You Be You!

September 28th, 2021

You Be You

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge

“You Be You” This phrase is often quoted by Facebook prophets, preachers, and self proclaimed experts of self help virtue. This phrase is often used to embolden people to reject anyone else’s judgment and boldly and publically embrace their own choice, expression and even sexual identity. But wait??!!? What does the Bible say about our personal identity?

This is actually the subject of Jonah 1:1-9. Jonah was a prophet. He didn’t want to be a prophet. God called him to a people he hated. He didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to be a prophet. He ran away from who he was. Just because Jonah was upset with who he was did not change who he was. So while God called him north, he ran south and sailed *souther*… So God followed him and sent a storm. The pegan sailors knew that some god was mad and they cast lots to figure out whose god was mad and the lot fell on Jonah. Immediately they wanted to know who he was… what was his identity.

Jonah 1:7–8 KJV

And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. 

Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?

Hmm. What was Jonah going to do? It was at that point Jonah began to come face to face with his identity. He was not his own. He had to embrace the fact that as a believer he was not his own. His identity belonged to the One he served.

2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Luke 9:23 KJV

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

We must first embrace our own old identity, as Jesus said, “if any man will come after me, let him deny himself . . . “ We must embrace it and deny it, then by faith accept our spiritual identity in Jesus Christ. The analogy is given, for purposes of illustrating, of a fifteen year old, unmarried and pregnant girl. Abortion is not an option and the girl has made the decision to give the baby up for adoption. Should she see the baby prior to giving it up or not. One might suggest it would be easier to have the baby and leave the hospital without have seen him and avoid the trauma of separation. That would seem easier, but would she have faced the reality of the situation?

Did you ever try to give away something you never had? Without seeing the baby, there’s a sense of unreality about the situation. Of course, she’s carried the baby in her womb, but there’s a difference between that and holding the baby and owning him. Once the young mother has held the baby and owned and loved him for a day or so, and then given him to the adoptive parents, the reality hits with full force. Then it’s possible to go through the grief process, the separation anxiety or whatever sense of loss the mother experiences.

My point is, when it comes to our humanly achieved identity, each of us needs to ask the question, “Have I owned my ‘baby,’ or is there still a sense of unreality about the identity out of which I live?” For us to accept our new identity in Jesus Christ, each of us must define our humanly achieved or fleshly, worldly identity and look it squarely to understand what we must lose if we are to live out of our true identity in the Lord Jesus Christ. We must “lose our baby,” which has been in the formation stage for a lifetime, if we’re to know the joy and blessing of our new identity as accepted and dearly loved children of God in Christ.

I’ve “owned my baby,” the identity I’ve held of positive performance-based acceptance, of being a good pastor, of performing well as the preacher and receiving the acceptance I get from “a job well done” or “a great sermon,” that handshake of affirmation at the back door, of pleasing other people which is all a part of my past identity. I own it and I’ve given it up and I receive the identity of Jesus Christ.


So as Jonah came face to face with his sin, he had to embrace his identity as a believer. Tonight as we dig into this powerful story. Let us realize that as believers we are not our own. We have a new identity. Only then can we live out the Facebook admonition, You Be You.

Jonah 1:9 KJV

And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.

Jonah’s flight is stopped by the questions from the heathen crewmen. He hears them, and in so doing shows the first indication of overcoming the human impulse to hide. He is no longer simply one of the crowd. Jonah’s hopes for anonymity were dashed by the hopes of the sailors to identify the cause of the storm.

Now his claim is open to being challenged by the pagans. They were in no doubt that the gods were capable of rescuing them if only they could find the right key, that is, the right god, and the cause of the storm. In putting Jonah on the spot, the pagan sailors were putting his God on the spot. It is they who force the issue. Jonah appears to have been happy to let the storm do its worst, but the pagans will not accept this and Jonah, in extremis, is forced to declare himself as one who ‘fears’ the Lord. His claim will now be put to the test.1

1 Rosemary A. Nixon, The Message of Jonah: Presence in the Storm, ed. Alec Motyer, Derek Tidball, The Bible Speaks Today (England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2003), 102.

I Am One Of The Chosen

A Hebrew

Genesis 24:7 KJV

The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.

“I am an Hebrew”—that meant a lot. The Hebrews were known to be monotheistic; that is, they worshiped one God, never an idol. They had no other gods before them but worshiped the God who is the Creator.1

1 J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: The Prophets (Jonah/Micah), electronic ed., vol. 29 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 29.

I am a New Creature 

2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

I Belong to the Savior

1 Corinthians 6:19–20 KJV

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

I Fear The Lord

Fear – Worship

In one sense the prophet ignores the question concerning his occupation. He does not say that God has given him the task of going to Nineveh; he is escaping still from his vocation. Yet in another sense he has stated it by saying that he ‘fears the Lord’. In one sense he does fear the Lord, for he is an Israelite, one of God’s covenant people. Yet again he does not fear the Lord, for he is running away from him. He also overlooks the question about where he is from; only the reader listening in at this point knows that he comes from the presence of the Lord.1

1 Rosemary A. Nixon, The Message of Jonah: Presence in the Storm, ed. Alec Motyer, Derek Tidball, The Bible Speaks Today (England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2003), 101.

The LORD – Jehovah

Jonah had not been asked about his religion, but he volunteers the information that he is a worshiper of (or “one who fears” rsv) Yahweh, the maker of sea and land. Smith-Goodspeed has “I stand in awe of the LORD.” The combination of the two parts of his answer may be taken in either of two ways: (1) since he is a Hebrew, he must therefore be a worshiper of Yahweh, or (2) he is a Hebrew, and in the restrictive sense, one of those who worships Yahweh. The first of these two is more likely. Yahweh is the personal name of the God of Israel, and is generally represented in English translations by “the LORD.” (jb is an exception in this respect). “The LORD” is a title, whereas Yahweh is a name, which might seem to favor using a name approximating in sound to Yahweh in a modern translation

1 Brynmor F. Price and Eugene Albert Nida, A Translators’ Handbook on the Book of Jonah, UBS Handbook Series (Stuttgart: United Bible Societies, 1978), 61–62.

If, however, one is to employ the expression “Lord,” it is important to combine features of importance and control, that is to say, a term should suggest that the person involved is a very important individual and that in some senses he governs or controls individuals who address him as “Lord.” An equivalent in some languages is simply “ruler”; in other cases, “master”; and there are some situations in which the closest equivalent indigenous term is “leader.” More frequently, however, the equivalent expression is “chief.”1

1 Brynmor F. Price and Eugene Albert Nida, A Translators’ Handbook on the Book of Jonah, UBS Handbook Series (Stuttgart: United Bible Societies, 1978), 62.

 • Not man

 • Not another god

 • Not the devil

Exodus 3:13–14 KJV

And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

I Fear The God of Heaven

In apposition to the name Yahweh, which is placed in an emphatic position, is the descriptive title God of heaven. This title occurs mainly in late books of the Old Testament, but also in Genesis 24:3, 7. Heaven is the dwelling-place of God, but this expression God of heaven also suggests the supremacy of Israel’s God over all rivals. As God of heaven, he is also concerned with the earth, since he made the sea and the dry land (the Hebrew order here, as against tev), which makes up its surface (Gen 1:9, 10), and hence controls the storms. The writer leaves us to infer the lack of logic in Jonah’s position; how could he hope to escape such a God by traveling westwards?1

1 Brynmor F. Price and Eugene Albert Nida, A Translators’ Handbook on the Book of Jonah, UBS Handbook Series (Stuttgart: United Bible Societies, 1978), 62.

The Creator

Psalm 115:15 KJV

Ye are blessed of the LORD Which made heaven and earth.

Psalm 146:6 KJV

Which made heaven, and earth, The sea, and all that therein is: Which keepeth truth for ever:

Nowhere To Hide

Psalm 139:7–10 KJV

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 

If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 

Even there shall thy hand lead me, And thy right hand shall hold me.

He Is All Powerful

2 Chronicles 36:23 KJV

Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.

1 John 3:20 KJV

For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

He Is Merciful

Psalm 136:23 KJV

Who remembered us in our low estate: For his mercy endureth for ever:

If you are born again, you are not who you once were!

1 Corinthians 6:9–11 KJV

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 

Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Rather than hiding from or fighting who God is transforming you to be, embrace who you have become and YOU BE YOU!

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 7:52 PM September 28, 2021.

Hey There Friend!

September 28th, 2021

Do you have a Bible question you would like to ask, but don’t know who you could ask that would not judge you or thunder down an avalanche of opinion, bluff and bluster? Join Pastor Don tonight and every Tuesday night at 9:00 Eastern for Bible Answers on FB Live. We answer your Bible questions and discuss topics that you want to talk about. Please pass this on to your friends! What do you want to talk about? Click this link to our live feed Tuesdays at 9:00.

Come In From This Cold World!

September 26th, 2021

This sin cursed world can be a cold and cruel place! I want to invite you to come in from the cold this morning at Evangelical Baptist Church 7 Winsted Road in Torrington Sunday Mornings at 11:00. We warm up with old friends, new friends, music, praise and something to think about from the Bible. Come in from the cold!

To The Compromising Church

September 24th, 2021

The Compromising Church

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Jesus Letters / Revelation 2:12–17

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


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

Jeremiah 17:9 KJV

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

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

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

Jesus, The Living WORD Exposes it All

John 1:1 KJV

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

John 1:14 KJV

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

Hebrews 4:12 KJV

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

Revelation 1:16 KJV

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

Revelation 2:12 KJV

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

Jesus Knows the Good.

Revelation 2:13 KJV

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

Dwelling Where Satan Sits

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

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

Holding fast by Christ’s name

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

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

Has not denied my faith

Romans 3:22 KJV

Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

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

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

Jesus Knows The Bad

Revelation 2:14–15 KJV

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

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

Tolerate the Doctrine of Balaam

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

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

2 Timothy 3:5 KJV

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

 • Believers have been seduced to commit fornication.

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

Tolerate The Doctrine of the Nicolaitans

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

Tolerate Rather Than Separate

2 Corinthians 6:14–17 KJV

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 

And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 

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

Jesus Knows What Must Happen

Revelation 2:16–17 KJV

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

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.


1 John 1:9 KJV

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

Separate From Unbelievers and their Doctrine

Jude 3–4 KJV

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

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

2 Corinthians 6:17 KJV

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

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

Future Promise is worth present sacrifice.

Revelation 2:17 KJV

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Adult Sunday School Class Starts This Sunday @ 10 AM!

September 23rd, 2021

What we assume is so often different from what the Bible tells us is true. For instance,

• We think trials bring only pain; God says they bring growth.

• We think the way to get is to keep; God says the way to receive is to give.

• We think the greatest person has the highest position; God says the greatest is a servant.

• We think that when someone hurts us, we should get even; God says that when someone hurts us, we should bless them.

• We think God uses great people; God says He uses insignificant people. In almost every area of life, our natural thoughts run contrary to what Scripture teaches. In fact, a large component of the process of Christian growth is having our minds renewed—transformed from worldly thinking to biblical thinking.

EBC Is Meeting In Person Tonight! 9/22

September 22nd, 2021

Members that had been exposed to COVID have tested negative! Please celebrate with us by joining us for prayer and Bible Study tonight.

Join us Tuesday Nights @ 9:00 For Bible Answers on Facebook Live!

September 21st, 2021

We are a FB live program where we answer your Bible questions and discuss topics that you want to talk about, will be live tonight at 9:00 EST. Please pass this on to your friends! What do you want to talk about tonight?

Tonight’s Meeting is on Google Meet only

September 19th, 2021

To The Persecuted Church:

September 18th, 2021

To The Persecuted Church:

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Jesus Letters / Revelation 2:8–11

The following are current stories from Voice of the Martyrs.

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


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


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


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

Jesus Applies Salve To A Wounded Church

Revelation 2:8 KJV

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

The healing comes from knowing the Great Shepherd.

Psalm 23:1 KJV

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

The Shepherd is Eternal

John 1:1 KJV

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

Micah 5:2 KJV

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

Revelation 1:18 KJV

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

The Shepherd Has Already Defeated Death

1 Corinthians 15:54–57 KJV

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

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

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

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

Jesus Shows Compassion to a Hurting Church.

Revelation 2:9 KJV

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

I Know!

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

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

I Know Your Works

Psalm 23:4 KJV

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

I Know Your Tribulation

John 16:33 KJV

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

1 Thessalonians 3:4 KJV

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

I Know Your Poverty

2 Corinthians 8:2 KJV

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

2 Corinthians 8:9 KJV

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

I Know The Blasphemy of Fakers

Romans 2:28–29 KJV

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

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

Jesus Gives Encouragement to a Weary Church.

Revelation 2:10 KJV

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

Fear None of Those Things

He Already Knows What Will Happen

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

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

The Devil is on a Leash

The Suffering Has an Expiration

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marcus Aurelius—161–180 (Polycarp was martyred)






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

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

Be Faithful Unto Death

Revelation 2:11 KJV

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

1 John 5:4–5 KJV

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

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

Revelation 20:14 KJV

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

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

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

Francis Bacon

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

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

You Can’t Steer A Parked Car

September 10th, 2021

You Can’t Steer A Parked Car

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Gospel On Tour / Acts 16:6–10

When I was 15, my dad started to teach me how to drive. We had a 1975 Honda Civic CVCC with manual choke, manual transmission, and rack and pinion steering. I remember when I first sat at the wheel I tried to move the steering wheel and found it to be very hard to turn. My dad said, “Donald, you have to wait until we are moving.” You can’t steer a parked car, it puts too much strain on the parts underneath. The wheel will turn just fine once you learn how to get the car moving in the first place”. Of course, then the slow and agonizing process of trying to teach 15 year old me how to manipulate the clutch, gas and brakes in order to get the car moving began.

I learned an interesting lesson that day on Mennel Road in Grafton Township, Ohio. Our lives are best directed by God when we are already moving somewhere. Tonight we are going to begin to study Paul’s Second Missionary journey. A lot has happened since they had returned to their sending church in Antioch. Bible Scholars believe that during this time, Paul wrote his letter to the Churches at Galatia. This was also when leaders from many churches gathered in Jerusalem to discuss whether or not Circumcision should be required for Gentile believers. Paul and Barnabas were called as witnesses to how folks were getting saved by grace through faith across cultural boundaries. After a consensus on doctrine was had, Paul and Barnabas had a huge dispute about whether or not to take John Mark, a defector from the first Missionary Journey, with them for the second journey. Paul was adamantly opposed to the idea. The argument was so strong, Barnabas took John Mark in one direction, and Paul took Silas in another. 

So in Acts 16, we find Paul and Silas at the beginning of the Second Missionary Journey. Today we will see that they are not content for direction to fall out of the sky, but instead they are going to get moving doing something, because you can’t steer a parked car.

Revelation 3:7 KJV

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

Disciple Someone

2 Timothy 2:2 KJV

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

Acts 16:1–3 KJV

Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: 

Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. 

Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.

 • Timotheus had a diverse background. One from Paul’s past, one from his future. His mom was a believing Jew and his father was a Greek.

 • Timothy had a good reputation among the believers at Lystra and Iconium.

 • Paul Took Timothy under his wing, circumcising him to remove stumbling block as they tried to reach some that were Jews.

1 Corinthians 9:20 KJV

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

Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, probably as a helper as Mark had been. There was a problem, however. The Jews to whom Paul would be preaching the gospel would be offended if a man with a Jewish mother was uncircumcised. So Timothy was circumcised. Apparently he had been uncircumcised because of his father’s influence.

This appears to contradict Paul’s thinking in Galatians 2:3–5 where he refused to let Titus be circumcised. The situations, however, were different. In Galatians 2 the issue was the method of justification; here it was a question of not giving offense (cf. 1 Cor. 9:19–23). The Jerusalem Council, of course, had determined circumcision was not necessary for salvation (Acts 15:10–11, 19). In Acts 16 Paul acted as he did for the sake of the ministry; it was a wise move.1

1 Stanley D. Toussaint, “Acts,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 398.

Strengthen Ministries that Were Already Started

Acts 16:4–5 KJV

And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. 

And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

 • Delivered decrees – the doctrine taught at the Jerusalem counsel.

Acts 15:19–20 KJV

Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 

But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

Acts 15:29 KJV

That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

 • Churches were established in the faith

 • Churches increased in number every day.

Search For Open Doors For Ministry

Acts 16:6–7 KJV

Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 

After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.

 • They were on the move when the Holy Ghost stopped them from going into Asia

 • They were stopped from going into Bithynia

 • They kept moving down to Troas

Finally, at Troas, a seaport city on the Aegean Sea near the ancient site of Troy, God gave positive direction by means of a night … vision to Paul. Macedonia was a Roman senatorial province, corresponding roughly to northern Greece today.1

1 Stanley D. Toussaint, “Acts,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 398.

Acts 16:8–10 KJV

And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. 

And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. 

And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

 • God gave a clear direction through a dream of someone from Macedonia asking for help.

 • They went toward Macedonia because they believed the Lord was calling them there. Note Paul and Silas had the what of the call before they had the where.

Christian, if thou wouldst know the path of duty, take God for thy compass; if thou wouldst steer thy ship through the dark billows, put the tiller into the hand of the Almighty.

Many a rock might be escaped, if we would let our Father take the helm; many a shoal or quicksand we might well avoid, if we would leave to his sovereign will to choose and to command. The Puritan said, “As sure as ever a Christian carves for himself, he’ll cut his own fingers;” this is a great truth. Said another old divine, “He that goes before the cloud of God’s providence goes on a fool’s errand;” and so he does.

Charles Surgeon

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 12:33 PM September 10, 2021.