Sins Like Scarlet

Sins Like Scarlet

Pastor Don Carpenter

White As Snow (Sermon Kit) / Isaiah 1:18; Romans 3:23

 Our Heavenly Father is an incredible artist. There are not many scenes more beautiful than the blanket of the season’s first significant snowfall. As a boy I remember waking up and looking out my window at the pristine white back yard completely untouched… for a moment it stood without any footprints… just perfect, white and undisturbed.

As we venture headlong into the Christmas season, we’ll be starting a new four week series called White as Snow. A fitting name for the season, but believe me this isn’t going to be a cute series about snowmen, snowball fights, and sledding down steep hills. No, this is an important time of year to talk about things like sin, salvation, and our beloved savior, Jesus.

As we inch closer and closer to Christmas morning it’s important to consider the eternal importance of the birth of Christ. Why did God send His only Son and what did Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection accomplish? What is the lasting impact and why did God choose to use people like us to build His church?

Obviously these are deeply profound questions… A far cry from the questions many of us are asking this holiday season.

? “Will Target ever get those video game systems back in stock?”

? “Why does Prime 2-day shipping keep taking 5 days? Who’s in charge over there?”

? “I sure hope my spouse/significant other/family/friends/etc.. were listening when I dropped all those hints about my Christmas presents.”

When I say all that out loud I’m struck by how trivial it all sounds. These are truly small problems compared to the issues many families around the world are facing this Christmas. But, then again, that’s kind-of the point of our gathering together. That’s the point of a series like White as Snow.

As we turn our eyes to Christ today we’ve also got to recognize there’s something else in the picture. Something that none of us want to talk about but all of us struggle with… If you’re thinking, “New Year’s Resolutions” right now you’d be close, but that’s not quite it.

What I’m referring to is sin. It’s something we’ve got to talk about if we’re also going to talk about the amazing reality of Christ in our lives. But, Praise God, one simply has to open their Bible to see God’s unique answer to the sin problem. Let us discover from God’s Word Three Absolute Truths about Sin that serves as the foundation for the wonderful Christmas story.  

Sin Stains

Isaiah 1:4 KJV

Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, A seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: They have forsaken the LORD, They have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, They are gone away backward.

If you’re not familiar with the major prophets of God, like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, then this is a good introduction. As seen in this one verse, God is speaking through the mouth of Isaiah to pronounce judgment and condemnation on the people of Israel. He calls them “sinful people” who are bent over by the weight of their sin (guilt), and that’s just the start of it. He calls them an entire group of evildoers given to lives of corruption who have forsaken their God, spurned Him, and turned their backs on Him. And all of that is just one verse, just one breath from the mouth of Isaiah.

As hard as it is to hear God speak of His people like that, it’s even harder to acknowledge it’s all true. God’s people turned their back on Him, they buried themselves beneath lives of sin.

And who are we to believe we are any different?

Sin is:

 • Any Thought Word or Deed done that God says we should not do that we do anyway.

 • Any Thought, Word, Deed that God says we should do that we do not do.

Sin Infects Everyone

Proverbs 16:25 KJV

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, But the end thereof are the ways of death.

Romans 3:19 KJV

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

Romans 3:23 KJV

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

Galatians 3:22 KJV

But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

1 John 1:8 KJV

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1 John 1:10 KJV

If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Sin Brings The Label of Condemnation

1 Corinthians 6:9–10 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.

Sin Brings the State of Condemnation

 Romans 6:23 (KJV)

 For the wages of sin is death…

John 3:18 KJV

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

Sin Stains Are Impossible to Remove

The Law Won’t Do It

Romans 3:19–20 KJV

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

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

James 2:10–11 KJV

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 

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

Any Good Deed Becomes Contaminated By Our Filthy Sin

Isaiah 64:6 KJV

But we are all as an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; And we all do fade as a leaf; And our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

BUT…

With God the Impossible is Possible!

 Genesis 18:14 (KJV)

 Is any thing too hard for the LORD?…

Luke 1:37 KJV

For with God nothing shall be impossible.

God Can Make Sin Stains White as Snow.

We Have The Promises to Prove It

Micah 7:19 KJV

He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; And thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

Psalm 51:7 KJV

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

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.

Isaiah 1:4 KJV

Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, A seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: They have forsaken the LORD, They have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, They are gone away backward.

Matthew 11:28 KJV

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

We Have God’s Explanation of How This Is Possible.

 Isaiah 1:18 (KJV)

 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

 • Jesus is perfectly white/ sinless

Hebrews 4:15 KJV

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

Mark 9:2–3 KJV

And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. 

And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.

 • Jesus became our sin so we could become His righteousness – or white-ness

2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

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

 • Upon belief we do not just have our garments washed but scotch guarded by the Blood of Jesus… standing in His righteousness.

John 3:16 KJV

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

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;

Revelation 7:14 KJV

And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

As you dwell on that thought for a moment listen to the words of the late preacher Charles Spurgeon;

“The Lord does not deny the truth of what the sinner has confessed, but he says to him, ‘though your sins be as scarlet’, I meet you on that ground. You need not try to diminish the extent of your sin, or seek to make it appear to be less than it really is, it is all that, and probably far more. Your deepest sense of your sinfulness does not come up to the truth concerning your real condition; certainly, you do not exaggerate in the least. Your sins are scarlet, and crimson; it seems as though you have put on the imperial robe of sin, and made yourself a monarch of the realm of evil. That is how a man’s guilt appears before the searching eye of God.”

So my friends, lets reason together. Your sins are as scarlet. They stain every fiber of your being. There is no getting that stain out. Communion won’t make it fade. The waters of Baptism will only be fouled bur attempt to absolve yourself through dead works. Every work, rite, or ritual will fall short. But… with God it is possible to be made clean. Will you turn your trust from your works and onto the finished work of Jesus on the cross, ask Him to Save you, and be made White as Snow?

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 1:36 PM November 30, 2022.

Join Us This Sunday at 11:00 AM For The Last Message in the Series “Five Smooth Stones”

We’ve been journeying through the well-known story of David and Goliath, which I hope has been encouraging to you.? The challenger was a nine foot tall giant named Goliath, who looked to be the favorite in the battle. God then chose David, a simple shepherd boy, to fight against Goliath. This battle required a focus solely on his God… And finally, this Sunday, we get to celebrate victory. Will we see you at 11?

What You Need To Slay Your Giant

What You Need To Slay Your Giant

Pastor Don Carpenter

Five Smooth Stones (Sermon Kit) / 1 Samuel 17:32–40

We’ve probably all heard the expression, “This is going to separate the men from the boys!” Those words are said when about something that involves danger and risk. Things that take courage and a willingness to sacrifice. Things that are grueling and gut-wrenching. Things that require maturity and perseverance, not just boyish enthusiasm and energy.

David may have been the smallest boy in the camp that day, but he was the biggest man on the battlefield. Why? Because he had superior armor and weapons? No… Because he faced his challenge with faith. And he had long before learned the lesson… that… The challenge before you is never as great as the power behind you.

I am excited you decided to join us once again for the third week of our sermon series, “5 Smooth Stones.”Throughout this series we’ve focused on the story of David and Goliath.

It’s a well-known story, but one we have spent time unpacking and learning more from. Today, we land in the part of the story that mentions these 5 smooth stones that David uses to slay Goliath (spoiler alert). There is an important, overarching concept that we must learn today: God wants to use what you have.

It’s tempting to look at other people’s lives whether in person or even on social media, and wish you had what they had. It’s enticing to believe that if you had a better paying job, or a different zip code, or a bigger house that you would finally be able to serve God in the ways that both you and HE want.

This condition is not a unique one, and something that many of us understand all too well. As we’ll learn today from our passage, this is a human condition that goes back hundreds and thousands of years

 2 Peter 1:3 (KJV)

 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

The Bible makes it clear that God has given all of His people different gifts. The Holy Spirit helps us see and learn what these gifts are, and how God is trying to use them in our lives, and in the world as a whole.

How differently this story would have gone if David would have spent his time envying those around him in the Israelite army, or even the physical strength of Goliath. Instead, David was focused on what he had. In this case, it was 5 smooth stones and a sling.

Our reading this morning was from 1 Samuel 17:32-40. There’s a lot going on in this passage. But there are three specific things I want us to highlight this morning in regard to the call upon David’s life to fight Goliath. I believe each of these things are crucial in our own lives as we seek to understand the call, the will, and the giftedness that God has given each and everyone here today. Let us discover together what you need to slay your Giant.

Focus that blocks out the distractions

1 Samuel 17:32–33 KJV

And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. 

And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.

 • Others were afraid – fail = collapse

 • Others were sure of David’s failure

 • Others are confident that the enemy will win

 Faith is not in itself a meritorious act; the merit is in the One toward Whom it is directed. Faith is a redirecting of our sight, a getting out of the focus of our own vision and getting God into focus.

 A. W. Tozer

At the beginning of this passage, David declares that he will indeed go and fight Goliath. But as soon as he says this, Saul responds with these words: “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”Sounds like a voice that would hold you back, right?

Last week we talked about those who will try to hold us back and look down upon us. There are many in our lives that, regardless of what we do, will try to keep us from where we need to go. This will often come in the form of doubt. Similar to what 1 Timothy says, as we referenced last week, Saul seemed to be looking down on David because of his youth. And so what is David supposed to do with all of this? His brother won’t have it, others simply ignore him, and Saul doesn’t think he has any chance at success.

But to David, this is all just “white noise” in the midst of God’s clear call and command.

You see, in a spiritual sense, there will be many voices around you begging for airtime in your life. If you aren’t careful, you can get bogged down and overwhelmed by them. This is why it is so important that we “learn to discern” God’s voice from others.

We have to learn how to sort through the different voices in our life, with the help of the Holy Spirit. This requires us to ask certain questions of the voices we hear. For example, you could ask questions like, “Does this voice actually care about me? Is this a Godly voice? Does this voice hold wisdom?” It’s questions like these that help us discern which voices to ultimately listen to and trust.

In David’s life and story, it is clear from the next verse that he was able to shake off the words from Saul and others to stay focused on what God was inviting him into.

Confidence that comes when past victories are remembered.

1 Samuel 17:34–37 KJV

And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 

And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. 

Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. 

David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.

 • The threat came after one in my care

 • I faced it head on

 • I delivered the sheep

 • I was then threatened personally

 • I caught him by the beard and killed him

 • Goliath will be like that

 • Because he defied the armies of the living God

Joshua 4:24 KJV

That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.

2 Kings 19:19 KJV

Now therefore, O LORD our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD God, even thou only.

2 Chronicles 20:15 KJV

And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

Psalm 124:8 KJV

Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.

Warren Wiersbe makes the following observation regarding this passage:

It’s unfortunate that this dramatic account is considered primarily a children’s story or the basis for an allegory about defeating the “giants” in our lives. While there are many applications of a Bible passage, there is only one basic interpretation, and the interpretation here is that David did what he did for the glory of God. David came to the contest in the name of the Lord, the God of the armies of Israel, and he wanted Goliath, the Philistine army, and all the earth to know that the true and living God was Israel’s God (v. 46). Goliath had ridiculed Israel’s God and blasphemed His name, but David was about to set the record straight. David saw this as a contest between the true God of Israel and the false gods of the Philistines1

1 Wiersbe, W. W. (2001). Be successful (p. 94). Victor/Cook Communications.

 • Like David protected his sheep, the Good Shepherd will protect His sheep.

John 17:11–12 KJV

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 

While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

Hebrews 11:34 KJV

Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

Weapons that are your own and not another’s.

1 Samuel 17:38–40 KJV

And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. 

And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him. 

And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.

 • Saul gave David his armour.

 • Saul didn’t trust that armour enough to use it himself.

 • Assayed = fell short

 • Proved = tested

 • Five smooth stones

Some people believe that David chose five smooth stones so that if he missed his first shot, he could use one or all of the others. David did not intend to miss, friend. Then why did he select five stones? The answer is found in 2 Samuel 21:22: “These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.” Goliath had four sons, and David was sure they would come out when he killed their father. This is why David picked up five stones. That was the number he needed.1

1 McGee, J. V. (1991). Thru the Bible commentary: History of Israel (1 and 2 Samuel) (electronic ed., Vol. 12, p. 99). Thomas Nelson.

 • Placed in a shepherd’s bag – one he used often

 • The sling was in his hand and ready.

 • He came at the Philistine

“The line you succeed in will be of your own finding. The Davids in life do not slay the Goliaths of difficulty and temptation in another s armor, even though it be the kings, but with their own self-made weapons, though they be nothing more formidable than a sling and a stone.”

What if God is trying to help you see the miraculous things He can do in and through your life when you simply bring him the ordinary, everyday stuff you have to offer?

David put aside all the extra stuff Saul gave him and grabbed 5 stones and his sling. He added that to the faith he had developed over time serving God and his family in the wilderness and he walked out to battle Goliath. Through all the white noise, through the doubt, through the fear and into victory.

And all he had was all that God had already given him, and THAT is what was needed to slay a Giant.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 1:09 PM November 16, 2022.

The Gospel In A Nutshell

The Gospel in a Nutshell

Pastor Don Carpenter

A Beautiful Mess / 1 Corinthians 15:1–11

Once Billy Graham was challenged when giving a message on the reality of God and His Son Jesus Christ; somebody said to him. “Hi, Billy, you talk very much about God as if He lives. He is dead. He has no more power in the affairs of men.” Billy Graham coolly replied “I do not know of His death. I spoke to Him this morning”

Of all of the mistakes, miscues, and blunders that Paul had to correct in the church at Corinth, the false doctrine mentioned in this chapter is the most deadly. Some Corinthian believers had come under the influence of philosophical intellectuals who cast doubt upon the literal fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul began counteracting this heresy by reviewing the essential elements of the Gospel they claim to have believed.

The Gospel is not subject to change

1 Corinthians 15:1 KJV

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

A. It is the same one they believed in the first place

Galatians 1:6–9 KJV

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 

Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 

As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

B. It is the same Gospel by which they stand before God forgiven

Romans 5:1–2 KJV

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

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 15:2 KJV

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

The unchangeable elements of the Gospel

A. Christ died for our sins

1 Corinthians 15:3 KJV

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

Isaiah 53:4–12 KJV

Surely he hath borne our griefs, And carried our sorrows: Yet we did esteem him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 

But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: The chastisement of our peace was upon him; And with his stripes we are healed. 

All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned every one to his own way; And the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, Yet he opened not his mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, So he openeth not his mouth. 

He was taken from prison and from judgment: And who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: For the transgression of my people was he stricken. 

And he made his grave with the wicked, And with the rich in his death; Because he had done no violence, Neither was any deceit in his mouth. 

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; For he shall bear their iniquities. 

Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, And he shall divide the spoil with the strong; Because he hath poured out his soul unto death: And he was numbered with the transgressors; And he bare the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.

1 Timothy 2:6 KJV

Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

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

B. Christ was buried – He was literally dead

1 Corinthians 15:4 KJV

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Matthew 12:39–40 KJV

But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 

For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

C. Christ rose again

Psalm 16:10 KJV

For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; Neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Romans 6:3–4 KJV

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

D. Christ was seen after His resurrection

1 Corinthians 15:5–8 KJV

And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 

After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 

After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 

And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

1. By Cephas – Peter

2. By 500 witnesses

3. By James

4. By all the other apostles

5. By Paul

What if we had each person that witnessed the resurrected Lord come up here this morning and talk for 15 minutes giving a testimony to what they saw.

If we listened to the testimony of all the people that Jesus appeared to, we would be here all day, and all night, and Monday and Monday night and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and sometime early Friday morning they would just be wrapping up the testimony.

It would take over 128 strait hours just to hear, for 15 minutes each, the testimony of those that saw the Lord after he rose.

E. The Gospel is through God’s grace, not one’s merit

1 Corinthians 15:9–11 KJV

For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 

But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 

Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

1. Paul did not deserve salvation

2. Through God’s grace, Paul became a person

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.

Centuries ago on the South Coast of China, high up on a hill overlooking the harbor of Macao, Portuguese settlers built an enormous cathedral.

They believed it would weather time, and they placed upon the front wall of this cathedral a massive bronze cross that stood high into the sky.

Not too many years later, a typhoon came and nature’s finger work swept away man’s handiwork. That entire cathedral was pushed down the hill and into the ocean as debris, except the front wall and that bronze cross that stood high.

Centuries later, there was a shipwreck out a little beyond that harbor. Some dies but a few lived. One of the men that was hanging onto wreckage from the ship, moving up and down in the crest of the ocean as the swells were moving, was disoriented, frightened. He didn’t know where land was. As he would come up on the swell, he’d spot that cross, tiny from that distance. His name was Sir John Bowring.

When he made it to land and lived to tell the story, he wrote this hymn:

In the cross of Christ I glory,

Towering o’er the wrecks of time;

All the light of sacred story

Gathers round its head sublime.

The last stanza says:

When the woes of life o’ertake me,

Hopes deceive, and fears annoy,

Never shall the cross forsake me:

Lo! It glows with peace and joy.

John Bowring is telling us that we have a cross, we have an altar. And when all of life seems to crush in on top of us, we need to go back to the Cross and remember the empty tomb. Call to mind the fact that a Man is neither on the cross nor in the tomb, but He lives. He stands ready and able to give us victory through whatever we are going through at the time.

Come by grace to the Cross and say, “That is my sufficiency. That is my only hope.”

–Kenneth Osbeck, 101 Hymn Stories.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 2:19 PM November 3, 2022.

The Challenger

The Challenger

Pastor Don Carpenter

Five Smooth Stones (Sermon Kit) / 1 Samuel 17:1–11; 1 Peter 5:8

Death was handled differently in the ancient world. An archaeologist was digging in the Negev Desert in Israel and came upon a casket containing a mummy. After examining it, he called the curator of a prestigious natural history museum.

“I’ve just discovered a 3,000 year old mummy of a man who died of heart failure!” the excited scientist exclaimed.

To which the curator replied, “Bring him in. We’ll check it out.”

A week later, the amazed curator called the archaeologist. “You were right about the mummy’s age and cause of death. How in the world did you know?”

“Easy. There was a piece of paper in his hand that said, ‘10,000 Shekels on Goliath’.”

The story of David and Goliath is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. It shows that God can do anything with someone who will trust him to do so.

It’s a story about an unlikely hero named David, defeating a mighty giant and enemy named Goliath. But there is so much more to be learned from this story than a simple statement, “God is bigger than my giants.” While this is no doubt true, let’s unpack the whole story to see what we can learn.

As we kick off the series, first, we need to learn about the larger than life challenger, Goliath.

1 Samuel 17:1–3 KJV

Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. 

And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines. 

And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.

17:2 the valley of Elah This valley was in the Shephelah, the western foothills of Israel. It ran between Philistine territory in the west and Judah in the east. The Philistines were on the north side of the valley, and the Israelites on the south.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 (1 Sa 17:2). Lexham Press.

I Samuel to Esther Chapter 17

3. [In the middle of the broad open valley (v. 2) is a aeep trench (v. 3) with vertical sides, a valley within a valley: the sides and bed of the trench are strewn with water-worn pebbles. (Conder.)]

1 Samuel 17:4–7 KJV

And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 

And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. 

And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. 

And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.

Goliath’s height is given in the text as about nine and a half feet. It is suspected that he is of the same stock as the Anakim, the giant inhabitants of the land that the Israelite armies were able to defeat in the conquest. The descendants of Anak are generally considered “giants,” though the description “gigantic” may be a more appropriate line of thinking. Champions of this size are not simply a figment of Israelite imagination or the result of embellished legends. The Egyptian letter on Papyrus Anastasi I (thirteenth century b.c.) describes fierce warriors in Canaan who are seven to nine feet tall. Additionally, two female skeletons about seven feet tall from the twelfth century have been found at Tell es-Sa’ideyeh in Transjordan.1

1 Matthews, V. H., Chavalas, M. W., & Walton, J. H. (2000). The IVP Bible background commentary: Old Testament (electronic ed., 1 Sa 17:4). InterVarsity Press.

Goliath’s armor. Goliath’s helmet was likely the typical Philistine feathered headdress known from Palestinian and Egyptian art. His body armor (“plaited cuirass”) was probably of a well-known Egyptian style of bronze scale armor that covered the entire body, weighing over 125 pounds. One of the best descriptions of scale armor comes from the Nuzi texts, where a mail coat was comprised of anywhere from seven hundred to over one thousand scales of varying sizes. These scales were sewn onto a jerkin of leather or cloth. The front and back were sewn together at the shoulders (with a space for the head) and probably reached to the knees. His greaves were probably made of molded bronze around the entire calf, padded inside with leather, a type known from Mycenaean Greece. His scimitar (niv: bronze javelin) was probably a heavy, curved, flat sword with a cutting edge on the outer side of the blade (see comment on Josh 8:18). His spear was something like a javelin, with an iron spear point that weighed over fifteen pounds. It may have been equipped with a ring for slinging, a type known both in contemporary Greece and Egypt. Although most of the weapons were made of bronze, the spear point was made of iron. Goliath’s shield was most likely a standing shield, which would have been larger that a round shield.1

1 Matthews, V. H., Chavalas, M. W., & Walton, J. H. (2000). The IVP Bible background commentary: Old Testament (electronic ed., 1 Sa 17:5–7). InterVarsity Press.

So the scene is set. Goliath, a seemingly unbeatable foe has a strategy that we have seen before.

1 Peter 5:8 KJV

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

2 Corinthians 2:11 KJV

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

 The Enemy Will Question – Cause Doubt

1 Samuel 17:8 KJV

And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me.

You see there are many attributes we could probably name that are behind these words from Goliath. However, there’s one I think is most important in relation to our own battles with the enemy: doubt. And doubt is an age-old tactic used by the evil one in our lives today.

Have you ever struggled with doubt?

Hebrews 11:6 KJV

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

 We believe on evidence. Now the most foolish part of many men’s doubts, is, that they do not doubt on evidence.

 Mr. Fearing Comforted, Volume 5, Sermon #246 – Matthew 14:31

 Charles Spurgeon

The reality is, we all have this natural tendency to doubt from time to time. And the devil, the evil one, is the king of doubts. He is constantly planting doubt in our heads that leads us to question God. Even all the way back in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, this is exactly how he operated.

Genesis 3:1 KJV

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

Here, the evil one asks a simple question that causes doubt to slip into the minds of Adam and Eve. He is in the business of distracting folks like you and me from the truth. Therefore, we need to be aware of the questions we may be confronted with.

In the case of Goliath, can’t you just see the Israelite heads dropping after this question? “He’s right, we are wasting our time. We can’t defeat him. We can’t fight against him.” But, do you want to hear something wild? I think the Israelites would be completely accurate in their assumptions. They are right! They can’t defeat Goliath on their own.

However, there will soon be a warrior who rolls up to the scene and doesn’t try to fight his enemy with his own strength. This is something we can’t miss. Some of us have allowed discouragement and doubt to slip in because we have the wrong perspective on our battle. The Bible makes it clear we were never meant to fight the enemy on our own. In fact, if we try to do it all on our own, we will fail.

Joshua 1:9 KJV

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Interestingly enough, right after Goliath asks this question to the Israelite army, he makes a profound statement. He says, “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul.”

The Enemy Will Condemn – Reproach

 1 Samuel 17:8 (KJV)

 And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me.

Now, it’s clear, at least on paper, Goliath has the advantage. And therefore, he speaks with a tone of condemnation. He’s extremely confident going into this. However, there’s an important statement we can’t miss here, because it shows us a key tactic of the evil one in our lives as well. Goliath, when speaking about the Israelites, says, “you are only the servants of Saul.”

It was ancient custom for the king to allow other capable warriors to fight in his name… but the king was expected to step up if no one else could or would. Goliath was calling Saul out by name.

A few minutes ago, we spoke about doubt. But here, I want us to talk about trust. When we remove everything else, who do we trust? Who do we serve? Who do we look to? You see, it’s clear how prominent division is in our world. In fact, I would argue it is one of the most prominent tactics of the devil among God’s people. He will do whatever it takes to associate you with anyone but God. Some of us have associated ourselves with our denominational affiliation more so than our identity with Christ. Others of us are more inclined to look to a political leader than God Himself for our hope. And when we do, it only creates further division.

 … it cannot be denied that the way of the cross is unpopular and that it brings a measure of reproach upon those who take it.

 A. W. Tozer

The difference between the Israelite army and David, as we will see next week, is perspective on the situation. In our own lives, what kind of perspective do we have when we receive questions? When we hear a voice of condemnation, do we automatically just believe it to be true? If we claim to follow Jesus, that means we serve a risen Savior, One who is all-powerful. It’s important to remember this when we sense a false identity being thrown our way by the voice of condemnation.

The Enemy Will Strike Fear

1 Samuel 17:11 KJV

When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.

We already talked about how the devil wants to distract people like you and me from God. He will do whatever it takes to make that happen. One of his most prominent tactics, by using things like questions, doubts, and condemning words, is to strike fear.

1 John 4:17–19 KJV

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 

We love him, because he first loved us.

2 Timothy 1:7 KJV

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Fear will often try to keep us from stepping out in faith.

Matthew 14:24–28 KJV

But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 

And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 

And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 

But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 

And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

This story is one of Peter taking an action step of faith. There are four crucial words spoken by Jesus, however, prior to Peter taking his step: “Do not be afraid.” Peter seemed to have the confidence he needed because of the voice he chose to listen to and trust. That’s the question we must be confronted with today: which voice are we listening to in order to trust?

___

The early American Indians had a unique practice of training young braves.

On the night of a boy’s thirteenth birthday, after learning hunting, scouting, and fishing skills, he was put to one final test.

He was placed in a dense forest to spend the entire night alone.

Until then, he had never been away from the security of the family and tribe.

But on this night, he was blindfolded and taken several miles away.

When he took off the blindfold, he was in the middle of a thick woods, and he was terrified.

Every time a twig snapped, he visualized a wild animal ready to pounce.

After what seemed like an eternity, dawn broke and the first rays of sunlight entered the interior of the forest.

Looking around, the boy saw flowers, trees, and the outline of a path.

Then to his utter astonishment, he beheld the figure of a man standing just a few feet away, armed with bow and arrow.

It was his father.

He had been there all night long.

Conclusion

The word of God shows us consistently what God’s voice actually sounds like. That’s why it is so important to spend time reading and studying it. In fact, I’ve heard it said we must “soak and bathe in the word of God.”

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 10:54 AM November 3, 2022.

5 Smooth Stones – Sermon Series

It’s a story about an unlikely hero named David, defeating a mighty giant and enemy named Goliath. But there is so much more to be learned from this story than a simple statement, “God is bigger than my giants.” While this is no doubt true, join us Sundays in November as we unpack the whole story to see what we can learn.

Continued Prayer

Continued Prayer

Pastor Don Carpenter

Discipleship 101 / Acts 2:41–42; Acts 12:1–15

 Let me share this story to show you the position we have with the Lord in prayer. Billy Graham shares this story of an African mother who came to Christ and grew in her commitment and devotion to the Lord. She was a woman that prayed all the time and talked of her Jesus. As so often happens, however, this alienated her from her husband, and over the years he grew to despise and hate her new devotion to Christ. His anger and bitterness reached a climax when he decided to kill his wife, their two children and himself, unable to live in misery of conviction in his home. But he needed a motive to kill his family. So He decided that he would accuse her of stealing his precious keys – the keys on his chain were to the bank, the house, and the car. Early one afternoon he left his bank and headed for the Tavern. His route took him across a footbridge extended over the headwaters of the Nile River. He paused above the river and dropped the keys. He spent all afternoon drinking and carousing. Later that afternoon, his wife went to the fish market to buy the evening meal. She purchased a large Nile perch. As she was gutting the fish, to her astonishment, in it’s belly were her husband’s keys. She wondered how they could have gotten in the fish? What were the circumstances? She did not know; but she cleaned them up and hung them on the hook. Sufficiently drunk, the enraged African man came home that night and pounded open the front door shouting, “Woman, where are my keys?” Already in bed, she got up, picked them off the hook in the bedroom, and handed them to her husband. When he saw the keys, he was so shocked that by his own testimony he immediately became sober and was instantly on his knees sobbing, asked for forgiveness, and confessed Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. That African mother saved the life of her family because she understood her glorious position in prayer. Boldness before the Lord.

From a sermon by Tim Adams, Vision for Prayer, 12/1/2009

This is the last message in our “Discipleship 101” series. We have been looking at the zeal of the First Church at Jerusalem and have discovered several basic things the new believers did.

Acts 2:41–42 KJV

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 

And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Once becoming born again, these new Christians immediately made that decision very public by becoming Baptized and then joining their local church. After that they continued steadfastly – or- persisted obstinately in doctrine, fellowship/ partnership/ breaking of bread/ Communion, and in prayers. Today we will discover what helped unlock the power of God that allowed that tiny band of believers to grow into a Force of belief that “turned the world upside down”. We will learn the power of Continued Prayer.

Continue Steadfastly In Prayer 

A Greek-English Lexicon ????????????

????????????, Dor. ???????????? IG4(1).63.4 (Epid., ii B.C.):—persist obstinately in

 • Waiting for the Promised Power of the Holy Spirit

 Acts 1:14 (KJV)

 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

 • Latched on once they received it.

 Acts 2:42 (KJV)

 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

 • Leaders made it a priority.

 Acts 6:4 (KJV)

 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

 • Weathering the Storms

 Romans 12:12 (KJV)

 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Continuing instant (????????????????). Compare Acts 1:14; 6:4. Rev., steadfastly for instant, which has lost its original sense of urgent (Latin, instare to press upon). Thus Latimer: “I preached at the instant request of a curate.” Compare A. V., Luke 7:4; Acts 26:7.

Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Vol. 3, p. 159). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

 Let the kingdom be always before you, and believe steadfastly concerning the things that are invisible. Let nothing that is on this side the other world get within you. And, above all, look well to your own hearts and to the lusts thereof; for they are “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Set your faces like a flint; you have all power in heaven and earth on your side.

 John Bunyan

Continue In Prayer With One Accord

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words

Accord-homothumadon (??????????, 3661), “of one accord” (from homos, “same,” thumos, “mind”)

 • Waiting For Power

 Acts 1:14 (KJV)

 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

 “The first rule of true prayer is to have heart and mind in the right mood for talking with God.”

 John Calvin

 • Bonding as a Body

 Acts 2:46 (KJV)

 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

 • Facing Adversity

 Acts 4:23–31 (KJV)

 And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. 

 And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: 

 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? 

 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 

 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 

 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. 

 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, 

 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. 

 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

 • Uniting In Power

 Acts 5:12 (KJV)

 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.

Tertullian was an author and apologist in the late second and early third centuries AD. He wrote over 31 works on theology after his conversion in his mid-thirties. Also: Quintas Septimius Florens Tertullianus; Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullian (African Church Father); Septimius Tertullianus; Tertullien

 “One in mind and soul, we do not hesitate to share our earthly goods with one another. All things are common among us but our wives.”

 Tertullian

Continue to Pray For One Another

 • When Deliverance is Immediately Needed

 Acts 12:1–5 (KJV)

 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. 

 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 

 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) 

 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. 

 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

 • For Boldness and Opportunity

 Colossians 4:2–4 (KJV)

 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 

 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: 

 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

 Ephesians 6:18–19 (KJV)

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

 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

 • For All Men -Especially Leaders

1 Timothy 2:1–2 KJV

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 

For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

The New Testament Church was known as those that “turned the world upside down”. This power came because they were obstinately persistent in prayer. Do not discount our mid-week prayer service. The power of God is unleashed. Over and over our little band of prayer warriors have seen the hand of God in response to our corporate prayer… just like the early church did.

J. B. Phillips writes in the preface to The Young Church in Action, that one cannot spend several months in close study of this book, “without being profoundly stirred and, to be honest, disturbed. The reader is stirred,” he says, “because he is seeing Christianity, the real thing, in action for the first time in human history…Here we are seeing the Church in its first youth, valiant and unspoiled…a body of ordinary men and women joined in an unconquerable fellowship never before seen on earth.” But the reader is also disturbed, “for surely,” he adds, this “is the Church as it was meant to be. It is vigorous and flexible, for these are the days before it ever became fat and short of breath through prosperity, or muscle-bound by over organization. These men did not make acts of faith, they believed; they did not say their prayers, they prayed. They did not hold conferences on psychosomatic medicine, they simply healed the sick. By modern standards they may have been naïve, but perhaps because of their very simplicity, perhaps because of their readiness simply to believe, to obey, to give, to suffer, and, if necessary, to die, the Spirit of God found that he could work in them and through them, and so they turned the world upside down!

And that is Discipleship 101.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 2:31 PM October 13, 2022.