Fundamental Baptist Institute

The Strategy of Preaching
by Dr. W. Max Alderman
Part III



There are numerous tools or literary devices that are available for the purpose of adding rich flavor to the preacher's message. When the preacher adds a nugget of information to his sermon, he is doing similarly what the gourmet chef does when he adds spice to the cake that he is baking. Though flavor enhances the sermon, it never takes the place of Holy-Ghost-anointed preaching. But why not have the flavor as well as the anointing in one's preaching? The purpose of this section is to give some examples of how literary tools can be used to add flavor in the preparation and the delivery of the message. An example of such a tool is in the use of colors.


We live in a world of color. I am glad that it is so. The variety that color gives us is incomprehensible. Can you imagine everything being a dull gray? If that were so, I would have to wake up in the morning pushing aside the gray sheets that covered my gray bed that sat on the gray floor that was fenced in with gray walls that led to a gray bathroom that contained my gray toothbrush to brush my gray teeth with the gray toothpaste. Get the point? Thank God for colors.

With colors, one is able to differentiate between, as well as appreciate, the elements of this life.

Colors communicate messages to the observer's eye. in the steel mills, as the metal melts, it changes colors; the color signifies a change in temperature. The leaves change colors, showing that winter is on the way. The hair changes color, showing that one is aging. Everything in the world has color. We recognize the sky as blue, the grass as green, and the sun as yellow. Color is beautiful. The Lord used color to make our world more beautiful. We also associate certain things with colors. The color red reminds us of blood, while the color white reminds us of purity. The bride adorns herself in white, which symbolizes her own virtue and purity.

The Scriptures contain many references to colors. These colors often have meaning. For example, blue is the color associated with heaven; purple is the color associated with royalty, and black the color associated with sin. Observe closely some of the colors found in the Scriptures.


The color red appears in the Scriptures twenty-five times.

Genesis 25:25, 30 & 49:12;
Exodus 25:5, 26:14, 35:7 & 23, 36:19 & 39:34;
Numbers 19:2;
II Kings 3:22;
Esther 1:6;
Psalms 75:8;
Proverbs 23:31;
Isaiah 1:18; 27:2; & 63:2;
Nahum 2:3;
Zechariah 1:8, & 6:2;
Matthew 16:2, 3;
Revelation 6:4 & 12:3.

Homelitically the preacher may notice from the context how the color red is used in each reference, and then he may structure his message in such a way that the color will serve as a mnemonic device. Hopefully, when the listener sees red, he will be reminded of the way the color was used in the sermon that he heard.

An example of the use of the color red is as follows:

And there went out another horse that was red and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. " (Revelation 6:4)

The preacher will observe that not only this horse but three other horses and their colors are given in the text from which this verse was taken. In putting together the sermon, the sermonizer would want to give a proper interpretation and utilize the color to cause the person hearing the sermon to remember that proper interpretation. In this verse "red" is associated with death by the sword. By implication the deaths resulted in much blood being shed. The message is quite clear! Those who go through the great tribulation will be potential victims of the sword. John, when he saw the red horse, must have associated this bloody beast with much blood shed.


The color black seems to signify sin and judgment. The Arab tents that can be seen in the deserts and wildernesses of Palestine are black and made of goat's hair according to Atchinak of Palestine. In Revelation 6:5 the third horse of the Apocalypse is mentioned as a black horse. Black is used 18 times in the Scriptures as follows:

Leviticus 13:31, 37;
I Kings 18:45;
Esther 1:6;
Job 30:30;
Proverbs 7:9;
Song of Solomon 1:5, 6; 5:11;
Jeremiah 4:28; 8:21; 14:2;
Lamentations 5:10;
Zechariah 6:2, 6;
Matthew 5:36;
Revelation 6:5, 12.

In Jeremiah 4:28 the heavens were to become black because Jeremiah prophesied great judgment upon Jerusalem.

For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have proposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.

In preparing a sermon dealing with judgment, the preacher may give an exposition of the text along with the above verse. He then can make his application and entitle his message, "The Black Clouds of Judgment." If he addresses the subject properly, the minister has left an impression concerning judgment upon the listener's heart that can be brought back to remembrance upon seeing a dark cloud. The minister should be constantly thinking of ways to make his sermons live long after they have been preached.


The color white is more commonly found in the Scriptures; it appears 75 times. White is in contrast to black. White is figuratively used to denote purity or holiness. It was the color that the priests were clothed in as servants of the Holy One and as examples of holiness. Whereas black is associated with judgment, mourning, death, and sorrow-white is associated with festivity (Eccles. 9:8) and triumph (Zech 6:3; Rev. 6:2).

Below are the references where the word "white" appears in the scriptures.

Genesis 30:35, 37; 40:16; 49:12
Exodus 16:31
Leviticus 13:3, 4, 10, 13, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 24, 35, 36, 38, 39, 42, 43
Numbers 12:10
Judges 5:10
II Kings 5:27
II Chron. 5:12
Esther 1:6, 8:15
Job 6:6
Psalm 68:14
Eccles. 9:8
Song of Solomon 5:10
Isaiah 1:18
Ezekiel 27:18
Daniel 7:9; 11:35; 12:10
Joel 1:7
Zech. 1:8; 6:3, 6
Matthew 5:36; 17:2 28:3
Mark 9:3, 16:5
Luke 9:29
John 4:35; 20:12
Acts 1:10
Revelation 1:14; 2:17; 3:4, 5, 18; 4:4; 6:2, 11; 7:9, 13,14; 15:6; 19:8, 11, 14; 20:11


Blue is certainly a beautiful color; it is a color that suggests tranquillity. Blue has been called the heavenly color or the color that symbolizes heaven. In the Hebrew culture it was the color that symbolized the revealed God (Ex. 24:10; Ezekiel 1:26). Delitzsch says: "Blue denotes the softened divine majesty condescending to man in grace." (Delitzsch, Iris, pg. 48).

The color blue appears in the Scriptures 50 times. The color appears as listed:

Exodus 25:4; 26:1, 4, 31, 36; 27:16, 28:5, 6, 8, 15, 28,
31, 33, 37; 35:6, 23, 25, 35; 36:8, 11,35,37; 38:18,
23; 39:1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 21, 22, 24, 29, 31
Numbers4:6, 7, 9, 11, 12; 15:38
II Chron. 2:7, 14; 3:14
Esther 1:6; 7:6; 8:15
Jeremiah 10:9
Ezekiel 23:6; 27:7, 24

In Exodus 27:16 blue is used in the gate curtains of the tabernacle's court. Perhaps the blue curtains were to remind all that entered that their responsibilities to the Lord originated in heaven.

Of Esther 1:6, Dr. Walter Lewis Wilson in his book, Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types, says on page 65, "Esther 1:6 (c) The wicked king seeking to justify his sins had the blue woven in the curtains so as to connect his evil orgies with something of heaven and heaven's business. Most wicked practices have in some way a religious tinge to their ceremonies. The most wicked institution in the world, the apostate church, has a great religious program in order that they may cover up their evil doings by it." Searching out the use of the color "blue" as used in the Scriptures is certainly worth the effort.

An example of how "blue" may be used homiletically in one's sermonizing is given in this abbreviated outline:


Numbers 15:31-41

Introduction: Today, if we want to remember something, we are told to tie a string around our finger to remind us of it. God told the children of Israel, after a man had been stoned for disobeying God's command, to put upon the fringe of their garments "a ribbon of blue." The color blue was to remind the people that they were to obey the message from heaven instead of being self willed.

I. The Blue ribbon was to remind the people to Remember the Commandments. vs. (40a)

II. The Blue ribbon was to remind the people to Do all the Commandments. vs. (40b)

III. The Blue ribbon was to remind the people to Be Holy unto the Lord. vs. (40c)

Conclusion: Today may we be reminded every time we see the color blue to realize that we receive our instruction from the heavenly Book-the Bible. May we remember His Word, may we do His Word, and may we be Holy unto the Lord.


Green is a soothing color; it is a pastoral color, a color that is often associated with the shepherd and his sheep resting in green pastures. The color green appears 41 times:

Genesis 1:30; 9:3; 30:37
Exodus 10:15
Leviticus 2:14; 23:14
Deut. 12:2
Judges 16:7, 8
I Kings 14:23
II Kings 16:4; 17:10; 19:26
II Chron. 28:4
Esther 1:6
Job 8:16; 15:32; 39:8
Psalm 23:2; 37:2; 35; 52:8
Song of Solomon 1:16; 2:13
Isaiah 15:6; 37:27; 57:5
Jeremiah 2:20; 3:6, 13; 11:16; 17:2, 8
Ezekiel 6:13; 17:24, 20:47
Hosea 14:8
Mark 6:39
Luke 23:3 1
Revelation 8:7; 9:4

Once again colors can be used as a mnemonic tool. Homiletically green can be used to signify freshness, vigor, or prosperity. Again, notice the abbreviated outline which makes use of the color green


Mark 6:34-44

Introduction: When Jesus saw the multitude, He was moved with compassion. He likened them as unto sheep without a shepherd. Jesus taught them and fed them, and in doing so, He satisfied them. May we notice how He satisfied them.

I. Jesus Speaks to the 5,000. (vs. 39a) For the multitude to receive the benefits that were available unto them, they had to be obedient to Jesus. Refreshment and satisfaction comes to the obedient.

II. Jesus Soothes the 5,000. (vs. 39b) Notice that the multitude was commanded to sit upon the green grass. The color green symbolizes the freshness or refreshment. For this large number of people to be refreshed, they were required to obediently sit upon the green grass. In Psalm 52:8, David says, "But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever." David, here, is expressing a happy and joyful spirit, full of life and of vigor. It is as though a revival has come to his soul.

III. Jesus Satisfies the 5,000. (vs. 42) Satisfaction came to the multitude as the Scriptures tell us they were filled.

Conclusion: For one to find refreshment in the Lord, he must obey the Lord, sit in the presence of the Lord, and be filled of the Lord.

In the illustrations that have been given, the colors were used not as the main course of the meal but simply to add flavoring to the meal. There are other colors mentioned in the Scriptures, but these are the more common ones.


The names of places often carry significance when studying the Bible. Abraham built an altar in Bethel (house of God), and during a time of famine he went down into Egypt (type of the world). While in Egypt, Abraham built no altars. There was no fellowship with God; instead, he sinned against God by offering his wife, as his sister, to the Pharaoh. After God chastened him, he came out of Egypt and went back to Bethel (house of God).

A tremendous application can be made from this Scripture (Genesis 12:1 - 13:4), showing what happens when man leaves the house of God. Note the following outline on Genesis 13, taken from this author's book, entitled Genesis, General Study Outline Series:

Comments about Chapter 13:

Many profound truths and lessons may be derived from a careful study of this portion of Scripture when contrasting Abram and his nephew Lot. Abram pictures in type the Spiritual man, while Lot pictures the carnal man.

Our previous study indicated Abram to be anything but a spiritual man. Yet God patiently and providentially ruled in his life, allowing him oppor-tunity to be restored. Notice how Abarm returns to the Altar, the place of worship. One's worship is an essential ingredient to being Spirit-filled.


Abram had just suffered a serious bout with the flesh while in Egypt. Abram, after learning from his wrongful doings, began to re-enter the will of God by returning to Bethel. In Egypt there was no altar mentioned; apparently, there was no com-munion of fellowship while Abram was in Egypt. Bethel mean "House of God."

A. There was a desire to forsake Egypt. vs. 1-2

The Lord would not allow Abram to feel at ease in Egypt's land (a type of the world). With the circumstances being as they were, Abram had a desire to leave Egypt.

1. The desire providentially came after a great lesson. vs 1-2
Even while Abram was in the university of adversity learning his hard lesson, the Lord was providentially watching over him.

2. The desire possibly came after a great longing. vs. 1-2
The most miserable person is not necessarily the sinner in the world, but the believer who is out of God's will in the world. The sinner is at home in the world, whereas the believer sings "this world is not my home; I'm just passing through. .

Abram was miserable because he plainly was in the wrong place while he was in Egypt.

B. There was a desire to fellowship with the Eternal. vs. 3-4

The world separates one from and hinders one in his fellowship with the Lord. Abram indicated a desire to fellowship as he built an altar. There were no altars and no worshiping in Egypt.

1. Demonstrated by Abram's return to Bethel. vs. 4a
2. Demonstrated by Abram's regaining of his bearings. vs. 4b


It was not God's will for Lot to settle in the world;
it never is God's will for anyone to settle in the world.

A. It was apparent in the confusion over the land vs. 5-9

1. There was a strife between their herdsman. vs. 5-7
Prosperity had affected the relationship of Abram's and Lot's herdsmen according to verse 6. Greed and jealousy could have contributed to their squabblings

2. There was a solution before the herdsmen. vs. 8-9
Abram gave Lot a choice, but Lot did not give the choice to God. Anytime one moves independently of the Lord, he is moving out of the will of the Lord. The Lord wants us to be dependent, not independent.

B. It was obvious by the choice of Lot. vs. 10-13

Wrong decisions characterize a person out of God's will.

1. Lot chose by sight. vs. 10-1 1
The flesh is not capable of making 20/20 choices. The flesh is not only dull of hearing, but dull of seeing as well.

2. Lot's choosing brought sorrows. vs. 12-13
It is apparent when one pitches his tent (and his affections) towards the world, that sorrows will follow.


A. Abram found the place of communication. vs. 14-17

1. It came after complete obedience. vs. 14 One of the key ingredients to being in the will of God is obedience.

2. It came affording considerable opportun-ities. vs. 15-17 Opportunities abound when one obediently finds himself in God's will.

B. Abram found the place of communion. vs. 18

Again Abram is seen to be worshipping, expressing gratitude and admiration to a generous and Holy God.

1. Fellowship with the Lord brings soul prosperity. vs. 1 8a

2. Fellowhip with the Lord brings soul peace. vs. 18b

Concluding Remarks: May we be confronted with a real challenge, as result of this study, to make our decisions according to God's will only!

This outline makes use of the symbolic meaning of places.

Another interesting sermon can be preached concerning the six cities of refuge by determining the meaning of the places mentioned in Numbers 35 and also in Joshua 20:1-6. Note how the six names picture the Lord Jesus Christ who is a refuge to the sinners.

1. Kadesh-"sanctuary" or "righteousness"-Just as the person who was fleeing for refuge from his avengers came to this city, one who is guilty of the blood of Jesus Christ many also flee to Jesus Christ, who is a sanctuary of righteousness.

2. Shechem-"shoulder"-The shoulder is the place that undergirds the heavy load. The ox pushed against the yoke with his massive shoulders. The high priest bore upon his shoulders the names of the 12 tribes of Israel on the day of atonement. The wandering sheep rests upon the shoulder of a loving shepherd. The Lord Jesus Christ is a "shoulder" to bear your burdens, whatever they might be.

3. Hebron-"fellowship" or "alliance"-In Christ Jesus one can find fellowship that is not available anywhere else. What greater joy than to be in fellowship with the Lord.

4. Beza-"fortress"-There is no strength like the Lord's; there is no protection like His protection. He is a defense against the stoutest of the enemy.

5. Ramoth-"high places" or "exaltation"-Philip-pians 2:5-1 1 reminds us that Christ made himself of no reputation that he might be made obedient unto the death of the cross. But, "God also hath highly exalted him" that we might be lifted up into His presence (Eph. 2, 3).

6. Golan-"joy"--There is no joy like His joy; He is our exceeding joy. The Bible tells us that "In His presence is fulness of joy."

The places mentioned were situated on each side of the Jordan River (3 on each side) for the purpose of providing refuge to the person who was guilty ol involuntary manslaughter. There were times when a man would accidentally take someone's life and not have any witnesses to prove his innocence. He could flee to one of these cities and be protected against the blood avenger. With the Lord Jesus Christ being oui refuge, we may flee to Him and escape the viciow prowl of the devil. Salvation is of the Lord!

Another example of how places may be usec symbolically in one's preaching is found in II Kings 2:1-1 1. Five places are mentioned in this section, an one can notice that these places convey a truth concerning the life of the believer. This portion of Scripture records Elijah's last day upon the earth an the places that Elijah would go to before being taker up into heaven by a whirlwind.

GILGAL - vs. 1

The first place was Gilgal. The actual meaning of Gilgal is "circle," for it was at Gilgal that the memorial stones were placed in a circle to remind the people of Israel and their children that the Lord had brought forth their deliverance. It was the Lord who caused the Red Sea and the Jordan River to part so that they could walk upon dry ground. This deliver-ance at Gilgal pictures salvation.

With Elijah going first to Gilgal, it was as though he was leaving a message that says, "Everything really begins at the time of salvation."

BETHEL - vs. 2

Bethel, as we have already mentioned, means "house of God." Bethel to Abram was a place of~ altars and a place of worship. Perhaps Elijah is suggesting that, after one is converted or has salvation, he should begin worshiping the Lord. Bethel was the second place visited by Elijah.

JERICHO - vs. 4

Jericho was the third place that Elijah went. The actual meaning of Jericho is "place of fragrance." Yet, the historical significance of Jericho hints clearly of what the believer should be doing following worship. Remember that the taking of Jericho involved faith and obedience in order to have God's presence and power. The nation of Israel was required to march around the walls of Jericho for six days and on the seventh day march seven times and blow the trumpets. As they obediently responded in faith, God's powerful presence was manifested in bringing the walls of Jericho down. If in service one expects great things to happen, he must exercise an obedient faith. Elijah must have been saying, "Salva-tion first, worship second, and service next."

JORDAN - vs. 6

The next place that Elijah went is Jordan (river of judgment). This river pictures judgment and death. The nation of Israel came to this river and was able to cross over on dry land. It was as though they had entered into what could have meant certain death; yet God brought them safely through, thus picturing the resurrection. Elijah could have been saying, "After salvation there is worship; after worship there is service, and after service man must die." For the believer there is a death; but, praise God, it doesn't end there. One day the body is going to be resurrected to eternal glory.


The final place Elijah went on that last day was heaven. Heaven was the fifth place mentioned, and in Bible numerology the number five is the number associated with grace. It is God's grace that allows the believer not just to die, but to die and go to Heaven. Elijah had just gone to Jordan, which speaks of death; but he did not stay there; instead, he went to heaven. As one can see, the Word of God abounds with nuggets and treasures that may be unearthed by the diligent student. The places that have been named are only examples of the significance of places mentioned in the Bible. To this list the student of the Word may add many, many more as he adds flavor to the messages that he preaches.


Plants are mentioned many times in the Scriptures. An interesting study concerning plants is found in the Song of Solomon, chapter 4, verses 12-15. Nine plants are mentioned, and nine is the number associated with the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. C.L. Roach in his book, WHAT DO THEY MEAN?, (pages 27-29) gives an interesting study of these nine plants. Note the following information on each of these plants:

1. The Pomegranate pictures the cross of Christ. Some believe the forbidden fruit that was eaten was the pomegranate. I do not know that it was, and neither does anyone else but God knows. It could have been this fruit. None of the other fruits in the garden pleased the owner more than this one. They were found in the worship of Israel. Her Priest wore garments with hems adorned with pomegranates. The temple pillars also had pomegranates on them. Attention is called to the picture of Calvary in the pomegranate. It bears the color green, picturing everlasting life in Christ; the color white, denoting the purity of Christ; and red, picturing the redemptive work of Christ. The pomegranate also has seeds that resemble the cross when sliced. No wonder this fruit is mentioned first in God's garden. What could be more pleasing to Him than the accomplishments of Calvary by His Son?

2. The Camphire or Henna Flowers (Song of Solomon 4:13) pictures the resurrection of Christ and His saints. The camphire is a white flower that grows in clusters, having a very fragrant odor while in full bloom. Note that the pomegranate pictured the death of Christ, whereas the camphire pictures the ressurrection of Christ.

3. Spikenard (Song of Solomon 4:13) denotes gratitude or thanksgiving. Spikenard was used in abundance in the preparation for His burial. A whole year's wages, over 300 pence, was the cost of this anointing. Our Lord did not rebuke Mary for this; but rather he said, "She had done all she could" (Mark 14:6-8). She truly had thanksgiving in her heart. Thanksgiving is always a sweet odor and very well pleasing to our Lord Jesus Christ.

4. Saffron (Song of Solomon 4:14) a beautiful yellow flower that pictures the child of God manifesting the life of Christ in the world. The color yellow is symbolic of gold or diety. Our life is to manifest the Christ who dwells within.

5. Calamus (Song of Solomon 4:14) is a sweet cane. Its ingredients were used in the Holy anointing oil (Exodus30:23). Its fragrance will scent the air with a sweet smell while it is growing. This pictures our presence in the world.

6. Cinnamon (Song of Solomon 4:14) pictures the life of the Christian the world never sees, the inner or secret life. John Gill tells us this cinnamon is the middle most bark of the tree. When the rough, outer bark is removed, the inner layer gives a pleasing aroma. The world may not see it, but there is innermost joy and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ.

7. Frankincense (Song of Solomon 4:14) pictures the trials or problems of the believer. If the Bible teaches anything that is neglected today, it is this subject. The believer must know what it is to "follow in His steps." To get frankincense, a tree is cut; and from the wounded tree comes drops of frankincense. I believe we see the tears of wounded Christians throughout the ages. But rest assured, all such tears are kept (Psalm 56:8). Why ~ire they kept? Read I Peter 1:6-7 and I Peter 4:12. The tears, brought by trials now, will be wiped away forever by the Son of God Himself (Revelation 21:1). "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Psalm 30:5).

8. Myrrh (Song of Solomon 4:14) Paul Labots offers much insight concerning this plant. The following is taken from his fine book THE ROMANCE OF THE AGES. Myrrh typifies humility. Jesus was given myrrh at His birth, when He humbled Himself to become a man. He was given myrrh at the cross, when He became our sin bearer, and finally at His burial. Myrrh comes from a shrub in the east. When the leaves are bruised, they form droplets which solidify and ripen, changing from a pale yellow to a deep red. They are small and of rare value. Myrrh is of no use until the beads are crushed. The Lord Jesus Christ was "wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities" (Isa. 53:5).

9. Aloes (Song of Solomon 4:14) pictures death and burial in the Scriptures. Nicodemus used aloes in the burial of Jesus. I think the teaching here is clear. After the believer is humbled by the probing and the fiery trials of this life, he learns to die to self. This is the hardest task in the life of any child of God.


Sometimes while studying the Word of God, one finds no apparent clue to the historical setting or the geographical location, nor to the physical and spiritual conditions that existed. In situations such as this, clues may yet or still be found by determining the meaning of the names that are given.

Names carry a meaning in the Scriptures. Daniel, for example, means "God is my Judge." Joshua means, as does Jesus in the New Testament, "Jehovah is salvation." A most interesting name is Lazarus, which means "God, a help." Lazarus was the beggar which was laid at the gate, full of sores and in a hungry, pitiful condition; yet he was saved. When he died, he was taken by the angels into Abraham's bosom. The Bible says the rich man died, "and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off" (cf. Luke 16:19-31). Perhaps when Lazarus was born, his mother knew that the world would never have much to offer him. She wanted to instill in him a message of encouragment, a message of comfort. She did this by naming her son Lazarus. Everytime he found himself in a state of despairing pity, someone would call his name and remind him that "God is a help." When it came time for Lazarus to die, God proved Himself to be an eternal help as He commissioned the angels to take Lazarus to Paradise. Truly, God was a help to Lazarus as implied by his name.

In the following, I will offer two homiletical outlines to illustrate how names can be further used in sermonizing. The first is a study of names as found in Genesis 4:16-25 from my book, GENESIS - GENERAL STUDY OUTLINE SERIES, mentioned earlier.


A. Cain diliberately left the presence of God vs.16

1. Cain would not repent of his sin. vs. 16 (cf. vs. 7-8) Cain, just as many men have after him, fled from the presence of God rather than repent. Romans, chapter 1 shows the awful, awesome penalty of rejecting God's grace by not repenting.

2. Cain could not recover from his sin. vs. 16 (cf. 11-14) To willfully leave the presence of God is a critically dangerous sin; it can be eternally fatal. Again, Romans, chapter one shows clearly the terrible effects of rejecting God (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28). It shows the conditions upon which God will give up on man.

B. Cain deliberately left the place of God vs. 17-24

1. Note Cain's building of a city. vs. 17

a. Perhaps Cain built the city to counter-
b. Children demonstrating the false soothing of sin. vs. 19-22
1. Jabal-Father of marketing. vs. 17-20
2. Jubal-Father of music. vs. 21
3. Tubal-Cain-Father of metal-lurgy. vs. 22

There are those who equate cultural success, financial sucess, and industrial success to having the favor of God. Then there are those who succeed and think that they have no need for God. Such a delusion is fatal.

c. Children demonstrating the succession of sin. vs. 23
Multiple wives and murders continue to magnify the wicked way of Cain in these verses.


The Lord's plan and purpose is never doomed to failure. He rules in the affairs of men, allowing man the opportunity to freely choose and walk as he will. Man may sinfully hinder what the Lord would be willing to do, yet man cannot destroy God's over all purposes. God intended for his Son to be born into the human family by providing Seth as a substitute for Abel, thus continuing the Godly line.

A. This appointment renewed the Godly line. vs.25-26

1. A substitute was given. vs. 25
The name Seth means "the appointed one or sprout." Prophetically, Seth reminds us of the description of the Lord Jesus as found in Isaiah 53:2 as being a "root out of a dry ground." Seth typically reminds the student of Christ as the sinner's substitute.

2. A Saviour was guaranteed. vs. 26
This appointment of Seth allowed God to graciously provide for the lineage to con-tinue, thus permitting the Messiah to be born of woman in "due time."

B. This appointment revealed the Grace line. 5:1-32

By using the hermeneutical principal (the study of names) to gain valuable insight concerning the men of the lineage of Cain, we now may reveal the grace line by examining the Image of Seth.

1. Adam-"Of the ground or red man from the clay"
Sin originated in the person of Adam (Romans 5:12) and passed on to all men. Adam pictures all men apart from the grace of God as being "of the ground." Man can by God's grace be redeemed from the miry clay and placed upon "The Rock!"

2. Seth-"Sprout or substitution"
With the death of Abel it appeared that all hope of a continuing Godly lineage was gone, yet God's plans are not thwarted by anything or anyone. God so graciously raised up a sprout of new life out of the dry, barren soil of humanity. This "sprout" was in the person of "Seth" just as Jesus Christ was indeed the sprout of hope that sinful man needed in a dry and thirsty land.

3. Enos-"Mortal"
The next son mentioned represents the state of all men physically. All men must identify with the reality that "The wages of sin is death. . . "Romans 6:23. This son Enos, "mortal," also represents Jesus Christ as He Himself identifies with the human family by His incarnation (Phil. 2:7-8).

4. Cainan-This name gives a hint concerning the story of Redemption. Cainan means "to purchase back or acquire." The word "redemption" carries a similar mean-ing. When a soul is redeemed, he is purchased out of the slave market of sin, turned lose, and never subject to being sold back into the slave market of sin.

5. Mahalaleel-The name means "God is splendor or praising God." Men who have been redeemed understand the privilege of praise.

6. Jared-The name means "descending" This name pictures the work of the Hoiy Spirit empowering the church. The Holy Spirit descended upon the church at Pentecost, signifying a new age (The Church Age).

Note-These next four names have meanings that signify chronologically the ending of the church age through the millennium.

7. Enoch-This name means "translated" This name indicates prophetically what will happen to the saints at the end of the church age. (cf. I Cor. 15:52, I Thess. 4:16-17). The saints will be caught up and changed (translated).

8. Methuselah-His name means "when he dies, judgment shall come." Methuselah lived to the age of 969 years. When he died, the flood came, bringing judgment to the world. Likewise, after the rapture of the church tribulation will come.

9. Lamech-"Powerful Conqueror" At the end of the tribulation the Lord Jesus Christ shall appear with great power and glory (cf. Rev. 19:11-16). He will be the powerful conqueror.

10. Noah-"Rest or comfort" After the tribulation the Bible then speaks of a millennial rest of 1000 years. Noah enjoyed rest in the Ark while the earth was under judgment.

The second is an outline taken from Exodus 31:1-6.

Introduction: The clear instructions needed for the making of the tabernacle, its furniture, and the priest's dresses were given to Moses. Now God takes the responsibility of selecting His workers to do His work. In this important lesson seven names are mentioned. Perhaps these seven names give us a clue as to the characteristics that God desires in His ministers or servants.

ONE-Bezaleel-means "in the shadow of God"
(ex. Song-"Under His Wings")

a. The security of the shadow.
b. The solace of the shadow.
c. The sacredness of the shadow.

TWO-Uri-"Light of Jehovah"

a. The light reveals the path.
b. The light also reveals the problems.


a. To be free born
b. To be noble
c. To be white

FOUR-Judah-means "Praise"

a. Praise glorifies the worship.
b. Praise gladdens the work.

FIVE-Aholiab-means "Tent of my Father" (Tent in the Scriptures speaks of separation.)

a. Speaks of a temporary place.
b. Speaks of a traveling person.

SIX-Ahisamach-means "Made up of two words that mean brotherly support."

a. Reminds us that we cannot stand alone.
b. Reminds us that we should not stand aloof.

SEVEN-Dan-means "to Judge"

a. The servant's sins have been judged.
b. The servant's works will be judged.
c. The servant's activities should be self-judged.

Hopefully, from these few examples, one may gain an understanding of how names may be used in the preparation and the delivery of their sermon. The New Testament also abounds with interesting names, names that are worthy of study. Consider, for example, the name Paul. Paul's Jewish name was Saul, and his Roman or Gentile name was Paul. Beginning in Acts 13:9, he began to use Paul as he ministered in mostly a Gentile environment. Paul means, "little," while Saul means "respected." Paul said that he was the "least of the Apostles" when, in actuality, he was the greatest. As great as he was, his name reminded him of how little he was in comparison to the Lord Jesus Christ. To apply the meanings of Paul's name homiletically, consider doing an exposition of I Corinthians 1:17 thru 2:5. In this section Paul is emphasizing the smallness and weakness of man as contrasted to the powerfulness and greatness of God.


C.L. Roach, evangelist and author, made an interesting statement concerning the meaning of things in the Scriptures; he said, "Shortly after being saved I began to notice the way certain things would appear in the Scriptures. I soon realized that everything has a meaning in the Bible. As I studied a few, I soon realized there was no end to this type of study." This diligent Bible student agrees with him regarding his statement. God had indelibly placed His signature on the things that He created. He is the owner; He is the Lord!


Nehemiah, upon hearing that the gates and the walls of Jerusalem were down, became prayerfully burdened, wanting them restored. The order in which the gates were mentioned and what the gates symbolized are worthy of consideration.

1. The Sheep Gate-(Nehemiah 3:1) "Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel." This is the first gate mentioned, likewise all begins at this gate. The sheep were brought in through this gate to be sacrificed. The Lord Jesus often used this gate (John 5:2). Perhaps He was a walking parable, acting out the truth that He was the "Lamb of God" soon to be sacrificed upon the cross. This gate pictures salvation through the sacrificial shedding of Jesus' blood.

2. The Fish Gate-(Nehemiah 3:3) "But the fish gate did the sons of Hassenaah build, who also laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof." This was the gate most commonly used by the fisherman coming in from the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. After Jesus met and called some of His disciples who were fishermen, the fish became a symbol of witnessing. Jesus said to his followers, "I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19).

3. The Old Gate-(Nehemiah 3:6) "Moreover the old gate repaired Jehoiada the son of Paseah, and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah; they laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, and the locks thereof, and the bars thereof." This gate must have been the gate that had endured much time and became known as "the old gate." It is the gate that symbolizes the embracing of "Old Time Religion" based on the Old Book, the Bible, that is forever up to date.

4. The Valley Gate-(Nehemiah 3:13) "The valley gate repaired Hanun, and the inhabitants of Zanoah; they built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and a thousand cubits on the wall unto the dung gate." The gate nearest the valley was called the valley gate. The "valley" has long symbolized the place of discouragement and despair. All will have to go through the valley; but, is it not wonderful knowing that Christ is the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys (Song of Solomon 2:1)? As we go through the valley, we may rest in knowing that our Lord is with us.

5. The Dung Gate-(Nehemiah 3:14) "But the dung gate repaired Malchiah the son of Rechab, the ruler of part of Bethhaccerem; he built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof." The gate was for the purpose of sanitation. The garbage, the filth, and the trash were disposed of through this gate. There needs to be a similar "gate" in each of our lives for removing trash and filth (Eph. 5:1-5).

6. The Gate of the Fountain-(Nehemiah 3:15) "But the gate of the fountain repaired Shallum the son of Colhozeh, the ruler of part of Mizpah; he built it, and covered it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and the wall of the pool of Siloah by the king's garden, and unto the stairs that go down from the city of David." Still water in the Scriptures symbolize the Word of God (Eph. 5:26). Moving waters is a symbol of the Holy Spirit of God. This gate teaches that the believer is indwelt with the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9).

7. The Water Gate-(Nehemiah 3:26) "More-over the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel, unto the place over against the water gate toward the east, and the tower that lieth out." This was the seventh gate. The number seven is associated with completion or perfection in Biblical numer-ology. This seventh gate was the only gate that needed no repairs. It was the gate that was used to bring in the water. Water, as mentioned previously, is a symbol of the Word of God. The lesson here is that the Word of God is all right just as it is. It needs no repairs! If you have the King James Version 1611, you have the Word of God.

8. The Horse Gate-(Nehemiah 3:28) "From above the horse gate repaired the priests, every one over against his house." During the time of battle and of warfare this gate would be the exit and entrance for the soldier. The horse was the symbol of war, and this gate symbolized the going forth unto battle. Each believer should fight the fight of faith, enduring hardness as good soldiers of the faith (II Timothy 2:3-4).

9. The East Gate-(Nehemiah 3:29) "After them repaired Zadok the son of Immer over against his house. After him repaired also Shemaiah the son of Shechaniah the keeper of the east gate." The east gate was the first gate opened in the morning as it faced the rising sun. Those who endured a dark night would anticipate the opening of this gate with much excitement. This gate should serve as a reminder to look for that ray of hope that signals His coming. The believer should be gathered at this gate, looking for his coming to end the darkness of this world.

10. The Gate Miphkad-(Nehemiah 3:31) "After him repaired Malchiah the goldsmith's son unto the place of the Nethinims, and of the merchants, over against the gate Miphkad, and to the going up of the corner." Miphkad means "review" or "registry." Strangers would register at this gate upon arriving in Jerusalem. This gate was also the gate that King David would have his army return through so they could pass in review. This gate is a type of the judgment seat of Christ. One day, when the battle is over, we shall pass King Jesus in review!

Again, with permission, I wish to borrow from C.L. Roach's book, WHAT DO THEY MEAN?, (pages 37-41) and give a condensed study of six gates that he has listed in more detail.

I. Notice first of all the Gate of Paradise (Genesis 3:23-24), "Therefore, the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every away, to keep the way of the tree of life."

Although no actual gate is mentioned, it is implied that there must have been an exit and also an entrance that was guarded by the Cherubims and a flaming sword, less the human family partake of the tree of life and live eternally in a sinfully decaying state. This gate of Paradise was a gate that could never be entered again. When one dies in a lost condition, he can never pass through the gate that enters back into the realm of life for a second chance. It is too late! May this gate remind us of this truth.

II. The Gates of Praise-Psalms 100 speaks of a gate that is to be entered into with thanksgiving and then leads into the courts to be entered with praise. The millennial blessings that are spoken of in this thanksgiving psalm are certainly causes for shouting. The tribulation has ended and King Jesus has set up His kingdom. The Psalmist is inviting all people to make a joyful noise unto the Lord because a good, merciful, and truthful King is now seated upon the throne. This gate should be the gate that every believer enters with praises unto the Lord.

III. The Gate of Pressure-(Matthew 7:13-14) "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

The word "narrow" carries the thought of pressure or being compressed. A person who is placed in a "strait" jacket is restricted in his movement. The straitness of this gate, as the strait jacket, speaks of a restricted way. That way is Jesus. All who take up a cross to follow the Lord Jesus will certainly enter these gates. From the first one who choses to follow Him unto those of this present hour, each knows the meaning of the pressure and persecution that comes with His cross.

Why does God allow such pressures? Perhaps it is to tender us that we might be pliable in His hands. Then, it may be to toughen us that we may be able to handle the stresses of life. Pressures come for the purpose of teaching us His way in this life. A fourth reason could be to tame us that we might be under His complete control throughout this life. Again, each believer will be called upon to enter the Gate of Pressure.

IV. Gate of the Perishing-(Matthew 7:13-14) This is the place of the sinner, now. The gate previously mentioned in this Scripture was the gate of pressure; this gate is the Gate of Perishing. The gate of pressure was narrow, there the believer is now. The gate of perishing is where the unsaved are now; it is called the broadway. Broadway is a word that denotes pleasure. The thought behind this word "broadway" goes back around 700 years before the birth of Christ.

C.L. Roach says, "In Baal-Beck, a historical city of Lebanon, was a temple erected to the gods of that land. Three places of heathen worship were found inside. The worship of Jupiter Baal, or Seus, the god of athletics, Bacchus, the god of wine, and Venus who was the god of love or of sex." I think, if we stop and consider the world today, we still see the masses entering these gates. It appears that everything is geared to the promotion of sports, strong drink, and sex.

Notice why this gate pictures the place of the sinner, now. The gate to this temple was 160 feet wide. No one was restricted from entering the temple. (There was, and still is, plenty of room to rush after the gods of this world.) There were 19 steps leading up to this gate. Number 19 is the number of "faith" in the Scriptures. What a subtle counterfeit Satan has offered, leading to these three counterfeit gods: 1. The god of sports, 2. The god of spirits, 3. The god of sex. The multitudes rush madly into the broadway of destruction, while only a few hear the voice of God and enter into the strait gate."

V. The Gate of Perdition-(Matthew 16:18) The text here speaks of the gates of hell. This gate leads to and shuts in the sinner for eternity.

Hell is a real place, where real people will be shut up for ever and ever. Hell will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14). Revelation 20:15 says, "whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

VI. The Gates of Pearl-(Revelation 21:21) The most beautiful is the gate of pearl. There are twelve gates of pearl mentioned in our text. The gate is a symbol of heaven. Heaven is also a real place. It is mentioned as a prepared place, vs. 1-3; as a perfect place, vs. 4-7; as a protected place, vs. 8-10; as a precious place, vs. 11-22; and as a praising place, vs. 23-27. Only those who enter the gates of pearl shall enjoy the many delights of heaven.

The above examples offer suggestions of how the gates may enter into the "Strategy of Preaching." These are only suggestions upon which one may expand.


The use of the word footstool will demonstrate how a word that is not commonly used may be utilized in one's sermonizing to stir interest and to teach rich and precious truth. This word appears in the Scripture 16 times. It literally means a foot stool (a place where the foot or feet rest). In the Bible, when the word is not used as a practical object for the resting of the feet, it is most commonly used to symbolically represent one who is in a lower position. It also is used to represent forced humility.

James 2:3 says, "And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:" This verse gives an example of the proud treating a poor person as being an inferior person. Some of the dearest people I know are poor. James was saying to the proud that they were putting another human being below their feet. He gives a strong indictment against pride and partiality in this Scripture.

The above was an example of the way one man forces another into a humble position. Now, notice how the Lord will put his enemies into a position of forced humility: (Hebrews 10:13) "From henceforth expecting till his enemies to be made his footstool." Certainly, the Lord is highly to be exalted. His name is above every name!

It was said that, when an enemy soldier was defeated, he would bow his head to the ground, signifying his complete and total defeat. Then the victor would place his foot on the defeated one's head, thus making his enemy his footstool. Christ, the victor, will one day humble His enemy in similar manner. Praise be unto God!

Another Scriptural example of the way the "footstool" is used is found in Psalm 99:5- "Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy."

This hymn of God's kingship (Ps. 99) has three stanzas as outlined in THE RYRIE STUDY BIBLE, page 867. "The declaration of the majesty of God (vv. 1-3), the description of the rule of God (vv. 4-5), and the dealings with Israel of the God who is holy (vv. 6-9). The Psalm views God's reign over Israel in Old Testament times, as well as the future millennial reign of Christ." The Psalmist calls for honor to be given to the Lord who is King and for worship to be given by his subjects in humility at his footstool. From our studies we can clearly see that the footstool is a symbol of humility. May we not have to be forced into a position of humility but voluntarily humble ourselves in worship in His presence.

In your preaching strategy, consider the way that you may preach a message on Pride and Humility by using the footstool as the symbol of humility.


When was the last time you either heard or preached a message on mountains? The word mountain in its different forms appears several hundred times in the Word of God. It is a commonly used word. Generally speaking, the mountain symbolizes refuge or a place of safety. An example of this usage is found in Genesis 19:17.

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

When the Lord was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, the angel told Lot to escape to the mountains.

Another way that the mountain is considered symbolically is as it appears in Psalm 90:2- "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God."

An interesting study of the different ways that "mountain" is used is in conjunction with the name "Almighty God" which, in the Hebrew, is El Shaddai. Shaddai comes from a word that means "mountain" and pictures God in His majesty, power, and greatness.

When the Almighty God appeared to Abraham, it was as though the Lord was saying, "You can believe that I have the power to bring to pass those things that I covenanted to do, because I am greater than even the mountains." An example of the way the word "mountain" can be used homiletically is illustrated in the following outline from this author's book, GENESIS, GENERAL STUDY OUTLINE SERIES. Its use will appear in section, 1., A., 1.:

Comments about chapter 17:1-1 9-This chapter looks again at the Abrahamic covenant with the emphasis being on the sign of the covenant (see Romans 4:11). For reference and further study, the covenants are as follows:

1. Edonic-Gen. 1:28-30; 2:15-17
2. Adamic-Gen. 3:14-19
3. Noahic-Gen. 8:20; 9:17
4. Abrahamic-Gen. 12:1-3
5. Mosaic-Exodus 19:5-6
6. Davidic-Il Sam. 7:8-19
7. Palestianian-Deut. 30:1-10
8. New Covenant-Heb. 8:8 cf. Jer. 3 1:31


This covenant was first given in Genesis 12:2-3, but additions and clarifications were given all along.

A. The Covenant Was Made By The Great One. vs. 1-5
The Lord proved the validity of the covenant in Genesis chapter 12 when he walked between the bloody, slain animals. The cove-nant was given unconditionally as well as powerfully, thus proving to Abraham that His Word was true.

1. His covenant was backed by His great power. vs. 1-2
Omnipotence, omniscience, and omni-presence blended its forces together in the Godhead to deliver and to protect this covenant. There are no weak links in the chain of God's Word! He is the Almighty God. Here the compound name of God is the "Almighty God" which in the Hebrew is El Shaddai. Shaddai comes from a word that means "mountain," which pictures God in majesty, power, and greatness.

2. His covenant was backed by His great purpose. vs. 3-5
At this point God changes Abram ("exalted father") to Abraham, which means "father of a great number." It is God's purpose to produce a great nation out of the loins of Abraham.

B. The Covenant Was Made By The Gracious One.~vs. 6-8
All the wonderful things imaginable to the mortal man were promised in the great covenant with Abraham.

1. God will make of Abraham a great people. vs. 6-7
Abraham has no children now, but in time his posterity will be enumerable. It has been thirteen years since the birth of ishmael, and will be one year before isaac is born. But from the birth of Isaac there will come nations, kings, and fruitfulness. God promised it!

2. God will give Abraham a great possession. vs. 8
The Scripture located in Genesis 15:18, along with this portion of Scripture shows that Abraham will receive an everlasting possession. The land carried great signifi-cance as a part of the covenant.


The distinguishing badge or mark of the covenant was the process of circumcision. Romans 4:11 verifies that God made it a sign of the Abraharnic covenant.

A. The Sign Is Circumcision. vs. 9-14
This section of Scripture is the first time that circumcision is mentioned in the Scriptures.

Circumcision simply means that the foreskin is removed. This was preferably done on the eighth day after the male child's birth. In addition to this procedure being a part of the Abrahamic covenant, it also has proven to be a health benefit to the circumcised.

1. Circumsion was to be done perpetually. vs. 9-10
2. Circumsion was to be done personally. vs. 11

Just as the Hebrew male was required to be circumcised according to God's instructions, man also is to be circumcised spiritually in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:" (Cor. 2:11)

B. The Sign Was Commanded vs. 12-14

1. The particulars were given for doing the circumcision. vs. 12-14
2. The punishment was given for denying the circumcision. vs. 14


It was an absolute miracle involving a woman that was well beyond the age of child bearing. Sarai would also see her name changed to Sarah. Sarai means "my princess," and Sarah means "princess."

A. It Was A Miracle That Had Promises. vs. 15-18
With all that God had done to provide Abraham with assurance he still found it difficult to believe that he would father a child by Sarah.

1. It promised happiness. vs. 15-17
2. It provided hope. vs. 18

Hope and happiness were key products of this renewed promise to Abraham. God, by having Abraham and Sarah wait so many years to have a child, had turned what would have been perceived as a natural phenomena into a truly spiritual miracle.

B. It Was A Miracle That Had Purpose. vs. 19

1. The miracle would fulfill God's promises. vs. 19a
2. The miracle would fulfill God's purposes. vs. 19b

Concluding Remarks: A practical spiritual benefit of circumcision is that of a lasting reminder to Abraham's descendants of the promises that God had made.

The first time that the word "mountain" appears in the Scriptures, in its singular form, is Genesis 12:8. "And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on on the east and there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord."

Here "mountain" is used in association with Abraham building an altar. This altar pictured fellowship with the Lord. The last time "mountain" appears in the Word is in Revelation 21:10-11.

"And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem. descending out of heaven from God. Having the glory of God. and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;"

Here John is given from a "great and high mountain" a view of the new heavenly city which will be a place of eternal, everlasting fellowship. "Mountain" is used, beginning in Genesis 19, with the giving of the Law. Moses went to the mountain that smoked and quaked greatly (Gen. 19:18) to receive the law. It was a fearful sight! This was the mountain that symbolized the law of God.

Now, moving to the New Testament in Luke 23:33, we have a different mountain mentioned.

"And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left."

This is the mountain that symbolizes the Grace of God. The song "At Calvary" expresses this reality.

Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
On Calvary.

By God's Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I'd spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned
To Calvary.

Now I've giv'n to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing
Of Calvary.

Oh, the love that drew salvation's plan!
Oh, the grace that bro't it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span
At Calvary!


The word "stone" is another common word found in the Scriptures. Yet many great truths can be derived from a careful study of the way the word "stone" is used in some of the different places. Rather than an exhaustive study of the many ways the word "stone" appears, consider a few less common appear-ances for homiletical purposes.

The stone has been used to typify many different things. It has been, for example, a symbol of strength, of the church, of the believer, of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of that which endures. In Genesis 11:3, we see the word "stone" contrasted with the word "brick."

"And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter."

Brick here is a symbol of religiousity; it is inferior to stone. Homiletically, an example of the way stone is used to contrast brick appears in this author's book, GENESIS, GENERAL STUDY OUTLINE SERIES. Note for usage, the section labeled "Comments about 11:1-9."

Comments about 11:1-9: God, after blessing Noah and his sons, gave a command to them to "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth." In this section of study, may it be noted that the descendants of Noah and his sons began to rebel against God's instructions to replenish the earth. They, instead (vs. 4) wanted to remain in one location and very proudly make themselves a name. Yet the weakness of their humanistic scheme is noticeable in the materials they employed in building their city and tower. Clay was used instead of stone, and slime instead of mortar. Man's very best is only clay and slime!


The most loathsome of all diseases has its symptoms. Cancer for example, is often marked by weight loss, a sore that will not heal, fatigue, and hemorrhaging. Rebellion, the sin that is as witchcraft (I Sam. 15:23), has its ugly symptoms. The symptoms that mark the rebel is a self-willed, self-sufficient, and self-seeking person as indicated by the text.

A. The symptoms of rebellion as indicated by their self-willed spirit. vs. 1-3a

A self-willed, non-dependent spirit always marks or characterizes the rebel. It was God's will that these people disperse and populate the earth. Yet they dwelt in the land of Shinar instead. (vs. 2)

1. They disobeyed the Lord. (vs.l-2)
The proud rebel, who is self-willed, will disobey authority. In the case of these people they disobeyed the Lord. (ch. 9:1)

2. They disregarded the Lord. vs. 3a

B. The symptoms of rebellion as indicated by their self-sufficient spirit. vs. 3b-4

The spirit of rebellion that had enveloped the inhabitors of the earth, had brought these people to a position of self-sufficiency. They discarded God's plan for their own; they discarded God's presence for their own promi-nence. They felt that if they stayed together they would have no need for God.

1. They became blinded by their predicament. vs. 3b-4a
Pride installs "blinders" on the eyes of the soul. God hates pride, a twin brother of rebellion.

2. They became bold in their performance. vs. 4a

C. The symptoms of rebellion as indicated by their self-seeking spirit. vs. 4b

The aggressive nature of the rebel causes him to exault himself. The tower of Babel would have been a rallying point and a symbol of their prominence.

1. They wanted to achieve prominence. vs. 4b
Note the use of "Let us" repeatedly. The "let us" showed that they were proudly focusing upon themselves rather than upon God.

2. They wanted to acquire power. vs. 4b
The world today is also characterized by proud, power-hungry people.


Notice in verse five that "the Lord came 'down' to see the city and the tower." The best that mankind could possibly achieve would be a downward path for the Lord. While they were looking up proudly at their tower and city, the Lord was looking down upon them. The Lord looked down upon a people that would soon be embraced by many sorrows.

A. There were demonic imaginations to corrupt them. vs. 5-6

The mind is the battleground for many demonic activities. The Lord knew that these people would perpetually imagine or think of new things to exploit their rebellious ambitions.

1. The Devil invaded their minds. vs. 5-6a

2. The Devil influenced their manner. vs. 6b
Men do what the mind has them to do. If a man's mind is controlled by Satan he will do what Satan beckons him to do.

B. There was a Divine intervention to correct them. vs. 7a

Again reference is made to going down. In the first use of the word "down" (vs. 5) it was a word that described man's relative position to God. In this usage of the word "down" (vs. 7) it is in reference to God's condescending for the purpose of chastisement and to bring about their correction.

1. God intervened because of His interest in them. vs. 7a

2. God intervened because of His intent for them. vs. 7a

C. There was a dialectic ignorance to confound them. vs. 7b-9

Proud men can speak proudly influencing many as they do. The Lord changed their language to break down their communications, thus destroying their unity.

1. He broke down the unifying agent. vs. 7b

2. He brought down their ungodly attempt. vs. 8-9

Concluding Remarks: The name Babel means "to confuse." When there is pride and rebellion, there is "Babel" or confusion.

In the example outline just given, the word "stone" was used only in the introduction. It was just enough to add flavor to the message. An entire message will not usually result from the typical or symbolical meaning of a word. C.L. Roach, in his book WHAT DO THEY MEAN?, does an entire study in sermonic form using the word stone. With his permission, I will reproduce his excellent study.


Stone or stones are mentioned over 200 times in the Scripture. By no means do I intend to explain every meaning. I'm sure the reader would enjoy searching the Scriptures for others not mentioned here.

In this portion of "what do they mean" we will look very briefly at eight different stones and see their spiritual meaning. The queston is asked "what meaneth these stones?" The answer to this question will be first of eight meanings.

First we find the stone meaning:

I. A sure testimony of God's Deliverance Joshua 4:1-7

Twelve stones were taken out of the Jordan and then twelve stones left in the Jordan to be covered by its waters. The first twleve pictures God's deliverance from the place of death. (Jordan comes from two words: "Jor" meaning river and "dan" meaning judgment.) It was only as Christ rolled back the judgment from us on Calvary were we able to "pass from death unto life." The stones taken out pictures our deliverance. The stones placed in the river bed covered, where no one can find them pictures our old life that died with Him in judgment. "For ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God." Colossians 3:3

II. Stone that pictures strength of grace I Samuel 17:49

Every reader of the Bible has read of David and the stone that slew Goliath. Simple but beautiful are the pictures here. Goliath being the enemy, so much greater than we are, but as we, as David did, approach our enemies with confidence, we too will overcome them. The stones were five in number, God's number of grace. These were taken from a stream of running water. In the Scriptures, running water pictures the moving of the Holy Spirit. Here we simply see God's grace prevailing by the Power of the Holy Spirit in one who completely trusted God in the face of overwhelming odds that were against him.

III. Stones that picture the Saviour

I suppose that the stone pictures the Lord Jesus Christ more than any other person or thing in the Scriptures.

In some places the word rock is capitalized. This certainly has reference to the Lord. Read Deuteronomy 32:4-32.

Let us look at nine Scriptures and see the Saviour likened to a stone: See Him as:

1. A smitten stone Exodus 17:1-6 and I Corinthians 10:4
2. A smitting stone Daniel 2:34-45
3. A saving stone Matthew 21:44
4. A spurned stone - Acts 4:11
5. A supplying stone I Corinthians 10:4 (There are many mentionings of water from this rock in the Bible)
6. A selected stone - I Peter 2:4
7. A sure foundation stone - Matthew 16:18
8. A stumbling stone to Jews Romans 9:33 and I Peter 2:8
9. A sealing stone - I Peter 2:6 and Ephesians 2:19-21

IV. Stones that picture the saints

In Matthew 3:9, John the Baptist mentions "stones" that God could use to raise up children to Abraham. They were lifeless stones, the Gentiles. In I Peter 2:5, we see how the lifeless stones become living stones building up a spiritual house.

V. Stones that picture security Exodus 28:15

The breast plate of the High Priest is described in great detail. Read Exodus 28:15-29. The colors, first are very meaningful. In verse 15, gold is mentioned first, showing that deity is at work. Then the color blue, the heavenly color, purple, the color of royalty and then scarlet, the color of blood or humanity. All this pictures Jesus Christ our Lord. Our God came down from heaven to die on the cross that He might be King or Lord of our lives forever.

The twelve stones were placed over the heart of the High Priest and were held by chains of pure gold to the shoulders, the place of strength. They were tied with ribbons of blue, the heavenly color. "For ye are kept by the Power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." I Peter 1:5.

VI. Stones that picture service I Corinthians 3:9-11

"For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth there on. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

Six things are mentioned here that are used by some in their service for our Lord. Three will endure fire, three will perish. There is no other foundaiton on which the believer can build. No other material but these six. At the Bema seat every believer will see his service reviewed as all is tested by fire. The labors or service rendered for Christ with the wrong motive "what sort it is" will be destroyed as wood, hay, and stubble. The service rendered with a motive of love for the Saviour and love for the lost sinners will pass through the fire as precious stones, gold and silver. These that remain will bring reward.

Those perished will cause loss of reward, not salvation. I Corinthians 3:12-15.

VII. Stones that picture sovereign demands Exodus 24:12

"And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written: that thou mayest teach them."

The 10 commandments pictures man's total responsibility to God and man. Notice, the first four commandments picture the world's responsi-bility to God. Four, being the world number. The fifth is for children showing their responsibility to their parents. The last five pictures man's responsibility to man. These are God's righteous demands on man that can only be met in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:3-4, "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit."

Romans 10:4, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Colossians 2:14, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross."

Six times the Word of God reminds us there were Two Tables of Stone. The number of witness. Conscience, the Bible, the Holy Spirit all witness of these obligations on all mankind. Six is the number of man.

VIII. Stones that picture the sinner set free Revelation 2:17

The white stone has been said to be the stone of acquittal delivered to one who has judicially been set free. We have been set free from the "curse of the law." In ancient times of trials, men would drop either a white or black stone in a box. White if innocent, black if guilty. Possibly this is where the term jury box came from. In Leviticus 14:34-57, instructions were given to the nation of Israel on the method of removing leprosy from the house. Leprosy would appear on the stones, vs. 42; and the stones would have to be removed. These stones were the building blocks necessary for the house to stand. If a stone were removed, another was to be put in its place, lest the house fall.

A great spiritual application can be extracted from this study. Considering that leprosy is a type of sin, incurable and defiling (Leviticus 13), the leprosy on the stones can picture "sin in the homes." Homiletically the minister may parallel these stones to sinful influences and sinful objects that would be detrimental to a healthy home. The stones that were leprous were removed and replaced with good stones so that the house would stand. The minister, by making use of this application, could exhort his people to remove the "stones of sin." For instance, there may be stones of worldly music, stones of worldly reading materials, and stones of worldly amusements. These stones should be removed. When they are removed, they should be replaced with good stones-stones of Christian music, stones of Christian reading material, and stones of Christian amusements.

An additional study concerning stones is to preach a sermon on the way the word "stone" appears in a particular book of the Bible. In I Peter, "stone" appears four times. It appears as a living stone, I Peter2:4; a chief cornerstone, I Peter 2:6; a building stone, I Peter 2:7; and a stumbling stone, I Peter 2:8. The Bible is inexhaustable in its materials and resources for the preacher. Certainly there are numerous ways in which the minister may apply truth, even as shown by this simple study of the stone.


Trees abound upon the earth. They have served man's need from the beginning of creation until now. Houses, medicine, paper, chemicals, clothing, furniture, food and a host of other products come from the tree. The Bible makes reference to the tree several hundred times. There are approximately 25 different trees mentioned in the Bible. Among the different trees mentioned, there is the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; there is the hazel tree, the chestnut tree, the olive tree, the almond tree, the apple tree, the teil tree, the shittah tree, the myrtle tree, and the fir tree; there is the pine tree, the box tree, the willow tree, the sycamine tree, and the sycamore tree. Considering the variety of trees and the number of times that the tree is mentioned, there should be an adequate supply of homiletical materials to construct a sermon.

From GOLDEN NUGGETS, NO. 7 this interesting sermon by Allen Oubre employs the use of trees in his outline:


Text: Psalm 104:16 - By: Allen Oubre, Freer Texas


In the garden of Eden we find the man and the woman and the forbidden tree. Adam and Eve must have looked at the tree for quite some time in wonderment. If Adam had known the suf-fering, the privation, the wars, man's inhumanity to man, the tears, the heart-aches, in the lives of his posterity, would he have eaten and decided against God?


King David had a son named Absalom. Absalom killed his own brother. After receiving the forgiveness of his father, Absalom returned to Jerusalem. Then one day he rose up in rebellion against his father David. When the battle was in progress Absalom fled on his mule, and his long hair caught in the branches of a great oak tree, and there he hung, helpless before his enemies.


Elijah the prophet had just experienced a great victory on Mount Carmel. He requested that he might die; and said, "It is enough; now, 0 Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers."


Zacchaeus climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Jesus as he passed along the road. Imagine his surprise when the Lord stopped, looked up in the tree and said, "Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down, for today I must abide at thy house." Zacchaeus scurried down from there under the sycamore tree he stood face to face with the Saviour.


There was a man named Judas that was numbered with the twelve apostles. Yet in all this time Judas did not come to drink at the sweet waters of God's Salvation. It was not that Judas was not a smart man, for he was a man of normal intelligence. There is a time of reckoning coming, a time of judgment when we must give an account unto God. Under the hanging tree we see man's despair, man's corruption without redemption.


Jesus came that sorrowful evening to the garden of olives. There He prostrated himself on the ground in deep prayer.


"Christ had redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree," Gal. 3:13.

An attempt has been made to show how the typical or symbolical study of words can be helpful in one's sermon's preparation. With these examples given, I wish to list some possible words that could be used as starters in your preaching strategy.

They are as follows:

altars flowers leaf raiment
animals foundations leper rain
arrows fountain light rainbow
ashes gardens linen rivers
banners garments loaf rocks
battles gifts Lord rod
birds girdles man root
bottles grapes manna salt
bricks graves mantle sand
bridles hair marriage sea
buildings hammer midnight serpent
candle hand minerals shepherd
candlestick head money shore
caves heart mother shoulder
chariots heat mount sign
cities Heaven mule sleep
clouds hedge nail smoke
cross heel napkin snow
crown heifer neck storms
cups hill nest streams
darkness honey net sun
desert honeycomb night suppers
dew horn nose sweat
doors horse numbers sword
dreams house offerings tabernacle
ear iron oil table
fat Israel pearl tears
feet jewels perfume vails
feathers keys physician valleys
fences kiss pillar vessels
fields lambs potter vines
fire lamp poison vineyard
fish law rags voice
floods watchman

Index | Preparing The Message | Preparing the Messenger | Preparing the Material | Presenting the Material