Archive for the ‘Sunday Morning Sermons’ Category

The Delusion of Isolation

Saturday, January 12th, 2019

1 Kings 19:1–19

Often we are most tempted to give up and give in when we believe everyone else already has.  We must remember that God always reserves a remnant of believers to follow him.  You are not alone!

Tom Hanks is a gifted actor.  I have seen him play a diverse type of characters over the years, and in every role he turns in an impressive performance.  One of my favorite examples of his acting skills is the movie Castaway.  By the way, I cant believe that it is a 19 year old movie!  For over an hour Tom Hanks is alone with no other actors.  He portrays a Fed Ex man whose plane went down in the Caribbean.  He was able to get to a deserted island and he was forced to survive for 4 years before we was eventually rescued.  The movie shows how man was not meant to be alone.   The agony of loneliness was vividly portrayed by this masterful actor.

Loneliness is one of the greatest tools in the Devil’s arsenal.  With this weapon he causes many strong men to become weak, afraid, faint, even to the point of death.

Last week we saw that folks become discouraged when they confuse Karma with Grace.  They get bitter at God when they mistakenly think that He has mistreated them by not giving them what they deserved.  We discovered that Grace actually deliver us from what we deserve and gives us what we don’t deserve.

This week as we continue our series on Failing Faith, we will look at another tool Satan uses to destroy believers. As we consider the tactics of our enemy, we must remember that nothing can separate us from the love of God.  As believers, we can never be alone.  So the only thing Satan can do is to try to deceive us with the illusion of isolation.

Elijah had just gone through an epic spiritual battle.  The people of Israel were being seduced by the false god, BAAL.  The prophet prayed that it would not rain for three and a half years.  He had a show down asking for the real God to rain down fire on the altar they prepared.  Baal failed, Jehovah God did not!  The scorched soot stained spot on the ground stood as a testimony that the real God answered with fire!  After that the drought ended.  450 prophets of Baal were killed.  Rain came!  Victory was sweet…. but there was a counter attack.   Elijah was made blinded by the delusion of isolation.

I Feel All Alone and Ashamed – I Failed to Make A Difference.

1 Kings 19:4 KJV 1900

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

•    After great spiritual victory we are often vulnerable to the greatest spiritual attack.

•    Elijah expected a nation wide revival after such a great demonstration of God’s power… instead the queen had vowed to destroy him in 24 hours. 

•    After 3 1/2 years of struggle and after the showdown with the prophets of Baal, he thought it must be over… but apparently it was not.

•    Elijah ran to Beersheba in the extreme southern part of Judah… about 103 miles.

•    He was disappointed, exhausted, and spent.

•    In a moment of human weakness he longed for death.

•    He did not dare take his own life.

•    He did tell God he had had enough.

•    That all came from a belief that he was no better than his fathers… he was no more effective in ridding the land of Baal idolatry than they were.  Since he was a failure, there was no reason to continue.

•    An angel came to feed him and prepare him for a journey.  200 miles to the same Mount where Moses met God.

•    There was still more for Elijah to do.

God still sends His messengers today – pastors… leaders.. friends

•    Take your rest

•    Take your food

•    There is still a journey ahead of you…. God is not done with you.

I Feel All Alone and Afraid- Everyone is Against Me

1 Kings 19:9 KJV 1900

And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

1 Kings 19:10 KJV 1900

And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

•    Elijah was directed to the mount of God, not to the cave or fear and isolation.

•    This time God’s voice came, not just His messenger.

•    The revelation was a question:  “What are you doing here?”

•    I have been jealous for God

•    Israel has turned from Your covenant

•    Israel has thrown down your altars

•    The prophets have been killed

•    I am the only one left.

Are you in a cave of isolation rather than meeting with God?

•    You feel like you are the only believer truly standing

•    Our church is the only one without compromise.

•    When directed to the place to meet God (church) you are curled up isolated in your mind and heart, not talking to anyone or open to any intervention….God gives you the same command as He gave Elijah… stand upon the mount before the Lord.

King James Version Chapter 19

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD.

I Feel Alone and I am Wrong- I AM NOT ALONE

•    God can reveal Himself in many different ways, but He is tenderest when we need that the most.

And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind:

•    Sometimes God is seen in the midst of storms and tempest… not this time

King James Version Chapter 19

and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake

•    Sometimes God is seen in the midst of instability and crumbling foundations… but not this time

King James Version Chapter 19

And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire:

•    Sometimes God is seen in fiery trials that burn the impurities out of our lives… but not this time.

...and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave.

•    God, in His tenderness knows that his exhausted and bewildered servant that thinks he is alone needs a still small voice.  When you hear it… come to the opening of the cave…there is something life changing about to happen!

King James Version Chapter 19

What doest thou here, Elijah?

•    God asked the convicting question again in a still small voice.  The truth cut through… you are in the wrong place.  I’ve still got stuff for you to do.

•    In verses  15-17 Elijah recieved instruction.  You are not be be ashamed… I have work for you

•    You do not have to be afraid … I have work for you to do.

•    You do not have to feel like you are alone… You are not!

1 Kings 19:18 KJV 1900

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

Conclusion:

Oh believer friend.  Have you slipped into deep dark depression thinking that you have failed to make a difference and that there is no reason to continue?  Listen to God’s messenger, you need strength… eat, rest and get ready for the journey God has for you.  Are you hiding in a cave isolated and afraid?  Listen to the voice of God that calls you into His presence.  You have heard God in the wind before and He has calmed your storms.  You have heard God in the earthquake before and He has brought stability.  You have heard God in the fire before and He has refined you.  But today He comes to you at this very moment in a still small voice.

“What are you still doing here?  I have work for you.  Your isolation is just a delusion.  You are not alone!

Karma or Grace?

Friday, January 4th, 2019

Pastor Don Carpenter / General

Failing Faith / Saved by Works; Faith / Mark 10:17–31

Michael and I grew up in the same church and ran in the same Christian circles for most of our lives. We both understand each other, in an ancient sort of way, when we discuss faith. Up until the end of high school, our religious experiences were nearly identical. He knew exactly where I was coming from when I talked to him about how I felt my faith changing, failing. “Sometimes I wonder if what we were taught—what we were exposed to—doesn’t work out here in the real world.” Michael laughed before responding with a hint of anxiousness. “Bro, you don’t even know.” After I became a pastor, it took Michael sometime before he felt he could be honest with me about God. Now he wasn’t afraid to talk about what his faith—or lack thereof—looked like now. “I’m tired of a Christianity that tries to tie a neat bow on everything,” I nearly growled.

“Maybe that’s cool for a church bubble or something like that, but not here.” I stopped pacing and leaned against the wall in my office. The head on a Star Wars bobble head Dad gave me bounced on my bookshelf as I slid toward the ground. Its face wobbled up and down as I spoke. “You know what a pastor told me after Dad was diagnosed?” I looked down at the ground before continuing. “He told me that the key to my father’s healing might just be me owning up to the correction God was trying to do in my own life.” “[Expletive] that guy,” barked Michael. “Yeah . . . forget that guy.” “It’s fake,” Michael’s voice carried a side of bitterness. “I don’t know how many times someone told me that if I were good, I’d have everything I’d ever wanted. Well then why do I look around at all the good people in my life and watch them suffer the most?” “I was thinking the other day; out of all the friends we grew up with in church,” I quickly replied in the heat of the moment. “How many are still there?” The line hummed with silence before Michael replied. “Not me.”

Bearden, Wade. Failing Faith: When What You Thought You Knew about God Doesn’t Work in the Real World (p. 10). Kindle Edition.

This kind of bitter disappointment causes many unbelievers to reject Christ and many believers to give up and quit serving Christ. 

One of the reasons for this is a misunderstanding of what God offers.  Non Christian world views have been melded with Christian ones over the years distorting the truth of pure Christianity.  One of those distortions is that of Karma.

Karma is a concept in many Eastern religions where the universe pays us for what we have done… if we do good… we receive good Karma… if bad, then we receive bad Karma. Karma is getting what we deserve. Like much o the Devil’s lies, it is laced with truth.

Galatians 6:7–8 KJV 1900

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

So, when the law of sowing and reaping is mixed with Karma, we start to look at the good in our life from a view of entitlement.  I have a job because I deserve it.  I have a car a home, a wife, kids that love me because I deserve it… God owes me that much.

In our Scripture reading this morning we read a story about a rich man who had a similar view.  He was rich because he deserved to be.  He just wanted to take it to the next level and schmooze his way into eternal security by talking to a very connected Holy man, Jesus.  He would give him the inside scoop on exactly what he had to do to further advance his cause from this life to the next.

This morning we are going to contrast the concept of Karma where we get what we deserve, with Grace where we get what we don’t deserve.  We will find that Jesus offers a much better deal when it comes down to Karma VS Grace.

Karma Often Seems to Work: The Delusion of Deserving Good

•    God’s Blessing is validation of one’s self righteous delusion. – The rich man trusted in riches as evidence of God’s blessing.

Mark 10:24 KJV 1900

And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

•    Flattery indicates one’s confidence in his own standing. “Good Master”

Good= benefit

Philemon 14 KJV 1900

but without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.

•    The rich man’s question shows his Karma confidence… what good thing must I do

 agathos (??????) describes that which, being “good” in its character or constitution, is beneficial in its effect – Vine

•    Jesus dropped a truth bomb that prepared the rich man for the truth he was going to learn about himself… there is none good but God.

Mark 10:18 KJV 1900

And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

•    With Karma, the standard you embrace becomes the standard that condemns you.

Romans 3:19 KJV 1900

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

Romans 3:20 KJV 1900

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

Karma Cannot Fix What Is Broken: The Reality of Deserving

•    Karma creates the illusion of self- awareness.

Mark 10:20 KJV 1900

And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

At the beginning of her “Out of the Woods” music video, Taylor Swift is standing on a beautiful beach. “Vines begin to surround her as she slowly makes her way through a dark forest. As she sings of heartbreak and despair, she’s haunted by

both the forest and a series of wolves. The pack tears her dress, pursuing her to the top of a mountain in the middle of a snowstorm. The situation grows worse as Swift later

struggles through a swamp, a desert, and a firestorm—sounds like a day in Texas.

When she finally reaches the beach again, she approaches her former self, and gently

touches her shoulder. The video ends with the words: ‘She lost him, but she found herself. And somehow that was everything.’

“Swift’s video does provide an interesting window into twenty-first-century pop culture philosophy. Finding true peace means finding yourself. You alone hold the answer to meaning and purpose in this life”

(Bearden, Failing Faith, 25).

•    Jesus’ words shattered the illusion of self awareness.

•    These words of rebuke poured out of a heart of love from our Savior, not a heart of rejection opr hatred.

Mark 10:21 KJV 1900

Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

Mark 10:22 KJV 1900

And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

James 2:10 KJV 1900

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

James 2:11 KJV 1900

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

•    Jesus invited him to come – away from his Karma based works and to Faith based belief.

John 3:16 KJV 1900

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

•    Jesus invited him to take up his cross- publicly confess his guilt and lack

Romans 10:9–10 KJV 1900

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.

•    Jesus invited him to follow Him.

Matthew 16:24 KJV 1900

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

•    The rich man made his choice… he continued to trust Karma…after all look at all the tangible evidence that it was working for him…

Mark 10:22 KJV 1900

And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

Karma Fails But Grace Prevails: The Gift of God Transcends our Merit.

•    Jesus used this sad occasion to teach the disciples these things:

•    It is hard for those that are comfortable to realize that they have a lack.

•    It is impossible for someone who trusts in riches to trust in Christ. – especially when the reason they trust in riches is that the riches are in inaccurate “proof” that their karma is working.

•    The eye of the needle in context is not talking about something that is hard, but rather something that is impossible. 

Mark 10:27 KJV 1900

And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

•    ?Trust in Christ and the Gospel yields rewards  Mark 10:28-31 Trust in Christ and the Gospel yields both temporal and eternal benefit.

Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.

(Mark 10:28–31, KJV 1900)      

“In his book The Prodigal God, pastor and writer Timothy Keller relays a conversation he had with a young woman about grace. The woman had grown up in a church that taught God only accepts those who lived good, ethical lives. Upon hearing Keller teach about grace—that God’s gift of salvation is completely free even to those who are immoral—the woman expressed fear. Keller asked her about it.” Her reply was telling:

“‘If I was saved by my good works—then there would be a limit to what God could ask of me or put me through. I would be like a taxpayer with rights. I would have done my duty and now I would deserve a certain quality of life. But if it is really true that I am a sinner saved by sheer grace—at God’s infinite cost—then there’s nothing he cannot ask of me.’” (Bearden, Failing Faith, 16). (Quote from Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God:

Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith [New York: Dutton, 2008], 121).

Conclusion:

Are you living under Karma or under Grace.  If you are trying to merit Heaven based on your deeds, your Karma will try you and find you wanting.  Jesus looks at you lovingly and says “One thing thou lackest”… righteousness.

Romans 3:10 KJV 1900

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

He wants to give you His righteousness if you trade your works for His.

2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV 1900

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

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If you are a believer saved by Grace through faith plus nothing, it is still possible to be living under Karma not grace.  Why do you serve?  Why do you tithe?  Why do you come to church?… so God will be happy with me and bless me… that is Karma… you wrongfully imagine that your actions will merit you favor.  God grants favor IN SPITE OF what we deserve.  If we humbly hit our knees God be merciful to me… we access His grace, and are covered by His righteousness.  So what are you trusting in to draw close to Jesus, your efforts, or His Grace?

1 John 1:9 KJV 1900

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

In the battle of Karma VS Grace… Grace wins every time.

Order in the Home: How to Keep Your Family On Track

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

Order in the Home: How to Keep Your Family On Track

Pastor Don Carpenter / General

2018 Doers of the Word / Obedience; Leadership; Family: Fathers / Colossians 3:20–21; Ephesians 6:1–2

 

When I was a boy, I received an electric train set for Christmas.  It came with tracks, an engine, coal car, box cars, and a caboose.  All of this was powered by a transformer that had a gradual switch that would increase the speed of the train.  Dad helped me assemble the tracks and nail them to a particle board so I had a solid place to run my new toy.  I found that if I backed the engine up carefully, I could hook other cars and if I went forward I would take the whole train together.  One thing I liked to do is run the train faster and faster.  Once and a while, I would bump the board and cause one of the sets of wheels on one of the cars to jump the tracks.  The car would still be on, but not all the wheels would be lined up correctly.  The train would labor and spark as it tried to pull the cockeyed car along the track.  The Train soon would heat up and quit working for a while.  You see, if all the wheels were not aligned properly, the entire train was hindered.

As we continue to explore what the Bible teaches about being doers of the word, specifically how to live with the truth that we have been made alive in Jesus, we are studying our personal relationships.  We have discovered that to have the mind of Christ is to have an others -centered Christlike love for each other.  Last week we saw that The wife and the husband have a symbiotic relationship depending upon mutual surrender.  She surrenders to submit to him, and he surrenders to selflessly surrender to love her unconditionally, protecting, guiding and providing for her as Christ does the church.

A concept that is often difficult to embrace within the study of interpersonal relationships is the concept of personal boundaries.  We use phrases like “he made me to feel…”

“She is doing ___________________ so I am not able to do _________”

Our behavior toward others becomes dependent upon their behavior toward us.  This is not the Bible way.  Our behavior toward others is a direct response of obedience to God’s commandments, not a reflexive quid pro quo like the world does.

Last week we saw that wives are to submit even when husbands are boneheads.  It is that submission that God will use to expose that boneheadery and motivate the husband to repent and go in a different direction.  We also saw that husbands are to love and to not grow bitter with unforgiveness when the wife does not submit… or when she reacts with passive aggressive tactics.  We saw that since the husband is to love the wife like Christ loved the church, that authority he has over her is not to be used for personal gratification, but for the growth, prosperity, and protection of his wife.

Colossians 3:20–21 

Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

 

Today we move onto another two way relationship, the relationship of children to parents and fathers to children.  We will see that each party has a specific function.  One can only accomplish their role, but cannot make compliance to that God given role conditional upon perceived compliance from the other.  In other words, a child is always to obey even if they think that father is provoking them and the father is to avoid provoking the child.  Each to mow their own lawn and control their own boundaries.  If parents and children simply obey the commands of scripture then the family train will remain on track.

Children Must Remain on Track

  • Obey

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

1:      to follow the commands or guidance of
2:      to conform to or comply with

Proverbs 30:17 

The eye that mocketh at his father,

And despiseth to obey his mother,

The ravens of the valley shall pick it out,

And the young eagles shall eat it.

  • Honor

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words Honor

  1. time (????, 5092), primarily “a valuing,” hence, objectively, (a) “a price paid or received,”

Exodus 20:12 

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Deuteronomy 5:16 

Honour thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

So then the responsibility of the child still residing unter the authority, provision, and protection of the home is to unconditionally obey and honor.  This obedience should be

  • From the heart – not mere external compliance limited to what can be seen and enforced.
  • With a view of learning from the parents
  • Sweet submission to keep the wheels on track
  • Complete
  • Follow the spirit of the command not just the letter.
  • Realize that in doing so you honor God even if you think the parent may not be fair.
  • Let God deal with any perceived injustice. That is not your lawn to mow.

Fathers Must Remain on Track

Colossians 3:21 

Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

  • Do not Provoke

A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. ???????

??????? 1 aor. ???????; aor. pass. ptc. ?????????? 2 Macc 14:27; fut. pass. 3 sg. ????????????? Da 11:10, 25 (s. ????; Hom. et al.; Epict., Ench. 20; LXX; TestSol 4:6; 8:5 PC; TestDan 4:4) to cause someone to react in a way that suggests acceptance of a challenge, arouse, provoke mostly in bad sense irritate, embitter,

  • Do not Discourage

A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. ??????

?????? 1 aor. 3 sg. ???????? LXX (since Aeschyl., Thu. 5, 91, 1; PAmh 37, 7; 10 [II B.C.]; PGiss 79 III, 11; LXX, Philo; Jos., Bell. 6, 94, Ant. 9, 87; Just., D. 107, 3) to become disheartened to the extent of losing motivation, be discouraged, lose heart, become dispirited

The Greek word literally means to take away their heat… or passion… to at best encourage apathy and at worst stir up resentment and bitterness.

  • Be a good steward of your authority over your family
  • Teach.

Deuteronomy 6:6–7 

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

  • Train with consequence both negative and positive.

Proverbs 22:6 

Train up a child in the way he should go:

And when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Hebrews 12:7

If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

Galatians 6:7–8

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

 

 

 

Brothers of the Night’s Watch

Saturday, August 19th, 2017

 

Pastor Don Carpenter / General

2017 Bible Reading Challenge / Evangelism; Discipleship; Admonish; Judgment; Accountability / Ezekiel 3:15–21; Ezekiel 33:1–9; Acts 20:26–27; Hebrews 13:17

 

 

Introduction

“Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.”

This was an oath taken in the fictional land of Winterfell, the home of a giant wall that protected the realm of man from the unspeakable horrors that lie beyond the wall.  The Brothers of the Night’s Watch were given one job, watch and protect the seven kingdoms from any danger that awaits beyond the wall.  Their oath was life long, and to break that oath, even for a moment, would mean their life.

In the days of old, before radars and satellites,  the role of the  watchman was one of the most solemn responsibilities that a soldier could have.   He needed to stay alert and battle ready while the rest of the city slept.  He needed to peer into the darkness, looking and listening for trouble.  He needed to be able to discern the difference between wildlife, a wild imagination, and a true threat, an attacking enemy.  Once he discerned a threat, he needed to be willing to blare a trumpet in the middle of the night, sounding a clear piercing warning of the imminent threat.

In 597 BC, Nebuchadnezzar launched the second wave of an invasion of Judah that started in 605 BC when young Daniel was taken captive.  This time the prophet Ezekiel was one of the 10,000 people taken in the second wave of the invasion.  Our passage this morning  takes place a few years later, July 593 BC, to be exact.  Ezekiel had met with some taken captive that second time in a land we now know as Tel-Aviv .  It was by the riverside that God met with the prophet.  God commissioned him with a a solemn charge… Ezekiel was now a Spiritual watchman over Israel.  He would bear the sacred task of identifying coming judgement and warning the people so in time for them to take action and avoid it.

As we study this passage, we will find that believers share the same solemn task and burden that Ezekiel did.  Unlike the prophet, we do not get personal partial revelation of pending judgment, we are given the whole truth of a completed Bible.  Born again believers, like Ezekiel, are the watchmen commissioned to see the danger of impending judgment, and warn those who are unaware so that they can escape.

This is the burden shared by all the Brothers of the Night’s Watch.

The Watchman Has a Responsibility Toward God.

Ezekiel 3:17 KJV 1900

Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.

  • God is the one who commissions the watchman.

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:3–4, KJV 1900)

Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” (John 15:8, KJV 1900)

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16, KJV 1900)

  • The watchman must be awake and alert

1 Corinthians 15:34 KJV 1900

Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;” (Ezekiel 33:2–3, KJV 1900)

  • the watchman must be listening to God’s Word

Ezekiel 33:7 KJV 1900

So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.

 

  • The watchman must sound a clear warning

If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;” (Ezekiel 33:3, KJV 1900)

But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” (Ezekiel 33:6, KJV 1900)

The Watchman Has A Responsibility Toward The Wicked

(The Hell-bound sinner)

Ezekiel 3:18–19 KJV 1900

When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

  • The sinner before salvation is condemned to death and Hell

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Romans 3:10, KJV 1900)

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23, KJV 1900)

  • The Watchman must warn him!

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15, KJV 1900)

 

 

A Connecticut man was so busy listening to music on his iPod that he did not notice his house was on fire. Andrew Riley told fire officials he didn’t smell smoke or hear the smoke alarm going off. He was so engrossed in the music that he was unaware of the fire on the upper floor of his home until the alarm company called to tell him about the danger. A fire marshal determined an electrical malfunction caused the fire. He said the situation could have been much worse if, after receiving the warning, Riley hadn’t run upstairs and closed a door to contain the fire.

It is so easy to get distracted and miss the alarms going off around us.

 

—Jim L. Wilson and Jim Sandell

 

  • If the sinner dies unwarned, the watchman will bear the guilt

2 Corinthians 5:11 KJV 1900

Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

 

  • If the sinner dies having heard, but not heeding the warning, the watchman is guilt free.

Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” (Ezekiel 33:9, KJV 1900)

  • If the sinner turns, his soul is delivered.

He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.” (Ezekiel 33:5, KJV 1900)

The Watchman Has A Responsibility Toward The Backsliding Believer

Ezekiel 3:19–20 KJV 1900

Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

  • The backslider can still face consequences, possibly lethal ones, even though he is no longer hell bound.

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:14–15, KJV 1900)

  • The watchman must warn the backslider

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24–26, KJV 1900)

  • Silence brings personal guilt

Acts 20:26–27 KJV 1900

Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

The watchman could restore a fallen brother.

Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19–20, KJV 1900)

Lord prepare me to answer Your call,
Faithfully let me stand on the wall,
A “watchman” I would be,
Seeking now to find victory;
Help me boldly to call on Your name,
May the Gospel I boldly proclaim,
For others I would intercede,
For this glorious land plead,
Help me in Your name bind Satan’s power,
And live in victory hour by hour.

  • Ed Ostrom

 

 

Strength In Weakness

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

Strength in Weakness

Isaiah 40:28-31

Preached Sunday July 30, 2017

 

Introduction:

 

About 23 years ago, I was suffering from a terrible sinus infection. Finally, I sought the doctor’s advice and treatment. He prescribed a strong medicine and recommended that I continue taking the strongest over the counter decongestant that was on the market.

 

Later on, in the middle of the night I went downstairs to use the bathroom. My head began to feel strange began to feel strange. The room started to spin, grow dark, then… I heard moaning. I could not see at all. Soon I realized that the moaning I heard was me. I had fainted. I was on the bathroom floor. The medicines had interacted.

 

This message today is for men and women that are involved in the work of the Lord, who find themselves spiritually faint. Sometimes after we have been saved for a while, we become spiritually ill. We attempt to continue serving God the same way that we used to… But something is wrong and we faint, falling flat on our faces spiritually.

 

After we hit the ground, we have two choices. We could correct the problem that caused us to faint, or we could be content to be a spiritual invalid- pulling away from the spiritual commitments we once had. We are no longer willing to go soulwinning, teach Sunday school, serve on a committee, or attend services regularly.

 

God’s word gives us a simple cure for spiritual fainting spells. We must learn that “wait” is an action word. We must find a different power source, and learn to serve God on the long haul. May God speak to your heart as we discover the cure to spiritual fainting spells.

 

  1. Even the Strongest of People Grow Faint From Time to Time

 

Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall:” (Isaiah 40:30, KJV 1900)

  1. Weakness comes when we rely on human strength and provision to accomplish a heavenly task.
  2. Fainting causes us to miss out on the blessings that are already coming to us.

 

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9, KJV 1900)

 

  1. Fainting causes us to give in to fatigue, depression, and apathy.
  2. Fainting causes us to want to tear down and retreat rather than to build up and conquer.

 

And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.” (1 Chronicles 4:10, KJV 1900)

 

 

  1. The Answer to Fainting is Revival not Retreat

 

 

Isaiah 40:31

31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. 

 

  1. Service “Wait” is an action word

 

  • Like a waiter

 

 

Psalm 27:14

14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

 

Psalm 37:34

34 Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

 

Psalm 25:3

3 Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.

 

  1. Expectation

 

Psalm 40:1

1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

1  I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. 

 

Lamentations 3:25-26

25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.

 

  1. Jesus taught the same principal

 

  • Rest comes when you exchange your burden for Christ’s

 

Matthew 11:28-30

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

 

  • You need a different power source

 

Isaiah 40:31

31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. 

 

  1. Renew= “change of strength”

 

Psalm 84:5-7

5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. 6 Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.   7 They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God. 

 

  1. From your flesh

 

Romans 7:18

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

 

  1. To God

 

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, That the everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; And to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” (Isaiah 40:28–29, KJV 1900)

 

 

Psalm 18:1-2

1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said,

1  I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. 2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

 

Zechariah 4:6

6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. 

 

 

 

  1. Find strength in spite of circumstances!

 

2 Corinthians 4:8-10

8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

 

2 Corinthians 4:16

16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

 

  1. You can serve God for the long haul!

 

Isaiah 40:31

31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. 

 

  1. Mount up with wings= ascend as a result of immediate deliverance

 

Exodus 19:4

4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.

 

  1. Run= especially running to one’s aid

 

2 Corinthians 5:11

11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

 

  1. You can do these things without fainting from lack of faith

 

Psalm 27:13

13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

 

 

Perfect Peace

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

Perfect Peace

Isaiah 26:3

Preached Sunday, July 23, 2017 – AM Service

 

Isaiah 26:3

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

 

 

Introduction:

 

We are now entering a wonderful time of year.  It is a time where the phrase “peace on earth, and good will toward men” can be heard in a crowd.  Where is that peace?  We have wars.  We have strifes!  We anguish over the loss of loved ones.  What about your soul?  Are you at peace?  Do you enjoy the sense of being at rest, free from the anguish of inner conflict?  Perhaps you are hear today and you are still at war with an Holy God.   Today you can have peace.  Perhaps you claimed that peace that comes through salvation, but the circumstances that you have endured in this sin cursed world has left you languishing deep within your inner man.  Today you can get peace…  and keep it!  This morning we will study this simple promise in God’s perfectly inspired and preserved word.  Today you can have perfect peace!

 

  1. Perfect peace is possible.

 

  1. Perfect = Hebrew construction shows this to be an emphatic phrase: you can have peace, peace.
  2. Peace = a sense of completeness, free from harm, absent from war in one’s inner being.
  3. This peace does not need to be temporary.

 

  1. Peace comes when we are reconciled with God through saving faith.

 

Romans 5:9-11

9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved

by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

  • This peace brings healing.

 

Isaiah 57:19-21

19 I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him. 20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

 

  • This peace transcends worldly, temporal peace.

 

John 14:27

27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

 

  1. This peace can be kept = guarded.

 

Jeremiah 17:7-8

7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. 8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

 

  1. Perfect peace depends upon one’s state of mind.
    • Stayed = take hold of
  2. Peace comes through God’s Word.

 

Psalm 119:165

165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

 

John 16:33

33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

 

  1. Peace comes through the renewal on one’s mind.

 

Romans 12:2

2 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.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)  5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

 

  • Perfect peace depends upon the object of your trust.

 

  1. No Jesus, no peace – Know Jesus, know peace.

 

Isaiah 31:1

Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!

 

1 Chronicles 5:20

20 And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and he was intreated of them; because they put their trust in him.

 

2 Chronicles 20:20

20 And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.

 

  1. Peace comes when you trust God.

 

Psalm 28:7

7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

 

  1. Trust is demonstrated through prayer.

 

2 Chronicles 16:8-9

8 Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them into thine hand.  9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.

 

Philippians 4:6-7   Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

When Reason Meets Faith

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

 

 

Isaiah 1:18 KJV 1900

18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

 

Introduction:

Are you a skeptic?  Are you a doubter?  Do you come to this service or this TV program with reservation, thinking that perhaps all this religious fervor is founded an baseless superstition?  Are you pretty sure that you are done with religion, and you would prefer not to identify with any one belief because, who knows which one if any actually have a corner on the truth?

If this describes you, then this message is for you.  In our passage this morning God challenges all those who have not yet fully committed to His to a debate.  You see, contrary to popular opinion, faith and reason are friends, not enemies.  God invites you right now to examine your doubts, your presuppositions, and your beliefs in the light the reason and logic we find in the Bible.  Perhaps if you are brave enough to honestly evaluate your position reason will meet faith.

The Skeptic Is Invited to an Open Discussion

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: ...” (Isaiah 1:18, KJV 1900)

  • Reason = law term used of arguing , convincing, or deciding a case in court.
  • Real open minded people should not fear examining their presuppositions from an opposing view.
  • Think through the acts of God.

1 Samuel 12:7 KJV 1900

7 Now therefore stand still, that I may reason with you before the Lord of all the righteous acts of the Lord, which he did to you and to your fathers.

  • Think through the truth of the Word of God.

Acts 17:2 KJV 1900

2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,

  • 40+ authors
  • 1600+ years
  • 3 Languages
  • Scientific truths before its time
  • One main message… your scarlet sins can be made clean and white.

Nelson’s Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook, 2004 Edition Stats, Stories and More

Amnesty
The word amnesty comes from the word from which we get amnesia. It means to forget. When God washes away our sins, they are forgotten. We’re left whiter than snow, purer than wool.

The Skeptic is Dared to Discover His Sinful Condition.

Though your sins be as scarlet…  Though they be red like crimson…” (Isaiah 1:18)

God has seen in secret

Romans 3:23 KJV 1900

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 3:10 KJV 1900

10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Proverbs 14:12 KJV 1900

12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, But the end thereof are the ways of death.

Romans 3:19–20 KJV 1900

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

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

James 2:10–11 KJV 1900

10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

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

Ephesians 5:12–13 KJV 1900

12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

The appointed penalty is death.

Romans 6:23 KJV 1900

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Useless rituals will not erase the scarlet stain.

Isaiah 1:10–14 KJV 1900

10 Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; Give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.

11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; And I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.

12 When ye come to appear before me, Who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?

13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; The new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; It is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.

14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: They are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.

Empty prayers will not erase the stain

Isaiah 1:15 KJV 1900

15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: Yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: Your hands are full of blood.

The Skeptic is Dared to Believe there is Hope!

A Chance for absolute purity

1 John 1:9 KJV 1900

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

A Chance to replace our sin with Christ’s righteousness.

Romans 3:21–25 KJV 1900

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

22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV 1900

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Nelson’s Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook, 2004 Edition Stats, Stories and More

Whiter Than Snow
Evangelist E. Howard Cadle (1884–1942), was converted from a debauched life through the power of Isaiah 1:18. He was the black sheep of four children in a Christian family who started drinking at age twelve. He became addicted to alcohol, gambling, and sexual adultery, becoming known as the “Slot Machine King” in much of the Midwest because of his gambling enterprises. He attempted to murder a man, only narrowly escaping the penitentiary. Broken in finances and health, he finally “hit bottom” and returned home and collapsed into his mother’s arms, saying, “Mother I’m tired of sin. I’ve broken your heart, betrayed my wife, broken my marriage vows—I’d like to be saved, but I’ve sinned too much.” His mother replied, “Son, I’ve prayed for 12 years to hear you say what you’ve just said.” Getting out her Bible, she turned to Isaiah 1:18, and on that morning, March 14, 1914, E. Howard Cadle was converted. He later became a powerful and popular evangelist and radio preacher.

Raising A 21st Century Child

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

 

 

Introduction

Several years ago, I had the privilege of preaching in a chapel service for New England Baptist College in Southington.  Afterward I was to host a question and answer session attended by young preacher boys.  Once the introduction was completed and Dr. Barry Brown turned the podium over to me and the floor was open for questions, a brief period of awkward silence was broken by one young man’s very interesting question.

He was contemplating the incredible task of leading a church full of different passions, backgrounds, and opinions.  I will never forget his question.

“Pastor Carpenter, how do you make people do things that they do not want to do?”

This simple question helped me think through some life changing truths.  We will spend the rest of our time together exploring and answering this question.

When you break down the job of parenting, does it not seem that this question strikes at the heart of a parent’s job… to get little Johnny or Jane to OBEY!  To do what we want them to do, and to ben their rebellious wills to our protective and benevolent wills for them.

Raising Children in the 21st century brings new twists to an old challenge.  How do I shape the will and behavior of my child, or grandchild, niece, or nephew, or Sunday school student?

Our text verse is often quoted and often misunderstood by believing parents.

Proverbs 22:6 KJV 1900

Train up a child in the way he should go:

And when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Many parents feel or and have been taught to feel that they must MAKE their children comply!  If they wander off from what their parents have taught, the parents believe that they have failed.  Parents teach and teach and teach, yet the willful children still do not learn… what is wrong?  The Bible PROMISES that if we but teach them, they will not depart right?

Every word of God is inspired, not just the thoughts.  Our text verse does not command us to teach only.  We are commanded to TRAIN.

TRAIN =

  • to direct the growth of (a plant) usually by bending, pruning, and tying
  • to form by instruction, discipline, or drill
  • to teach so as to make fit, qualified, or proficient

Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.

 

You can TEACH all day long, but that does not always get the heart of the matter.  How do I get someone to do something that they do not want to do?  The short answer is that you can’t!  If God has chosen not to override one’s free will, you certainly will not be able to.  So the key then in not how to force someone to comply, but how to motivate our kids to choose to do right.  Today we will discover three life changing principles that will help us to motivate children to choose to change their behavior.  These will be key to raising a 21st century child.

I.  God Has Given Children Free Will.

God does not force us to believe or comply against our will.

Jeremiah 6:16–17 KJV 1900

Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.

Proverbs 1:24–26 KJV 1900

Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, And would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;

 

Matthew 23:37 KJV 1900

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

Yet God the Father seeks to influence our choices.

John 6:44 KJV 1900

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Yet God’s word seeks to influence our choices

John 8:32 KJV 1900

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Romans 10:17 KJV 1900

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

The story of the prodigal son shows us that God is always ready for us to choose to come to him, to choose to repent and do right, no matter how long we have chosen to ignore his teaching and pleading…. no matter how low our rock bottom is.  Luke 15:15-20

Zechariah 1:3 KJV 1900

Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the Lord of hosts, And I will turn unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.

1 John 1:9 KJV 1900

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

II. Children Can Be Motivated to Choose Right When they Learn and Live.

  • This is the beginning of training, but not all of training.
  • Learn the truth then pass it down

Deuteronomy 4:9 KJV 1900

Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;

Psalm 78:2–4 KJV 1900

I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, Shewing to the generation to come The praises of the Lord, and his strength, And his wonderful works that he hath done.

 

  • Train a Child… while they still can be taught, guided, and motivated.  While there is hope of change.

2 Timothy 3:15 KJV 1900

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

 

  • Make it part of your every day, every moment routine.

Deuteronomy 6:7 KJV 1900

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

III.  Children Can Be Motivated To Choose Right When They Live and Learn.

  • God has set a universal law of consequences to help children choose their actions.

Galatians 6:7 KJV 1900

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

  • Consequences must be tied to actions early, while there is hope of change.,

Proverbs 19:18 KJV 1900

Chasten thy son while there is hope, And let not thy soul spare for his crying.

  • Corporal punishment is a tool to help tie consequences to actions.
  • The consequences must not fluctuate on mood or anger, but on the actions themselves.

Proverbs 29:15 KJV 1900

The rod and reproof give wisdom: But a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

  • When consequences are tied to actions, we demonstrate our love for that child.

Proverbs 13:24 KJV 1900

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: But he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Proverbs 22:15 KJV 1900

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; But the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Proverbs 23:13 KJV 1900

Withhold not correction from the child: For if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

Proverbs 23:14 KJV 1900

Thou shalt beat him with the rod, And shalt deliver his soul from hell.

  • Consequences can be tied to actions even when corporal punishment is no longer the best choice.
  • God uses consequences to motivate behavioral change in His children.

Hebrews 12:5–8 KJV 1900

5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

  • When our children become adolescent or even adults still living in our household, the training has not stopped… only modified. We must still allow consequences to be tied to actions.  We must not get in the way of God’s hand of chastening that may be leveled at our children.

We must realize that:

  • God has given our children free will
  • That will can be modified when they LEARN AND LIVE
  • That will can be modified when they LIVE AND LEARN
  • Therefore we must use these tools to raise children in the 21st Century.

Trouble At Midnight

Saturday, May 27th, 2017

 

Job 34:20 KJV 1900

20 In a moment shall they die, And the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: And the mighty shall be taken away without hand.

 

Introduction

This weekend we take time out of our busy lives to focus on Memorial Day.  We remember, honour, and give thanks for those who paid the ultimate price for freedom.  Flags wave, parades are held, speeches are made, and taps are played to remind us of the brave soldiers who willingly laid their lives down in order to preserve the freedom that we hold dear.  As we think through the stories we have heard from WWII veterans, Vietnam Soldiers, and Middle East Heroes, we are moved at their tenacity, grit, and love for country that they displayed in their darkest hours, in their midnight hours.

All through out history, man has viewed midnight to be the time of fear, uncertainty and death.  It is a time when the normal pattern of sweet sleep can be disturbed with unexpected and unwelcome trouble.  In our passage this morning we read the words of Elihu, one of Job’s “friends”.  He is waxing eloquent about the way God judges folks who deserve it.  Job’s well meaning, but ill-advised advisor uses a very powerful word picture.  He tells about the terror that comes to those under the mighty hand of God when they face trouble at midnight.

Are you facing a dark hour in your life?  Are you, like the soldiers that we honor this weekend, facing trouble at midnight?  Brothers and sisters, I have good news based on God’s word and what it says about the midnight hour.  God is always in control!   The light of God’s love is not dimmed by the blackness of the midnight hour or the trouble it contains.

God uses the dark and foreboding hour of midnight to reach us when we need Him the most and call us to take action in order to benefit from Trouble at Midnight.

 

Heed the Warning of Trouble at Midnight

Judges 16:1–3 KJV 1900

1 Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.

2 And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him.

3 And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.

 

  1. Samson had been given marks of distinction as God’s chosen deliverer.
  2. He kept surrendering these marks of distinction one by one.
  3. His lust would eventually be his downfall.
  4. This was a warning from God to try to wake him up and get him to change his ways before it was too late.

1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV 1900

13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

  1. His last mark of distinction to surrender was his hair.
  2. Once he surrendered his distinction, God took his power away.

It could be that your trouble at midnight is designed to get you to rethink your choices, repent, and go in a different direction before it is too late.

Escape the Trouble at Midnight

Exodus 11:4–6 KJV 1900

4 And Moses said, Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt:

5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.

6 And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.

  1. The firstborn of every household was condemned to die, regardless of race or background.
  2. The only way to escape the trouble at midnight was to apply the innocent blood of the lamb to the doorpost.

Exodus 12:12–13 KJV 1900

12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.

13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

  1. Jesus is coming back like a thief in the night and only those who are covered in His blood will go with Him to escape trouble at midnight.

Matthew 25:6–12 KJV 1900

6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

  1. Death comes to us all, after that the midnight hour of judgement. Only those covered in the blood of Jesus will escape.

Hebrews 9:22 KJV 1900

22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

There is coming a time of reckoning., whether it be the rapture or death, there will come a time that we will all be judged.  Only those who have transferred their trust from their works to Christ’s finished work on the cross alone will be able to escape that kind of trouble at midnight.

Sing Praises During the Trouble at Midnight.

Acts 16:25–31 KJV 1900

25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.

27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.

28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.

29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,

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

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

  1. Paul and Silas sang praises during their darkest hour of persecution.
  2. Every condemned and suffering soul heard the power of their praise.
  3. When the jail doors opened, the prisoners did not dare leave, because they were spell bound by this kind of powerful praise.
  4. It is because of this singing during the trouble at midnight, the jailer wanted to know how to be saved.

Psalm 40:3 KJV 1900

3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: Many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.

It may be that God has brought you to this trial in order for you to give thanks in spite of your situation.  Perhaps you are commissioned to sing praises through your trouble at midnight.

Find Hope in the Midst of Trouble At Midnight

  1. There comes a time when all human hope is lost.

Acts 27:14–20 KJV 1900

14 But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.

15 And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.

16 And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat:

17 Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven.

18 And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship;

19 And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship.

20 And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.

  1. This hopelessness should drive us to seek God

Acts 27:21–24 KJV 1900

21 But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.

22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship.

23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,

24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.

  1. God gives grace to endure the storm.

Acts 27:25–27 KJV 1900

25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.

26 Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.

27 But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country;

Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations 6908 Roses Gathered at Midnight

It is said that the world’s best supply of perfume comes from roses on the Balkan Mountains. The flowers from which the lovely fragrance is distilled must be gathered in the darkest part of the night! The laborers therefore start shortly after 12 o’clock and conclude their picking within two hours. The brevity of the work period is based on scientific tests which have proved that during this gloomy interval the blossoms give their most pleasing scent, while 40 percent of their aroma disappear in the light of day.

Are you, like the folks we remember on Memorial Day, going through a dark and terrifying Midnight experience?  This did not happen randomly.  God has a purpose for your travel through this valley.  Perhaps there is a warning you must heed.  Perhaps it is escape through the Blood of Jesus you need.Perhaps you have a song to sing.  Perhaps it is the light of hope that you are meant to see.  Whatever the design, there is  something you can learn from your trouble at midnight.

 

Arise and Call Her Blessed!

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Preached Mother’s Day May 12, 2013

Proverbs 31:28
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

Introduction:

There is no job on this planet more demanding, more prestigious, more influential, and less appreciated than motherhood! Today we take a few moments and honor this blessed calling!

In our passage this morning, we find an anthem of praise dedicated to all of those virtuous women out there that have served behind the scenes often unnoticed and underappreciated. The writer starts this passage by explaining the incredible value of a virtuous woman. The word for virtue is conformity to the standard of right. – It is moral excellence.

Our passage goes on to list the incredible characteristics of a virtuous woman. As we reflect upon this passage, let us honor our mothers for the virtues we recognize from our passage. There is also a challenge for you ladies to aspire to even greater virtue. Today as we reflect upon our loving mothers, let us together “arise up and call her blessed.”

I. The virtuous woman is trusted by her husband

A. She is good for him

Proverbs 31:11-12
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. 12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

1. He does not need to worry about her
2. She would not intentionally hurt him

B. His reputation is boosted by her virtue

Proverbs 31:23
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

II. The virtuous woman provides for her household needs.

A. Clothing

1. Materials

Proverbs 31:13
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

2. Warmth

Proverbs 31:21
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

3. Beauty

Proverbs 31:22
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

B. Food

Proverbs 31:14
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

C. Income

1. At home

Proverbs 31:16
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

2. In the market place

Proverbs 31:24
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

III. The virtuous woman works long hours.

A. She exhibits incredible strength

Proverbs 31:16
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

B. She rises early

Proverbs 31:15
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

C. She retires late

Proverbs 31:18
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

D. She is not idle

Proverbs 31:27
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

IV. The virtuous woman is kind hearted

A. To her household

Proverbs 31:15
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

B. To strangers

Proverbs 31:20
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

C. In her speech

Proverbs 31:26
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

1. Wisdom
2. Kindness- comfort

V. The virtuous woman deserves praise!

A. From her children

Proverbs 31:28
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

B. Publicly

1. Because she fears the Lord

Proverbs 31:29-30
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. 30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

2. Because of her works

Proverbs 31:31
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.