Archive for the ‘Sunday Evening Sermons’ Category

You Had Your Chance

Thursday, July 15th, 2021

You Had Your Chance

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Gospel On Tour / Acts 13:42–52

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

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

You Had Your Chance When You Heard The Gospel .

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

• The Jews did not ask the missionaries to return.

• The Gentiles and proselytes did.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You Had Your Chance When You Heard The Warning.

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

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

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

Blinded By Envy

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

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

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

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

Missed Eternal Life Because of Unbelief

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

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

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

God’s Word Brings Life

Gentiles Believed like the Bible said they would.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Resistance Mounted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When Given The Chance

Saturday, July 10th, 2021

When Given The Chance

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Gospel On Tour / Acts 13:13–41

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be On The Lookout For The Chance

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

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

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

• The Law was read

• The Prophets were read

• These are the same that witness of Jesus.

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

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

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

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

Be Ready When Given The Chance

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

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

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

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

• Mentions Jesus as the Savior, the descendant of David

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

Be Personal When Given The Chance

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

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

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

• Exposes the mistakes of Jerusalem leadership.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Direct When Given The Chance

• Jesus forgives sins

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

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

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

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

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

• Jesus is your only hope to escape eternal death.

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

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

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

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

1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching Salvation, Need For

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

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

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

Showdown On Cyprus

Thursday, July 1st, 2021

Showdown On Cyprus

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Gospel On Tour / Acts 13:6–12

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

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

Barry McGee.

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

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

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

Acts 4:36 KJV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encountering The Enemy

Acts 13:6 KJV

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

  • His name was Bar-jesus or Elymas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encountering A Seeker

Acts 13:7 KJV

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

  • Sergius Paulus

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

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

 • A deputy

 • A prudent man

 • Called for the missionaries

 • Desired to hear the word of God.

Encountering Direct Opposition.

Acts 13:8 KJV

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

  • The opposition came from the sorcerer.’

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

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

  • He withstood the missionaries.

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

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

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

Engaging The Enemy

Acts 13:9–11 KJV

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

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

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

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

– Michael West

 • He was filled with power for a purpose.

 • He looked him in the eye.

 • He called him on his subtility

 • He called him on his mischief

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

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

 • He identified him as a child of the devil

 • He identified him as the enemy of all righteousness.

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

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

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

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

Romans 9:1–4 KJV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 13:12 KJV

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

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

Broken to be more beautiful!

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

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

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

Commissioned

Saturday, June 26th, 2021

Commissioned

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Gospel On Tour / Acts 13:1–5

In Discipleship Journal author and editor Kevin Miller writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 16:18 KJV

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

Acts 13:1 KJV

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

1 Corinthians 16:15–16 KJV

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

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

Key Points Antioch

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

• Strategic location between western and eastern geo-political entities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 13:2 KJV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 13:3 KJV

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 13:4–5 KJV

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

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

Conclusion:

 • Your ministry at EBC is a sacred calling.  

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

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

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

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

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

Holy Hands

Thursday, June 10th, 2021

Holy Hands

Pastor Don Carpenter

Building Blocks of Worship

We believe in the Trinity. Catholics believe in the Trinity, but we are not Catholics. We use the King James Bible, Mormons use the King James Bible, but we are not Mormons. We believe in eternal security. Calvinists believe in eternal security, but we are not Calvinists. I could go on and on with this example. Just because we may line up with one or two points of doctrine does not mean that we are the same or that we embrace a certain denomination.

1 Timothy 2:8 KJV

I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

When it comes to tonight’s subject though, many Bible believers shy away from actually being willing to lift hands in worship because that is what the Charismatics and Pentecostals do. While I understand that we do not want to be confused with their false teaching about tongues, extra biblical revelation, and the lack of eternal security, just because they lift hands does not mean lifting hands is wrong. What we need to do is examine the scriptures and see what the role of lifting hands is in the Bible, and then decide if we should include it in our worship practice today.  

Lifted Hands in Prayer

An Outward Symbol of Supplication

Psalm 68:31 KJV

Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.

Exodus 9:29 KJV

And Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the LORD; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the LORD’s.

Exodus 9:33 KJV

And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands unto the LORD: and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth.

1 Kings 8:22 KJV

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

2 Chronicles 6:12–13 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,

Holiness is Required

Isaiah 1:15 KJV

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

Psalm 66:18 KJV

If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear me:

Symbol of Intercession

Exodus 17:11–13 KJV

And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 

But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 

And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

Lamentations 2:19 KJV

Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches Pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord: Lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children, That faint for hunger in the top of every street.

Symbol of Communion With God

Psalm 141:2 KJV

Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; And the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

Lamentations 3:41 KJV

Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.

Lifted Hands In Praise

Tied To Verbal Praise

Psalm 63:3–5 KJV

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. 

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; And my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:

Sign of Humble Praise 

Nehemiah 8:5–6 KJV

And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: 

And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.

Tied to Public Praise

Psalm 134:2 KJV

Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, And bless the LORD.

F. B. Meyer told of a revival meeting that was dragging along without signs of success until one evening an elder arose and said, “Pastor, I don’t believe there is going to be a revival as long as Brother Jones and I don’t speak to each other.” He went to Jones and said: “Brother Jones, we have not spoken for five years, let’s bury the hatchet. Here’s my hand.” A sob broke from the audience.

Soon another elder arose and said: “Pastor, I’ve been saying mean things about you behind your back and nice things to your face. I want you to forgive me.” Many arose and confessed their wrongs and God began to visit them. A revival swept over the community for three years.1

1 Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc., 1996), 1154.

Who knows what floodgates of blessing will open if we humble ourselves and offer up our cleansed hands in simple submission and worship. Perhaps we will see one day the power of lifted hands.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 7:22 PM June 10, 2021.

Bible Soaked Worship

Saturday, June 5th, 2021

Bible Soaked Worship

Pastor Don Carpenter

Building Blocks of Worship / Colossians 3:16; 1 Timothy 4:13; Nehemiah 8:5–6; Nehemiah 9:3

We have been learning about the building blocks of worship. We have learned about attitudes and methods of proclaiming God’s worth. Tonight we will come to the anchor point of worship in spirit and in truth… the Word of God. Paul tells us that in order for our worship to be right the Word must dwell in us richly… we must be Bible soaked.

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.

The words of the Bible, God’s written Word, are to dwell in believers. That is, by study, meditation, and application of the Word, it becomes a permanent abiding part of one’s life. When the words of Christ become part of a believer’s nature, they spring forth naturally and daily in psalms (songs from the Book of Psalms), hymns (other songs of praise), and spiritual songs (as opposed to secular odes) with gratitude (en t? chariti; lit., “in grace”).

Norman L. Geisler, “Colossians,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 682.

Consider the difference between a strong and a weak cup of tea. The same ingredients—water and tea—are used for both. The difference is that the strong cup of tea results from the tea leaves’ immersion in the water longer, allowing the water more time to get into the tea and the tea into the water. The longer the steeping process, the stronger the cup of tea.

In the same way, the length of time we spend in God’s Word determines how deeply we get into it and it gets into us. Just like the tea, the longer we are in the Word, the “stronger” we become.1

1 Michael P. Green, 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 31.

With that in mind, the Apostle Paul tells young pastor Timothy exactly how to be Bible Soaked.

1 Timothy 4:13 KJV

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

Pay Attention to Reading

Deuteronomy 31:11 KJV

When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.

Joshua 8:35 KJV

There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.

Luke 4:16 KJV

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

Deuteronomy 17:19 KJV

And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:

John 5:39 KJV

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Acts 17:11 KJV

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

There is a basic difference between an explorer and a tourist. The tourist travels quickly, stopping only to observe the highly noticeable or publicized points of interest. The explorer, on the other hand, takes his time to search out all that he can find.

Too many of us read the Bible like a tourist and then complain that our devotional times are fruitless. It is necessary that we take time to explore the Bible. Notable nooks and crannies will appear as we get beneath the surface.1

1 Michael P. Green, 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 31.

Pay Attention to Exhortation/ Preaching

Titus 2:15 KJV

These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

Hebrews 12:5 KJV

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

1 Corinthians 1:18–21 KJV

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 

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

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

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

 Hebrews 6:18 (KJV)

 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

Acts 4:36 KJV

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

A U.S. Army officer told of the contrast in his pupils during two different eras of teaching at the artillery training school at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In 1958–60 the attitude was so lax that the instructors had a problem getting the men to stay awake to listen. During the 1965–67 classes, however, the men, hearing the same basic lectures, were alert and took copious notes. The reason: these men knew that in less than six weeks they would be facing the enemy in Vietnam.

One reason that Bible study seems to be irrelevant to many Christians is that they have no interaction with non-Christians, no vital ministry to growing believers, and no personal and internal struggle for godliness, all of which are factors that bring the truths of the Bible to apply to life.1

1 Michael P. Green, 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 32.

Pay Attention to Doctrine

Nehemiah 8:5–8 KJV

And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: 

And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground. 

Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. 

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

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.

2 Timothy 4:2 KJV

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

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;

There is a story about a teenage boy who was deeply interested in scientific subjects, especially astronomy. So his father bought him a very expensive telescope. Since the young fellow had studied the principles of optics, he found the instrument to be most intriguing. He took it apart, examined the lenses, and made detailed calculations on the distance of its point of focus. The youth became so absorbed in gaining a technical knowledge of the telescope itself that he never got around to looking at the stars. He knew a lot about that fine instrument, but he missed seeing the wonders of the heavens.

As Christians, to know all the facts and figures contained in the Bible is not the end for which God has given us this Book. The purpose is that we might see God and know him.1

1 Michael P. Green, 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 32.

As we learn about worship, let us never forget Jesus Christ, the object of our worship. Let us remember that worship is to be grounded in truth and the Word is truth. Let us grow in Bible Soaked worship.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:07 AM June 5, 2021.

Empty Gestures

Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

Empty Gestures

Pastor Don Carpenter

Worship: What’s Stopping You? / 1 Samuel 15:22; Isaiah 1:13; Ezekiel 33:31; Hosea 6:6; Matthew 6:5; 2 Timothy 3:5

The sin of the Pharisees was paying attention to outward demonstrations of piety for appearance’s sake rather than giving attention to inward obedience. This can be well illustrated by two eggs. One egg is a normal raw egg that, when placed under the palm of the hand and pressed evenly cannot be broken because of the structure of the egg itself. The second egg is exactly the same on the outside, but its insides have been removed. When it is placed under the same palm pressure, it breaks easily because it is internally weak. So, too, one who gives himself to the sin of the Pharisees is empty of substance and will eventually crack under pressure.

As we finish our study of hindrances to true Worship we are going to take a few minutes to think about the seduction of symbolism over substance. In May we will be continuing to examine the building blocks of Worship. We will not only how to be properly motivated to worship, but also how to Biblically express worship. This is where we can get messed up. As we see that shouting, dancing, loud instruments, crying, singing or standing silent in awe are all a part of worship, we can be tempted to do the worship things without actually worshipping. For the next few minutes let us identify things that can move us away from genuine worship.  Let us discover how we can reduce our worship to empty gestures.  

Worship is Empty Without Obedience

1 Samuel 15:18–22 KJV

And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. 

Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD? 

And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 

But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. 

And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to hearken than the fat of rams.

Worship Is Empty Without Repentance

Isaiah 1:13–16 KJV

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

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

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

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;

Worship Is Empty Without Hearing AND Doing

Ezekiel 33:31 KJV

And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.

James 1:22–24 KJV

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 

For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 

For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

Worship Is Empty Without Intimacy With God

Hosea 6:6 KJV

For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

Worship Is Empty If It Is Just For Show

Matthew 6:5 KJV

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 4:47 PM April 21, 2021.

The Horizontal Choke To Worship

Thursday, April 15th, 2021

The Horizontal Choke to Worship

Pastor Don Carpenter

Worship: What’s Stopping You? / Isaiah 1:11–17; Amos 5:21–24; Matthew 5:23–24

Last week, as we began our series: “Worship: What’s Stopping You?” we were reminded that Jesus wants us to worship God in spirit and in truth.

John 4:23 KJV

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

In order to do that we need to have a river of Grace that flows unhindered. We discovered that worship is about relationships/ We have a vertical relationship, between us and God, and a horizontal relationship between fellow believers. Last week we discovered that a wrong vertical relationship can choke the flow of Grace that allows us to worship in spirit (genuine passion) and in truth. Tonight we will identify the barriers in our interpersonal relationships that can also choke the flow of Grace that aids our passionate worship. We will discover and stop the horizontal choke to worship.

Unresolved Conflict

Matthew 5:23–24 KJV

Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 

Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Ephesians 4:26 KJV

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

Proverbs 25:9 KJV

Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; And discover not a secret to another:

Romans 12:17–18 KJV

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Bill White, of Paramount, California, talks about his friend, Greg, who recently put together a mini high school reunion when he went back home to Indiana to visit his parents. He hadn’t seen many of his classmates in over 17 years; but when they got together, they had a riot reliving their glory days and finding out what was currently going on in everyone’s life.

As the night was winding down, Greg noticed that his friend Debbie was getting teary-eyed, and he couldn’t help but ask what was going on. Through tears she said, “It’s sad that there are some things you just can’t forget.”

Certain that something spiritual was going on, Greg pressed Debbie about what she meant. Finally she told him. In the second grade — 27 years previously! — a girl named Karen had started the “Debbie Haters’ Club.” Debbie had never gotten over the pain of that, and she had never forgiven Karen.

Knowing that Karen was at the reunion that night, Greg told Debbie she should talk to her. Debbie refused, but Greg insisted. In fact, Greg ended up orchestrating the effort toward reconciliation! When Karen was collecting her coat to leave the party, Greg pulled her aside into a separate room, and asked her to wait for him to return. Then Greg went to get Debbie. When both women were together in the room, Greg stepped out of the room and stood guard outside the door. Greg couldn’t hear a word that passed between them, but he didn’t need to. As they both left, he could see the freedom on their faces — a freedom that only comes with reconciliation.

Unfair Treatment of Others

Something Makes Our Worship Stink Before God

Amos 5:21–23 KJV

I hate, I despise your feast days, And I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. 

Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: Neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. 

Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; For I will not hear the melody of thy viols.

It is a Lack of Justice or Fairness

Amos 5:24 KJV

But let judgment run down as waters, And righteousness as a mighty stream.

Micah 6:8 KJV

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; And what doth the LORD require of thee, But to do justly, and to love mercy, And to walk humbly with thy God?

A family went to dine at a restaurant and the six-year-old boy was asked to say the blessing.

As they bowed their heads he said, “God is great. God is good. Thank you for this food. And I would even thank you more, God, if Mom bought us some ice cream after dinner with liberty and justice for all. Amen.”

This brought several chuckles from other customers and also one strong remark from an older woman seated nearby, “That’s what’s wrong with this country. Kids don’t even know how to pray. Asking God for ice cream! Why I never!”

Tears welled up in the little boy’s eyes as he exclaimed, “Did I do something wrong? Is God mad at me?”

The mother reassured him that he had done nothing wrong and that he had done a great job as an elderly gentleman walked up and said, “I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer!”

“Really?” asked the little boy.

“Cross my heart,” answered the man and with sly grin nodding toward the woman, “Too bad she never asks for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes.”

Of course, mom bought ice cream for everyone. The little boy stared at his ice cream for a moment. Then he slid out of the booth, took his ice cream and placed it in front of the older woman.

With a big smile he told her, “This is for you. Sometimes a little ice cream is good for the soul and my soul is good already.”

Apathy Toward The Oppressed.

Isaiah 1:11–17 KJV

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

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

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

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

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

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 

Learn to do well; Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, Judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

 • To ignore the oppressed and suffering is to do intentional hurt (evil) by omission

James 4:17 KJV

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Arthur Pink wrote about how some people do not worship:

They bring their bodies to the house of prayer but not their souls. They worship with their mouths but not in spirit and in truth.

They are sticklers for early morning communion with God but they take no thought about keeping their hearts with all diligence.

They boast of their orthodoxy but disregard the precepts of Christ.

Multitudes of professing Christians abstain from external acts of violence, yet hesitate not to rob their neighbors of a good name by spreading evil reports against them.

They contribute regularly to the church but shrink not from misrepresenting their goods and cheating their customers persuading themselves that business is business.

They have more regard for the laws of man than those of God for his fear is not before their eyes.

__

God wants us to worship freely and passionately. We need His Grace and power to flow through us in order to do that. If we are mistreating our fellow man, that Grace gets clogged. Let us resolve our personal conflicts, treat others fairly, and stand for those who have no voice. Then we can remove the vertical choke to worship.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 8:10 PM April 15, 2021.

The Choke to Vertical Worship

Thursday, April 8th, 2021

The Choke to Vertical Worship

Pastor Don Carpenter

Worship: What’s Stopping You? / Psalm 66:18; Matthew 15:7–9; Isaiah 29:13; Psalm 32:5–6; Isaiah 59:2; Isaiah 64:7; James 4:3

When Lawrence of Arabia was in Paris with some of his Arab friends after World War I, he took them to see the sights of the city. His friends showed little interest in the Louvre, the Arch of Triumph, or Napoleon’s tomb. The thing that really interested them was the faucet in their bathtub. They spent much time turning it on and off; they thought it was wonderful. All they had to do was turn the handle and they could get all the water they wanted.

When they were leaving Paris, Lawrence found them in the bathroom with wrenches, trying to get the faucet off so they could take it with them. You see, they said, it is very dry in Arabia. What we need are faucets. If we have them, we will have all the water we want. Lawrence had to explain to them that the effectiveness of the faucet depended on the water system to which it was attached.

Our study of worship reminds us that the effectiveness of all that we do in the church is not to be found in outward activity or service, but in the One who stands behind it.

2021 is the year of Worship for Evangelical Baptist Church. We are going to study it, understand it, practice it, and develop it within our church culture and church body. On New Year’s Eve we were introduced to the concept of worship as described by our Savior.

John 4:23 KJV

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

We saw that there are two essential elements to true and effective, intimate worship. We must worship in spirit, that is emotional passion, and in truth… both doctrinal truth and genuine expression.  

Since that introduction we have learned about the role of singing in the life of a believer. We have also started to learn about intimate prayer. We saw that Jesus gave us a very basic model of how to pray in what we know as “The Lord’s Prayer”.

Worship goes two ways, vertical and horizontal. Our vertical worship goes up to God and receives input from God down to us. On the horizontal level, when we worship God vertically, we are ministering to our brothers and sisters within the congregation – horizontally.

Tonight as we continue to learn about worship in 2021 we are launching a series called “Worship: What’s Stopping You?”

Since true worship is done in spirit and in truth, there are things that can choke the passion and the truth of worship and cause the exercise to be empty. Worship is largely relational. It feeds on our relationship to God (vertical) and on our relationship to each other in brotherly love ( horizontal).

This week and next we will take a journey through scriptures and discover what could choke out genuine spiritual worship. Tonight we will focus on things that will cause a Vertical Choke to Worship.

Unresolved Sin

Creates a Distance Between Us and God

Isaiah 59:2 KJV

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, And your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Creates a Barrier to Answered Prayer

Psalm 66:18 KJV

If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear me:

A Handbook on the Book of Psalms Psalm 66:18–19

In verse 18 the Hebrew reads “If I had seen iniquity in my heart,” by which the psalmist means that if he had been aware of his sin yet done nothing about it

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words To See, Perceive

ra?ah (?????, 7200), “to see, observe, perceive, get acquainted with, gain understanding, examine, look after (see to), choose, discover.” This verb occurs only in Moabite and all periods of Hebrew. It appears in the Bible about 1,300 times.

Basically ra?ah connotes seeing with one’s eyes: Isaac’s “eyes were dim, so that he could not see” (Gen. 27:1). This is its meaning in Gen. 1:4, its first biblical appearance. The word can be used in the sense of seeing only what is obvious:

Proverbs 28:9 KJV

He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer shall be abomination.

Hypocrisy – Worship For Show

Isaiah 29:13 KJV

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, And with their lips do honour me, But have removed their heart far from me, And their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

A Handbook on Isaiah, Volumes 1 & 2 29:13

And their fear of me is a commandment of men learned by rote: The Hebrew noun rendered fear can refer to physical fear, but here it refers to reverence or awe for God, or even worship. For their fear of me, NJB and NAB have “their reverence for me,” while GNB and REB say “Their religion.” It may also be rendered “when they worship me.” Their worship is described first as a commandment of men, which means their religious leaders, not God, have required them to do it. It is also learned by rote. The English expression “to learn by rote” means to memorize something through repetition, without necessarily understanding it fully. The Hebrew text is simply “a learned thing.” NJB has “a lesson memorised,” and NAB says “routine observance.” GNB renders this whole line well with “Their religion is nothing but human rules and traditions, which they have simply memorized.”

Isaiah, Volume 1 Chapter 29

And their fear toward me. The worship of God is often represented as fear (Job 28:28; Ps. 19:9; 34:11; Prov. 1:7).

Is taught by the precept of men. That is, their views, instead of having been derived from the Scriptures, were drawn from the doctrines of men. Our Saviour referred to this passage, and applied it to the hypocrites of his own time (Matt. 15:8, 9). The latter part of it is, however, not quoted literally from the Hebrew, nor from the LXX., but retains the sense: ‘But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.’ He quoted it as strikingly descriptive of the people when he lived, not as saying that Isaiah referred directly to his times.

Elevate Tradition Over Scripture

Matthew 15:7–9 KJV

Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 

But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

 • Making Up Extra biblical rules of worship.

 • Disregarding Biblical precedent and practice because of perceived cultural norms.

1 Timothy 2:8 KJV

I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

Selfishness

James 4:3 KJV

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Apathy/ Laziness

Isaiah 64:7 KJV

And there is none that calleth upon thy name, That stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: For thou hast hid thy face from us, And hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.

That stirreth up himself. The word here used (??????????) refers to the effort which is requisite to rouse one’s self when oppressed by a spirit of heavy slumber; and the idea here is, that the nation was sunk in spiritual torpor, and that the same effort was needful to excite it which was requisite to rouse one who had sunk down to deep sleep. How aptly this describes the state of a sinful world! How much disposed is that world to give itself to spiritual slumber! How indisposed to rouse itself to call upon God! No man rises to God without effort; and unless men make an effort for this, they fall into the stupidity of sin, just as certainly as a drowsy man sinks back into deep sleep.

Albert Barnes, Notes on the Old Testament: Isaiah, vol. 2 (London: Blackie & Son, 1851), 404–405.

1 Corinthians 15:34 KJV

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

I think George Reeves was the first actor to be Superman on TV.

Back in the 50’s, TV actors were not quite as “elite” as some seem to be now. They would throw out the first pitch at a Los Angeles little league game. They would fire the starting pistol for a soap box derby race in Oklahoma City. They would be at the dedication of a statue in a city park in Boise. People could meet them, shake their hand, and, of course, get an autograph.

George Reeves was popular for guest appearances, but his fame included risks. Kids might kick him in the shins or throw rocks to find out if he was the “real” Superman or a “pretend” Superman, the same way kids pull on Santa beards to find out if they are real. It seemed like every time he appeared in public as Superman, someone wanted to put him to the test.

In 1953, he may have faced real-life danger appearing at a department store opening. A young fan, who wanted to see bullets bounce off Superman’s chest, brought his dad’s Army Colt, his dad’s loaded… .45 caliber… Army Colt. Reeves talked him into putting it down. He told the boy that Superman could survive the shot without being hurt, but “when bullets bounce off my chest, they might hurt you and others around here.”

He continued to make public appearances, but never again in the Superman costume.

I said, “he may have faced real-life danger.” I tried to find more details about the incident. I could not find a first hand account, a specific date, or a department store name. Apparently, neither can anyone else.

Some believe Reeves made up the story so he would not have to wear the costume when he appeared in public. It’s understandable. I would not want kids kicking me in the shins or throwing rocks every time I showed up. That story was the only way he could stop the agents and producers from scheduling Superman appearances.

When he appeared in public, children wanted to know. “Is he real or is he pretend?”

God doesn’t have to kick us in the shins or throw rocks at us to know if our devotion is real or pretend. When God sent Samuel to anoint the next king, he was impressed with some of Jesse’s sons, but God said, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” He still does.

God is looking for us to worship Him in spirit and in truth. Tonight we have identified some barriers to true vertical worship. Let us identify and confess unresolved sin, hypocrisy, the elevation of tradition over scripture, selfishness and apathy. These are the things that can create a vertical choke to worship.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 7:20 PM April 8, 2021.

Ask, Seek, Knock

Saturday, March 20th, 2021

Ask, Seek Knock

Pastor Don Carpenter

What Are You Looking For? / Matthew 7:7–8

Pastor Jack Kale tells the following story:

The rain forced us inside for our annual family Easter egg hunt, but we had a blast anyway. The kids started by hiding 120 eggs in the kitchen and den while the adults played cards in the dining room. Gangee, Pap-Pap, Uncle Paul, Aunt Kathryn, my beautiful wife, and I grabbed our baskets and waited for the count. Three, two, one, go! The women dashed into the kitchen while the men opted for the den. I found my first egg hiding in the kleenex box. I heard the giggles of the women as they fought over who found whichever egg first. Sandra won with 29. I came in second with 25. I forget how the rest fell out.

Then it was our turn. We ordered the kids to their rooms and began to hide our eggs. Some yellow ones went in the matching flower bouquet on the the counter and among the lemons by the hearth. The white one replaced a light bulb in a lamp. We unzipped couch pillows and stuffed them inside. We hid green ones in the houseplants and I stuffed a blue one down a rolled up blue yoga mat. Hiding Easter eggs will bring out your devious side, but it sure is fun.

My favorite part was watching the kids find the hard ones. I think they felt the same way watching us. “They found the one in the fireplace!” they would shout. We cheered “You’re getting colder…. Colder…warmer… you’re burning up!” It was such a blast to watch their excitement as the found the difficult ones. We hid and we found. It was awesome.

Deep in the human soul lives a bloodhound who loves the search. It’s what drives us to study more deeply and ask more intently. It forces us to consider what is right, noble, and true. It begs us for philosophical walks into what matters in life. Its why a three year old asks why only to follow up with another “why” when you have answered the question. It’s why we read whodunits and what has made google so valuable. Its why we love a good Easter egg hunt.

Yet, the Easter egg hunt has reminded me of the joy of celebrating other’s discoveries. Watching others find their purpose and passion is really rewarding. Watching a child learn to ride a bike is just as powerful as learning yourself. In life we often walk with folks as they find their own answers to the tough questions that living throws our way. It’s easy to celebrate with others when they find the missing puzzle pieces of life. Finding life’s truth together can build relationships and bring clarity to each of us.

Just like Easter eggs, truth can be found in the some really difficult hiding places. Through the loss of loved ones recently, I have found the love of new friends and ones that I had forgotten. Facing financial pains in our past, our family found peace and contentment with what we had. Dealing with suicides, cancer, alzheimer’s, depressions, divorces, bankruptcies, and addictions have revealed life’s most colorful and beautiful Easter eggy truths. My experience has taught me that these eggs have been found best with those I love.

Some of us seem to be better at hiding truth than finding it, but life is really about the searching. Life has already hidden so much from plain view that we would be better served by searching. Look for the little Easter eggs that life sends your way. Thomas Moore wrote a whole book on Re-enchantment with Everyday Life as he examined the hidden truths that we can find if we simply look at life through curious eyes. Jesus said it this way: “Seek and you will find” (Matthew 7:7).

My guess is that you are looking for something right now that’s more important than your car keys or plastic eggs. You are looking for truth and relevance. You want to make a difference in the world and you want to matter. You want to scratch that itch that keeps calling you to take a risk and follow your dreams. You want to find true love. You are searching for answers to life’s tough questions. You are on a quest to find your place in this world. You are desperate for opportunities and options. You are a searcher. You are a seeker.

Today, I invite you to let that bloodhound loose in your life. Get busy looking for that silver lining in the clouds of your life. Keep questioning those easy answers that seem to satisfy everyone but you. Keep wrestling with the why’s and why not’s. Explore the corners of your soul as you figure out what makes you tick this way and why others just seem to tock. Peer through the clouds of doubt with binoculars of faith and hope. Look for the good in other people; it’s too easy to find faults. Keep looking. Keep searching and don’t give up till you’ve found all those Easter eggs that life has in store you.

___

For the next two Sunday nights we are going to ask the question, “What Are You Looking For?” Jesus gives us some encouragement about how to get things from our Loving Father. Tonight we will see that it takes some persistence and action on our part. We need to Ask, Seek, and Knock.

Matthew 7:7–8 KJV

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Ask

Psalm 10:17 KJV

LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: Thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:

John 15:7 KJV

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

For Deliverance

Psalm 50:15 KJV

And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

For Forgiveness

Psalm 86:5 KJV

For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; And plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.

It Shall be Given

Matthew 21:22 KJV

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Psalm 145:18–19 KJV

The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, To all that call upon him in truth. 

He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: He also will hear their cry, and will save them.

There is an old story about how the University of Chicago received a million-dollar grant from the heiress of a major department store. She had been a student at Northwest. So, administrators of Northwest went to visit her and asked why she had not made such a gift to her alma mater. Her answer was simple, “The people at the University of Chicago asked. You did not.”

Seek, Then You Will Find

The Lord’s Presence

Isaiah 55:6–7 KJV

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, Call ye upon him while he is near: 

Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts: And let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; And to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Jeremiah 29:13 KJV

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 33:3 KJV

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Psalm 27:8 KJV

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

The Lord’s Will

Matthew 6:33 KJV

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Psalm 10:4 KJV

The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

Psalm 69:32 KJV

The humble shall see this, and be glad: And your heart shall live that seek God.

Proverbs 3:5–6 KJV

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; And lean not unto thine own understanding. 

In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he shall direct thy paths.

Knock and It Will Be Opened

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;

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:

All too often we believers have access to great riches in Christ, but we have failed put in the effort to appropriate those riches. When we ask, we are to be importunate until we receive. When we seek, we need to keep looking until we find. When we knock we need to keep knocking until the right door opens.

“In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”

Ask, Seek, Knock!

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 10:39 AM March 20, 2021.