Category Archives: Wednesday Evening Sermons

Righteous Soul Winning

Righteous Soul Winning

Pastor Don Carpenter

Soul Winning: So Much More Than Evangelism / Proverbs 11:30

In the mid 1800’s Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers, used our text verse to coin a term “Soul Winner”. Soul winning became a verb synonomous with evangelizing. When ever we think of someone who has a passion to share the Gospel with the lost, we call that person a “Soul Winner”. Revivals, Missions Conferences and Bible Conferences have used our text verse as a rallying cry to stir up believers to get involved in evangelism.

Those of us who have been saved a while can agree that Satan knows Scripture too and he knows how to corrupt and manipulate us to miss the mark. Everything he does is to counterfeit the real. This passage is no different. He has used superficial understanding and fleshly motives to corrupt what God is trying to communicate here. This is the reason we are going to take 9 weeks to examine the Biblical Concept of Soul Winning. It is so much more than evangelism.

A word of caution is in order at this point. We are going to get deep into the weeds of words, meanings, understanding and misunderstanding of concepts and practices. If you are only casually listening, there is a real danger you will misunderstand the material. I strongly suggest you take notes, go to forum.ebcct.org to review my notes, and re-watch our recorded live feed on Facebook. The truths we will discover in the next couple of months will help you in every facet of your relationships with others.

As we take this verse apart, we will ask and answer three questions that are vital to us understanding this verse. Once we do that we will discover a truth from this verse that is often ignored and that will help us tie it all together.

 Proverbs 11:30 (KJV)

 … he that winneth souls is wise.

What Is A “Winner”?

laqach (??????, 3947), “to take, receive, take away.” This word occurs in all Semitic languages and in all periods of Hebrew. It occurs about 965 times in the Old Testament.

Primarily this word means “to take, grasp, take hold of,” as when Noah reached out and “took hold of” the dove to bring it back into the ark (Gen. 8:9)1

1 Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). In Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Vol. 1, p. 255). T. Nelson.

What Is A Soul?

nepesh (???????, 5315), “soul; self; life; person; heart.” This is a very common term in both ancient and modern Semitic languages. It occurs over 780 times in the Old Testament and is evenly distributed in all periods of the text with a particularly high frequency in poetic passages.

Mind

Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). In Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Vol. 1, p. 237). T. Nelson.

Genesis 23:8 KJV

And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar,

Deuteronomy 18:6 KJV

And if a Levite come from any of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourned, and come with all the desire of his mind unto the place which the LORD shall choose;

 Deuteronomy 28:65 (KJV)

 And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:

 Jeremiah 15:1 (KJV)

 Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth.

 Ezekiel 23:18 (KJV)

 So she discovered her whoredoms, and discovered her nakedness: then my mind was alienated from her, like as my mind was alienated from her sister.

 1 Samuel 2:35 (KJV)

 And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.

 2 Samuel 17:8 (KJV)

 For, said Hushai, thou knowest thy father and his men, that they be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field: and thy father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people.

Heart

Exodus 23:9 KJV

Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

 Leviticus 26:16 (KJV)

 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.

 Deuteronomy 24:15 (KJV)

 At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee.

 2 Samuel 3:21 (KJV)

 And Abner said unto David, I will arise and go, and will gather all Israel unto my lord the king, that they may make a league with thee, and that thou mayest reign over all that thine heart desireth. And David sent Abner away; and he went in peace.

 Psalm 10:3 (KJV)

 For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, And blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.

 Proverbs 23:7 (KJV)

 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; But his heart is not with thee.

So to review – to win is to snatch, grab hold of , take or take away. A Soul is not just a person, but in this context it is ones heart and mind. So the act of soul winning is not limited to getting someone to bow their head and to repeat a prayer… it is the act of snatching someone’s heart and mind and capturing it. This kind of thing takes skill. This leads us to a somewhat startling question and answer.

Is It Possible To Be A Wicked Soul Winner? YES!

2 Samuel 15:6 KJV

And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

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.

So it is possible to “win” a “soul” – to catch or snare them, in order to fulfill ones personal lusts for money power or influence. It is possible to be wicked soul winner.

We Independent Fundamental Baptists have “soul winning” clinics and courses dedicated to teach folks how to trick people into praying a prayer and then boasting on the numbers of souls “won” when in reality, the tricks employed did not lead them to true salvation, but rather tricked them into an outward symbol with no inward reality. So what is the missing factor? What truth will bring us away from a fleshly wicked trickster approach at manipulating the gullible to seeing genuine Godly influence and conversion? The answer is found in the first part of this verse … the part that is often ignored or glossed over.

 Proverbs 11:30 (KJV)

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

Godly Soul Winning Is The Fruit Of True Righteousness.

Discern Between Earthly and Heavenly Wisdom

James 3:13–18 KJV

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

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

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

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

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.

If we take tree of life as indicated above, this line may be expressed, for example, “The good person’s fruit is a tree that gives long life.” Using non figurative language we may say, for example, “The acts of a good person are a source of life” or “What a good person does gives life to others.” We may also say, for example, “The way honest people live gives life to others.”1

1 Reyburn, W. D., & Fry, E. M. (2000). A handbook on Proverbs (p. 260). United Bible Societies.

H. A. Ironside, a famous preacher and commentator from the early 1900’s said this

 … all who are truly wise according to God will be channels of blessing to others—winners of souls. Searching is the truth here stated. Wisdom consists not in the knowledge of Scripture, or divine principles, precious as such are and must be; but in the ability to walk in the power of these things, and to so minister to men and women, yea, and children too (preeminently, one might say), that they shall be won for Christ and His truth. Tested by this, how few are the wise! It is evident that soul-winning is not the slipshod business many would make it out to be—the mere hit-or-miss ministry that is so common to-day. On the contrary, it is a divine science, requiring much earnest preparation of heart in the presence of God; careful study of the need of the souls of men and of the truth of the Scriptures as given to meet that need.1

1 Ironside, H. A. (1908). Notes on the Book of Proverbs (pp. 128–129). Loizeaux Bros.

Jesus Said His Disciples Would Catch Men

Luke 5:10 KJV

And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.

This Involves a Conversion of Thought.

James 5:19–20 KJV

Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 

Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

So what have we learned this evening?

 • To win is to catch, grab hold of, snatch, take.

 • A Soul is one’s heart and mind.

 • To win a soul not not limited to evangelism.

 • It is possible to be a wicked soul winner.

 • Godly soul winning starts with a person already made righteous, following godly motives and tactics, reaching out in love to influence a heart and mind for good.

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.

In the next 8 weeks we will examine how to follow James 3:17-18 as we seek to capture hearts and minds or God’s glory. We will learn to:

 • Speak Graciously

 • Teach Meekly

 • Answer Softly

 • Live Peacefully

 • Love Truthfully

 • Communicate Sensitively

 • Reach out Sympathetically 

 • Persuade Passionately

May God be with us all as we hone the art of righteous soul winning.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 2:03 PM August 3, 2022.

Samson The Sanctified

Samson the Sanctified

Pastor Don Carpenter

Bible Boneheads / Judges 13

Sanctification is a fancy church word that simply means cleaned up and ready to use. Your laundry that has been washed, dried, and ironed is sanctified because it has been cleaned and prepared for use.

My son is a tennis shoe freak. It started out with a pair of Jordan sneakers. He has lots and lots of shoes. When he started working almost every payday that’s what he wanted a new pair of shoes. Now he has more shoes than Imelda Marcos.

Those shoes are always spotless and ready to wear. He buys the right type of cleaner and never allows a pair to get dirty. He wears them, cleans them, and puts them in the box, ready to wear the next time.

This is sanctification. Being cleaned up and prepared for use.

The old fashioned biblical message of sanctification and purity is simple and often ignored. People are looking for something more exciting, more appealing, and easier to take. Rather than preaching on sin, people would desire tips on achieving financial success, marital bliss, and an elevated sense of self-worth. The late Dr. Paul Tassel at the 1990 National G.A.R.B.C. Conference lamented that we Baptists have been scrubbing our hands too long by pursuing sanctification, and it is time that we get on with the operation. This is a common misconception. People assume that purity is old and dry… and that there is no power of God demonstrated in careful separation.

There is another crowd among us who is seeking manifestations of God’s power. People who would not “quibble” over doctrine or standards as long as there was some evidence of supernatural activity.

My friends, what we need now is what they needed in our text this evening – an encounter with the supernatural. The people of Israel fell into sin and judgment once again. This time, God used the Philistines to oppress His people for forty years. The people needed God to raise up a deliverer. They needed to experience a genuine encounter with the Supernatural.

Manoah’s wife was childless. It was impossible for her to conceive, yet God chose to entrust this couple with the next deliverer for Israel. They were about to experience a genuine encounter with the Supernatural.

So as we examine the events of this chapter, may God give us eyes to see the principles we must learn as we also desire the power of God. These are the things we must remember as we see the pure beginnings of Samson the Sanctified.

Sanctified Before Birth

A promise of deliverance 

Judges 13:1–3 KJV

And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years. 

And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not. 

And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.

  1. From barrenness

  2. From the Philistines

The mother was to remain pure

Judges 13:4 KJV

Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:

** Apparently God sees an unborn Baby as fully human, capable of being sanctified and prepared for service***

 • Beware = to keep, tend, watch over, retain

 • Pure from anything associated with wine

 • Pure from strong drink

 • Pure from dietary defilement

For an Israelite, this was purity from pagan influences

The child was to be distinct

Judges 13:5 KJV

For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no rasor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

1. A Nazarite for life – separated for a purpose

2. The sign of his distinction was outward

è God sees both inside and outside!

è During the Tribulation, people will be damned to Hell because of an outside mark!

Purity Was The Secret to Power

A. Manoah was jealous of his wife

Judges 13:8–10 KJV

Then Manoah intreated the LORD, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born. 

And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her. 

And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day.

1. Wanted more than the tired old message of separation

2. Wanted to meet the messenger

3. God’s messenger came back first to his wife alone

B. The message does not change

Judges 13:12–14 KJV

And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him? 

And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. 

She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe.

1. She must beware (retain) the things she already was told

2. The standards are restated

Jeremiah 6:16 KJV

Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

C. It is possible to completely miss the message

1. Trying to learn some hidden nugget or secret

Judges 13:17–18 KJV

And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour? 

And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?

2. Seeing divine power but forgetting divine commandments

Judges 13:20–22 KJV

For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. 

But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD. 

And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.

Obedience Builds Two Way Trust

Judges 13:23–25 KJV

But his wife said unto him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these. 

And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. 

And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

A. No fear because God accepted the sacrifice – vs 23

Judges 13:19 KJV

So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on.

1. The sacrifice was an outward sign of their belief

2. Faith saved them

Genesis 15:6 – And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

B. No fear because God gave them the commandments

1. She did have a son

2. God began to stir in Dan

There was a farmer who was known to be a hard man. He was abusive and foul-mouthed to both man and beast. In time he became friends with a Christian, who influenced him to consider becoming a Christian, and he did. His life was immediately marked by dramatic change. He cleaned up his language and his behavior. He treated his employees well. He was gentle and patient with his livestock. And he was loving and considerate toward his wife.

One day he became frustrated while working and fell back into his old ways. He cursed the livestock. He spoke harshly to his hired hand. And then, he caught himself and went to the farmhouse where his wife found him sitting at the kitchen table distraught and broken over his failure.

When she asked him, “What’s the matter?” He blurted out, “I’m no different than I used to be”

“Oh, but you are different than you used to be ” She said. “Then you would never have been sorry or thought you had done wrong. Then you would not be contrite and wanting to be a better person. I see every sign that the Holy Spirit of God is working in you.”

(From a sermon by Monty Newton, “Desiring Good and Doing Bad” 7/4/08, SermonCentral.com)

When God calls someone to service, He calls them to sanctification and purity. The Power of God flows best through a pure vessel. As we learn about the boneheaded things Samson does, let us remember his beginning as Samson, the Sanctified.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 4:48 PM May 4, 2022.

Lot the Lingering Loser

Lot the Lingering Loser

Pastor Don Carpenter

Bible Boneheads / Sin / Genesis 19:15–29

 It is fun, interesting, and sometimes instructive to watch my grand kids play after church. As you may know, sometimes the kids love to play tag or chase when the crowds die down. Each child has their strength and weakness. Some are quick, some are agile, but some have learned the hard way that when you are running forward down the side aisles that have the support arches that protrude into the pathway, it is unwise to look backward. The sound of THUD, silence, then shrieking, is the sound of a child learning the lesson that when you have to run forward, it is unwise to look backward.

As we continue to look at Lot, a Bible Bonehead, we will discover that when we are given merciful warnings from God, we need to act and not hesitate, for when we do, we could lose everything like what happened in the story of Lot the Lingering Loser.

Lot Lingered In Spite of Multiple Warnings

He needed another wake up call

Genesis 19:15 KJV

And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.

The first time God rescued Lot, he was a prisoner of war (14:12, 16); and he went right back into Sodom. That painful experience should have warned him that he was out of the will of God; but if Lot heard the warning, he certainly did not heed it. 1

1 Wiersbe, W. W. (1991). Be Obedient (p. 82). Victor Books.

When morning dawned: we may assume that Lot has returned home from his unsuccessful visit to his future sons-in-law and is perhaps again in bed at his own house. All the earlier events have taken place in the night and early hours of the morning. The Hebrew expression is “And as the dawn arose,” which in many languages is expressed as “Before the sun came up.” The reference is to the period between first light and sunrise. In languages that divide these early hours and have a number of different expressions for periods of time before the sun rises, it is best to refer to the time when there is just sufficient light to see well.1

1 Reyburn, W. D., & Fry, E. M. (1998). A handbook on Genesis (pp. 425–426). United Bible Societies.

Ezekiel 16:50 KJV

And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

Lot was dragged by the mercy of God.

Genesis 19:16 KJV

And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.

Titus 3:5 KJV

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

But he lingered: lingered means delayed or hesitated. In some languages this is expressed as “took his time” or “didn’t hurry.” Translators may wish to make this statement a time clause, for example, “When Lot hesitated …,” followed by the action of the angels.

So the men seized him … by the hand: the angels have to use force to make Lot and his family leave.

1 Reyburn, W. D., & Fry, E. M. (1998). A handbook on Genesis (p. 426). United Bible Societies.

Lot was given explicit instructions

Genesis 19:17 KJV

And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

 • Escape for your life

 • Don’t look back

 • Don’t stay in the plain

 • Escape to the mountain

Lot Begged to Go His Own Way

Genesis 19:18–23 KJV

And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: 

Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: 

Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. 

And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. 

Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. 

The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.

Lots Priorities Were Still Selfishly Focused on Temporary Comfort.

 • God is about to rain down fire on Lots friends and even his married daughters and sons… yet he was begging not to have to go on a camping trip.

 • God in His mercy promised to spare Zoar

 • Perhaps if Lot would have followed the original instruction, his wife would not have been close enough to look back and be destroyed.

 • Sometimes after God has been trying to get us to change direction, He lets us have what we were begging for and sends leanness to our souls.

Psalm 106:13–15 KJV

They soon forgat his works; They waited not for his counsel: 

But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, And tempted God in the desert. 

And he gave them their request; But sent leanness into their soul.

Lot Lost Everything

Genesis 19:24–25 KJV

Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 

And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

 • His Livelihood and Possessions

 • His Friends

 • His position

 • His married daughters and sons

 • His wife

Genesis 19:26 KJV

But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

 • Lot did follow the rest of the instructions but by then it was too late.

Genesis 19:30 KJV

And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters.

Lot Was Spared Because Abraham had Prayed.

Genesis 19:28–29 KJV

And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace. 

And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.

Ezekiel 22:29–31 KJV

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

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

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

Conclusion:

God is merciful enough to warn us way more than we ever deserve. It would be wise not to linger… if God is moving you to make a move, do not hesitate! God is merciful enough to give us specific leadership through scriptures and the Holy Spirit.. it would be wise not to bargain. It may be because of the hardness of your heart, He will grant you your request only to send leanness. God has your soul in His hand if you are saved, but your carnality could result in great personal loss. Take the warning and learn from Lot the Lingering Loser.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:12 PM April 5, 2022.

Lot the Looney

Lot the Loony

Pastor Don Carpenter

Bible Boneheads / Evangelism / Genesis 19:1–14

Lot’s unwillingness to at least reach his own family… or some within his family caused there to not be enough saved folks to stop the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

Sometimes the cup of iniquity is full and the people are ripe for judgment. In such a case it may happen as it did in the flourishing and extraordinarily beautiful city of Messina, Italy. In the early morning of December 28, 1908, an earthquake struck, and 84,000 human beings died. Only a few hours before that devastating earthquake, which laid Messina and the surrounding districts in ruins, the unspeakably wicked and irreligious condition of some of the inhabitants was expressed in a series of violent resolutions that were passed against all objections.

The journal Il Telefono, printed in Messina, actually published in its Christmas issue an abominable parody, daring the Almighty to make himself known by sending an earthquake! And in three days the earthquake came! (Cited by John Lawrence, Down to Earth [Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale, 1983], p. 51.)7281

1 Michael P. Green. (2000). 1500 illustrations for biblical preaching (pp. 207–208). Baker Books.

___

Our passage this evening tells us of the Angel’s visit to Sodom and the drama that ensued. Tonight’s narrative ends with a warning to Lot to get his family out of there because judgement is coming. When Lot comes to his family with an urgent warning about the judgement of God that was about to fall, they thought he was kidding… or that he had become Lot the Loony.

Genesis 18:20 KJV

And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;

Genesis 19:14 KJV

And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.

Tonight we are going to see what specifically about Lot’s behavior discredited his urgent God talk. May God convict and warn us to live consistently as to avoid becoming like Lot the Loony.

Lot Was Comfortable to be a Businessman and Judge in Sodom.

Genesis 19:1 KJV

And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;

Their arrival in Sodom finds Lot sitting by the gate of Sodom. The gate is a common place for meeting in the East, either for conversation, for business, or for the administration of justice. It is normally a place where the town leaders (Deut. 21:19; Josh. 20:4) and kings (1 K. 22:10) assemble to adjudicate the business at hand. Yet Lot is among them, even though he is a “transient” (v. 9, gûr).1

1 Hamilton, V. P. (1995). The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18–50 (p. 32). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Sitting at the gate. In ancient cities the gate area functioned as a public square. Its constant flow of people made it the ideal place for businessmen to set up their booths and for judges to hear cases. The fact that Lot is sitting in the gate suggests he was doing business there and had been accepted in the community of Sodom.1

1 Matthews, V. H., Chavalas, M. W., & Walton, J. H. (2000). The IVP Bible background commentary: Old Testament (electronic ed., Ge 19:2–3). InterVarsity Press.

Lot Knew The Danger of the Streets, Yet Was Comfortable to Judge and Do Business There

Genesis 19:2–3 KJV

And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. 

And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.

Lot Calls These Wicked, Violent Sex Offenders “Brothers”

Genesis 19:4–7 KJV

But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: 

And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. 

And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, 

And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.

It was about sex and rape.

Genesis 19:5 KJV

And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.

Genesis 4:17 KJV

And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

Genesis 4:25 KJV

And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.

It Was About Homosexual Wickedness.

Leviticus 20:13 KJV

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Among those who agree that the issue is sexual, the question arises whether the issue is homosexual relations per se or homosexual rape. The answer depends on how one chooses to translate y??a?. For instance, compare Speiser’s “bring them out to us that we may get familiar with them” with JB’s “hand them over to us so that we may abuse them.”

We see at least four problems with the view that the prohibition here is only on homosexual rape. First, nowhere in the OT does the verb y??a? have the nuance of “abuse” or “violate.” Second, the OT uses unmistakable language to relate rape incidents. Thus the Shechemites “seized” and “lay with” and “humbled” Dinah (Gen. 34:2). Amnon “forced” and “lay with” his half-sister Tamar (2 Sam. 13:14). Similarly, the biblical laws about rape also use these terms: “seize,” “lie with” (Deut. 22:25–27). Third, this interpretation forces one meaning on “know” in v. 5 (i.e., “abuse”) but a different meaning on “know” three verses later (i.e., “have intercourse with”), for it is unlikely that Lot is saying: “I have two daughters who have never been abused.” Fourth, such an interpretation forces these incredible words in Lot’s mouth: “Do not rape my visitors. Here are my daughters, both virgins—rape them!” Clearly, then, the incident frowns on homosexual relations for whatever reason. Note that in the often-cited parallel to Gen. 19, viz., Judg. 19, the host offers both his own virgin daughter and his guest’s concubine to Gibeah’s city dwellers with the statement “and sexually mistreat them” (we?annû ?ô??m, v. 24). By contrast, Lot avoids using any verb that has clear-cut indications of sexual aggression. Still, the reader of this narrative cannot avoid puzzlement over Lot’s willingness to make his daughters available to the people of Sodom for their sexual pleasure, even if he acts out of a desire for hospitality for his guests. In any case, his action is unsuccessful, unheroic, and it “may even make the audience of the story relieved not to be among the daughters of Lot1

1 Hamilton, V. P. (1995). The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18–50 (pp. 34–35). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Lot Offered His Two Virgin Daughters as Substitutes for his Guests

Genesis 19:8–9 KJV

Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. 

And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.

Lot Was Seemingly Unmoved When God’s Was Displayed.

Genesis 19:10–11 KJV

But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. 

And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.

Lot’s pompous attitude in overstepping his bounds aggravates the Sodomites. Their words We will deal worse with you than with them suggest that they are prepared to have coitus with Lot. They will take Lot himself as a substitute sex partner rather than his daughters.

10 The townsmen put forth their hands against Lot (v. 9). But now the men extend their hands, pull Lot back inside the house, and slam the door. The concept of a divine door shutter is familiar from Gen. 7:16b, “and Yahweh shut him in” (again the verb s??ar). In the end he who attempts to save his guests is saved by his guests. Has it dawned on Lot yet who his visitors really are?1

1 Hamilton, V. P. (1995). The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18–50 (p. 37). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Lot Could Have Saved Sodom and Gomorrah If He Had Just Reached His Immediate Family.

Genesis 18:32 KJV

And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.

Genesis 19:12–14 KJV

And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: 

For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it. 

And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.

Lot -1

Lot’s Wife -1

Lot’s Son’s in Law -2

(Lot’s married Daughters) -2

Lot’s Sons – 2

Lots unmarried daughters -2

AT LEAST 10 In Lot’s household!

Lot did not seem like he had Godly values, so to claim that he did was loony.

Genesis 19:14 KJV

And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.

Amos 5:15 KJV

Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: It may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.

2 Peter 2:9 KJV

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

We are being watched more than we are being listened to. Are you comfortable in the gates of the enemy? Do you know the dangers, but hang there anyway? Do you view the unsaved in your life to be close like brothers? Are you willing to sacrifice your family so you can stay close to the world? Have you been able to reach those closest to you? Perhaps it is a struggle because what you do speaks so much louder than your infrequent pleas for repentance. Let us learn from Lot the Loony.

In the choir of life, it’s easy to fake the words—but someday each of us will have to sing solo before God.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 7:24 PM March 29, 2022.

Lot The Liberated

Lot the Liberated

Pastor Don Carpenter

Bible Boneheads / Second Chance / Genesis 14

Listen to a partially embellished STORY of the SERVANT who escaped to Abraham…

The sun was just rising in the east. Abram’s entourage had grown significantly since Lot departed. They had settled in the land of Mamre the Amorite, finding water and shade in the forest, and an alliance with Mamre and his brothers. Security was a constant concern. Abram had accumulated much, and he was determined to protect his family and his possessions.

The morning watchmen were just about to take their positions, replacing the tired young men who had posted guard all night. One of the bleary eyed servants notices a figure appearing out of the east, looking as if he were rising with the sun. He was running. No not really running, it was more like staggering.

The watchman sounded the alarm. Everyone’s eyes were tuned to the approaching figure. He didn’t seem to be a danger, really more pathetic than anything else.

By this time Abram was awake, dressed and out of his tent. Always on guard, the stately old man he had already grabbed his spear, ready to face whatever danger was approaching.

As the man approached the camp, Abram was the first to meet him. “Who are you, where have you come from?”

“The Kings of the East defeated the Kings of the Plain. We were routed by them. Most of the solders were killed. Some died trying to escape. Lot has been taken captive!”

For a portion of time measured only in microns, a thought passed through Abram’s mind. Something along the line of “see, I told you so.” But before those thoughts had enough time to be formed into words, altogether different words came out of Abram’s mouth, words that reflected the true character of his heart.

“How many men.” “What kind of weapons?” “Who was their leader?” “Which way were they headed?” “Were Lot’s wife and daughters taken captive also?” The mighty patriarch peppered the terrified soldier with questions demonstrating both his concern and the a strategy was already being formed in his mind to go and rescue Lot.

Abram stepped into action. Carefully, precisely and quickly, he spelled out his plan through the series of orders given to his attentive servants.

“You, gather my captains and have them meet me in my tent.” “You, harness all of our camels. Give them plenty to drink.” “You, take five servants and gather as much food and water as we can carry.” “You, get the weapons ready.” “You, get this man some food and new clothes. Put him on my best camel because he has to show us the way.”

Everyone knew the danger of the mission Abram was planning. The entire region was terrified of the Mesopotamian kings that had been extorting money from everyone in the land of the Jordan Valley. Only the shrewdness and skill of Mamre and his Ammorite brothers had kept them from becoming entangled in the conflict.

Nichol, Abram’s most trusted confidant and leader was concerned enough to speak up. He took great risk in questioning the man of God, but this was a suicide mission and Nichol feared that Abram’s emotions had gotten the best of him.

With great respect, Nichol asked for permission to speak. Quietly, so that the other servants would not hear, Nichol leaned to Abram and said, “But Abram, the five kings have already escaped, you’ll never catch them.”

Abram replied with confidence: Lot’s in Trouble. He’s my responsibility, and I love him.

Next, Nichol mentioned what should have been patently evident to Abram. “But Abram, the five kings already defeated the kings of the plains. You are no match for them”

Again, Abram responded with the same conviction. Lot’s in Trouble. He’s my responsibility, and I love him.

This time, Nichol spoke slightly louder, no longer concerned whether or not any of the nearby servants overheard his advise to his wise master. “But Abram, everything you value could be lost.”

Abram’s reply was no different. Lot’s in Trouble. He’s my responsibility, and I love him.

“But Abram, it’s a lost cause”

Lot’s in Trouble. He’s my responsibility, and I love him.

“But Abram, you’re too old, let the young men go and try”

Lot’s in Trouble. He’s my responsibility, and I love him.

“But Abram, after all Lot’s done to hurt you, he doesn’t deserve for you to risk your life and possessions to save him.”

At this, Abram responded in the most stern manner. With great conviction and determination, he emphatically said,

Lot’s in Trouble. He’s my responsibility, and I love him.

_________

This section records the first war mentioned in the Bible, and it would not be included here had it not involved Abraham. The Bible records a great deal of history; but, as Dr. A.T. Pierson said, “History is His story.” What is written helps us better understand how God worked out His great plan of salvation in this world. In the Bible, historical facts are often windows for spiritual truth.

The five city-states in the plain of Jordan (14:2; see 13:10) had been subject for twelve years to the kings of four eastern city-states (14:1) and finally revolted against them. This, of course, was a declaration of war; so the four kings invaded the plain of Jordan to bring the five kings into subjection. From our modern viewpoint, the invasion was a minor skirmish; but in that day, it was considered a major international conflict.

Certainly five kings ought to be able to defeat four kings, especially when they are fighting “on their own turf.” But the army of the cities of the plain was soundly defeated by the invading kings! Apparently the five kings did not even know their own land because they were trapped in the slime pits (14:10). All their army could do was flee for the hills.

1 Wiersbe, W. W. (1991). Be Obedient (p. 32). Victor Books.

Lot Was Enslaved Because of His Choices.

Genesis 14:11–12 KJV

And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. 

And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

He looked toward Sodom

Genesis 13:10 KJV

And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.

He moved toward Sodom

Genesis 13:12–13 KJV

Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 

But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.

He started Living in Sodom

Genesis 14:12 KJV

And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

Psalm 1:1 KJV

Blessed is the man That walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor standeth in the way of sinners, Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

He Knew Better

2 Peter 2:6–8 KJV

And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 

And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 

(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

He Became a Friend of the World

James 2:23 KJV

And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

James 4:4 KJV

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

While in Egypt with Abraham, Lot had gotten a taste of the world and enjoyed it. Scripture doesn’t record that Lot ever built an altar and sought the Lord, as did his uncle Abraham. Abraham was the friend of God (James 2:23), but Lot was the friend of the world (4:4). Wiersbe

He Conformed to the World

Romans 12:2 KJV

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

He was condemned with the world.

1 Corinthians 11:32 KJV

But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

Lot Was Enslaved Because of God’s Chastening.

Proverbs 3:11–12 KJV

My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; Neither be weary of his correction: 

For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; Even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

Hebrews 12:5–8 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: 

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

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

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

Lot’s capture was God’s way of disciplining him and reminding him that he had no business living in Sodom. No doubt Abraham was praying faithfully for his nephew that he might separate himself from the world and start living like a true “stranger and pilgrim.” God disciplines His children because He loves them and wants the best for them (Prov. 3:11–12; Heb. 12:1–11). If we don’t listen to His rebukes, then He has to get our attention some other way; and that way is usually very painful.1

1 Wiersbe, W. W. (1991). Be Obedient (p. 33). Victor Books.

Lot Was Liberated By Grace.

Philippians 1:6 KJV

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

God Used His Man

Genesis 14:13 KJV

And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram.

God Used Family Ties

Genesis 14:14 KJV

And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.

God Restored Everyone – even Sodomites!

Genesis 14:16 KJV

And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

God was honored because Abraham learned his lesson in Egypt.

Genesis 14:21–24 KJV

And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. 

And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, 

That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: 

Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.

Lot’s rescue was God’s Grace at work giving him a chance to grow, learn and repent.  

Abram operated under the kindness that Grace provides.

John 1:14 KJV

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

onclusion:

Have you recently gone through a near miss? Is God trying to get your attention. Have you been recently restored? This is how our Savior works. He loves you! He wants to restore you. He wants you to respond before you lose everything. Learn from Lot the Liberated.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 7:03 PM March 22, 2022.

Lot The Leaner

Lot the Leaner

Pastor Don Carpenter

Bible Boneheads / Compromise; Direction and Orientation / Genesis 13:1–13

How in the world did Lot end up in such a mess?

One word—choices.

—Something each of us has in common. Every single day… every single moment we make choices.

—What to eat. What to wear. What to say. What to do. How to act.

—You’ve made a thousand choices before you arrived here this morning!

—A choice to argue with your wife. A choice to yell at the kids. A choice to spend some time with the Lord in prayer. Choices.

The choices you make today are the ones you’re going to have to live with tomorrow.

____

Tonight we are launching a brand new series entitled “Bible Boneheads” We will be studying three different folks who were given everything they needed to serve God effectively, but, being Boneheads, they squandered all that they were given and ended up reaping terrible consequences for their actions. The men we will be studying are all believers. They all knew better. They all belonged to God. They all suffered needlessly because of the choices they made.

Most of us know the basic story of Lot, Abraham’s nephew. He came out of the Pagan land with his uncle. He learned to worship the One True God, yet he ended up in a city that was judged by the Fire of God. He lost almost everything because of the choices he made. Tonight we are going to see where it all started to go wrong.  

Lot and Abraham started together but ended up is vastly different places because they were pointed in different directions.

Abraham Was Headed Away From Sin

He Left the Bad Choices of Egypt Behind.

Genesis 13:1 KJV

And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.

Abraham learned his lesson, repented, and “went up” out of Egypt (13:1). When you disobey the will of God, the only right thing to do is to go back to the place where you left Him and make a new beginning (1 John 1:9). No failure is permanent in “the school of faith.” Abraham went back to his tent and altar and the life of a “pilgrim and stranger.”

A casual observer of this episode might conclude, “What happened to Abraham wasn’t all bad. Pharaoh gave Abraham a lot of wealth (Gen. 12:16; 13:2), and Sarah was given her own maid, Hagar (16:1). God forgave Abraham’s sin, and he started over again. So, what’s the big problem?”

The “big problem” is that everything Abraham received in Egypt later caused trouble. Because of their great wealth, Abraham and Lot could not live together and had to separate (13:5–6). Hagar, the Egyptian maidservant, brought division and sorrow into the home (Gen. 16). Having had a taste of Egypt (the world), Lot started measuring everything by what he saw there (13:10–11); and this led to his downfall and the ruin of his family. There are no benefits from disobedience.

The practical lesson from all of this is simply never abandon your altar. Stay in fellowship with the Lord no matter what the circumstances may be. If you have disobeyed and God is disciplining you, go back to the place where you left Him and make things right. Remember: “The victorious Christian life is a series of new beginnings.” That is not an excuse for sin, but it is an encouragement for repentance

1 Wiersbe, W. W. (1991). Be Obedient (pp. 25–26). Victor Books.

Proverbs 24:16 KJV

For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: But the wicked shall fall into mischief.

He Was Headed Back to Bethel

Genesis 13:3 KJV

And he went on his journeys from the south even to Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-el and Hai;

Genesis 12:7–8 KJV

And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. 

And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.

Bethel = House of the Lord

1 Timothy 3:15 KJV

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

He Was Headed Back to the Altar – Repentance and prayer.

Genesis 13:4 KJV

Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.

He Called on the Name of the LORD – Jehovah

Genesis 4:26 KJV

And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.

Genesis 12:8 KJV

And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.

 Genesis 21:33 (KJV)

 And Abraham planted a grove in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.

Abraham Was Headed Away From Selfishness.

Genesis 13:5–9 KJV

And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 

And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. 

And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. 

And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. 

Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.

Did you notice this statement: “And the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land?” Abram’s herdsmen and Lot’s herdsmen are fighting, and then Abram and Lot disagree. The very interesting thing is that then the Canaanite probably whispered over to the Perizzite, “Look at them! Fightin’ again! When they came into this land and built an altar to the living and true God, how we looked up to Abram! When he first came here, we thought he was such a wonderful man. We knew he was honest, we knew he was truthful, but look at him now. Look at the strife they’re having!” I do not think the Perizzite and the Canaanite were very well impressed by Abram and Lot at this time.1

1 McGee, J. V. (1991). Thru the Bible commentary: The Law (Genesis 1-15) (electronic ed., Vol. 1, p. 180). Thomas Nelson.

James 3:13–16 KJV

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

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

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

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

It was bad enough that this dispute was between brethren (Gen. 13:8); but even worse, the heathen people of the land were watching and listening (13:7). When Christians have disputes, it hurts the testimony of the Lord. In my pastoral ministry, I frequently visited the unsaved relatives and friends of church members, seeking to interest them in spiritual things, only to discover that they knew about every “church fight” in town. No wonder our Lord prayed that His people might be one, that the world might believe (John 17:20–23). Christian unity is fragrant and fruitful (Ps. 133), but disunity turns that fragrance into a stench and the garden into a desert.1

1 Wiersbe, W. W. (1991). Be Obedient (pp. 26–27). Victor Books.

Philippians 2:2–4 KJV

Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Hebrews 12:14 KJV

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

Romans 12:18 KJV

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

I wonder how many family fights have been caused by the love of money. The newspapers often publish reports about families battling in court because of an inheritance or a lottery winning. People who used to love each other and enjoy each other start attacking each other just to get money, but money cannot buy the blessings that families freely give.

Abraham may have failed the first two tests, but he passed this third test with great success. The test was not an easy one, for it involved land and wealth; but Abraham is the example of what every believer should do when there are disputes about material things.

Abraham determined to be a peacemaker and not a troublemaker. The problem between Abraham and Lot was not caused by the land, the famine, their wealth (both of them were rich), or even their herdsmen (13:7). The heart of every problem is the problem in the heart. Lot’s heart was centered on wealth and worldly achievement, while Abraham wanted only to please the Lord. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:31

1 Wiersbe, W. W. (1991). Be Obedient (p. 26). Victor Books.

Lot Was Headed Away From God and His People and Toward the World

Genesis 13:10–13 KJV

And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 

Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 

Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 

But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.

Covetousness—an insatiable appetite for more things—leads to all kinds of evil (1 Tim. 6:10). In order to get more money, people will lie (Prov. 21:6), mistreat people (22:16), cheat (28:8), and even trouble their own families (15:27). “Covetousness is both the beginning and the end of the devil’s alphabet,” wrote Robert South, “the first vice in corrupt nature that moves, and the last which dies.”

Abraham had caused trouble in Egypt because he was out of place, and Lot caused trouble in Canaan because he was out of place: His heart was really in Egypt (13:10). According to 1 Corinthians 2:14–3:3, there are only three kinds of people in the world: the natural (unsaved), the carnal (saved but living for the world and the flesh), and the spiritual (devoted to God). You find all three in Genesis 13: the natural (13:13), the carnal (Lot), and the spiritual (Abraham). Lot was a righteous man (2 Peter 2:7–8) but not devoted to the Lord. He could not walk with Abraham because Abraham was the friend of God (2 Chron. 20:7; Isa. 41:8) and Lot was a friend of the world (James 4:4). Many church splits and family fights are caused by carnal Christians who are not walking with the Lord or with other believers.1

1 Wiersbe, W. W. (1991). Be Obedient (pp. 27–28). Victor Books.

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.

Proverbs 24:19 KJV

Fret not thyself because of evil men, Neither be thou envious at the wicked;

 Feathers for Arrows (Light—Detested by the Wicked) C. H. Spurgeon

 A …housemaid when scolded for the untidiness of the chambers exclaimed, “I’m sure the rooms would be clean enough if it were not for the nasty sun which is always showing the dirty corners.” Thus do men revile the gospel because it reveals their own sin. Thus all agitations for reforms in Church and State are opposed, and all manner of mischief attributed to them as if they created the evils which they bring to light. The lover of the right courts anything which may manifest the wrong, but those who love evil have never a good word for those disturbing beams of truth which show up the filthy corners of their hearts and lives.

Lot started to be interested, then tolerant, then apathetic to wickedness around him. It was much easier to ease up to Sodom as he grew more and more carnal, than it would have been to be around Abraham as he grew closer and closer to God. Lot and Abram started in the same place. But Lot was leaning in the wrong direction. Take care that you do not follow the same habit of Lot the Leaner.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 7:41 PM March 15, 2022.

To Know The Greatness of Christ’s Power

To Know The Greatness of Christ’s Power

Pastor Don Carpenter

Greater Vision / Ephesians 1:20–23

In his book, The Family of God, Batsell Barrett Baxter says the following:

“There are some who think of the church as an organization like other organizations. It is true that the church is an organization, but it is not primarily an organization. Rather, it is a new way of life. Those who have the view that being a part of the church is like being a member of a lodge, a luncheon club, a political part, or even a business are seriously mistaken. Such people feel that they should give to the church the same kind of support and loyalty which they give to these other organizations. It becomes my church, as it is ‘my club, or lodge, or party, or team.’ The Christian’s loyalty to Church, however, should be unique, for in reality it is a loyalty to Christ and His way of life. The church is like no other institution on earth and a person’s membership in the church is like no other membership which he may sustain. The church is more like a vibrant, living organism, than it is like a cold, structured organization…

Some make the mistake of thinking that the church…exists for the entertainment and enjoyment of its members. On the contrary, the church exists in order that its members may have an intimate relationship with Christ and God, as well as a close relationship with mankind.”

As we come to the last sermon in the series “Greater Vision” let us review what we have learned from Paul’s prison prayer for the Ephesian believers.

Of all the things he could have prayed for, it was for the believers to have a more intimate relationship with Jesus. For their eyes to be opened to His love for them and their standing with Him. Last week we saw praying that believers may know more fully the hope of their calling, and their rich value to Christ and the greatness of Christ’s power toward believers. It is that great power that is expounded upon here in our passage. Paul takes the time to put mind blowing details to that power of Christ that works toward us.

The Great Power of Christ Works in Us

Ephesians 1:19 KJV

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Ephesians 2:1–2 KJV

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

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

1 Corinthians 12:6 KJV

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

The Great Power of Christ Was Displayed In Jesus.

When He Was Raised From The Dead

 Ephesians 1:20 (KJV)

 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead…

raising him from the dead Jesus’ resurrection displayed God’s power over death and His approval of His Son (compare Isa 53:10 and note; Isa 53:12 and note)1

1 Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., Whitehead, M. M., Grigoni, M. R., & Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Eph 1:20). Lexham Press.

When He Was Exalted to His Father’s Right Hand

 Ephesians 1:20 (KJV)

 … and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

Acts 2:34–35 KJV

For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 

Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

It was the power mentioned in Verse 19 that raised Jesus from the dead. His resurrection was only the firstfruits of the saved who have passed from this sphere. The same power that raised the firstfruits will also bring forth all of His brethren in their order and place them at God’s right hand in heaven. The expression “right hand” is a borrowed phrase. In the Sanhedrin—house of judgment—there were ever two scribes who were before the judges, one upon the right, the other upon the left side of the judge. It was the business of the scribe upon the right to write the approval or acquittal. The scribe upon the left wrote the sentence of condemnation. Jesus came not to condemn, John 3:17, hence His place is always at the right hand, where He may write pardons for men who are captives to the Devil. Just such power is manifest in all true believers as was wrought in the raising Christ from the grave. There must be the same Divine power in the members that there is in the Head, or there can be no unity. There can be no natural body at all unless the members are the same nature with the head. Any other kind of body is unnatural; it is a monstrosity. The power that moves in the tree moves in the branches also.1

1 Haynes, W. A. (1911). The Beautiful Word Pictures of the Epistle to the Ephesians: Or, the Busy Man’s Commentary upon the Bible (p. 36). Busy Man’s Bible Company.

When He Was Raised Far Above Every Principality and Power.

Ephesians 1:21 KJV

Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

Ephesians 6:12 KJV

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Exorcists and magicians tried to manipulate powerful spirits by invoking their names (see comment on Acts 19:13); the supremacy of Jesus’ name above all other names means that he is higher than all the spirit-powers being invoked and could not be exploited.

Paul uses standard terms of his day for the demonic and angelic powers at work behind the political structures of the world, powers that were thought to direct the earthly rulers and peoples (v. 21). Most people in Paul’s day believed that the world was run by Fate, which was usually expressed by the stars (which were viewed as heavenly beings), and most of these people did not believe one had any hope of escape from Fate. Some of the mystery cults, however, like the cult of Isis, gained popularity by claiming power to free initiates from Fate.

Jewish people commonly believed that the heavenly powers ruled all the nations except Israel; some later teachers explained that Israel had been lifted above those heavenly powers in Abraham their ancestor. Paul says that those united with Christ had also been raised above those powers. His words would be a great encouragement to Christians who had been converted from an occult background (cf. Acts 19:18–20).

Jewish people especially viewed these heavenly powers as “angels of the nations,” spiritual beings who stood behind earthly rulers and guided their rule (cf. Dan 4:35; 10:13). (Although the details are developed more in later Jewish texts, the roots of the idea are as early as Daniel and the LXX of Deuteronomy.)1

1 Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Eph 1:21–23). InterVarsity Press.

When The Father Put all Things Under His Feet.

Ephesians 1:22 KJV

And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

Psalm 8:6 KJV

Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet:

Psalm 110:1 KJV

The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Paul finishes by speaking of the conquest of Christ in a sphere which does not mean so much to us today. As the Authorized Version has it, God has raised Jesus Christ ‘far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named’. In Paul’s day, people strongly believed both in demons and in angels; and these words which Paul uses are the titles of different grades of angels. He is saying that there is not a being in heaven or on earth to whom Jesus Christ is not superior. In essence, Paul’s prayer is that we should realize the greatness of the Saviour God has given to us.1

1 Barclay, W. (2002). The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians (p. 105). Westminster John Knox Press.

The Great Power of Christ Works Through the Church.

Ephesians 1:22–23 KJV

And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 

Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Ephesians 3:21 KJV

Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Ephesians 4:15 KJV

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

Matthew 28:18 KJV

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

Christ was given all this power and prestige, and given as Head of all things to be the Head of the Church.

Christ is the head; the Church is the body. The head must have a body through which it can work. The Church is quite literally hands to do Christ’s work, feet to run his errands, a voice to speak his words.

In the very last phrase of the chapter, Paul has two tremendous thoughts. The Church, he says, is the essential element in the work of Christ. Just as the ideas of the mind cannot become effective without the work of the body, the tremendous glory which Christ brought to this world cannot be made effective without the work of the Church. Paul goes on to say that Jesus is bit by bit filling all things in all places; and that act of filling is being worked out by the Church. This is one of the most tremendous thoughts in all Christianity. It means nothing less than that God’s plan for one world is in the hands of the Church.1

1 Barclay, W. (2002). The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians (p. 107). Westminster John Knox Press.

___

There is a legend which tells how Jesus went back to heaven after his time on earth. Even in heaven, he bore upon him the marks of the cross. The angels were talking to him, and Gabriel said: ‘Master, you must have suffered terribly for men and women down there.’ ‘I did,’ said Jesus. ‘And,’ said Gabriel, ‘do they all know about how you loved them and what you did for them?’ ‘Oh no,’ said Jesus, ‘not yet. Just now, only a few people in Palestine know.’ ‘What have you done,’ said Gabriel, ‘to let everyone know about it?’ Jesus said: ‘I have asked Peter and James and John and a few others to make it the business of their lives to tell others about me, and the others still others, and yet others, until the furthest person on the widest circle knows what I have done.’ Gabriel looked very doubtful, for he knew well what poor stuff human beings were made of. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘but what if Peter and James and John grow tired? What if the people who come after them forget? What if, way down in the twenty-first century, people just don’t tell others about you? Haven’t you made any other plans?’ And Jesus answered: ‘I haven’t made any other plans. I’m counting on them.’ To say that the Church is the body means that Jesus is counting on us.1

1 Barclay, W. (2002). The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians (pp. 107–108). Westminster John Knox Press.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:27 PM March 9, 2022.

That You May KNOW!

That You May Know

Pastor Don Carpenter

Greater Vision / Ephesians 1:18–19

Dr. Kenneth Chafin, a well-known Baptist author, tells about the pastor and deacon who were visiting prospective members and drove up to a beautiful suburban home surrounded by a velvet lawn and gorgeous landscaping. Two expensive cars stood in the driveway, and through the picture window, the men saw their prospect, lounging in an easy chair and watching color TV. The deacon turned to his pastor and said, “What kind of good news do we have for him?”

How prone we are to confuse prices and values. Ephesus was a wealthy city. It boasted the temple of Diana, one of the wonders of the ancient world. Today, Ephesus is an archeologist’s paradise, but all of its wealth and splendor are gone. But the Christians who once lived there are today in heaven, enjoying the glory of God!

Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 15). Victor Books.

As we continue to explore this prison prayer for enlightenment that Paul records in scriptures, we come to the reason Paul is praying this prayer. He yearns that the light of their understanding is turned on, not simply so they can comprehend or articulate great and deep theological truths, but so they can KNOW Christ more intimately.

 Ephesians 1:18 (KJV)

 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know…

 oida (Perf. of ????, 1492), “to know by perception,” is the word in Pilate’s remark “make it as sure as ye can” (marg. “sure, as ye know”), Matt. 27:65. The phrases “cannot tell,” “canst not tell,” etc., are in the rv rendered “know not,” etc., Matt. 21:27; Mark 11:33; Luke 20:7; John 3:8; 8:14; 16:18; 2 Cor. 12:2–3. See know1

1 Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). In Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Vol. 2, p. 88). T. Nelson.

To Know The Hope of Christ’s Calling

 Ephesians 1:18 (KJV)

 … that ye may know what is the hope of his calling…

The first is that they may know “what is the hope of their calling.” The word “what” is tis (???), not “how great,” nor “of what kind,” but “what”—what the hope really is. “The ‘His calling’ is the call of which God is the author, and that is an effectual call.… The hope is not the object hoped for, … but the attitude of mind, the subjective hope, the assured Christian expectation” (Expositors).1

1 Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 4, p. 53). Eerdmans.

Ephesians 4:4 KJV

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

Some callings offer no hope, but the calling we have in Christ assures us of a delightful future. Keep in mind that the word hope in the Bible does not mean “hope so,” like a child hoping for a doll or a bike at Christmas. The word carries with it “assurance for the future.” The believer’s hope is, of course, the return of Jesus Christ.

Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 15). Victor Books.

1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 KJV

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

1 John 3:1–3 KJV

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

To Know The Riches of Christ’s Inheritance In Us!

 Ephesians 1:18 (KJV)

 …that ye may know …what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

This phrase does not refer to our inheritance in Christ (Eph. 1:11), but His inheritance in us. This is an amazing truth—that God should look on us as a part of His great wealth! Just as a man’s wealth brings glory to his name, so God will get glory from the church because of what He has invested in us. When Jesus Christ returns, we shall be “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Eph. 1:6).

God deals with us on the basis of our future, not our past. He said to cowardly Gideon, “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor” (Judg. 6:12). Jesus said to Andrew’s brother, “Thou art Simon … thou shalt be called Cephas [a stone]” (John 1:42).

Gideon did become a mighty man of valor, and Simon did become Peter, a rock. We Christians live in the future tense, our lives controlled by what we shall be when Christ returns. Because we are God’s inheritance, we live to please and glorify Him.

This truth suggests to us that Christ will not enter into His promised glory until the church is there to share it with Him. He prayed for this before He died, and this prayer will be answered (John 17:24). Christ will be glorified in us (2 Thes. 1:10), and we will be glorified in Him (Col. 3:4). Knowing this should lead the believer into a life of dedication and devotion to the Lord.1

1 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 16). Victor Books.

Psalm 28:9 KJV

Save thy people, And bless thine inheritance: Feed them also, and lift them up for ever.

Ephesians 1:12 KJV

That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

Philippians 2:13 KJV

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

To Know The Greatness of Christ’s Power Toward Us.

Ephesians 1:19 KJV

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Paul offered something to challenge our faith: “the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe” (Eph. 1:19). So tremendous is this truth that Paul enlisted many different words from the Greek vocabulary to get his point across: dunamis—“power” as in dynamo and dynamite; energeia—“working” as in energy; kratos—“mighty”; ischus—“power.” Ephesians 1:19 can be translated, “What is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the operation of the might of His strength.” He is talking about divine dynamic, eternal energy, available to us!

1 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 16). Victor Books.

Ephesians 1:19 KJV

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Ephesians 3:7 KJV

Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

2 Corinthians 13:4 KJV

For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.

Romans 8:11 KJV

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

1 Peter 1:5 KJV

Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Corinthians 2:5 KJV

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Ephesians 3:20 KJV

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

At first I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like the president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I didn’t really know Him. But later on when I recognized this Higher Power, It seemed as though life was rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that God was in the back helping me pedal. I don’t know just when it was that he suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since—life with my Higher Power, that is. God makes life exciting! But when He took the lead, it was all I could do to hang on! He knew delightful paths, up mountains and through rocky places—and at breakneck speeds. Even though it looked like madness, he said, “Pedal!” I worried and was anxious and asked, “Where are you taking me?” He laughed and didn’t answer, and I started to learn trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into adventure. When I’d say, “I’m scared,” He’d lean back and touch my hand. He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance, and joy. They gave me their gifts to take on my journey, our journey, God’s and mine. And we were off again. He said, “Give the gifts away; they’re extra baggage, too much weight.” So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and our burden became light. At first I did not trust Him in control of my life. I thought He’d wreck it. But He knows bike secrets—knows how to make it lean to take sharp corners, dodge large rocks, and speed through scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places. I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant Companion. And when I’m sure I just can’t do any more, He just smiles and says, “Pedal!”

James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 247-248.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 4:35 PM March 2, 2022.

Prayer for Enlightenment

A Prayer for Enlightenment

Pastor Don Carpenter

Greater Vision / Ephesians 1:15–17

Malcolm, a man with a terrible temper, was playing a round of golf with his pastor. After leaving three straight putts on the edge of the cup, Malcolm exploded. “I missed!” he screamed. “How could I miss?” With that he heaved his putter into a nearby lake, kicked a wheel on the golf cart and drove his fist into a nearby tree.

Pastor was shocked. “I have never seen such a terrible display of anger,” he said to the poor man. “Don’t you know that God doesn’t like it when we are angry? I have heard that there are angels whose one assignment is to search out people who express their anger so ferociously and to send lightning bolts from heaven to burn them to a crisp.”

Malcolm was embarrassed. Heeding the warning of Pastor, on the next few holes, he managed to control himself. However, on the last three holes his putting failed him again. When the last putt veered off to the right just in front of the hole, Malcolm went crazy. “I missed!” he screamed. “How could I miss?” He broke his club across his knee and threw it as far as he could, he kicked up several large clumps of dirt on the edge of the green, and once more drove his fist into a nearby tree.

Suddenly the sky grew dark as an ominous cloud passed over. There was a clap of thunder and an awesome burst of lightning-and the pastor was burned to a crisp!

An eerie silence filled the golf course. All that could be heard was a quiet voice from heaven: “I missed! How could I miss?”’

Contributed by David Lansdown


Often when we think of our relationship with God, we imagine ourselves constantly disappointing and angering our Savior to the point where we just may have to dodge lightening bolts on the golf course. The Apostle Paul was obsessed with believers truly understanding the depth of the love Jesus has for His own. There is four different passages where Paul from prison, prays for the believers he once helped come to Christ and grow as a body of believers. Each time, he did not pray for their prosperity or even their deliverance, but their spiritual enlightenment. Tonight we will launch a three week series studying one of these passages. We will see that there is more to learn once we have trusted Jesus as Savior… we are to dive deeper into the wisdom, revelation, and knowledge of Jesus Christ Himself.

Only True Believers Can Receive Deeper Enlightenment.

Ephesians 1:15–16 KJV
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

1 Corinthians 2:14 KJV
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Romans 1:8 KJV
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 KJV
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;

John 13:34–35 KJV
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

True Christians love Christ and they also love their neighbours. More than that, they know that they cannot show their love to Christ in any other way than by showing their love to their neighbours. However orthodox a church is, however pure its theology, and however noble its worship and its liturgy, it is not a true church in the real sense of the term unless it is characterized by love for other people. There are churches which seldom make any public pronouncement which is not based on censorious criticism. They may be orthodox, but they are not Christian. The true Church is marked by a double love—love for Christ and love for others.1

1 Barclay, W. (2002). The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians (pp. 101–102). Westminster John Knox Pres

The Holy Spirit Is The Source of Spiritual Enlightenment.

Isaiah 11:2 KJV
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and might, The spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

John 14:25–26 KJV
These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 16:12–14 KJV
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Enlightenment Comes to the Heart of A Believer

Ephesians 1:17 KJV
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

Psalm 119:18 KJV
Open thou mine eyes, That I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

The Wisdom of Christ

Colossians 1:9 KJV
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

Colossians 2:3 KJV
In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

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.

Revelation of Christ

John 1:14 KJV
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

1 Corinthians 2:10 KJV
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

The Knowledge of Christ

Matthew 11:28–30 KJV
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

“The Father wants us to be filled only with His Christ. Will you let Him deal so thoroughly in His love, until you are consumed with Him, having to continually depend upon Him, instead of anything of yourself? For God to take you deeper into Himself, He must expose all in you that is not of Himself. I hope that, as He shines in you, you will take Him as Grace, to deal completely, so He may possess you wholly, and bring you into His fullness in your lifetime.” Dr Yu Martyred in China 1956

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 2:26 PM February 23, 2022.

Eliminate All Hurry

Eliminate All Hurry

Pastor Don Carpenter

Redeeming Your Time / Ephesians 5:15–17; Luke 14:28–30

Today is the last day of a series called, Redeeming Your Time. A quick recap:

In Ephesians 5:15-17, God commands us to “redeem the time.” Why? So that we can do “the will of the Lord.” Over the past few weeks, we have explored six timeless time management principles from the life of Christ as portrayed in the gospels:

? Principle #1: Start with the Word

? Principle #2: Let Your Yes Be Yes

? Principle #3: Dissent From the Kingdom of Noise

? Principle #4: Prioritize Your Yeses

? Principle #5: Accept Your Unipresence

? Principle #6: Embrace Productive Rest

Eliminate All Hurry: To redeem our time in the model of our Redeemer, we must embrace productive business while ruthlessly eliminating hurry from our lives.

Jesus Was Busy

Throughout this series, we have talked about how although life is drastically different now than in the first century, Jesus did have many of the same time management challenges we face today.

One of the most common words used in the Gospel of Mark is “immediately.” No less than forty times does Mark employ this word to make an inescapable point: The life of Jesus and his disciples was busy:

One time, Jesus was too busy to eat and his family thought he was “out of his mind”

Mark 3:20–21 KJV

And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. 

And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.

John 11:9 KJV

Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.

The Cambridge Bible commentary translates Jesus’s words as follows: “Are there not twelve working-hours in which a man may labour without fear of stumbling? I have not yet reached the end of my working-day, and so can safely continue the work I came to do. The night cometh, when I can no longer work; but it has not yet come.”

When that night did come, Jesus prayed to the Father saying,

John 17:4 KJV

I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

As we have seen over the past four weeks, Jesus was highly motivated to finish his work as a means of glorifying the Father, and that led him to be wildly productive and busy.

Jesus Was Not Hurried

But while Jesus was certainly busy, the gospels never show him hurried. What’s the difference between busyness and hurry? I love how pastor John Ortberg puts it in his book, Soul Keeping:

“…there is a world of difference between being busy and being hurried. Being busy is an outward condition, a condition of the body. It occurs when we have many things to do. Busy-ness is inevitable in modern culture….By itself, busy-ness is not lethal. Being hurried is an inner condition, a condition of the soul. It means to be so preoccupied with myself and my life that I am unable to be fully present with God, with myself, and with other people. I am unable to occupy this present moment. Busy-ness migrates to hurry when we let it squeeze God out of our lives.”[1]

Busyness is having a lot of meetings on your calendar. Hurry is scheduling those meetings back-to-back forcing you to sprint from one meeting to the next without enough time to hear your own thoughts. Busyness is having a lot of errands to run. Hurry is getting mad about choosing the “wrong line” at the grocery store because you have no margin for the thirty seconds you lost by choosing lane 3 instead of 4. Busyness is attending three Bible studies a week. Hurry is not having enough time and stillness to listen to God’s voice in between those studies.

Almost all of us are busy and hurried. And that’s a problem because that is not the way of Jesus and is thus not the model for redeeming our time.

So, what is causing all of our hurry in the first place? There are many answers to that question, some external and some internal. But perhaps most practically, our hurry stems from our failure to “count the cost” of our time.

 • [1] John Ortberg, Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014), 170. Kindle.

 Jesus uses this accounting terminology with his disciples in the gospel of Luke:

Luke 14:28–30 KJV

For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 

Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 

Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.

Sounds like a typical Tuesday for most of us—biting off way more than we can chew in a 24-hour time period.

Jesus himself models this application in the gospel of Mark:

Mark 11:11 KJV

And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.

Mark 11:15 KJV

And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;

OK, so Jesus’ plan all along was to overturn some tables and drive out the vendors who were turning the temple into a “den of robbers” (Mark 11:17). So why not do this the night before? Why wait until the next day?

Of course, we can’t answer those questions definitively, but given Jesus’s track-record as a busy but unhurried guy, here’s my guess: I think Jesus had counted the cost of his time. He decided not to cram any more activity into what had already been a busy day (see Mark 11:1-10). You can almost hear him muttering to himself “It can wait.” Could Jesus have squeezed in a little table flipping before he retired for the night? Sure, but he chose not to. He had counted the cost and knew that adding anything else to his already busy day would have tipped the scales from busy to hurry.

To redeem our time in the model of our Redeemer, we must, like Jesus, embrace being busy and productive toward his aims in the world, while ruthlessly eliminating hurry from our lives.

Conclusion:

We’ve come a long way in this series, exploring these seven timeless time management principles from the life of Christ. Here’s the full list:

? Principle #1: Start with the Word

? Principle #2: Let Your Yes Be Yes

? Principle #3: Dissent From the Kingdom of Noise

? Principle #4: Prioritize Your Yeses

? Principle #5: Accept Your Unipresence

? Principle #6: Embrace Productive Rest

? Principle #7: Eliminate All Hurry

Before we close, I want to say a few words about discipline. As we’ve seen the past few weeks, Jesus himself was disciplined with his time here on earth. He was intentional about glorifying the Father by “finishing the work” he was given to do (see John 17:4).

Jesus’s example shows us that discipline is a virtue and this is a theme the writers of scripture carry throughout the New Testament. For example, the apostle Paul writes:

1 Corinthians 9:24–27 KJV

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 

And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 

I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

As Christ-followers, we don’t run through life “in an aimless fashion.” We are called to “self-discipline in everything” or what Paul also calls “self-control” when listing the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23). Discipline is a byproduct of a Spirit-filled, Christlike life.

But listen up as we bring this series to a close—as with any good thing, we can easily make discipline an ultimate thing and thus turn it into an idol. Discipline is a gift, but it can also be a curse.

Let me encourage you to be on the lookout for two signs that you’ve crossed over to the dark side of discipline and turned this good gift into an idol:

We are   unable to extend grace to others who are less disciplined than ourselves.

We can’t forget that everything we have—including our ability to be disciplined as we redeem our time—has been graciously given to us. James 1:17 says that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father.” Our ability to be disciplined in redeeming our time is a gift of grace, just like salvation, “so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:9).

We are   unable to extend grace to ourselves.

I’m going to remind you again: the gospel frees us from the need to be productive. God doesn’t need us to finish our to-do lists. He loves and accepts us “no matter how many good things we do” and no matter how productive we are. It is Jesus that started the work IN US and Jesus who will finish it.

Philippians 1:6 KJV

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 2:06 PM February 16, 2022.