We Now Have Online Giving

June 9th, 2021

Click the following link in order to give to our general fund:

https://tithe.ly/give?c=3654242

For FAITH PROMISE click the link below:

https://tithe.ly/give?c=3654393

PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU CLICK THE CORRECT LINK CORRESPONDING WITH THE DESIRED FUND.

Also please note: This convenience is not free, the church pays for each transaction. You may opt to cover that expense. You can also save by choosing a bank transfer rather than using credit or debit cards.

Simple Answers to a Complex Problem

July 27th, 2021

Simple Answers to a Complex Problem

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / God’s Sovereignty; Eternity / Ecclesiastes 3:1–15

Why does it seem so stinking hard to understand what in the world God is trying to do? We know God has promised to work all things together for good… but that good seems to be illusive.

Romans 8:28 KJV

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

We have learned from our study of Daniel that God indeed is in charge. The great preacher and author R.C. SPROUL said “If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled.”

So there is the promise, but how does that work when we see the heartbreak of living in this sin cursed world? We know that in God’s eternal mind it all has a perfect purpose, but how can we make sense of it?

The wisest man besides Jesus to ever live grapples with this problem in our passage tonight. We will find that much of the lack of understanding is because of the concept of time. We are temporal, and God is eternal. So let us dig into the truth of this passage and find some simple answers to a very complex question… what is God doing and how can it be good?

God’s Plan and Timing Is Beautiful

Even though man struggles to understand how.

Ecclesiastes 3:10 KJV

I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

Everything is By Design and Purpose

Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Romans 8:28–29 KJV

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

God’s Timing Is Perfect

 Ecclesiastes 3:11 (KJV)

 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time…

Galatians 6:9 KJV

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Psalm 145:15 KJV

The eyes of all wait upon thee; And thou givest them their meat in due season.

I heard Mike Reynolds, then the Director of Utah Missions, at a meeting in South Carolina telling about leading a Mormon to Christ the first time he witnessed to him. It was such an unusual experience for Mike that he began asking questions about others who had witnessed to the man. He then said, “Something like nineteen other people had witnessed to him before I did.”

“Something like nineteen other people” who had witnessed to him may not know he has professed faith in the Jesus of the Bible. “Something like nineteen other people” may be frustrated because they have not seen the results of their efforts. The truth is, only God knows all the results of all our efforts.

Mankind Is Not Capable of Comprehending God’s Entire Plan.

God has given man a glimpse at the concept of eternity.

 Ecclesiastes 3:11 (KJV)

 … also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

Man was created in the image of God, and was given dominion over creation (Gen. 1:26–28); therefore, he is different from the rest of creation. He has “eternity [“the world,” KJV] in his heart” and is linked to heaven. This explains why nobody (including Solomon) can be satisfied with his or her endeavors and achievements, or is able to explain the enigmas of life (1:12–2:11). God accomplishes His purposes in His time, but it will not be until we enter eternity that we will begin to comprehend His total plan.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Satisfied, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 47.

Man is still finite and his comprehension limited

 Ecclesiastes 3:12 (KJV)

 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

Isaiah 55:8–11 KJV

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are my ways higher than your ways, And my thoughts than your thoughts. 

For as the rain cometh down, And the snow from heaven, And returneth not thither, But watereth the earth, And maketh it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: It shall not return unto me void, But it shall accomplish that which I please, And it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

There may indeed be appropriate times for everything, and God does know these times, but, speaking of humans, no one can discover what God is doing. This expression does not arise from a flippant “leave it to God” attitude, but from an agony of desire to know what is going on. But such knowledge is inscrutable. There is nothing (from beginning to end) that human beings can truly fathom.1

1 Tremper Longman, The Book of Ecclesiastes, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998), 121.

MATT CHANDLER: “Trying to figure out God is like trying to catch a fish in the Pacific Ocean with an inch of dental floss.”

God’s Plans Are Anchored In Eternity

Ecclesiastes 3:14 KJV

I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.

God Himself is not even bound by time.

Ecclesiastes 3:15 KJV

That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.

The Solution: Be A Good Steward of God’s Gift of NOW.

Ecclesiastes 3:12–13 KJV

I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. 

And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

Enjoy life

Again Solomon indicated that this ability to enjoy life comes as a gift of God (cf. 2:25). Christian D. Ginsburg properly renders 3:13 as a conditional sentence: “If any man eats and drinks and finds V 1, p 985 satisfaction in all his toil, it is a gift of God” (The Song of Songs and Coheleth, pp. 311–2).1

1 Donald R. Glenn, “Ecclesiastes,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 984–985.

 • Enjoy the fruit of your labor

 • Rest in the truth that God works and lives in the eternal realm

 • Respect the fact that God’s plan is right even though you cannot comprehend it.

 • Realize that we are finite and temporal, God is not and He is in charge.

1 Peter 3:10–12 KJV

For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 

Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 

For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

Third, man’s life can be enjoyable now (vv. 12–14). The Preacher hinted at this in 2:24 and was careful to say that this enjoyment of life is the gift of God (see 3:13, 6:2, and 1 Tim. 6:17). “The enjoyment of life” is an important theme in Ecclesiastes and is mentioned in each of the four sections of chapters 3–10. (Review the outline.) Solomon is encouraging not pagan hedonism, but rather the practice of enjoying God’s gifts as the fruit of one’s labor, no matter how difficult life may be. Life appears to be transitory, but whatever God does is forever, so when we live for Him and let Him have His way, life is meaningful and manageable. Instead of complaining about what we don’t have, let’s enjoy what we do have and thank God for it.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Satisfied, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 48.

Ecclesiastes 12:13–14 KJV

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 

For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Proverbs 3:1–2 KJV

My son, forget not my law; But let thine heart keep my commandments: 

For length of days, and long life, And peace, shall they add to thee.

“This is God’s universe, and God does things his way. You may have a better way, but you don’t have a universe.”

J. VERNON MCGEE

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 7:22 PM July 27, 2021.

Stay Prayerful

July 22nd, 2021

Stay Prayerful With an Excellent Spirit

Pastor Don Carpenter

Behind Enemy Lines: Standing For God When Your Nation Does Not / Daniel 6

There once was an out of work actor named Daniel

He was so down and out that he’s ready to accept any acting part that came along. One day he saw an advertisement in the paper, ACTOR NEEDED TO PLAY A GORILLA.

I could do that,” Daniel arranged an interview.

The employer turned out to be the local zoo

The zoo had spent too much money renovating the grounds and improving the habitat that they can’t afford the gorilla.

So, Until they can get more funding, they’ve decided to use an actor in a gorilla suit. Needing the money, Daniel took the job.

At first, he felt not only dishonest by fooling the customers but also undignified in the ape suit,

But after a few days on the job, he begins to be amused by all the attention and started to put on a show for the spectators – hanging upside-down from the branches, swinging on vines, climbing up cage walls and roaring beating his chest.

Soon, Daniel is drawing a sizable crowd.

One day, when Daniel was swinging on a vine to show off to some children, his hand slips and he goes flying over the wall into the lion’s den. He panicked. There was a huge lion not twenty feet away, and it looked very hungry. So the man in the gorilla suit started jumping up and down, screaming and yelling, “Help, help! Get me out of here! I’m not really a gorilla! I’m a man in a gorilla suit! Heeellp!” The lion quickly pounced on the man, held him down and said, “Will you SHUT UP! You’re going to get both of us fired!!!” (from WWW)

This morning as we finish our series “Behind Enemy Lines” we will encounter the real story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den.

Every once and a while, a believer emerges onto the scene who has an unusual disposition. This believer is plugged into the power of God and has deep roots of integrity. Because of that excellent spirit, he will be promoted and trusted. Because of that excellent spirit, he will be envied and attacked. This believer will respond to this attack like he has in the past, with unchanging conviction and practice.

This morning we are going to study an old hero of the faith, Daniel. He is no longer a kid taking a stand over his diet. He is now a servant in the King’s court who has lived through three different monarchs. Today we will see why God trusted him with a great amount of revelation regarding future events. As we study this story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den, we will find that Daniel learned to stay prayerful with an excellent spirit.

An Excellent Spirit Can Be Trusted

Daniel 6:1–3 KJV

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; 

And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. 

Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.

Trusted With Power

  • 120 over the Kingdom

  • 3 Presidents over the 120

  • 1 over all these – Daniel

Trusted with secrets

Proverbs 11:13 KJV

A talebearer revealeth secrets: But he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

Proverbs 20:6 KJV

Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: But a faithful man who can find?

Trusted with truth

Proverbs 14:5 KJV

A faithful witness will not lie: But a false witness will utter lies.

Trusted with relationships

Proverbs 6:19 KJV

A false witness that speaketh lies, And he that soweth discord among brethren.

An Excellent Spirit will be Attacked Because of Envy

Daniel 6:4–9 KJV

Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. 

Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. 

Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. 

All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellers, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. 

Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. 

Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.

Proverbs 14:30 KJV

A sound heart is the life of the flesh: But envy the rottenness of the bones.

Proverbs 27:4 KJV

Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; But who is able to stand before envy?

 • Daniel was blameless when it came to any real dirt.

Philippians 2:14–15 KJV

Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

 • The enemy must work to manufacture some kind of dirt.

 • Often the enemy uses flattery to seduce people against the excellent spirit.

Proverbs 20:19 KJV

He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: Therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.

 • The enemy will use personal weaknesses to manipulate opinions against the excellent spirit.

   • Pride

   • Lust

   • Greed

An Excellent Spirit will be Consistent

Unashamed

Daniel 6:10–12 KJV

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. 

Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 

Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.

 Of the memorials in Westminster Abbey there is not one that gives a nobler thought than that inscribed on the monument to Lord Lawrence—simply his name, with the date of his death, and these words: “He feared man so little because he feared God so much.”

Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (p. 283). Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.

Regular – even when evil appears to win

Daniel 6:13–15 KJV

Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. 

Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. 

Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.

Psalm 74:10 KJV

O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? Shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever?

There will be some unbelievers who really hope that there is reality behind the excellent spirit.

Daniel 6:16–20 KJV

Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. 

And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. 

Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him. 

Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. 

And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?

Difference between a conviction and a preference, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. A preference is a very strong belief, held with great strength. You can give your entire life in a full-time way to the service of the preference, and can also give your entire material wealth in the name of the belief. You can also energetically proselytize others to your preference. You can also want to teach this belief to your children, and the Supreme court may still rule that it is a preference. A preference is a strong belief, but a belief that you will change under the right circumstances. Circumstances such as: 1) peer pressure; if your beliefs are such that other people stand with you before you will stand, your beliefs are preferences, not convictions, 2) family pressure, 3) lawsuits, 4) jail, 5) threat of death; would you die for your beliefs? A conviction is a belief that you will not change. Why? A man believes that his God requires it of him. Preferences aren’t protected by the constitution. Convictions are. A conviction is not something that you discover, it is something that you purpose in your heart (cf. Daniel 1, 2-3). Convictions on the inside will always show up on the outside, in a person’s lifestyle. To violate a conviction would be a sin.

David C. Gibbs, Jr. Christian Law Association, P.O. Box 30290, Cleveland, Ohio 44130

God’s Power is Manifested Through an Excellent Spirit.

Daniel 6:21–22 KJV

Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. 

My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

 • He will deliver

 • He will destroy His enemies

Daniel 6:23–24 KJV

Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. 

And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.

 • He will get the glory.

Daniel 6:25–28 KJV

Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. 

I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. 

He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. 

So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

GOD’S WAY ISN’T ALWAYS EASY

We make a terrible error when we think that God makes life easy just because we’re in His will or that the easy way is God’s way. We don’t follow Jesus or God’s will for our lives because it’s the EASY thing to do–we do it because it’s the RIGHT thing to do!

When we follow God’s way, it’s the BEST way, but it may be a DIFFICULT way:

* MOSES chose a path that got him criticism and ungratefulness his whole ministry.

* DANIEL chose a path that took him to the lion’s den.

* The THREE HEBREW MEN chose paths that took them into the fiery furnace.

* STEPHEN chose a path that led to martyrdom.

* PAUL chose a path that led to imprisonment and execution.

* CHRIST chose a path that led to the cross.

All these chose paths that were God’s plan for them–but their paths were not easy. God doesn’t promise us an easy trip, but He does promise to be with us as we follow it!

 Daniel 6:20–22 (KJV)

 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? 

 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. 

 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me…

Stay prayerful with an excellent spirit, even behind enemy lines.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:49 AM July 22, 2021.

Caution: Toxic Humans!

July 21st, 2021

Caution: Toxic Humans!

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge

That great preacher J.Vernon McGee writes,

“I had an uncle who never came to know the Lord. My aunt used to weep and say, “Oh, he won’t listen” Do you know why? With her lived a sister, another aunt, and I used to go there sometimes on Sundays for dinner. Do you know what we had for dinner? Roast preacher One of my aunts went to the Methodist church, the other went to the Presbyterian church, and oh, boy, did they try to outdo each other, talking about the preacher and the fights that were going on. I used to watch my uncle. He would just sit there and eat. Then he’d get up to leave and go down to his club for the afternoon. When he would come home in the evening, he wasn’t drunk, but he sure had had several drinks. They never won him to Christ. There are a lot of people not being won today, my friend, because of the strife that is inside the church. This is an interesting thing: “the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.” And they still dwell in the land. They are right near your church, by the way. ”

Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived and he was inspired to write some scriptures. It is wise for us to learn from his wisdom. Proverbs is full of truth about interpersonal relationships. We can do a lot to improve our relationships just by adopting some principles taught in the Wisdom passages. Tonight’s passage identifies six types of bad actors with toxic behavior. Let us take a few minutes to heed the warning: Caution! Toxic Humans!

Beware of the Meddler

Proverbs 26:17 KJV

He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, Is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.

 However, most English translations have meddles, which means “involve yourself” or “interfere.” A quarrel not his own is literally “argument not to him,” meaning “an argument that is none of his business,” as in tev.1

1 William David Reyburn and Euan McG. Fry, A Handbook on Proverbs, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 2000), 565. 

One who grabs a dog by its ears may expect to be bitten. So is a passer-by, someone not directly involved, who meddles in (lit., “excites himself over”) another’s quarrel. He causes trouble for himself by interfering in a situation he knows little about.1

1 John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, Dallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 962.

Proverbs 14:16 KJV

A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: But the fool rageth, and is confident.

Beware of the Deceitful Deceiver

Proverbs 26:18–19 KJV

As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, 

So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, And saith, Am not I in sport?

The second is the person who does dangerous things (v. 18) like deceiving others (v. 19) and then says, “I didn’t mean any harm; I was only joking.” He too will show up in your counseling room. For the sake of testing your own knowledge and ability, why not write out the biblical alternatives to each of these lifestyles? Can you?1

1 Jay E. Adams, Proverbs, The Christian Counselor’s Commentary (Cordova, TN: Institute for Nouthetic Studies, 2020), 200.

The cruel buffoon cannot discern the difference between a joke and cruelty. The comparison of the treacherous clown with an armed and berserk warrior is double. Both cannot distinguish right from wrong and both inflict horrible tragedy upon the community. However, the madman is out of his mind and cannot plot evil, whereas the mischief-maker is cunning, showing he is intellectually capable of carrying out a crime. His problem is not intellectual but spiritual; he lacks kind affections. The madman is not culpable for his crime; the mischief-maker is.1

1 Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs, Chapters 15–31, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2005), 359.

Beware of the Talebearer / Gossip

Proverbs 26:20–22 KJV

Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: So where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. 

As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; So is a contentious man to kindle strife. 

The words of a talebearer are as wounds, And they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

 • Is the fuel to keep strife burning.

 • Is contentious

 • Wounds the hearers to their very core

Already we have had our attention frequently directed to the evil of talebearing. But because we are so slow to learn, we have added instruction in regard to what has become in many places a blighting curse among the people of God. Happy is the assembly of saints that does not number a backbiter or talebearer among its members! As fire goes out for want of fuel, when there is no wood to add to it, so, many difficulties disappear when there is no whisperer to go about perpetuating strife. But, as when coals are added to burning coals, so is a contentious man to cause ill-feelings to be inflamed, and malice and hatred to burn more strongly than ever. It is a wretched business, going about from one to another, stirring up unholy passions, and making unhappy matters all the more difficult to adjust. For the words of a talebearer are by many devoured as though they were choice titbits, which go down into the depths of the being, and are often ineradicable. See chaps. 12:15, and 18:8.1

1 H. A. Ironside, Notes on the Book of Proverbs (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Bros, 1908), 373–374.

Proverbs 11:13 KJV

A talebearer revealeth secrets: But he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

Proverbs 16:27 KJV

An ungodly man diggeth up evil: And in his lips there is as a burning fire.

Proverbs 16:28 KJV

A froward man soweth strife: And a whisperer separateth chief friends.

My name is Gossip. I have no respect for justice. I maim without killing. I break hearts and ruin lives. I am cunning and malicious and gather strength with age. The more I am quoted, the more I am believed. I flourish at every level of society. My victims are helpless. They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no face. To track me down is impossible. The harder you try, the more elusive I become. I am nobodies friend. Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same. I topple governments, wreck marriages, and ruin careers — cause sleepless nights, heartaches, and indigestion. I spawn suspicion and generate grief. I make innocent people cry in their pillows. Even my name hisses… I make headlines and headaches. Before you repeat a story, ask yourself, Is it true? Is it fair? Is it necessary? If not – shut up!

Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God’s Laws in Everyday Life, p. 203

Beware of the Hater

His lips burn with the wickedness pouring out from his heart… passionately hateful

Proverbs 26:23 KJV

Burning lips and a wicked heart Are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.

One who makes fervent protestations of love and affection, while all the time his heart is bent on evil, is like a cheap earthen vessel that has been veneered with a coating of drossy silver. Such an article appears to be of value, but is really worthless. So with the hypocritical professions of the flatterer. His burning words are only uttered to cover the corruption of his purposes. Hating the object of his attentions, he will endeavor to deceive by fair speech; but his heart is full of abominations, and he is not to be trusted. He endeavors to cover his malice by falsehood, and for a time may succeed; but eventually his true character shall be manifested openly.1

1 H. A. Ironside, Notes on the Book of Proverbs (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Bros, 1908), 374–375.

26:23. A coating of glaze refers to an attractive coating over a piece of pottery. This is likened to fervent (d?laq, “to burn or kindle”) lips and an evil heart. A person who tries to disguise his evil motives and character by zealous speech is like an attractive glazed-over jar. (Note Jesus’ reference in Luke 11:39 to the clean outside of the cup and dish; also note Matt. 23:27.)1

1 John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, Dallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 963.

Tries to disguise his hatred with flowery speech.

Proverbs 26:24–25 KJV

He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, And layeth up deceit within him; 

When he speaketh fair, believe him not: For there are seven abominations in his heart.

He who hates, dissembles with his lips: He who hates refers to “an enemy.” Dissembles renders a verb meaning “to speak something that is different than what the person thinks,” that is, “to be a hypocrite.”

And harbors deceit in his heart: Harbors is literally “puts” or “stores up.” Deceit is “treachery” (njb) or a plan to cause harm (cev “evil plans”). His heart is literally “inside of him.” Scott translates “A man filled with hate disguises it in his words, while inwardly he plots to betray you.” spcl has “He who hates hides it when he speaks, but in his insides he makes evil plans.”1

1 William David Reyburn and Euan McG. Fry, A Handbook on Proverbs, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 2000), 568.

Although he tries to cover it, the hatred will be exposed for everyone to see.

Proverbs 26:26 KJV

Whose hatred is covered by deceit, His wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.

Though a scoundrel can hide his feelings temporarily through deceit, they will eventually be known. The assembly refers to any group called together for some purpose. Perhaps this group is assembled to administer justice.1

1 John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, Dallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 963.

Proverbs 10:12 KJV

Hatred stirreth up strifes: But love covereth all sins.

He will reap the fruit of his hatred.

Proverbs 26:27 KJV

Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: And he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.

He who digs a pit will fall in to it: A pit refers to a hole, a ditch, or a similar opening in the ground. It may be necessary in translation to make clear that the pit is dug to trap someone other than the digger; for example, “If you dig a pit to catch somebody, you will fall into it yourself.”

And a stone will come back upon him who starts it rolling: This line parallels the first by referring to a person who causes a stone to start rolling downhill (to crush somebody below). It is important that the reader understand that this refers to a round, heavy stone. Will come back upon him who … means “will roll backward upon the person pushing the stone.” Note that tev has shifted to “set traps” in line 1 and “start landslides” in line 2. spcl says “He who digs a grave falls into it; and the one who makes a rock roll is crushed by the rock.”1

1 William David Reyburn and Euan McG. Fry, A Handbook on Proverbs, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 2000), 569.

Beware of the Liar

Proverbs 26:28 KJV

A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; And a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

People who lie are actually hateful (see comments on malice in v. 26); they desire to harm others by slandering their reputations. And people who flatter to help achieve their selfishly deceptive ends (cf. vv. 23–26) bring ruin either to themselves, their victims, or both.1

1 John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, Dallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 963.

King Solomon has penned some very powerful warnings about negative people with destructive energy. Be on the lookout for the meddler who is just in other people’s business. Beware of the deceiver who pretends not to be. Beware of the talebearer who will use Christian speak to pretty up his ugly sin. Beware of the hater with flowery words to cover up the stench of his malice. Beware of the liar who says what he thinks you want to hear. If we do that, we will go along way to avoiding Toxic Humans.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 4:06 PM July 21, 2021.

You Had Your Chance

July 15th, 2021

You Had Your Chance

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Gospel On Tour / Acts 13:42–52

The appetite of Americans for Mexican food increased dramatically in the 1990s, to the point that in 1996 it was a $1.6 billion market. The market for salsa and refried beans and the like began to grow when small companies like El Paso Chile in Texas marketed an authentic-style Mexican food that even a native of Mexico City could love. Then several large American companies, such as Pillsbury, saw the potential in the market and began to buy out smaller companies and market Mexican-style food on a much larger scale. But what they labeled Mexican food was really a watered-down version of the original to suit American tastes.
“Heat must be carefully rationed at Old El Paso [the Pillsbury brand],” writes Glenn Collins in the New York Times. “ ‘Forty percent of those on the East Coast want salsa as mild as it can be,’ said Dr. Bernadette Piacek-Llanes, vice president of research and development for Pillsbury Specialty Brands. So Old El Paso, like Pace, has introduced mild, ‘cool salsa’ products.”
Industry experts call these products gringo food, and it is clearly catching on. “About the only thing missing from the boom is Mexicans,” writes Collins. “There are no Mexicans on Pillsbury’s 10-member Old El Paso development team; its leader was born in India.”
Bob Messenger, editor of the industry publication Food Processing, says that the “gringo-ization of Mexican food will continue. In 20 years, you won’t even recognize what they’ll be calling Mexican food.”
In business there’s nothing wrong with watering down a strong flavor, but the same impulse leads to disaster in our faith. Like the inauthentic gringo style of Mexican food, there is a gringo gospel that is simply not the real thing. The hot, offensive themes—such as the cross and the blood of Christ—are taken out, and a comfortable, people-pleasing substitute is found. The false gospel may be soothing to the taste, but it is powerless to save. The gospel will always be an offense to sinful humankind.

As we continue our series “The Gospel on Tour” we will discover over and over that the first missionaries did not dilute the heat of the Gospel. They kept the spice of a Jesus Only truth and the heat of a Turn or Burn theology. Not only did these missionaries preach that Jesus is the only way, but they also drove home the point that now is the time. To say not yet is to say no for now. Paul and Barnabas were clear that once you hear the truth, it is your responsibility to respond to that truth. If you leave tonight without responding to the preaching you hear, remember what was said about the Jews in Antioch of Pisidia could be said about you… “You Had Your Chance.

You Had Your Chance When You Heard The Gospel .

Acts 13:42 KJV
And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.

• The Jews did not ask the missionaries to return.

• The Gentiles and proselytes did.

According to Josephus, many Gentiles attended synagogues with great interest. Even as late as the fourth century, the Christian preacher John Chrysostom complains that Gentiles—in this case Christians—were still attending synagogue services. Those who were interested in Judaism but unattracted to circumcision might well find Paul’s message appealing.1

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ac 13:42–43.

Acts 13:43 KJV
Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

The missionaries told their followers to continue in the grace of God.

The last expression may not mean that they were converted; rather, they had become open to the grace of God working in their hearts, and they were now being urged to continue along that path.

1 Ajith Fernando, Acts, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1998), 388.

• The very fact that men were relating OT scriptures to the events of Jesus caused a huge stir. The preaching of God’s Word gets attention!

Romans 10:17 KJV
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Acts 13:44 KJV
And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

You Had Your Chance When You Heard The Warning.

Acts 13:40–42 KJV
Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;

Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.

And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.

Blinded By Envy

Acts 13:45 KJV
But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

James 3:14 KJV
But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

The Jews were intent on keeping their privileges to themselves. From the beginning, the Christians saw their privileges as something to be shared. As has been said, ‘The Jews saw the Gentiles as straw to be burned; Jesus saw them as a harvest to be reaped for God.’ And similarly his Church must have a vision of a world for Christ.1

1 William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), 125.

Missed Eternal Life Because of Unbelief

Acts 13:46–47 KJV
Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.

Isaiah 49:6 KJV
And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, That thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

God’s Word Brings Life

Gentiles Believed like the Bible said they would.

Acts 13:48 KJV
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

13:48 designated for eternal life Luke (the narrator) could mean that the individuals whom God intended to believe did, or this could be a broad reference that, according to God’s plan, the gospel reached the Gentiles in this region (compare Eph 1:5 and note). Either way, Luke is stating that despite opposition, God’s intended purposes are accomplished1

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016),

13:48–49. Because the Jewish people believed that they were predestined for salvation by virtue of descent from Abraham, the idea that many Gentiles had been “ordained to eternal life” (KJV) could be offensive—but was exactly what Isaiah 49:6 implied (see Acts 13:47).1

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ac 13:48–49.

Acts 13:49 KJV
And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.

A Resistance Mounted

Acts 13:50 KJV
But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.

Ancient sources report that many prominent women were interested in Judaism (partly because their wealth gave them leisure to consider it, partly because they, unlike men, did not have to face circumcision if they became serious about it); these women in turn could influence their powerful husbands. Local aristocracies made up a fraction of the population but held great wealth and most of the political power; from them came decurions for the local councils, and their opposition could drive someone out of town. But their authority was only local, and by going to Iconium Paul and Barnabas move out of their jurisdiction.1

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ac 13:50.

The one thing that infuriated the Jews was that any of God’s privileges could be for the uncircumcised Gentiles. So they took action. At this time, the Jewish religion had a special attraction for women. In nothing was the ancient world more lax than in sexual morality. Family life was rapidly breaking down, and the worst sufferers were women. The Jewish religion preached a purity of ethic and cleanness of life. Round the synagogues gathered many women, often of high social position, who found in this teaching just what they longed for. Many of these women became converts to Judaism; still more were God-fearers. The Jews persuaded them to encourage their husbands, who were often men in in?uential positions, to take steps against the Christian preachers. The inevitable result was persecution. Antioch became unsafe for Paul and Barnabas, and they had to go.1

1 William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), 124–125.

So The Missionaries Moved On… and that’s O.K.

Acts 13:51–52 KJV
But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.

And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 10:14 KJV
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

Revelation 3:7 KJV
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 7:24 PM July 15, 2021.

When Given The Chance

July 10th, 2021

When Given The Chance

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Gospel On Tour / Acts 13:13–41

The mission field can be a fast paced, high stakes Gospel endeavor. We say last week that our first missionaries not only had a fantastic opportunity to win the Governor of Cyprus to Christ, but they also had to overcome a sorcerer who was powered by the forces of darkness to do it. We saw that Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, did not flinch, but took on the opposition head on, and demonstrated for everyone watching that Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.

The Apostle Paul was a Jew whom God called to reach the Gentiles with the Gospel. He still had a burden for his brethren after the flesh, but they were very hard to reach and often closed to the Gospel. Tonight’s story illustrates how we need to always be alert and ready to walk through open doors of opportunity when given the chance.

Paul and Barnabas traveled 100 miles north and about 3,600 feet up to get to this important city on the Roman road. As you follow Paul’s journeys in Acts, you will notice that he selected strategic cities, planted churches in them, and went on from the churches to evangelize the surrounding areas. You will also notice that, where it was possible, he started his ministry in the local synagogue, for he had a great burden for his people (Rom. 9:1–5; 10:1), and he found in the synagogue both Jews and Gentiles ready to hear the Word of God.

This is the first of Paul’s sermons recorded in the Book of Acts, and it may be divided into three parts, each of which is introduced by the phrase “men and brethren.”1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 457.

Ever since Calvary, Jews have been hard to reach with the Gospel truth about Jesus. This is a story about how Paul was given audience before his Jewish brethren and how he made the most of the opportunity to say what needed to be said.

Be On The Lookout For The Chance

Acts 13:14–15 KJV
But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.

And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.

• Paul went to where the people were… Jews were in the Synagogue on the Sabbath.

• The Law was read

• The Prophets were read

• These are the same that witness of Jesus.

Romans 3:19–21 KJV
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

Acts 10:43 KJV
To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Be Ready When Given The Chance

1 Peter 3:15 KJV
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

• Reviews God’s dealing with His people from Exodus to David. vv 17-22

In this section, Paul reviewed the history of Israel, climaxing with the ministry of John the Baptist and the coming of their Messiah. He made it clear that it was God who was at work in and for Israel, preparing the way for the coming of the promised Messiah. He also reminded his hearers that the nation had not always been faithful to the Lord and the covenant, but had often rebelled. Every pious Jew knew that the Messiah would come from David’s family, and that a prophet would announce His coming beforehand. John the Baptist was that prophet.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 457.

• Mentions Jesus as the Savior, the descendant of David

Acts 13:23 KJV
Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:

Be Personal When Given The Chance

Acts 13:26 KJV
Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.

In this section, Paul reviewed the history of Israel, climaxing with the ministry of John the Baptist and the coming of their Messiah. He made it clear that it was God who was at work in and for Israel, preparing the way for the coming of the promised Messiah. He also reminded his hearers that the nation had not always been faithful to the Lord and the covenant, but had often rebelled. Every pious Jew knew that the Messiah would come from David’s family, and that a prophet would announce His coming beforehand. John the Baptist was that prophet.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 457.

• Exposes the mistakes of Jerusalem leadership.

Acts 13:27 KJV
For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.

Paul states the fact that when God’s fulfillment came in Jesus Christ it was not recognized. The poet Robert Browning said: ‘We needs must love the highest when we see it.’ But, by taking our own way and refusing God’s way, we can in the end af?ict ourselves with a blindness which prevents us from seeing. The misuse of free will ends not in liberty but in ruin1

1 William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), 122.

• Ties Jesus to David’s prophecy using scripture as proof.

Acts 13:32–37 KJV
And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,

God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.

Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:

But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

Be Direct When Given The Chance

• Jesus forgives sins

Acts 13:38 KJV
Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:

• Jesus does with the law could not – provide Justification.

Acts 13:39 KJV
And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

James 2:10–11 KJV
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

• Jesus is your only hope to escape eternal death.

Acts 13:40–42 KJV
Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;

Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.

And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.

• The warning was clear, nothing was left out… Jesus is the only answer to your sin problem and without faith in His shed blood, you will remain blind and lost in your sins.

1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching Salvation, Need For

A little boy came running into the house after playing outside. His mother stopped him and asked what was on his right hand. He replied, “Oh, just a little mud.” His mother then asked if he was planning on getting it off his hand. He thought for a moment and said, “Sure, Mom. I’ll just wipe it off with my other hand.” There was only one problem with the plan, one dirty hand plus one clean hand equals two dirty hands.
Many people are like that little boy, they see the evil and wrongs in their life and think they can make themselves clean by bringing the good in their life to bear on the problem. But it doesn’t work that way. We all need a way to be made morally and spiritually clean, and we will never succeed in doing it ourselves. The only solution is to be found in the blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanses us from all of our sins.1171

The message of the gospel is simple, but our flesh fights it because it exposes our powerlessness. This is why we must be always looking … always ready to clearly proclaim the truth when given the chance.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:32 AM July 10, 2021.

God is in Charge!

July 7th, 2021

God Is In Charge!

Pastor Don Carpenter

Behind Enemy Lines: Standing For God When Your Nation Does Not / Daniel 4

On the morning of October 2, Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, the wife of the president, found her husband unconscious on the bathroom floor of their private White House quarters bleeding from a cut on his head. Wilson had suffered a stroke – a massive attack that left his left side paralyzed and impaired his vision. She immediately summoned Dr. Grayson. Then the conspiracy began. The two of them formed a bulwark between the invalid President and the rest of the country, simultaneously shielding Wilson from intrusion and hiding his condition from outsiders.

For seventeen months the enfeebled President lay in his bed on the brink of death, barely able to write his own name. The outside world knew none of this. All communication with the President went through his wife. She entered the sick room with messages and emerged with verbal instructions or the scrawl of a signature on a piece of paper. Edith Wilson called the period her “stewardship.” Later, others called her the Secret President or the first woman President.

From Bobby Scobey’s Sermon: Daniel #4 – At the End I Understood

All The Living Must Know God Is In Charge

Daniel 4:17 KJV

This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

Nebuchadnezzar Learned first hand.  

Daniel 4:1–3 KJV

Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. 

I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. 

How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.

He was brought to fear 

Daniel 4:4 KJV

I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:

He was brought to God’s man after all the others failed. 

Daniel 4:8–9 KJV

But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying, 

O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof.

He saw his own greatness.

Daniel 4:10–12 KJV

Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. 

The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: 

The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.

He saw the watcher remove that greatness 

Daniel 4:13–15 KJV

I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; 

He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches: 

Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth:

He heard his fate and yet did not understand.

Daniel 4:16–18 KJV

Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. 

This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. 

This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee.

The Prideful Must Be Warned That God Is In Charge

Nebuchadnezzar is the tree. 

Daniel 4:20–22 KJV

The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth; 

Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation: 

It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.

The watcher is an angel in charge of God’s reputation. 

Daniel 4:23 KJV

And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him;

The sentence is temporary – meant to teach not to give justice.

Daniel 4:24–27 KJV

This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king: 

That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. 

And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule. 

Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.

The Prideful Must Repent Because God Is In Charge

Brought low in the highest moment of pride.  

Daniel 4:28–31 KJV

All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. 

At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. 

The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? 

While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.

The goal was repentance 

Daniel 4:32–33 KJV

And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. 

The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.

Declaration- God is in charge!  

Daniel 4:35 KJV

And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Restoration 

Daniel 4:36 KJV

At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellers and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.

Affirmation – God is the real king!

Daniel 4:37 KJV

Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:31 PM July 7, 2021.

Divine Acts of Kindness

July 6th, 2021

Divine Acts of Kindness

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / Psalm 103:1–5

I read a news story once of a woman who was getting ready to jump off a 44 story building in New York City.

Witnesses said that she did not look like the type of person who would do such a thing. She was very distinguished and well dressed.

All the attempts made by the police to get the woman off the ledge had failed.

One of the officers asked if he could call his pastor in to see if he could help. When the pastor arrived, he asked permission to go to the ledge and talk to the woman.

As the pastor neared the edge the woman screamed, “Don’t come any closer or I’ll jump!”

The pastor took a step back and then said, “I am sorry that you believe no one loves you.”

This got the woman’s attention and it got the attention of the police. That was something that you don’t usually say to a person who is threatening suicide.

The woman took a step towards the pastor and said, “My grandchildren love me and so does my children. My whole family loves me! I have 8 wonderful grandchildren and they love me.”

The pastor took a step towards the woman and said, “Well then, you must be very poor, maybe that is why you want to take your own life.”

The woman who was a little overweight said, “Do I look like I go without any meals? We live in a very nice apartment. I’m not poor.”

The pastor took another step closer to her and was now 3 feet from her when he asked, “Then why do you want to kill yourself? I don’t understand.”

The woman thought for a moment and then said, “You know, I don’t really remember.”

The story ends with the pastor and the woman walking towards the elevator as she shows him pictures of her grandchildren. Eventually this woman becomes a volunteer on the city’s suicide hotline, helping others choose life.

What did the pastor do to help this woman?

He helped her get her eyes off herself and onto the many ways that God had blessed her.

She learned a valuable lesson that day. She learned that thankful people are happy people.

If you don’t learn anything else today, I hope you learn this valuable lesson. Thankful people are happy people.

(From a sermon by Greg Carr, Thankful People are _______ People, 12/23/2010)

___

It is easy to allow our thoughts and immediate circumstances to overwhelm us and plunge us into a deep hole of despair.  Tonight’s passage is written by a man who struggled with dark thoughts and depression every once and a while. Tonight we will see that one way to navigate the tragedy of this world is to make sure we do not forget the Divine Acts of Kindness that we have experienced and will experience in the future. 

Don’t Forget, Remember on Purpose.

Psalm 103:1–2 KJV

Bless the LORD, O my soul: And all that is within me, bless his holy name. 

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all his benefits:

1ben•e•fit \?be-n?-?fit\ noun

[Middle English, from Anglo-French benfet, from Latin bene factum, from neuter of bene factus, past participle of bene facere] 14th century

1 archaic: an act of kindness:1

1 Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

The words forget not all his benefits echo Deuteronomy (6:12; 8:11), and are the first hint that this psalm also will be pointing back to the days of Moses.1

1 Michael Wilcock, The Message of Psalms: Songs for the People of God, ed. J. A. Motyer, vol. 2, The Bible Speaks Today (Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2001), 117–118.

In verse 2b tev “how kind he is” translates a word which means “(good) deed.” In the Masoretic text the word is in the plural (so most English translations, his benefits; njb has “his acts of kindness”); one Hebrew manuscript has the singular. It may be better to be specific, “and do not forget all the good things he has done.” The negative “do not forget” can be expressed by the positive “always remember.”1

1 Robert G. Bratcher and William David Reyburn, A Translator’s Handbook on the Book of Psalms, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1991), 871.

(Note: All the personal pronouns in verses 3–5: “thy, thee, thine” all refer to the soul!) By the way, forgetting is far more than just failing to remember something, this word carries the idea of turning from God to follow other gods. A lapse of spiritual memory will cause the saints to wander! David wants his soul to contemplate all the “benefits” which the Lord has given. The word “benefits” means “dealing”. It refers to how the Lord treats the soul.1

1 Alan Carr, “Blessings the Soul Forgets (Psalm 103:1–5),” in The Sermon Notebook: Old Testament (Lenoir, NC: Alan Carr, 2015), 1615.

Remember God Forgives

Psalm 103:3 KJV

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases;

Ephesians 1:7 KJV

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Colossians 1:14 KJV

In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Colossians 2:13 KJV

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

Man’s greatest need makes the top of David’s list! David uses the word “iniquities”. This word means “bent or crookedness”. It refers to that evil bent in our nature that pulls us toward sin. It brings to mind the fact that I am a sinner and I have sinned, but it also points out the fact that I am guilty of sin now and ever will be, as long as I am in this body!1

1 Alan Carr, “Blessings the Soul Forgets (Psalm 103:1–5),” in The Sermon Notebook: Old Testament (Lenoir, NC: Alan Carr, 2015), 1615.

Remember God Heals

Psalm 103:3 KJV

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases;

Matthew 9:35 KJV

And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

The believer’s body will not be completely delivered from weakness and disease until it is redeemed and glorified at the return of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:18–23). In Scripture, sickness is sometimes used as a picture of sin and healing as a picture of salvation (41:4; 147:3; Isa. 53:10; Luke 5:18–32; 1 Peter 2:23–24)1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Exultant, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 49.

Our souls are subject to many terrible maladies. Among them are lust, hate, greed, jealousy, discouragement, depression, anger, fear, guilt, and doubt, just to name a few. Just as surely as diseases of the body can take away physical life, the diseases of the souls can deaden us toward the things of God and leave us lifeless and weak.1

1 Alan Carr, “Blessings the Soul Forgets (Psalm 103:1–5),” in The Sermon Notebook: Old Testament (Lenoir, NC: Alan Carr, 2015), 1616.

Remember God Redeems – Pays The Slave’s Ransom

Psalm 103:4 KJV

Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

Galatians 3:22 KJV

But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

103:4 who redeems The Hebrew word used here, go’el, refers to a person who rescues another from a form of bondage through outside help. The term is applied to situations ranging from physical harm, to slavery, to debt. See note on Job 19:25.1

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Ps 103:4.

The word “redeem” (v. 4) would remind the Jewish people of their deliverance from the bondage of Egypt at the Exodus (Ex. 12–15). The statement describes God rescuing someone about to fall into a pit, and “the pit” is a symbol of sheol (6:5; 16:10; 28:1), the world of the dead. David himself was often very near to death, so perhaps he had premature death in mind.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Exultant, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 49.

Every soul that enters this world is a slave to sin, Rom. 3:23; Gal. 3:22. Every soul is headed to horrible conclusion as well, Rom. 6:23. Thank God He saw the plight of lost souls and provided redemption for them. He saw our enslavement and He saw the ultimate destiny in Hell that awaited every single member of the human race. But, He wasn’t merely content to see it, He did something about it! He came into this world and paid the price for our redemption on the cross, Rev. 5:9; Gal. 4:5; 1 Pet. 1:18–19. Now, those who were slaves to sin and headed for an eternity in Hell have been delivered from their slavery and have a heavenly hope today!1

1 Alan Carr, “Blessings the Soul Forgets (Psalm 103:1–5),” in The Sermon Notebook: Old Testament (Lenoir, NC: Alan Carr, 2015), 1616.

Remember God Crowns You With Loving Kindness.

Psalm 103:4 KJV

Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

David also knew something about crowns, but no crown he ever wore compared with God’s lovingkindness and compassion (tender mercies). These attributes also appear in verses 8, 11, 13, and 17. Believers should “reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17, nkjv; and see Rev. 1:1–6). We are seated with Christ in the heavenlies (Eph. 2:1–7), and He helps us to “reign in life.”1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Exultant, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 49.

Remember God Satisfies and Renews

Psalm 103:5 KJV

Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; So that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

There is no satisfaction in this world, but we have satisfaction in Christ who is the Bread of Life (John 6:33–40) and the Good Shepherd who leads us into green pastures (23:2). (See 107:9 and 145:16.) The word translated “mouth” is a bit of a puzzle since it is usually translated “ornaments” or “jewelry,” words that hardly fit this context. Some students interpret the word to mean “duration” or “years” (see nasb). No matter how old we become, God can satisfy the needs of our lives and the spiritual desires of our hearts.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Exultant, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 49–50.

103:5 eagle’s Symbolic of strength and speed, perhaps because of its ability to attack quickly from above.1

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Ps 103:5.

The legend about the physical renewal of the eagle is not what David had in mind in verse 5. Like most birds, eagles do molt and have what seems to be a new lease on life. But the picture here is that of the believer being strengthened by the Lord even in old age and able to “soar” like the eagle (Isa. 40:31). (See 71:17–18; 92:14; 2 Cor. 4:16–18.)1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Exultant, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 50.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:55 PM July 6, 2021.

Showdown On Cyprus

July 1st, 2021

Showdown On Cyprus

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Gospel On Tour / Acts 13:6–12

Reports the DENVER POST: “Like many sheep ranchers in the West, Lexy Fowler has tried just about everything to stop crafty coyotes from killing her sheep. She has used odor sprays, electric fences, and ’scare-coyotes.’ She has slept with her lambs during the summer and has placed battery-operated radios near them. She has corralled them at night, herded them at day. But the southern Montana rancher has lost scores of lambs–fifty last year alone. “Then she discovered the llama–the aggressive, funny-looking, afraid-of-nothing llama…’Llamas don’t appear to be afraid of anything,’ she said. ’When they see something, they put their head up and walk straight toward it. That is aggressive behavior as far as the coyote is concerned, and they won’t have anything to do with that… Coyotes are opportunists, and llamas take that opportunity away.’”

1. Apparently llamas know the truth of what James writes: “Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you” (4:7). The moment we sense his attack through temptation is the moment we should face it and deal with it for what it is.

Barry McGee.

Paul and Barnabas must have been excited. They were the first missionaries. They had been given a direct commission by God that was also witnessed by the local church at Antioch. They had been teaching and soul winning where they were, but now it was time for them to launch out and plant churches. The Gospel was marching on!

Satan hates soul winners and church planters. Make no mistake, missionaries who are effective will receive opposition. In our story tonight, when the Apostle Paul faced a threat, he met that threat like the brave and determined Llama. Let us learn about the Showdown On Cyprus.

It was Seleucia was Antioch’s port city on the Mediterranean, less than twenty miles to the west. The island of Cyprus is a natural destination if Barnabas knows the culture and has relatives there (4:36)

Acts 4:36 KJV

And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ac 13:4. to Cyprus that Paul and Barnabas ?rst went. Barnabas was a native of Cyprus (Acts 4:36), and it would be typical of his gracious heart that he should want to share the treasures of Jesus ?rst of all with his own people. Cyprus was a Roman province, famous for its copper mines and its shipbuilding industry. It was sometimes called Makaria, which means the Happy Isle, because it was held that its climate was so perfect and its resources so varied that it was possible to ?nd everything necessary for a happy life there. Paul never chose an easy way. He and Barnabas preached in Paphos, the capital of the island. Paphos was notorious for its worship of Venus, the goddess of love.1

1 William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), 116.

Salamis. Seaport on the eastern shore of Cyprus where Barnabas and Saul landed near the beginning of their first missionary journey. Here they “proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews” (Acts 13:5). Tradition states that the city was 1000 years old when the missionaries arrived, having been found by Teucer after his return from the Trojan war.

Recently archaeologists have found evidence of Mycenaen residence centuries earlier. For centuries it was a major seaport, shipping copper, timber, ceramics, and agricultural products to Europe, Africa, and Asia. The Ptolemies encouraged Jews to settle there, hence the “synagogues of the Jews” in which Barnabas and Saul presented the good news. Barnabas’ tomb is at nearby Ali Barnaba monastery (discovered in ad 477).1

1 Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, “Salamis,” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 1882.

They went through the whole island  and ended up in Paphos.

PAPHOS (?????, Paphos). A proconsular city on the southwest coast of Cyprus, founded in 320 bc. There actually were two ancient cities about 10 miles (16 km) apart: Nea Paphos (“New Paphos”), the setting of Acts 13:6–12, and Palaepaphos (“Old Paphos”), which was first inhabited during the fourth millennium bc.

Encountering The Enemy

Acts 13:6 KJV

And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-jesus:

  • His name was Bar-jesus or Elymas

Bar-Jesus This name means “son of Jesus.” Fitting to his name, he is an imitator who is attempting to compete with Jesus Christ. Paul calls him not a son of Jesus but a son of the devil (v. 10).1

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Ac 13:6.

New Paphos, a Greek harbor town on the north and west of Cyprus, had long been the provincial capital and maintained some trade relations with Judea. Jewish magicians were reputed to be among the best in the Roman Empire (though forbidden in Scripture and mistrusted among pious Jews). It was not unusual for Roman aristocrats to attach philosophers to their court; while magicians would be less appealing, the proconsul probably sees Bar-Jesus (“son of Joshua”) as a useful adviser from a “Jewish” perspective. (Romans generally distrusted magic, but Josephus said that Felix, a Roman governor of Judea, counted among his friends a Cyprian Jew reputed to be a magician. His name is not Bar-Jesus, but Bar-Jesus and he attest to the same activity of Jewish magicians on Cyprus and their appeal to some Roman officials.)1

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ac 13:6.

  • He probably was doing all kinds of witchcraft that deceived and controlled the people.
  • He was a Jew

It is unusual to find a Jewish false prophet and sorcerer, for the Jews traditionally shunned such demonic activities. The name Elymas means “sorcerer” or “wise man” (cf. the “wise men” of Matt. 2).

This event is an illustration of the lesson that Jesus taught in the Parable of the Tares (Matt. 13:24–30, 36–43): wherever the Lord sows His true children (the wheat), Satan comes along and sows a counterfeit (the tares), a child of the devil. Paul recognized that Elymas was a child of the devil (John 8:44), and he inflicted blindness on the false prophet as a judgment from God. This miracle was also evidence to Sergius Paulus that Paul and Barnabas were servants of the true God and preached the true message of salvation (Heb. 2:4). The Roman official believed and was saved.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 457.

Encountering A Seeker

Acts 13:7 KJV

Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.

  • Sergius Paulus

Sergius Paulus was proconsul of Cyprus (the highest Roman official on the island) about a.d. 45–46. As always, Luke has the correct, specific local title of the Roman official, even though these titles varied from place to place and decade to decade, and the only way to check all the proper titles would be to go to those places. It is uncertain if this is the Sergius Paulus whose family is known from later inscriptions.

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ac 13:7–8.

 • A deputy

 • A prudent man

 • Called for the missionaries

 • Desired to hear the word of God.

Encountering Direct Opposition.

Acts 13:8 KJV

But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.

  • The opposition came from the sorcerer.’

The governor of Cyprus was Sergius Paulus. These were intensely superstitious times—and most great men, even an intelligent man like Sergius Paulus, kept private wizards, fortune-tellers who dealt in magic and spells. Bar-Jesus, or Elymas—an Arabic word which means the skilful one—saw that if the governor was won for Christianity he would no longer be needed. Paul dealt effectively with him.

1 William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), 116.

  • He withstood the missionaries.

Withstood. “The position of soothsayer to a Roman proconsul, even though it could only last a year, was too distinguished and too lucrative to abandon without a struggle” (Farrar, “Life and Work of Paul”).1

1 Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 1 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887), 515.

  • His goal was to keep the deputy from the faith.

Engaging The Enemy

Acts 13:9–11 KJV

Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, 

And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? 

And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.

If your going to walk in known disobedience and try to resist the devil you are wasting your energy.

– Michael West

 • He was filled with power for a purpose.

 • He looked him in the eye.

 • He called him on his subtility

 • He called him on his mischief

Mischief (???????????). Only here in New Testament. Originally, ease or facility in doing; hence readiness in turning the hand to anything, bad or good; and so recklessness, unscrupulousness, wickedness. A kindred word (???????????, lewdness, Rev., villany) occurs at ch. 18:141

1 Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 1 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887), 516.

 • He identified him as a child of the devil

 • He identified him as the enemy of all righteousness.

 • He asked if he would ever stop perverting the ways of the Lord. – perhaps this bothered Paul especially because Elymas started out as a Jew.

 • Elymas was struck blind for a season. – Perhaps this was to give him space to think and maybe eventually repent. He was not struck dead like Ananias and Sapphira perhaps because God still wanted to save him.

Mist (?????). Only here in New Testament. The word is used by medical writers as a name for a disease of the eyes. The mention of the successive stages, first dimness, then total darkness, are characteristic of the physician. “The first miracle which Paul performed was the infliction of a judgment; and that judgment the same which befell himself when arrested on his way to Damascus” (Gloag).1

1 Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 1 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887), 516.

Romans 9:1–4 KJV

I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 

That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 

For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 

Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

Paul’s rebuke of Elymas sounds like an Old Testament judgment oracle or the utterance of a signs prophet. In Jewish literature, temporary blindness was sometimes a judgment to prevent further damage from sin (the Letter of Aristeas 316); see comment on 9:8.1

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ac 13:10–11.

 • As a result of this boldness and demonstration of God’s power over bullies of darkness, the deputy was saved!

Acts 13:12 KJV

Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

The royal palace in Tehran, Iran has one of the most beautiful entrances of all palaces in the world today. As one enters the royal palace the doomed ceilings, sidewalls, and columns seemed to be covered with diamonds. When the Royal Palace was planned, the architects sent an order to Paris for mirrors to cover the entrance walls. The mirrors finally arrived in their crates. When they took the crates apart, all the broken pieces fell out. They were all smashed while being transported. They were going to throw them all away when one of the men had an idea to see how the broken pieces would look if they fitted them together. The result is an enormous distortion in reflections, and it sparkles with diamond like rainbow colors.

Broken to be more beautiful!

That is exactly what God can do with the broken pieces of our lives if we will just turn it over to Him.

God uses broken vessels like us to stand for truth, even if it comes down to a showdown like the one on Cyprus.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:28 PM July 1, 2021.

I Know Who Holds My Hand

June 29th, 2021

I Know Who Holds My Hand

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / Psalm 37:23–27

Eddie Snipes tells this story:

When my oldest daughter was about 5 years old, we went to spend an afternoon at a river. Some of the adults decided to walk out to an island in the middle of the river. My daughter wanted to come out with me. I returned to shore and took her hand. She stepped into the water but held on tightly to a branch on the shore. She was afraid of the river but wanted to go where I was going. I told her, “You must let go of the branch if you want to come”. She said that she was afraid that she would sink. “I have your hand. You won’t sink and if you start to, I will lift you up”. Fearfully she let go of the branch. I knew the water was just over waist deep and I guided her feet to each rock. When we began, she had no confidence, but she stepped on the rocks I guided her to. With each step she gained more confidence until she was eagerly reaching for each stone and soon we reached the middle. I looked back and realized that this is exactly how God deals with me.

Every once and a while we need to be reminded of truths we already know as believers. Tonight we will read the words of an older saint who is telling us first hand about how God treats His own. As we meditate on these unchanging truths we too can say, I know who holds my hand!

The Lord Leads

Psalm 37:23 KJV

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: And he delighteth in his way.

 • A good man is one who has a relationship with God deep enough to sense and follow His leadership.

John 10:27 KJV

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

In this strophe the security of the righteous is emphasized. Verse 23a means that it is the Lord who leads a person in the right way. The psalmist is not saying that, in fact, God guides all people in the way they should go, since it is quite evident that many do not accept God’s guidance. To avoid this possible misunderstanding, frcl translates “When a man’s conduct pleases him, the Lord enables him to go through life with confidence,” and niv has “If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm.

1 Robert G. Bratcher and William David Reyburn, A Translator’s Handbook on the Book of Psalms, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1991), 357.

 • Steps are ordered

Psalm 85:13 KJV

Righteousness shall go before him; And shall set us in the way of his steps.

Psalm 40:2 KJV

He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

The word rendered ordered means to stand erect; to set up; to found; to adjust, fit, direct. The idea here is, that all which pertains to the journey of a good man through life is directed, ordered, fitted, or arranged by the Lord. That is, his course of life is under the Divine guidance and control. The word good has been supplied here by our translators, and there is nothing corresponding to it in the original. It is simply there, “the steps of man are ordered,” etc. Yet there can be no doubt that a good or pious man is particularly referred to, for the connexion demands this interpretation. The word steps here means his course of life; the way in which he goes.

1 Albert Barnes, Notes on the Old Testament: Psalms, vol. 1 (London: Blackie & Son, 1870–1872), 326.

 • God delights in the fact that the good man follows His leading.

Psalm 37:4–5 KJV

Delight thyself also in the LORD; And he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 

Commit thy way unto the LORD; Trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

The Lord Holds

Psalm 37:24 KJV

Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: For the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

Micah 7:8 KJV

Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: When I fall, I shall arise; When I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.

Psalm 34:19 KJV

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: But the LORD delivereth him out of them all.

Though he fall. That is, though he is sometimes disappointed; though he is not always successful; though he may be unfortunate,—yet this will not be final ruin. The word here does not refer to his falling into sin, but into misfortune, disappointment, reverses, calamities. The image is that of a man who is walking along on a journey, but who stumbles, or falls to the earth—a representation of one who is not always successful, but who finds disappointment spring up in his path.

He shall not be utterly cast down. The word here used—?????, tul—means to throw down at full length, to prostrate; then, to cast out, to throw away. Comp. Isa. 22:17; Jer. 16:13; 22:26; Jonah 1:5, 15. Here it means that he would not be utterly and finally prostrated; he would not fall so that he could not rise again. The calamity would be temporary, and there would be ultimate prosperity.

1 Albert Barnes, Notes on the Old Testament: Psalms, vol. 1 (London: Blackie & Son, 1870–1872), 327.

For the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. It is by no power of his own that he is recovered, but it is because, even when he falls, he is held up by an invisible hand. God will not suffer him to sink to utter ruin.

1 Albert Barnes, Notes on the Old Testament: Psalms, vol. 1 (London: Blackie & Son, 1870–1872), 327.

I looked to God with great earnestness day after day, to be directed; asking him to show me the path of duty, and give me grace to ride out the storm.

CHARLES FINNEY

Proverbs 24:16 KJV

For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: But the wicked shall fall into mischief.

The Lord Provides

Psalm 37:25–26 KJV

I have been young, and now am old; Yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his seed begging bread. 

He is ever merciful, and lendeth; And his seed is blessed.

While experience confirms God’s radical faithfulness to the righteous as well as the insubstantial nature of the wealth and power of the wicked, the psalmist speaks in these verses in a traditional form of testimony; these words should not be interpreted to mean a naive assumption that the righteous never hurt or suffer want. To the contrary, the whole psalm and much of canonical wisdom literature respond to the reality of the righteous suffering and the inexplicable prosperity of the wicked. In a sense, what the psalmist reports is not naive unreality but an inner vision of the true reality that accords with Yahweh’s character and purpose—the reality that must ultimately arrive.1

1 Gerald H. Wilson, Psalms, vol. 1, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 607.

Hebrews 13:5 KJV

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

The Lord Preserves – therefore do right

Psalm 37:27–28 KJV

Depart from evil, and do good; And dwell for evermore. 

For the LORD loveth judgment, And forsaketh not his saints; They are preserved for ever: But the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

Psalm 92:13–15 KJV

Those that be planted in the house of the LORD Shall flourish in the courts of our God. 

They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; They shall be fat and flourishing; 

To shew that the LORD is upright: He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Often we become discouraged because we cannot see God’s long range plan of guidance for our lives. We need to remember that God has promised to guide our steps, not the miles ahead.

  “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: And he delighteth in his way.” (Psalm 37:23, KJV)  

This beloved hymn came from the grateful heart of Fanny Crosby after she had received a direct answer to her prayer. One day when she desperately needed five dollars and had no idea where she could obtain it, Fanny followed her usual custom and began to pray about the matter. A few minutes later a stranger appeared at her door with the exact amount. “I have no way of accounting for this,” she said, “except to believe that God put it into the heart of this good man to bring the money. My first thought was that it is so wonderful the way the Lord leads me, I immediately wrote the poem and Dr. Lowry set it to music.” The hymn was first published in 1875.

No one knows the importance of guided steps as much as a blind person like Fanny Crosby, who lost her sight at six weeks of age through improper medical treatment. A sightless person is keenly aware that there will be stumbling and uncertainty as he continues on his way. As Fanny wrote, “Cheers each winding path I tread, gives me grace for every trial,” she has reminded us that God has never promised to keep us from hard places or obstacles in life. He has assured us, however, that He will go with us, guide each step, and give the necessary grace.

All the way my Savior leads me; what have I to ask beside? Can I doubt His tender mercy, who through life has been my Guide? Heavenly peace, divinest comfort, here by faith in Him to dwell! For I know whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me, cheers each winding path I tread, gives me grace for ev’ry trial, feeds me with the living bread. Though my weary steps may falter, and my soul athirst may be, gushing from the Rock before me, lo! a spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me; Oh, the fullness of His love! Perfect rest to me is promised in my Father’s house above. When my spirit, clothed immortal, wings its flight to realms of day, this my song through endless ages: Jesus led me all the way.1

1 Kenneth W. Osbeck, Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1996), 259.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 8:12 PM June 29, 2021.

Commissioned

June 26th, 2021

Commissioned

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Gospel On Tour / Acts 13:1–5

In Discipleship Journal author and editor Kevin Miller writes:

Jesus had a specific, narrowly defined ministry. He didn’t try to do everything.… Jesus poured Himself out for people, but within the limits of the calling God the Father had given Him. He focused.…

Let me share how this works in my life.… One thing I know: God has called me to be a husband. That means He’s not going to call me to something that destroys my ability to lovingly care for my wife and my children.

For example, a few years ago, I was invited to join the board of a Christian organization. I really believed in the work, and I wanted to help. To me, even being asked felt like a dream come true. I was ready to start the day before yesterday.

But as I talked with my wife, Karen, she pointed out all the Saturday meetings and the evening phone calls that would come with the position. With her in graduate school, the family already felt stretched, and time for just the two of us was at a premium. She didn’t think I should join the board.

I did not want to hear that. I grumped at her and felt irritable inside. How could I say no to something that would please God and perfectly match my interests? For three days, I went back and forth between yes and no, not sure what to do.

What helped me finally make this grueling decision was to pray, “God, what specific things have You called me to do?” One answer was, “Love your wife and children. Support them and help develop their gifts.” If I joined the board, I realized, I couldn’t fulfill that very well. As much as it hurt to say no, I had to turn the opportunity down. My specific calling as a husband became a protective boundary.

Craig Brian Larson, 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers & Writers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2002), 45–46.

We have all felt it. A missionary comes in and shows his pictures of the great need of the field and our hearts are moved. We want to help, but are we burdened for the field or called to the field?

Tonight we are launching an exciting study of the first missionaries and their adventures. It is a great blessing to know and answer God’s specific calling in your life. Tonight we start at the beginning. We will discover a Biblical pattern for how a missionary is called and how that calling is recognized and answered.  

God Calls Folks Who Are Already Actively Ministering In the Local Church.

Matthew 16:18 KJV

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Acts 13:1 KJV

Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

1 Corinthians 16:15–16 KJV

I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) 

That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth.

Key Points Antioch

• Third largest city of the Roman Empire in the first centuries bc and ad

• Strategic location between western and eastern geo-political entities

• Greco-Roman ideals and worldview deeply embedded in cultural fabric

• Early Christian community in Antioch was at the forefront of the move to include gentiles

1 Elaine A. Phillips, “The Geographic Importance of Antioch on the Orontes (Acts 6:5; 11:19–30; 13:1–3; 14:26–28; 15:1–3,22–35; 18:22–23),” in Lexham Geographic Commentary on Acts through Revelation, ed. Barry J. Beitzel, Jessica Parks, and Doug Mangum, Lexham Geographic Commentary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2019), 269.

It has been pointed out that this list of prophets is symbolic of the universal appeal of the gospel. Barnabas was a Jew from Cyprus; Lucius came from Cyrene in North Africa; Simeon was also a Jew, but his other name Niger is given and, since this is a Roman name, it shows that he must have moved in Roman circles; Manaen was a man with aristocratic connections; and Paul himself was a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia and a trained Rabbi. That little group is an example of the unifying in?uence of Christianity. Individuals from many lands and many backgrounds had discovered the secret of ‘togetherness’ because they had discovered the secret of Christ.

One extremely interesting speculation has been made. Simeon not improbably came from Africa, for Niger is also an African name. It has been suggested that he is the Simon of Cyrene who carried Jesus’ cross (Luke 23:26). It would be a most wonderful thing if the man whose ?rst contact with Jesus was the carrying of the cross—a task which he must have bitterly resented—was one of those directly responsible for sending out the story of the cross to all the world.1

1 William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), 115.

 • Crossing the ocean does not make you a soul winner if you are not one at home.

 • Crossing the ocean does not make you a Godly servant if you are not one at home.

 • Crossing the ocean does not give you a Godly work ethic if you do not have one at home.

 • Crossing the ocean does not make you a Bible scholar or teacher if you are not one at home.

 • The local church is the training ground and proving ground God uses to call servants into full time ministry.

God Called Folks Who Were Actively Seeking His Face Through Prayer and Fasting.

Acts 13:2 KJV

As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

Jewish people fasted to mourn or repent, and some fasted to seek revelations; special fasts for prayer related to mourning were called in the face of great crises such as droughts. Here they are probably simply seeking God in prayer. The Holy Spirit was especially known as the Spirit of prophecy, so “the Holy Spirit said” probably means that one of the prophets prophesied. For the laying on of hands see comment on 6:6.1

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ac 13:2–3.

Separate. The Greek adds ??, now, which is not rendered by A. V. or Rev. It gives precision and emphasis to the command, implying that it is for a special purpose, and to be obeyed at the time.1

1 Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 1 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887), 514.

Jonathan Edwards was a man used by God in the First Great Awakening. I have read that he preached in a weak, squeaking, monotone voice and held his tiny manuscript so close to his face that people could not see his expressions. When he preached, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” in his weak, squeaking, monotone, people had to strain to hear him. It is said that he preached powerfully without the energy, eloquence, or theatrics some modern “evangelists” depend on. Strong men gripped pews and pillars as if they felt themselves falling into hell. Judgment day had dawned and they were desperately holding on to life until the altar call.

For three days before he first preached that sermon, he did not eat or sleep. Claiming New England for Christ was the only thing that mattered to him. Prayer was important to him. Food and sleep were not. Nothing distracted him. I am certain he did not intend it, but people passing his room heard his weak, squeaking voice as he sobbed, “God, give me New England! Give me New England!”

He finally rose from his knees and made his way to the pulpit. He was so weak, he could barely prop himself up. Before he opened his mouth, great conviction had already fallen on the congregation.

God’s Calling Was Communicated to All the Church Leadership, Not Just Privately to The Missionary.

Acts 13:3 KJV

And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

Placing ones hands on another as a symbol of blessing, or as a symbol of commission and authority. Also: “Imposition of Hands” and “Laying of Hands.”

They laid their hands on these two missionaries they were sending out. We still do that today to our missionaries. Why? Is it that we are imparting something to them? I’m afraid all that we can impart to someone by laying our hands on them is whatever disease germ we have on our hands. The laying on of hands is a means of identifying, of declaring that we are partners with that one. So the Christians in Antioch are indicating by placing their hands on them that they are in a partnership with Paul and Barnabas in the enterprise of getting out the Word of God. They are sending these men out as their representatives. They will minister at home while Paul and Barnabas go to the regions beyond.1

1 J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: Church History (Acts 1-14), electronic ed., vol. 40 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 147–148.

The First Missionaries Did Not Leave the Protection and Authority of their Church Until God’s Calling Was Evident.

Acts 13:4–5 KJV

So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. 

And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

Conclusion:

 • Your ministry at EBC is a sacred calling.  

 • Not only are we to surrender to our current calling, but we are to diligently seek God’s face for further direction and power.  

 • When God calls someone, it is evident to the church, not just the individual. 

 • It may be wise to be a bit suspicious of the missionary who was not genuinely sent from his local church. 

 • As we continue to follow the story of these first missionaries, we will discover that they will need to know that God was with them and they have indeed been commissioned.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 1:14 PM June 26, 2021.