21.
A toxic person wants to be your functional god. They want to make you more nervous about letting them down than you should be about letting God down. They will manipulate in a way that oftentimes you do not realize what’s happening. They wish to be lord over your life. You will find yourself centering your priorities, thoughts and actions around their agenda. Christ has come that we might ultimately serve Him. John 8:36, “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” As a Christian, you are now free from the slavery to sin and even the slavery to sinful people. Christ strengthens and builds up. Toxic people (antichrists) weaken and tear down through their controlling tendencies.

A toxic person wants to be your functional god. They want to make you more nervous about letting them down than you should be about letting God down. They will manipulate in a way that oftentimes you do not realize what’s happening. They wish to be lord over your life. You will find yourself centering your priorities, thoughts and actions around their agenda. Christ has come that we might ultimately serve Him. John 8:36, “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” As a Christian, you are now free from the slavery to sin and even the slavery to sinful people. Christ strengthens and builds up. Toxic people (antichrists) weaken and tear down through their controlling tendencies.    

Reference:   Important, but Rarely Considered, 2 Timothy 3:1-7, January 6, 2018.


22.
If we are not following our Lord’s commands, it’s impossible to say He is our Lord. And if He is not our Lord, it’s impossible to say He’s our Savior.

If we are not following our Lord’s commands, it’s impossible to say He is our Lord. And if He is not our Lord, it’s impossible to say He’s our Savior.    

Reference:   Sermon, The Radical Call to Discipleship, Luke 9:23-27, January 20, 2018.


23.
Coming to Christ means I die to self. It’s allowing Christ to reign as Lord in my heart and desiring to see Him live His will through me. It’s death to the relentless but never-satisfying quest for affirmation. It’s freedom from the vain need to promote self. It’s separation from fight to find personal worth and identity. Fighting less for my rights. Decreasing so He increases in me. It’s finding approval in Him and realizing the true fulfillment in living for His glory. Death to self so life might live within us. When the pride goes so does the selfish agendas and the traits like the bitterness, the jealousy, the unforgiving spirits, the critical attitudes. Christ reigns resulting in joy and peace. Eyes are opened to new horizons. Curse is reversed. Life is restored.

Coming to Christ means I die to self. It’s allowing Christ to reign as Lord in my heart and desiring to see Him live His will through me. It’s death to the relentless but never-satisfying quest for affirmation. It’s freedom from the vain need to promote self. It’s separation from fight to find personal worth and identity. Fighting less for my rights. Decreasing so He increases in me. It’s finding approval in Him and realizing the true fulfillment in living for His glory. Death to self so life might live within us. When the pride goes so does the selfish agendas and the traits like the bitterness, the jealousy, the unforgiving spirits, the critical attitudes. Christ reigns resulting in joy and peace. Eyes are opened to new horizons. Curse is reversed. Life is restored.    

Reference:   Sermon, The Radical Call to Discipleship, Luke 9:23-27, January 20, 2018.


24.
I tried to get my mind around the arguments from the so-called “pro-choice” position. Most of them could seem very defensible from the surface. Who am I to determine a woman’s “reproductive rights?” What’s wrong with removing meaningless tissue? Why not stop a pregnancy when you can spare a child the pain of entering this world disabled or subjected to a life of poverty? Why would any humane person willingly deny women access to “health care?” But when you dig just a little below the surface, you see how ridiculous these claims become. A baby with a face and heartbeat, sensitive to pain (early in the pregnancy) is not meaningless tissue. Taking a person’s life is not “health care.” It’s just the opposite. Personal reproductive rights are between a woman and God, but don’t ask me to fund it in any way with my tax dollars. For a moment leave out the Bible. Leave out what science says about DNA. Leave out a picture from an ultrasound. Can we please just get back to simple common sense?

I tried to get my mind around the arguments from the so-called “pro-choice” position. Most of them could seem very defensible from the surface. Who am I to determine a woman’s “reproductive rights?” What’s wrong with removing meaningless tissue? Why not stop a pregnancy when you can spare a child the pain of entering this world disabled or subjected to a life of poverty? Why would any humane person willingly deny women access to “health care?” But when you dig just a little below the surface, you see how ridiculous these claims become. A baby with a face and heartbeat, sensitive to pain (early in the pregnancy) is not meaningless tissue. Taking a person’s life is not “health care.” It’s just the opposite. Personal reproductive rights are between a woman and God, but don’t ask me to fund it in any way with my tax dollars. For a moment leave out the Bible. Leave out what science says about DNA. Leave out a picture from an ultrasound. Can we please just get back to simple common sense?

Reference:   Sermon, The Radical Call to Discipleship, Luke 9:23-27, January 20, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Abortion
25.
Toothaches and noisy neighbors and broken dishwashers are not “crosses.” The Bible would call these trials or “thorns.” Crosses are the pain and shame and persecution we face for being a loyal follower of Jesus Christ. Willingness to carry your cross stems from the self-denial and is the ultimate test of your loyalty to follow Him (see Luke 9:23).

Toothaches and noisy neighbors and broken dishwashers are not “crosses.” The Bible would call these trials or “thorns.” Crosses are the pain and shame and persecution we face for being a loyal follower of Jesus Christ. Willingness to carry your cross stems from the self-denial and is the ultimate test of your loyalty to follow Him (see Luke 9:23).    

Reference:   Sermon, The Radical Call to Discipleship, Luke 9:23-27, January 20, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Cross-Bearing
26.
We all are created to be worshipers. We will all worship something. Apart from the worship of God, the worship of all other objects is dangerous.

We all are created to be worshipers. We will all worship something. Apart from the worship of God, the worship of all other objects is dangerous.


27.
If we are living our lives productive physically and emotionally as God intended we should never feel guilty about taking a break. Sometimes a nap or day off or vacation is the best thing we can do. We need the solitude to recharge and reflect. We retreat not in defeat, but we retreat in order to come back stronger and refreshed. Even when the Gospel needed to be proclaimed, Jesus and His disciples took time away from the crowds (Mk. 6:31; Lk. 9:10).

If we are living our lives productive physically and emotionally as God intended we should never feel guilty about taking a break. Sometimes a nap or day off or vacation is the best thing we can do. We need the solitude to recharge and reflect. We retreat not in defeat, but we retreat in order to come back stronger and refreshed. Even when the Gospel needed to be proclaimed, Jesus and His disciples took time away from the crowds (Mk. 6:31; Lk. 9:10).  

Reference:   Sermon, Proclaim! Luke 9:1-11, December 9, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Recreation
Rest
28.
Desperation can endure any difficulty as long as it has hope. Desperation will look under every rock possible for hope. It will pore over the Internet and empty its pocketbook or wallet just for a glimmer of hope. It will consult every false teacher in this world and experiment with every opportunity just for a ray of hope. Enduring, all-sufficient hope is the promise Jesus offers us when we place our trust in Him.

Desperation can endure any difficulty as long as it has hope. Desperation will look under every rock possible for hope. It will pore over the Internet and empty its pocketbook or wallet just for a glimmer of hope. It will consult every false teacher in this world and experiment with every opportunity just for a ray of hope. Enduring, all-sufficient hope is the promise Jesus offers us when we place our trust in Him.    

Reference:   Sermon, Power to Subdue – Part 2, Luke 8:40-56, December 2, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Despair
Hope
29.
The bottom line is that we are all hardwired to reject the complete and freely given righteousness of God in a desire to establish our own righteousness (Rom. 10:3). Like Adam and Eve, we search frantically for fig leaves to cover our spiritual nakedness. We think we need to do stuff or rest on our past spiritual achievements to receive God’s love. Deceived by our pride and our feelings, we rob glory from Jesus Christ and seek to find a false sense of peace in our own adequacy.

The bottom line is that we are all hardwired to reject the complete and freely given righteousness of God in a desire to establish our own righteousness (Rom. 10:3). Like Adam and Eve, we search frantically for fig leaves to cover our spiritual nakedness. We think we need to do stuff or rest on our past spiritual achievements to receive God’s love. Deceived by our pride and our feelings, we rob glory from Jesus Christ and seek to find a false sense of peace in our own adequacy.  

Reference:   Grace Lesson, Battle Tested.


30.
According to the Bible, all humans are born in sin (Psm. 51:5) and enslaved to sin (Rom. 6:6). We have willfully rebelled against God and have fallen short of His righteous standard (Rom. 3:23). We are dead in our sins (Eph. 2:1). Our best religious deeds are polluted in His sight (Isa. 64:6). In and of ourselves we are without any hope of heaven (Eph. 2:12). We deserve the wrath of God in hell (Rom. 2:5).

According to the Bible, all humans are born in sin (Psm. 51:5) and enslaved to sin (Rom. 6:6). We have willfully rebelled against God and have fallen short of His righteous standard (Rom. 3:23). We are dead in our sins (Eph. 2:1). Our best religious deeds are polluted in His sight (Isa. 64:6). In and of ourselves we are without any hope of heaven (Eph. 2:12). We deserve the wrath of God in hell (Rom. 2:5).  

Reference:   Grace Lesson, Battle Tested.


31.
We are blessed when we are able to see our sinful depravity. The curse is on self-righteous people who believe they are already acceptable before God. Therefore they will never come to Him for grace. Yet when we see our sins and the unacceptability we have before a holy God it then drives us to Jesus Christ, not for merit, but for His mercy.

We are blessed when we are able to see our sinful depravity. The curse is on self-righteous people who believe they are already acceptable before God. Therefore they will never come to Him for grace. Yet when we see our sins and the unacceptability we have before a holy God it then drives us to Jesus Christ, not for merit, but for His mercy.    

Reference:   Sermon, What Just Happened? Luke 7:36-50, November 4, 2018.


32.
The Gospel makes us realize that we are far worse than we ever believed, but God’s love is far greater than we ever imagined. In the Gospel we realize the depths of our sin so we might better understand the greatness of God’s forgiveness. We see God’s holy hatred toward sin, but His incredible mercy in Christ toward the sinner. If God is God, he must inherently oppose that which opposes Him. Unless evil is dealt with, there can be no good news. The bad news is inherently part of the good news!

The Gospel makes us realize that we are far worse than we ever believed, but God’s love is far greater than we ever imagined. In the Gospel we realize the depths of our sin so we might better understand the greatness of God’s forgiveness. We see God’s holy hatred toward sin, but His incredible mercy in Christ toward the sinner. If God is God, he must inherently oppose that which opposes Him. Unless evil is dealt with, there can be no good news. The bad news is inherently part of the good news!      

Reference:   Sermon, Luke 3:15-20, February 25, 2018.


33.
Water baptism does not save us. Water baptism is only an outward picture of what Christ has miraculously done in our hearts. Water baptism after salvation has its place. Pastors take care for that. It’s external and natural. But the primary and initial baptism we need is by the Holy Spirit. It is internal and supernatural and that must be taken care of by Christ (see Luke 3:16).

Water baptism does not save us. Water baptism is only an outward picture of what Christ has miraculously done in our hearts. Water baptism after salvation has its place. Pastors take care for that. It’s external and natural. But the primary and initial baptism we need is by the Holy Spirit. It is internal and supernatural and that must be taken care of by Christ (see Luke 3:16).      

Reference:   Sermon, Preparation for Greatness, Luke 3:15-20, February 25, 2018.


34.
Sensible, reasonable men are approachable. They are not defensive when confronted. You can discuss things with them without the conversation becoming personal, confrontational, aggressive or argumentative. They think with their biblically informed head and not their fleshly driven feelings. They are able to see beyond their side of the situation. They have as their primary goal the glory of God, even if that comes in their humiliation. They are filled with the Holy Spirit and demonstrate the fruit of self-control.

Sensible, reasonable men are approachable. They are not defensive when confronted. You can discuss things with them without the conversation becoming personal, confrontational, aggressive or argumentative. They think with their biblically informed head and not their fleshly driven feelings. They are able to see beyond their side of the situation. They have as their primary goal the glory of God, even if that comes in their humiliation. They are filled with the Holy Spirit and demonstrate the fruit of self-control.    

Reference:   Sermon, Men of Character, Titus 2:2, June 17, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Reasonable
35.
A sensible or reasonable spirit (Tit. 2:2) is a by-product of years of walking with the Lord. I’m thankful for the older sensible men in my life who have helped me see events and people through the eyes of God. Men who know the wise and controlled way to respond to a situation. Men of reason. Men of discernment. Men led by the Spirit and not their fleshly impulses. They are men that realize that they do not always have the answers and that every situation is not “black and white.” They are sensible.

A sensible or reasonable spirit (Tit. 2:2) is a by-product of years of walking with the Lord. I’m thankful for the older sensible men in my life who have helped me see events and people through the eyes of God. Men who know the wise and controlled way to respond to a situation. Men of reason. Men of discernment. Men led by the Spirit and not their fleshly impulses. They are men that realize that they do not always have the answers and that every situation is not “black and white.” They are sensible.    

Reference:   Sermon, Men of Character, Titus 2:2, June 17, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Reasonable
36.
I am always impressed with the dignity our Savior displayed in the final days of His earthly life. Silent in speech during ridiculous charges. Fearless and courageous in the face of torture and death. Control of all His emotions. Love for others in His most desperate hours. Honoring the Father’s will without hesitation.

I am always impressed with the dignity our Savior displayed in the final days of His earthly life. Silent in speech during ridiculous charges. Fearless and courageous in the face of torture and death. Control of all His emotions. Love for others in His most desperate hours. Honoring the Father’s will without hesitation.    

Reference:   Sermon, Men of Character, Titus 2:2, June 17, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Dignity
37.
Dignified individuals have put the childish ways of gossip and complaining and faultfinding behind them. They are seen in the church as people of respect, not only because of their inherent age, but also because of their Christian maturity. They are individuals of integrity and character above reproach. They avoid pursuing, being consumed with the triviality of life. They are serious, not entertained by the offbeat humor of modern sit-coms. They live their days in the light of eternity, knowing how to manage their appearance and time and money and energies that reflect the true priorities of life of God, family, church and career. Their love for God and people is so evident that others respect them and naturally come to them for counsel. A dignified person has nothing to disgrace his or her character in the sight of man or God. When people look at your personal life, family life, financial life, church life, professional life, do they see a person of dignity?

Dignified individuals have put the childish ways of gossip and complaining and faultfinding behind them. They are  seen in the church as people of respect, not only because of their inherent age, but also because of their Christian maturity. They are individuals of integrity and character above reproach. They avoid pursuing, being consumed with the triviality of life. They are serious, not entertained by the offbeat humor of modern sit-coms. They live their days in the light of eternity, knowing how to manage their appearance and time and money and energies that reflect the true priorities of life of God, family, church and career. Their love for God and people is so evident that others respect them and naturally come to them for counsel. A dignified person has nothing to disgrace his or her character in the sight of man or God. When people look at your personal life, family life, financial life, church life, professional life, do they see a person of dignity?    

Reference:   Sermon, Men of Character, Titus 2:2, June 17, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Dignity
38.
If we really want law and order in our country, it needs to start with respecting those in charge of administering law and order! Leaders should be respectable, but either way we are called by God to respect those who have authority over us (Rom. 13; Tit. 3). You can’t trash the rulers and then expect to have any respect for following the rules!

If we really want law and order in our country, it needs to start with respecting those in charge of administering law and order! Leaders should be respectable, but either way we are called by God to respect those who have authority over us (Rom. 13; Tit. 3). You can’t trash the rulers and then expect to have any respect for following the rules!      

Reference:   Sermon, A Biblical Response to School Shootings, Jeremiah 17:5-10, February 18, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Authority-Human
39.
How has our country tolerated hate toward others? We laugh at the crude put-downs and call it comedy. We treat others rudely with insensitivity to their perspective and called it debate. We destroy other’s property in the streets and call it justifiable anger or justifiable celebration. We demonize our opponents and call it free speech. We gossip and slander others and call it news. We attack people of faith in the most vicious ways and call it liberation. We kill babies and call it choice.

How has our country tolerated hate toward others? We laugh at the crude put-downs and call it comedy. We treat others rudely with insensitivity to their perspective and called it debate. We destroy other’s property in the streets and call it justifiable anger or justifiable celebration. We demonize our opponents and call it free speech. We gossip and slander others and call it news. We attack people of faith in the most vicious ways and call it liberation. We kill babies and call it choice.    

Reference:   Sermon, A Biblical Response to School Shootings, Jeremiah 17:5-10, February 18, 2018


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Hate
40.
My friends, according to the Bible, every person is a special creation of God, personally stamped with His image. Our Lord’s response is to love all people and treat them in a way we would like to be treated. It’s to respond with good for evil, blessing for insult; love extended to those we deem offensive and opposition.

My friends, according to the Bible, every person is a special creation of God, personally stamped with His image. Our Lord’s response is to love all people and treat them in a way we would like to be treated. It’s to respond with good for evil, blessing for insult; love extended to those we deem offensive and opposition.    

Reference:   Sermon, A Biblical Response to School Shootings, Jeremiah 17:5-10, February 18, 2018.


41.
We fear so much today simply because we do not fear God.

We fear so much today simply because we do not fear God.    


42.
According to Nielsen Research, parents spend 3.5 minutes with their children each week in meaningful conversation. The average child watches 1,680 minutes television each week. Throughout that television time, the average child will witness 8,000 murders before he or she finishes elementary school and they will witness 200,000 violent acts.

According to Nielsen Research, parents spend 3.5 minutes with their children each week in meaningful conversation. The average child watches 1,680 minutes television each week. Throughout that television time, the average child will witness 8,000 murders before he or she finishes elementary school and they will witness 200,000 violent acts.    

Reference:   Sermon, A Biblical Response to School Shootings, Jeremiah 17:5-10, February 18, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Television
43.
Repentance is the desire and ability to turn from sin. We cannot have Christ and Satan. So true believers will want to please God. They will be convicted by the Word of God. They will have a general brokenness over their sin. They will desire to turn from it. They will be able to turn from it. That’s repentance. It’s a gift that God gives His children. It initiates salvation and then continues throughout our life of salvation.

Repentance is the desire and ability to turn from sin. We cannot have Christ and Satan. So true believers will want to please God. They will be convicted by the Word of God. They will have a general brokenness over their sin. They will desire to turn from it. They will be able to turn from it. That’s repentance. It’s a gift that God gives His children. It initiates salvation and then continues throughout our life of salvation.    

Reference:   Sermon, Fruits of Repentance, Luke 3:1-14, February 11, 2017.


44.
Flattery is sinful because it strongly appeals to our prideful tendency to be affirmed by man.

Flattery is sinful because it strongly appeals to our prideful tendency to be affirmed by man.  


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Flattery
45.
Jesus, the incarnation of love and truth, knows there is nothing more loving than telling people the truth.

Jesus, the incarnation of love and truth, knows there is nothing more loving than telling people The Truth.  

Reference:   Sermon, The Heart of True Religion, Luke 6:1-16, May 20, 2018.


46.
What does in mean to be spiritually poor? It means to be humble. It means to understand that you have no merit to offer to God. It means to understand that all you deserve is hell.  It means to understand that you are spiritually bankrupt. It means to understand the unfathomable riches of Christ that by God’s sovereign grace have been accredited to your account. It means to boast not in yourself, but in Christ. It means emptying yourself of all your pride that the Holy Spirit might fill you with all of Christ… The humble pursuit of spiritual poverty is the path to true happiness. Empty of self, filled with the Holy Spirit and His fruit of joy.

What does in mean to be spiritually poor? It means to be humble. It means to understand that you have no merit to offer to God. It means to understand that all you deserve is hell. It means to understand that you are spiritually bankrupt. It means to understand the unfathomable riches of Christ that by God’s sovereign grace have been accredited to your account. It means to boast not in yourself, but in Christ. It means emptying yourself of all your pride that the Holy Spirit might fill you with all of Christ… The humble pursuit of spiritual poverty is the path to true happiness. Empty of self, filled with the Holy Spirit and His fruit of joy.    

Reference:   Sermon, The Road to Happiness, Luke 6:12-26, May 27, 2018.


47.
We are far too easily appeased and far too frequently deceived. As humans, we often pursue our inner desire for happiness in the superficial, sugar-coated sin morsels, temporary trinkets of the world. In this pursuit, we are not satisfied and God is not glorified. This is a radical call for faith. Contrary to the world’s pursuits and our internal cravings, we need to believe that doing it God’s way (according to His words in the Bible) will not only bring Him the greatest glory, but also bring us the greatest joy. We need to believe that our highest joy and God’s greatest glory do not compete, but are rather tethered to each other as one unified pursuit.

We are far too easily appeased and far too frequently deceived. As humans, we often pursue our inner desire for happiness in the superficial, sugar-coated sin morsels, temporary trinkets of the world. In this pursuit, we are not satisfied and God is not glorified. This is a radical call for faith. Contrary to the world’s pursuits and our internal cravings, we need to believe that doing it God’s way (according to His words in the Bible) will not only bring Him the greatest glory, but also bring us the greatest joy. We need to believe that our highest joy and God’s greatest glory do not compete, but are rather tethered to each other as one unified pursuit.    

Reference:   Sermon, The Road to Happiness, Luke 6:12-26, May 27, 2018.


48.
What are the changes from “bad tree” to “good tree,” “put off” to “put on” regarding our speech? Foul language to wholesome speech. Complaining to trusting the Lord. Criticism to edifying remarks. Gossip to prayer. Deception to speaking truth. Angry words to kind words. Trivial blabbering to meaningful speech. Worldly philosophy to biblical truth. Praising self to praising God. It is words that resemble the heart changed by the Holy Spirit. Words that are thus loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled.

What are the changes from “bad tree” to “good tree,” “put off” to “put on” regarding our speech? Foul language to wholesome speech. Complaining to trusting the Lord. Criticism to edifying remarks. Gossip to prayer. Deception to speaking truth. Angry words to kind words. Trivial blabbering to meaningful speech. Worldly philosophy to biblical truth. Praising self to praising God. It is words that resemble the heart changed by the Holy Spirit. Words that are thus loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled.    

Reference:   Sermon, Following is Becoming, Luke 6:43-49, July 1, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Communication
49.
You have heard of the “Golden Rule.” Rules like this have been floating around long before the time of Christ. There were some that advocated, “Balanced Reciprocity.” That is, do good to others so they might do good to you. Good for good. Treat others well because it will come back to benefit you. Karma. Give to get back. Then there was “Negative Reciprocity.” That is, do not treat others in a way you would not what them to treat you. We may tell our kids, “Would you like it if someone took your lunch money?” Or, “How would you feel if a person said those things about you?” Or, “Wouldn’t you be sad if you were the bus driver and kids acted that way.” Our Lord’s teaching in verse 31 goes beyond both of these. It’s a new imperative that was unheard of at the time, even in the teachings of Judaism. This command would have been bizarre to Luke’s Gentile readers. Unlike the other two rules I mentioned, the “Golden Rule” is positive. This one expects no reward in return from other humans it serves. People are not business deals! Treat others in a way you want them to treat you. So it’s not, “Just don’t pick on that kid, but rather sit with him when he’s alone at the lunch table because that is what you would want if you were in his shoes.”

You have heard of the “Golden Rule.” Rules like this have been floating around long before the time of Christ. There were some that advocated, “Balanced Reciprocity.” That is, do good to others so they might do good to you. Good for good. Treat others well because it will come back to benefit you. Karma. Give to get back. Then there was “Negative Reciprocity.” That is, do not treat others in a way you would not what them to treat you. We may tell our kids, “Would you like it if someone took your lunch money?” Or, “How would you feel if a person said those things about you?” Or, “Wouldn’t you be sad if you were the bus driver and kids acted that way.” Our Lord’s teaching in verse 31 goes beyond both of these. It’s a new imperative that was unheard of at the time, even in the teachings of Judaism. This command would have been bizarre to Luke’s Gentile readers. Unlike the other two rules I mentioned, the “Golden Rule” is positive. This one expects no reward in return from other humans it serves. People are not business deals! Treat others in a way you want them to treat you. So it’s not, “Just don’t pick on that kid, but rather sit with him when he’s alone at the lunch table because that is what you would want if you were in his shoes.”    

Reference:   Sermon, Enough Evidence to Convict?, Luke 6:27-36, June 3, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Golden_Rule
50.
Love, bless and pray for your enemies. You want to be like Jesus? You want to stop evil from spreading? You want to turn your enemy into your friend? You want to see evidence of the Holy Spirit in you? You want to root out all bitterness in your heart? You want to put aside the defeating victim attitude? Then show the humility of Christ, take the moral high ground and, Romans 12:21, “Overcome evil with good.” Don’t be natural. Be unnatural. It’s hard to hate someone when God gives you a supernatural love for that person.

Love, bless and pray for your enemies. You want to be like Jesus? You want to stop evil from spreading? You want to turn your enemy into your friend? You want to see evidence of the Holy Spirit in you? You want to root out all bitterness in your heart? You want to put aside the defeating victim attitude? Then show the humility of Christ, take the moral high ground and, Romans 12:21, “Overcome evil with good.” Don’t be natural. Be unnatural. It’s hard to hate someone when God gives you a supernatural love for that person.    

Reference:   Sermon, Enough Evidence to Convict?, Luke 6:27-36, June 3, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
51.
As it pertains to temperance (Tit. 2:2), we are talking about someone who is sober in thought, even-keeled and moderate. Young people tend to be emotional and impulsive, but the mature saint should have learned stability, consistency and balance. Men who lack temperance are seen bouncing in and out of ministry, constantly changing jobs. Life is a continual roller-coaster of extremes, overreactions, unstable relationships, inconsistencies and faithless living. On the contrary there is a steadiness to a temperate man. He prays and waits on the Lord to save making a foolish or rash decision. He doesn’t overreact to problems. He is self-controlled. He recognizes the hills worth dying on. He thinks before he speaks. He avoids false excitement but also refuses to be paralyzed by sorrow.  He wisely controls his money, feelings and words. He is not tossed here and there by every comment he hears off the lips of another. He knows how to ride out the storms of life.

As it pertains to temperance (Tit. 2:2), we are talking about someone who is sober in thought, even-keeled and moderate. Young people tend to be emotional and impulsive, but the mature saint should have learned stability, consistency and balance. Men who lack temperance are seen bouncing in and out of ministry, constantly changing jobs. Life is a continual roller-coaster of extremes, overreactions, unstable relationships, inconsistencies and faithless living. On the contrary there is a steadiness to a temperate man. He prays and waits on the Lord to save making a foolish or rash decision. He doesn’t overreact to problems. He is self-controlled. He recognizes the hills worth dying on. He thinks before he speaks. He avoids false excitement but also refuses to be paralyzed by sorrow.  He wisely controls his money, feelings and words. He is not tossed here and there by every comment he hears off the lips of another. He knows how to ride out the storms of life.    

Reference:   Sermon, Men of Character, Titus 2:2, June 17, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Self-Control
52.
I am secure in Christ. His presence and His approval is all that matters. Therefore I can make it my ambition to live out by grace perfecting holiness, not what I want to be but what I already am and who I will practically be for an eternity in heaven. I will not be continually defeated by a wounded ego, but will be at peace devoting the rest of my days not to the vain emptiness of self-love that lives for the sinful and the temporary. I know I am already loved by God. I can get out of the way and seek with God’s love now in me to spread of that love back to God and others. I will not use people to meet my needs, but realize my needs are met in the sufficiency of Christ and seek to bless the needs of others instead as Christ lives His life through me.

I am secure in Christ. His presence and His approval is all that matters. Therefore I can make it my ambition to live out by grace perfecting holiness, not what I want to be but what I already am and who I will practically be for an eternity in heaven. I will not be continually defeated by a wounded ego, but will be at peace devoting the rest of my days not to the vain emptiness of self-love that lives for the sinful and the temporary. I know I am already loved by God. I can get out of the way and seek with God’s love now in me to spread of that love back to God and others. I will not use people to meet my needs, but realize my needs are met in the sufficiency of Christ and seek to bless the needs of others instead as Christ lives His life through me.      

Reference:   Sermon, My Identity in Christ, 1 Corinthians 3:21-4:7, July 22, 2018.


53.
It is a shame that the word “saint” has been hijacked by the Catholic Church. In the original Greek the word simply means “holy.” In Christ you are perfectly clothed with His holiness. In that sense you are a saint. That is how you are seen in the eyes of God. How many of you who profess Christ see this as your identity? You don’t if you are trying to find your acceptance from other people. You don’t if you are seeking to earn God’s favor. And you don’t if your life isn’t seen as one that is practically becoming more holy (or more “saintly”) over time. Your position is saint. You are not trying to become a saint. Your identity is Christ. It begins here and everything flows from that reality for the believer.

It is a shame that the word “saint” has been hijacked by the Catholic Church. In the original Greek the word simply means “holy.” In Christ you are perfectly clothed with His holiness. In that sense you are a saint. That is how you are seen in the eyes of God. How many of you who profess Christ see this as your identity? You don’t if you are trying to find your acceptance from other people. You don’t if you are seeking to earn God’s favor. And you don’t if your life isn’t seen as one that is practically becoming more holy (or more “saintly”) over time. Your position is saint. You are not trying to become a saint. Your identity is Christ. It begins here and everything flows from that reality for the believer.        

Reference:   My Identity in Christ, 1 Corinthians 3:21-4:7, July 22, 2018.


54.
The goal of our Christian life is to find so much beauty in Jesus Christ, happiness in Jesus Christ that the Sirens of sin don’t stand a chance. We are created for pleasure. Sin holds out for us a promise of pleasure. So we must fight its promise with a greater promise. We must understand the superior happiness that comes from doing it God’s way and not pursuing the temporary and toxic pleasures of sin.

The goal of our Christian life is to find so much beauty in Jesus Christ, happiness in Jesus Christ that the Sirens of sin don’t stand a chance. We are created for pleasure. Sin holds out for us a promise of pleasure. So we must fight its promise with a greater promise. We must understand the superior happiness that comes from doing it God’s way and not pursuing the temporary and toxic pleasures of sin.    

Reference:   Sermon, Rejoice! God is Pleased, Psalm 16:11, August 6, 2018.


55.
We must understand that sin is a desire. We don’t fall into sin. We may be tempted, but sin is a personal choice we make and one to which we are responsible. Simply put, we sin because we want to sin. We believe sin will bring us greater pleasure, greater joy than obedience.

We must understand that sin is a desire. We don’t fall into sin. We may be tempted, but sin is a personal choice we make and one to which we are responsible. Simply put, we sin because we want to sin. We believe sin will bring us greater pleasure, greater joy than obedience.  

Reference:   Sermon, Rejoice! God is Pleased, Psalm 16:11, August 6, 2018.


56.
We pursue our pleasure in God because it is the wisest pursuit to bring us the greatest pleasure, but we also pursue our pleasure in God because it’s the greatest way we can bring Him the most glory!

We pursue our pleasure in God because it is the wisest pursuit to bring us the greatest pleasure, but we also pursue our pleasure in God because it’s the greatest way we can bring Him the most glory!  

Reference:   Sermon, Rejoice! God is Pleased, Psalm 16:11, August 6, 2018.


57.
God made us to pursue our joy. Joy is even a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Therefore I believe the pursuit of joy it is a good drive within us. I believe there is no problem with pursuing our happiness so long as our pursuit of happiness is in the pursuit of God’s glory. In other words, the problem is not with the passion, but rather the problem is with the paths to happiness that we often choose.

God made us to pursue our joy. Joy is even a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Therefore I believe the pursuit of joy it is a good drive within us. I believe there is no problem with pursuing our happiness so long as our pursuit of happiness is in the pursuit of God’s glory. In other words, the problem is not with the passion, but rather the problem is with the paths to happiness that we often choose.    

Reference:   Sermon, Rejoice! God is Pleased, Psalm 16:11, August 6, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Joy-Pursuit_of
58.
You see, the home is the greenhouse to protect and nurture our children. And when it is done right, children come to appreciate and trust their parent’s instruction. After time they come to understand that their rules are intended for good. They begin to see the parallel that the same applies for the rules God gives to us as well. They understand these rules come from a loving spiritual Father that desires our lives to be blessed. Consequences result when children disobey their parents. Consequences always result with people disobey God.

You see, the home is the greenhouse to protect and nurture our children. And when it is done right, children come to appreciate and trust their parent’s instruction. After time they come to understand that their rules are intended for good. They begin to see the parallel that the same applies for the rules God gives to us as well. They understand these rules come from a loving spiritual Father that desires our lives to be blessed. Consequences result when children disobey their parents. Consequences always result with people disobey God.    

Reference:   A Word to Children and Parents, Ephesians 6:1-4, June 18, 2017.


59.
It’s evident when a society turns its back on God. Many necessary traits of a civilized and orderly democracy go out the window. One of them is the loss of the concept of honor and respect. How does that come about? Take the belief that you evolved which makes life without honor, add it the self-esteem movement that teaches you only to honor yourself, add to that no moral absolutes whereby your end goal will justify your dishonorable means and then throw away divine accountability to honor because you believe you are the final say defining right and wrong.

It’s evident when a society turns its back on God. Many necessary traits of a civilized and orderly democracy go out the window. One of them is the loss of the concept of honor and respect. How does that come about? Take the belief that you evolved which makes life without honor, add it the self-esteem movement that teaches you only to honor yourself, add to that no moral absolutes whereby your end goal will justify your dishonorable means and then throw away divine accountability to honor because you believe you are the final say defining right and wrong.  

Reference:   A Word to Children and Parents, Ephesians 6:1-4, June 18, 2017.


60.
There can be no wisdom apart from a relationship with Christ. Remember how the Queen of Sheba came from far away to hear the wisdom of Solomon. However Jesus said of Himself in Matthew 12, “The Queen of the South shall rise up with this generation at the judgment and shall condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here” (Mt. 12:42). Others spoke of God’s wisdom; Jesus is the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24; 30)! Others spoke of truth; Jesus is the truth (Jn. 14:6)! Others proclaimed God’s forgiveness; Jesus brought God’s forgiveness by His death (Col. 1:22). Is it any wonder why Paul could say in Colossians 2:3, “In [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

There can be no wisdom apart from a relationship with Christ. Remember how the Queen of Sheba came from far away to hear the wisdom of Solomon. However Jesus said of Himself in Matthew 12, “The Queen of the South shall rise up with this generation at the judgment and shall condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here” (Mt. 12:42). Others spoke of God’s wisdom; Jesus is the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24; 30)! Others spoke of truth; Jesus is the truth (Jn. 14:6)! Others proclaimed God’s forgiveness; Jesus brought God’s forgiveness by His death (Col. 1:22). Is it any wonder why Paul could say in Colossians 2:3, “In [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”    

Reference:   Am I Wise or Foolish? Proverbs 1:1-7, August 27, 2017.


61.
God in His grace grants us His wisdom often through four sources: prayer (Jas. 1:5), Bible reading (Psm. 19:7), wise counsel (Pr. 12:15) and godly relationships (Pr. 13:20).

God in His grace grants us His wisdom often through four sources: prayer (Jas. 1:5), Bible reading (Psm. 19:7), wise counsel (Pr. 12:15) and godly relationships (Pr. 13:20).    

Reference:   Am I Wise or Foolish? Proverbs 1:1-7, August 27, 2017.


62.
We must not think as the eastern religions do, that God can be used to attain wisdom apart from a relationship with Him. We need first to realize that the essence of all godly wisdom is a fear of the Lord. Meaning this, the foundation of all true wisdom is respecting God for being God (Pr. 1:7; 2:5; 9:10; Job 28:28; Ecc. 12:13)!

We must not think as the eastern religions do, that God can be used to attain wisdom apart from a relationship with Him. We need first to realize that the essence of all godly wisdom is a fear of the Lord. Meaning this, the foundation of all true wisdom is respecting God for being God (Pr. 1:7; 2:5; 9:10; Job 28:28; Ecc. 12:13)!    

Reference:   Am I Wise or Foolish? Proverbs 1:1-7, August 27, 2017.


63.
Don’t forget that God is the source of wisdom. “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Pro. 2:6). And though the book of Proverbs relentlessly calls us to pursue wisdom, we must remember that wisdom remains a divine gift. If we are to seek the wisdom that leads to joy and life and satisfaction and success and meaning, we must turn to God, as He is the source of all true wisdom. Seeking for wisdom is seeking for God, these two pursuits are one and the same and must never be separated (Gen. 41:39; Rom. 16:27; 1 Cor. 3:10).

Don’t forget that God is the source of wisdom. “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Pro. 2:6). And though the book of Proverbs relentlessly calls us to pursue wisdom, we must remember that wisdom remains a divine gift. If we are to seek the wisdom that leads to joy and life and satisfaction and success and meaning, we must turn to God, as He is the source of all true wisdom. Seeking for wisdom is seeking for God, these two pursuits are one and the same and must never be separated (Gen. 41:39; Rom. 16:27; 1 Cor. 3:10).    

Reference:   Am I Wise or Foolish? Proverbs 1:1-7, August 27, 2017.


64.
Wisdom is the application of knowledge leading to God’s glory and a life of blessings.

Wisdom is the application of knowledge leading to God’s glory and a life of blessings.    

Reference:   Am I Wise or Foolish? Proverbs 1:1-7, August 27, 2017.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Wisdom-Human
65.
Often indifference to our Creator’s wise guidelines reveals a heart that is simply disinterested in its own happiness!

Often indifference to our Creator’s wise guidelines reveals a heart that is simply disinterested in its own happiness!    

Reference:   Am I Wise or Foolish? Proverbs 1:1-7, August 27, 2017.


66.
Biblical steps for receiving reproof: 1. Preliminary- Make it your passion to strive for godliness (1 Tim. 4:8)! Seek conformity to Christ as your primary goal (Rom. 8:29)! Be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18)! Therefore when reproof comes, you will welcome it in gratitude with a humble spirit and teachable heart, eager to implement Spirit-driven biblical change for the glory of God. 2. During the time together – pray before sharing the concern (Phil. 4:6), listen carefully to the rebuke (Pr. 18:13), ask questions to clarify the matter (1 Cor. 14:33) and thank the person for his or her concern (Eph. 1:15-16). 3. Be careful not to justify your sin (Lk. 16:15), blame others (1 Sa. 25:24), including the person coming to you (Gen. 3:12) and judge the individual’s motives (Jas. 4:12). 4. After the time together examine your life in the Spirit with the truth in God’s Word (Psm. 26:2) and take necessary actions for reparation by confessing any revealed sin to God (Psm. 32:5), seeking forgiveness from those you may have injured (Gen. 50:17) and developing a plan for repentance (Ac. 26:20).

Biblical steps for receiving reproof: 1. Preliminary- Make it your passion to strive for godliness (1 Tim. 4:8)! Seek conformity to Christ as your primary goal (Rom. 8:29)! Be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18)! Therefore when reproof comes, you will welcome it in gratitude with a humble spirit and teachable heart, eager to implement Spirit-driven biblical change for the glory of God. 2. During the time together – pray before sharing the concern (Phil. 4:6), listen carefully to the rebuke (Pr. 18:13), ask questions to clarify the matter (1 Cor. 14:33) and thank the person for his or her concern (Eph. 1:15-16). 3. Be careful not to justify your sin (Lk. 16:15), blame others (1 Sa. 25:24), including the person coming to you (Gen. 3:12) and judge the individual’s motives (Jas. 4:12). 4. After the time together examine your life in the Spirit with the truth in God’s Word (Psm. 26:2) and take necessary actions for reparation by confessing any revealed sin to God (Psm. 32:5), seeking forgiveness from those you may have injured (Gen. 50:17) and developing a plan for repentance (Ac. 26:20).    

Reference:   Who Am I to Judge? Proverbs 27:5-6, August 6, 2017.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Reproof
67.
Biblical steps for giving reproof: 1. Preliminary- Realize that you are not on the sin patrol! It is your responsibility to look for the good in others and seek ways to edify your brothers and sisters in Christ (1 Thes. 5:11). Confronting others should only occur when the sin is brought to your personal attention (1 Cor. 5:1-5), not news that you received from another. Also, be sure that it is a biblical sin and not just an issue of preference! 2. Pray for the offender hat God would give him or her awareness of the sin (Psm. 119:18) and that God soften his or her heart to the truth in your rebuke (Psm. 51:17). Pray also for yourself that God will use you as a mouthpiece for His glory (Rom. 12:1) and the other’s good (Heb. 10:24). That He will rightly prepare your heart (Psm. 139:23). Have you sinned against the offender (and God) regarding this matter by demonstrating gossip (2 Cor. 12:20), bitterness (Heb. 12:15), judgmentalism (Mt. 7:1-2) or lack of forgiveness (Eph. 4:32)? Is your spirit right with God prior to the confrontation by demonstrating proper motives (1 Cor. 4:3-5), self-examination (Mt. 7:5), humility (Gal. 6:1, 3) and gentleness (Gal. 6:1)? 3. Confront him or her with the Word (Heb. 4:12). Initially go in private (Mt. 18:15). Take the offender to specific Bible passages that directly address the situation (2 Ti. 3:16-17). Explain/reason/dialogue where necessary (Pr. 25:15). Point him or her to Christ for forgiveness and repair (1 Jn. 1:8-9). Restore the relationship if necessary (Mt. 5:24). Pray together (Jas. 5:16). 4. Offer assistance – bear his or her burdens (Gal. 6:2), prayer (1 Sa. 12:23), accountability (Pr. 27:17) , encouragement (1 Thes. 5:11), counseling (Pr. 27:9) and tangible help (1 Jn. 3:18).

Biblical steps for giving reproof: 1. Preliminary- Realize that you are not on the sin patrol! It is your responsibility to look for the good in others and seek ways to edify your brothers and sisters in Christ (1 Thes. 5:11). Confronting others should only occur when the sin is brought to your personal attention (1 Cor. 5:1-5), not news that you received from another. Also, be sure that it is a biblical sin and not just an issue of preference! 2. Pray for the offender hat God would give him or her awareness of the sin (Psm. 119:18) and that God soften his or her heart to the truth in your rebuke (Psm. 51:17). Pray also for yourself that God will use you as a mouthpiece for His glory (Rom. 12:1) and the other’s good (Heb. 10:24). That He will rightly prepare your heart (Psm. 139:23). Have you sinned against the offender (and God) regarding this matter by demonstrating gossip (2 Cor. 12:20), bitterness (Heb. 12:15), judgmentalism (Mt. 7:1-2) or lack of forgiveness (Eph. 4:32)? Is your spirit right with God prior to the confrontation by demonstrating proper motives (1 Cor. 4:3-5), self-examination (Mt. 7:5), humility (Gal. 6:1, 3) and gentleness (Gal. 6:1)? 3. Confront him or her with the Word (Heb. 4:12). Initially go in private (Mt. 18:15). Take the offender to specific Bible passages that directly address the situation (2 Ti. 3:16-17). Explain/reason/dialogue where necessary (Pr. 25:15). Point him or her to Christ for forgiveness and repair (1 Jn. 1:8-9). Restore the relationship if necessary (Mt. 5:24). Pray together (Jas. 5:16). 4. Offer assistance – bear his or her burdens (Gal. 6:2), prayer (1 Sa. 12:23), accountability (Pr. 27:17) , encouragement (1 Thes. 5:11), counseling (Pr. 27:9) and tangible help (1 Jn. 3:18).    

Reference:   Who Am I to Judge? Proverbs 27:5-6, August 6, 2017.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Reproof
68.
Why does a healthy church reprove one another according to the Word of God? 1. It is commanded in the Bible. 2. It demonstrates love for one another. 3. It provides for Christians what they should desire. 4. It is a test of our spiritual maturity, humility. 5. It reconciles strained relationships. 6. It protects the purity, example and testimony of the church.

Why does a healthy church reprove one another according to the Word of God? 1. It is commanded in the Bible. 2. It demonstrates love for one another. 3. It provides for Christians what they should desire. 4. It is a test of our spiritual maturity, humility. 5. It reconciles strained relationships. 6. It protects the purity, example and testimony of the church.    

Reference:   Who Am I to Judge? Proverbs 27:5-6, August 6, 2017.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Reproof
69.
Our mouths are not factories trying to manufacture proper speech, but rather fountains in which proper speech overflows from hearts that are being transformed by the Spirit. As Jesus said, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Mt. 12:34).

Our mouths are not factories trying to manufacture proper speech, but rather fountains in which proper speech overflows from hearts that are being transformed by the Spirit. As Jesus said, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Mt. 12:34).  

Reference:   How Powerful Are Words? Proverbs 12:13-22, September 3, 2017.


Author: Randy Smith
70.
Although the tongue is capable of great destruction, the tongue in and of itself is not the ultimate culprit. The ultimate culprit is the heart! The tongue is simply a conduit, or pipeline from the heart. Therefore proper speech reveals a good heart while improper speech reveals a bad heart. Our words reveal our heart and our heart reveals our true master, our true allegiance and our true citizenship. It’s that simple!

Although the tongue is capable of great destruction, the tongue in and of itself is not the ultimate culprit. The ultimate culprit is the heart! The tongue is simply a conduit, or pipeline from the heart. Therefore proper speech reveals a good heart while improper speech reveals a bad heart. Our words reveal our heart and our heart reveals our true master, our true allegiance and our true citizenship. It’s that simple!  

Reference:   How Powerful Are Words? Proverbs 12:13-22, September 3, 2017.


Author: Randy Smith
71.
We often think wisdom is demonstrated by speaking many words; however according to the Bible wisdom is often shown by our silence.

We often think wisdom is demonstrated by speaking many words; however according to the Bible wisdom is often shown by our silence.  

Reference:   How Powerful Are Words? Proverbs 12:13-22, September 3, 2017.


72.
I like the way John Piper once put this along the lines of fearing God and perseverance.  “Fearing the Lord means fearing to run away from Him. It means fearing to seek refuge and joy and hope anywhere but in God.  It means keeping before our eyes what a fearful prospect it is to stop trusting and depending on God to meet our needs.”  He who does not fear God has called a peace treaty with sin. But he who does fear God, battles sin and fervently continues in the daily quest for holiness.  So fearing God enables us to obey Him, mature spiritually and faithfully persevere until the end.

I like the way John Piper once put this along the lines of fearing God and perseverance.  “Fearing the Lord means fearing to run away from Him. It means fearing to seek refuge and joy and hope anywhere but in God.  It means keeping before our eyes what a fearful prospect it is to stop trusting and depending on God to meet our needs.”  He who does not fear God has called a peace treaty with sin. But he who does fear God, battles sin and fervently continues in the daily quest for holiness.  So fearing God enables us to obey Him, mature spiritually and faithfully persevere until the end.


73.
Naturally, the sluggard begins the day by staying in bed when he should be starting his work. Proverbs 6:9, “How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?” Next the sluggard will invent any reason to prevent working. Proverbs 22:13, “The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion outside; I shall be slain in the streets!” Rather than beginning his work he simply pacifies himself with his preposterous excuses and return to his bed. Proverbs 26:14, “As the door turns on its hinges, so does the sluggard on his bed.” Once the sluggard finally rolls out of bed, he is even too lazy to provide for his needs to survive. Proverbs 19:24, “The sluggard buries his hand in the dish, and will not even bring it back to his mouth.” Though the sluggard may be too lazy to eat, often, due to his slothfulness, he has no food to eat. Proverbs 20:4, “The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, so he begs during the harvest and has nothing.” Eventually, his laziness leads to a lack of food, a lack of food to deteriorated health, and deteriorated health to death. Proverbs 21:25, “The desire of the sluggard puts him to death, for his hands refuse to work.” His neglect of responsibilities is evident in his health, but also in the care of his house. Proverbs 24:30-31, “I passed by the field of the sluggard, and by the vineyard of the man lacking sense; and behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles, its surface was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down.” His life is simply a selfish pursuit of his laziness. Though he may wish a nobler lifestyle, steps are never taken to accomplish his goal because he’s a dreamer. Proverbs 13:4, “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing.” He thinks his life is okay, but unfortunately he is greatly deceived. Proverbs 26:16, “The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can give a discreet answer.” What the sluggard really needs is stern rebuke of wisdom. The slug is compared to another animal, one that is very industrious. Proverbs 6:6-11, “Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer, and gathers her provision in the harvest. How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? ‘A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest’ – and your poverty will come in like a vagabond, and your need like an armed man.”

Naturally, the sluggard begins the day by staying in bed when he should be starting his work. Proverbs 6:9, “How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?” Next the sluggard will invent any reason to prevent working. Proverbs 22:13, “The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion outside; I shall be slain in the streets!” Rather than beginning his work he simply pacifies himself with his preposterous excuses and return to his bed. Proverbs 26:14, “As the door turns on its hinges, so does the sluggard on his bed.” Once the sluggard finally rolls out of bed, he is even too lazy to provide for his needs to survive. Proverbs 19:24, “The sluggard buries his hand in the dish, and will not even bring it back to his mouth.” Though the sluggard may be too lazy to eat, often, due to his slothfulness, he has no food to eat. Proverbs 20:4, “The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, so he begs during the harvest and has nothing.” Eventually, his laziness leads to a lack of food, a lack of food to deteriorated health, and deteriorated health to death. Proverbs 21:25, “The desire of the sluggard puts him to death, for his hands refuse to work.” His neglect of responsibilities is evident in his health, but also in the care of his house. Proverbs 24:30-31, “I passed by the field of the sluggard, and by the vineyard of the man lacking sense; and behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles, its surface was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down.” His life is simply a selfish pursuit of his laziness. Though he may wish a nobler lifestyle, steps are never taken to accomplish his goal because he’s a dreamer. Proverbs 13:4, “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing.” He thinks his life is okay, but unfortunately he is greatly deceived. Proverbs 26:16, “The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can give a discreet answer.” What the sluggard really needs is stern rebuke of wisdom. The slug is compared to another animal, one that is very industrious. Proverbs 6:6-11, “Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer, and gathers her provision in the harvest. How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? ‘A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest’ – and your poverty will come in like a vagabond, and your need like an armed man.”

Reference:   What is a Spiritual Discipline, Proverbs 6:6-11, September 10, 2017.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Laziness
74.
When it comes to the slothful, the Bible pulls no punches. It is a hideous offense that discredits our testimony, displays our selfishness, dismisses our spiritual responsibilities and mocks the nature of our Creator to whom we are to emulate.

When it comes to the slothful, the Bible pulls no punches. It is a hideous offense that discredits our testimony, displays our selfishness, dismisses our spiritual responsibilities and mocks the nature of our Creator to whom we are to emulate.      

Reference:   What is a Spiritual Discipline, Proverbs 6:6-11, September 10, 2017.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Laziness
Work
75.
Was Jesus the pawn in Caesar’s hands or was Caesar the pawn in God’s hands to accomplish God’s prophetic purposes in bringing the Messiah to Bethlehem to fulfill prophecy (Mi. 5:2-5)?

Was Jesus the pawn in Caesar’s hands or was Caesar the pawn in God’s hands to accomplish God’s prophetic purposes in bringing the Messiah to Bethlehem to fulfill prophecy (Mi. 5:2-5)?    

Reference:   Sermon, Any Room For Jesus? Luke 2:1-7, December 17, 2017.


76.
The focus is on the baby! But the focus is not on a baby, but again who this baby is and what He will become. The Christmas story is about wonder (Lk. 2:19, 51). You see, if He were born to Caesar Augustus in a palace there is not much left to the imagination. But we are called to intense faith to believe that somehow this child is Lord and will be Messiah and Savior (Lk. 2:11). The narrative makes it clear that for this to happen it must be the hand of God with Whom nothing is impossible (Lk. 1:37).

The focus is on the baby! But the focus is not on a baby, but again who this baby is and what He will become. The Christmas story is about wonder (Lk. 2:19, 51). You see, if He were born to Caesar Augustus in a palace there is not much left to the imagination. But we are called to intense faith to believe that somehow this child is Lord and will be Messiah and Savior (Lk. 2:11). The narrative makes it clear that for this to happen it must be the hand of God with Whom nothing is impossible (Lk. 1:37).

Reference:   Sermon, Any Room For Jesus? Luke 2:1-7, December 17, 2017.


77.
You see, when it comes to the birth of Christ, it’s hard to find anything to brag about other than the birth of Christ! Stinky stable (and not a warm hospital), wooden manger (and not a beautiful crib), insignificant parents (and not reputable people), notorious town (and not the religious city of Jerusalem), dangerous journey (and not a bed for Mary), Roman dictatorship (and not servant leadership), swaddling cloths (and not fresh linens). It is mostly bad so that we might not miss the good.

You see, when it comes to the birth of Christ, it’s hard to find anything to brag about other than the birth of Christ! Stinky stable (and not a warm hospital), wooden manger (and not a beautiful crib), insignificant parents (and not reputable people), notorious town (and not the religious city of Jerusalem), dangerous journey (and not a bed for Mary), Roman dictatorship (and not servant leadership), swaddling cloths (and not fresh linens). It is mostly bad so that we might not miss the good.  

Reference:   Sermon, Any Room For Jesus? Luke 2:1-7, December 17, 2017.


78.
So does God really want our focus on a cute, adorable baby or does He want our focus on who that baby is and what He will become? That’s why the text is silent regarding Jesus’ physical appearance. Yet at the same time, the text is also careful not to undervalue the greatness of His arrival, but to present His arrival in a way where nothing within the narrative will distract from His glory.

So does God really want our focus on a cute, adorable baby or does He want our focus on who that baby is and what He will become? That’s why the text is silent regarding Jesus' physical appearance. Yet at the same time, the text is also careful not to undervalue the greatness of His arrival, but to present His arrival in a way where nothing within the narrative will distract from His glory.

Reference:   Sermon, Any Room For Jesus? Luke 2:1-7, December 17, 2017.


79.
Nativity scenes and Christmas cards make the birthing place of Jesus like something out of a “Tennessee Made-for-Television Christmas Special” with Garth Brooks sitting on a bale of hay strumming some of our Holiday favorites in a clean barn with domesticated animals and seats for the children to drink their hot chocolate. Clearly this was not the case for Joseph and Mary. The conditions were crude. We can assume animals were present, but the text never confirms it. Animals probably were at some time housed there since Jesus was placed in a manger, which is a feeding trough for animals. The whole place smelled not only from animal droppings, but also from poverty, scandal, insignificance, helplessness, humiliation and embarrassment.

Nativity scenes and Christmas cards make the birthing place of Jesus like something out of a “Tennessee Made-for-Television Christmas Special” with Garth Brooks sitting on a bale of hay strumming some of our Holiday favorites in a clean barn with domesticated animals and seats for the children to drink their hot chocolate. Clearly this was not the case for Joseph and Mary. The conditions were crude. We can assume animals were present, but the text never confirms it. Animals probably were at some time housed there since Jesus was placed in a manger, which is a feeding trough for animals. The whole place smelled not only from animal droppings, but also from poverty, scandal, insignificance, helplessness, humiliation and embarrassment.

Reference:   Sermon, Any Room For Jesus? Luke 2:1-7, December 17, 2017.


80.
Faith is belief. Faith is trusting God for the forgiveness that He has offered us in Christ. Faith is believing this message that we can be saved from His judgment though the means He has provided. Faith is rejecting our own goodness and trusting in God’s goodness for salvation.

Faith is belief. Faith is trusting God for the forgiveness that He has offered us in Christ. Faith is believing this message that we can be saved from His judgment though the means He has provided. Faith is rejecting our own goodness and trusting in God’s goodness for salvation.    

Reference:   Sermon, What is the Gospel According to Proverbs? Proverbs 20:9, September 24, 2017.


81.
The Gospel is “Good News,” but we can’t get to the good news until we talk about the bad news because apart from the bad news we will see no need for the good news. Awareness of our sinfulness is the motivation to seek the cure of forgiveness found only in Christ.

The Gospel is “Good News,” but we can’t get to the good news until we talk about the bad news because apart from the bad news we will see no need for the good news. Awareness of our sinfulness is the motivation to seek the cure of forgiveness found only in Christ.    

Reference:   Sermon, What is the Gospel According to Proverbs? Proverbs 20:9, September 24, 2017.


82.
No one wants to listen to a babbling fool or a person that just wants to talk about himself or a person that can’t take a hint that the other individual wants the conversation to end. None of us want to be a part of a conversation like that! Yet sadly, that might very well characterize the Gospel outreach of the church. Offend with the Gospel, not your lack of manners. Don’t turn the “good news” into “boring news!”

No one wants to listen to a babbling fool or a person that just wants to talk about himself or a person that can’t take a hint that the other individual wants the conversation to end. None of us want to be a part of a conversation like that! Yet sadly, that might very well characterize the Gospel outreach of the church. Offend with the Gospel, not your lack of manners. Don’t turn the “good news” into “boring news!”  

Reference:   Sermon, Effective Evangelism, Proverbs 11:30, October 8, 2017.


83.
When sharing the Gospel, listen carefully to the person! You are not talking to a robot. Your words are not a prerecorded message. This is an individual with a soul created in God’s image. Show the person dignity. They are not a personal challenge viewed simply as a convert to be won or a prize for our evangelism trophy case. Listen to them and try to genuinely enter their world. Love them! Learn their heart and then speak Christ as the solution. Never alter the core message, but learn to package the Gospel in a customized way for each individual. Probe them. Emphasize with them. Question them to understand them. This is love, investment in a human being however short of long that interaction might be, drawing out their worldview, beliefs, struggles and fears and then presenting Christ as the answer who has overcome sin.

When sharing the Gospel, listen carefully to the person! You are not talking to a robot. Your words are not a prerecorded message. This is an individual with a soul created in God’s image. Show the person dignity. They are not a personal challenge viewed simply as a convert to be won or a prize for our evangelism trophy case. Listen to them and try to genuinely enter their world. Love them! Learn their heart and then speak Christ as the solution. Never alter the core message, but learn to package the Gospel in a customized way for each individual. Probe them. Emphasize with them. Question them to understand them. This is love, investment in a human being however short of long that interaction might be, drawing out their worldview, beliefs, struggles and fears and then presenting Christ as the answer who has overcome sin.  

Reference:   Sermon, Effective Evangelism, Proverbs 11:30, October 8, 2017.


84.
Use self-control! Here are two pitfalls that most of us fall into in this regard. One is we let the individual take us off the main point. Maybe it’s the scoffer: “What about those who never heard the Gospel?” “Where did Cain get his wife?” Maybe it’s the person that just wants to share unrelated stories. You need self-control to prevent yourself from going down rabbit trails that will take you away from the four core elements of the Gospel (God-Man-Christ-Response). Second, you will need self-control to avoid getting emotional, angry, discouraged, frustrated or offended. Oftentimes these conversations can get very sensitive. You need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and produce the fruit of self-control even if the other person has lost his. Don’t let their spirit dictate your spirit.

Use self-control! Here are two pitfalls that most of us fall into in this regard. One is we let the individual take us off the main point. Maybe it's the scoffer: “What about those who never heard the Gospel?” “Where did Cain get his wife?” Maybe it’s the person that just wants to share unrelated stories. You need self-control to prevent yourself from going down rabbit trails that will take you away from the four core elements of the Gospel (God-Man-Christ-Response). Second, you will need self-control to avoid getting emotional, angry, discouraged, frustrated or offended. Oftentimes these conversations can get very sensitive. You need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and produce the fruit of self-control even if the other person has lost his. Don’t let their spirit dictate your spirit.  

Reference:   Sermon, Effective Evangelism, Proverbs 11:30, October 8, 2017.


85.
Apart from God doing something in an unbeliever’s heart, don’t expect them to understand the message, applaud your efforts, agree with your logic or accept your Bible verses. It’s important to keep that in mind!

Apart from God doing something in an unbeliever’s heart, don’t expect them to understand the message, applaud your efforts, agree with your logic or accept your Bible verses. It’s important to keep that in mind!  

Reference:   Sermon, Effective Evangelism, Proverbs 11:30, October 8, 2017.


86.
You need to believe it is essential that others hear the Gospel because the eternal destiny of an individual’s soul is hanging in the balance. Being convinced of this reality, combined with our love for others, compels us to share the message of salvation.

You need to believe it is essential that others hear the Gospel because the eternal destiny of an individual’s soul is hanging in the balance. Being convinced of this reality, combined with our love for others, compels us to share the message of salvation.    

Reference:   Sermon, Effective Evangelism, Proverbs 11:30, October 8, 2017.


87.
If we are focused on rule keeping, if we are focused on earning God’s acceptance through our efforts, if we are focused on trying to meet the convictions and standards of others, God becomes a gloomy killjoy and the vibrant relationship we desire with Him becomes dull, distant and difficult to bear. As we spin the plates of legalism, our Christian walk increasingly becomes a burden with the continual addition of another plate. And to keep the plates spinning, we’ll focus more on the plates, our legalistic rulebook, than our intimate and exciting and joyful walk with the living God.

If we are focused on rule keeping, if we are focused on earning God's acceptance through our efforts, if we are focused on trying to meet the convictions and standards of others, God becomes a gloomy killjoy and the vibrant relationship we desire with Him becomes dull, distant and difficult to bear. As we spin the plates of legalism, our Christian walk increasingly becomes a burden with the continual addition of another plate. And to keep the plates spinning, we'll focus more on the plates, our legalistic rulebook, than our intimate and exciting and joyful walk with the living God.


Author: Randy Smith
88.
Likewise we have warning lights that God uses to get our attention when we are not trusting Him. How about anxiety? “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down” (Pr. 12:25). Anxiety is a sign we are not trusting God for the events in our lives. How about the fear of man? Are people bigger than your God? Are you trusting in people, even your church shepherds more than the Great Shepherd? “The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted” (Pr. 29:25). How about a lack of joy? Trusting God results in abiding in the Spirit which produces spiritual fruit like joy. “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones” (Pr. 17:22). Isn’t it God’s desire to bear much spiritual fruit through you (Jn. 15:5, 8)? Is that happening?

Likewise we have warning lights that God uses to get our attention when we are not trusting Him. How about anxiety? “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down” (Pr. 12:25). Anxiety is a sign we are not trusting God for the events in our lives. How about the fear of man? Are people bigger than your God? Are you trusting in people, even your church shepherds more than the Great Shepherd? “The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted” (Pr. 29:25). How about a lack of joy? Trusting God results in abiding in the Spirit which produces spiritual fruit like joy. “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones” (Pr. 17:22). Isn’t it God’s desire to bear much spiritual fruit through you (Jn. 15:5, 8)? Is that happening?    

Reference:   Sermon, How Do I Balance Work With Grace?, Proverbs 16:1, 3, 9, 20, September 17, 2017.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Faith-God-in
89.
So we discipline ourselves for godliness, but trust in His grace. We strive to live our Christian life, but find our rest in Him. We labor to the point of exhaustion, but realize His yoke is easy and His load is light. Examine yourself regularly to stay balanced. We live Gospel-centered lives – trusting His grace and sovereignty for salvation and trusting His grace and sovereignty for daily living as well.

So we discipline ourselves for godliness, but trust in His grace. We strive to live our Christian life, but find our rest in Him. We labor to the point of exhaustion, but realize His yoke is easy and His load is light. Examine yourself regularly to stay balanced. We live Gospel-centered lives – trusting His grace and sovereignty for salvation and trusting His grace and sovereignty for daily living as well.      

Reference:   Sermon, How Do I Balance Work With Grace?, Proverbs 16:1, 3, 9, 20, September 17, 2017.


90.
God enjoys using your hard work for ministry, but your hard work and your ministry must not be your god. What God wants is you!

God enjoys using your hard work for ministry, but your hard work and your ministry must not be your god. What God wants is you!    

Reference:   Sermon, How Do I Balance Work With Grace?, Proverbs 16:1, 3, 9, 20, September 17, 2017.


91.
We learn throughout the years that God is faithful. You know when God gave new exhortations to the Israelites; often He reminded them of His faithfulness during the Exodus. He wanted the Jews to realize that He could be trusted in the present because of His faithfulness in the past. The same principle applies to our lives as well. The more we see His faithful hand shaping the events of our lives in the past, the more we realize that He can be trusted in the present. In hindsight, we can recall the situations when God either removed a trial or gave us sufficient grace to endure the trial. We can recall the good ways He has shepherded us along life’s journey. He has never disappointed us. Through experience, we learn that God keeps His Word and never fails on His promises. We learn that He is good. We learn that God can be trusted.

We learn throughout the years that God is faithful. You know when God gave new exhortations to the Israelites; often He reminded them of His faithfulness during the Exodus. He wanted the Jews to realize that He could be trusted in the present because of His faithfulness in the past. The same principle applies to our lives as well. The more we see His faithful hand shaping the events of our lives in the past, the more we realize that He can be trusted in the present. In hindsight, we can recall the situations when God either removed a trial or gave us sufficient grace to endure the trial. We can recall the good ways He has shepherded us along life’s journey. He has never disappointed us. Through experience, we learn that God keeps His Word and never fails on His promises. We learn that He is good. We learn that God can be trusted.

Reference:   Sermon, Wholehearted Trust, Proverbs 3:5-6, December 26, 2004.


92.
God does not so much enter a story that is already under progress. He is the one that is always writing the story and moving the players according to His sovereign will.

God does not so much enter a story that is already under progress. He is the one that is always writing the story and moving the players according to His sovereign will.

Reference:   Sermon, He Will Be Great, Luke 1:26-38, November 12, 2017.


93.
Single Christian women, I trust you want to be more like Christ. Therefore it only stands to reason that you will seek to marry a man that will assist and aid you in the process. Because after marriage, the greatest spiritual influence in your life will be your husband. Your sanctification is your responsibility, but it should also be his as well (see Eph. 5:25-27).

Single Christian women, I trust you want to be more like Christ. Therefore it only stands to reason that you will seek to marry a man that will assist and aid you in the process. Because after marriage, the greatest spiritual influence in your life will be your husband. Your sanctification is your responsibility, but it should also be his as well (see Eph. 5:25-27).    


94.
Our Divine Husband through the Holy Spirit has the primary goal of progressively making us more holy, making us more like Himself. Men, that is how we are called to best love our wives as Christ loves the church. Men, we should be in full cooperation with the Holy Spirit to be used as a tool to see our wives become more holy, as a result of us, not in spite of us. Here are some practical thoughts: Bringing her to the Word. Giving her time to be in the Word. Discussing what she is learning from the Word. Bringing her to church. Finding answers for her biblical questions. Protecting her from the world’s contamination. Doing nothing that might lead her to sin. Carrying her spiritual burdens. Making and explaining decisions on the basis of Scripture. Praying for her. Maintaining a positive spiritual atmosphere in the home. Commending her for the biblical traits you see in her. Encouraging her in her spiritual growth. Keeping your critiques only to spiritual issues and sharing them only in love. Setting a godly example.

Our Divine Husband through the Holy Spirit has the primary goal of progressively making us more holy, making us more like Himself. Men, that is how we are called to best love our wives as Christ loves the church. Men, we should be in full cooperation with the Holy Spirit to be used as a tool to see our wives become more holy, as a result of us, not in spite of us. Here are some practical thoughts: Bringing her to the Word. Giving her time to be in the Word. Discussing what she is learning from the Word. Bringing her to church. Finding answers for her biblical questions. Protecting her from the world’s contamination. Doing nothing that might lead her to sin. Carrying her spiritual burdens. Making and explaining decisions on the basis of Scripture. Praying for her. Maintaining a positive spiritual atmosphere in the home. Commending her for the biblical traits you see in her. Encouraging her in her spiritual growth. Keeping your critiques only to spiritual issues and sharing them in love. Setting a godly example.  

Reference:   The Husband’s Core Role – Part 1, Ephesians 5:25-30, May 14, 2017.


95.
When a husband and wife walk in the Spirit and fulfill their core roles, they complement one another, bring unity to their marriage, joy to their hearts, a reversal of the fall and proof they are being recreated by Christ.

When a husband and wife walk in the Spirit and fulfill their core roles, they complement one another, bring unity to their marriage, joy to their hearts, a reversal of the fall and proof they are being recreated by Christ.    

Reference:   The Husband’s Core Role – Part 1, Ephesians 5:25-30, May 14, 2017.


96.
The following go without saying, but I will say them anyway in regards to the way we are commanded to love our wives. This is a call to be filled with the Spirit (verse 18). This is a call to give everything and withhold nothing. This is a call to make your wife’s submissive role something she delights in. This is a call to sacrifice regardless of your wife’s attitude. And as I said last week to the wives, this is a call to ultimately obey God with a command He has placed upon you, men. This is a call to fulfill the topic sentence of chapter 5. Verses 1 and 2, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” This is a call to confess your sin in this area daily.

The following go without saying, but I will say them anyway in regards to the way we are commanded to love our wives. This is a call to be filled with the Spirit (verse 18). This is a call to give everything and withhold nothing. This is a call to make your wife’s submissive role something she delights in. This is a call to sacrifice regardless of your wife’s attitude. And as I said last week to the wives, this is a call to ultimately obey God with a command He has placed upon you, men. This is a call to fulfill the topic sentence of chapter 5. Verses 1 and 2, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” This is a call to confess your sin in this area daily.  

Reference:   The Husband’s Core Role – Part 1, Ephesians 5:25-30, May 14, 2017.


97.
So men, what is your role? Not easy, but simple to understand! Just love your wife as much as Jesus loves the church. Christ’s love for the church is the model for us. So here is what comes to mind when I consider Christ’s love for the church. Jesus Christ, God Almighty in the flesh – fully God, without sin, worshiped continually by the angels in heaven. Yet at a point of time, motivated solely by obedience to the Father and love for hell-bound rebels, He would leave the glory of heaven, become man and live among us – the Creator becoming one with His creation. And rather than receiving the praise and acceptance He deserved, the very people He came to love would reject Him. His closest would deny and betray Him. His enemies would mock, reject, threaten and torture Him on a cross. The Son of God would die a physically, emotionally and spiritually horrifying death. All of it done that He might forgive our sins, call the church to Himself, present her to the Father without fault and enjoy an intimate spiritual marriage with us for all of eternity. That’s the spirit of how we are to love our wives.

So men, what is your role? Not easy, but simple to understand! Just love your wife as much as Jesus loves the church. Christ’s love for the church is the model for us. So here is what comes to mind when I consider Christ’s love for the church. Jesus Christ, God Almighty in the flesh – fully God, without sin, worshiped continually by the angels in heaven. Yet at a point of time, motivated solely by obedience to the Father and love for hell-bound rebels, He would leave the glory of heaven, become man and live among us – the Creator becoming one with His creation. And rather than receiving the praise and acceptance He deserved, the very people He came to love would reject Him. His closest would deny and betray Him. His enemies would mock, reject, threaten and torture Him on a cross. The Son of God would die a physically, emotionally and spiritually horrifying death. All of it done that He might forgive our sins, call the church to Himself, present her to the Father without fault and enjoy an intimate spiritual marriage with us for all of eternity. That's the spirit of how we are to love our wives.  

Reference:   The Husband’s Core Role – Part 1, Ephesians 5:25-30, May 14, 2017.


98.
When you and your wife got married, God in a mysterious way made the two of you one flesh (Gen 2:21; Eph. 5:31). In other words, since you are now one, hurting her only hurts yourself. And loving her shows respect for your natural and God-given desire to maximize your own joy. “He who loves his own wife loves himself” (Eph. 5:28). Men, the Bible teaches that pursuing your private pleasure at the expense of your wife will destroy your highest joy. Remember this, you can’t hurt wife without hurting yourself.

When you and your wife got married, God in a mysterious way made the two of you one flesh (Gen 2:21; Eph. 5:31). In other words, since you are now one, hurting her only hurts yourself. And loving her shows respect for your natural and God-given desire to maximize your own joy. “He who loves his own wife loves himself” (Eph. 5:28). Men, the Bible teaches that pursuing your private pleasure at the expense of your wife will destroy your highest joy. Remember this, you can’t hurt wife without hurting yourself.    

Reference:   The Husband’s Core Role – Part 2, Ephesians 5:25-30, May 14, 2017.


99.
So specifically based on what we already know, how do we, how can we nourish and cherish our wives (Eph. 5:28-30)? Here are some practical thoughts: Be sensitive and responsive to her needs. Let your actions and words show her respect. Pay attention when she talks to you. Demand the children honor her. Use gentle and kind words. Plan times alone together. Speak well of her to others. Accept her feelings. Be humble and submit to the authorities in your life. Tell her that she is beautiful. Sacrifice for her. Encourage her especially in her steps toward godliness. Take care of yourself. Be romantic. Tell her you love her. Be available if she has a need. Pray for her regularly. Be a gentleman. Lead the family spiritually. Take the lead on difficult decisions. Ask her opinion before making decisions. Learn what makes her feel special. Be faithful and loyal.

So specifically based on what we already know, how do we, how can we nourish and cherish our wives (Eph. 5:28-30)? Here are some practical thoughts: Be sensitive and responsive to her needs. Let your actions and words show her respect. Pay attention when she talks to you. Demand the children honor her. Use gentle and kind words. Plan times alone together. Speak well of her to others. Accept her feelings. Be humble and submit to the authorities in your life. Tell her that she is beautiful. Sacrifice for her. Encourage her especially in her steps toward godliness. Take care of yourself. Be romantic. Tell her you love her. Be available if she has a need. Pray for her regularly. Be a gentleman. Lead the family spiritually. Take the lead on difficult decisions. Ask her opinion before making decisions. Learn what makes her feel special. Be faithful and loyal.    

Reference:   The Husband’s Core Role – Part 2, Ephesians 5:25-30, May 14, 2017.


100.
Men, can we ask for a better object lesson? As we nourish and cherish our own bodies (Eph. 5:29) and as Christ nourishes and cherishes His body, the church (Eph. 5:29), we should nourish and cherish our wives! Yes, we all fall short. Yes it takes the much selflessness and effort and grace. But the expectation from Scripture is clear as to how we should love our wives.

Men, can we ask for a better object lesson? As we nourish and cherish our own bodies (Eph. 5:29) and as Christ nourishes and cherishes His body, the church (Eph. 5:29), we should nourish and cherish our wives! Yes, we all fall short. Yes it takes the much selflessness and effort and grace. But the expectation from Scripture is clear as to how we should love our wives.    

Reference:   The Husband’s Core Role – Part 2, Ephesians 5:25-30, May 14, 2017.