Archive for the ‘Sunday Evening Sermons’ Category

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.


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.


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.

For The Profit of Many

Friday, March 5th, 2021

Pastor Don Carpenter

When In Doubt / 1 Corinthians 10:23–33

 Whatever we obtain from the Lord is granted on the condition of our employing it for the common good of the Church, and, therefore, the legitimate use of all our gifts is a kind and liberal communication of them with others. There cannot be a surer rule, nor a stronger exhortation to the observance of it, than when we are taught that all the endowments that we possess are divine deposits entrusted to us for the very purpose of being distributed for the good of our neighbor.


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

In the past several weeks as we have studied Romans 14 we have discovered that in Christ we have freedom to make personal stands that differ from the stands others may make on extra-Biblical topics. As we finish our study “When In Doubt” I believe it is wise to look at 1 Corinthians 10 where Paul summarizes the principles we learned in Romans 14. In the end, all we have, our relationships, our knowledge, our freedoms are to be used to glorify God and God is glorified when we reach others. God is pleased when we use our freedom for the profit of many.

All Things Are Lawful

1 Corinthians 10:23 KJV

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

Inanimate Objects Can Be Used For Good.

Romans 14:14 KJV

I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

There Is No Guilt By Association if You Avoid the Association.

1 Corinthians 10:25–27 KJV

Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: 

For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof. 

If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.

 • Some people try to dig up associations for a spiritual superiority

 • Ties are phalic symbols

 • Ties are like the pagan talisman

 • Christmas trees are Pagan Yule logs

 • Stop Anapestic beat (accent on 2&4) is from the jungle… they worship the devil in the jungle… therefore anything with that beat is demonic…

 • Much of that is created to be a fake measurment by which to judge and feel superior to others.

 • Don’t look for it… just enjoy it.

Not All Things Are Wise

1 Corinthians 10:23 KJV

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

Some Things Will Control You

1 Corinthians 6:12 KJV

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

Some Things Are Not Expedient

 • Expedient = brings together

 • Instead some things divide

1 Corinthians 10:28 KJV

But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof:

Some Things Do Not Edify

1 Corinthians 14:12 KJV

Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

 • Edify = build up

 • Offend = cause to stumble.

Use Your Freedom In Christ To Reach People 

  • Be Sensitive to Others

1 Corinthians 10:29–30 KJV

Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience? 

For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?

  • Serve God Not Yourself

1 Corinthians 10:31 KJV

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

As You Serve God, Protect His People

1 Corinthians 10:32 KJV

Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:

Seek to Win Others, Not Shame Them

1 Corinthians 10:33 KJV

Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

Proverbs 11:30 KJV

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; And he that winneth souls is wise.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 10:55 AM March 5, 2021.

Peace In The Building

Friday, February 26th, 2021

Pastor Don Carpenter

When In Doubt / Romans 14:19–23

We have discovered some powerful things in our study of Romans 14. We learned that when it comes to things the Bible is not clear on, folks may come to different conclusions and that is ok. We have learned that we should not judge another man’s servant. We have discovered that God is evaluating our actions even in extra biblical matters so we have enough to worry about to mess with judging others. We saw that there is no longer anything unclean or common that cannot be used for good for God, but if someone has a weaker conscience, it is unclean to them.

Tonight we will see the conclusion of this chapter. Paul uses a conclusion connective, “therefore” to bring everything down to a conclusion and application. He admonishes us that when it comes to extra biblical, doubtful disputations we should follow after peace, edification, and stability. This will give us peace in the building.

Follow After Peace

Romans 14:19 KJV

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

“Follow” is di?k? (?????), “to run swiftly in order to catch some person or thing, to run after, to pursue,” metaphorically, “to seek after eagerly, earnestly endeavor to acquire.” 1 

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader 

14:19 what promotes peace The Greek phrase used here, ta t?s eir?n?s, refers to actions that do not cause hostility but create harmonious relationship between believers.1 

1 John D. Barry, Douglas Mangum, Derek R. Brown, et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Ro 14:19. 

Romans 12:18 KJV

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

Psalm 34:14 KJV

Depart from evil, and do good; Seek peace, and pursue it.

Psalm 133:1 KJV

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!

Matthew 5:9 KJV

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

2 Corinthians 13:11 KJV

Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

James 3:17–18 KJV

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

1 Peter 3:11 KJV

Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

Follow After Edification

Romans 14:19 KJV

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

oikodomeo (?????????, 3618), lit., “to build a house” (oikos, “a house,” domeo, “to build”), hence, to build anything, e.g., Matt. 7:24; Luke 4:29; 6:48, rv, “well builded” (last clause of verse); John 2:20; is frequently used figuratively, e.g., Acts 20:32 (some mss. have No. 3 here); Gal. 2:18; especially of edifying, Acts 9:31; Rom. 15:20; 1 Cor. 10:23; 14:4; 1 Thess. 5:11 (rv). In 1 Cor. 8:101 

1 W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 82. 

Acts 20:32 KJV

And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

Acts 9:31 KJV

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

1 Corinthians 10:23 KJV

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

Ephesians 4:29 KJV

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Follow After Stability

Don’t Tear Down What God is Building

Romans 14:20 KJV

For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.

Commenting on the words, “All things are pure,” Denney says, “This is the principle of the strong, which Paul concedes; the difficulty is to get the enlightened to understand that an abstract principle can never be the rule of Christian conduct. The Christian, of course, admits the principle, but he must act from love. To know that all things are clean, does not (as is often assumed) settle what the Christian has to do in any given case. It does not define his duty, but only makes clear his responsibility. Acknowledging that principle, and looking with love at other Christians, and the effect of any given line of conduct on them, he has to define his duty for himself. All meat is clean, but not all eating.1 

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 240. 

It is evil (intentionally hurtful) to the one who eats with offence 

Explaining the words, “It is evil for that man who eateth with offense,” the same authority says; “Sin is involved in the case of the man who eats with offense. Some take this as a warning to the weak: but the whole tone of the passage, which is rather a warning to the strong, and the verse immediately following, which surely continues the meaning and is also addressed to the strong, decide against this. The man who eats with offense is therefore the man by whose eating another is made to stumble.”1 

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 240. 

It Is Better to Curtail Your Freedom than to Stumble Your Brother

Romans 14:21 KJV

It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

The issue here is not eating meat or drinking wine per se, but that Gentile meat (suspected of having been offered to idols or not having the blood properly drained) and Gentile drink (some of it possibly used for libations to gods) were suspect to Jews. But like a good rhetorician, Paul calls his readers to concede his point even in the most extreme case, requiring abstinence from all meat or wine (and if it applies to the extreme, “how much more”—following a standard style of argument—to all lesser cases). (Although some Jewish groups abstained from wine for periods of time—Num 6:3; cf. Jer 35:5–6—diluted wine was a normal part of meals; thus the language here is probably hyperbolic; see comment on Jn 2:9–10.)1 

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ro 14:20–21. 

Make Private Stands In Private In Faith

Romans 14:22–23 KJV

Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. 

And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Surely conscious limitation for the sake of others is the Christian approach. If we do not exercise it, we may well ?nd that something that we genuinely thought to be permissible has brought ruin to someone else! It is surely better to make this deliberate limitation than to have the remorse of knowing that what we demanded as a pleasure has become death to someone else. Again and again, in every sphere of life, Christians are confronted by the fact that they must examine things not only as they affect themselves, but also as they affect other people. We are always in some sense one another’s keepers, responsible not only for ourselves but for everyone who comes into contact with us. ‘His friendship did me a mischief,’ said Robert Burns of the older man he met in Irvine as he learned the art of ?ax-dressing. God grant that no one may say that of us because we misused the glory of Christian freedom!1 

1 William Barclay, The Letter to the Romans, 3rd ed. fully rev. & updated., The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002), 228–229. 

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 12:59 PM February 26, 2021.

Acceptable to God and Approved of Men

Friday, February 19th, 2021

What You Need to Know

Pastor Don Carpenter

When In Doubt / Romans 14:14–18

Ken Walker writes in Christian Reader that in the 1995 college football season 6 foot 2 inch, 280-pound Clay Shiver, who played center for the Florida State Seminoles, was regarded as one of the best in the nation. In fact, one magazine wanted to name him to their preseason All-America football team. But that was a problem, because the magazine was Playboy, and Clay Shiver is a dedicated Christian. 

Shiver and the team chaplain suspected that Playboy would select him, and so he had time to prepare his response. Shiver knew well what a boon this could be for his career. Being chosen for this All-America team meant that sportswriters regarded him as the best in the nation at his position. Such publicity never hurts athletes who aspire to the pros and to multimillion-dollar contracts. 

But Shiver had higher values and priorities. When informed that Playboy had made him their selection, Clay Shiver simply said, “No thanks.” That’s right, he flatly turned down the honor. “Clay didn’t want to embarrass his mother and grandmother by appearing in the magazine or give old high school friends an excuse to buy that issue,” writes Walker. Shiver further explained by quoting Luke 12:48: “To whom much is given, of him much is required.” 

“I don’t want to let anyone down,” said Shiver, “and number one on that list is God.”1 

1 Craig Brian Larson, 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers & Writers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2002), 89–90. 

The Bible has black and white moral absolutes, however there are some more nuanced things to consider. Tonight’s passage gives us some clear principles we must know in order to be both acceptable to God and approved of men.

There is Nothing Unclean of Itself

Romans 14:14 KJV

I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

 • I know and am persuaded 

“Know” is oida (????), “absolute, positive knowledge.” “Am persuaded” is peith? (?????) in the perfect tense. Paul’s reasoning had gone on through a process to a point where it was complete, with the result that he had come to a finished persuasion that was permanent. He stands persuaded. He could not be budged from his conviction, so sure was he of the truth of the matter. 1 

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 236. 

Unclean (??????). Lit., common. In the Levitical sense, as opposed to holy or pure. Compare Mark 7:2, “With defiled (??????? common), that is to say, with unwashen hands.” See Acts 10:14.1 

1 Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 3 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887), 169. 

The context has to do with religious scruples regarding animal flesh and a vegetarian diet, with the keeping of one day as against another in a special observance. Paul’s declaration is “in the Lord.” That is, it finds its source in the Lord, not merely in his reason. Denney comments; “In principle, the apostle sides with the strong. He has no scruples about meats or drinks or days.” Commenting on the phrase “in the Lord,” he says; “It is as a Christian, not as a libertine, that Paul has this conviction; in Christ Jesus he is sure that there is nothing in the world essentially unclean; all things can be consecrated and Christianized by Christian use.” Speaking of the word koinon (??????) (common) he says; “It is the opposite of hagion (?????) (holy), and signifies that which is not and cannot be brought into relation to God.… Though there is nothing which in itself has this character, some things may have it subjectively, i.e., in the judgment of a particular person who cannot help (from some imperfection of conscience) regarding them so, to him (ekeinos (???????) that one, emphatic) they are what his conscience makes them; and his conscience (unenlightened as it is) is entitled to respect.”1 

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 237. 

If someone esteems something unclean 

What Paul wants the “strong” to realize is that people differ in their ability to internalize truth. The fact that Christ’s coming brought an end to the absolute validity of the Mosaic law (cf. 6:14, 15; 7:4), and thus explicitly to the ritual provisions of that law, was standard early Christian teaching. And, at the intellectual level, the “weak” Christians may themselves have understood this truth. But Paul wants the “strong” in faith to recognize that people cannot always “existentially” grasp such truth—particularly when it runs so counter to a long and strongly held tradition basic to their own identity as God’s people1 

1 Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996), 853. 

It is unclean to him… so uncleanness is relative. 

Your Liberty Could Cause Someone to Stumble

Romans 14:15 KJV

But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.

If you grieve your brother with your liberty you are not walking in love. 

Precisely because foods do not matter, one should be willing to forgo eating them for the sake of what does matter: preserving the unity of the body of Christ. Paul is not telling Gentiles to keep kosher; but he is telling them not to try to talk Jewish Christians out of doing so.1 

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ro 14:15–16. 

Don’t put a stumbling block in the way of a brother (v. 13b), … “for” this is just what you are doing—by insisting on exercising your freedom to eat food, you bring pain to your fellow believer and thereby violate the cardinal Christian virtue of love. The “pain” that the “strong” believer causes the “weak” believer is more than the annoyance or irritation that the “weak” believer might feel toward those who act in ways they do not approve. Its relationship to the warnings about spiritual downfall in vv. 13b and 15b show that it must denote the pain caused the “weak” believer by the violation of his or her conscience. The eating of the “strong,” coupled with their attitude of superiority and scorn toward those who think differently, can pressure the “weak” into eating even when they do not yet have the faith to believe that it is right for them to do so. And by doing what does not come “out of faith,” the “weak” sin (v. 23) and suffer the pain of that knowledge. In behaving as they are, then, the “strong” are ignoring what Paul has set forth in 12:9–21; 13:8–10 as basic to Christian conduct: love for “the neighbor.”1 

1 Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996), 853–854. 

Paul’s advice is clear. It is a Christian duty to think of everything, not as it affects ourselves only, but also as it affects others. Note that Paul is not saying that we must always allow our conduct to be dictated by the views of others; there are matters which are essentially matters of principle, and in them individuals must take their own way. But a great many things are neutral and indifferent; a great many things are in themselves neither good nor bad; a great many things are not essential parts of life and conduct but belong to what we might call the extras of life. It is Paul’s conviction that we have no right to give offence to those who are more scrupulous about such things by doing them ourselves, or by persuading them to do them.1 

1 William Barclay, The Letter to the Romans, 3rd ed. fully rev. & updated., The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002), 223–224. 

Do not destroy your brother with your meat 

Do not destroy Paul warns the strong that, in some circumstances, their freedom might cause distress for the weak. Christ did not die for only those strong in their faith, but for all who call on Him as Lord (see Rom 14:9 and note).1 

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Ro 14:15. 

Life must be guided by the principle of love; and, when it is, we will think not so much of our right to do as we like as of our responsibilities to others. We have no right to distress another person’s conscience in the things which do not really matter. Christian freedom must never be used as an excuse for riding roughshod over the genuine feelings of others. No pleasure is so important that it can justify bringing offence and grief, and even ruin, to others. As St Augustine used to say, the whole Christian ethic can be summed up in a saying: ‘Love God, and do what you like.’ In a sense, it is true; but Christianity consists not only in loving God but also in loving our neighbour as ourselves.1 

1 William Barclay, The Letter to the Romans, 3rd ed. fully rev. & updated., The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002), 224. 

Do not let your good be evil spoken of. 

Romans 14:16 KJV

Let not then your good be evil spoken of:

he “good” here refers to “Christian liberty, the freedom of conscience which has been won by Christ, but which will inevitably get a bad name if it is exercised in an inconsiderate, loveless fashion.” “Evil spoken of” is blasph?me? (?????????), “to speak reproachfully of, rail at, revile.” 1 

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 238. 

You Must Know What the Kingdom Is and Is Not

Romans 14:17–18 KJV

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 

For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

It is Not Extra-biblical opinions and standards

It is Righteousness

There is righteousness, and this consists in giving to others and to God what is their due. Now, the very ?rst thing that is due to other people in the Christian life is sympathy and consideration; the moment we become Christians, the feelings of others become more important than our own. Christianity means putting others ?rst and self last. We cannot give to others what is due to them and do what we like. 

It Is Peace

There is peace. In the New Testament, peace does not mean simply absence of trouble; it is not a negative thing, but is intensely positive; it means everything that makes for our highest good. The Jews themselves often thought of peace as a state of right relationships between individuals. If we insist that Christian freedom means doing what we like, that is precisely the state we can never attain. Christianity consists entirely in personal relationships to other people and to God. The unrestrained freedom of Christian liberty is conditioned by the Christian obligation to live in a right relationship, in peace, with one another. 

It is Joy

There is joy. Christian joy can never be a sel?sh thing. It does not consist in making ourselves happy; it consists in making others happy. A so-called happiness which made someone else distressed would not be Christian. If anyone, in the search for happiness, brings a hurt heart and a wounded conscience to someone else, the ultimate end of that person’s search will be not joy but sorrow. Christian joy is not individualistic; it is interdependent. Joy comes to Christians only when they bring joy to others, even if it costs them personal limitation. 

When we follow this principle, we become the slaves of Christ. Here is the essence of the matter. Christian freedom means that we are free to do not what we like but what Christ likes. Without Christ, we are all slaves to our habits, our pleasures and our indulgences. We are not really doing what we like. We are doing what the things that have us in their grip make us do. Once the power of Christ enters into us, we take control of ourselves—and then, and only then, real freedom enters our lives. Then we are free not to treat others and not to live life as our own sel?sh human nature would have us do; we are free to show to everyone the same attitude of love as Jesus showed.

1 William Barclay, The Letter to the Romans, 3rd ed. fully rev. & updated., The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002), 225–226. 

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 7:39 PM February 19, 2021.

Enough To Worry About

Saturday, February 13th, 2021

Enough To Worry About

Pastor Don Carpenter

When In Doubt / Romans 14:10–13

At the turn of the century, the world’s most distinguished astronomer was certain there were canals on Mars. Sir Percival Lowell, esteemed for his study of the solar system, had a particular fascination with the Red Planet.

When he heard, in 1877, that an Italian astronomer had seen straight lines crisscrossing the Martian surface, Lowell spent the rest of his years squinting into the eyepiece of his giant telescope in Arizona, mapping the channels and canals he saw. He was convinced the canals were proof of intelligent life on Mars, possibly an older but wiser race than humanity.

Lowell’s observations gained wide acceptance. So eminent was he, none dared contradict him.

Now, of course, things are different. Space probes have orbited Mars and landed on its surface. The entire planet has been mapped, and no one has seen a canal. How could Lowell have “seen” so much that wasn’t there?

Two possibilities: (1) he so wanted to see canals that he did, over and over again, and (2) we know now that he suffered from a rare eye disease that made him see the blood vessels in his own eyes. The Martian “canals” he saw were nothing more than the bulging veins of his eyeballs. Today the malady is known as “Lowell’s syndrome.”

When Jesus warns that “in the same way you judge others, you will be judged” and warns of seeing “the speck of sawdust” in another’s eye while missing the plank in our own (Matt. 7:1–3), could he not be referring to the spiritual equivalent of Lowell’s syndrome? Over and over, we “see” faults in others because we don’t want to believe anything better about them. And so often we think we have a first-hand view of their shortcomings, when in fact our vision is distorted by our own disease.

As we continue our study of Romans 14 entitled “When In Doubt”, we find that we cannot spend time focusing on judging out brother about extrabiblical nuances and personal applications because we will one day account for our own behavior, specifically our behavior toward the brother that we may have been judging. We should not spend time evaluating someone else and judging them based on our own extrabiblical preferences because we have enough to worry about.

Why Judge Your Brother Knowing What You Do?

Romans 14:10 KJV

But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

  • You are judging another man’s servant 

Romans 14:4 KJV

Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

  • Everyone comes up with different conclusions. 

Romans 14:5 KJV

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

  • These are personal between them and the Lord 

Romans 14:6 KJV

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

 • They answer to God not to you. 

 • So why would you set your bother at naught? 

Romans Chapter 14

 But why, &c. Since we are all subjects and servants alike, and must all stand at the same tribunal, what right have we to sit in judgment on others?

Thou judge. Thou who art a Jewish convert, why dost thou attempt to arraign the Gentile disciple, as if he had violated a law of God? comp. ver. 3.

Thy brother. God has recognised him as his friend (ver. 3), and he should be regarded by thee as a brother in the same family.

Or why dost thou set at nought. Despise (ver. 3); why dost thou, who art a Gentile convert, despise the Jewish disciple as being unnecessarily scrupulous and superstitious?

Thy brother. The Jewish convert is now a brother; and all the contempt which you Gentiles once cherished for the Jew should cease, from the fact that he is now a Christian. Nothing will do so much, on the one hand, to prevent a censorious disposition, and on the other, to prevent contempt for those who are in a different rank in life, as to remember that they are Christians, bought with the same blood, and going to the same heaven as ourselves.

We must all stand, &c. That is, we must all be tried alike at the same tribunal; we must answer for our conduct, not to our-fellow men, but to Christ; and it does not become us to sit in judgment on each other.

Why Would You Judge Your Brother When You Know You Will Be Judged?

Romans 14:11–12 KJV

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

So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Romans 2:16 KJV

In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

Acts 17:31 KJV

Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

1 Corinthians 3:13–15 KJV

Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 

If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 

If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Why Would You Judge Your Brother When You Should Be Helping Him?

Romans 14:13 KJV

Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

14:13) Robertson explains the words, “Let us not therefore judge one another any more,” as follows; “Let us no longer have the habit of criticising one another.” “Stumbling block” is proskamma (?????????), from proskopt? (?????????), “to cut toward or against, to strike against,” used of those who strike against a stone or other obstacle in the path, “to stumble” (Thayer.) Thus, proskamma (?????????) is a stumbling block, “an obstacle in the way which if one strike his foot against, he necessarily stumbles or falls, hence, that over which the soul stumbles” (Thayer). “Occasion to fall” is skandalon (?????????), “The movable stick or trigger of a trap, a snare, any impediment placed in the way and causing one to stumble or fall, any person or thing by which one is entrapped, drawn into error or sin” (Thayer).1 

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 236. 

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words Offence (Offense)

1. skandalon (?????????, 4625) originally was “the name of the part of a trap to which the bait is attached, hence, the trap or snare itself, as in Rom. 11:9, RV, ‘stumblingblock,’ quoted from Psa. 69:22, and in Rev. 2:14, for Balaam’s device was rather a trap for Israel than a stumblingblock to them, and in Matt. 16:23, for in Peter’s words the Lord perceived a snare laid for Him by Satan.

“In NT skandalon is always used metaphorically, and ordinarily of anything that arouses prejudice, or becomes a hindrance to others, or causes them to fall by the way. Sometimes the hindrance is in itself good, and those stumbled by it are the wicked.”*

In the days of the pioneers, when men saw that a prairie fire was coming, what would they do? Since not even the fastest of horses could outrun it, the pioneers took a match and burned the grass in a designated area around them. Then they would take their stand in the burned area and be safe from the threatening prairie fire. As the roar of the flames approached, they would not be afraid. Even as the ocean of fire surged around them there was no fear, because fire had already passed over the place where they stood.

When the judgment of God comes to sweep men and women into hell for eternity, there is one spot that is safe. Nearly two thousand years ago the wrath of God was poured on Calvary. There the Son of God took the wrath that should have fallen on us. Now, if we take our stand by the cross, we are safe for time and eternity.

The Blood of Jesus cleanses us from unrighteousness. Our brothers and sisters in Christ enjoy that same Grace. We do not need, then, to evaluate their every personal decision and standard. We have our own standing before God.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 2:15 PM February 13, 2021.

What is Worldliness?

Saturday, January 23rd, 2021

What is Worldliness and Why is it Bad?

Pastor Don Carpenter

1 John 2:15–17

There was tremendous public resistance to the introduction of the Susan B. Anthony dollar. This small coin was designed primarily to be a durable and lightweight alternative to the paper dollar. But its size created problems, for it could easily be confused with a quarter. Legally it was worth a dollar, but practically speaking, many people considered it a nuisance because of its indistinguishable size.

The same thing happens when the unbelieving world hears the words of a Christian who cannot be distinguished from the lost society in which he lives. This discounts his claims concerning Christ. It is not a matter of real worth—that is decided by faith—but rather of perceived worth.1 

1 Michael P. Green, 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 406.

The Bible is very clear that worldliness is bad and must be avoided. Unfortunately there is a lot of misunderstanding as to what that means exactly. Tonight in this simple study we will discover what worldliness is and why it is bad.

Worldliness is Idolatry

Because It Competes With God For Priority.

1 John 2:15 KJV
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Matthew 6:24 KJV
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Worldliness is not so much a matter of activity as of attitude. It is possible for a Christian to stay away from questionable amusements and doubtful places and still love the world, for worldliness is a matter of the heart. To the extent that a Christian loves the world system and the things in it, he does not love the Father.

Worldliness not only affects your response to the love of God; it also affects your response to the will of God. “The world passeth away … but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (1 John 2:17).1 

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 492.

Because Inanimate Objects Do Not Hold Moral Value of Themselves.

Joshua 7:21 KJV
When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.

Romans 14:14 KJV
I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

1 Corinthians 6:12 KJV
All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

Worldliness Is a “Me First” Attitude.

1 John 2:16 KJV
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Lust of the Flesh

James 1:13–15 KJV
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Lust of the Eyes

Genesis 3:6 KJV
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Psalm 119:37 KJV
Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; And quicken thou me in thy way.

Proverbs 6:24–25 KJV
To keep thee from the evil woman, From the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.

Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; Neither let her take thee with her eyelids.

Pride of Life

John 12:43 KJV
For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Proverbs 6:16–17 KJV
These six things doth the LORD hate: Yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

A proud look, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood,

Psalm 10:4 KJV
The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

Galatians 1:10 KJV
For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

Galatians 5:26 KJV
Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Worldliness Is Temporary Gratification

1 John 2:17 KJV
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

James 4:14 KJV
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Definition of Worldliness: Worldliness is the lust of the flesh (a passion for sensual satisfaction), the lust of the eyes (an inordinate desire for the finer things of life), and the pride of life (self-satisfaction in who we are, what we have, and what we have done). Worldliness, then, is a preoccupation with ease and affluence. It elevates creature comfort to the point of idolatry– large salaries and comfortable life-styles become necessities of life.

Worldliness is reading magazines about people who live hedonistic lives and spend too much money on themselves and wanting to be like them. But more importantly, worldliness is simply pride and selfishness in disguises. It’s being resentful when someone snubs us or patronizes us or shows off. It means smarting under every slight, challenging every word spoken against us, cringing when another is preferred before us. Worldliness is harboring grudges, nursing grievance, and wallowing in self-pity. These are the ways in which we are most like the world.

Dave Roper, The Strength of a Man, quoted in Family Survival in the American Jungle, Steve Farrar, 1991, Multnomah Press, p. 68.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:15 PM January 23, 2021.

Fruits of the Chew

Saturday, January 16th, 2021

Fruits of the Chew

Pastor Don Carpenter

Chew Your Cud / Psalm 119:11; Psalm 119:97–98; Psalm 48:9–10; Psalm 63:5–6; Psalm 104:33–35; Psalm 119:97

Results of meditation

Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations & Quotes J. I. Packer

J. I. Packer writes in his classic Knowing God: “How can we turn our knowledge about God into knowledge of God? The rule for doing this is demanding, but simple. It is that we turn each truth that we learn about God into matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God.”

He adds, “Meditation is a lost art today, and Christian people suffer grievously from their ignorance of the practice. Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God. Its purpose is to clear one’s mental and spiritual vision of God, and to let His truth make its full and proper impact on one’s mind and heart. It is a matter of talking to oneself about God and oneself; it is, indeed, often a matter of arguing with oneself, reasoning oneself out of moods of doubt and unbelief into a clear apprehension of God’s power and grace. Its effect is ever to humble us, as we contemplate God’s greatness and glory, and our own littleness and sinfulness, and to encourage and reassure us—‘comfort’ us in the old, strong Bible sense of the word—as we contemplate the unsearchable riches of divine mercy displayed in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

As we finish our series on meditation “Chew Your Cud”, we are going to take a Biblical journey and reflect on some powerful benefits we reap when we practice Biblical Meditation. We are going to discover the “Fruits of the Chew”.

Meditation Gives The Believer Power Against Temptation and Deception.

Psalm 119:11 KJV

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

1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV

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

2 Corinthians 10:4–5 KJV

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Meditation Gives The Believer More Wisdom Than His Enemies.

Psalm 119:97–98 KJV

MEM. O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day. 

Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: For they are ever with me.

Ephesians 4:14 KJV

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;

Psalm 119:105 KJV

NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And a light unto my path.

James 1:25 KJV

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Meditation Enhances Praise and Worship

Psalm 48:9–10 KJV

We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, In the midst of thy temple. 

According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: Thy right hand is full of righteousness.

Psalm 104:33–34 KJV

I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. 

My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.

Psalm 119:15–16 KJV

I will meditate in thy precepts, And have respect unto thy ways. 

I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

Meditation Brings The Believer Satisfaction and Contentment.

Psalm 63:5–6 KJV

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

When I remember thee upon my bed, And meditate on thee in the night watches.

1 Timothy 6:6 KJV

But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Romans 8:31–39 KJV

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 

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

Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 

As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations & Quotes Someone Once Said …

Meditation is the skeleton key that unlocks the greatest storeroom in the house of God’s provisions for the Christian.—from “A Primer on Meditation”

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 1:54 PM January 16, 2021.