Archive for the ‘Sunday Evening Sermons’ Category

You Can’t Steer A Parked Car

Friday, 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.

Thursday, August 19th, 2021

The Gospel on Furlough

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Gospel On Tour / Acts 14:21–28

One weekend, three young fellows decided to take a bicycle trip into the countryside. Although inexperienced, they covered forty miles in three and a half hours and congratulated themselves on their good time. The next morning, as they prepared to head back to their starting point, they were met by a good friend, who had just cycled the forty-mile trip that morning and was ready to head back. He was an excellent cyclist, and with him pacing the young cyclists back to town, they made the return trip in just two and a half hours.

In the same way, young Christians need the “pacing” of older believers as they take their first “rides” in Christ if they are to progress as far in the Christian life as they should and as quickly as they can.

As Paul and Barnabas finish their first missionary journey, they do several things in order to ensure the new disciples grow and flourish in their new found faith. They were getting ready for the first missionary furlough.

Preached The Gospel and Made Disciples

Acts 14:21 KJV

And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,

Matthew 28:19–20 KJV

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

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.

 Having both evangelized that city and discipled many. They not only preached the Gospel, but received converts, which implies a church-organization Their ministry at Derbe was none the less successful on account of its affording so little historical material, according to the adage that the best times to live in are the worst to write about. They here encountered probably neither heathen flattery nor Jewish persecution; and although they may have performed miracles, these probably produced no ulterior effects and are therefore not recorded. Instead of returning to Syria by the nearest way, i.e. through Cilicia, Paul’s native country, they retraced their steps from Derbe, and revisited Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch in Pisidia, in an order opposite to that of their first journey, and for reasons given in the next verse.1

1 Joseph Addison Alexander, The Acts of the Apostles Explained, vol. 2 (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1857), 63–64.

Confirmed The Disciples

Acts 14:22 KJV

Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

Exhorted them to continue in the faith in spite of tribulation.

 Second, they strengthened (“confirmed”) the believers in the things of Christ and encouraged (“exhorted”) them to continue in the faith. Continuance is a proof of true faith in Jesus Christ (John 8:31–32; Acts 2:42). Paul made it very clear that living the Christian life was not an easy thing and that they would all have to expect trials and sufferings before they would see the Lord in glory.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 460.

Isaiah 35:3 KJV

Strengthen ye the weak hands, And confirm the feeble knees.

1 Thessalonians 3:2–4 KJV

And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: 

That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. 

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.

1 Peter 5:10 KJV

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

Organized Churches

Acts 14:23–25 KJV

And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. 

And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 

And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia:

Ordained – Selected by a show of hands

 The word translated ordained means “to elect by a show of hands.” It is possible that Paul chose the men and the congregation voted its approval, or that the people selected them by vote and Paul ordained them (see Acts 6:1–6).1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 460.

Elder/ Bishop/ Pastor

Titus 1:5 KJV

For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

Titus 1:7 KJV

For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;

Paul and Barnabas ordained spiritual leaders and gave them the responsibility of caring for the flock. If you compare Titus 1:5 and 7, you will see that “elder” and “bishop” (overseer) refer to the same office, and both are equivalent to “pastor” (shepherd).

 On the return journey, Paul set apart elders in all the little groups of newly made Christians. He showed that it was his conviction that Christianity must be lived in a fellowship. As one of the great Christian fathers put it, ‘No man can have God for his father unless he has the Church for his mother.’ As John Wesley put it, ‘No man ever went to heaven alone; he must either ?nd friends or make them.’ From the very beginning, it was Paul’s aim not only to make individual Christians but also to build these individuals into a Christian fellowship.1

1 William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), 130.

Reported Back to their Sending Church

Acts 14:26–28 KJV

And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. 

And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. 

And there they abode long time with the disciples.

 Finally, they reported to their “sending church” on the work God had done (Acts 14:26–28). They had been gone at least a year, and it must have been exciting for them and for the church when they arrived back home. They had, by the grace of God, fulfilled the work God had given them to do; and they joyfully reported the blessings to the church family.

 This is perhaps the first “missionary conference” in church history, and what a conference it must have been! A church officer once said to me, “I don’t care how much money you want for missions, I’ll give it; but just don’t make me listen to missionaries speak!” I felt sorry for him that his spiritual temperature was so low that he could not listen to reports of what God was doing in the difficult corners of the harvest field.

 As you review Paul’s first missionary journey, you can see the principles by which he operated, principles that are still applicable today.

 He worked primarily in the key cities and challenged the believers to take the message out to the more remote areas. The Gospel works in the population centers, and we must carry it there.

 He used one approach with the synagogue congregations and another with the Gentiles. He referred the Jews and Jewish proselytes to the Old Testament Scriptures; but when preaching to the Gentiles, he emphasized the God of creation and His goodness to the nations. His starting point was different, but his finishing point was the same: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 He majored on establishing and organizing local churches. Jesus had the local church in mind when He gave what we call “The Great Commission” (Matt. 28:19–20). After we make disciples (“teach”), we must baptize them (the responsibility primarily of a local church) and then teach them the Word of God. Merely winning people to Christ is but fulfilling one-third of the Commission! It takes the local assembly of believers to help us fulfill all of what Jesus commanded us to do.

 He grounded the believers in the Word of God. This is the only source of strength and stability when persecution comes, as it inevitably does come. Paul did not preach a popular “success Gospel” that painted a picture of an easy Christian life.

 The amazing thing is that Paul and his associates did all of this without the modern means of transportation and communication that we possess today. Dr. Bob Pierce used to say to us in Youth For Christ, “Others have done so much with so little, while we have done so little with so much!” The wasted wealth of American believers alone, if invested in world evangelization, might lead to the salvation of millions of lost people.

 Paul and Barnabas announced that the “door of faith” had been opened to the Gentiles.

 That door is still open, to Jews and Gentiles alike—to a whole world! Walk through that open door and help take the Gospel to others.

 Be daring!

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 460.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 7:33 PM August 19, 2021.

Powerful Perception

Thursday, August 12th, 2021

Powerful Perception

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Gospel On Tour / Acts 14:8–20

A stranger was walking down a residential street and noticed a man struggling with a washing machine at the doorway of his house. When the newcomer volunteered to help, the homeowner was overjoyed, and the two men together began to work and struggle with the bulky appliance. After several minutes of fruitless effort the two stopped and just stared at each other in frustration. They looked as if they were on the verge of total exhaustion.

Finally, when they had caught their breath, the first man said to the homeowner: “We’ll never get this washing machine in there!” To which the homeowner replied: “In? I’m trying to move it out of here!”

Part of being an effective missionary and soul winner is the ability to effectively communicate to folks who have a different frame of reference than you do. As we dig deeper into the Gospel on Tour, we will see more and more that Paul adjusts his approach to fit the background of his audience. That is why it is important that a communicator of the Gospel have Powerful Perception.

Perceive Ripe Fruit.

Acts 14:8–10 KJV

And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked: 

The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, 

Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.

 • Someone who knows his hopelessness

 • Someone who responds to the Word of God

 • Someone who is ready to believe

 • Someone who will respond publicly

 • Someone who will respond joyfully

Perceive Misguided Devotion.

Acts 14:11–13 KJV

And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. 

And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. 

Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people.

 • Excited to see the power of God

 • Responded within their limited frame of knowledge.

Local Phrygian legend told of an ancient visitation by Zeus and Hermes to Phrygia. In the story only one couple, Baucis and Philemon, received them graciously; the rest of the population was destroyed in a flood. Knowing some form of the story in their own language, the Lycaonians are not about to make the same mistake ancient Phrygia had made; they want to honor Paul and Barnabas, whom they mistake for gods. People sometimes considered miracle workers as gods.1

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ac 14:9–11

 • Responded like someone who did not know the Old Testament.

 • Honor for the preacher did not equal honor for the preacher’s God.

Inscriptions show that Hermes and Zeus were worshiped together in the Phrygian region. Sacrificial animals were often decorated with garlands before being offered. Temples “outside the city gates” or “just outside the city” (NIV) were quite common in Asia Minor. The lame man had probably been healed at the gate, because lame people made their living by begging, and beggars normally found their best income at such places of transit (cf. 3:2).1

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ac 14:13.

Perceive The Path to Communicating The Gospel.

Acts 14:14–18 KJV

Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, 

And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: 

Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. 

Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. 

And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them.

 • Show clear displeasure for their veneration.

14:14 tore their clothing A sign of severe distress in ancient Near Eastern cultures (compare Gen 37:29; Josh 7:6; Mark 14:63–64).1

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

 • Preach repentance from false gods and faith in the true God.

14:15 living God By using this description, Paul and Barnabas distinguish Israel’s God, Yahweh, from any other deity.1

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

 • The true God is the Creator

made the heaven and the earth While Jews would know God as Creator, the apostles need to provide the Gentiles with this background.1

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

This passage is especially interesting because it gives us Paul’s approach to those who were without any Jewish background to which he could appeal because they were followers of Greek and Roman gods. With such people, he started from nature to get to the God who was behind it all. He started from the here and now to get to the there and then. We do well to remember that the world is the garment of the living God. It is told that once, as they sailed in the Mediterranean, Napoleon’s party were discussing God. In the talk, they eliminated God altogether. Napoleon had been silent, but now he lifted his hand and pointed to the sea and the sky. ‘Gentlemen,’ he said, ‘who made all this?’1

1 William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), 127–128.

 • The true God gave a witness of His goodness with rain, seasons, food and gladness.

Although using biblical language, Barnabas and Paul preach to these Anatolian farmers in terms they would not need to know the Bible to understand, emphasizing the God who rules nature, who was already recognized by paganism. Jewish people often pointed to pagan philosophical teachings on the supreme god, which Jews felt contradicted the pagan worship of idols. Jews called idols “vain” (futile), in contrast to the “living” God. Jewish people believed that God allowed a lower moral standard for Gentiles, who had only seven laws to keep; but idolatry, like sexual immorality, was not an issue on which God would permit compromise.

14:17. Phrygia was fertile, and Phrygians especially worshiped the mother goddess who was supposed to provide fertility to the earth. Various philosophers, especially Stoics, believed that nature itself testified to the character of the supreme god. Jewish teachers agreed that nature testifies to God’s character (this is biblical; cf. Ps 19:1; 89:37) and taught that he provides all peoples with health, food and so forth.1

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ac 14:15–17.

Perceive The Power to Keep A Go!

Acts 14:19–20 KJV

And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. 

Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

A poisoned crowd stoned Paul

14:19 stoned Paul Paul refers to this event in 2 Cor 11:25 and more generally in 2 Tim 3:11.1

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Ac 14:19.

 • He was surrounded by disciples

 • He was moved(perhaps by his crowd of baby believers) to get up and keep going.

Lystra was a Roman colony, but it was an outpost. Nevertheless, when the people saw what they had done, they were afraid. That is why they dragged what they thought was Paul’s dead body out of the city. They were afraid of the strong hand of Roman justice, and they were trying to get rid of Paul’s body in order to escape the consequences of their riot.

The outstanding feature of this story is the sheer courage of Paul. When he came to his senses, his ?rst act was to go straight back into the city where he had been stoned. It was the great Methodist John Wesley’s advice: ‘Always look a mob in the face.’ There could be no braver thing than Paul’s going back immediately among those who had tried to murder him. An action like that would have more effect than 100 sermons. People were bound to ask themselves where Paul got the courage to act in such a way.1

1 William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), 128–129.

 • The next day the two missionaries started in another city. About a 50 mile hike

1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching Perseverance

Sometime go out and watch a stonecutter hammering away at a rock. He might hit the rock a hundred times without so much as a crack showing in it. Then, suddenly, at the hundred and first blow the rock splits in two. Was it the one blow that split the rock? Only in an immediate sense, for that one blow would have accomplished nothing if it were not for all that had gone before.

The Battle for Iconium

Thursday, July 29th, 2021

The Battle For Iconium

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Gospel On Tour / Acts 14:1–7

 In his book Fuzzy Memories, Jack Handey writes: There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day. Since I was smaller, I would give it to him. Then I decided to fight back. I started taking karate lessons. But then the karate lesson guy said I had to start paying him five dollars a lesson. So I just went back to paying the bully. Too many people feel it is easier just to pay the bully than it is to learn how to defeat him.

Unfortunately, this is also true when it come to spiritual warfare – we would rather give in to the devil than to fight him.

From a sermon by Mark Schaeufele, A Warrior Messiah, 10/28/2009

As we continue our series “The Gospel on Tour” we see once again that the life of a missionary involves a great deal of spiritual warfare. Paul and Barnabas did not simply preach and go soul winning. They were involved in a move/ countermove strategic battle with the Forces of Darkness.  Later The Apostle Paul states:

2 Corinthians 2:11 KJV

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

Tonight let us learn from these first missionaries that sometimes we need to level up rather than giving up when doing the work of the ministry. Let us learn from their tenacity in their Battle for Iconium.

ICONIUM (???????, Ikonion). One of the four major cities the Apostle Paul visited during his first missionary journey. A prominent Christian city in Asia Minor for several centuries. The city dates to the third millennium bc, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in the world. The ancient city of Iconium, known today as Konya, was located in central Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) about 90 miles southeast of Pisidian Antioch. Elder notes that there are no archaeological remains of the ancient site: “Little if anything of the city Paul saw has remained. The old city was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt” (Elder, Archeology and the Bible, 155).

Missions Level 1: Meet Where The Crowd Is

Acts 14:1 KJV

And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.

Although Iconium was a wealthy and prosperous town, it was hardly the size of a city like Ephesus or Smyrna. Whereas urban culture in the empire tended to be uniformly Greco-Roman, rural society preserved local language and customs, and a town like Iconium would have its share of both. Traveling teachers would undoubtedly have drawn more attention in a town like Iconium than in larger cities. Because the native language of Iconium was Phrygian, Paul and Barnabas may address mainly the Greek-speaking upper social strata, or they may speak through interpreters (cf. 14:11, 14); but it is more likely that most of the crowd understands Greek, even if it is not their first language.1

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ac 14:1–4.

 • Speak in such a way as to draw a mixed crowd

 • Speak with a clear message so that a mixed crowd gets saved

Counter Attack Level 1: Spread Poison

Acts 14:2 KJV

But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.

 • Unbelieving Jews stir up the Gentiles. Perhaps it is the staunch unbelievers stirring up the uncommitted or as yet to be convinced.

 • It is not just against the message but against all the brethren.. all the new believers.

But if some Jews and Gentiles were united in faith, others were united in opposition. For the Jews who refused to believe (literally ‘disobeyed’, since faith and obedience go together, as do unbelief and disobedience), stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers (2) by and unscrupulous slander campaign.1

1 John R. W. Stott, The Message of Acts: The Spirit, the Church & the World, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 228–229.

Missions Level 2: Dig In For the Long Haul

Acts 14:3 KJV

Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

 • They committed a long time

Long time therefore. It seems probable that there were here no forcible or public measures to expel them, as there had been at Antioch (ch. 13:50), and they therefore regarded it as their duty to remain. God granted them here also great success, which was the main reason for their continuing a long time. Persecution and opposition may be attended often with signal success to the gospel.1

1 Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament: Acts, ed. Robert Frew (London: Blackie & Son, 1884–1885), 216.

 • They Spoke Boldly – Powered By The Lord

Acts 4:31 KJV

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.

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,

 • They Demonstrated the Power of God in Miracles

God also enabled the men to perform signs and wonders as their “credentials” that they were indeed the servants of the true God (see Acts 15:12; Gal. 3:5; Heb. 2:4). Faith is not based on miracles (Luke 16:27–31; John 2:23–25), but faith can be bolstered by miracles. The important thing is “the word of His grace” that performs the work of His grace (Acts 14:26).1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 459.

Counter Attack Level 2: Division Between Light and Darkness

Acts 14:4–5 KJV

But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles. 

And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them,

 • The unbelieving factions Jew and Gentile unite. Folks still refused to believe in spite of being eye witnesses to supernatural miracles.

 • Plan violence

Among the deities that the Gentiles of Iconium worshiped, the most prominent was Cybele, the Phrygian mother goddess; Phrygian mystery cults were also common. But inscriptions testify that the Christian faith spread and Iconium later became a major center of Christianity in Asia Minor.1

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ac 14:1–4.

Missions Level 3 Flee Now Fight Again Later

Acts 14:6–7 KJV

They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: 

And there they preached the gospel.

Iconium was in Phrygia near the border of Lycaonia, which contained Lystra and Derbe. Some people considered flight undignified, but Jewish teachers preferred it to death, unless flight required denying the law of God.1

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ac 14:6–7.

The result? The city was divided and the Christians were threatened with public disgrace and stoning. Obedient to their Lord’s counsel in Matthew 10:23, they fled from that area into a different Roman district and continued to minister the Word of God.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 459.

 • Preach the gospel where they land

14:6 Lycaonian cities—Lystra and Derbe These cities were, respectively, 18 miles south and 55 miles southwest of Iconium (Acts 14:1).1

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Ac 14:6.

In warfare, there is always an objective. In many wars, the objective is land. For example, in the Middle East, Israel and the Palestinians are fighting because they both want to have the same land. In Afghanistan we’re fighting because we want to destroy the power base of terrorism. Hitler fought because he wanted to create a “superior” race. The Southern states fought the Civil War because they wanted to be free from the oppression of the Northern States. The Gulf War was fought because the U.S. wanted to end the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, so they could have access to oil. I mention all of these wars, not because I want to say who was right or wrong, but to show that in every war, there is an objective. There is a reason we are fighting the war. And the same is true with spiritual warfare. If we are going to wage war on Satan’s kingdom, we have to know what our objective is. Our objective, our mission is to rescue people from Satan’s grip. To free them from his control. So let us learn to replicate the strategies we saw tonight in the Battle for Iconium.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 7:29 PM July 29, 2021.

You Had Your Chance

Thursday, July 15th, 2021

You Had Your Chance

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Gospel On Tour / Acts 13:42–52

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

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

You Had Your Chance When You Heard The Gospel .

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

• The Jews did not ask the missionaries to return.

• The Gentiles and proselytes did.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You Had Your Chance When You Heard The Warning.

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

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

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

Blinded By Envy

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

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

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

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

Missed Eternal Life Because of Unbelief

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

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

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

God’s Word Brings Life

Gentiles Believed like the Bible said they would.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Resistance Mounted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When Given The Chance

Saturday, July 10th, 2021

When Given The Chance

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Gospel On Tour / Acts 13:13–41

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be On The Lookout For The Chance

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

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

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

• The Law was read

• The Prophets were read

• These are the same that witness of Jesus.

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

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

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

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

Be Ready When Given The Chance

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

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

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

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

• Mentions Jesus as the Savior, the descendant of David

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

Be Personal When Given The Chance

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

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

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

• Exposes the mistakes of Jerusalem leadership.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Direct When Given The Chance

• Jesus forgives sins

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

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

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

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

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

• Jesus is your only hope to escape eternal death.

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

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

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

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

1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching Salvation, Need For

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

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

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

Showdown On Cyprus

Thursday, July 1st, 2021

Showdown On Cyprus

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Gospel On Tour / Acts 13:6–12

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

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

Barry McGee.

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

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

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

Acts 4:36 KJV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encountering The Enemy

Acts 13:6 KJV

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

  • His name was Bar-jesus or Elymas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encountering A Seeker

Acts 13:7 KJV

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

  • Sergius Paulus

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

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

 • A deputy

 • A prudent man

 • Called for the missionaries

 • Desired to hear the word of God.

Encountering Direct Opposition.

Acts 13:8 KJV

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

  • The opposition came from the sorcerer.’

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

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

  • He withstood the missionaries.

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

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

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

Engaging The Enemy

Acts 13:9–11 KJV

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

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

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

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

– Michael West

 • He was filled with power for a purpose.

 • He looked him in the eye.

 • He called him on his subtility

 • He called him on his mischief

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

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

 • He identified him as a child of the devil

 • He identified him as the enemy of all righteousness.

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

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

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

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

Romans 9:1–4 KJV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 13:12 KJV

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

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

Broken to be more beautiful!

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

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

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

Commissioned

Saturday, June 26th, 2021

Commissioned

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Gospel On Tour / Acts 13:1–5

In Discipleship Journal author and editor Kevin Miller writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 16:18 KJV

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

Acts 13:1 KJV

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

1 Corinthians 16:15–16 KJV

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

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

Key Points Antioch

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

• Strategic location between western and eastern geo-political entities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 13:2 KJV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 13:3 KJV

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 13:4–5 KJV

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

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

Conclusion:

 • Your ministry at EBC is a sacred calling.  

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

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

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

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

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

Holy Hands

Thursday, June 10th, 2021

Holy Hands

Pastor Don Carpenter

Building Blocks of Worship

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

1 Timothy 2:8 KJV

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

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

Lifted Hands in Prayer

An Outward Symbol of Supplication

Psalm 68:31 KJV

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

Exodus 9:29 KJV

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

Exodus 9:33 KJV

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

1 Kings 8:22 KJV

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

2 Chronicles 6:12–13 KJV

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

For Solomon had made a brasen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven,

Holiness is Required

Isaiah 1:15 KJV

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

Psalm 66:18 KJV

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

Symbol of Intercession

Exodus 17:11–13 KJV

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

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

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

Lamentations 2:19 KJV

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

Symbol of Communion With God

Psalm 141:2 KJV

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

Lamentations 3:41 KJV

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

Lifted Hands In Praise

Tied To Verbal Praise

Psalm 63:3–5 KJV

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise thee. 

Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 

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

Sign of Humble Praise 

Nehemiah 8:5–6 KJV

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

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

Tied to Public Praise

Psalm 134:2 KJV

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bible Soaked Worship

Saturday, June 5th, 2021

Bible Soaked Worship

Pastor Don Carpenter

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

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

Colossians 3:16 KJV

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Timothy 4:13 KJV

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

Pay Attention to Reading

Deuteronomy 31:11 KJV

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

Joshua 8:35 KJV

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

Luke 4:16 KJV

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

Deuteronomy 17:19 KJV

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

John 5:39 KJV

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

Acts 17:11 KJV

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

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

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

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

Pay Attention to Exhortation/ Preaching

Titus 2:15 KJV

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

Hebrews 12:5 KJV

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

1 Corinthians 1:18–21 KJV

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

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

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

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

 Hebrews 6:18 (KJV)

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

Acts 4:36 KJV

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

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

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

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

Pay Attention to Doctrine

Nehemiah 8:5–8 KJV

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

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

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

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

1 Timothy 4:6 KJV

If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

2 Timothy 4:2 KJV

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

Ephesians 4:11–14 KJV

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

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

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

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

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

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