This is a sermon that Bill Randles did in July of this year. It reminds me so much of the multitude of sermons heard over the years spent in not only charismatic but IFB as well. There is always a mixture and method to these sermons. The mixture is using different scriptures that has no identifiable subject matter and blending them together, the method is to make the chosen verses sound like they’re speaking on the same topic. In this instance Matthew 7: 20-23 and 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.
“I want to clear another thing up, there’s not a Christian that’s ever lived since Jesus came and died on the cross and rose from the dead, that didn’t struggle with this sin or that sin and sometimes those struggles can just hang on and on and on. And just be a constant nemesis. I don’t even know what Paul’s thorn was, Paul said look, I had this thorn in the flesh and I prayed to God to remove it three times and He said your just going to have to live with it and find out that my grace is greater, it overcomes ok. So Paul had his struggle, I’m not even saying it was a sin…..I don’t think it was. But God leaves us in a state of weakness naturally for the purpose of drawing us to his power. ….2 Corinthians where he says I glory now in my weaknesses. I am happy and praise God for my weaknesses, now that takes a lot of light to do that; because I bedevil my weaknesses constantly; why do I have this thing, why do I have that appetite, why do I have that. But Paul say I praise God for my weaknesses because he says where I’m weak I’m strong and only a born again Christian can understand that. Why? Because the power of Christ is where we are suppose to turn not the power of self. So when our weaknesses do their work they push us to Christ. And we find that his power is perfect in weakness. So everyone struggles with various weaknesses. Nor am I saying that Christians never ever sin.” (7 minute mark) – Bill Randles
Bill speaking of sin at the beginning of this is very misleading in that he references 2 Cor. 12 on Paul’s thorn in the flesh as if it were sin in Paul’s life, so, as an example, in ours as well. Bill tries to cover somewhat, but not completely, rectifying this, by saying ; “ So Paul had his struggle, I’m not even saying it was a sin…..I don’t think it was” He does NOT clarify that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was NOT sin, just that he didn’t think it was, giving himself license to continue to use this text in the context of sinning, which is erroneous . He goes on to say how Paul was happy and praised “God for my weaknesses” and that Paul says “where I’m weak, I’m strong.” We don’t give God glory for sin that we struggle with. We aren’t happy for them. We fall on our faces and repent and turn from them, that’s what repentance is, a turning away from. If Paul’s struggle was sin he would have repented and God would have forgiven him. God doesn’t leave us in our sin and that’s what He would have had to do here with Paul; according to Bill’s teaching. Bill compares Paul’s thorn in the flesh to his own struggles/sin…..has Bill been given a thorn in the flesh also? A messenger of Satan also? That would be a no.
All Bill is doing here is running through a list of things he says he struggles with i.e. sin and comparing them to Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Bill goes on to say ” I bedevil my weaknesses constantly; why do I have this thing, why do I have that appetite, why do I have that.” This has absolutely nothing to do with the scripture in 2 Corinthians concerning Paul and it is wrong and deceptive to do a comparison of sin and weaknesses with these scriptures, as they are clearly not the same thing. Scripture is clear, Paul’s thorn in the flesh wasn’t sin.
2 Corinthians 12:7
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
In verse 7 “lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations,” That’s the reason for Paul’s thorn in the flesh, it’s not that he didn’t struggle but it was NOT sin. Note also that it reads that “it was given to me a thorn in the flesh” God doesn’t give us sin and the word “given” means
Definition: to give
Usage: I offer, give; I put, place. (2)
Let’s be clear that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was uniquely given him due to the “abundance of revelations” he was given by God.It’s not something that can or should be applied to our Christian daily struggles or walk much less sinning. However, Bill blurs the lines between what this scripture is speaking of as weaknesses, implying sin.
2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Pleasure: Greek: eudokeō to think well of, that is, approve (an act); specifically to approbate (a person or thing): – think good, (be well) please (-d), be the good (have, take) pleasure, be willing. (3)
Paul would never take pleasure in sin, it’s absurd to even make a statement like Bill did. …. I’m not even saying it was a sin…..I don’t think it was” Leaving those that listen to this “sermon” to wonder if it was or wasn’t!! Prayerfully they will do some fact checking of the scriptures.
Look at verse 10 again, Paul taking pleasure in infirmities, reproaches, necessities, persecutions and distresses for Christ’s sake. Again, clearly, these things listed here are not sin and they would have to be according to Bill because he uses the last half of this verse for when I’m weak, then I am strong.
“So then our weaknesses do their work, they push us to Christ and we find that his power is perfect in weakness. So everyone struggles with various weaknesses. Nor am I saying that Christians never ever sin.” Bill never clears up the differences of weaknesses and sin and a simple reading of the entire text in 2 Corinthians would have done that. So for Bill to use these scriptures to suggest sin is a serious misstep and misuse of scripture.
One other major point is that ALL, infirmities, reproaches, necessities, persecutions and distresses were for Christ’s sake not our personal sins and fleshly struggles.
It’s is just another example of how someone will cut and paste verses together to make their “sermon” sound better. Honestly I don’t know the reason, only he does. It’s classic textbook cut and paste. So what will the congregation, or someone who is newly saved or even unsaved, take away from a sermon like this? Well for one if you claim to be saved and struggle with “sin” then you may not be saved at all, and two, if you compare your sin/weaknesses to Paul’s thorn in the flesh you can walk out of the church knowing that even Paul struggled too so we should glory in our weakness? This is just a confused mess.
But here’s the thing I’m thinking, that I’ve heard this time and time again;“I’ve been a Christian since the 1970’s but I still struggle with porn or I still struggle with alcohol or some of the stuff like that but I’m a Christian, I love God with all my heart.” And you know the thought that just has been coming to me lately is, you know, it just might be that you really aren’t saved. And I don’t say that to hurt or insult anybody, that can actually be quite liberating. It just might be that you got yourself into a church someday, you’re touched emotionally but you never really were born again. And you don’t want to find that out at the end of your life. (minute mark 10:10) ~ Bill Randles
It’s stunning to see how quick he is to suggest that others that have addictions over years, may not be saved. So here is one of the main points of this entire article and know that this is not meant to be hurtful or insulting Bill; but when you have a morbidly obese man telling you that you may not be saved because you drink or smoke pot the entire message becomes void and ineffective. Gluttony is not a light thing in the scriptures, and it is also one of those sins that are immediately obvious, it’s not possible to hide it. The damage that it causes to the body and how it shortens one’s life is very serious and has devastating effects on loved ones. Should we doubt Bill’s salvation? If we hold him to his own teaching the answer would be yes we should.
Pro 23:20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:
Proverbs 23:19-21 My child, listen and be wise: Keep your heart on the right course. Do not carouse with drunkards or feast with gluttons, for they are on their way to poverty, and too much sleep clothes them in rags.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 You know that you are God’s sanctuary and that God’s Spirit lives in you, don’t you? If anyone destroys God’s sanctuary, God will destroy him, for God’s sanctuary is holy. And you are that sanctuary!
Self Control: If you can’t control your appetite how can you control anything else?
Proverbs 25:28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
Titus 1:8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
1 Corinthians 9:27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
. Philippians 3:19-20 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.
Let me read Titus 2 “the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us …I didn’t know that grace taught? When grace comes into your life and teaches you…what’s it teach you? To say no to your ungodly lusts. Teaching us to deny ungodly lusts and to live righteously, soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. If you really have the grace of God, just about the time you start to talk about that person behind their back a little voice will say “take that back” quite killing that person.(minute mark 34:27) ~Bill Randles
Or put the fork down and take a walk…..stop killing yourself.
Misconceptions of the nature of salvation, one great misconception and I have brought this up over and over again this is really really important and I’m talking to you out there , you’ve been a Christian for 30 plus years and you’re in bondage to porn or alcohol or pot or whatever it is , it’s got to be a miserable life. Your limping along but you still think your saved. And my challenge to you is, look, I mean this with all respect and love I can muster. It just could be that you’re not saved, salvation gives us power over sin. I’m not saying I don’t sin but to be dominated by it….especially the exclusionary sins.(minute mark 39:13) ~Bill Randles
Yet again he is going through a list of sins and is suggesting that one may not be saved if they have indeed been “sinning” for years and yet it’s obvious that Bill has also; by his struggle with gluttony and has been truly dominated by it.
MARK 50:34 If God is light and in him is no darkness at all, and you say you have eternal life then like God you hate sin….you hate it. By the way you cannot be free from the slavery of sin unless you hate it. As long as you still love your sin, get real about your sins and habits and things like that. The reason your still enslaved to it is because you love it. The light of God makes war on sin, I can show you scripture, John gives one, don’t deceive yourselves little children …..he that is righteous doeth righteousness, he that sins in of the devil (minute mark 50:34) ~Bill Randles
It’s difficult to listen to this while watching Bill, as it’s clear that he is not comfortable standing and always shifting from one foot to the other to alleviate the weight on his feet joints and bones. It’s also hard to listen to because it is so hypocritical, condemning others and puts their salvation in question but not his own. This article isn’t about bashing Bill Randles because of his weight, much of Christendom has winked at being overweight. Gluttony seems to be the pardonable sin in churches; which perhaps it’s time to correct that due to the morbid obesity that is obvious in much of Christian leadership today. But most importantly gluttony is NOT a thorn in the flesh.