Archive for the ‘Sunday Morning Sermons’ Category

To The Faithful Church

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

To The Faithful Church

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Jesus Letters / Revelation 3:7–13

  Have you ever had a door slammed in your face? I have on occasions, when I’ve gone out witnessing—knocked on the door. So many more occasions I’ve had the door opened, and people have been so gracious to me. But, there have been those times when I’ve had that door go kablam right in my face. And, I just wonder why that doesn’t happen more. You know, we ought to be a little ashamed of ourselves that it doesn’t happen more. You know, those early Christians rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.

 None of us like to have doors shut in our faces. You don’t like to go to some particular social club and hear people say, “That’s not for you. Stay out.” But, I want to tell you a wonderful truth: that our Lord is the Keeper of the keys. And, there are certain doors that He opens that no man can shut, and there are certain doors that He can shut and no man can open.

1 Adrian Rogers, “The Keeper of the Keys and the Doors of Destiny,” in Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust, 2017), Re 3:7–13.

Our Jesus Letter today is to the church at Philadelphia. They were a small church with big opposition. In His letter to them, Jesus comforts them with this truth, He is the door keeper and He is going to open the door of gospel opportunity for them and no one will be able to shut it.

Dear believing friend, are you tired and overwhelmed? Have you been faithful in your little corner of the universe only to feel that it just doesn’t matter? This letter is for you. Jesus has been watching. He sees your faithfulness. When He is ready, He will open wide the door and all you need to do is walk through it. Let us learn from Jesus’ letter to the Faithful Church.

The Author’s Credentials

Revelation 3:7 KJV

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

He is Holy

Isaiah 6:3 KJV

And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: The whole earth is full of his glory.

Isaiah 40:25 KJV

To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.

 He is the one who is holy. Holy is the description of God himself. ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts’ was the song of the seraphs which Isaiah heard (Isaiah 6:3). ‘To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One’ (Isaiah 40:25). ‘I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King’ (Isaiah 43:15). All through the Old Testament, God is the Holy One; and now that title is given to the risen Christ. We must remember that holy (hagios) means different, separate from. God is holy because he is different from us; he has that quality of being which belongs to him alone. To say that Jesus Christ is holy is to say that he shares the being of God.1

1 William Barclay, The Revelation of John, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., vol. 1, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 139.

He Is True

 He is the one who is true. In Greek, there are two words for true. There is al?th?s, which means true in the sense that a true statement is different from a false statement. There is al?thinos, which means real as opposed to that which is unreal. It is the second of these words which is used here. In Jesus, there is reality. When we are confronted with him, we are confronted with no shadowy outline of the truth but with the truth itself.1

1 William Barclay, The Revelation of John, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., vol. 1, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 139.

He Has The Key of David

He is the one who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. We may first note that the key is the symbol of authority. Here is the picture of Jesus Christ as the one who has the final authority which no one can question.

Behind this, there is an Old Testament picture. Hezekiah had a faithful steward called Eliakim, who had authority over all his house and who alone could admit to the presence of the king. Isaiah heard God say of this faithful Eliakim: ‘I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open’ (Isaiah 22:22). It is this picture which is in John’s mind. Jesus alone has authority to admit to the new Jerusalem, the new city of David. As the Te Deum has it: ‘Thou didst open the kingdom of Heaven to all believers.’ He is the new and living way into the presence of God.1

1 William Barclay, The Revelation of John, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., vol. 1, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 139–140.

Matthew 28:18 KJV

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

He is the Door Keeper

1 Corinthians 16:9 KJV

For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.

2 Corinthians 2:12 KJV

Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,

Colossians 4:3 KJV

Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

John 10:9 KJV

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

The Author’s Critique

Revelation 3:8 KJV

I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

I Know Your Works

 • That is why I have opened the door for you.

 • I will bless your efforts with opportunity

You Have Little Strength

A little strength (?????? ???????). This would mean, thou hast some power, though small. Many, however, omit the indefinite article in translating, and render thou hast little strength; i.e., thou art poor in numbers and worldly resources. So Alford, Trench, and Düsterdieck.1

1 Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 2 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887), 465.

But could they take advantage of it? There were at least two obstacles to overcome, the first being their own lack of strength (Rev. 3:8). Apparently, this was not a large or a strong church; however, it was a faithful one. They were true to God’s Word and unafraid to bear His name. Revelation 3:10 suggests that they had endured some special testing and had proved faithful.

It is not the size or strength of a church that determines its ministry, but faith in the call and command of the Lord. “God’s commandments are God’s enablements.” If Jesus Christ gave them an open door, then He would see to it that they were able to walk through it! Martin Luther put it perfectly in his well-known hymn:

Did we in our own strength confide,

Our striving would be losing.

Were not the right Man on our side,

The Man of God’s own choosing.

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 578.

You Have Kept My Word

You Have Not Denied My Name

I know thy works … that thou hast a little power. Perhaps the church was of recent foundation, and had not yet obtained great influence in the city. hast kept, hast not denied, R.V. didst keep, didst not deny, i.e. in some recent crisis, perhaps persecution at the hands of the hostile Jews. The key to the reference has been lost; but for Christians of all times, it gives the comforting thought that Christ knows the events in our lives that are unable to impress themselves upon the memory of the world.

1 J. T. Dean, The Book of Revelation, ed. Alexander Whyte and John Kelman, Handbooks for Bible Classes and Private Students (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1915), 87.

Author’s Promises

I Will Convert Your Enemies

Revelation 3:9 KJV

Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

 • Either they will get saved and worship with the other believers – hence the open door to get the gospel out.

 • Or they will eventually bow in Eternity

Philippians 2:9–11 KJV

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 • Either way they will know Jesus loved the church at Philadelphia!

I Will Keep You Safe

Revelation 3:10 KJV

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

I Will Come Quickly

Revelation 3:11–13 KJV

Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. 

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

 • Don’t let go of the victor’s crown or rewards you have already earned

In a very real sense, the church today is like the Philadelphian church, for God has set before us many open doors of opportunity. If He opens the doors, we must work; if He shuts the doors, we must wait. Above all, we must be faithful to Him and see the opportunities, not the obstacles. If we miss our opportunities, we lose our rewards (crowns), and this means being ashamed before Him when He comes (1 John 2:28)1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 579.

 When Andy Griffith, star of the classic television program that bore his name, entered his fifties, he found it increasingly difficult to find work in Hollywood, and his personal finances became tighter and tighter. He wrote in Guideposts that finally he and his wife Cindi decided things would be easier if they moved from Los Angeles back to Andy’s home state of North Carolina; so they put their home up for sale and waited for a buyer. Unfortunately the real estate market was down, and no one gave them a decent offer for their home. Months passed, and Andy grew depressed.

 Then one day the Lord gave Cindi an insight. “Maybe it’s a good thing we couldn’t sell the house,” she said. “Maybe it was God showing us grace. If we moved to North Carolina now, you might indeed never work again. What we need to do is stay here and stoke the fire.”

 And stoke the fire they did. Day after day they went together to the office of the talent agency that represented Andy. They sat in the lobby, chatted with agents, and went with them to lunch. Eventually the work started to come in: four TV movies that year, including the pilot for Matlock, a show that ended up running for nine years.

 Sometimes a closed door is a signpost from God. He has a better way for us to go.

1 Craig Brian Larson, 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers & Writers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2002), 121–122.

Friends, EBC is a tiny church that has outlasted many of her critics. We have been faithful to the word, and to the Gospel. I believe that God has given us opportunities right now to reach this town like never before. Let us, like the church at Philadelphia, walk through the door God has opened. Let us reach out online. Let us dig deeper in our personal understanding of God’s love. Let us demonstrate the love of God in our words and in our actions.  Let us be good stewards of every friendship, every moment, every chance to worship, every chance to give testimony. Let us walk through the open door!

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 7:00 PM October 14, 2021.

The Corrupt Church

Thursday, September 30th, 2021

The Corrupt Church

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Jesus Letters / Revelation 2:18–29

Neville Chamberlain was known for his policy of appeasement. As the prime minister of Britain before World War II, he knew that the country was still weary from the first World War, and wanted to avoid a European war at all costs. The problem was that at the same time Hitler was planning to overrun Europe, including Britain. Chamberlain did not want Britain to have to confront Hitler and his army, so in September of 1938 he reached an agreement with Hitler that resulted in the Munich Pact. Italy and France joined Britain in agreeing to surrender parts of Czechoslovakia to Germany in return for Hitler’s agreement not to invade any other European countries. Chamberlain confidently came home proclaiming, “Peace in our time.” They really believed that by giving into Hitler’s demands he would stop, or limit, his aggression. And, at that point, America was standing back hoping the whole thing would go away. But Hitler arrogantly ignored the pact, taking most of Czechoslovakia and invading Poland. It became obvious that France and Britain were in his sights as well. The Munich Pact is now a universal symbol of the failure of the policy of appeasement.

What caused Chamberlain and the others to actually believe that appeasement would work? I believe that it is a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature and reality of evil. When we suffer under the illusion that evil can be reasoned with, and agreements made that will be lived up to, then we are at the mercy of evil. When we recognize evil for what it is, then we have begun to disarm it and are prepared to deal with it. We begin to live in the world of reality.  

___

The one thing we do know (about Thyatira) is that it was a great commercial centre, especially of the dyeing industry and of the trade in woollen goods. It was from Thyatira that Lydia, the seller of purple, came (Acts 16:14). From inscriptions discovered, we learn that it had an extraordinary number of trade guilds. These were associations for mutual profit and pleasure of people employed in certain trades. There were guilds of workers in wool, leather, linen and bronze, makers of outer garments, dyers, potters, bakers and slave-dealers.

Here, we think, was the problem of the church in Thyatira. To refuse to join one of these guilds would mean to give up all prospect of commercial existence. Why should a Christian not join one of these guilds? They held common meals. These would very often be held in a temple; and, even if not, they would begin and end with a formal sacrifice to the gods, and the meat eaten would be meat which had already been offered to idols. Further, it often happened that these communal meals were occasions of drunken revelry and slack morality. Was it possible for a Christian to be part of such occasions?

Here was the problem at Thyatira: the threat came from inside the church. There was a strong movement, led by the woman referred to as Jezebel, which pleaded for compromise with the world’s standards in the interests of business and commercial prosperity, maintaining, no doubt, that the Holy Spirit could preserve them from any harm. The answer of the risen Christ is uncompromising. Christians must have nothing to do with such things.

1 William Barclay, The Revelation of John, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., vol. 1, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 112–113.

The believers in their love, had allowed terrible theological corruption to eat away at the church like a cancer. In His letter to the church, Jesus the Great Physician gives the only prescription for this kind of cancer, radical surgery. This is how to deal with the Jezebel problem.

The Author’s Credentials

Revelation 2:18 KJV

And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

The Comfort – Son of God

John 3:16 KJV

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.

The Warning – Eyes of Fire and Feet of Brass

Revelation 1:14–15 KJV

His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 

And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

Daniel 10:6 KJV

His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.

First, the letter opens with a description of the risen Christ which has a threat in it. His eyes are like a flame of fire and his feet like polished bronze. The description is taken from that of the angelic messenger in Daniel 10:6: ‘His face [was] like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze.’ The flaming eyes must stand for two things—blazing anger against sin and the awful penetration of that gaze which strips the disguises away and sees into the depths of a person’s heart. The bronze feet must stand for the immovable power of the risen Christ. A message which begins like that will certainly be no soothing tranquilizer.

1 William Barclay, The Revelation of John, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., vol. 1, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 114.

The Author’s Commendation

 Revelation 2:19 (KJV)

 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

The letter goes on to use terms of the highest praise. The love and loyalty and service and endurance of the church at Thyatira are matters for congratulation. We must note how these great qualities go in pairs. Service is the outcome of love, and patient endurance the product of loyalty.

1 William Barclay, The Revelation of John, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., vol. 1, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 114.

last works are greater than the first Their love for God and one another increased, in contrast to the church in Ephesus (vv. 4–5)1

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Re 2:19.

The Author’s Condemnation

You Suffer (Allow) Jezabel

This woman is called Jezebel and, therefore, her character must be discovered in the original Jezebel, than whom few women have acquired a worse reputation for wickedness. She was the daughter of Ethbaal, king of Sidon, and the wife of Ahab (1 Kings 16:31). When she came from Sidon, she brought her own gods and caused Ahab and his people to worship Baal. It was not that she would have wanted to banish the worship of Yahweh, if the prophets of Yahweh would have accepted Baal in addition to Yahweh. She slew the prophets of the Lord and at her own table supported 450 prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:13, 18:19). She was Ahab’s evil genius; in particular, she was responsible for the murder of Naboth in order that Ahab might gain possession of the ground where his vineyard stood (1 Kings 21). And she left behind her a name for ‘whoredoms and sorceries’ (2 Kings 9:22).

All this must mean that Jezebel of Thyatira was an evil influence on the life and worship of the Christian Church. It must be clearly understood that she had no wish to destroy the Church; but she wanted to bring into it new ways which were, in fact, destructive of the faith.

1 William Barclay, The Revelation of John, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., vol. 1, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 116–117.

You Suffer (Allow) Her To Have Status as Prophetess

2 Corinthians 11:13–16 KJV

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 

Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 

I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.

You Suffer (Allow) Her to Teach and Seduce the Sheep To Spiritual Infidelity.

1 Corinthians 14:34 KJV

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

1 Timothy 2:12 KJV

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

** The seduction of Jezabel often used the men as puppets in order not to be exposed as a usurper of authority.**

You Suffer (Allow) Someone Tapped Into Demonic Power to Have Access to the Sheep.

Revelation 2:24 KJV

But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.

I Gave Her A Chance

Revelation 2:21–22 KJV

And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 

Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

I know The Heart

Revelation 2:23 KJV

And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

Hang On, I’m Coming

Revelation 2:25–29 KJV

But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 

And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 

And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. 

And I will give him the morning star. 

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

If someone has cancer, an operation is usually performed to cut out the malignancy. The reason is simple: if left alone, it will metastasize; that is, it will spread. No one wants a cancer to spread, so it is cut out or otherwise removed from the body so that the patient can be healthy again. And, of course, when the doctors tell the patient, “We got it all,” everyone is encouraged and rejoices.

The same thing should be true in the church. The reason to excommunicate the one refusing to be disciplined is to protect the rest of the body from being infected with that disease. Sin, like cancer, needs to be cut out so it will not spread.

1 Michael P. Green, 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 61.

Doctrinal Corruption can destroy a church from the inside out. It is especially dangerous when someone, fueled by demonic power, comes in claiming to be teaching the truth but instead seducing well meaning sheep away from the truth. We saw with the Church at Ephesus, one can have doctrine and lose his first love. Here we see you can have love, and lose doctrine. It takes radical surgery to deal with the Jezebel problem.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:00 AM September 30, 2021.

To The Compromising Church

Friday, September 24th, 2021

The Compromising Church

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Jesus Letters / Revelation 2:12–17

A man broke into a house one night, his goal was to take something small and valuable. While he was searching through the stuff he heard a small voice “Jesus is watching you.” He stopped for a moment and said to himself “This must be a voice from my old Sunday school.” So he continued searching, about 5 minutes later he heard the voice again “Jesus is watching you.” He turned his flashlight to the direction and he saw a parrot. He said to the parrot “What is your name?” The parrot replied “Moses” The robber then said “What kind of silly people would name there parrot Moses?” The parrot looked up and said “The same people who named the pit-bull Jesus…. and Jesus is Watching You!”

source: http://www.jokes4us.com/religiousjokes/jesusiswatchingyoujoke.html

Satan blinds us by our own success in the Christian life. We often look at the things we are doing right, swell with a bit of pride and assure ourselves that we are doing well. Jesus is watching. But hold on, He sees it all! I have heard folks over the years try to justify their unbiblical behavior by saying “well, Jesus Knows my heart.” That He does my friend and that is the problem!

Jeremiah 17:9 KJV

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Jesus is watching you and He sees it all. He sees your struggles. He sees your faith. He sees your faithfulness. He sees your compromise. He sees your failure. He sees if and when you repent, Jesus is watching you.

This morning we are looking at another of the Jesus Letters. This one is to the angel (messenger, most likely the pastor) of the church at Pergamos. This church had its huge challenges, its virtues and its shortcomings. The message to the church was both comforting and sobering. Jesus is Watching You.

Jesus, The Living WORD Exposes it All

John 1:1 KJV

IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 KJV

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Hebrews 4:12 KJV

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Revelation 1:16 KJV

And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

Revelation 2:12 KJV

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

Jesus Knows the Good.

Revelation 2:13 KJV

I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

Dwelling Where Satan Sits

The reason our Lord said that Satan’s throne was in Pergamum was because of the heathen temples there. Of course, all of this is in ruins today. There are markers and some reconstruction going on there now. But in John’s day it was Satan’s throne. As you enter the gate of the city, you see that the first temple to your right is the imposing temple of Athena. Directly above it is the great library. You would see the great temple of Caesar Augustus and Hadrian’s great temple, which covers quite a bit of territory. There are other things that are quite interesting. There is the great altar to Zeus with an idol on it near the palace of the king. It is a very impressive spot, and some folk believe that it was the throne of Satan. Well, I think that it is included but that Satan’s throne is a combination of all of these.

J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: The Prophecy (Revelation 1-5), electronic ed., vol. 58 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 80–81.

Holding fast by Christ’s name

You hold fast my name and you did not deny my faith: this is one compliment, stated first positively and then negatively. To “hold (fast) the name (of)” means to be true to, to be faithful and loyal to the person named. For name see 2:3. The statement you did not deny my faith means “you did not give up your faith in me,” “you did not stop believing in me,” or “you have always been loyal to me.” The genitive phrase my faith is objective: “faith in me,” not “the faith I have” (see the parallel statement in 3:8, “you … have not denied my name”).1

1 Robert G. Bratcher and Howard Hatton, A Handbook on the Revelation to John, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1993), 52.

Has not denied my faith

Romans 3:22 KJV

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:

The Christians at Pergamum proved that it was perfectly possible to be a Christian under such circumstances. Even when martyrdom was in the air, they did not flinch. Of Antipas we know nothing; there is a late legend in the writings of Tertullian that he met his death by being slowly roasted to death within a brass bull. But there is a point in the Greek—impossible to reproduce in English—which is extremely significant. The risen Christ calls Antipas my faithful martus. We have translated that as martyr; but martus is the normal Greek word for witness. In the early Church, to be a martyr and to be a witness were one and the same thing. Witness so often meant martyrdom. Here is a rebuke to us. So many are prepared to demonstrate their Christianity in Christian circles but are equally prepared to play it down in circles where Christianity is met with opposition.

1 William Barclay, The Revelation of John, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., vol. 1, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 101–102.

Jesus Knows The Bad

Revelation 2:14–15 KJV

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 

So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

Tolerate the Doctrine of Balaam

The two items for condemnation were the doctrine of Balaam and the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. “The doctrine of Balaam” is different from the error of Balaam (see Jude 11), which revealed that Balaam thought that God would curse Israel because they were sinners. It is also different from the way of Balaam (see 2 Pet. 2:15), which was covetousness. But here in the verse before us, it is the doctrine or teaching of Balaam. He taught Balac the way to corrupt Israel by intermarriage with the Moabite women. This introduced into the nation of Israel both idolatry and fornication. And during the historical period which the church at Pergamum represents, the unconverted world came into the church.

1 J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: The Prophecy (Revelation 1-5), electronic ed., vol. 58 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 82.

2 Timothy 3:5 KJV

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

 • Believers have been seduced to commit fornication.

 • There are those who hold to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans which Jesus hates.

Tolerate The Doctrine of the Nicolaitans

The doctrine of the Nicolaitans was created by those who claimed to have a superior status over the laity of the Church; the laity was the rest of the household of God. This doctrine created a division between the people of God known as the clergy-laity divide and prevented the doctrine of the “priesthood of all believers” from being practiced in the Church then and continues today. Those who followed the doctrine of the Nicolaitans assumed superiority over the people. They exercised authority and power over the people using the positional, top down hierarchy system. This doctrine taught that only those who served as the official clergy were the ones who could hear, understand, and knew what God was saying to the people.

Tolerate Rather Than Separate

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,

Jesus Knows What Must Happen

Revelation 2:16–17 KJV

Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 

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.

Repent

1 John 1:9 KJV

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

Separate From Unbelievers and their Doctrine

Jude 3–4 KJV

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 6:17 KJV

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

If you don’t move them out, Jesus will declare war on them while they are still in the church.

Future Promise is worth present sacrifice.

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.

We must note another thing. The risen Christ calls Antipas my faithful martus and so gives him nothing less than his own title. In Revelation 1:5 and 3:14, Christ himself is called the faithful martus; to those who are true to him he gives nothing less than his own name.1

1 William Barclay, The Revelation of John, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., vol. 1, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 102.

A well-known author once told this story of an account he had with sea gulls: “Several years ago our family visited Niagara Falls. It was spring, and ice was rushing down the river. As I viewed the large blocks of ice flowing toward the falls, I could see that there were dead fish embedded in the ice. Gulls by the score were riding down the river feeding on the fish. As they came to the brink of the falls, their wings would go out, and they would escape from the falls. “I watched one gull which seemed to delay and wondered when it would leave. It was engrossed in the fish, and when it finally came to the brink of the falls, out went its powerful wings. The bird flapped and flapped and even lifted the ice out of the water, and I thought it would escape. But it had delayed too long so that its claws had frozen into the ice. The weight of the ice was too great, and the gull plunged into the abyss.”

How sad that even though the bird had plenty of time to fly away, because it delayed it paid the price. Now think of this story in terms of the Christian life. When we become overly enthralled with the things of this world, they can bring us down and cause our spiritual death. The finest attractions of this world become deadly when we become overly attached to them. If we cannot give up the things of this world and focus on Christ, we cannot be used by Him. Our eyes must be upward on Christ rather than downward on this world.

Beware of the comfortable seduction of compromise. Jesus is watching you.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:24 AM September 24, 2021.

To The Persecuted Church:

Saturday, September 18th, 2021

To The Persecuted Church:

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Jesus Letters / Revelation 2:8–11

The following are current stories from Voice of the Martyrs.

After holding a rally, radicals in Gujarat state issued a statement to district authorities telling them that if they did not stop church activities in the region, the radicals would take matters into their own hands. The document issued by the radicals listed the names of 56 churches and pastors and gave district authorities three days to act. In response, the police told pastors not to conduct church services or they would risk attack by the radicals — and the police would not protect the Christians. Instead, they said they would arrest the pastors. Several pastors have already been arrested, many of the churches have stopped meeting, and pastors are unable to visit people. “The churches are all in fear and seek prayer for this matter,” a VOM contact wrote. Pray that these Christians will be able to worship and work freely, and pray for the hearts of the radicals and the police to be changed.

____

Rama and Joseph have fled their home in Syria after threats from family due to their marriage. Rama is a former Muslim who now follows Christ, and Joseph is from a Christian background. When Rama’s family learned of their marriage, they complained to a police officer. The officer beat Joseph and warned him to stay away from Rama. The couple then escaped to a neighboring country that also does not recognize marriage between a woman who is legally considered to be Muslim and a man who is not a Muslim. Joseph and Rama have now applied for resettlement to a Western country. Pray for God’s peace in their hearts while they wait. Pray for their resettlement application to be accepted so they can move to a country where their marriage is legally recognized and where they can start a family.

____

Momina Namee, 30, grew up in a Muslim family and was pressured to marry a Muslim man while she was young. Soon after they married, they had a son. But three years after their son’s birth, Momina’s husband suddenly fell ill and passed away. Devastated and a single mother, Momina struggled to get by as her husband had been the provider for the family. One day, two Christian women met Momina on the street and shared the gospel with her. Momina told them that she was a Muslim, and the Christian women asked her address, visiting her often. Eventually, Momina placed her faith in Christ and began attending a Christian church. But when the Muslim woman who provided shelter to Momina find out about her newfound faith, she drove Momina and her son out of the house. Momina was homeless, and her family and relatives stopped associating with her because of her faith in Christ. When Momina’s church leaders heard about her situation, they rented a home for her. Pray that Momina will be able to provide for her and her son as she rebuilds her life. Pray that she can be a faithful witness to Christ to her family, and pray that they will come to faith in Him.

___

Ever since Jesus founded the Church, churches and Christians have faced persecution, and still do today. This morning’s Jesus Letter is one to the Suffering and Persecuted Church at Smyrna. This tender letter has no condemnation but is full of words of comfort. The truth our Savior shared with His beloved sheep in Smyrna, is truth we can embrace too. When all seems hopeless, Jesus offers healing, compassion and hope to those of us who are hurting.

Jesus Applies Salve To A Wounded Church

Revelation 2:8 KJV

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

The healing comes from knowing the Great Shepherd.

Psalm 23:1 KJV

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

The Shepherd is Eternal

John 1:1 KJV

IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Micah 5:2 KJV

But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, Though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Revelation 1:18 KJV

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

The Shepherd Has Already Defeated Death

1 Corinthians 15:54–57 KJV

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 

The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus Shows Compassion to a Hurting Church.

Revelation 2:9 KJV

I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

I Know!

???????a; ????a; ???????a; ??????a, ??? f: to possess information about1

1 Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 333.

I Know Your Works

Psalm 23:4 KJV

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.

I Know Your Tribulation

John 16:33 KJV

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 Thessalonians 3:4 KJV

For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.

I Know Your Poverty

2 Corinthians 8:2 KJV

How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

2 Corinthians 8:9 KJV

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

I Know The Blasphemy of Fakers

Romans 2:28–29 KJV

For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 

But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Jesus Gives Encouragement to a Weary Church.

Revelation 2:10 KJV

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

Fear None of Those Things

He Already Knows What Will Happen

People were betrayed to provincial officials by delatores, “informers,” and by the early second century it is attested that Christians in Asia Minor were generally charged only if accused by such informers. By the early second century, Jews in Smyrna were reportedly fulfilling this function against Christians (such as Polycarp). But simply claiming publicly that Christians were no longer welcome as part of the synagogue community was a form of betrayal; Christians who were not seen as Jewish had no protection against civil requirements for participation in the emperor cult.1

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Re 2:9.

The Devil is on a Leash

The Suffering Has an Expiration

ten days A round number, reminiscent of Dan 1:12. Their testing might literally last for 10 days, or the number may be figurative and indefinite.1

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Re 2:10.

“Ye shall have tribulation ten days.” There were ten intense periods of persecution by ten Roman emperors (these dates are approximate):

Nero—64–68 (Paul was beheaded under his reign)

Domitian—95–96 (John was exiled during that period)

Trajan—104–117 (Ignatius was burned at the stake)

Marcus Aurelius—161–180 (Polycarp was martyred)

Severus—200–211

Maximinius—235–237

Decius—250–253

Valerian—257–260

Aurelian—270–275

Diocletian—303–313 (the worst emperor of all).1

1 J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: The Prophecy (Revelation 1-5), electronic ed., vol. 58 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 76.

Be Faithful Unto Death

Revelation 2:11 KJV

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

1 John 5:4–5 KJV

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 

Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Revelation 20:14 KJV

And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

You Are An Over Comer that will Not Taste the Second Death

Virtue is like precious odors, most fragrant when they are incensed or crushed: for prosperity best discovers vice, but adversity best discovers virtue.

Francis Bacon

1 Elliot Ritzema, 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation, Pastorum Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2013).

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 9:10 AM September 18, 2021.

YE Are The Body of Christ

Friday, August 27th, 2021

YE Are The Body of Christ

Pastor Don Carpenter

Connected! / 1 Corinthians 12:20–27

This story was related by Donald Grey Barnhouse. Several years ago, two students graduated from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. The highest ranking student in the class was a blind man named Overton and, when he received his honor, he insisted that half the credit should go to his friend, Kaspryzak. They had met one another in school when the armless Mr. Kaspryzak had guided the blind Mr. Overton down a flight of stairs. This acquaintance ripened into friendship and a beautiful example of interdependence. The blind man carried the books which the armless man read aloud in their common study, and thus the individual deficiency of each was compensated for by the other. After their graduation, they planned to practice law together. No believer is complete by himself, we are to minister to one another, as a family. (Source unknown).

As we finish our series: “Connected” let us review what we have learned. We learned that there is a unique bond between believers and it centers around the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We also saw that there are specific abilities given to specific believers and that centers around the empowering of the Holy Spirit. We saw that Jesus Created the Local Church to be the tie that Binds believers to each other. We saw that the Body of Christ is indeed the local church, not a mystical universal or Catholic body. Today we will see that Paul drives these truths home by showing the feuding church at Corinth that they are the Body of Christ. So look around. God has placed you in this local Body for a reason. We need each other. We all have value. We are fused together by God’s perfect design. YE (second person plural) are THE Body of Christ.

Every Member Is Co-Dependent Within the Body.

1 Corinthians 12:20–21 KJV

But now are they many members, yet but one body. 

And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

Romans 12:3–5 KJV

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 

So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

 Diversity in the body is an evidence of the wisdom of God. Each member needs the other members, and no member can afford to become independent. When a part of the human body becomes independent, you have a serious problem that could lead to sickness and even death. In a healthy human body, the various members cooperate with each other and even compensate for each other when a crisis occurs. The instant any part of the body says to any other part, “I don’t need you!” it begins to weaken and die and create problems for the whole body.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 609.

 • The eye cant tell the hand he has no need of him.

 • The head cannot say to the feet I have no need of you

 • Body parts need each other. Each part has a specific function but only as it is interdependent WITHIN the Body.

Colossians 3:15 KJV

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

 • So for one member of the church (Christ’s Body) to say about another member, I do not need him/her…would be a false statement.

Every Member Has Value

1 Corinthians 12:22–23 KJV

Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 

And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

 • Those members which SEEM to be more feeble are necessary.

 Which seem to be more feeble. Weaker than the rest; which seem less able to bear fatigue and to encounter difficulties; which are more easily injured, and which become more easily affected with disease. It is possible that Paul may here refer to the brain, the lungs, the heart, &c., as more feeble in their structure, and more liable to disease than the hands and the feet, &c., and in reference to which disease is more dangerous and fatal.1

1 Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament: I Corinthians, ed. Robert Frew (London: Blackie & Son, 1884–1885), 235.

 • Those we THINK are less honourable. upon these we bestow more honor.

Are more necessary. The sense seems to be this. A man can live though the parts and members of his body which are more strong were removed; but not if those parts which are more feeble. A man can live if his arm or his leg be amputated; but not if his brain, his lungs or his heart be removed. So that, although these parts are more feeble, and more easily injured, they are really more necessary to life, and therefore more useful than the more vigorous portions of the frame. Perhaps the idea is—and it is a beautiful thought—that those members of the church which are most retiring and feeble apparently; which are concealed from public view, unnoticed and unknown—the humble, the meek, the peaceful, and the prayerful—are often more necessary to the true welfare of the church than those who are eminent for their talent and learning. And it is so. The church can better spare many a man, even in the ministry, who is learned, and eloquent, and popular, than some obscure and humble Christian, that is to the church what the heart and the lungs are to the life. The one is strong, vigorous, active, like the hands or the feet, and the church often depends on them; the other is feeble, concealed, yet vital, like the heart or the lungs. The vitality of the church could be continued though the man of talent and learning should be removed; as the body may live when the arm or the leg is amputated;—but that vitality could not continue if the saint of humble and retiring piety, and of fervent prayerfulness, were removed, any more than the body can live when there is no heart and no lungs.1

1 Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament: I Corinthians, ed. Robert Frew (London: Blackie & Son, 1884–1885), 235.

Every Member Is Fused Together By God’s Design

1 Corinthians 12:24–25 KJV

For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: 

That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

 But God hath tempered the body together. Literally mingled or mixed; that is, has made to coalesce, or strictly and closely joined. He has formed a strict union; he has made one part dependent on another, and necessary to the harmony and proper action of another. Every part is useful, and all are fitted to the harmonious action of the whole. God has so arranged it, in order to produce harmony and equality in the body, that those parts which are less comely by nature should be more adorned and guarded by apparel.1

1 Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament: I Corinthians, ed. Robert Frew (London: Blackie & Son, 1884–1885), 236.

 • God has designed the body to have no schism.

1 Corinthians 3:3 KJV

For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

1 Corinthians 1:10 KJV

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

 • God has designed the Members to have the same care for each other

 • One member suffer, all suffer

A Mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. “What food might this contain?” The mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a Mouse-Trap Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning. “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”

The Chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.”

The Mouse turned to the pig and told him, “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The Pig sympathized, but said, I am very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be Assured you are in my Prayers.”

The Mouse turned to the Cow and said, “there is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The Cow said, “Wow, Mr. Mouse, I am sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose.”

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone. That very night a sound was heard throughout the house – like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The Farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake was furious and bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital and she returned home with a severe fever.

Everyone knows that you treat a fever with a fresh chicken soup. So, the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient. But his wife’s sickness continued, so friends and relatives came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

The Farmer’s Wife did not get well and she died. So many people came to the funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness. And, Said, “I warned them about the mouse trap but they did not take my warning into account…”

 • One member rejoice, all rejoice.

 • You(second person plural) are the Body of Christ

 • You are members in particular

Imagine that we are putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle. In turn we each put pieces into place; slowly the beauty of the picture begins to take shape. As we continue putting the puzzle together we talk about what it would be like to be a part of the scene before us. As the final pieces are being put into place we are suddenly confronted with the fact that our picture is incomplete; 4 pieces are missing. How do you feel about all our work together knowing that it will forever remain incomplete?

Now imagine that instead of missing pieces, the puzzle is alive. As the final pieces are being put into place they change shape and refuse to be joined together with the adjoining pieces. Or worse yet we watch as parts of the puzzle we have put together suddenly separate and pieces leave the table. How do you feel knowing that the beauty of the image being put together will never be finished, because the pieces won’t cooperate with each other?

I wonder if that is sometimes how God feels about His church? He fits people together only to find that some are missing, or individuals which He has purposed to join together refuse to be connected or deliberately separate from each other. I know that there have been times when I have had those kind of feelings.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 10:24 AM August 27, 2021.

Something to Brag About

Wednesday, August 18th, 2021

Something To Brag About

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / Jeremiah 9:23–24

One of the most effective tools that Satan can use against believers is pride. We often get cocky when we start to think that God needs our talents, our abilities, and our skills in order to further His kingdom. The prophet Jeremiah was given some words from God that will help to refocus us upon the truth. We will see that we should not be thinking about our own skill, but rather on the fact that in spite of our weaknesses, God gives us something to brag about.

Jeremiah 9:23–24 KJV

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Neither let the mighty man glory in his might, Let not the rich man glory in his riches: 

But let him that glorieth glory in this, That he understandeth and knoweth me, That I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: For in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

Do not glory in your own ability.

 Do not glory in your wisdom

  1. You are not wiser than God.

Proverbs 21:30 KJV

There is no wisdom nor understanding Nor counsel against the LORD.

Job 5:12–14 KJV

He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, So that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. 

He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: And the counsel of the froward is carried headlong. 

They meet with darkness in the daytime, And grope in the noonday as in the night.

  2. Do not measure yourself by your own standard.

Isaiah 5:21 KJV

Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!

  3. Man’s wisdom blinds him to the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1:19–21 KJV

For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 

Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

1 Corinthians 3:18–20 KJV

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 

And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

 Do not glory in your own might.

Daniel 4:30–31 KJV

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

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

Daniel 4:37 KJV

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

 Do not glory in your own riches.

Luke 12:16-21 “And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” 

Glory in your relationship to God.

 Saved though Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:10–11 KJV

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. 

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

Dead to the world.

Galatians 6:14–15 KJV

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

Glory in who God is.

Exodus 34:5–7 KJV

And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 

And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 

Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

Lovingkindness

Psalm 51:1 KJV

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: According unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Judgment

Psalm 146:7–9 KJV

Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: Which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners: 

The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: The LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: The LORD loveth the righteous: 

The LORD preserveth the strangers; He relieveth the fatherless and widow: But the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.

Righteousness

Romans 3:25–26 KJV

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; 

To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

EDISON COULDN’T MAKE LIFE

Are you extremely proud of your lifetime accomplishments? It was on November 21 of 1877 that Thomas Edison announced to the world that he had invented the phonograph. Edison’s accomplishments are often forgotten. In his Menlo Park, New Jersey fix-it shop he designed the following items: the household light bulb, a motion picture device, the telephone transmitter, stock ticker improvements, the mimeograph machine, the dictating machine and much more. If anyone had a right to brag, Edison did. However, he humbly acknowledged he couldn’t create the simplest form of life.

The Creator of everything and everyone has this perspective on bragging rights. He inspired: 

jer 9.23-24 “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Neither let the mighty man glory in his might, Let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, That he understandeth and knoweth me, That I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: For in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” 

 When you understand how incomparable your Creator is and then realize how your knowledge, talents and wealth are but gifts from his limitless storehouse, then and only then will you discover how few bragging rights you really have.

(AMG Bible Illustrations. 2000. Bible Illustrations Series. Chattanooga: AMG Publishers.)

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:23 AM August 18, 2021.

The Tie That Binds- The Body of Christ

Saturday, August 14th, 2021

The Tie That Binds – the Body of Christ

Pastor Don Carpenter

Connected! / 1 Corinthians 12:12–13

In one of Aesops fables he describes an old man who had several sons, who were always falling out with one another. He had often, but to no purpose, exhorted them to live together in harmony. One day he called them together, and he gathered a bundle of sticks and tied them together and asked each one of them to try to break them. Each one tried as hard as they cold but none of them could break the bundle of sticks. Then the father cut the cord that he tied them together with and told his sons to break them separately. This was done with the greatest ease. “See, my sons,” the old man said “the power of unity!” Bound together by brotherly love, you may defy almost every mortal danger, but divided, you will fall prey to your enemies.


In our passage this morning Paul is expanding on the fact that we all have been given spiritual gifts and have a providentially designed place to use those gifts. This morning as we continue our series “Connected” we will discover that God’s purpose for every New Testament Believer is to be part of the Body of Christ, to be baptized, and to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Please have your Bibles ready, and your pen an paper ready because this morning we are going to challenge some presuppositions widely held among Catholics and Protestants. Traditional Baptists have always held to the Biblical position I will be outlining this morning.

Let us not get lost in the weeds as we dig a bit deep this morning. The message of the passage is clear. God has called us to One Body, through One Baptism, to be empowered by One Spirit.

One Body.

1 Corinthians 12:12 KJV
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

The Body of Christ is the Church.

Colossians 1:18 KJV
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Colossians 1:24 KJV
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

The Church is a Called Out Assembly.

Matthew 16:18 KJV
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

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

  1. ekklesia (????????, 1577), from ek, “out of,” and klesis, “a calling” (kaleo, “to call”), was used among the Greeks of a body of citizens “gathered”

Ecclesia in the New Testament

  1. Used over 100 times
  2. All but 5 uses refer to a specific assembly.
  3. The abstract and general uses find concrete expression in a particular local, visible assembly.

The Church is a Physical Manifestation of the Body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:25–27 KJV
That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

1 Corinthians 1:2 KJV
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

The New Testament Generally Refers to Churches, not THE CHURCH. The Universal Church is a Catholic Invention.

Acts 9:31 KJV
Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

Acts 8:1 KJV
And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Acts 13:1 KJV
Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

Romans 16:1 KJV
I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:

2 Corinthians 1:1 KJV
PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:

1 Peter 5:13 KJV
The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

Acts 11:22 KJV
Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.

1 Corinthians 4:17 KJV
For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

There once was a mule who found himself between two haystacks, completely unable to decide which one to eat first. Because of hi, indecision, he didn’t eat either one; he just stood there until he starved.

Many people are like the mule when deciding which church to attend. They wander back and forth, never committing themselves, and meanwhile going hungry.1841

1 Michael P. Green, 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 63.

One Baptism

1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

• Paul was writing to a dis unified church at Corinth.

• The Body of Christ is the Local Church.

Baptized BY the Spirit, not in the Spirit.

› (use baptized by pastor into water)

en used 2768 times in NT.

Translated by 143 times… shows an agent of action.

Matthew 5:34 KJV
But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:

Matthew 5:35–36 KJV
Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.

Matthew 12:24 KJV
But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

Matthew 12:27 KJV
And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.

Matthew 14:13 KJV
When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.

Baptism and Church Membership are natural after salvation.

Acts 2:41–42 KJV
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

One Spirit

1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

That Indwells Every Believer at the Point of Salvation.

Romans 8:9 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.

1 Corinthians 3:16 KJV
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

That Endues Believers with Power for a Purpose.

Acts 1:8 KJV
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

That Gives Unique Gifts to Be Used in the Local Church.

1 Corinthians 12:4 KJV
Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin had every reason as teammates to be friends, but they were not. Incognito harassed and bullied Martin. He called him a racial slur in a voicemail played by every media outlet in the country. He threatened to kill him and his family. Incognito claimed all of this was just locker room talk. It is the way the guys talk to one another in the NFL.

Apparently, Martin didn’t get the memo. Martin left his lucrative job citing emotional issues and fearing for his life. Though we don’t know all the details, it appears as if Martin has some culpability, as well. He was far too passive in dealing with Incognito’s threatening behavior. As a teammate, it appears, he should have expressed how troubling Incognito’s threats were to him. These two men had many more reasons to get along than to have a toxic relationship. Consider all the reasons they had to be friends.

They were both football players.

On the same team.

Had the same coach.

Both were offensive linemen.

Both played on the same side of the line.

Both were starters.

Both wanted to win.

Both are big dudes.

Both were millionaires.

Yet somewhere along the way one or both of them forgot they played for the same team and began to treat the other like a New England Patriot. They forgot the enemy was in another city. They forgot enemy is on another team.

Similarly, we have many more reasons to honor one another than to dishonor one another.

We have the same owner!

The same Father cheering us on from the press box.

The same Savior who scouted us and forgave us.

The same Spirit within.

The same playbook.

The same purpose.

We are going to same place when life is over

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 12:25 PM August 14, 2021.

Not Every one Can DO That

Thursday, August 5th, 2021

Not Every one Can DO That

Pastor Don Carpenter

Connected! / 1 Corinthians 12:4–11

Does anyone here remember taking music class in grade school? When you first join a music class you are given an instrument to play. You really don’t have much of a choice in what you play. The instructor simply assigns you the instruments based on what the school has available and what he/she thinks each kid is most suited for. You take your new instrument home and start learning how to turn squeaks into notes. Then the time comes when you first come together as a band to play. The teacher raises the baton and motions for you to begin and it sounds like a train wreck. You play at different tempos. You play at different volumes. You didn’t watch the conductor and you didn’t listen to each other. You love to hear yourself play so the room is filled with soloists and the result is terrible.

However, over time you learn more and grow in experience. Eventually by the end of high school the band has come together. The instruments begin working together and building on one another and the result is beautiful music for everyone to enjoy.

God has given each person here today an instrument and He has given us as a church a song to play. Maybe you are still trying to figure out what that instrument is. Maybe you are learning how to play it. My prayer is that as each one of us learns that we would become an orchestra making beautiful music to be enjoyed by the community that God has placed us in and the world.

From a sermon by Stephen Sheane, Feeding 5000, 4/30/2010

What are you doing here? You may say that you came to sing some songs, hear testimonies, and hear a sermon. What are you DOING in this church? You see, if you are a born again believer, you belong in a local church. If you have joined this church, then you are to be doing something in this church. God has placed you in THIS church because He has designed you for this church and this church for you. You are here because God intended for you to plug into this body as a perfect fit.

As we continue our series, CONNECTED, we find Paul once again addressing the call for unity along with warning about self righteousness. One of the greatest blessing and challenge within a local church is the fact that every believer has been given unique gifts in order to best fit into that particular local church. The believers at Corinth were bragging about the gifts that they had and becoming jealous over gifts that they did not have. In Chapter 11, we looked at how we are supposed to demonstrate our submission within the local church. We also say that communion was not the same as a church supper. In Chapters 12-14, Paul begins to expose the misuse and explain the proper use and function of Spiritual Gifts. These gifts are not given in order for us to compare ourselves with others. They are not given so that we become jealous over the gifts that we do not possess. These gifts are given to specific people at a specific time, for a specific purpose, enabling the believer to do specific ministries among the people within his church. These gifts are so that when we become a living part within the local Body of Christ, we are a perfect fit.

Not Everyone Has Spiritual Gifts – Just Believers

1 Corinthians 12:1–3 KJV

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 

Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. 

Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

Not Everyone Has The Same Spiritual Gift

1 Corinthians 12:4–6 KJV

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 

And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 

And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

 Different gifts = endowments, abilities, talents given to Christians

  1. Singing

  2. Acting

  3. Speaking

  4. Building things

  5. Fixing things

  6. Skill with numbers

 Administrations = ministries

  1. Pastors

  2. Teachers

  3. Deacons

  4. Christian Leaders

 Operations = works

  1. Soul winning

  2. Counseling

  3. Discipleship

  4. Service – building, maintenance

  5. Music

 All are distributed by the same Spirit according to God’s perfect will

  1. No Christian should become proud because of his God-given gift or assignment

  2. No Christian should become disheartened because of God’s choices, either

  3. Everyone should use his or her God-given abilities to further the cause of Christ

The church is filled with willing people, some willing to work, and others willing to let them.

Not Everyone Had The Same Kind of Gifts – Spiritual gifts differ in purpose and use within church history.

– There is an important play on words in the Greek. It has to do with two different words both translated as “another”:

o allos = another of the same kind

o heteros = another of a different kind

 Gifts of helps – to interpret and understand Scriptures

1 Corinthians 12:8 KJV

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

  1. Wisdom = prudent counsel, instruction, advice

  2. A word of knowledge = intelligence resulting in a clear view of Bible truth and doctrine

  3. These gifts still exist today as related to Scriptures

 Sign gifts

1 Corinthians 12:9–10 KJV

To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 

To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

 1. The first “another” in verse 9 is heteros

 2. Faith = powerful confidence in God resulting in supernatural demonstration

 3. Healing = supernatural intervention in one’s physical condition

 4. Working of miracles = highly unusual events

 5. Prophecy = direct revelation

 6. Discerning of spirits = supernatural insight into the mindset of others – see Acts 5:1-10

The need for these sign gifts has passed

1 Corinthians 13:8–10 KJV

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

 The gift of tongues

  1. “…to another divers kinds of tongues…”  – this is heteros (another of a different kind)

  2. There was a gift of languages and interpretation of the same given to cross language barriers in order to reach the lost with the Gospel

  3. These tongues have ceased – “ceased” = stopped on their own due to lack of need.

  1 Corinthians 13:8-10

 All these gifts are dealt by God’s perfect sovereignty

1 Corinthians 12:11 KJV

But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

Conclusion:

In 1765 John Fawsett was called to pastor a very small congregation at Wainsgate, England. He labored there diligently for 7 years, but his salary was so meager that he and his wife could scarcely obtain the necessities of life. Though the people were poor, they compensated for this lack by their faithfulness and warm fellowship.

Then Dr. Fawcett received a call from a much larger church in London, and after lengthy consideration decided to accept the invitation. As his few possessions were being placed in a wagon for moving, many of his parishioners came to say good-bye. Once again they pleaded with him to reconsider.

Touched by this great outpouring of love, he and his wife began to weep. Finally Mrs. Fawcett exclaimed, “O John, I just can’t bear this. They need us so badly here.” “God has spoken to my heart, too!” he said. “Tell them to unload the wagon! We cannot break these wonderful ties of fellowship.”

This experience inspired Fawsett to write a hymn. “Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love! The fellowship of kindred mind is like to that above.”

—H.G. Bosch

Every born again Christian is placed by God into the church that is perfect for them. God gives every believer a set of gifts especially for those churches God knows they will join. It is therefore unwise and unproductive for believers to hop churches. It is not God’s design or intent for any believer to simply attend services. God has given you tailor made abilities to plug into your home church. God has designed you to be a perfect fit.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 8:18 PM August 5, 2021.

Not Everyone Can Say That!

Thursday, July 29th, 2021

Not Everyone Can Say That!

Pastor Don Carpenter

Connected! / 1 Corinthians 12:1–3

The world is in a crisis of confusion concerning the character and the nature of God. Just as paganism and polytheism tainted the ancient Near Eastern world, our society is influenced by corrupted views of God. The names have changed, but the false gods they represented have not. Instead of Baal, we have new age philosophy; instead of the Sun god Ra, we have Eastern Mysticism, with its worship of Creation; instead of Asherah, we have the worship of supermodels and the sexuality they represent. Instead of idols made of silver, gold and wood, we have consumerism, materialism, humanism, yoga, meditation, and a host of other philosophies that draw from the same cesspool of idolatry represented by the gods of the Canaanites.”

“Like the prophets of Scripture, our task as spiritual leaders is to call the people away from the confusion polytheism to the clarity of monotheistic God of Scripture. Like Elijah on Mount Carmel, we are called to challenge people to choose between the God of the Bible and the gods of the culture”.

Source: Glenn C. Daman, Leading the Small Church: How to Develop a Transformational Ministry, pp. 105, 106.

Local churches must shine the light of Jesus Christ and the Gospel in this sin cursed world. Just as the ancient world needed the Church at Corinth to stand against the religious confusion of their day, Torrington needs Evangelical Baptist Church to shine brightly, exposing the religious confusion of our day.  

This morning we are launching a new series about our role in the local church entitled: “Connected”.  In the next few weeks we are going to discover God’s plan for believers to unite and reach a lost and confused world. We will discover things that we share in common. We will discover things that make us unique among the believers. We will discover that we have all been called into a local assembly. We will see that each local assembly is a physical manifestation of the Body of Christ. Most of all we will discover that as believers in Jesus, we are all CONNECTED.

1 Corinthians is a letter written to a well meaning, but wayward church in Corinth. Their two biggest struggles were Christian unity and misuse and misunderstanding of Spiritual gifts. In Chapter 12, the Apostle Paul tackles both issues. He will demonstrate that it is the understanding of how and why Spiritual Gifts are given that will show that we are designed to function as a united Body.

Today, much like the time this letter was written, our society does not want for religion. There are common misconceptions that abound.  

“God is the Father of us all. There are many paths to the same God. God grades on intent and motives, not on strict doctrinal truths.” 

All of these false teachings are corrected when we understand our role as believers. This morning we are going to discover what unites us as believers and what divides us fun unbelievers is what we can correctly claim about our relationships. We will see some things we can declare as believers and we will see that “Not Everyone Can Say That”.

We Are Brothers

1 Corinthians 12:1 KJV

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

Adopted to and from the same family

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.

The Possession of Spiritual Gifts is a Family Trait

1 Corinthians 12:4 KJV

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

1 Peter 4:10 KJV

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Ephesians 4:7 KJV

But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Ephesians 4:8 KJV

Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

Notice that in the text of your Bible the word gifts is in italics, which means that that word is not in the original. It was added for the sake of clarity; but, very frankly, I don’t think adding the word clarified anything. Actually, it has added confusion. In The Revised Standard Version it is spiritual gifts; in The New English Bible it is gifts of the Spirit; in The Berkeley Translation it is spiritual endowments. The Scofield Reference Bible has a good footnote about this.

The Greek word is pneumatika, which literally means “spiritualities.” It is in contrast to carnalities. One does not need to add the word “gifts.” Back in the third chapter Paul was discussing the divisions among the Corinthian believers, and he wrote, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1). That first section is about carnalities because their questions were about carnalities and the things that carnal Christians would be interested in. The carnalities had to do with their divisions, their wrangling about different leaders, about adultery, about going to court against a brother, the sex problem, women’s dress and men’s haircuts, the love feast, gluttony and drunkenness at the Lord’s Supper. That is all carnality, and we can find the same things in the church today. The section on carnalities was corrective.

Now we come to the section on spiritualities, and this is constructive. Paul was glad to change the subject; I think he heaved a sigh of relief when he got here to chapter 12. He was willing to discuss the other problems with them, but he really wanted to talk to them about the spiritualities.

The modern church needs to change the same old subjects which are discussed. In a very sophisticated manner Christian educators say that we should tell our young people about sex. Friend, we had better tell them about spiritual things. There are so many programs in the churches that the young people never get anywhere near the Bible. They have conferences on whatever carnality is the popular issue or the fad for the moment. All of that is a sign of carnality.

In this section Paul will touch on three subjects: the unifying Spirit, the law of love, and the triumph the believer has in the Resurrection. The gifts of the Spirit just happen to be one of the spiritualities, by the way1

1 J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: The Epistles (1 Corinthians), electronic ed., vol. 44 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 136–137.

We WERE Gentiles/Pagans

1 Corinthians 12:2 KJV

Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

Carried Away

When they were lost, they were under the control of the demons (1 Cor. 10:20) and were led astray (“carried away,” 1 Cor. 12:2). But now the Spirit of God lived in them and directed them.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 607.

1 Corinthians 10:20 KJV

But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

Speechless idols… senseless objects

Habakkuk 2:18–19 KJV

What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; The molten image, and a teacher of lies, That the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? 

Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, And there is no breath at all in the midst of it.

Led by deceivers under demonic influence.

2 Corinthians 11:13–15 KJV

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 

Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

All That Is In The Past

Ephesians 2:1–2 KJV

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

We Have The Spirit of God

Romans 8:9 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.

1 Corinthians 3:16 KJV

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

Therefore we CANNOT call Jesus Cursed.

 1 Corinthians 12:3 (KJV)

 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed…

This is a very interesting passage, because it gives us two phrases which were battle cries.

(1) There is the phrase Accursed be Jesus. There could be four ways in which this terrible phrase might arise.

(a) It would be used by the Jews. The synagogue prayers regularly included a cursing of all those who had renounced their faith; and Jesus would fall into that category. Further, as Paul knew so well (Galatians 3:13), the Jewish law laid it down: ‘Anyone hung on a tree is under God’s curse’ (Deuteronomy 21:23). And Jesus had been cruci?ed. It would not be unusual to hear the Jews pronouncing their anathemas on this heretic and criminal whom the Christians worshipped.

(b) It is by no means unlikely that the Jews would make Jewish converts who were attracted by Christianity pronounce this curse or suffer excommunication from all Jewish worship. When Paul was telling Agrippa about his persecuting days, he said: ‘By punishing them often in all the synagogues I tried to force them to blaspheme’ (Acts 26:11). It must often have been a condition of remaining within the synagogue that a man should pronounce a curse on Jesus Christ.

(c) Whatever was true when Paul was writing, it is certainly true that later on, in the terrible days of persecution, Christians were compelled either to curse Christ or to die. In the time of Trajan, it was the test of Pliny, governor of Bithynia, to demand that a person accused of being a Christian should curse Christ. When Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, was arrested, the demand of the proconsul Statius Quadratus was: ‘Say: “Away with the atheists,” swear by the godhead of Caesar, and blaspheme Christ.’ And it was the great answer of the aged bishop: “Eighty and six years have I served Christ, and he has never done me wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” There certainly came a time when people were confronted with the choice of cursing Christ or facing death.

(d) There was the possibility that, even in the Church, someone, half-mad with frenzy, might cry out: ‘Accursed be Jesus.’ In that hysterical atmosphere, anything might happen and be claimed to be the work of the Spirit. Paul lays it down that no one can say a word against Christ and attribute it to the in?uence of the Spirit.1

1 William Barclay, The Letters to the Corinthians, 3rd ed., The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002), 125–126.

Therefore we CAN call Jesus Lord.

 1 Corinthians 12:3 (KJV)

 …and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

Beside this, there is the Christian battle cry Jesus is Lord. In so far as the early Church had a creed at all, that simple phrase was it (cf. Philippians 2:11). The word for Lord was kurios, and it was a tremendous word. It was the of?cial title of the Roman emperor. The demand of the persecutors was always: ‘Say: “Caesar is Lord [kurios].” ’ It was the word by which the sacred name Yahweh was rendered in the Greek translation of the Old Testament Scriptures. When people could say ‘Jesus is Lord,’ it meant that they gave to Jesus the supreme loyalty of their lives and the supreme worship of their hearts.

It is to be noted that Paul believed that it was possible to say ‘Jesus is Lord’ only when the Spirit enabled someone to say it. The Lordship of Jesus was not so much something which people discovered for themselves as something which God, in his grace, revealed to them.1

1 William Barclay, The Letters to the Corinthians, 3rd ed., The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002), 126.

 • Therefore we can say that Jesus is the Lord

  • The spiritual / theological understanding of who Jesus is.

  • The personal submission to the authority Jesus has. To say Jesus is Lord is to imply He is YOUR Lord.

  • Only saved folks who possess the Holy Spirit can truly say Jesus is Lord.

  • Not all saved folks always act as if Jesus is Lord, but they can if they choose to.

It is only through the Spirit that a person can honestly say, “Jesus is Lord.” A sneering sinner may mouth the words, but he is not giving a true confession. (Perhaps Paul was referring to things they had said when influenced by the demons prior to conversion.) It is important to note that the believer is always in control of himself when the Holy Spirit is at work (1 Cor. 14:32) because Jesus Christ the Lord is in charge. Any so-called “Spirit manifestation” that robs a person of self-control is not of God; for “the fruit of the Spirit is … self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23, nasb).

If Jesus Christ truly is Lord in our lives, then there should be unity in the church. Division and dissension among God’s people only weakens their united testimony to a lost world (John 17:20–21).

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 607.

So those of us who have trusted Jesus as personal Savior have been united in the things we can say.

 • We can call each other Brother or Sister.

 • We can say that our Pagan thinking is in the past.

 • We can say Jesus is Lord!

Not Everyone Can Say That

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:44 AM July 29, 2021.

Stay Prayerful

Thursday, July 22nd, 2021

Stay Prayerful With an Excellent Spirit

Pastor Don Carpenter

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

There once was an out of work actor named Daniel

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

I could do that,” Daniel arranged an interview.

The employer turned out to be the local zoo

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

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

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

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

Soon, Daniel is drawing a sizable crowd.

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

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

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

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

An Excellent Spirit Can Be Trusted

Daniel 6:1–3 KJV

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

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

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

Trusted With Power

  • 120 over the Kingdom

  • 3 Presidents over the 120

  • 1 over all these – Daniel

Trusted with secrets

Proverbs 11:13 KJV

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

Proverbs 20:6 KJV

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

Trusted with truth

Proverbs 14:5 KJV

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

Trusted with relationships

Proverbs 6:19 KJV

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

An Excellent Spirit will be Attacked Because of Envy

Daniel 6:4–9 KJV

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

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

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

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

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

Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.

Proverbs 14:30 KJV

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

Proverbs 27:4 KJV

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

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

Philippians 2:14–15 KJV

Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 

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

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

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

Proverbs 20:19 KJV

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

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

   • Pride

   • Lust

   • Greed

An Excellent Spirit will be Consistent

Unashamed

Daniel 6:10–12 KJV

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

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

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

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

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

Regular – even when evil appears to win

Daniel 6:13–15 KJV

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

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

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

Psalm 74:10 KJV

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

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

Daniel 6:16–20 KJV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God’s Power is Manifested Through an Excellent Spirit.

Daniel 6:21–22 KJV

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

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

 • He will deliver

 • He will destroy His enemies

Daniel 6:23–24 KJV

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

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

 • He will get the glory.

Daniel 6:25–28 KJV

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

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

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

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

GOD’S WAY ISN’T ALWAYS EASY

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

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

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

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

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

* STEPHEN chose a path that led to martyrdom.

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

* CHRIST chose a path that led to the cross.

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

 Daniel 6:20–22 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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