Archive for the ‘Sunday Morning Sermons’ Category

Back to the Basics of Scripture

Thursday, January 13th, 2022

Back to the Basics of Scripture

Pastor Don Carpenter

Back to the Basics / 2 Timothy 3:16–17

During Superbowl XXXVII, FedEx ran a commercial that spoofed the movie Castaway, in which Tom Hanks played a FedEx worker whose company plane went down, stranding him on a desert island for years. Looking like the bedraggled Hanks in the movie, the FedEx employee in the commercial goes up to the door of a suburban home, package in hand.

When the lady comes to the door, he explains that he survived five years on a deserted island, and during that whole time he kept this package in order to deliver it to her. She gives a simple, “Thank you.”

But he is curious about what is in the package that he has been protecting for years. He says, “If I may ask, what was in that package after all?”

She opens it and shows him the contents, saying, “Oh, nothing really. Just a satellite telephone, a global positioning device, a compass, a water purifier, and some seeds.”

Like the contents in this package, the resources for growth and strength are available for every Christian who will take advantage of them.

___

Today we’re going to continue our 4-week series called, Back to the Basics. It’s a series about the basics…the foundations of our faith. And, if you were with us last week you’ll recall that we began with the practice of consistent and bold prayer.

Our journey continues today with the very word of God, the holy scripture. It may seem like such an obviously important part of Christian faith and yet for some reason, the Bible is all too often overlooked or ignored in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.

The simple truth is that the Bible is anything but unimportant. As we’ll learn today …The word of God is living, active, and profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training. And that’s just scratching the surface! The Bible is full of wisdom and surprises.

For instance, the Bible actually consists of 66 smaller books, divided into 2 major sections; the Old and New Testament. Another way to think about it is that the Old Testament is everything that happened before Jesus and the New Testament covers about 70 years of time including the birth and ministry of Jesus along with the beginning of the early church. For our study today, we’ll primarily be in the New Testament, learning from Jesus and some of the original apostles.

Another interesting fact about the Bible is that it is the all-time best selling book in the history of the world and has been translated into 704 different languages. (As of Sept. 2020) And there are entire ministries, like Wycliffe Bible Translators, whose aim is to translate the Bible into every language on earth.

I think we would all agree that it’s important for everyone on earth to have access to the Bible. As I mentioned before, it is living, active, and profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training.

Basically, the Bible is amazing. What an incredible gift God has given us. Let’s see what we can learn about the word, from the word.

The Word Is Alive

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.

Have you ever read the Bible and something just JUMPS out at you? As if the Bible knew what you needed at that moment? Or have you ever just randomly opened to a passage that spoke so clearly into your life, it seemed uncanny.

If you’ve felt either of those things before, then you’re right. And actually the writer of Hebrews describes the words of scripture as both quick /alive and powerful /active.

To be alive in this sense means to be counted among the living, not the dead. The point being here that the writer of Hebrews very much counts the words of scripture among the living just as other human beings, animals, etc… would be. The word active also means effective and productive in it’s work.

For those of us in the room who’ve been reading the Bible for some time, I think we can all agree that the Bible is both living and effective. And to drive the point home, the author of Hebrews says the word is more effective than a double edged sword at dividing (cutting through) soul and spirit.

The word is powerful and able to get down to the heart of the matter.

So again, if you’ve ever read the Bible and it seemed to be “speaking” directly into your situation then I think it’s fair to say that it probably was. And as we grow in our faith it’s important to continue returning to scripture again and again. Submitting ourselves to the word of God and allowing the Spirit to work in and through our lives.

I know that may sound hokey or too overly spiritual but I will tell you this… try it. Try giving yourself a consistent time every day in Bible study and see for yourself just how powerful and “profitable” the word is.

The Word is Profitable

2 Timothy 3:16–17 KJV

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 

That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

For Salvation

2 Timothy 3:15 KJV

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

1 Peter 1:23 KJV

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Romans 10:17 KJV

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

For doctrine= that which is taught

1 Timothy 4:6 KJV

If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

For reproof= censure, conviction

Proverbs 6:23 KJV

For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; And reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

John 3:20 KJV

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

For correction= restoration to an upright state

Daniel 12:3 KJV

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

Galatians 6:1 KJV

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

For instruction in a righteous life style

Psalm 119:9–11 KJV

BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word. 

With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, That I might not sin against thee.

2 Timothy 3:17 KJV

That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

And here we are again, back at the feet of Jesus. Where it all begins and ends for those who follow Him. Which brings us to our most important point of the day, that the word is where you encounter Jesus because Jesus is the word.

The Word Became Flesh

John 1:1–3 KJV

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

The same was in the beginning with God. 

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

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.

Jesus is the word and the word is Jesus.

Is this why scripture is living and active? Is this why sometimes I feel that while I’m reading the Bible that the Bible is actually reading me? Is Jesus IN every Bible?

I actually don’t know if I can answer all those questions. I do know God’s ways are different from our ways. And I also know Jesus says some other, very interesting things in the gospels that may be of interest…

Throughout John 6, Jesus refers to himself as living bread or the bread of life. When Jesus was being tempted by the devil in the wilderness He says, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4) Jesus knew that He didn’t need another loaf of freshly baked French bread from the local bakery. What He needed, and what we need, is the very word of God, the living bread, the bread of life.

There is other “bread” out there that may satisfy your earthly hunger, but there is nothing else that will cure your spiritual starvation.

Only Jesus can do that.

The Word made flesh.

The bread of life.

Scripture.

I believe it to be of utmost importance in the life of a believer to be in the Bible every single day. There’s nothing like it, no other book has ever been written and I can guarantee that there is not another book in existence that we would say is alive and active.

And yet, I understand too that life gets complicated and almost before you know it your Bible reading plan is a bust. Or that devotional you bought to help give you some structure is nothing more than a permanent fixture on your mantle.

So today, instead of another bullet point plan or a bunch of hooting and hollering I’m just going to leave you with a few more words from Jesus.

 Many of you will be familiar, as this verse is from the Lord’s prayer where Jesus simply says, “And give us Lord our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)

What if Jesus wasn’t just talking about french loaves and baguettes. What if He was talking about the bread of life? What if He was instructing the disciples to pray for Him? And what if God gave us daily access to Christ through scripture?

Wouldn’t that be an amazing way for God the Father to provide for all His kids?

So give it a try this week, and expect that you will find the Bible to be alive, active, useful, effective, and powerful.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 1:21 PM January 13, 2022.

Back to the Basics of Prayer

Thursday, January 6th, 2022

Prayer

Pastor Don Carpenter

Back to the Basics / Mark 1:35; Ephesians 1:18

Pastor Rick Crandall tells this story:

*The scariest airplane flight I have ever been on was in 1982. I worked for the Air Force back then and was going to Korea for a contract negation with Korean Airlines.

*When we were way out over the Pacific Ocean, we hit some bad weather. And I mean it was very bad. I looked out the window, and I’m not kidding, the wings of that big 747 were flapping like a bird!

*It was so rough that one of the flight attendants couldn’t make it back to her seat. She sat on the floor in the aisle about 15 feet in front of me. And let me tell you, she was terrified.

*My rule of thumb on an airplane is this: If the flight attendant is happy, you are fine. But if your flight attendant is scared, you’ve got a problem!

*Before we hit that storm, you could hear people chattering all over that plane. But when we were in the storm, that plane got so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. Nobody was talking, but I guarantee you most of us were praying.

*You didn’t have to ask the people on that plane to pray. We had a great reason to pray! Today we will discover that prayer should not be a last resort, but one of the foundational practices of a born again Christian.

____

Today we’re beginning a new 4-week series called, Back to the Basics. And as you may have guessed, it’s a series about the basics…the foundations of our faith. Over the next 4 weeks we’ll cover PRAYER, SCRIPTURE, CONFESSION, and SERVICE.

It’s going to be an awesome journey together as we head back to the feet of Jesus. Back to where the “Church” originally began. Listening and learning as disciples with Jesus leading the way…

Heb 12.2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” 

Speaking of Jesus, have you ever wondered how He was able to accomplish all He did in such a short period of time? What was His secret to ministry?

For those who may not know, Jesus is the only begotten son of God the Father. And God sent Jesus into the world so that He might save the world through Him (John 3:16-17). We know Jesus did in fact accomplish what He was destined to do when He was crucified on the cross and raised again to life after three days. But the question remains, how? How was He able to accomplish it all?

Jesus had the benefit of being the divine Son of God, so there’s that. But there’s another part of Jesus’ life here on earth that cannot be understated. And that’s His prayer life. Jesus was always in conversation and communion with the Father. And from what we know from the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John it appears that Jesus kept a regular rhythm of prayer throughout His life.

And if prayer was a foundational part of Jesus’ life, the only Son of God, then it needs to be a foundational part of our lives as well.

“To believe that God can reach us and bless us in the ordinary junctures of daily life is the stuff of prayer… But when we pray, genuinely pray, the real condition of our heart is revealed. This is as it should be. This is when God truly begins to work with us. The adventure is just beginning.[1]” – Richard Foster

Richard Foster. “Prayer: Finding the heart’s true home.” Harper Collins, San Francisco. P. 11

I love this quote from Foster because he’s absolutely right when he refers to prayer as an adventure. It’s an adventure in faith, vulnerability, hope, sadness, grief, and all the other stuff that life throws at us. It’s holy ground. In fact, there’s much more to prayer than I could ever cover in a week, so today we’re going to take a closer look at just a few of the ways the Bible describes prayer.

The first thing that comes to mind is something that we see in the life of Christ; that He was constantly in communion and prayer with the Father.

Constant Prayer

Constant prayer is a daunting task. I know there are some of you in the room who’ve already tuned me out because you believe I’m going to ask you to do something impossible. But, I don’t believe God would invite us to do something that we could never do… And even if He did, I trust that He sent the Holy Spirit to help us…Which is something we’ll talk more about later

1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 KJV

Rejoice evermore. 

Pray without ceasing. 

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

In this passage, Paul talks about several things we should be doing, all the time. Always rejoicing, always praying, always giving thanks… and he goes on to say that this is, “the very will of God in Christ Jesus” for our lives. And here’s the important part… There aren’t many places in the Bible where we are told so explicitly and clearly what the very will of God is for us. In fact, there are many people – maybe even in this room right now – who spend huge chunks of their lives trying to figure out what the will of God is.

Well here it is in 1 Thessalonians. Plain and simple….right?

Of course, the obvious problem is that it’s not so simple. It’s not easy, in the midst of a billion distractions and temptations to remain steadfast in prayer and thanksgiving. And yet, that’s God’s desire for us; It’s a life of constancy with Him.

It’s amazing to think the creator of the universe wants a consistent relationship with us. He wants us to pray, incessantly. Communicating with Him all the time, in every circumstance. So here’s an idea for all of us. Instead of seeing this as an impossible burden, try to think about the blessing of a heavenly Father who wants all of you – all your life – all your thoughts – all of it.

Try talking to him about the simple stuff, the ordinary stuff. It doesn’t always have to be crisis level prayer or desperate prayer. Try thinking of your prayer life as an ever-open line of communication. A phone call that never comes to an end with someone on the other end who never tires of hearing from you.

Sometimes teenagers get into my car as Uber passengers with their phone on speaker. They have their BFF on an open line. They may be chatting actively, or just keeping the line open for communication should the whim hit them. To pray without ceasing is to have God on speakerphone.

Let the Father’s love and desire for you embolden you in your prayers to Him.

Bold Prayer

Bold prayer takes practice. It’s admittedly difficult to reconcile the fact that we must have reverence and awe for God and at the same time be bold in our prayer life. That’s why I love the way the writer of Hebrews frames the concept for us;

Hebrews 4:15–16 KJV

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

We can be bold as we approach the throne of God because of what Christ has already done. Christ was both fully God and fully human and he was tempted just as we are tempted. So when you offer your prayers to God you can trust that He understands and empathizes with your situation.

1 John 5:14 KJV

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

I love the idea of having freedom when we come to God in prayer. People who understand they are free have an easier time being bold. And because Christ has set us free, because He is a great high priest, and because He fully understands what it means to be human… We can boldly bring ALL our prayers to Him.

Intercessory Prayer

Ezekiel 22:29–31 KJV

The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. 

And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. 

Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.

Ephesians 6:18 KJV

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Matthew 5:44 KJV

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

It’s easy to love and to pray for those whom we love and care for. It’s difficult to pray for those who’ve harmed us or wronged us. Those whom we have offense against. And yet those are the people who Jesus says we should be praying for. Those are the people who need our prayers.

Conclusion:

As mentioned earlier, prayer was an integral part of Jesus’ life and ministry. No matter what else was going on, He always made time for prayer. He always sought fellowship with the Father.

Mark 1:35 KJV

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

Jesus made space for prayer.

And as we seek to learn from Him, we acknowledge the power of prayer in the life of Christ. As we follow Him, we too must be people of prayer. It’s a fundamental piece of life in Christ.

Constant prayer.

Bold prayer.

Intercessory prayer

These are our challenges for the week. Or said another way;

? What time, every day this coming week, can you stop and pray?

? What big thing, concerning thing, or hard thing do you need to be bold in prayer over this coming week?

? Set up a prayer journal.

? Who do you need to stand in the gap for this week?

 • Who are the Saints that you will pray for this week?

 • What enemy needs your prayer this week?

Make space for it, just like Jesus did. This is how we get back to the basics… we pray.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:52 AM January 6, 2022.

A Vision For 2022 and Beyond

Thursday, December 23rd, 2021

A Vision For 2022 and Beyond

Pastor Don Carpenter

Leadership / Proverbs 29:18

In the fairy tale, Alice in Wonderland I believe it was the Cheshire Cat who said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” It could be we’re just living a fairy tale if we don’t come to a vision of where God wants us as a church to go.

To be honest, these two years have been very difficult to navigate as a pastor. We have faced many unique challenges for the first time and much of the time, I found myself reacting to things rather than following a clearly mapped out path. As the dust clears I feel God the Holy Spirit leading me to lead us in a very specific direction. The purpose of this morning’s message is to try to communicate with you where I believe we are headed in the next several years. The Lord has been focusing my attention to Reach the Lost and Unchurched and to Worship in Spirit and in Truth. I trust God will stir you as well as I share a Vision for 2022 and Beyond.

A Vision To Reach

Our Town – Our Jerusalem

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.

 • The cultures in Torrington

 • Religious backgrounds in Torrington

 • Financial Classes in Torrington

 • Political viewpoints in Torrington

 • Increase Social Media Presence

 • Increase Google Presence

 • Increase EBC awareness through social ministry and outreach.

 • Currently Enrolled in Church Marketing University learning best 2022 strategies.

The Lost

Mark 16:15 KJV

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

 • Those that look lost

 • Those that look like they have it all together.

James 2:1 KJV

My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

 • Reach them within their background

1 Corinthians 9:18–22 KJV

What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. 

For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 

And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 

To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 

To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

 • Develop a passion to reach the lost where they are and meet them on that level with the truth of the Gospel.

The Scattered Unchurched Believer.

Ezekiel 34:4 KJV

The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.

 In a 2017 Lifeway Research survey, a majority (66%) of Americans ages 23-30 said they stopped attending church on a regular basis for at least a year after turning 18. Among their top reasons was that church members seemed divisive, judgmental or hypocritical. – USA TODAY

 • Wounded over demonic division

James 3:13–16 KJV

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 

But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 

This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

 • Wounded over misuse of authority or scripture

 • A disembodied believer cannot thrive without finding a local church.

 • It is our job to provide a safe space to heal and grow.

A Vision To Worship

John 4:24 KJV

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

In Spirit – Passion/ Emotion

 • Early churches had multiple pastors/elders/bishops

 • Today we have youth pastors, family pastors, outreach pastors… none of these are specifically in the Bible.

 Habakkuk 3:19 (KJV)

 The LORD God is my strength, And he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, And he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words To Keep, Oversee

A. Verb.

natsach (?????, 5329), “to keep, oversee, have charge over.” The word appears as “to set forward” in the sense of “to oversee or to lead” in 1 Chron. 23:4, 2 Chron. 34:12, Ezra 3:8, and Ezra 3:9: “Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God.…” The word appears as “to oversee” in 2 Chron. 2:2: “And Solomon told out threescore and ten thousand men to bear burdens … and three thousand and six hundred to oversee them.”

 • Open your Bible to Psalm 4,5,6,8,9,11,12,13…. 55 uses of this title Chief Musician… 

 • As we grow and pray, I believe that we should pray for a Pastor of Music… an overseer of this part of the ministry… one that can shepherd our folks to use their abilities to their fullest potential in musical worship and outreach. Keeping in mind that we are to reach the multiple cultures in Torrington, the lost, the unchurched, and stir up the hearts of the faithful. I believe somewhere there is a man with the calling of God to fit into this Body with our needs and for our benefit.

In Truth

Proverbs 4:26–27 KJV

Ponder the path of thy feet, And let all thy ways be established. 

Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: Remove thy foot from evil.

Ephesians 4:11–14 KJV

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

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

 • Many good churches have lost their way because of politics or extra – Biblical “standards” or man made rules.

 • Legalism and scriptural inconsistency have driven many believers out of church into a spiritual wasteland. In 2022 and beyond we will drill down deeper into scriptural understanding… standing firmly on what the Bible actually says, and stripping away any man made theological house of cards that have served to confuse and stumble believers.

Evangelical Baptist Church has been my home for 20 years. God willing I hope to be used for another 20 years at least. I am excited for where we have been and where we are headed. We are moving into a digital outreach age. We are looking to reach the blended cultures in Torrington, both the lost and the unchurched. We are looking to fan the flame of spiritual worship by deepening our musical experience and praying in pastoral guidance in this area. Most importantly, we seek to continue to grow deep roots of Biblical understanding and discernment. We seek continue to learn the difference between a Biblical mandate and a cultural or personal preference.  

We have seen exciting days and By the Grace of God we will see new days of Grace and Growth ahead. That is your pastor’s vision for 2022 and beyond.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:54 PM December 23, 2021.

The Gift of Love

Thursday, December 16th, 2021

The Gift of Love

Pastor Don Carpenter

Best Christmas Ever

There was a great theologian who came to the USA from England and was being interviewed by a group of seminary students. The question was asked, “What is the most profound thought that ever occupied your mind.” The answer was, “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.”

You may go very, very deep in theology; you may become a scholar; you may become a philosopher, but you’ll never ever understand anything more profound than to understand that God loves you so much He gave His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

For the last three weeks we have been considering what makes this the Best Christmas Ever. Each week we have been focusing on a different element of the Advent. Jesus came into this world, God became flesh. With His arrival He brought us Hope, Peace, Joy, and today we will focus on the final element of Advent, LOVE.

Any birth is a sweet story of miracles, life and love, but Christ’s arrival was no ordinary birth. Jesus, God’s only Son, became flesh so that He could live a perfect life, pay the price for Sin on the cross, and rise again victorious over sin and death, providing us a way to be saved.

Romans 6:23 KJV

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

2 Corinthians 9:15 KJV

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

The Gift of Love to the Unlovely

The Gift Was Totally Undeserved

Romans 3:10 KJV

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

Romans 3:23 KJV

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

Romans 6:23 KJV

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

The Gift was Given out of Love For Sinners

Romans 5:6–8 KJV

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 

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

The Gift Was God’s Only Son

 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.

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.

John 1:18 KJV

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

 1 John 4:9–10 (KJV)

 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 

 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

 Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (2662 ???????)

 ??????? =means of forgiveness, an atoning sacrifice

The Gift of Life to the Dead 

 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.

On Our Own We are Dead In Sin

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:

Romans 5:12 KJV

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

John 3:18 KJV

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:36 KJV

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

We Unwrap the Gift of Eternal Life By Faith

Ephesians 2:8–9 KJV

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Galatians 2:21 KJV

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Romans 5:10 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.

John 3:15 KJV

That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

1 Timothy 1:15–16 KJV

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 

Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

Romans 8:33 KJV

Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

Romans 5:1 KJV

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

I don’t understand electricity, but I’m no fool—I’m not going to sit around in the dark till I do. I don’t understand the thermodynamics of internal combustion and the hydraulics of an automatic transmission either, but I’m no fool—I’m not going to stay in one place until I do. The truth is that I don’t understand a great deal of the things that are part of my everyday life, but I make them a part of my life anyway.

The same is true of salvation. No one will fully understand how God could become man, how he could die, how his death could be the basis for our forgiveness, how he could give you and me a new life, and all of the other aspects of salvation. But only a fool would ignore such a great opportunity just because he didn’t understand it.1

1 Michael P. Green, 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 318.

The Gift of Righteousness to the Condemned

John 3:17 KJV

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Next time you’re in an airport notice the difference between passengers who have confirmed tickets and those on standby (Hybels, Too Busy Not to Pray 113). Those who have confirmed tickets are relaxed, their confident and expectant. Those on standby hang around the ticket counter, they pace and smoke, pace and smoke, pace and smoke…all because of uncertainty. God offers us freedom from the burden of uncertainty, so we can know for sure where we stand with God.

Romans 3:19–25 KJV

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

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

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

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: 

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

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

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

2 Corinthians 5:19–21 KJV

To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 

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

2 Corinthians 9:15 KJV

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

This last Sunday before Christmas 2021, let us rejoice in God’s Gift of Love, His own precious Son…. given for our salvation.

If you are still trying to merit heaven by your actions, your denomination, your sacraments, please, turn from these dead works and trust in Jesus’ finished work on the cross. You will experience the true meaning of the statement “God So Loved the World”. Ask Jesus to save you once and for all, and this will be the Best Christmas Ever!

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 3:52 PM December 16, 2021.

The Shout of Praise

Wednesday, November 17th, 2021

The Shout of Praise

Pastor Don Carpenter

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship

Pastor Darren Whitehead tells the following story:

Brandy and I started our family in the shadow of the windy city, and though it was a great place and we were part of an amazing church, over time, we felt God calling us to contend for the future of the American church. We felt led to give the next several decades of our lives to the next generation, to plant a new church in a new city. Which city? That minor detail wasn’t quite so clear.

During a time of family prayer, I told our daughters we were considering leaving Chicago to plant a church. They asked the normal questions: Where? When? We told them we didn’t know, but we declared our trust in God. We’d go wherever he sent us. And in the meantime, as crazy as it all seemed, we’d praise him for what he’d do.

Weeks later, we put our house on the market. Our neighbors asked the same questions: Where are you moving? When? I didn’t know, I told them, but we were sure God would lead us. And in the meantime, we’d praise him.

We sold the house within months, and as the moving company loaded our boxes, they asked where we were moving. I told them, too, that I didn’t know.

Honestly, I felt like a madman, unsure where this trust in God would take us. Brandy and I were stepping out, declaring our faith in both our actions and words, and we were giving our children a front row seat to the madness.

Ultimately, God made his plan for our family clear, and we moved to Nashville, Tennessee. We learned that Nashville is home to more than one hundred thousand college students with 60 percent choosing to stay in the area after graduation.

Our children joined us in this journey of uncertainty and faith. They’ve seen how God led and provided for us, how he’s done so many miraculous things in our lives. They’ve seen how we’ve raised a shout of praise for everything he’s done. And it’s my hope that when they’re adults, when they’re making their own decisions, they’ll remember those shouts of praise. It’s my hope that when culture shouts at them, when it asks them to reject their faith and to conform, they’ll drown out those siren songs with their own declarations of faith, trust, and praise. It’s my hope that they’ll raise a shâbach.

 Shâbach, our final Hebrew word of praise, means to address in a loud tone, to shout, to commend, to glory, or to declare triumph. Quite literally, it means to raise a holy roar. The word is used sparsely in the Old Testament, a mere eleven times, but each time, it has powerful effect. 

Shout In Spite of Circumstances

 Psalm 63:1–4 (KJV)

 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: My soul thirsteth for thee, My flesh longeth for thee In a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 

 To see thy power and thy glory, So as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 

 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise thee. 

 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.

 Psalm 106:47 (KJV)

 Save us, O LORD our God, And gather us from among the heathen, To give thanks unto thy holy name, And to triumph in thy praise.

Psalm 71:23 KJV

My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; And my soul, which thou hast redeemed.

Shout Among the Nations

Psalm 117:1–2 KJV

O praise the LORD, all ye nations: Praise him, all ye people. 

For his merciful kindness is great toward us: And the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship BEHIND THE MUSIC

This shout of praise, this shâbach, is not simply a personal declaration though. The shortest psalm, Psalm 117, calls all nations to raise a holy roar.

The most vivid “cultural shâbach” that I have ever seen happened recently. It was a gathering of more than five million people. It was reported as the seventh largest gathering in human history. At one point, that crowd gave a full-bodied, full-volume shout at the top of their lungs. It was a thunderous sonic boom. It was a unified colossal roar.

The location? Hutchinson Field in Grant Park in downtown Chicago. The occasion? The Chicago Cubs winning the Major League Baseball World Series.

As a former resident of Chicago, I can appreciate how Cubs fans have lamented 108 years without a World Series victory. Entire generations of Chicagoans have been born, grown up next to Wrigley Field, lived long lives, and died without ever seeing the Cubs win it all. This was a shout that represented a century of pent-up anticipation and disappointment.

This corporate celebration, this shout, gives us the clearest image of shâbach. Every time we gather with God’s people to praise him, one voice unites with another. Songs become anthems. Anthems become declarations. Declarations become a holy roar.

Psalm 98:4 KJV

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: Make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.

Psalm 66:1–2 KJV

Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: 

Sing forth the honour of his name: Make his praise glorious.

Shout From One Generation to the Next

 Psalm 145:4 (KJV)

 One generation shall praise thy works to another, And shall declare thy mighty acts.

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship BEHIND THE MUSIC

The holy roar of praise is not self-contained, not just for a particular people in a particular space. It’s not praise for the purpose of pumping up the present crowd. It’s for the purpose of passing on the faith from one generation to the next. The next generation, the future church, is waiting for the sound of shâbach.

The shout of praise needs your voice. Join the holy roar.

 Psalm 147:11–14 (KJV)

 The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, In those that hope in his mercy. 

 Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem; Praise thy God, O Zion. 

 For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; He hath blessed thy children within thee. 

 He maketh peace in thy borders, And filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.

Praise Was Not Optional For David – We Should Follow His Passion.

Psalm 119:164 KJV

Seven times a day do I praise thee Because of thy righteous judgments.

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship Conclusion: The Practice of Praise

No matter where he was, who he was with, or what he had to do, he made space to praise God. And if David were to walk into your modern life, if he were to visit you in the coffee shop, or climb into your cherry-red Mazda RX-7, what would you observe about his praise practices? You might note how he’d stop midconversation and ask for a moment to offer praise to God. He might fall on his knees, or raise his hand, or shout right there in the coffee shop: “God, you are so good!” It wouldn’t be a onetime practice. Seven times a day you’d experience this kind of interruption from David. He’d ask you to pull over so he could kneel on the side of the road. He’d ask you to drive him to the church building so he could offer some new song of praise. Your friends might look at him as if he were crazy, might ask you why your friend David was always dancing or kneeling or shouting or singing in praise. You’d shrug your shoulders and look to him. He’d just laugh and say, “You think this is abnormal? ‘I will become even more undignified than this because of what God has done for me. He’s set me free!” (see 2 Samuel 6:22). 

David, the king of all of Israel, the great unifier of the people—we could all learn so much from his indignities.

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship Conclusion: The Practice of Praise

The seven Hebrew words of praise—yâdâh, hâlal, zâmar, tôwdâh, bârak, tehillâh, and shâbach—have changed the way I enter God’s courts. In them, I’ve found complete freedom to express my praise to God. My guess is, if you explore the depths of these words, if you take them to heart, you’ll find that freedom too, and you’ll become a living expression of praise. 

Come with us on this unifying journey of praise.

Join the shâbach of God’s people.

Become a part of the holy roar.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:30 PM November 17, 2021.

The Position of Praise

Thursday, November 11th, 2021

The Position of Praise

Pastor Don Carpenter

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship

Pastor Whitehead tells the following story:

Years ago, I received a phone call while driving to church. It was from an unknown number, and the voice on the other side of the line told me Rickey, a student from my days of youth pastoring, had been in a serious motorcycle accident in Franklin. He was in a coma, the voice said, and had been life-flighted to Vanderbilt Hospital. I was living in Chicago at the time, but Rickey was one of those special kids, one for whom I had deep affection. So I dropped everything and made my way to Nashville.

After a whirlwind flight, I made my way to the hospital. There, I saw Rickey lying in his bed, near lifeless. He’d been married the year before, and his wife was in the room, desperate. The doctors had told us that it would be critical to see some improvement in Rickey’s condition in the first twenty-four hours, so we made his hospital room a place of prayer. We begged. We pleaded. We cried out to God.

Despite our prayers, no change occurred. A day passed, then another. A third day, a fourth day, a fifth. Just before I was scheduled to return to Chicago, a doctor came, telling us that the chances of his survival were incredibly remote, and that with every passing moment, the likelihood of his death increased exponentially.

The doctor left the room, and a nurse came in. She looked at Rickey’s wife and said, “In situations like this, hard decisions need to be made. Sometimes it helps to talk those decisions out. I’ve been sent to have that conversation with you.” Rickey’s wife collapsed on the spot, sobbing uncontrollably. 

When it came time for me to leave, Rickey’s wife hadn’t yet made any decisions. I hugged her, gathered my things, and made my way back to Chicago. I was not hopeful.

The next Sunday, back in Chicago, I was driving to church and talking on the phone with my best mate of more than twenty years, Jon Tyson. Jon, also a pastor, had virtually raised Rickey after his dad had died when he was young. With devastated hearts, we started discussing the logistics of the impending funeral service. We talked about who would officiate it. Jon said, “I don’t know if I could get through it. He was like a son to me.” We sat with the weight of that statement for a few seconds until he broke the silence.

“Hold on. I’m getting another call.”

While he tended to business on his other line, I waited, heavyhearted. How could this thing happen to Rickey? How could I worship God in the heaviness of everything?

After a few moments, the phone silence was broken by Jon’s voice. “Rickey just woke up,” he said, and we both burst into tears.

I walked into the church, through the lobby, and into the main auditorium. There, Brandy and I entered with such gratitude, such praise. And as the music began, I looked at Brandy, now on her knees, arms outstretched, thanking God for the miracle he’d done. In that moment, I joined her, and together we wept in joy as we fixed our eyes on the Giver of life. 

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship BEHIND THE MUSIC

The fifth word commonly translated as praise, the word bârak, is a word of humility. Bârak embodies the notion of kneeling before God, of blessing and adoring him, of recognizing one’s position in relation to him. It’s a word used 289 times in the psalms, and on each occurrence, it’s used to describe worshippers falling on their faces before God in reverence, adoration, and thanks. 

Scholars of the ancient Hebrew provide additional insights into the word bârak. They believe that in the original context, the term did not simply mean bowing down. Instead, it carried the connotation of bending low while keeping one’s eyes fixed on the king. To bârak is to be transfixed.

____

As we continue to expand our understanding of Praise and Worship by examining the 7 Hebrew words used for Praise, today we focus on BARAK.. a position of humility and dependence. Let us discover our need to fall on our face with our gaze to the heavens… a position of praise.

The Most Powerful Men Must Fall Down Before Him.

Psalm 72:11 KJV

Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: All nations shall serve him.

 Psalm 72:15 (KJV)

 And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: Prayer also shall be made for him continually; And daily shall he be praised.

 2 Chronicles 6:12–15 (KJV)

 And he stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands: 

 For Solomon had made a brasen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven, 

 And said, O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts: 

 Thou which hast kept with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him; and spakest with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.

All Things Must Fall Down Before Him

All of Creation Must Fall Down Before Him

Psalm 95:6 KJV

O come, let us worship and bow down: Let us kneel before the LORD our maker.

 Psalm 103:1–2 (KJV)

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

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

 Psalm 103:20–22 (KJV)

 Bless the LORD, ye his angels, That excel in strength, that do his commandments, Hearkening unto the voice of his word. 

 Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; Ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. 

 Bless the LORD, all his works In all places of his dominion: Bless the LORD, O my soul.

Even Unbelievers Will One Day Fall Down and Worship

Romans 14:11 KJV

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

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.

We Fall Down When Seeking the Presence of God.

When Facing a Trial

 Daniel 6:10 (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.

When Confessing

Ezra 9:5–6 KJV

And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God, 

And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.

Because of Our Boldness to Enter His Presence

Ephesians 3:12–14 KJV

In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. 

Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. 

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

When Experiencing God’s Presence

 Psalm 100:4 (KJV)

 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, And into his courts with praise: Be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Ezekiel 3:22–23 KJV

And the hand of the LORD was there upon me; and he said unto me, Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with thee. 

Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face.

Revelation 7:9–12 KJV

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 

And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 

And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 

Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

Chris Tomlin recounts the following:

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship BEHIND THE MUSIC

It was the late 1990s, a time when the modern praise and worship movement was just taking hold. I’d traveled throughout college leading worship for youth retreats and church camps, and the summer after my senior year, I’d booked twelve camps in twelve weeks. One of those camps featured a dynamic young speaker from Atlanta. 

These were the days before Louie and I were close friends, before our ministries had become so intertwined, and as I listened to him preach night after night, I was taken by the way he brought the scriptures to life. Midway through the camp, he asked the students to turn to Revelation 4, and as he read the scriptures, he brought us to the throne room of God. He showed us Christ, seated at the right hand of God, showed how people of every tongue, tribe, and nation came before that throne and presented their crowns, their accomplishments, to the King of the universe. And this, he said, wasn’t just some event that would happen in the future. This casting down of crowns happened day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. It was a present reality. One day, he said, it would be our turn to cast down our crowns.

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship BEHIND THE MUSIC

I often wonder how our church gatherings might feel if, Sunday after Sunday, we came with the eyes of our souls transfixed on the King. Would we complain about the music, about the song selection, about the volume? If we were bowed down, eyes on the King, would we care? 

At Church of the City, we’ve done our best to incorporate the notion of bârak, of keeping our eyes turned to Jesus in worship. When debriefing a church service over lunch, often we ask the question, “How was the worship?” We encourage people to respond with “That’s the wrong question!” The better questions are “How was your worship?” and “How was my worship?” It’s a question of self-examination, a reminder that when we come into the presence of God together, our sole focus should be on the King.

If we’ve experienced the goodness of God, if we’ve seen him at work in our lives, in the lives of our friends, in the life of our church, how can we not bârak? How can we not fall to our knees in gratitude with our eyes fixed on him?

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 4:19 PM November 11, 2021.

The Music of Praise

Thursday, November 4th, 2021

The Music of Praise

Pastor Don Carpenter

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship

 Zâmar, zaw-mar´: To make music. To celebrate in song and music. To touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument.

 Psalm 144:9 (KJV)

 I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: Upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.

Pastor Darren Whitehead tells the following story:

I stood over Brandy, looking into her eyes, giving her chips of ice, holding her hand, doing whatever she needed. She was deep into labor with our third daughter, Violet, and as was the tradition in the Whitehead family, music filled the hospital room.

In the weeks before delivery, Brandy and I made a worship playlist. We’d done the same thing when our first two daughters were born. More than anything, we wanted the songs of the church to be the first sounds our daughters’ tiny ears ever heard; we wanted to bring them into the chorus of God’s family from the beginning.

The worship music we played during Brandy’s labor gave us a sort of hidden strength. This music wasn’t just for our new baby. It was for us too. The people of God singing the praises of God calmed us through the moments of anxiety, bolstering Brandy’s spirits even through the labor of childbirth. The music was a conduit of God’s grace, and we felt it in that hospital room.

Praise and worship music can be a powerful tool to draw us into a personal experience with God. And this effect can be felt in the privacy of a hospital room or in the gathering of the church. Haven’t you experienced this? Consider that time you walked into church, frustrated with a friend, anxious about your finances, perhaps concerned about a new health challenge. Remember how you stood in the liminal space before the worship music began and made small talk as best you could, the things of eternity far from your mind. Recall how the chords began to fill the room, how the attention of the crowd was turned toward the praise of God. In that moment, didn’t the stuff of earth, the anxieties of life, seem to melt into the melody? As the cares rolled away, didn’t you encounter the very presence of God? 

Music is more powerful than we even understand. It can soften our hearts, soothe our troubled souls. It opens a door to the spiritual world. It paves the road for the Spirit’s coming. The patriarchs, psalmists, and prophets of the scriptures understood the power of music especially.

Zâmar is used throughout the psalms to connote the making of music, celebrating in song and music, and plucking the strings of a musical instrument. It’s a word that appears in the scriptures forty-one times, both in narrative form and in the poetry of the psalms.

n prepares the heart for the reality of an important message. This reality is captured by the third Hebrew word that’s so often translated as praise—the word zâmar.

This morning, as we continue our look at seven words for Praise, let us discover ZAMAR – to praise through singing and playing music. We will discover that this musical praise prepares the Heart.

Praise that Prepares the Heart to Hear the Word

2 Kings 3:15–17 KJV

But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him. 

And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches. 

For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts.

 Psalm 47:7 (KJV)

 For God is the King of all the earth: Sing ye praises with understanding.

Colossians 3:16 KJV

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Praise That Prepares The Heart to Trust

1 Samuel 16:23 KJV

And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

While David was hiding from Saul in a cave.

 Psalm 57:7 (KJV)

 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.

 Psalm 108:1 (KJV)

 O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, Even with my glory.

Praise That Prepares The Heart to Stand

 2 Samuel 22:50 (KJV)

 Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, And I will sing praises unto thy name.

 Psalm 27:6 (KJV)

 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: Therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.

 Psalm 57:9 (KJV)

 I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.

 Psalm 59:17 (KJV)

 Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: For God is my defence, and the God of my mercy.

Praise That Prepares The Heart to Give Thanks

 Psalm 147:7 (KJV)

 Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; Sing praise upon the harp unto our God:

Ephesians 5:19–20 KJV

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Praise That Prepares The Heart To Proclaim

 1 Chronicles 16:9 (KJV)

 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, Talk ye of all his wondrous works.

 Psalm 105:2 (KJV)

 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: Talk ye of all his wondrous works.

 Psalm 101:1 (KJV)

 I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.

Praise That Prepares The Heart To Rejoice

 Psalm 71:23 (KJV)

 My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; And my soul, which thou hast redeemed.

The following is a testimony from Chris Tomlin:

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship BEHIND THE MUSIC

In the earliest days of leading worship, I read the story of the famous composer, Johann Sebastian Bach. It’s said that as Bach composed and played music, it was as if he were praising God, even in his instrumental arrangements. “I play the notes as they are written,” Bach is oft quoted as saying, “but it is God who makes the music.” Bach was so convinced of this truth, in fact, that he penned the initials S.D.G. on many of his pieces, his shorthand for Soli Deo gloria—glory to God alone.

Bach’s commitment to creating music to the glory of God was inspirational and formative, and it put language to my practice of prayer before leading worship. Even before reading about Bach’s commitment, I’d prayed that God would be in the music that I played, that I’d simply reflect the melodies God put on my heart, whether or not those songs included words.

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to play with some of the most incredible musicians, people truly gifted to lead the church in worship. There are times, though, when we gather for the purpose of simply playing. We’ll come together to play impromptu instrumental pieces without singing a word. In these moments, rare though they may be, we try our best to pay attention to each other, to the rhythms, to the melodies, and to the harmonies God puts on our hearts. As best as we can, we try to play those songs to the glory of God alone. 

There’s something about those times of instrumental worship, times when we pluck the string. They’ve been some of the most powerful times of personal worship for me. And though it’s hard to explain, they are the times I’ve most felt that I was playing the soundtrack of God. In such times I felt Bach’s truth most.

Yes, I play the notes as they come, but God makes the music. I’m his instrument, a reflection of his music, and before I step onto any stage, I ask that the touch of his presence would be on the music I play. I ask that no matter the crowd size, no matter the songs we play, no matter the time of day, may we play every song for the glory of God alone. Isn’t this the greatest privilege?

ZAMAR – Musical Praise that prepares the heart. Are you prepared?

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 12:10 PM November 4, 2021.

The Lukewarm Church

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

The Lukewarm Church

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Jesus Letters / Revelation 3:14–22

PASTORAL SEARCH COMMITTEE OF THE FIRST LUKEWARM CHURCH

I was recently contacted by a pulpit committee that was interested in my ministry. I met with Chairman of the Disenchanted, Bro Tepid. He described his church; First Lukewarm Church of the Apathetic. “Nothing too boring, nothing too exciting. We want it to fit into our American Culture Christianity. No songs too slow, no songs too fast. Nothing from the ancient songs and nothing after the 70’s.” Nothing ever challenging. We want encouragement and comfort.”

He sang to me the Churches Theme Song.

“Sitting on the premises of Christ our friend.

Through eternal ages let the service end.

Glutted to the highest we will moan and sing.

Sitting on the premises and dead.

Sitting on the premises, sitting on the premises,

Sitting on the premises of Christ our servant.

Sitting on the premises, sitting on the premises,

We’re sitting on the premises and dead.”

He proudly described the Church as irresolute and uncommitted. He introduced to me the other committee members; Bobby Bored, Connie Cool. He described the great teachings the women received who participated in the Church’s The Women’s Indifference Society. There seemed to be great growth in one class; The Mellow Sunday School Class. They were excited about an upcoming event; The Men’s Worldly and Wise Conference. An upcoming revival was going to be led by The Reverend Marvin Mundane. The church had started the Spiritless Seniors group who were going to focus on traveling to entertainment locations like Branson Missouri and Las Vegas. This would bring the Church back into balance because of the growing the Unresponsive Youth Program.

They were looking for a pastor who could scratch their ears, stir their emotions, help their self-esteem, complement their current spiritual condition and validate their unchanging ministries and priorities. On the bright side, they were going to pay well and the benefits were killer.

In this last of the Jesus letters, He addresses the church of Laodicea, a church famous for their tepid spirituality. The Author’s credentials deserve a little explanation.

 Revelation 3:14 (KJV)

 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

The Greek word used here to describe Christ can mean “ruler” or “originator.” Compare John 1:1–5; Col 1:15–18.1

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

John 1:1–3 KJV

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

The same was in the beginning with God. 

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Lukewarm Christians Make Jesus Sick

Revelation 3:15–16 KJV

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

This imagery may allude to the water system at Laodicea. The city had no water supply of its own; it had cold water piped in from Colossae or hot water piped in from the springs at Hierapolis. When the water arrived in the city, it had become lukewarm. Like the water, the church at Laodicea was neither refreshing (like cold water) nor healing (like hot spring water).1

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Re 3:15.

A. This lukewarm state comes from their works

  • Indifferent

  • Neutral

  • Not real aggressive

  • Not against Jesus either

  • Chameleon Christians – seeking to blend in and please everyone

B. Jesus wants you to make a choice, not sit on the fence

“Were you hot [i.e., for bathing] or cold [i.e., for drinking], you would be useful; but as it is, I feel toward you the way you feel toward your water supply—you make me sick.”1

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Re 3:15–16.

C. Jesus cannot stand the taste of a lukewarm Christian

Lukewarm Christians Are Unaware Of Their Condition

Revelation 3:17 KJV

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Laodicea was a prosperous banking center; proud of its wealth, it refused Roman disaster relief after the earthquake of a.d. 60, rebuilding from its own resources. It was also known for its textiles (especially wool) and for its medical school and production of ear medicine and undoubtedly the highly reputed Phrygian eye salve. Everything in which Laodicea could have confidence outwardly, its church, which reflected its culture, lacked spiritually.1

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Re 3:17–18.

1. Wretched = distressed

Romans 7:24–25 KJV

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 

I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

2. Miserable = pitiable

3. Poor = a beggar

4. Blind = unable to see the truth

5. Naked = shamed in sin like Adam and Eve

Lukewarm Christians must take action

Revelation 3:18–19 KJV

I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

A. Buy gold from Jesus – the truth of God’s Word

Psalm 19:7–11 KJV

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 

The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 

Moreover by them is thy servant warned: And in keeping of them there is great reward.

Psalm 119:9–11 KJV

BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word. 

With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, That I might not sin against thee.

John 17:17 KJV

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

B. Buy a white robe = righteousness

Revelation 19:8 KJV

And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

C. Anoint your eyes = spiritual discernment

1 Corinthians 2:14 KJV

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The Laodicean medical school was known for producing eye salve. Christ prescribes His salve as the cure for spiritual blindness.1

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Re 3:18.

D. Open The Door!

Revelation 3:20–22 KJV

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 

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

Table fellowship was a sign of intimacy and committed the guest and host to friendly relations. Jesus here invites the Laodicean Christians to dine (cf. Rev 2:7; contrast 2:14, 20) in the present at the messianic banquet (see comment on 19:9); it is an invitation to a genuinely lavish banquet, implying again their spiritual poverty (cf. 3:17–18). But the door to fellowship is presently closed—from their side (contrast 3:7–8).1

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

Despite their self-sufficiency, and despite their self-deception and despite their lukewarmness, Jesus is patiently knocking on the door of the Laodicean church anyway–knocking on a door of people who made Him sick! Isn’t that amazing?

I remember a lady in our church in Durham, NC who had trusted Christ and wanted me to tell the Gospel to her son and daughter-in-law. She made the mistake of telling them I was coming and when. I knocked on the door several times, but no one would come to the door. I could hear a TV on in the living room and a radio on in another room. At first I heard talking, but the more I knocked, I noticed it got quieter, and I could hear people whispering…so I knew they knew I was there. So I just kept knocking louder until finally they opened the door. I was able to share the Gospel with them and the daughter-in-law trusted in Christ in her home and he came to Christ as few weeks later at church.

I think that’s the picture you have in this passage—a picture of RESOLUTION. You may feel you don’t need the Lord, but Jesus knows you do, and He seeks communion with you and me, despite our waywardness and sinfulness

And if just that fact alone doesn’t set you on fire for Jesus, I don’t know what will!

Are you a lukewarm, tepid, middle of the road Christian. Jesus loves you but is disappointed with what you have become. He is knocking at the door, not for salvation, but for inclusion and for intimacy. If you have trusted Him as Savior, the you have removed the barrier of sin. He now wants you to be all in. He is knocking, will you let Him in?

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 4:34 PM October 21, 2021.

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.