Randy Smith

Quotes of Author: Randy_smith

1.
It’s not difficult to control the externals of little ones through power and reward. Play just those two cards and you’ll have the most behaved children in the supermarket, church and social gatherings. This works great for about the first eight years. Unfortunately everything will collapse after that when their rebellious heart shines forth and you can no longer externally restrain them through your intimidation and meet their deepest needs through your trinkets.

It’s not difficult to control the externals of little ones through power and reward. Play just those two cards and you’ll have the most behaved children in the supermarket, church and social gatherings. This works great for about the first eight years. Unfortunately everything will collapse after that when their rebellious heart shines forth and you can no longer externally restrain them through your intimidation and meet their deepest needs through your trinkets.      

Reference:   Sermon, Christ in the Parent – Part 2, Psalm 78:4-8, July 28, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
2.
Pharisaical discipline often happens with the child inconveniences or embarrasses the parent. It’s then inconsistent and enacted as retribution in a form of revenge. That’s not discipline, but punishment. Christian parenting rather sees disobedience as an affront to the lordship of Christ and thus a danger for the child. Discipline then is an opportunity to correct a child, have them associate pain with sin and bring him or her closer to Christ for grace. Discipline when done this way is not a form of revenge, but rather a form of love.

Pharisaical discipline often happens with the child inconveniences or embarrasses the parent. It’s then inconsistent and enacted as retribution in a form of revenge. That’s not discipline, but punishment. Christian parenting rather sees disobedience as an affront to the lordship of Christ and thus a danger for the child. Discipline then is an opportunity to correct a child, have them associate pain with sin and bring him or her closer to Christ for grace. Discipline when done this way is not a form of revenge, but rather a form of love.    

Reference:   Sermon, Christ in the Parent – Part 2, Psalm 78:4-8, July 28, 2019.


3.
We teach our children about the world and the Bible. We teach them that the world is bad (1 Jn. 2:15). And we teach them that the Bible is good (Pr. 16:20). That is true, but our children are rarely taught (guided) as to how the two intersect with each other. The result is that they will either be seduced by the world or they will be cocooned from the world. Both are useless to Jesus. The desired biblical mindset is when Christians reject the influence of the world (see it for the deceptive garbage that it is), but desire to love and influence those trapped the world.

We teach our children about the world and the Bible. We teach them that the world is bad (1 Jn. 2:15). And we teach them that the Bible is good (Pr. 16:20). That is true, but our children are rarely taught (guided) as to how the two intersect with each other. The result is that they will either be seduced by the world or they will be cocooned from the world. Both are useless to Jesus. The desired biblical mindset is when Christians reject the influence of the world (see it for the deceptive garbage that it is), but desire to love and influence those trapped the world.    

Reference:   Sermon, Christ in the Parent – Part 2, Psalm 78:4-8, July 28, 2019.


4.
What does your child think about television? Do they say, “All television shows are to be forbidden for every Christian.” That’s Pharisaical legalism filled with judgmentalism and self-righteousness. Or do they say, “All television shows are fine because TV’s are not condemned in the Bible.” That is mindless living with a total insensitivity to personal godliness and the leading of the Holy Spirit. The best response would be, “I personally choose to avoid these types of shows as a result of biblical principles and a conscience shaped by the Holy Spirit through prayer.” That’s what we are shooting for as parents!

What does your child think about television? Do they say, “All television shows are to be forbidden for every Christian.” That’s Pharisaical legalism filled with judgmentalism and self-righteousness. Or do they say, “All television shows are fine because TV’s are not condemned in the Bible.” That is mindless living with a total insensitivity to personal godliness and the leading of the Holy Spirit. The best response would be, “I personally choose to avoid these types of shows as a result of biblical principles and a conscience shaped by the Holy Spirit through prayer.” That’s what we are shooting for as parents!    

Reference:   Sermon, Christ in the Parent – Part 2, Psalm 78:4-8, July 28, 2019.


5.
Do we adorn Jesus, make Him look attractive? Is He noticeably our delight? Or do our children see from us a Jesus that keeps us from hell, but creates a hell on earth because of the apparent burden and joylessness that comes from following Him? Do they see Jesus as an unwelcomed taskmaster with unfair, meaningless and despicable rules?

Do we adorn Jesus, make Him look attractive? Is He noticeably our delight? Or do our children see from us a Jesus that keeps us from hell, but creates a hell on earth because of the apparent burden and joylessness that comes from following Him? Do they see Jesus as an unwelcomed taskmaster with unfair, meaningless and despicable rules?    

Reference:   Sermon, Christ in the Parent – Part 2, Psalm 78:4-8, July 28, 2019.


6.
The word “submit” (hupotasso) simply means –“to line up under.” It carries the idea of willingly or voluntarily placing oneself under someone else. It relates only to role, not to essence.

The word “submit” (hupotasso) simply means –“to line up under.” It carries the idea of willingly or voluntarily placing oneself under someone else. It relates only to role, not to essence.              

Reference:   Sermon, Christ In The Marriage, Ecclesiastes 9:9, July 7, 2019.


7.
It has nothing to do with being inferior, just as God the Son is not inferior to God the Father, though submissive to Him in role (1 Cor. 11:3). As John MacArthur said, “What it calls for is an active, deliberate, loving, intelligent devotion to the husband’s noble aspirations and ambitions” (The Fulfilled Family, p. 32).

A wife's submission has nothing to do with being inferior, just as God the Son is not inferior to God the Father, though submissive to Him in role (1 Cor. 11:3). As John MacArthur said, “What it calls for is an active, deliberate, loving, intelligent devotion to the husband’s noble aspirations and ambitions” (The Fulfilled Family, p. 32).  

Reference:   Sermon, Christ In The Marriage, Ecclesiastes 9:9, July 7, 2019.


8.
It is conceivable that the husband should defer more to his wife than the wife submits to her husband. If it is always the husband always getting his way, where would the husband need to die to self and prefer his wife’s needs above his own? Although Jesus Christ is our head, I do not see Him demanding where we go on vacation, what temperature we keep the house, what food we serve on the table and what color the kitchen should be decorated. Husbands, in the same way, consider your wife’s needs above your own and do not abuse the verses on submission as an excuse to be selfish! It is ultimately your spiritual service to Christ.

It is conceivable that the husband should defer more to his wife than the wife submits to her husband. If it is always the husband always getting his way, where would the husband need to die to self and prefer his wife’s needs above his own? Although Jesus Christ is our head, I do not see Him demanding where we go on vacation, what temperature we keep the house, what food we serve on the table and what color the kitchen should be decorated. Husbands, in the same way, consider your wife’s needs above your own and do not abuse the verses on submission as an excuse to be selfish! It is ultimately your spiritual service to Christ.  

Reference:   Sermon, Christ In The Marriage, Ecclesiastes 9:9, July 7, 2019.


9.
Understanding that the word is “submit” (to place oneself under) and not “obey” (cf. Eph. 6:1), helps us to understand that the woman’s objective is simply intended to complement her husband’s leadership. Rather than a two-headed monstrosity leading the family, she is there to support his God-designated role while fully functioning as his equal partner and “fellow heir of the grace of life” (1 Pet. 3:7). This means the wife should be free to share opinions, provide insight and even respectfully disagree. But when it is all said and done, she is willing to come alongside her husband’s spiritual plan for the family as God is holding the man accountable.

Understanding that the word is “submit” (to place oneself under) and not “obey” (cf. Eph. 6:1), helps us to understand that the woman’s objective is simply intended to complement her husband’s leadership. Rather than a two-headed monstrosity leading the family, she is there to support his God-designated role while fully functioning as his equal partner and “fellow heir of the grace of life” (1 Pet. 3:7). This means the wife should be free to share opinions, provide insight and even respectfully disagree. But when it is all said and done, she is willing to come alongside her husband’s spiritual plan for the family as God is holding the man accountable.  

Reference:   Sermon, Christ In The Marriage, Ecclesiastes 9:9, July 7, 2019.


10.
Do you believe there is no need for grace once you come to Jesus? If so, you need to read Titus 2:11. Do you who understand that good works did not save you in the past disregard any responsibility for good works in the present? If so, you need to read Ephesians 2:10. Do you think it is all right to sin because we are now living in the age of grace? If so, you need to read Romans 6:1 and 15. Do you think you were saved by grace but now must become like Christ solely through your own efforts? If so, you need to read Galatians 3:3.

Do you believe there is no need for grace once you come to Jesus? If so, you need to read Titus 2:11. Do you who understand that good works did not save you in the past disregard any responsibility for good works in the present? If so, you need to read Ephesians 2:10. Do you think it is all right to sin because we are now living in the age of grace? If so, you need to read Romans 6:1 and 15. Do you think you were saved by grace but now must become like Christ solely through your own efforts? If so, you need to read Galatians 3:3.    

Reference:   Sermon, Grace Has Appeared, Titus 2:11-12, September 16, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Grace-Purpose
11.
People, even the disciples, struggled to get it, but the demons clearly knew who Christ was. They recognized Him every time. James 2:19 says they “believe” in Christ and “shudder” in His presence. The lovers of darkness hate the light. They were always agitated in Christ’s presence. They knew that their days were numbered. They knew that Jesus was (as the verses say) “the Holy One of God” and “the Son of God.” And though it was more out of fear than reverence, they knew Christ has a greater authority than they did.

People, even the disciples, struggled to get it, but the demons clearly knew who Christ was. They recognized Him every time. James 2:19 says they “believe” in Christ and “shudder” in His presence. The lovers of darkness hate the light. They were always agitated in Christ’s presence. They knew that their days were numbered. They knew that Jesus was (as the verses say) “the Holy One of God” and “the Son of God.” And though it was more out of fear than reverence, they knew Christ has a greater authority than they did.  

Reference:   Why Should I Obey God? Luke 4:31-44, March 25, 2018.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Demons
12.
Our Lord proved His authority through His miracles.

Our Lord proved His authority through His miracles.  

Reference:   Why Should I Obey God? Luke 4:31-44, March 25, 2018.


13.
Healthy Christians produce healthy families; healthy families then produce healthy churches. Regardless of our planning, programs and policies, we will never be the healthy church God wants us to be unless each one of you has a healthy relationship with Christ.

Healthy Christians produce healthy families; healthy families then produce healthy churches. Regardless of our planning, programs and policies, we will never be the healthy church God wants us to be unless each one of you has a healthy relationship with Christ.    

Reference:   Sermon, Ten Steps to a Healthy Relationship with God, James 4:7-10, June 23, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Church-Health
14.
Satan is powerful, but his is a defeated foe. For the Christian, he is only as strong as the power we permit him to have in our lives.

Satan is powerful, but his is a defeated foe. For the Christian, he is only as strong as the power we permit him to have in our lives.    

Reference:   Sermon, Ten Steps to a Healthy Relationship with God, James 4:7-10, June 23, 2019.


15.
Prayer is yearning to see not my will, but God’s will done. Prayer is about aligning myself with Him. Prayer is about knowing that God has ordained all things – not just the end, but also the means by which they come about. And it’s about knowing that my prayers are part of those means.

Prayer is yearning to see not my will, but God’s will done. Prayer is about aligning myself with Him. Prayer is about knowing that God has ordained all things – not just the end, but also the means by which they come about. And it’s about knowing that my prayers are part of those means.  

Reference:   Sermon, Application Of The “Lord’s Prayer,” Luke 11:5-13, April 7, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Prayer-Purpose
16.
Biblically speaking, the overwhelming percent of humanity is in Satan’s kingdom. We all know most people are deceived. After all, how many would willingly say they love Satan and want to be associated with his lies now and eternal future then? Of course Satan knows this too. So in his craftiness “the angel of light” deceives people to pursue morality and goodness and religion. According to him, they can have all of these so long as they don’t have Jesus. Make them all Pharisees!

Biblically speaking, the overwhelming percent of humanity is in Satan’s kingdom. We all know most people are deceived. After all, how many would willingly say they love Satan and want to be associated with his lies now and eternal future then? Of course Satan knows this too. So in his craftiness “the angel of light” deceives people to pursue morality and goodness and religion. According to him, they can have all of these so long as they don’t have Jesus. Make them all Pharisees!    

Reference:   Sermon, Absolute Liberation, Luke 11:14-28, April 14, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Satan-Methods
17.
Prayer Meeting Effectiveness – Part 3 (#11-15): 11. Avoid Preaching in Your Prayers! More than anything, corporate prayer is a time to bring our requests before the throne of God. Yet I’m sure too many of us have sat through group prayers where there’s a lot of talking, but at the same time very little actual prayer being accomplished. Neither God nor others in the group are overly interested or impressed by the deep theology, related circumstances, lengthy explanations or personal soliloquy behind the requests. Use our time wisely! Please focus on the specific praise or petition! Avoid “many words” (Mt. 6:7)! Use strength, not length! 12. Speak Up! Corporate prayer serves no purposes if the others assembled are unable hear and pray in agreement. Of course we need to be considerate of other prayer groups in close proximity that are sharing the same facility, but understand the balance between not overpowering them and praying loud enough for those in your assembled group to receive and understand your request. One element of the prayer meeting that tends to further this problem is the respectable reality that we pray with our heads down. Therefore a good idea is to raise your head when you pray to better project your voice and then resume a bowed position when you finish. Also be sure to speak slowly and enunciate clearly. Give even those even with hearing impairments the benefit and ability to pray in accordance with you. 13. Praise and Thank God for Answered Prayer! It’s easy to minimize or omit this aspect in corporate prayer meetings (Phil. 4:6; Col. 4:2). Not only is this a key component in prayer, but it is also an encouragement to see how God is responding in our midst giving us greater confidence and faith for future prayer. Furthermore, we must remember that all things terminate not on a change in circumstance, but on God receiving the glory whether He chooses to change the circumstances or not. Keep God in focus from beginning to end! 14. Pray for the Glory of God! In our primary desire to see God glorified, chalk your prayers full with biblical substance. If we are to pray according to His will, let’s ground our prayers in the stories and statements from His Book, the Bible. Our prayers may include, but must not be limited to the temporary needs of personal comfort (physical healing, superficial trials, etc.). Actually this should only be a small portion of the meeting. Rather we must learn to pray for personal godliness (1 Tim. 4:7), faith in trials (Jas. 1:2), world evangelization (Mt. 28:18-20), exemplary testimonies (Phil. 2:14-16), ongoing joy (Phil. 4:4) self-denial (Mk. 8:34), spiritual fruit (Gal. 5:22-23), idol awareness (1 Thes. 1:9), bold gospel articulation (Eph. 6:20), willingness to suffer with Christ (Rom. 8:17), prioritizing love (1 Cor. 13:1-3), thanksgiving in everything (1 Thes. 5:18), personal ministry (Rom. 12:6), sacrificial giving (Mt. 6:19-21), power for the preached Word (2 Thes. 3:1), submission where necessary (Eph. 5:21), biblical worldviews (1 Jn. 2:15-17), filling of the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), repentance (Lk. 13:3), church unity (Eph. 4:3), spiritual wisdom (Col. 1:9), reconciled relationships (Phil. 4:2), perseverance for the saints (Eph. 6:18), spiritual growth (Col. 1:9), doctrinal purity (Tit. 2:7), qualified leadership (1 Thes. 5:12), good works (Mt. 5:16), commitment to the Word (Jos. 1:8) and prayer (1 Thes. 5:17) just to name a few. 15. Keep Your Prayer Short! Possibly few things can suck the life out of a corporate prayer meeting more than long prayers. Long prayers give others in the group the temptation to drift off. Listen to what G. Chewter said, “This is an old, old problem. The spirit may be willing but the flesh is weak. Long prayers often become a weariness to the flesh, making it hard for those listening to spiritually participate and keep up concentration, especially if it is an evening meeting.” Long prayers also exasperate others wanting to pray and discourage others from thinking they should participate. Keep people engaged. Give others the opportunity to pray. Christ’s prayers in public were short. His model prayer was one of brevity (Mt. 6:9-13). Most prayers recorded in the Bible are also brief and to the point. Can anybody put it more bluntly than C.H. Spurgeon? “It is necessary to draw near to God, but it is not required of you to prolong your speech till everyone is longing to hear the word ‘Amen.’”

Prayer Meeting Effectiveness – Part 3 (#11-15): 11. Avoid Preaching in Your Prayers! More than anything, corporate prayer is a time to bring our requests before the throne of God. Yet I’m sure too many of us have sat through group prayers where there’s a lot of talking, but at the same time very little actual prayer being accomplished. Neither God nor others in the group are overly interested or impressed by the deep theology, related circumstances, lengthy explanations or personal soliloquy behind the requests. Use our time wisely! Please focus on the specific praise or petition! Avoid “many words” (Mt. 6:7)! Use strength, not length! 12. Speak Up! Corporate prayer serves no purposes if the others assembled are unable hear and pray in agreement. Of course we need to be considerate of other prayer groups in close proximity that are sharing the same facility, but understand the balance between not overpowering them and praying loud enough for those in your assembled group to receive and understand your request. One element of the prayer meeting that tends to further this problem is the respectable reality that we pray with our heads down. Therefore a good idea is to raise your head when you pray to better project your voice and then resume a bowed position when you finish. Also be sure to speak slowly and enunciate clearly. Give even those even with hearing impairments the benefit and ability to pray in accordance with you. 13. Praise and Thank God for Answered Prayer! It’s easy to minimize or omit this aspect in corporate prayer meetings (Phil. 4:6; Col. 4:2). Not only is this a key component in prayer, but it is also an encouragement to see how God is responding in our midst giving us greater confidence and faith for future prayer. Furthermore, we must remember that all things terminate not on a change in circumstance, but on God receiving the glory whether He chooses to change the circumstances or not. Keep God in focus from beginning to end! 14. Pray for the Glory of God! In our primary desire to see God glorified, chalk your prayers full with biblical substance. If we are to pray according to His will, let’s ground our prayers in the stories and statements from His Book, the Bible. Our prayers may include, but must not be limited to the temporary needs of personal comfort (physical healing, superficial trials, etc.). Actually this should only be a small portion of the meeting. Rather we must learn to pray for personal godliness (1 Tim. 4:7), faith in trials (Jas. 1:2), world evangelization (Mt. 28:18-20), exemplary testimonies (Phil. 2:14-16), ongoing joy (Phil. 4:4) self-denial (Mk. 8:34), spiritual fruit (Gal. 5:22-23), idol awareness (1 Thes. 1:9), bold gospel articulation (Eph. 6:20), willingness to suffer with Christ (Rom. 8:17), prioritizing love (1 Cor. 13:1-3), thanksgiving in everything (1 Thes. 5:18), personal ministry (Rom. 12:6), sacrificial giving (Mt. 6:19-21), power for the preached Word (2 Thes. 3:1), submission where necessary (Eph. 5:21), biblical worldviews (1 Jn. 2:15-17), filling of the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), repentance (Lk. 13:3), church unity (Eph. 4:3), spiritual wisdom (Col. 1:9), reconciled relationships (Phil. 4:2), perseverance for the saints (Eph. 6:18), spiritual growth (Col. 1:9), doctrinal purity (Tit. 2:7), qualified leadership (1 Thes. 5:12), good works (Mt. 5:16), commitment to the Word (Jos. 1:8) and prayer (1 Thes. 5:17) just to name a few. 15. Keep Your Prayer Short! Possibly few things can suck the life out of a corporate prayer meeting more than long prayers. Long prayers give others in the group the temptation to drift off. Listen to what G. Chewter said, “This is an old, old problem. The spirit may be willing but the flesh is weak. Long prayers often become a weariness to the flesh, making it hard for those listening to spiritually participate and keep up concentration, especially if it is an evening meeting.” Long prayers also exasperate others wanting to pray and discourage others from thinking they should participate. Keep people engaged. Give others the opportunity to pray. Christ’s prayers in public were short. His model prayer was one of brevity (Mt. 6:9-13). Most prayers recorded in the Bible are also brief and to the point. Can anybody put it more bluntly than C.H. Spurgeon? “It is necessary to draw near to God, but it is not required of you to prolong your speech till everyone is longing to hear the word ‘Amen.’”


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Prayer-Meetings
18.
Prayer Meeting Effectiveness – Part 2 (#6-10): 6. Pray for the Needs of Others! One mistake commonly committed by well-intended saints is the tendency to pray for their own personal needs. By all means there is a place for this in the private prayer closet, but in the corporate gathering we should be “other” focused. The beauty of the Christian life is the heart attitude that manifests itself in selflessness. As Paul said in Philippians 2:3-4, “With humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Instead of praying for your own needs, pray for the needs of others and others in turn should pray for your needs. Few things can appear more disheartening than to hear someone in a public prayer meeting only address his or her personal concerns (unless they are confessing their own sin!). Also, it is worth noting that (generally speaking) the words “I” or “my” should be banned from the gathering. Frequently your needs are also the needs of others. Get in the habit of expressing your prayers with the plural pronouns of “we” and “us.” 7. Pray for the Local Church! We’ve all experienced this one – the corporate prayer meeting where everyone is addressing personal concerns and peripheral situations. You know, “Aunt Erma’s sinus congestion” and “Billy’s peewee soccer tryouts” and “the Johnson’s family vacation.” Again, there’s a place for this in individual and family prayers (and I’m not saying these things should never be said corporately), it’s only that more pressings issues affecting the spiritual wellbeing of the church need to be prioritized. Deeply consider where the Lord wants His local church and then pray accordingly! Here are some examples: Spiritual growth of the flock, more conversions, passion for evangelism and prayer and Bible Study, wisdom, more servants and power for those presently serving, purity, commitment to the local church, our church leaders, our church ministries and upcoming events, our church missionaries, our marriages, our testimonies, our doctrine, those presently backsliding, those dealing with major trials, godly fellowship, the power of the Word proclaimed, doctrinal fidelity, spiritual and physical protection of the church and personal delight in the Lord. And once we pray for the local church, let’s then branch out to the needs of the universal church. Pray for persecuted Christians, local churches and missionaries all over the world, the progress of the gospel, the government and the end of abortion. 8. Call in Prayer Requests When Possible! As you are aware, we produce the VINE each Wednesday. Not only is it emailed to the church, but hard copies are also provided at the time of our corporate gathering. The VINE contains church families and ministries and missionaries to focus on each week. It lists all the upcoming events and has a place for the significant personal praises and petitions of the church. If you would like to have something prayed over on Wednesday evenings, please call or e-mail your personal requests in advance. Of course there will be exceptions in emergency-type situations, but the more we can guard our prayer meeting from long announcements, the more time we will have to devote to prayer itself in the prayer meeting. 9. Pray Earnestly! Always true, but especially pertinent for the prayer meeting. It’s easy to have our minds wandering off when others are praying. Oftentimes it’s because we’re tired and distracted after a long day or we’re just trying to think of what we are going to say when it becomes our turn to pray. Make every attempt to discipline yourself to stay focused! Keep alert (Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:2)! Our prayer meeting is most effective when everybody is praying – either audibly themselves or silently as they are led by another in their group. And when we speak, may our prayers be Spirit-led, strategic and passionate. Earnestness (Col. 4:12; 1 Thes. 3:10; Jas. 5:17)! As C.H. Spurgeon once said, “Oh, for warm hearts, burning with red hot desires which make a channel from the lips with glowing words; then indeed, this complaint would never be made – ‘What is the use in my going to the prayer meeting, when I know all that will be said if So-and-so is called on?’” 10. Keep the Prayers Going! A few seconds of silence after each prayer is good for the purpose of reflection, the Spirit’s prompting and the orderly submission of new prayers. However, in a desire to maximize our time, keep our minds engaged and demonstrate our eagerness to God, prayers should be in “rapid succession.” Give others with you the opportunity to participate, but if others fail to pray, pray again to avoid prolonged periods of silence. Let’s remember this is a corporate prayer meeting. Come prepared to participate corporately!

Prayer Meeting Effectiveness – Part 2 (#6-10): 6. Pray for the Needs of Others! One mistake commonly committed by well-intended saints is the tendency to pray for their own personal needs. By all means there is a place for this in the private prayer closet, but in the corporate gathering we should be “other” focused. The beauty of the Christian life is the heart attitude that manifests itself in selflessness. As Paul said in Philippians 2:3-4, “With humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Instead of praying for your own needs, pray for the needs of others and others in turn should pray for your needs. Few things can appear more disheartening than to hear someone in a public prayer meeting only address his or her personal concerns (unless they are confessing their own sin!). Also, it is worth noting that (generally speaking) the words “I” or “my” should be banned from the gathering. Frequently your needs are also the needs of others. Get in the habit of expressing your prayers with the plural pronouns of “we” and “us.” 7. Pray for the Local Church! We’ve all experienced this one – the corporate prayer meeting where everyone is addressing personal concerns and peripheral situations. You know, “Aunt Erma’s sinus congestion” and “Billy’s peewee soccer tryouts” and “the Johnson’s family vacation.” Again, there’s a place for this in individual and family prayers (and I’m not saying these things should never be said corporately), it’s only that more pressings issues affecting the spiritual wellbeing of the church need to be prioritized. Deeply consider where the Lord wants His local church and then pray accordingly! Here are some examples: Spiritual growth of the flock, more conversions, passion for evangelism and prayer and Bible Study, wisdom, more servants and power for those presently serving, purity, commitment to the local church, our church leaders, our church ministries and upcoming events, our church missionaries, our marriages, our testimonies, our doctrine, those presently backsliding, those dealing with major trials, godly fellowship, the power of the Word proclaimed, doctrinal fidelity, spiritual and physical protection of the church and personal delight in the Lord. And once we pray for the local church, let’s then branch out to the needs of the universal church. Pray for persecuted Christians, local churches and missionaries all over the world, the progress of the gospel, the government and the end of abortion. 8. Call in Prayer Requests When Possible! As you are aware, we produce the VINE each Wednesday. Not only is it emailed to the church, but hard copies are also provided at the time of our corporate gathering. The VINE contains church families and ministries and missionaries to focus on each week. It lists all the upcoming events and has a place for the significant personal praises and petitions of the church. If you would like to have something prayed over on Wednesday evenings, please call or e-mail your personal requests in advance. Of course there will be exceptions in emergency-type situations, but the more we can guard our prayer meeting from long announcements, the more time we will have to devote to prayer itself in the prayer meeting. 9. Pray Earnestly! Always true, but especially pertinent for the prayer meeting. It’s easy to have our minds wandering off when others are praying. Oftentimes it’s because we’re tired and distracted after a long day or we’re just trying to think of what we are going to say when it becomes our turn to pray. Make every attempt to discipline yourself to stay focused! Keep alert (Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:2)! Our prayer meeting is most effective when everybody is praying – either audibly themselves or silently as they are led by another in their group. And when we speak, may our prayers be Spirit-led, strategic and passionate. Earnestness (Col. 4:12; 1 Thes. 3:10; Jas. 5:17)! As C.H. Spurgeon once said, “Oh, for warm hearts, burning with red hot desires which make a channel from the lips with glowing words; then indeed, this complaint would never be made – ‘What is the use in my going to the prayer meeting, when I know all that will be said if So-and-so is called on?’” 10. Keep the Prayers Going! A few seconds of silence after each prayer is good for the purpose of reflection, the Spirit’s prompting and the orderly submission of new prayers. However, in a desire to maximize our time, keep our minds engaged and demonstrate our eagerness to God, prayers should be in “rapid succession.” Give others with you the opportunity to participate, but if others fail to pray, pray again to avoid prolonged periods of silence. Let’s remember this is a corporate prayer meeting. Come prepared to participate corporately!    


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Prayer-Meetings
19.
Prayer Meeting Effectiveness – Part 1 (#1-5): 1. Show Up! It goes without saying that we need people in order to make a group prayer meeting effective. The more that come out to pray, the more prayer we can offer to the Lord. The more that come out to pray, the more others will be inspired to make the same bold commitment to corporate prayer as well. Yet it also goes without saying that coming out can oftentimes be a challenge. Usually by 5:00 on Wednesday nights, we’ve conceived every excuse under the sun to justify our absence. Any personal application there? Think of it this way. If corporate prayer is one of our most effective weapons for spiritual success, don’t you think Satan and your flesh will do everything within their power to keep you away? Don’t give in! Discipline yourself to attend. If your feelings are not right, attend and pray that the Lord changes your heart. Erroll Hulse once said, “It is customary to mark engagements in our diary. If meeting the King with our fellow believers is important it will surely be reserved in our diary. Invitations to dinner or to recreational events will have to be fitted in elsewhere. Jesus says that we have not because we fail to ask (James 4:2). Is the audience with our Monarch esteemed by you as a priority? Does your diary reflect that fact?” Show up! There is strength in numbers! 2. Come Prepared! Arguably, our prayer meeting is the most important gathering of the church. Yet because we meet at the same time each week it is possible to fall into a mindless routine that just goes through the motions. Because we meet late in the evenings it is possible to come with minds clouded and numbed from the day’s activities. As a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, a prayer meeting is only as effective as its weakest member. Be prepared to make your contribution by being sure to have prepared yourself spiritually before you arrive. For example, ask God to remind you of the awesome privilege you have to come into His holy presence with your requests. Ask God to put specific prayer requests on your heart. Ask God for a delight in His name so that He may grant you the desires of your heart (Psm. 37:4). Ask God to give you a love for Him and others. As the great evangelist, D.L. Moody, said over a hundred years ago, “The members should come to the meeting in the spirit of prayer. It ought to be on their hearts from week to week.” 3. Be Genuine! Many do not attend the prayer meeting simply because they are embarrassed to pray in the presence of others. That’s not good! Others go in the opposite direction and attend for the purpose of attempting to impress others with their prayers. That’s even worse! I’m sure we’ve all witnessed those who all of a sudden change their accent (perhaps a little Scottish flair) or pray in “King James Version” or use big theological words that they barely understand themselves or employ many words all for the sake of appearance. God is not impressed! Our Lord condemned this spirit (Mt. 6:5, 7). God looks not at the outward appearance, but the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). The heart that honors Him is the heart that seeks to gain His attention. All Christians can achieve this! Humble, childlike faith is esteemed in the ears of the Lord and should likewise be esteemed in the ears of His children who are present. 4. Pray Specifically! Effective prayer is specific prayer. Oftentimes we do not have because we do not ask (Jas. 4:2). For example, it’s easy to ask the Lord to bless our missionaries, but specifically how do we wish for them to be blessed? Is it God’s will to heal every sick person? Of course we pray for their relief, but what about their witness to the caregivers both in words and behavior, the sufficient grace to be upheld spiritually, the spiritual growth as a result of their trial and their understanding of God’s love and faithfulness despite the misery? Are you praying for people in particular? Use their names (see Romans 16)! Avoid the vague generalities and hone in on the particular circumstances with a creative, thoughtful and deliberate Spirit-led precision. 5. Don’t Pray About Everything! In large prayer meetings it’s customary to be broken down into a number of small groups. Commonly the leader assigned will then review the prayer agenda and/or take specific prayer requests from the people assembled. The needs are noted and internalized by those present, but then too often the first person to speak prays for everything before the next person even has an opportunity to open his or her mouth! Not only is domination like this in the prayer meeting selfish; it is also potentially frustrating for the others that are gathered. Effective groups will witness each person taking a topic or two until all the given topics have been covered. This not only guarantees the participation of everybody, but also enhances the mental and spiritual engagement of each participant to be sure that all the issues are prayed over before the group concludes their time together.

Prayer Meeting Effectiveness – Part 1 (#1-5): 1. Show Up! It goes without saying that we need people in order to make a group prayer meeting effective. The more that come out to pray, the more prayer we can offer to the Lord. The more that come out to pray, the more others will be inspired to make the same bold commitment to corporate prayer as well. Yet it also goes without saying that coming out can oftentimes be a challenge. Usually by 5:00 on Wednesday nights, we’ve conceived every excuse under the sun to justify our absence. Any personal application there? Think of it this way. If corporate prayer is one of our most effective weapons for spiritual success, don’t you think Satan and your flesh will do everything within their power to keep you away? Don’t give in! Discipline yourself to attend. If your feelings are not right, attend and pray that the Lord changes your heart. Erroll Hulse once said, “It is customary to mark engagements in our diary. If meeting the King with our fellow believers is important it will surely be reserved in our diary. Invitations to dinner or to recreational events will have to be fitted in elsewhere. Jesus says that we have not because we fail to ask (James 4:2). Is the audience with our Monarch esteemed by you as a priority? Does your diary reflect that fact?” Show up! There is strength in numbers! 2. Come Prepared! Arguably, our prayer meeting is the most important gathering of the church. Yet because we meet at the same time each week it is possible to fall into a mindless routine that just goes through the motions. Because we meet late in the evenings it is possible to come with minds clouded and numbed from the day’s activities. As a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, a prayer meeting is only as effective as its weakest member. Be prepared to make your contribution by being sure to have prepared yourself spiritually before you arrive. For example, ask God to remind you of the awesome privilege you have to come into His holy presence with your requests. Ask God to put specific prayer requests on your heart. Ask God for a delight in His name so that He may grant you the desires of your heart (Psm. 37:4). Ask God to give you a love for Him and others. As the great evangelist, D.L. Moody, said over a hundred years ago, “The members should come to the meeting in the spirit of prayer. It ought to be on their hearts from week to week." 3. Be Genuine! Many do not attend the prayer meeting simply because they are embarrassed to pray in the presence of others. That’s not good! Others go in the opposite direction and attend for the purpose of attempting to impress others with their prayers. That’s even worse! I’m sure we’ve all witnessed those who all of a sudden change their accent (perhaps a little Scottish flair) or pray in “King James Version” or use big theological words that they barely understand themselves or employ many words all for the sake of appearance. God is not impressed! Our Lord condemned this spirit (Mt. 6:5, 7). God looks not at the outward appearance, but the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). The heart that honors Him is the heart that seeks to gain His attention. All Christians can achieve this! Humble, childlike faith is esteemed in the ears of the Lord and should likewise be esteemed in the ears of His children who are present. 4. Pray Specifically! Effective prayer is specific prayer. Oftentimes we do not have because we do not ask (Jas. 4:2). For example, it’s easy to ask the Lord to bless our missionaries, but specifically how do we wish for them to be blessed? Is it God’s will to heal every sick person? Of course we pray for their relief, but what about their witness to the caregivers both in words and behavior, the sufficient grace to be upheld spiritually, the spiritual growth as a result of their trial and their understanding of God’s love and faithfulness despite the misery? Are you praying for people in particular? Use their names (see Romans 16)! Avoid the vague generalities and hone in on the particular circumstances with a creative, thoughtful and deliberate Spirit-led precision. 5. Don’t Pray About Everything! In large prayer meetings it’s customary to be broken down into a number of small groups. Commonly the leader assigned will then review the prayer agenda and/or take specific prayer requests from the people assembled. The needs are noted and internalized by those present, but then too often the first person to speak prays for everything before the next person even has an opportunity to open his or her mouth! Not only is domination like this in the prayer meeting selfish; it is also potentially frustrating for the others that are gathered. Effective groups will witness each person taking a topic or two until all the given topics have been covered. This not only guarantees the participation of everybody, but also enhances the mental and spiritual engagement of each participant to be sure that all the issues are prayed over before the group concludes their time together.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Prayer-Meetings
20.
This “personal walk with Jesus” makes a good point, but it has also caused great harm to the body of Christ as it fuels self-centeredness and a consumer mentality. We have a corporate walk with Jesus.

This “personal walk with Jesus” makes a good point, but it has also caused great harm to the body of Christ as it fuels self-centeredness and a consumer mentality. We have a corporate walk with Jesus.    

Reference:   Christ in the Church, 3 John 1:4-10, September 1, 2019.


21.
How can Satan in a subtle way get people to disregard the truth on Sunday morning? How about getting people to think the sermon is entertainment or sitting through an entire sermon for a need to uphold a religious duty? Yeah, nothing about coming prepared to hear God’s Word. According to Satan – I’ll keep them out late on Saturday night. I’ll distract them with Sunday afternoon plans. I’ll have them put way more time into looking good physically than preparing their hearts spiritually before coming to church. I’ll have them arrive late so they can miss the singing to prepare their hearts to receive the truth and then distract others trying to worship when they stroll in. I’ll get them to believe the message is more intended for someone else. I’ll get them to listen for the 1% they disagree with as compared to the 99% they need to know. I’ll convince them that applying what they just heard is optional. And then I’ll get them to forget about what they heard before they even reach their cars.

How can Satan in a subtle way get people to disregard the truth on Sunday morning? How about getting people to think the sermon is entertainment or sitting through an entire sermon for a need to uphold a religious duty? Yeah, nothing about coming prepared to hear God’s Word. According to Satan - I’ll keep them out late on Saturday night. I’ll distract them with Sunday afternoon plans. I’ll have them put way more time into looking good physically than preparing their hearts spiritually before coming to church. I’ll have them arrive late so they can miss the singing to prepare their hearts to receive the truth and then distract others trying to worship when they stroll in. I’ll get them to believe the message is more intended for someone else. I’ll get them to listen for the 1% they disagree with as compared to the 99% they need to know. I’ll convince them that applying what they just heard is optional. And then I’ll get them to forget about what they heard before they even reach their cars.      

Reference:   Christ in the Church, 3 John 1:4-10, September 1, 2019.


22.
A corrupt man dies of a sudden heart attack. God’s judgment. A godly woman in a car accident. We suppose she must have had awful hidden sins. Hurricane Sandy hits us a few years ago. God’s judgment because of the television show “Jersey Shore.” Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. You get the idea. We have no idea! We can’t understand the mysterious providential will of God! But we keep enjoy judging others and believe we are less deserving of God’s judgment. When “judgment” falls on others we think they must have deserved it. When it falls upon us we question God (see Luke 13:4-5).

A corrupt man dies of a sudden heart attack. God’s judgment. A godly woman in a car accident. We suppose she must have had awful hidden sins. Hurricane Sandy hits us a few years ago. God’s judgment because of the television show “Jersey Shore.” Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. You get the idea. We have no idea! We can't understand the mysterious providential will of God! But we keep enjoy judging others and believe we are less deserving of God’s judgment. When “judgment” falls on others we think they must have deserved it. When it falls upon us we question God (see Luke 13:4-5).    

Reference:   Sermon, Very Simple: Repent or Perish, Luke 13:1-9, October 6, 2019.


23.
What is repentance? Repentance is understanding where we fall short of God’s expectations as they are revealed in the Bible and by God’s grace changing our mind, our heart and our actions to be more in line with God’s will. Repentance is making a complete break with sin (a “180”), and it it’s place, now the pursuit of righteousness. There is an ongoing repentance that all Christians do. That’s what it means to grow in Christlikeness. And there is a general repentance we do when we initially come to Christ as we turn from self and devote ourselves entirely to the lordship of Jesus Christ.

What is repentance? Repentance is understanding where we fall short of God’s expectations as they are revealed in the Bible and by God’s grace changing our mind, our heart and our actions to be more in line with God’s will. Repentance is making a complete break with sin (a “180”), and it it’s place, now the pursuit of righteousness. There is an ongoing repentance that all Christians do. That’s what it means to grow in Christlikeness. And there is a general repentance we do when we initially come to Christ as we turn from self and devote ourselves entirely to the lordship of Jesus Christ.    

Reference:   Sermon, Very Simple: Repent or Perish, Luke 13:1-9, October 6, 2019.


24.
Why should all people repent? 1. It’s the gospel, 2. Christ suffered for your sins, 3. God commands us to be holy, 4. God hates sin, 5. Obedience is love for God, 6. Our sin affects others, 7. Work of the Holy Spirit, 8. Need for assurance, 9. Delight in God, 10. Desire to be used by God, 11. Subject to discipline, 12. Personal consequences, 13. Current and future blessings, 14. God’s glory.

Why should all people repent? 1. It's the gospel, 2. Christ suffered for your sins, 3. God commands us to be holy, 4. God hates sin, 5. Obedience is love for God, 6. Our sin affects others, 7. Work of the Holy Spirit, 8. Need for assurance, 9. Delight in God, 10. Desire to be used by God, 11. Subject to discipline, 12. Personal consequences, 13. Current and future blessings, 14. God's glory.    

Reference:   Sermon, 14 Reasons to Repent, Luke 13:3, 5, Sunday, October 13, 2019.


25.
Even our own testimony reveals that nothing good has ever been achieved through our sin. Sin like a deadly serpent, if you play with it, you will get stung. Sin is the number one culprit to destroy marriages and churches. Often, not always, those with the most interpersonal problems have the most sin. Sin sears our conscience. It hardens our heart. It steals our joy. And leaves in its deceptive wake a lifetime of regret and consequences.

Even our own testimony reveals that nothing good has ever been achieved through our sin. Sin like a deadly serpent, if you play with it, you will get stung. Sin is the number one culprit to destroy marriages and churches. Often, not always, those with the most interpersonal problems have the most sin. Sin sears our conscience. It hardens our heart. It steals our joy. And leaves in its deceptive wake a lifetime of regret and consequences.    

Reference:   Sermon, 14 Reasons to Repent, Luke 13:3, 5, Sunday, October 13, 2019.


26.
Failure to repent simply displays a heart greater in love with its sin than in love with its Savior.

Failure to repent simply displays a heart greater in love with its sin than in love with its Savior.    

Reference:   Sermon, 14 Reasons to Repent, Luke 13:3, 5, Sunday, October 13, 2019.


27.
The next time your heart is indifferent toward sin, think for a moment of what sin cost your Savior on the cross. Think about His lacerated back ripped open to the bone from the Roman scourge. Think how He suffered for a breath of air as He extended His bloody body up the vertical beam of the rugged cross. Think about the splinters that dug deeper into His freshly cut wounds with every movement. Think about the large spikes that pierced His hands and His feet penetrating deeply into nerve endings. Think of the slow suffocation as Jesus hung there in the nude, mocked by the onlookers. Jesus didn’t die for His own sin; He died for ours. “[He was] pierced through for our transgressions… [He was] crushed for our iniquities” (Isa. 53:5). Does the love of Christ compel you to turn from that which brought Him unspeakable anguish?

The next time your heart is indifferent toward sin, think for a moment of what sin cost your Savior on the cross. Think about His lacerated back ripped open to the bone from the Roman scourge. Think how He suffered for a breath of air as He extended His bloody body up the vertical beam of the rugged cross. Think about the splinters that dug deeper into His freshly cut wounds with every movement. Think about the large spikes that pierced His hands and His feet penetrating deeply into nerve endings. Think of the slow suffocation as Jesus hung there in the nude, mocked by the onlookers. Jesus didn't die for His own sin; He died for ours. "[He was] pierced through for our transgressions… [He was] crushed for our iniquities" (Isa. 53:5). Does the love of Christ compel you to turn from that which brought Him unspeakable anguish?    

Reference:   Sermon, 14 Reasons to Repent, Luke 13:3, 5, Sunday, October 13, 2019.


28.
1 Timothy 4:7b-8, “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” Clearly the Bible is placing the predominate value on inner godliness and while inner godliness is “profitable for all things,” the verse does still affirm that “bodily discipline” has some “profit.” Yes, there is a call for priorities and balance between the body and the soul. But the Bible does not demand that we ignore the body altogether, actually, quite the contrary.

1 Timothy 4:7b-8, “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” Clearly the Bible is placing the predominate value on inner godliness and while inner godliness is “profitable for all things,” the verse does still affirm that “bodily discipline” has some “profit.” Yes, there is a call for priorities and balance between the body and the soul. But the Bible does not demand that we ignore the body altogether, actually, quite the contrary.  

Reference:   Sermon, Christ in Health, 1 Timothy 4:7-8, August 11, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Health-Physical
29.
Your body is very special to God. As a matter of fact, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, the dwelling place of Christ. The body ultimately belongs to Him.  Are we being a good steward if we suffer from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, and osteoporosis because we chose to abuse or neglect your bodies? How will we give account on the Day of Judgment for this resource? Bodily discipline glorifies the Lord.

Your body is very special to God. As a matter of fact, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, the dwelling place of Christ. The body ultimately belongs to Him.  Are we being a good steward if we suffer from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, and osteoporosis because we chose to abuse or neglect your bodies? How will we give account on the Day of Judgment for this resource? Bodily discipline glorifies the Lord.  

Reference:   Sermon, Christ in Health, 1 Timothy 4:7-8, August 11, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Health-Physical
30.
Why do soldiers first experience boot camp? Because they need to be taught how to push their body, overcome the desire to quit and grow beyond the pain. The mind way too often gives in before the body gives out. Likewise, why did the Apostle Paul say, “I discipline my body and make it my slave” (1 Cor. 9:27). The Christian life is not about listening to our bodies and giving into its desires (gluttony, drunkenness, slothfulness, sexual immorality), but rather mastering our bodies and making the body a slave to a biblically controlled mind. This is the difference between being controlled by the flesh or being led by the Spirit (Gal. 5). Exercise, in order to be effective, pushes the body beyond its comfort zone. Diets push the body beyond its comfort zone. These make the body your slave and no longer your master. These produce discipline. And coming full circle, discipline is essential for us to mortify sin (cf. 1 Pet. 4:1-2).

Why do soldiers first experience boot camp? Because they need to be taught how to push their body, overcome the desire to quit and grow beyond the pain. The mind way too often gives in before the body gives out. Likewise, why did the Apostle Paul say, “I discipline my body and make it my slave” (1 Cor. 9:27). The Christian life is not about listening to our bodies and giving into its desires (gluttony, drunkenness, slothfulness, sexual immorality), but rather mastering our bodies and making the body a slave to a biblically controlled mind. This is the difference between being controlled by the flesh or being led by the Spirit (Gal. 5). Exercise, in order to be effective, pushes the body beyond its comfort zone. Diets push the body beyond its comfort zone. These make the body your slave and no longer your master. These produce discipline. And coming full circle, discipline is essential for us to mortify sin (cf. 1 Pet. 4:1-2).  

Reference:   Sermon, Christ in Health, 1 Timothy 4:7-8, August 11, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Health-Physical
31.
Men, you will never master the powerful desire for lust if you can’t put down the bag of Doritos.

Men, you will never master the powerful desire for lust if you can’t put down the bag of Doritos.  

Reference:   Sermon, Christ in Health, 1 Timothy 4:7-8, August 11, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Health-Physical
32.
Your external appearance has value regarding your testimony to the world? I am not implying that physique is always controllable nor am I saying we need to be Mr. Olympia or an air-brushed swimsuit model for the cover of Sports Illustrated. But with that said, does our body convey an appearance that we are moderate, self-controlled and disciplined? I am not equating good physical appearance with a godly heart; I am equating good physical appearance with what the Bible calls “blamelessness” and “being above reproach.”

Your external appearance has value regarding your testimony to the world? I am not implying that physique is always controllable nor am I saying we need to be Mr. Olympia or an air-brushed swimsuit model for the cover of Sports Illustrated. But with that said, does our body convey an appearance that we are moderate, self-controlled and disciplined? I am not equating good physical appearance with a godly heart; I am equating good physical appearance with what the Bible calls “blamelessness” and “being above reproach.”  

Reference:   Sermon, Christ in Health, 1 Timothy 4:7-8, August 11, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Health-Physical
33.
While the spiritual heart is most important, most relationships start off based on physical attractiveness (see Song of Solomon). Therefore, I submit to you that we demonstrate love toward our spouse by reasonably maintaining our attractiveness. After all, according to Scripture our bodies belong not to ourselves, but to each other (1 Cor. 7:4). What we are seeing to avoid is the popular mentality that says, “Get the ring and let my attractiveness do its thing.” Moreover, if the relationships are working correctly, our death is the most painful thing our spouses and children will ever encounter. I’ve done my share of funerals. I’ve seen this up close and personal. So how can we say we love them by willfully speeding up the process toward a premature death simply due to physical neglect? Is it a loving act if our grandchildren live the majority of their lives without us because we chose an unhealthy lifestyle?

While the spiritual heart is most important, most relationships start off based on physical attractiveness (see Song of Solomon). Therefore, I submit to you that we demonstrate love toward our spouse by reasonably maintaining our attractiveness. After all, according to Scripture our bodies belong not to ourselves, but to each other (1 Cor. 7:4). What we are seeing to avoid is the popular mentality that says, “Get the ring and let my attractiveness do its thing.” Moreover, if the relationships are working correctly, our death is the most painful thing our spouses and children will ever encounter. I’ve done my share of funerals. I’ve seen this up close and personal. So how can we say we love them by willfully speeding up the process toward a premature death simply due to physical neglect? Is it a loving act if our grandchildren live the majority of their lives without us because we chose an unhealthy lifestyle?  

Reference:   Sermon, Christ in Health, 1 Timothy 4:7-8, August 11, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
34.
Jonathan Edwards was one of the greatest theologians. It is also said he had one of the sharpest minds America ever produced. He was dedicated to being the best he could be for God (hence his “Resolutions”) and even back in the mid 1700’s he exercised primarily for the purpose to stay mentally sharp.

Jonathan Edwards was one of the greatest theologians. It is also said he had one of the sharpest minds America ever produced. He was dedicated to being the best he could be for God (hence his “Resolutions”) and even back in the mid 1700’s he exercised primarily for the purpose to stay mentally sharp.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Health-Physical
35.
Our body’s health directly affects our disposition. You know how you feel when you are sick – more irritable, less social, more self-focused. Adversely, when you can get your body into its optimal performance, it stands to reason that it will positively affect your countenance, attitude and disposition. I am not giving an excuse to act in the flesh (when you don’t feel well) nor am I implying that true fruit is not of the Holy Spirit, but the loving attitude toward others that our Lord desires flows much easier when we are not laboring to get through life. We can easier get our minds off ourselves and on to the needs of others as Philippians 2:3-4 teaches. Isaiah 35:3 says, “Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.” Wouldn’t you rather be on the encouraging and strengthening side than the exhausted and feeble side? Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Our body’s health directly affects our disposition. You know how you feel when you are sick – more irritable, less social, more self-focused. Adversely, when you can get your body into its optimal performance, it stands to reason that it will positively affect your countenance, attitude and disposition. I am not giving an excuse to act in the flesh (when you don’t feel well) nor am I implying that true fruit is not of the Holy Spirit, but the loving attitude toward others that our Lord desires flows much easier when we are not laboring to get through life. We can easier get our minds off ourselves and on to the needs of others as Philippians 2:3-4 teaches. Isaiah 35:3 says, “Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.” Wouldn’t you rather be on the encouraging and strengthening side than the exhausted and feeble side? Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  

Reference:   Sermon, Christ in Health, 1 Timothy 4:7-8, August 11, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Health-Physical
36.
The secular would only teaches us how to manage worry through therapy and medication. Jesus promises us that through Him we can eliminate it.

The secular would only teaches us how to manage worry through therapy and medication. Jesus promises us that through Him we can eliminate it.    

Reference:   Sermon, Why Do We Worry? Luke 12:22-34, September 8, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Anxiety
37.
Are you seeking first God’s kingdom (Luke 12:31)? Such an attitude reveals a heart that is set on God. So, the more we begin to serve God and trust God and praise God and seek God, the less we will worry (Luke 12:22, 29, 32). Worry is evidence that we desire to serve and trust and seek ourselves. But when we find in God our total sufficiency, we will glorify Him in the process and receive the promised peace and contentment that surpasses all understanding. When our treasure is in heaven, our hearts will follow. When our hearts are in heaven we will not worry about the things of this world.

Are you seeking first God’s kingdom (Luke 12:31)? Such an attitude reveals a heart that is set on God. So, the more we begin to serve God and trust God and praise God and seek God, the less we will worry (Luke 12:22, 29, 32). Worry is evidence that we desire to serve and trust and seek ourselves. But when we find in God our total sufficiency, we will glorify Him in the process and receive the promised peace and contentment that surpasses all understanding. When our treasure is in heaven, our hearts will follow. When our hearts are in heaven we will not worry about the things of this world.    

Reference:   (The Sermon on the Mount, p. 93).


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Anxiety
38.
No wonder Jesus concluded in Luke 12:28 with the words, “You men of little faith.” How can we observe how God provides for His lesser creation and then believe He will not provide for His children? How can we trust God for the eternal salvation of our souls and then believe He will fail to provide for our basic necessities (Rom. 8:32)? How can we believe God has a wonderful plan for our lives, but He can’t keep us alive? Where is our faith?

No wonder Jesus concluded in Luke 12:28 with the words, “You men of little faith.” How can we observe how God provides for His lesser creation and then believe He will not provide for His children? How can we trust God for the eternal salvation of our souls and then believe He will fail to provide for our basic necessities (Rom. 8:32)? How can we believe God has a wonderful plan for our lives, but He can’t keep us alive? Where is our faith?    

Reference:   Sermon, Why Do We Worry? Luke 12:22-34, September 8, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Anxiety
39.
Worry is unproductive to solve our problems, unworthy of God’s faithful reputation, and therefore, unnecessary for the children of God.

Worry is unproductive to solve our problems, unworthy of God’s faithful reputation, and therefore, unnecessary for the children of God.    

Reference:   Sermon, Why Do We Worry? Luke 12:22-34, September 8, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Anxiety
40.
Some will say we need to add “good works” to Christ’s work to be saved. Others will say since we are saved by God’s grace and because all of our sins are already forgiven in Christ we can live as we wish. So, the first says following God’s law is necessary to be saved. The other says following God’s law is unnecessary once saved. Both are terribly wrong! We are saved by grace alone, but the grace that saves is never alone. God’s grace will always give us the desire and ability to follow God. The greatest evidence that we are recipients of God’s grace will be seen through our obedience – not to get saved or stay saved, but proof that we truly are already saved.

Some will say we need to add “good works” to Christ’s work to be saved. Others will say since we are saved by God’s grace and because all of our sins are already forgiven in Christ we can live as we wish. So, the first says following God’s law is necessary to be saved. The other says following God’s law is unnecessary once saved. Both are terribly wrong! We are saved by grace alone, but the grace that saves is never alone. God’s grace will always give us the desire and ability to follow God. The greatest evidence that we are recipients of God’s grace will be seen through our obedience – not to get saved or stay saved, but proof that we truly are already saved.  

Reference:   What is Grace? Ephesians 2:1-9, September 29, 2019.


41.
Friends, if we cannot, or maybe I should say desire not, to do as Jesus says in Scripture; we short-circuit the whole process by failing to show Christ to the world, by failing to acknowledge Him as our Lord and frankly by showing less reverence and faith than the demons. Will we submit to His authority in all things, despite the personal cost, to reveal to this world that Jesus is truly Lord? The Kingdom will come for all to see and acknowledge, but it has begun and is shown to all by Him ruling in the hearts of His children.

Friends, if we cannot, or maybe I should say desire not, to do as Jesus says in Scripture; we short-circuit the whole process by failing to show Christ to the world, by failing to acknowledge Him as our Lord and frankly by showing less reverence and faith than the demons. Will we submit to His authority in all things, despite the personal cost, to reveal to this world that Jesus is truly Lord? The Kingdom will come for all to see and acknowledge, but it has begun and is shown to all by Him ruling in the hearts of His children.    

Reference:   Why Should I Obey God? Luke 4:31-44, March 25, 2018.


42.
If Jesus needed prayer and the Holy Spirit to empower Him during temptation (Lk. 3:21-22; 4:1), what does it say about our abilities to be successful in the spiritual fight if we fail to have either?

If Jesus needed prayer and the Holy Spirit to empower Him during temptation (Lk. 3:21-22; 4:1), what does it say about our abilities to be successful in the spiritual fight if we fail to have either?    

Reference:   Like Father, Like Son, Luke 3:21-38, March 4, 2018.


43.
It is so diabolical! So many people, so often in my own life, convinced they are right when there are so grossly deceived. I see people falling for Satan’s lies hook, line and sinker! Somehow they believe that they will be happier if they disobey God as if Satan really has our best interest in mind. He comes as an evil foe with malicious suggestions and at times an angel of light speaking the Word of God. He works through our desires and human weakness and doubts. Yet remember this, he is always lying, always seeking to destroy and always opposed to God.

It is so diabolical! So many people, so often in my own life, convinced they are right when there are so grossly deceived. I see people falling for Satan’s lies hook, line and sinker! Somehow they believe that they will be happier if they disobey God as if Satan really has our best interest in mind. He comes as an evil foe with malicious suggestions and at times an angel of light speaking the Word of God. He works through our desires and human weakness and doubts. Yet remember this, he is always lying, always seeking to destroy and always opposed to God.    

Reference:   Like Father, Like Son, Luke 3:21-38, March 4, 2018.


44.
There is a foundation for all of God’s commands – His good character. For example: Why do we tell the truth? Because Jesus is the truth (Jn. 14:6) and Satan is the father of lies (Jn. 8:44). Why is marriage between one man and one woman? Because God created marriage to reflect and promote His marriage between Christ and His bride (the church) – (Eph. 5:32). The Christian life is not about keeping “outdated and arbitrary rules” (as portrayed by society). It’s not about “following my religion.” It’s about following a Person. We follow that Person by acting like Him. The commands in the Bible tell us how to act like God, as opposed to acting like those who oppose Him.

There is a foundation for all of God’s commands – His good character. For example: Why do we tell the truth? Because Jesus is the truth (Jn. 14:6) and Satan is the father of lies (Jn. 8:44). Why is marriage between one man and one woman? Because God created marriage to reflect and promote His marriage between Christ and His bride (the church) – (Eph. 5:32). The Christian life is not about keeping “outdated and arbitrary rules” (as portrayed by society). It’s not about “following my religion.” It’s about following a Person. We follow that Person by acting like Him. The commands in the Bible tell us how to act like God, as opposed to acting like those who oppose Him.  

Reference:   Sermon, Christ in the Parent – Part 1, Psalm 78:4-8, July 14, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
45.
Of course all good parenting must point out error. We know the Law is a tutor (Gal. 3:24) and children with soft hearts will experience guilt. They will want the guilt removed. The solution to that must not be achieved in parental or self-inflicted punishment. The solution is to flee to Christ for grace and mercy.

Of course all good parenting must point out error. We know the Law is a tutor (Gal. 3:24) and children with soft hearts will experience guilt. They will want the guilt removed. The solution to that must not be achieved in parental or self-inflicted punishment. The solution is to flee to Christ for grace and mercy.  

Reference:   Sermon, Christ in the Parent – Part 1, Psalm 78:4-8, July 14, 2019.


46.
The best family devotionals are when dad leads, but has the least amount to say, gets everyone involved, engages hearts, encourages interaction and processes life with the family using the Word of God. Even the Puritans would say to keep our family devotionals “Sweet, savory and short!” Don’t bore and exasperate your children with the Bible and then expect them to love God’s Word. A wise parent knows the right time and right length to teach the Bible – formally or informally (Dt. 6:6-7). And he or she also knows how to listen during those times more than they speak.

The best family devotionals are when dad leads, but has the least amount to say, gets everyone involved, engages hearts, encourages interaction and processes life with the family using the Word of God. Even the Puritans would say to keep our family devotionals “Sweet, savory and short!” Don’t bore and exasperate your children with the Bible and then expect them to love God’s Word. A wise parent knows the right time and right length to teach the Bible – formally or informally (Dt. 6:6-7). And he or she also knows how to listen during those times more than they speak.  

Reference:   Sermon, Christ in the Parent – Part 1, Psalm 78:4-8, July 14, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Worship-Family
47.
Jesus clashed most with religious people, specifically the Pharisees. There was always storm when they were together. Religious people preach salvation by works. Jesus preached salvation by grace. Religious people are into the outward appearance. Jesus is into the heart. Religious people sent Jesus to the cross for their egos – pride. Jesus went to the cross for our salvation – humility.

Jesus clashed most with religious people, specifically the Pharisees. There was always storm when they were together. Religious people preach salvation by works. Jesus preached salvation by grace. Religious people are into the outward appearance. Jesus is into the heart. Religious people sent Jesus to the cross for their egos – pride. Jesus went to the cross for our salvation – humility.  

Reference:   Sermon, Christ in The Parent – Part 1, Psalm 78:4-8, July 14, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Religion
48.
Peacemaking suggestions when seeking conflict resolution with another: Pray before, during and after the time together (1 Thes. 5:17). Get together and talk about the matter face-to-face (i.e. not an email). Be sure to go to the individual in a loving and reasonable and gentle manner (1 Cor. 4:21; Eph. 4:2; 1 Tim. 6:11). Make sure your heart is right. Make sure you have removed the log from your own eye before you seek to remove the speck from your brother’s (Mt. 7:3-5). Go seeking to believe the best, hear the other side of the story (Pr. 18:17). Attack the problem not the person, value the relationship more than the issue. Deal with one problem at a time. Find common ground – I hope as Christians you both want God’s glory and unity – start there (1 Cor. 10:31)! Add how you may have contributed to the problem – people will always listen to how you might have wronged them (Pr. 28:13). Be prepared to extend and receive forgiveness if appropriate (Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13). Seek to fully reconcile the relationship and put the matter behind you.  Remember, there is a big difference between forgiveness and reconciliation.

Peacemaking suggestions when seeking conflict resolution with another: Pray before, during and after the time together (1 Thes. 5:17). Get together and talk about the matter face-to-face (i.e. not an email). Be sure to go to the individual in a loving and reasonable and gentle manner (1 Cor. 4:21; Eph. 4:2; 1 Tim. 6:11). Make sure your heart is right. Make sure you have removed the log from your own eye before you seek to remove the speck from your brother’s (Mt. 7:3-5). Go seeking to believe the best, hear the other side of the story (Pr. 18:17). Attack the problem not the person, value the relationship more than the issue. Deal with one problem at a time. Find common ground – I hope as Christians you both want God’s glory and unity – start there (1 Cor. 10:31)! Add how you may have contributed to the problem – people will always listen to how you might have wronged them (Pr. 28:13). Be prepared to extend and receive forgiveness if appropriate (Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13). Seek to fully reconcile the relationship and put the matter behind you.  Remember, there is a big difference between forgiveness and reconciliation.    

Reference:   Sermon, Zealous for Peace, Romans 14:19, May 19, 2019.


49.
Escape responses focus on “me” and make me a “peace-faker.” Attack responses focus on “you” and make me a “peace-breaker.” But peacemaking responses focus on “God” and make me a “peace-maker.”

Escape responses focus on “me” and make me a “peace-faker.” Attack responses focus on “you” and make me a “peace-breaker.” But peacemaking responses focus on “God” and make me a “peace-maker.”    

Reference:   Sermon, Zealous for Peace, Romans 14:19, May 19, 2019.


50.
When we seek to run away from our conflicts through the escape tactics, we fail to trust God and prefer the other individual. These “natural” responses are unbiblical, unloving, unproductive and unacceptable.

When we seek to run away from our conflicts through the escape tactics, we fail to trust God and prefer the other individual. These “natural” responses are unbiblical, unloving, unproductive and unacceptable.  

Reference:   Sermon, Zealous for Peace, Romans 14:19, May 19, 2019.


51.
Personal benefits when conflict with others is handled properly: It has increased my tenderness to the pain and affliction of others. It has broadened my outlook that life is not as black and white as I often think. It has helped me to listen better and understand good perspectives that might differ from mine. It has encouraged me to search the Scriptures and be able to better articulate my beliefs. It has pushed me out of my comfort zone and increased my faith in God and in His Word. It has taught me to work harder to be a more effective communicator to express my feelings. It has helped me consider other people more important than myself. It has helped me understand that relationships are more important than the conflict and compromising (when biblically appropriate) is more important than being right. It has increased my love for unity. It has manifested the love and power and forgiveness of God both received and extended. It has taught me that my desires and plans do not lie at the center of the world. And in many cases, when resolved correctly, it has even strengthened the specific relationship.

Personal benefits when conflict with others is handled properly: It has increased my tenderness to the pain and affliction of others. It has broadened my outlook that life is not as black and white as I often think. It has helped me to listen better and understand good perspectives that might differ from mine. It has encouraged me to search the Scriptures and be able to better articulate my beliefs. It has pushed me out of my comfort zone and increased my faith in God and in His Word. It has taught me to work harder to be a more effective communicator to express my feelings. It has helped me consider other people more important than myself. It has helped me understand that relationships are more important than the conflict and compromising (when biblically appropriate) is more important than being right. It has increased my love for unity. It has manifested the love and power and forgiveness of God both received and extended. It has taught me that my desires and plans do not lie at the center of the world. And in many cases, when resolved correctly, it has even strengthened the specific relationship.    

Reference:   Sermon, Zealous for Peace, Romans 14:19, May 19, 2019.


52.
Although physical murder is obviously extreme, let’s not forget the words of our Savior when He said anger in our hearts toward another is murder in His eyes (Mt. 5:21-22). Think about this. If we have the attitude that we want someone out of our family or out of our church because of our own interpersonal conflict, are we not participating in the spirit of murder? Oh we may never pull the trigger, but are we seeking to eliminate people through more civilized means.

Although physical murder is obviously extreme, let’s not forget the words of our Savior when He said anger in our hearts toward another is murder in His eyes (Mt. 5:21-22). Think about this. If we have the attitude that we want someone out of our family or out of our church because of our own interpersonal conflict, are we not participating in the spirit of murder? Oh we may never pull the trigger, but are we seeking to eliminate people through more civilized means.      

Reference:   Sermon, Zealous for Peace, Romans 14:19, May 19, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Murder
53.
All false religion is based on works to achieve God’s favor. And when you base it on works you will either use God’s Word as a means to obtain God’s favor or ignore God Word and create your own expectations. Both are deadly because both short-circuit God method of grace.

All false religion is based on works to achieve God’s favor. And when you base it on works you will either use God’s Word as a means to obtain God’s favor or ignore God Word and create your own expectations. Both are deadly because both short-circuit God method of grace.  

Reference:   God Hates Heartless Religion – Part 2, Luke 11:45-54, June 2, 2019.


54.
People say to me, isn’t Christianity about following (implied: outdated and meaningless) rules? No! It’s about following Jesus which means living according to His nature so that our relationship with Him will be strong and our lives will be blessed. Don’t buy the lie! Not following Him is slavery. Following Him is liberation. Those weighed down with the most anxiety, guilt, shame and fear in life are those who are following Christ the least. External rules are a burden. There is no power to obey them. Rules do not change a heart. Our Lord changes our hearts. He gives us grace-empowerment. He provides purpose in doing it His way.

People say to me, isn’t Christianity about following (implied: outdated and meaningless) rules? No! It’s about following Jesus which means living according to His nature so that our relationship with Him will be strong and our lives will be blessed. Don’t buy the lie! Not following Him is slavery. Following Him is liberation. Those weighed down with the most anxiety, guilt, shame and fear in life are those who are following Christ the least. External rules are a burden. There is no power to obey them. Rules do not change a heart. Our Lord changes our hearts. He gives us grace-empowerment. He provides purpose in doing it His way.  


55.
Don’t be greedy for the temporary and trivial things of this world. Find your joy in life in what really matters: Salvation from hell. The necessities to live. The opportunity to serve others. A strong marriage. A loving family. A good church. That’s the meaningful stuff that will warm your heart. And greed in those areas is actually good and furthers more joy. Pursue more; just pursue it in the right domains. Abundant life does not come in abundant possessions (Lk. 12:15). Pursue the abundant life that Jesus promised (Jn. 10:10).

Don’t be greedy for the temporary and trivial things of this world. Find your joy in life in what really matters: Salvation from hell. The necessities to live. The opportunity to serve others. A strong marriage. A loving family. A good church. That’s the meaningful stuff that will warm your heart. And greed in those areas is actually good and furthers more joy. Pursue more; just pursue it in the right domains. Abundant life does not come in abundant possessions (Lk. 12:15). Pursue the abundant life that Jesus promised (Jn. 10:10).    

Reference:   Sermon, Greed’s Graveyard, Luke 12:13-21, June 16, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Greed
56.
Like a dog chasing its tail, we are running around chasing someone else who will always have more. And in the process of our misplaced priorities, we are empty, others are unloved (often in our family) and true God is ignored. Greed is a foolish investment. Plenty to live on, but nothing to live for.

Like a dog chasing its tail, we are running around chasing someone else who will always have more. And in the process of our misplaced priorities, we are empty, others are unloved (often in our family) and true God is ignored. Greed is a foolish investment. Plenty to live on, but nothing to live for.    

Reference:   Sermon, Greed’s Graveyard, Luke 12:13-21, June 16, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Greed
57.
Our Lord says to be on your guard against “every form of greed” in Luke 12:15. The way I see it, greed is the interlocking component that cements so many other sins together. If the heart is self-focused, looking for status in worldly stuff, it will be materialistic. More is always equivalent with success – admiration from others, joy in possessions, fulfillment in things.  Thus a materialistic heart will be produced. The heart will always want more. Greed is then the result. The comparison game will begin. The result will be more sins like boasting (because we have more) or coveting, jealousy and envy (because we have less) – leading to a general attitude sins like discontentment and ingratitude and selfishness. All this concludes (and comes full circle) with the worship of a false god, the chief sin of idolatry (notice the connection in Eph. 5:5 and Col. 3:5).

Our Lord says to be on your guard against “every form of greed” in Luke 12:15. The way I see it, greed is the interlocking component that cements so many other sins together. If the heart is self-focused, looking for status in worldly stuff, it will be materialistic. More is always equivalent with success – admiration from others, joy in possessions, fulfillment in things.  Thus a materialistic heart will be produced. The heart will always want more. Greed is then the result. The comparison game will begin. The result will be more sins like boasting (because we have more) or coveting, jealousy and envy (because we have less) – leading to a general attitude sins like discontentment and ingratitude and selfishness. All this concludes (and comes full circle) with the worship of a false god, the chief sin of idolatry (notice the connection in Eph. 5:5 and Col. 3:5).    

Reference:   Sermon, Greed’s Graveyard, Luke 12:13-21, June 16, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Greed
58.
The problem with greed is not so much seen in our possessions, but rather what is possessing our hearts.

The problem with greed is not so much seen in our possessions, but rather what is possessing our hearts.    

Reference:   Sermon, Greed’s Graveyard, Luke 12:13-21, June 16, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Greed
Possessions
59.
Testing God is a lack of faith. It’s blasphemy for the created to demand that the Creator prove Himself to be worthy of our trust. True faith is not testing God, but trusting God, knowing that He is not obligated to prove His power and love at every turn.

Testing God is a lack of faith. It’s blasphemy for the created to demand that the Creator prove Himself to be worthy of our trust. True faith is not testing God, but trusting God, knowing that He is not obligated to prove His power and love at every turn.    

Reference:   Overcoming the Devil’s Best, Luke 4:1-13, March 11, 2018.


60.
Satan tempts (to make us weaker), but God’s goal is to test (to make us stronger) and oftentimes we are tested by God permitting Satan to tempt us. In the Bible (Luke 4) we see Jesus being tested by God as He is led by God into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Satan tempts (to make us weaker), but God’s goal is to test (to make us stronger) and oftentimes we are tested by God permitting Satan to tempt us. In the Bible (Luke 4) we see Jesus being tested by God as He is led by God into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.    

Reference:   Overcoming the Devil’s Best, Luke 4:1-13, March 11, 2018.


61.
If you want to raise a Pharisee, just follow these simple steps (sarcasm!). 1. Make the Christian home all about rule-keeping (do’s and don’t’s), but never explain to them why we should follow God’s Word. 2. Add your own rules to God’s Word and make them more important than God’s Word. 3. Strictly enforce the rules on your children, but give yourself a pass. 4. Show your children nothing about grace, forgiveness, mercy and love. 5. Preach at them until they are blue in the face (bore them with the Bible) and never listen to what they have to say about God’s Word. 6. Make Jesus a burden rather than a blessing – make God’s Word a bondage rather than a liberation. 7. Give them no opportunity to think spiritually for themselves. 8. Fail to guide them in a spiritual worldview – teaching them how to process life with the Bible. 9. Praise their externals regardless of their motives. 10. Teach them to obey only because they have to and not because they should also want to as God’s commands come from a loving and trustworthy Father. 11. Make your disciple punishment rather than correction. 12. Demand self-reformation, rather than pointing them to Christ-transformation by grace. 13. Teach them to obey you as God rather than to obey God by obeying you. 14. Use Scripture and church as punishment. 15. Never pray for them. 16. Correct them more than you encourage them. 17. Beat your kids into external conformity, often to simply make yourself look good and do nothing to shepherd their hearts.

If you want to raise a Pharisee, just follow these simple steps (sarcasm!). 1. Make the Christian home all about rule-keeping (do’s and don’t’s), but never explain to them why we should follow God’s Word. 2. Add your own rules to God’s Word and make them more important than God’s Word. 3. Strictly enforce the rules on your children, but give yourself a pass. 4. Show your children nothing about grace, forgiveness, mercy and love. 5. Preach at them until they are blue in the face (bore them with the Bible) and never listen to what they have to say about God’s Word. 6. Make Jesus a burden rather than a blessing – make God’s Word a bondage rather than a liberation. 7. Give them no opportunity to think spiritually for themselves. 8. Fail to guide them in a spiritual worldview – teaching them how to process life with the Bible. 9. Praise their externals regardless of their motives. 10. Teach them to obey only because they have to and not because they should also want to as God’s commands come from a loving and trustworthy Father. 11. Make your disciple punishment rather than correction. 12. Demand self-reformation, rather than pointing them to Christ-transformation by grace. 13. Teach them to obey you as God rather than to obey God by obeying you. 14. Use Scripture and church as punishment. 15. Never pray for them. 16. Correct them more than you encourage them. 17. Beat your kids into external conformity, often to simply make yourself look good and do nothing to shepherd their hearts.    

Reference:   Sermon, God Hates Heartless Religion – Part 1, Luke 11:37-44, May 26, 2019.


62.
Recently I listened to a great sermon by Paul Tripp as he spoke about the need to shepherd our children’s hearts. When the heart is ignored and we concentrate only on the externals, he compared it to a child that has everything he needs and wants in his backyard, but has his face pressed up against the fence desiring the junk in the neighbor’s yard. Legalistic parents just try to build higher fences. Christian parents shepherd the orientation of the heart.

Recently I listened to a great sermon by Paul Tripp as he spoke about the need to shepherd our children’s hearts. When the heart is ignored and we concentrate only on the externals, he compared it to a child that has everything he needs and wants in his backyard, but has his face pressed up against the fence desiring the junk in the neighbor’s yard. Legalistic parents just try to build higher fences. Christian parents shepherd the orientation of the heart.    

Reference:   Sermon, God Hates Heartless Religion – Part 1, Luke 11:37-44, May 26, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
63.
Legalism is adding your rules to the Word of God. And when your rules are added to the Word of God, these traditions almost always become more important than the Word of God itself. God is ignored. Self-righteousness is nurtured. Unity in Christ is shot because the focus now becomes our new rules. Our gaze is upon those who follow them the best or preach them the loudest.  

Legalism is adding your rules to the Word of God. And when your rules are added to the Word of God, these traditions almost always become more important than the Word of God itself. God is ignored. Self-righteousness is nurtured. Unity in Christ is shot because the focus now becomes our new rules. Our gaze is upon those who follow them the best or preach them the loudest.    


Author: Randy Smith
64.
How would we feel if we pray on Wednesday nights for revival, but it comes to a church down the road? How would we feel if another church is baptizing more converts? How would we feel if the decrease in our ministry might be needed for great success elsewhere in the church? I can provide countless examples, but the point is clear. Are we in this for ourselves – Grace Bible Church, our family our own identity, own kingdom – or are we solely about the Lord’s glory and ultimately His kingdom? Pride is all about me and my circles. Humility is all about Christ and being content if He receives all the glory, even if that means my actions are unappreciated or overlooked.

How would we feel if we pray on Wednesday nights for revival, but it comes to a church down the road? How would we feel if another church is baptizing more converts? How would we feel if the decrease in our ministry might be needed for great success elsewhere in the church? I can provide countless examples, but the point is clear. Are we in this for ourselves – Grace Bible Church, our family our own identity, own kingdom – or are we solely about the Lord’s glory and ultimately His kingdom? Pride is all about me and my circles. Humility is all about Christ and being content if He receives all the glory, even if that means my actions are unappreciated or overlooked.      

Reference:   What God Desires in You, Luke 9:37-50, February 3, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Kingdom_of_God
65.
There are no specific churches or denominations in God’s kingdom. If you are saved, you are on God’s team. God’s children are your teammates. Support each other. Encourage each other. Rejoice when God is working, even if it’s not under the banner of your ministry or your church or your country. The prideful competitive spirit often sees the enemy not as demonic forces, but rather other believers because they can steal your fanfare. The humble God-honor spirit sees those who do not oppose as being with us and (as Jesus said) “for us” (Luke 9:50).

There are no specific churches or denominations in God’s kingdom. If you are saved, you are on God’s team. God’s children are your teammates. Support each other. Encourage each other. Rejoice when God is working, even if it’s not under the banner of your ministry or your church or your country. The prideful competitive spirit often sees the enemy not as demonic forces, but rather other believers because they can steal your fanfare. The humble God-honor spirit sees those who do not oppose as being with us and (as Jesus said) “for us” (Luke 9:50).    

Reference:   What God Desires in You, Luke 9:37-50, February 3, 2019.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Kingdom_of_God
66.
When God works in a Christian’s heart, our primary attitude toward unbelievers is not rejection, frustration or exultation over their destiny. It’s compassion. It’s being able to see them as an image bearer of God (regardless of how they look or what they may do) lost in this world and on the road to an eternal hell. And that is our motivation for evangelism. It’s because God has given us a heart for all humans and in that love we are compelled to get them the message of Jesus so they may be saved from hell. After all, that was God’s love toward you before you accepted Christ, right?

When God works in a Christian’s heart, our primary attitude toward unbelievers is not rejection, frustration or exultation over their destiny. It’s compassion. It’s being able to see them as an image bearer of God (regardless of how they look or what they may do) lost in this world and on the road to an eternal hell. And that is our motivation for evangelism. It’s because God has given us a heart for all humans and in that love we are compelled to get them the message of Jesus so they may be saved from hell. After all, that was God’s love toward you before you accepted Christ, right?  

Reference:   Sermon, Christ the Divider, Luke 10:1-16, February 17, 2019.


67.
Do you see why Christians can face death with peace? They are not so much “leaving behind” as much as “going to.”

Do you see why Christians can face death with peace? They are not so much “leaving behind” as much as “going to.”  

Reference:   Sermon, Reason For Hope, Hebrews 11:8-16, March 17, 2019.


68.
The anticipation of a joyous event in the future can oftentimes be as good as experiencing the actual event itself.

The anticipation of a joyous event in the future can oftentimes be as good as experiencing the actual event itself.  

Reference:   Sermon, Reason For Hope, Hebrews 11:8-16, March 17, 2019.


69.
What is a sin? It’s a violation against God’s character when we disobey a command of His. Who sins? We all do and we do it on a daily basis. What happens when we sin? We often have natural consequences, but primarily we store up God’s judgment against ourselves. What does that result in? The violation of God’s commands results in God’s eternal judgment. Is there any hope? Yes, Jesus Christ lived the perfect life, died for our sins on the cross, conquered sin through the Resurrection and offers forgiveness to those who receive Him by faith. To what degree am I forgiven when I come to Jesus? Complete forgiveness because Christ died for all your sins – past, present and future.

What is a sin? It’s a violation against God’s character when we disobey a command of His. Who sins? We all do and we do it on a daily basis. What happens when we sin? We often have natural consequences, but primarily we store up God’s judgment against ourselves. What does that result in? The violation of God’s commands results in God’s eternal judgment. Is there any hope? Yes, Jesus Christ lived the perfect life, died for our sins on the cross, conquered sin through the Resurrection and offers forgiveness to those who receive Him by faith. To what degree am I forgiven when I come to Jesus? Complete forgiveness because Christ died for all your sins – past, present and future.

Reference:   Sermon, The Model Prayer-Part Three, Matthew 6:11-15, Sunday, July 27, 2008.


70.
In a strange way, God’s good and perfect gifts (Jas. 1:17) abundantly lavished on our lives have not created a greater heart for the Giver, but rather have given us a greater love for lesser gifts.

In a strange way, God's good and perfect gifts (Jas. 1:17) abundantly lavished on our lives have not created a greater heart for the Giver, but rather have given us a greater love for lesser gifts.  

Reference:   Sermon, The Model Prayer-Part Three, Matthew 6:11-15, Sunday, July 27, 2008.


71.
Hallowing God’s name at its most basic level is not saying God’s name in vain – a violation of the third commandment (Ex. 20:7). God’s name followed by the curse word. But even the notorious and ever-popular “Oh My…” Now we even tritely use the letters “OMG” as if the name of the Holy One can be taken as a figure of speech, a point of exclamation or a throw-away comment in our forms of entertainment.

Hallowing God’s name at its most basic level is not saying God’s name in vain – a violation of the third commandment (Ex. 20:7). God’s name followed by the curse word. But even the notorious and ever-popular “Oh My…” Now we even tritely use the letters “OMG” as if the name of the Holy One can be taken as a figure of speech, a point of exclamation or a throw-away comment in our forms of entertainment.    

Reference:   Sermon, The Model Prayer-Part Three, Matthew 6:11-15, Sunday, July 27, 2008.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: God-Name
72.
On one hand we have to say that the kingdom has already arrived. Didn’t both Jesus and John the Baptist say, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt. 4:17)? If the kingdom represents God’s reign, it has indeed arrived. God told us in Colossians 1:13 that He has already, “Rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son?” I would like to believe that Jesus is reigning on the throne of each heart of each person that has received Him as their Lord. As Christians it’s His will over our self-will. It’s His lordship over our self-governance. It’s ultimate submission to Him as King over our self-reliance. It’s an invisible reign that is manifested in our loyalty to King Jesus. It’s the tiny mustard seed, as Jesus said, that will grow to be a massive plant. The King as a spiritual kingdom. Yet as Jesus reigns in our hearts we desire to see Him reign over the entire world – a physical kingdom. We long for the day when sin is not in, but rather when righteousness prevails. We long for the day when, Philippians 2, “Every knee will bow…and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:10-11).

On one hand we have to say that the kingdom has already arrived. Didn’t both Jesus and John the Baptist say, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt. 4:17)? If the kingdom represents God’s reign, it has indeed arrived. God told us in Colossians 1:13 that He has already, “Rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son?” I would like to believe that Jesus is reigning on the throne of each heart of each person that has received Him as their Lord. As Christians it’s His will over our self-will. It’s His lordship over our self-governance. It’s ultimate submission to Him as King over our self-reliance. It’s an invisible reign that is manifested in our loyalty to King Jesus. It’s the tiny mustard seed, as Jesus said, that will grow to be a massive plant. The King as a spiritual kingdom. Yet as Jesus reigns in our hearts we desire to see Him reign over the entire world – a physical kingdom. We long for the day when sin is not in, but rather when righteousness prevails. We long for the day when, Philippians 2, “Every knee will bow…and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:10-11).    

Reference:   Sermon, The Model Prayer-Part Three, Matthew 6:11-15, Sunday, July 27, 2008.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Kingdom_of_God
73.
The same Greek word can be translated “temptation” and “test.” They are a world apart and context determines which translation to use. Satan is the one who tempts us to sin. God is the one who tests us to righteousness. Satan wants to destroy us. He wants to weaken our faith. He wants us to spiritually fail. On the other hand, our Lord is forever testing us. His goal though tests, often in the form of trials, is to make us spiritually stronger, refine our character and increase our faith. Part of the test at times is overcoming the temptation. It is the Lord in His sovereignty who sends test. “Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Mt. 4:1). However, it is during these tests that Satan finds His greatest opportunity to tempt us. So when the heat in life is turned up, will we trust God and walk by faith in His commandments or will we listen to the “father of lies” and sin? The prayer here is that the Lord will help us pursue righteous actions as we emerge from the test spiritually victorious.

The same Greek word can be translated “temptation” and “test.” They are a world apart and context determines which translation to use. Satan is the one who tempts us to sin. God is the one who tests us to righteousness. Satan wants to destroy us. He wants to weaken our faith. He wants us to spiritually fail. On the other hand, our Lord is forever testing us. His goal though tests, often in the form of trials, is to make us spiritually stronger, refine our character and increase our faith. Part of the test at times is overcoming the temptation. It is the Lord in His sovereignty who sends test. “Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Mt. 4:1). However, it is during these tests that Satan finds His greatest opportunity to tempt us. So when the heat in life is turned up, will we trust God and walk by faith in His commandments or will we listen to the “father of lies” and sin? The prayer here is that the Lord will help us pursue righteous actions as we emerge from the test spiritually victorious.    

Reference:   Sermon, The Model Prayer-Part Three, Matthew 6:11-15, Sunday, July 27, 2008.


74.
Forgiving others is the evidence we truly understand and have received God’s forgiveness.

Forgiving others is the evidence we truly understand and have received God’s forgiveness.  

Reference:   Sermon, The Model Prayer-Part Three, Matthew 6:11-15, Sunday, July 27, 2008.


75.
Why are we called in “The Lord’s Prayer” to ask for what appears to be additional forgiveness? One, because sin destroys. Confession helps our soul heal from the guilt we incurred. Two, because every sin we commit, though it does not forfeit our salvation, breaks fellowship with our heavenly Father. Three, because our forgiveness came at a great cost – the death of God’s very Son. Therefore we ought to take sin seriously and carefully recognize the specific areas we are falling short. Four, because true believers are committed to repentance. Confession of sin is important because without acknowledging the error of sin, we will never take the necessary steps toward what God ultimately desires, which is repentance (turning from the sin altogether).

Why are we called in "The Lord's Prayer" to ask for what appears to be additional forgiveness? One, because sin destroys. Confession helps our soul heal from the guilt we incurred. Two, because every sin we commit, though it does not forfeit our salvation, breaks fellowship with our heavenly Father. Three, because our forgiveness came at a great cost - the death of God's very Son. Therefore we ought to take sin seriously and carefully recognize the specific areas we are falling short. Four, because true believers are committed to repentance. Confession of sin is important because without acknowledging the error of sin, we will never take the necessary steps toward what God ultimately desires, which is repentance (turning from the sin altogether).  

Reference:   Sermon, The Model Prayer-Part Three, Matthew 6:11-15, Sunday, July 27, 2008.


Author: Randy Smith
Topics: Sin-Confession
76.
Prayer is yearning to see not my will, but God’s will done. Prayer is about aligning myself with Him. Prayer is about knowing that God has ordained all things – not just the end, but also the means by which it comes about. And it’s about knowing that my prayers are part of those means.

Prayer is yearning to see not my will, but God’s will done. Prayer is about aligning myself with Him. Prayer is about knowing that God has ordained all things – not just the end, but also the means by which it comes about. And it’s about knowing that my prayers are part of those means.  

Reference:   Application of the “Lord’s Prayer,” Luke 11:5-13, April 7, 2019.


77.
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
78.
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.


79.
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
80.
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.


81.
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.


82.
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.    


83.
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
84.
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
85.
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.


86.
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.


87.
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.


88.
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.


89.
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.


90.
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.


91.
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.    


92.
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.


93.
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.


94.
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.


95.
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.


96.
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
97.
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.


98.
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.


99.
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.


100.
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