Colin Smith

Colin Smith is Senior Pastor of The Orchard in northwest suburban Chicago.

How God's Servants Honor Him

David came to Saul and entered his service.  1 Samuel 16:2

It was a not long before Saul rejected David, and in this way, David points forward to Jesus Christ. He too served sinners who hated and despised him in return.

Jesus was the Lord’s anointed, bringing good to everyone, yet he is rejected. He came to his home town in Nazareth, announcing that the Spirit of the Lord was upon him to preach good news to the poor. But by the end of the service they were ready to kill him (Luke 4:29).

Jesus came to the land of the Gerasenes and delivered a man, who had terrorized the whole town, from demons. This same man, who had been a danger to himself and to the whole community, now sat dressed and in his right mind, and the people said to Jesus, “Please go away!”

Jesus came to Jerusalem with words of eternal life and they arrested him, scourged him, and nailed him to a cross: “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him” (John 1:11).

Think of all the people who saw Jesus or heard him speak during his more than three years of ministry. How many of them actually became his followers? Relatively few.

The entire company of believers in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost was only 120. Of the large crowds who at one time followed him, “Many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him” (John 6:66).

Your experience will be the same. Your life will touch the lives of many others who may not come to faith and repentance, but by doing them good you bring honor to Christ.

Have you been given the opportunity to honor Christ this way? 

[Based on the sermon series "A Tale of Two Kings"] 

For more resources by Colin Smith visit Unlocking the Bible, where you can request a free sample of LifeKEYS Daily devotional, listen to the radio program, or browse other gospel-centered, Christ-exalting resources. You can also follow Colin on Twitter.

A New Struggle

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)

Christ gives his people a new heart and a new Spirit, but then he also gives us a new struggle. Don’t expect the road ahead to be easy.

That’s what we learn from both the story of David and the story of Jesus. After David was anointed he had to put up with Saul. What happened after the Spirit descended on Jesus at his baptism?

The Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the wilderness where he was tempted by the devil. He launched out into public ministry where he faced intense opposition and the relentless demands of the crowds. Then he goes to a cross where he suffers and dies in agony—no crown yet.

There was a great struggle between the day of Christ’s anointing and the day when he rose from the dead and ascended in power and glory to take his seat on the throne. The pattern for David was the pattern for Jesus, and the pattern for Jesus will be the pattern for us!

Christ gives you a new heart. He fills you with his Spirit. Then it’s back into the world with all its pressures and relentless demands – back to that difficult marriage, that secular school, that hostile environment. Why? To honor Christ there!

So Christ offers us a new heart, a new spirit, and a new struggle. Saul had none of them. David had all of them. Saul lived with a crown, and in the end he lost it. David lived without a crown, but in the end he gained it.

Which of these two would you rather be?   

[Based on the sermon series "A Tale of Two Kings"] 

For more resources by Colin Smith visit Unlocking the Bible, where you can request a free sample of LifeKEYS Daily devotional, listen to the radio program, or browse other gospel-centered, Christ-exalting resources. You can also follow Colin on Twitter.

Why We Choose to Follow Christ

If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36, NIV

If slaves could set themselves free, they wouldn’t really be slaves, would they? But Christ says, “I can set you free.”

Christ does not drag you, kicking and screaming, to follow him. We follow Christ because we want to. God shines his light into your mind and pours his love into your heart. What happens? The rockets of the will start moving in a new direction.

Christ sets the will free in regeneration so that, gladly and freely, you choose to follow Christ! Paul says, “We make it our aim to please him” (2 Cor. 5:9). Do you see how wonderful that is? It is the evidence of this miracle in your life.

Will we always choose what’s best after we become Christians? No. The freedom Christ promises is not freedom from the struggle with sin, but freedom from slavery to sin. You will fail, because the prevailing disposition of your soul is not the only disposition of your soul.

There may be times when you fall into pride or lust or lies or greed, but at the core of your being, you know that is not what you want. You want to honor Christ. You want to walk in purity and to grow in holiness. You want that because you are a new creation in Christ.

So be who you are! True freedom is when what God calls you to do and what you most want to do turn out to be the same thing. That is the freedom Christ gives. If you have this freedom you are free indeed!

Do you have this freedom?

[Based on the sermon series "Regeneration: How Christ Changes Your Soul"] 

For more resources by Colin Smith visit Unlocking the Bible, where you can request a free sample of LifeKEYS Daily devotional, listen to the radio program, or browse other gospel-centered, Christ-exalting resources. You can also follow Colin on Twitter.

I will remove from you your heart of stone.  Ezekiel 36:26

Here are a couple more worthless stones in the human heart that can keep you from following Jesus Christ:

1. Comfort. “Whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27 NIV

If your heart is set on maintaining a comfortable life, that will keep you from following Christ. Jesus makes it abundantly clear that there will be a cost, and there will be pain in following him. So if your heart is set on choosing the easiest path, you will not follow Christ very far.

2. Cherished Sin. “Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” John 3:19 NIV

How many people have been kept from following Christ because their heart is set on pursuing a sexual impulse—whatever that may be? Satisfying the sexual appetite has become a god for many people today. If that’s what matters most to you it will keep you from following Christ.

3. Self. "God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:5

Do you see what Satan was saying: “Eve, why should God be God and not you? You can be your own god! You can decide for yourself what is good and what is evil.” You cannot be a worshipper of God so long as you are set on being your own god. The desire to be your own god is a stone in the heart that resists Jesus Christ.

Are any of these things keeping you from following Christ?

[Based on the sermon series "Regeneration: How Christ Changes Your Soul"] 

For more resources by Colin Smith visit Unlocking the Bible, where you can request a free sample of LifeKEYS Daily devotional, listen to the radio program, or browse other gospel-centered, Christ-exalting resources. You can also follow Colin on Twitter.

About Colin Smith

Colin Smith is Senior Pastor of The Orchard in northwest suburban Chicago. Before coming to the United States in 1996, Colin served as Senior Pastor of the Enfield Evangelical Free Church in London for 16 years. He is heard daily on the radio broadcast Unlocking the Bible, speaks regularly at preaching conferences, and is the author of more than two dozen books and booklets. Follow Pastor Colin on Twitter @PastorColinS, and Unlocking the Bible @UnlckngtheBible.

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