Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Good Shepherd In Action

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021

The Good Shepherd In Action

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / Psalm 23:1–6

A farmer repeatedly invited his neighbor to come over to his orchard and pick some apples and make fresh, sweet apple cider. The neighbor kept turning down the offer. Finally, the farmer asked why the neighbor didn’t want to come to his orchard. He said, “I think you are prejudiced against my apples.” The neighbor answered by saying, “Well, to tell the truth, I have tasted a few of them and they are very sour.” The farmer asked, “Which apples have you eaten?” The neighbor answered, “Those apples alongside the fence by the road.” The farmer said, “Ah, yes—those are sour. I planted them to fool the boys who live around here. But if you will come into the middle of my orchard, you will find a different taste.”

In much the same way, people who only nibble on the outside of Christianity only get a taste of conviction of sin, purity, and denial of self. All they see are fuddy-duddies and goody-two-shoes who don’t have any fun. Those apples were planted to keep out the hypocrites and curiosity seekers. Christ is interested in people making a commitment—a whole hearted, jump-in-with- both-feet commitment to follow Him. But once you come to Christ, the fruit is sweet. The nearer to God; the sweeter the joy.

John 10:14 KJV

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

Sometimes it is heard to love a Savior we have never seen. Jesus tells us that He is the Good Shepherd. David wrote a song about the Good Shepherd. In this famous Psalm we will get to know our Savior more. I am sure you have heard many messages from this passage. This evening we are going to look at the verbs David uses to describe his relationship to the Shepherd. Tonight we will discover the Good Shepherd in Action.

The Lord Shepherds

Psalm 23:1 KJV

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

 The verb is a participle and means “is shepherding me.” Eastern shepherds guarded their sheep, led them, provided food and water for them, took care of them when they were weary, bruised, cut or sick, rescued them when they strayed, knew their names, assisted in delivering the lambs, and in every way simply loved them.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 95.

My Shepherd – An Intimate Personal Relationship.

John 10:27–28 KJV

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

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

John 10:11 KJV

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Therefore I shall not want

 Genesis 22:14 (KJV)

 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

“I shall not want”—notice that David does not say, I have not wanted, but “I shall not want.” What is it that I need? Well, I need safety. I’m a sheep, a stupid little animal. Therefore, my Shepherd sees to it that I won’t want for protection. He protects me. When a little sheep says, “I shall not want” and “I shall never perish,” it is because it has a wonderful Shepherd.

1 J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: Poetry (Psalms 1-41), electronic ed., vol. 17 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 135.

The Lord Leads

Psalm 23:2 KJV

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.

The word translated “lead” in verse 2 means “to lead gently.” You cannot drive sheep. The sheep hear the shepherd’s voice and follow him, just as we listen to Christ in His Word and obey Him (John 10:3–5, 16, 27). If a sheep goes astray, the shepherd leaves the flock in charge of his helpers and goes to find the lost animal.

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 96.

To Green Pastures

He makes me lie down: the causative form of the verb “to lie down” does not have the sense of “he forces me to lie down,” as rsv he makes me lie down seems to say (also neb, njv, niv). The idea is that the shepherd finds a place (green pastures) where the sheep can lie down and rest. So njb “he lets me lie.”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), 232.

Beside Still Waters

“still waters”- Jehovah-Shalom, “the Lord our peace” (Judg. 6:24)

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 9

 Judges 6:24 (KJV)

 Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah-shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites.

Still waters translates “waters of quietness.” njv has “water in places of repose”; spcl “brooks of quiet waters.” Also possible is “refreshing streams.” This is not a stagnant pool, but a place where the fresh water flows gently, making it easy for the sheep to drink it. In some languages this is “streams of fresh water” or “rivers with good water.”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), 232.

To Paths of Righteousness

King James Version Psalm 23

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake

“paths of righteousness”—Jehovah-Tsidkenu, “the Lord our righteousness” (Jer. 33:16)1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 95.

 Jeremiah 33:16 (KJV)

 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.

Through Dark Valleys

King James Version Psalm 23

      Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

   I will fear no evil: for thou art with me

The Lord Restores

King James Version Psalm 23

   He restoreth my soul:

shub (??????, 7725), “to return or go back, bring back.” This verb occurs in several Semitic languages (not in Phoenician-Punic and Ethiopic) including Ugaritic (1550–1200 B.C.) and in all periods of Hebrew. It occurs about 1,060 times in biblical Hebrew and about 8 times in biblical Aramaic (in the form tub).

The basic meaning of the verb is movement back to the point of departure (unless there is evidence to the contrary). In the first occurrence of this verb God told Adam that he and Eve would “eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen. 3:19)1

1 W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 203.

The Lord Comforts

King James Version Psalm 23

   I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;

   Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Nacham may also mean “to comfort.” The refugees in Babylon would be “comforted” when survivors arrived from Jerusalem (Ezek. 14:23); 

Ezekiel 14:23 KJV

And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord GOD.

the connection between “comfort” and “repent” here resulted from the calamity God brought upon Jerusalem as a testimony to the truth of His Word. David “comforted” Bathsheba after the death of her child born in sin (2 Sam. 12:24); this probably indicates his repentance of what had happened in their indiscretion.

2 Samuel 12:24 KJV

And David comforted Bath-sheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him.

W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 202.

With His Presence

“you are with me”—Jehovah-Shammah, “the Lord is there” (Ezek. 48:35)1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 95.

 Ezekiel 48:35 (KJV)

 It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.

With His Weapons

The use of rod and staff…The rod was a club worn at the belt, while the staff was a walking implement that doubled as a weapon in time of need (1 Sam 17:35) and guided and controlled the sheep. These were traditional tools of the shepherd, as is shown already in a cylinder seal inscription of the third millennium.

Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas, and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, electronic ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), Ps 23:4.

The Lord Provides

King James Version Psalm 23

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies

While My Enemies Watch

“presence of my enemies”—“Jehovah-Nissi, “the Lord our banner” (Ex. 17:15)

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 95.

 Exodus 17:15 (KJV)

 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi:

Goodness and Mercy

King James Version Psalm 23

   Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

Philippians 1:6 KJV

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Eternal Security

King James Version Psalm 23

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever

John 14:6 KJV

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The Lord Anoints

King James Version Psalm 23

Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

With Oil – The Holy Spirit

“anoint my head”—Jehovah-M’Kaddesh, “the Lord who sanctifies” (Lev. 20:81

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 95.

 Leviticus 20:8 (KJV)

 And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.

My Cup Runs Over – Joy!

John 10:10 KJV

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending Services regularly, stopped going.

After a few weeks, the preacher decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The preacher found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.

Guessing the reason for his preacher’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited…

The preacher made himself at home, but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs.

And after some minutes, the preacher took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more.

Soon it was cold and dead. Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.

The preacher glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire.

Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it. As the preacher reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, “Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday…”

___

Our Savior is in action keeping His beloved sheep safe, fed, watered, rested and guided. Let us endeavor to follow close to the Good Shepherd.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 5:50 PM June 23, 2021.

A Mother’s Love

Thursday, May 6th, 2021

A Mother’s Love

Pastor Don Carpenter

Mother’s Day / Isaiah 49:15; Isaiah 66:13; Proverbs 31:26

Barbara Weiser of Kewanee, Illinois recalls this converstation with her daughter when she was six:

“Mom, there are five things I want to be when I grow up.”

“Oh, yeah? What are they?”

“I’m going to be a model, a movie star, a traveler and travel all around the world, and an artist and a singer.”

“What about a mom?”

“I don’t know… I think that’s too hard for me.” Being a mother is hard.

___

Today we celebrate mothers and motherhood because of the virtue that is naturally exhibited by a mother. Her love, endurance, grace and wisdom toward her children exceeds normal relationships.  God has such a high view of the passion a mother has that He compares His love for His children to the bond between mom and child. This morning, let us give thanks for a Mother’s Love.

A Mother Will Have Compassion

Isaiah 49:15 KJV

Can a woman forget her sucking child, That she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, Yet will I not forget thee.

A Compassion That Shows Mercy

racham (??????, 7355), “to have compassion, be merciful, pity.” The words from this root are found 125 times in all parts of the Old Testament. The root is also found in Assyrian, Ethiopic, and Aramaic.

The verb is translated “love” once: “I will love thee, O Lord …” (Ps. 18:1). Racham is also used in God’s promise to declare His name to Moses: “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy” (Exod. 33:19). So men pray: “Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy loving-kindnesses” (Ps. 25:6); and Isaiah prophesies messianic restoration: “… With great mercies will I gather thee.… But with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer” (Isa. 54:7–8). This is the heart of salvation by the suffering Servant-Messiah.1

1 W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 43.

A Compassion That Shows Tenderness

Can a woman forget her sucking child? The design of this verse is apparent. It is to show that the love which God has for his people is stronger than that which is produced by the most tender ties created by any natural relation. The love of a mother for her infant child is the strongest attachment in nature. The question here implies that it was unusual for a mother to be unmindful of that tie, and to forsake the child that she should nourish and love.

That she should not have compassion. That she should not pity and succour it in times of sickness and distress; that she should see it suffer without any attempt to relieve it, and turn away, and see it die unpitied and unalleviated.

Yea, they may forget. They will sooner forget their child than God will forget his afflicted and suffering people. The phrase ‘they may forget,’ implies that such a thing may occur. In heathen lands, strong as is the instinct which binds a mother to her offspring, it has not been uncommon for a mother to expose her infant child, and to leave it to die. In illustration of this fact, see Notes on Rom. 1:31.1

1 Albert Barnes, Notes on the Old Testament: Isaiah, vol. 2 (London: Blackie & Son, 1851), 210–211.

A Compassion That Shows A Permanent Bond

God uses the strongest images of personal attachment to protest that he has not forgotten or forsaken Zion. He asks a rhetorical question concerning mothers and their attachments to the children they have borne in their wombs and nursed at their breasts. Can mothers forget? The assumed answer is, “Of course not!” The attachment of fathers may be obstructed by the sense of distance that exists between father and child. After all, the child has never drawn its life from the father’s body either in the womb or after. But the attachment of a mother and child is direct, and thus almost mystical.

Oswalt, J. N. (1998). The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40–66 (pp. 305–306). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

A Mother Will Comfort

Isaiah 66:13 KJV

As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; And ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

She Will Sigh Along With Her Child

Compare chapters 40 and 61 for God’s plan and design for His people. The Hebrew word translated “comfort” in this verse is from a root meaning “to sigh!” It might be rendered, “As one whom his mother sighs with, so will I sigh with you.” We know how a loving mother enters into the sufferings of her children. Taking the little one in her arms she sighs with him as he sobs out his grief upon her bosom. So does God feel for us in our trials. Of old He said concerning Israel when they were in Egyptian bondage, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people … I know their sorrows; and am come to deliver them.” He is ever the same in His concern for His afflicted children. His great heart of love is moved with compassion as He beholds the ravages that sin has made and the sufferings that it has entailed upon all mankind. Yet we are so slow to refer our troubles to Him, thinking of Him as a stern Judge rather than a tender, loving Father.1

1 H. A. Ironside, Expository Notes on the Prophet Isaiah. (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1952), 367.

She Will Help Her Child Choose A Different Path.

Nacham may also mean “to comfort.” The refugees in Babylon would be “comforted” when survivors arrived from Jerusalem (Ezek. 14:23); the connection between “comfort” and “repent” here resulted from the calamity God brought upon Jerusalem as a testimony to the truth of His Word. David “comforted” Bathsheba after the death of her child born in sin (2 Sam. 12:24); this probably indicates his repentance of what had happened in their indiscretion.

1 W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 202.

A Mother comforts. She helps her child to choose a different path after the brutal lesson of actions and consequences has been given.

She Will Continue When Her Child Is Grown.

Ver. 13.—As one; literally, as a man. Israel is now looked upon as grown up, and receiving comfort from God himself in Jerusalem.1

1 H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Isaiah, vol. 2, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1910), 486.

For Mother’s Day- One time a little boy was called up front to solve a math problem. The teacher asked him, “You have a pie with 6 pieces. There are 5 in your family: your brother, your sister, your mother and father and you. Each one gets one piece of the pie. Now you only have one piece left. We don’t want to cause any disagreements so it is decided to divide that last piece of pie evenly among your family. Tell me with a fraction how it will be divided up.” The little boy said, “1/4th.” The teacher said, “No, it would be 1/5th because there are 5 in your family and it will be divided evenly.” The little boy said, “No, teacher, it will be 1/4th. This happens all of the time in my family and my mother divides up the piece of pie but she never gives any to herself.”

A Mother Will Counsel

Proverbs 31:26 KJV

She openeth her mouth with wisdom; And in her tongue is the law of kindness.

She Will Counsel With Wisdom

She openeth her mouth with wisdom. She is not merely a good housewife, attending diligently to material interests; she guides her family with words of wisdom. When she speaks, it is not gossip, or slander, or idle talk, that she utters, but sentences of prudence and sound sense, such as may minister grace to the hearers. The Septuagint has this verse before ver. 25, and the first hemistich again after ver. 27. So in Lam. 2, 3, 4, the pe and ayin verses change places. This is also the case in Ps. 37. In the former passage the LXX. renders, “She openeth her mouth heedfully and lawfully (??????????? ??? ???????);” and in the other, “wisely and in accordance with law (????? ??? ??????????).”

She Will Counsel With Kindness

In her tongue is the law of kindness (thorath chesed); i.e. her language to those around her is animated and regulated by love. As mistress of a family, she has to teach and direct her dependents, and she performs this duty with gracious kindness and ready sympathy. Septuagint, “She places order on her tongue”1

1 H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Proverbs, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 601.

____

Dr. Benjamin Carson would agree listen to what he says about his mom:

Dr. Benjamin Carson, renowned surgeon at John Hopkins, has a story told about his mother by Kevin Lemam. Mrs. Carson insisted that Ben and His brother Curtis write a book report every couple of weeks. This wasn’t for school-this was for their mom. Ben and Curtis dutifully obeyed.

About the time he was in junior high, Ben finally realized something quite shocking. His mom couldn’t read. For years Ben had read books and scratched out reports, assuming that his mom was checking every word. But she didn’t have a clue what he was saying.

Now consider this: raised by an illiterate mother, Ben grew up to be a world famous surgeon who was featured in many articles and was the author of several books. His illiterate mom didn’t twist her hands over her lacking of learning and give up hope of raising intelligent boys. Instead, she gave her boys what she had interest, accountability, and courage to demand extra work.

And it paid off. Years later, someone asked Ben why his mother still lived with him, even after he was married and had a family of his own. “You don’t understand,” Ben answered. “If it weren’t for that woman, I wouldn’t be living here, She earned this.”

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 5:58 PM May 6, 2021.

Love That Makes All Things New

Thursday, April 15th, 2021

Love that Makes all Things New

Pastor Don Carpenter

***This is Love / 2 Corinthians 5:17

I saw a guy with his new car the other day, or at least it sure seemed new the way he admired it walking away backwards from it almost to the point of stumbling over the curb. You know one thing we like to do, is show off the new. I could relate with the man, he couldn’t stop looking at the shiny black convertible…. or perhaps it was a Jasper Green Subaru Forester.

I know we’ve all been there and it’s something we like doing. Even years after the item we once had has come and gone we still talk with love and admiration about the relationship we have or had with that vehicle, or that guitar, or that special thing we once had.

Our relationship with Jesus should be the same way!

Telling and leading someone to the option of trading in their old life for the new and improved one God has prepared and has waiting for them to experience. Is one of the most exciting things a person can ever do or be part of the experience!

This is our last sermon in the Easter Series: This is Love. 

Romans 5:8 KJV

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

We have seen that this love demonstrated was a love that forgives sins. We have seen that this demonstrated love conquered death. This morning we are going to discover that this love makes all things new.

2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

There are well meaning folks who use this verse to try to shame professing believers into reform. this comes dangerously close to heresy. You see, there is not one work, rite or ritual that we can do to merit or maintain our salvation. We become saved when we surrender trust in our own dead works and trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.

Romans 10:9–10 KJV

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Acts 16:30–31 KJV

And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

This morning we are going to discover what God does with those who make that decision. We are going to see that it is all Him! It is all Grace! This is love that makes all things new!

A New Father

John 8:44 KJV

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Romans 8:15 KJV

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

A New Family

Romans 8:17 KJV

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

2 Corinthians 6:14–17 KJV

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 

And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

A New Righteousness

Philippians 3:4–9 KJV

Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 

Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 

Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

A New Name

1 Corinthians 6:9–11 KJV

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 

Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Revelation 2:17 KJV

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

A New Nature

Romans 6:4–6 KJV

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Romans 7:6 KJV

But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Galatians 5:16–18 KJV

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 

But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Romans 8:9–10 KJV

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

New Affections

Colossians 3:1–2 KJV

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

New Lifestyle

Ephesians 4:22–24 KJV

That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 

And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 

And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

New Destiny

John 3:36 KJV

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 14:1–3 KJV

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Revelation 21:3–5 KJV

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

A young woman named Margaret had spent decades battling depression and anxiety that were traced back to a horrible day in school when a Teacher, frustrated with her tardiness, made her stand in front of the room and invited all the students to come up to the board and write something bad about her on the chalkboard. The kids were ruthless. They wrote things like “Margaret is ugly!”, “Margaret smells” and “Margaret is stupid.” All twenty-five students went up to the board and wrote these hurtful things. This event inflicted wounds that Margaret found difficult to heal. She battled depression, discouragement, and was angry all the time. Finally she went to a psychologist for help. She spent two years meeting weekly but finally they had reached the end of their sessions.

The counselor said, “Margaret, I know this will be difficult, but just to make sure you’re ready to move on, I am going to ask you to do something. I want to go back to your schoolroom and detail the events of that day. Take your time. Describe each of the children as they approach the blackboard, remember what they wrote and how you felt–do this for all twenty-five students.

In a way, this would be easy for Margaret. For forty years she had remembered every detail. And yet, to go through the nightmare one more time would take every bit of strength she had. After a long silence, she began the painful description. One by one, she described each of the students vividly, as though she had just seen them, stopping periodically to regain her composure, forcing herself to face each of those students one more time.

Finally she was done, and the tears would not stop, could not stop. Margaret cried a long time before she realized someone was whispering her name. “Margaret, Margaret, Margaret.” She looked up to see her counselor staring into her eyes, saying her name over and over again. Margaret stopped crying for moment.

“Margaret, you left out one person.”

“I certainly did not! I have lived with this story for forty years. I know every student by heart.”

“No, Margaret, you did forget someone. See, he’s sitting in the back of the classroom. He’s standing up, walking toward your teacher, Ms. Garner. She is handing him a piece of chalk and he’s taking it. Margaret, he’s taking it! Now he’s walking over to the blackboard and picking up and eraser. He is erasing every one of the sentences the students wrote. They are gone! Margaret, they are gone! Do you recognize him yet? Yes, his name is Jesus. Look, he’s writing new sentences on the board. ’Margaret is loved. Margaret is beautiful. Margaret is gentle and kind. Margaret is strong. Margaret has great courage.’”

And Margaret began to weep. But very quickly, the weeping turned into a smile, and then into laughter, and then into tears of joy.

Romans 5:8 KJV

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

This is Love That Makes All Things New!

The Path to Bold Humility

Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

The Path to Bold Humility

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge

Psalm 19:13 KJV
Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me: Then shall I be upright, And I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

What in the world is a presumptuous sin? And why was David so intent on avoiding it specifically.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Eleventh Edition) Presumptuous

pre•sump•tu•ous \pri-?z?m(p)-ch?-w?s, -ch?s, -sh?s\ adjective
[Middle English, from Anglo-French presumptious, from Late Latin praesumptuosus, irregular from praesumptio] 14th century: overstepping due bounds

So to be presumptuous is to cross boundaries. It is to take too much on or to be too bold… to act like you have the right to things and to expect things that you do not have the right to expect. Our passage today tells us of a terrible mistake that King David makes as a leader, the price that someone under his leadership paid, and the path back to restoration. You see David found that his presumption came from pride and once he humbled himself, he found immense relief. Then he was not going back to that proud place, David became bold in his humility.

Pride Leads to Presumption

2 Samuel 6:1–5 KJV
Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.

And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims.

And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart.

And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark.

And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary 6:1–5

6:1–5. For 100 long years the ark of the covenant had been separated from the tabernacle and other places of worship. After its capture by the Philistines at Aphek (1 Sam. 4:11) it remained in Philistia for seven months, then briefly at Beth Shemesh, and the rest of the time at Kiriath Jearim. Now David had taken Jerusalem, a neutral place, and made it the political capital of the kingdom. All that remained was to retrieve the ark, place it in the tabernacle he would erect on Mount Zion, and declare Jerusalem the religious center of the nation as well.
David first went with 30,000 men to Baalah of Judah (the same as Kiriath Jearim; Josh. 15:9) to bring the ark from the house of Abinadab, its custodian. Described as that which bore the name of God Himself, the ark represented the presence of God who dwelled among His people in a special way (cf. Ex. 25:22). As such, it was to be handled with reverence, even in its transportation from place to place. The Law specified that it be carried by Levites who would bear it on their shoulders by means of poles passed through gold rings attached to the ark (Ex. 25:14; cf. Num. 4:15, 20). Even the Levites could not touch the ark or even look in it because of its holiness. Why David overlooked these requirements it is impossible to know, but he and Uzzah and Ahio, two descendants of Abinadab, placed the ark on a cart and proceeded, with great musical celebration, toward Jerusalem. The use of musical instruments (2 Sam. 6:5) was common in Israel’s worship as may be seen, for example, in Psalm 150 where most of the same instruments are listed.

Exodus 25:14 KJV
And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them.

Numbers 4:15 KJV
And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation.

Numbers 4:20 KJV
But they shall not go in to see when the holy things are covered, lest they die.

Presumption Leads to Punishment and Fear

2 Samuel 6:6–11 KJV
And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it.

And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.

And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perez-uzzah to this day.

And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and said, How shall the ark of the LORD come to me?

So David would not remove the ark of the LORD unto him into the city of David: but David carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.

And the ark of the LORD continued in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months: and the LORD blessed Obed-edom, and all his household.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary 6:6–11
6:6–11. Along the way they passed over a rough outcropping of stone, a threshing place belonging to Nacon (or Kidon; 1 Chron. 13:9), and the oxen stumbled, threatening to throw the ark from the cart. Instinctively Uzzah, one of the attendants, laid hold of the ark to prevent its fall, an act of irreverence that cost him his life. The harshness of the LORD‘s discipline must be seen in the light of His absolute holiness which requires that sacred tasks be done in a sacred manner (cf. comments on 1 Sam. 6:19–7:2). Since God had broken out (p?ra?) in wrath on Uzzah, David named that place Perez (“outbreak against”) Uzzah. David learned his lesson. He would not move the ark again until the Lord gave him instruction. It remained, therefore, in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite (a native of Gath) for three months.

Punishment Leads to Humility

Sacrifice Seeking Forgiveness.

2 Samuel 6:12–13 KJV
And it was told king David, saying, The LORD hath blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with gladness.

And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings.

Celebration of Humble Praise

2 Samuel 6:14–15 KJV
And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.

So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.

Humility Becomes Bold

Passionate and Humble Worship is Disdained by Whose Who do not Practice it.

2 Samuel 6:16 KJV
And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.

Those who do Celebrate With You.

2 Samuel 6:17–19 KJV
And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.

And as soon as David had made an end of offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts.

And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. So all the people departed every one to his house.

Humility Wrought In The Crucible of Chastisement Will Remain Bold.

2 Samuel 6:20–23 KJV
Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!

And David said unto Michal, It was before the LORD, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the LORD.

And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour.

Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.

I Samuel to Esther Chapter 6
The speech might be paraphrased, Before the Lord which chose me, &c., yea, before the Lord have I danced. He humbles Michal’s pride by the allusion to her father’s rejection, and shows by Saul’s example how little pride contributes to the stability of greatness. Therefore for his part he will not think anything done for the glory of God too mean for him; and if he cannot have honour from Saul’s daughter, he will be content to be honoured by the maid-servants.

Barnes

In 1863 President Lincoln designated April 30th as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. Let me read a portion of his proclamation on that occasion:

“It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, who owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by a history that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. The awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has grown, but we have forgotten God.”

We are not smarter than God. Let us never presume to do things “better” than He has laid out in His book. When we deviate from God’s written will, people who are under our influence will suffer. Thank God, that He loves us enough to correct us. He will not allow our pride to fester unchecked. Once we surrender, we feel the immense relief of forgiven sin and restored relationships. It will be natural to passionately worship. Yes, some may mock, but God does not! Therefore be bold in your humility!

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 2:36 PM April 14, 2021.

Tomorrow is the last day for non perishable food donations.

Saturday, March 27th, 2021

Sunday March 28 is the last day we will be collecting for Friendly Hands Food Bank

Fully Persuaded

Saturday, February 6th, 2021

Fully Persuaded

Pastor Don Carpenter

When In Doubt / Romans 14:5–11

 The story is told about a Catholic priest who was walking down an alley behind his church when a thief jumped out from behind some garbage cans and pressed the muzzle of his gun into the priest’s ribs. 

 The thief said, “Give me your wallet!” 

 Without hesitation, the priest went and reached for his wallet in the front pocket of his coat. It was then the thief got a glimpse of his collar. 

 “Are you a priest,” the thief asked? 

 “Yes I am,” said the priest. 

 “Well, put your wallet back,” the thief said. “I don’t rob priests. I am Catholic too.” 

 At that point, the relieved Catholic priest pulled out two cigars and offered one to the thief. The repentant thief responded, “Oh no, I could not do that. Smoking is wrong and I can’t believe you would do such an evil thing!” 

 Sometimes people have convictions about certain things, but fail to deal with the things that really matter in their lives. 

(Scott Kircher, cited in a sermon by Mark Opperman, Life, Love, and Liberty, 6/19/2012) 

It is interesting how we all tend to grab onto certain things and leave other things, sometimes things that are much clearer in scripture, alone.  

As we continue our series “When In Doubt” , tonight we are going to discover that good people can have different convictions and practices. We will discover that these convictions are unique both to the individual and to the individual’s relationship with God. We are going to learn to evaluate our own decisions carefully, while allowing others to come to other conclusions. When it comes to spiritual decisions, we must make them Biblically and prayerfully, and be fully persuaded.

Decisions Can Be Different Among Bible Believers.

Romans 14:5 KJV

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

The precise time for festivals was such an important issue in Judaism that different Jewish groups broke fellowship with each other over the issue. (Not much later in history, different Christian groups followed suit.) Pagans had their own festivals, with different nations having their own ancestral customs and calendars. But Gentile writers especially reviled the Jewish sabbath. Romans reasoned that Jews were just lazy and wanted a day off from work. (This was not the first time in history that someone viewed Jewish worship in such terms—Ex 5:17.) Paul also alludes to the Jewish custom of giving thanks over food.1 

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ro 14:5–6. 

One Day Above Another

Exodus 31:12–17 KJV

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 

Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you. 

Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 

Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 

Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 

It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

Each Day Alike

Colossians 2:14–16 KJV

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 

And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

Galatians 4:10 KJV

Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

Colossians 2:16 KJV

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

Decisions Are Unique To You

Rom 14:5

… Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

Fully Persuaded

“Fully persuaded” is pl?rophore? (??????????), “to be fully convinced or assured, to be persuaded.” Bengel, commenting on the words, “in his own mind,” says, “As a boat may pursue its course uninjured either in a narrow canal or in a spacious lake.”1 

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 233. 

 • You are responsible for the scriptures you know.

 • You are responsible for God’s personal leading in your life.

 • God does have direction for you, you need to seek it.

In Your Own Mind

Paul would have added something else to that: people should never make their own practice the universal standard for everyone else. This, in fact, is one of the curses of the Church. People are so apt to think that their way of worship is the only way. The New Testament scholar T. R. Glover quotes a saying: ‘Whatsoever thy hand ?ndeth to do, do it with thy might—but remember that someone thinks differently.’ We would do well to remember that, in a great many matters, it is a duty to have our own convictions, but it is an equal duty to allow others to have theirs without regarding them as sinners and outcasts.1 

1 William Barclay, The Letter to the Romans, 3rd ed. fully rev. & updated., The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002), 218. 

 • God expects you to make the call

 • God expects you to make the call for yourself… not others

Decisions Are Unique to Your Relationship With God.

Romans 14:6 KJV

He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

(import canvass)

(14:6) Denney explains, “The indifference of the question at issue, from the religious point of view, is shown by the fact that both parties, by the line of action they choose, have the same end in view—namely, the interest of the Lord … Thanksgiving to God consecrates every meal whether it be the ascetic one of him who abstains from wine and flesh (he who does not eat), or the more generous one of him who uses both (he who eats). The thanksgiving shows that in either case the Christian is acting to the glory of God (I Cor. 10:31), and therefore that the Lord’s interest is safe.” 1 

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 233–234. 

Decisions Are Not Made In A Vacuum

Romans 14:7–9 KJV

For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 

For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 

For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

1 Corinthians 6:19–20 KJV

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

14:9 for this reason Here Paul reminds his audience that Christ’s death and resurrection should encourage believers to live for the Lord, not themselves. Christians should use their freedom in Christ to show love and respect to fellow believers since He died for all people—both the living and the dead, the strong and the weak.1 

1 John D. Barry, Douglas Mangum, Derek R. Brown, et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Ro 14:9 

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 1:36 PM February 6, 2021.

“Hope In Tribulation” 2020 Sunday School Program

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

Watch the video on Facebook! It will premiere on Christmas day at 10:00 AM and will run through New Year.

https://fb.me/e/1WV7Umf9F

The War In Heaven

Thursday, December 10th, 2020

The War In Heaven

Pastor Don Carpenter

Revival Stronger Than Ever / Separation; Purity; Marriage / 2 Chronicles 21–23; 2 Corinthians 6:14–18

2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Ephesians 6:12 KJV
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

I have some good news and some bad news for you today.

The bad news… is that our world is full of bad news these days.

The good news is, our world has always been full of bad news… and bad news never prevails!

One of the worst moments in our nation’s history happened on December 7, 1941. The Japanese Navy attacked the U.S. Fleet at Pearl Harbor, killing 2400 Americans and disabling almost all of our battleships. That was bad news.

The good news was, our 3 aircraft carriers were out on maneuvers at the time. So our Carrier Fleet was intact. 6 months later, that Carrier group destroyed 4 Japanese Carriers in the Battle of Midway. And ultimately, we won the war.

History is like that. – Wait long enough, and good news always triumphs over bad.

  • On Good Friday, our Savior died. It was the worst news in history.
  • Three days later, He rose again. It was the best news in history. On top of that,
  • He ascended to the right hand of the Father.
  • He sent the Holy Spirit to live inside of us.
  • And He launched the church.

Any appearance of the triumph of Evil is temporary because when there is a war in Heaven, and God always wins.

EZRA

A scribe by the name of Ezra knew that. He and his people were emerging from a national crisis.

? They needed some good news.

? They needed some hope.

? They needed some inspiration.

? They needed some reminders that their great God works all things together for the good of those who love Him.

So Ezra writes stories. Real-life stories, with real-life lessons.

SETTING

1 Chronicles 17 takes place during the reign of King David. One day God says to David,

1 Chronicles 17:10–14 KJV
And since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel. Moreover I will subdue all thine enemies. Furthermore I tell thee that the LORD will build thee an house.

And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom.

He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever.

I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee:

But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.

There are two promises in this passage: One is that there would always be a descendent of David ruling over the nation of Israel. The second was that one of those descendants would rule “God’s kingdom” forever. In other words, that the Messiah, the Forever-Ruler, would be a descendant of David.

Throughout the Old Testament there were prophecies that one day the Messiah would come. From this day in 1 Chronicles 17 onward, everybody knew that when the Messiah came, He would be a descendent of King David.

The Israelites knew, and Satan knew. Satan is not all-knowing, but he is exceedingly crafty and creative. And when this prophecy is given, he is clued in that the Messiah must come from the lineage of David.

Satan knows that God must be true to His word. He knows that if he can extinguish the line of David, he can prevent the Messiah from coming and saving mankind from our sins.

CONTEXT/FORECAST

[Pause] In 841 B.C. Satan sees and seizes a strategic opportunity to eliminate the line of the David. Here’s how it happened.

Write this down: #1… in 1 Chron. 17,

A Little History:

God promises that David will never lack an heir on the throne of Israel.

1 Chron. 17:10-14

And #2…

God promises that an heir of David will rule God’s kingdom forever. 1 Chron. 17:14b

Now fast-forward from there 150 years, to the time of King Jehoshaphat. We studied him last week.

During the course of his reign, Jehoshaphat made what seemed to him an expedient decision to secure an alliance with his greatest threat, which was the Kingdom of Northern Israel.

Back in those days, a common way to seal alliances was for two kings to marry their children to each other. In this case, Jehoshaphat married his son, Jehoram to the king of Israel’s daughter who was named Athaliah.

NEED

Follow me carefully for the next few minutes and we’ll learn an important lesson that could save you and your family a lot of heartache over the next 30 or 40 or even 50 years.

Turn to the back of your Bible to a map of the Old Testament, or, if you don’t have one, imagine a map of the Mediterranean in your mind. The nation of Israel sits at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea.

• At this time in history, Israel is divided into two kingdoms. The Northern Kingdom is simply called, “Israel.” And the Southern Kingdom is called “Judah.”

• The Northern Kingdom was ruled by a king named “Ahab.”

• The Southern Kingdom was ruled by Jehoshaphat.

• Ahab, in order to secure his northern border, had married the daughter of the king to his north. That kingdom was called “Sidon.”

• It’s king was named “Ethbaal.” – The word, “eth” means, “with.”

• The word “Baal,” means “Baal.” Baal was the fertility God of the Canaanites.

• Ethbaal was “with Baal.” He was a worshiper of Baal.

• Ethbaal’s daughter was named “Jezebel.”

(You may have heard of her before. She is infamous for worshiping Baal and corrupting pretty much all of Northern Israel during the time she was its queen.)

• Ahab married Jezebel.

• Together, they had a daughter they named Athaliah.

• Meanwhile, Jehoshaphat and his wife had a son they named Jehoram.

• To cement their alliance, Ahab and Jehoshaphat married their children to each other.

• This meant that the wife of the Crown Prince of Judah was not a follower of Jehovah, but a Baal-worshiper.

2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

2 Chronicles 18:1 KJV
Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab.

This happens about 20 years before our story.

COMMENT

Call this, “The Law of Unforeseen Consequences.” If you marry someone who is potentially dangerous, you might not foresee that something dangerous is going to happen.

Here’s the introduction to our story:

2 Chronicles 21:1–4 KJV
Now Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.

And he had brethren the sons of Jehoshaphat, Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah, and Michael, and Shephatiah: all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel.

And their father gave them great gifts of silver, and of gold, and of precious things, with fenced cities in Judah: but the kingdom gave he to Jehoram; because he was the firstborn.

Now when Jehoram was risen up to the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself, and slew all his brethren with the sword, and divers also of the princes of Israel.

Your 5th point…

When Jehoram became king, he killed all his brothers. 2 Chron. 21:4

He eliminated all the competition.

RESULT

Suddenly, of all the descendants of David, there is only one direct descendant. That’s Jehoram, along with all the sons that he will give birth to over time.

Well, later on that same year, 841 B.C., Jehoram died in battle. Ezra’s comment in verse 20 was, He died to no one’s regret and was buried in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings. 2 Chronicles 21:20b

Because his life did not merit a kingly tomb.

Often, when a king dies, his kingdom is vulnerable, because the neighboring nations know that the new king will be young and inexperienced, so that’s when they attack.

The attack happens. Judah is invaded by her neighbors: They carried off all the possessions found in the king’s palace and also his sons and wives; not a son was left to him except Ahaziah, his youngest son.

2 Chronicles 21:17 KJV
And they came up into Judah, and brake into it, and carried away all the substance that was found in the king’s house, and his sons also, and his wives; so that there was never a son left him, save Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons.

And your next fill-in:

The Philistines kill all but one of Jehoram’s sons (Ahaziah). 2 Chron. 21:17

And then there was one.

Here’s where our story officially begins. The kingdom and the Messianic line are hanging by a single thread.

2 Chronicles 22 opens with…

2 Chronicles 22:1–2 KJV
And the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah his youngest son king in his stead: for the band of men that came with the Arabians to the camp had slain all the eldest. So Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah reigned.

Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri.

If you know what’s coming, you can almost hear the downbeats of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony: dun, dun, dun, dun…

A few months after his coronation, Ahaziah is killed in battle.

No problem, Ahaziah had sons and nephews all over the palace. But they are all young and powerless. The person closest to power was the dowager queen, Athaliah.

? She is not Jewish.

? She’s the daughter of Jezebel.

? She is not a worshiper of Jehovah.

? She worships Baal.

This is when Satan launches his strategic initiative.

When Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother, saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to annihilate all the royal heirs of the house of Judah. 2 Chron. 22:10

2 Chronicles 22:10 KJV
But when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah.

You’re seventh point:

When Ahaziah died, Athaliah killed all the royal heirs. 2 Chron. 22:10

? The king is dead.

? His descendants are dead.

? The Davidic line is dead, and with it, all hopes for a Messiah.

This is the Good Friday of the Old Testament.

Baal has triumphed. Satan has won.

This, friends, is the bad news.

? All was dark.

? All hope was lost.

For seven years, Judah lived under the rulership of a foreign queen, worshiping a foreign god.

She was the Covid-19 of her day.

If you’ve lost your job, you know how they felt.

? If you’re depressed,

? or frustrated

? or irritated

? or angry,

you know how they felt.

The person in charge of their state, their nation, has driven a stake through the heart of all their hopes.

But there is a War in Heaven! God will not allow the forces of Darkness ultimate victory!

Let’s watch the story unfold:

2 Chronicles 22:10–12 KJV
But when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah.

But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king’s sons that were slain, and put him and his nurse in a bedchamber. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of king Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada the priest, (for she was the sister of Ahaziah,) hid him from Athaliah, so that she slew him not.

And he was with them hid in the house of God six years: and Athaliah reigned over the land.

2 Chronicles 23:1–3 KJV
And in the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and took the captains of hundreds, Azariah the son of Jeroham, and Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, and Azariah the son of Obed, and Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri, into covenant with him.

And they went about in Judah, and gathered the Levites out of all the cities of Judah, and the chief of the fathers of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem.

And all the congregation made a covenant with the king in the house of God. And he said unto them, Behold, the king’s son shall reign, as the LORD hath said of the sons of David.

2 Chronicles 23:12–14 KJV
Now when Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she came to the people into the house of the LORD:

And she looked, and, behold, the king stood at his pillar at the entering in, and the princes and the trumpets by the king: and all the people of the land rejoiced, and sounded with trumpets, also the singers with instruments of musick, and such as taught to sing praise. Then Athaliah rent her clothes, and said, Treason, Treason.

Then Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains of hundreds that were set over the host, and said unto them, Have her forth of the ranges: and whoso followeth her, let him be slain with the sword. For the priest said, Slay her not in the house of the LORD.

TRIUMPH!

? The forces of darkness seemed to be in control.

? Satan had won.

? Good was defeated.

? Evil had overcome!

But what seems and what is aren’t always the same.

Friends, the God of the Bible

? is the God of good news.

? He’s the God of the rescue.

? The God of the living hope.

? The God of the second chance.

? The God of the comeback.

With Him, there is always a way out of darkness.

Dreams of Messiah were dead, and then there was a resurrection!

Sorrow may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning!

Athaliah annihilated all the royal heirs, but…

Seven years later, it was discovered that one heir survived. 2 Chron. 23:3

Talk about rejoicing!

2 Chronicles 23:16–17 KJV
And Jehoiada made a covenant between him, and between all the people, and between the king, that they should be the LORD’s people.

Then all the people went to the house of Baal, and brake it down, and brake his altars and his images in pieces, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars.

CONCLUSION/APPLICATION

Ezra is recounting Israel’s history so that we can learn lessons during our time in history.

Ezra is letting us know that…

Ezra’s Lessons:

There is a war in heaven that is playing out on earth. 2 Chronicles 18-24

That war is more real than the Iraqi War or the War in Kuwait, or Vietnam or Korea.

Ephesians 6:12–13 KJV
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

The armor of God is faith, and hope, and righteousness, and the truth of salvation, and God’s word, and the Holy Spirit. Stand firm in those friends. Trust God and believe what He says, and do what He says.

Ezra is teaching us that God always has plans…

God always has plans to build up. 1 Chronicles 17:10-14

And those plans are to build up and not tear down.

And that Satan always has plans…

Satan always has plans to tear down. 2 Chronicles 22

And those plans are always to tear down and not build up.

And Ezra is teaching us that…

God always wins. 2 Chronicles 23

The Athaliahs of our world may rule for a while, but never forever. Weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

And morning is coming.

Say that after me: The morning is coming!

Say it like you mean it: The morning is COMING!

TRANS

That’s the vertical lesson of our story. It explains the spiritual dimension of our condition and why it all seems so much worse than it actually is.

How Does This Story Change Our Behavior?

Destiny and success is determined by the company you keep. 2 Chronicles 24

Don’t miss this lesson: Jehoshaphat endangered the generations which followed by building an alliance with a Baal-worshiper. He didn’t know he was doing it. It seemed innocent to him at the time.

This may be why God spells it out so clearly in the New Testament when He says…

2 Corinthians 6:14–16 KJV
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

On a practical level, Ezra is telling us:

Be careful who you marry. 2 Chronicles 18:1; 2 Corinthians 6:14

You don’t marry just a body,

? You marry a mind.

? You marry their beliefs.

? You marry their value-system.

And you don’t marry just a person, you marry into their family.

When Jehoram got Athaliah, he also got Jezebel and her Baal-worshiping priests and courtiers and all the evil that went with them.

Ezra is also encouraging us to line up all our partnerships with believers.

Jehoshaphat made an alliance. As a result of that alliance, the lineage of David and the promise of Messiah were almost wiped out.

Satan is always working to defeat God’s plans. He never succeeds.

The story of Joash is the story of triumph from ashes. It’s a story of revival!

It’s also the story of two unsung heroes, who were not kings. One was a rescuer named Jehoshabeath, the other a mentor, named Jehoiada. They happened to be married to each other. Everyone needs a rescuer at some time, and everyone needs a mentor at all times.

This is the story of the war in heaven, and of relationships on earth.

And the moral of the story is, when there is a war in Heaven, God always wins, so stay close to Him, and you will too.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:52 AM December 10, 2020.

The Gift of Wisdom

Friday, November 20th, 2020


The Gift of Wisdom

Pastor Don Carpenter / General

Revival: Stronger Than Ever / Wisdom; Prayer / 2 Chronicles 1:6–12

 2 Chronicles 1:7-12

If you place a Christian in trouble you will find that he does not want gold then—that he does not want carnal honor—then he wants his God. I suppose he is like the sailor. When he sails along smoothly he loves to have fair weather, and wants this and that to amuse himself with on deck. But when the winds blow, all that he wants is the haven. He does not desire anything else. The biscuit may be moldy, but he does not care. The water may be brackish, but he does not care. He does not think of it in the storm. He only thinks about the haven then.

It is just so with the Christian. When he is going along smoothly he wants this and that comfort; he is aspiring after this position, or is wanting to obtain this and that elevation. But let him once doubt his interest in Christ—let him once get into some soul distress and trouble, so that it is very dark—and all he will feel then is, “With my soul have I desired Thee in the night” (Isa 26:9).

When the child is put upstairs to bed it may lie while the light is there, and look at the trees that shake against the window, and admire the stars that are coming out. But when it gets dark and the child is still awake, it cries for its parent. It cannot be amused by anything else.

So in daylight the Christian will look at anything. He will cast his eyes around on this pleasure and on that! But, when the darkness gathers, it is “My God, my God why have you forsaken me? Why are you far from helping me, far from the words of my groaning?” (Ps 22:1)

Charles Spurgeon, 300 Sermon Illustrations from Charles Spurgeon, ed. Elliot Ritzema and Lynnea Smoyer (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2017).

This morning we are going to discover the path that leads us to find solace in the storm. We are going to discover where to go in our quest in order to obtain save harbor in the Gift of Wisdom.

We are learning lessons these days about how to restart our lives after being shut down by a national crisis.

Our teacher during this series is an ancient scribe named Ezra. Ezra described himself as “a scribe skilled in the law of Moses.” 

After 70 years of exile in Babylon, and being set free to restart their nation, Ezra compiled a selective account of the history of his people. We call his account, “The Book of Chronicles.”

In it, Ezra teaches scores of lessons from the lives of kings on what to do and what not to do when you get a change to do things over.

REVIEW

Last week, we learned another lesson from David, this one was about faith.

We learned that God relents when we repent. And that repentance involves remorse for our wrongs and turning towards what’s right, and giving something costly to God.

Today, we are going to learn a lesson from Solomon about wisdom. 

PREMISE

The Bible says that, apart from Jesus Christ, Solomon was the wisest man in history.

You’ve turned to 2 Chronicles 1, but I’m going to start in 1 Kings 4. Listen as it describes Solomon’s wisdom:

1 Kings 4:29–34 KJV

And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. 

And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. 

For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. 

And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. 

And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. 

And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.

When you study the life of Solomon, you quickly realize he did many things wrong. But Ezra is writing to encourage us. So he’s going to talk about what Solomon did right. And what Solomon did right benefited an entire nation.

What he did right started in the very first year of his reign. 

Solomon was replacing his personal hero, David. David was the greatest king in Israel’s history. 

As he thought out how to begin his kingship, Solomon did something we might not have thought of. He went to Israel’s holiest place, a mountain not far from his home. He took with him 1,000 sheep, goats and cattle. He built a fire on an altar, and he made a thousand-animal-offering to God.

As a result, God appeared to Solomon and changed his life.

CONTEXT

Solomon was 14 years old when he did this. 

He wasn’t the youngest king to rule Israel, but whether you’re 7, 8, 14, or 40, becoming king is a daunting assignment.

If you’ve ever felt small and helpless, if you’ve ever wondered if you could do the thing you were being asked to do, if you’ve ever wished your dad or somebody else was there to help you with the task you’ve been given, you know what Solomon was feeling that day. 

Solomon found himself responsible and caring for 2 million people who all needed leadership, care, and protection.

This was the biggest assignment of his life, so he makes the biggest sacrifice he can imagine. One after another, 1,000 herd animals are slaughtered and hoisted onto the altar. One after another, their ashes rise upward to God.

The Quest Starts at The Altar

2 Chronicles 1:6 KJV

And Solomon went up thither to the brasen altar before the LORD, which was at the tabernacle of the congregation, and offered a thousand burnt offerings upon it.

Christ is our Final Sacrifice

Hebrews 7:27 KJV

Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

Hebrews 9:28 KJV

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Believers are to Offer a Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1–2 KJV

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Hebrews 13:15 KJV

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

The Quest Requires a Choice

2 Chronicles 1:7 KJV

In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee.

You Could Choose Selfish Ambition

1 John 2:16–17 KJV

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

You Could Choose The Glory of God

1 Corinthians 10:31 KJV

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Colossians 3:23 KJV

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

The Quest Requires Humility

Acknowledge God’s Grace

2 Chronicles 1:8–9 KJV

And Solomon said unto God, Thou hast shewed great mercy unto David my father, and hast made me to reign in his stead. 

Now, O LORD God, let thy promise unto David my father be established: for thou hast made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude.

Acknowledge Your Need

1 Kings 3:7 KJV

And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.

James 1:5 KJV

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

2 Chronicles 1:10 KJV

Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?

The Quest Ends With the Gift of Wisdom

2 Chronicles 1:11–12 KJV

And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king: 

Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like.

Ezra, who is telling us this story, is teaching us a lesson about rebooting our lives. He’s saying, “The best way to have a fulfilled life, is to follow God’s purpose for your life. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all the things you’re hoping for will be added to you as well.”

SOLOMON

On the day of Solomon’s sacrifice, he was starting his life over. Once he was a prince, now he is a king. Princes can play. Kings must lead. 

So Solomon asks for this incredible thing called wisdom.

Knowledge is knowing facts and figures and principles.

Wisdom is knowing what to do with those facts and figures and principles.

Knowledge is about information.

Wisdom is about application. It’s about knowing what to do in every situation.

TRANSITION

If you can find the time this afternoon, read through the next eight chapters and you’ll discover some incredible things that happened as a result of the wisdom of Solomon.

For instance, right here in chapter 1, v. 14, Ezra tells us:

2 Chronicles 1:14 KJV

And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, which he placed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.

Those numbers might not mean much to you, but 1,400 chariots was a lot of chariots. When Pharaoh with his vast army came riding after Moses and the children of Israel, he only had 600 chariots. – Solomon knew that if God blessed his country, he’d need a strong military to defend it.

The next verse says…

2 Chronicles 1:15 KJV

And the king made silver and gold at Jerusalem as plenteous as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycomore trees that are in the vale for abundance.

Solomon knew how to generate wealth. 

2 Chronicles 1:1–2 KJV

AND Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the LORD his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly. 

Then Solomon spake unto all Israel, to the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and to the judges, and to every governor in all Israel, the chief of the fathers.

Solomon knew the importance of having a place for people to worship God.

Solomon knew how to assign labor to build that place. Solomon’s wisdom endowed Israel with the most incredible temple or worship in the world.

Chapters 3 through 8 describe how Solomon built that Temple, and how he fortified the cities of Israel, and how he settled people in those cities so that all of Israel prospered.

Flip forward to chapter 9 and you’ll see this description:

2 Chronicles 9:13–14 KJV

Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and threescore and six talents of gold; 

Beside that which chapmen and merchants brought. And all the kings of Arabia and governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon.

THE POINT

The point Ezra is making is this: Wisdom is a great gift!

– Israel experienced fantastic blessings as a result of Solomon’s wisdom.

– Israel became the wealthiest nation in the world. 

– Her people enjoyed safety on all their borders.

And the whole world experienced blessing as a result of Solomon’s prayers.

APPLICATION

Ezra is teaching us a lesson about wisdom. If you want to start your life over and live it at a higher level, you need wisdom. Wisdom is one of God’s greatest gifts.

Proverbs 8:11 KJV

For wisdom is better than rubies; And all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

Whatever you desire: money, sex, power. Thrills, achievements, recognition. Wisdom is better than them all.

So if you want to recover well, or maybe your life didn’t get shut down during this crisis, and you just want to live on a higher level, here are four steps to take. You can live a better life from here forward:

1. Make a burnt offering. 2 Chronicles 1:6

Declare a do-over, by building an altar somewhere, – maybe in your heart – and climbing onto it. Offer yourself 1,000 times over to God. Give Him your possessions and your position, your rights and your hopes, your goals and your dreams.

“Say, Lord, here I am. All I have is yours; and all I am, is yours.”

The second thing to do to live at a higher level is…

2. Ask God for wisdom. 2 Chronicles 1:10

The book of James says…If anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask God – who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly – and it will be given to him. James 1:5

Once you’ve asked for wisdom, continue to grow in wisdom. You do that by reading the book of Proverbs.

3. Pursue wisdom by reading the book of Proverbs.

There are 31 chapters in Proverbs, which means you could read the whole book in one month by reading one chapter a day. Billy Graham did that for over 70 years of his life.

Every day, read the Proverb of the day. Every month, you’ll grow in wisdom. 

REVIEW

Make a   burnt offering.

Ask for   wisdom.Pursue   wisdom. 

And then…

4. Walk in wisdom. 

Proverbs 13:20 KJV

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: But a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 12:57 PM November 20, 2020.

The Under-Shepherd

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020


The Under-Shepherd

Pastor Don Carpenter / General

Not From Around Here: The Strange and Complicated Life of a Sojourner / Pastor; Leadership / 1 Peter 5:1–4

The story is told of an outstanding actor who was asked to entertain one evening at an immense dinner party. As the great actor arose to speak the room was filled with excitement as the eager guests anticipated his message.

The star of the day said that he was going to recite the Twenty-third Psalm. This he did in a dramatic and eloquent manner. As soon as he had finished the chamber roared with applause as the audience arose in a standing ovation.

The next speaker of the evening was an elderly white-haired man who was bowed and feeble, worn by many long years of steadfast, patient labor as a missionary. A hush fell over the audience as he arose. After a moment’s silence he said humbly, “I, too, would like to recite the Shepherd’s Psalm.”

Then, lifting his face slightly toward Heaven he closed his eyes and began:

  “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

  I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

When the servant of the Lord finished, a pin could have been heard if one had dropped on the floor. This time there was no applause. There was standing ovation. Not a sound was heard. Yet, throughout the room there was not a dry eye. Tears were flowing freely.

Shortly afterward, a man approached the outstanding actor and said, “I don’t understand. You both said the same thing. Your presentation was perfect in every way. Yet, when he spoke in his halting, imperfect manner, people were moved too deeply for words. What made the difference?”

The actor hesitated and then replied, “The answer is simple. I knew the Twenty-third Psalm and I knew it well, but he knows the Shepherd!”

Billy Apostolon, Fifty-Two Invitation Illustrations, Preaching Helps Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1972), 11–12.

Tonight we are going to study the office of Pastor. The word pastor is the Greek word for Shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and He has called pastors to serve as under shepherds leading and protecting His sheep until the Great Shepherd returns.

As we continue to study the First Epistle of Peter, a letter written to the saints who have been displaced due to religious persecution, we come to an exhortation given to those folks among the dispersed who have been called to the office of Pastor. There is much to learn in these 4 verses. It is important for all believers to know these things. You need to know how to pray for your pastor. You need to know how to encourage your pastor. You need to know what to look for when it comes time to fill the office of Pastor.

The Office of Pastor

1 Peter 5:1 KJV

The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

Three Terms – One Office

Lexham Theological Wordbook ???????????

??????????? (presbyteros). adj. older, elder, presbyter. In general, a leader whose authority comes, in principle, from the wisdom associated with age; in the church, a particular kind of leader whose responsibilities included directing churches.

1 Peter 5:2 KJV

Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

Lexham Theological Wordbook ????????

???????? (poimain?). vb. to shepherd, tend, pasture; figuratively, to lead, guide, rule. To care for sheep.

This word is related to ?????? (poim?n, “shepherd”) and is the other major Septuagint translation of ????? (r??â, “to shepherd”).

Lexham Theological Wordbook ?????????

????????? (episkope?). vb. to oversee, care. The act of overseeing another person.

This verb is used twice in the NT. The understanding is that a person or group of people are to oversee the spiritual state of others.

Acts 20:17 KJV

And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.

Acts 20:28 KJV

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

The Job of the Pastor

1 Peter 5:2–3 KJV

Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 

Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

Shepherd the Flock

Feed (?????????). Better, Rev., tend, since the verb denotes all that is included in the office of a shepherd—guiding, guarding, folding, no less than feeding, which latter is expressed by ?????. There is, doubtless, a reminiscence in the word of Christ’s charge to Peter (John 21:15–17). Both words are used there: “Feed (?????) my lambs” (ver. 15); “tend (????????) my sheep” (ver. 16); “feed (?????) my sheep” (ver. 17). The A. V. obliterates the distinction by rendering all three feed. Bengel rightly remarks, “Feeding is part of tending.” See on Matt. 2:6.1

1 Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 1 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887), 665.

John 21:15–17 KJV

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 

He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 

He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

In a recent issue of glass Window, a contributor recalls that several years ago, The British Weekly published this provocative letter:

Dear Sir:

It seems ministers feel their sermons are very important and spend a great deal of time preparing them. I have been attending church quite regularly for thirty years, and I have probably heard 3,000 of them. To my consternation, I discovered I cannot remember a single sermon. I wonder if a minister’s time might be more profitably spent on something else?

For weeks a storm of editorial responses ensued … finally ended by this letter:

Dear Sir:

I have been married for thirty years. During that time I have eaten 32,850 meals—mostly my wife’s cooking. Suddenly I have discovered I cannot remember the menu of a single meal. And yet … I have the distinct impression that without them, I would have starved to death long ago.  

Take Oversight

Philippians 1:1 KJV

PAUL and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

The word “oversight” is the translation of the same Greek word in another form which is other places is rendered by the words “overseer,” or “bishop,” referring to the spiritual care of the flock. The words “filthy lucre” are literally in the Greek text “base or dishonorable gain.” The pastor is not to commercialize his ministry.1

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 11 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 124–125.

Do So Willingly As a Calling Not a Job

Ezekiel 34:2–3 KJV

Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 

Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.

Ephesians 4:11 KJV

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Be An Example Not A Dictator

The words “being lords over” in the Greek text speak of a high-handed autocratic rule over the flock, which is forbidden a true shepherd. One could translate, “lording it over.” However, this does not do away with a God-ordained, properly exercised authority which should be administered in the local church by the pastor and the elders. Paul speaks of this in I Thessalonians 5:12 and I Timothy 5:17, using another Greek word.1

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 11 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 125.

1 Thessalonians 5:12 KJV

And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

1 Timothy 5:17 KJV

Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

Instead of lording it over those portions of God’s flock assigned to them, these local pastors are exhorted to be an ensample to the entire flock. The word translated “ensample” means “a print left as an impression after a blow has been struck, a pattern or model of something else.” Under-shepherds should be living patterns or models of the Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus.1

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 11 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 125.

____

In his book, Leading at the Edge, Dennis Perkins contrasts the leadership values of two different explorers: Earnest Shackleton and Vilhjalmur Stefansson. In 1914, Shackleton led a daring expedition to reach Antarctica in the South. A year earlier, Stefansson led an expedition headed in the other direction to explore the North Pole. Both ships, the Karluk in the north and the Endurance in the south, found themselves trapped by solid ice packs. Each crew was faced with a fight for survival. But the outcomes of the two expeditions couldn’t have been more different.

In the north, the crew members from the Karluk, led by Stefansson, degenerated into a band of selfish, mean-spirited, cut-throat individualists, ending in the death of all 11 crew members. In the south, Shackleton’s crew faced the same problems–cold, food shortages, stress, and anxiety–but his crew responded with teamwork, self-sacrifice, and astonishing good cheer.

In the end, each leader stayed true to his core leadership values. Stefansson valued success above caring for people. He consistently communicated his ultimate objective: getting to the North Pole. In Stefansson’s words this meant “that even the lives of the [crew] are secondary to the accomplishment of the work!” To the very end, Stefansson denied that his drive for success led to a tragedy–for himself and his crew.

In sharp contrast, Shackleton’s leadership focused on the value and dignity of his teammates. At one of the lowest points of his trip, Shackleton wrote, “The task was now to secure the safety of the party.” The well-being of his team drove him to put others first. Shackleton even gave away his mittens and boots and volunteered for the longest night watches. By valuing each person, Shackleton forged a team that was willing to share their rations with each other, even on the brink of starvation. Through his example of sacrificial leadership, Shackleton was able to accomplish his ultimate objective: saving the lives of his crew members.

(Dennis N. T. Perkins, Leading at the Edge, AMACOM, 2000, pp. xiii-xiv. From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Leading Under Fire, 8/5/2011)

The Accountability of a Pastor

1 Peter 5:4 KJV

And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Hebrews 13:17 KJV

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Understanding the God given role of the pastor is vital for a healthy church. Remember, there are three terms that refer to the same office: Elder, Bishop or Overseer, and Pastor or Shepherd. The Pastor’s Job is to tend to the sheep… to feed, guide and protect them. He is also the overseer of the church/ the flock. He directs the progress and programs of the local church. While the deacons are under his leadership, he is accountable directly to Jesus, the Chief Shepherd. I count it an extreme privilege to serve God here at Evangelical Baptist Church for 19 years and counting as God’s Under- Shepherd.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:31 PM November 11, 2020.