Fundamental Baptist Institute

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

PRESENTING THE MATERIAL

As an addition to this handbook, I have included an example of an Expository Outline Series, which contains a scheme for preaching through an entire book of the Bible. The book that I have chosen is the book of Colossians. The theme is "The church."

The following outlines will be void of notes, illustrations, and cross references that normally appear in one's sermon outline. These skeletal outlines are intended to demonstrate how one might preach through a book of the Bible. The preacher would add "meat to his own skeleton."

A. Sample Expository Outline Series COLOSSIANS


Paul Presenting His Letter
To The Church at Colosse

Text: Colossians 1:1-8

Introduction: Paul demonstrates a pastorial love, and interest towards the Saints at Colosse. He demon-strates, by his example, a relationship that each pastor and people should desire.

I. The letter is directed to the saints. (vs. 1-3)

1. He personally communicated to them. (vs. 1-2)
2. He prayed constantly for them. (vs. 3)

II. The letter is descriptive of their state. (vs. 4-5)

1. Faith in the Saviour described them. (vs. 4)
2. Love for the saints described them. (vs. 4)
3. Hope of the saved described them. (vs. 5)

III. The letter is delighting in their salvation. (vs. 6-8) (cf. vs. 3:6-8)

1. Paul delights in the reality of their salvation. (vs. 6a)
2. Paul delights in the results of their salvation (brings forth fruit). (vs. 6b-8)

Conclusion: Even though the church was experiencing difficulties because of Jewish legalism, mysticism, and Gnosticism, Paul still related to them with a strong love and desire for them to be pure.


Message number two:

Paul's Praying In His Letter
For The Church At Colosse

Text: Colossians 1:9-14

Introduction: Paul, by praying, shows some essential ingredients to prayer. Note that Paul's prayer was dedicated; it was directed; and it was definite.

I. Paul's praying was dedicated. (vs. 9a)

"For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you . . . ".

II. Paul's praying was directed. (vs. 9b)

"Pray for you, and desire that ye. . ."

III. Paul's praying was definite. (vs. 9c-14)

1. Paul prayed that they might be in the will of the Lord. (vs. 9c)
2. Paul prayed that they might be in the walk of the Lord. (vs. 10-11)
3. Paul prayed that they might be in the worship of the Lord. (vs. 12-14)

Conclusion: Paul had a strong desire that this church while in the midst of the evil influences that it was being subjected to, be in the will of the Lord, be in the walk of the Lord, and be in the worship of the Lord.


Message number three:

Paul's Praising In His Letter
To The Church At Colosse.

Text: Colossians 1:15-29

Introduction: A church that is void of praise is a dying church. Paul praises three things in this section. He praises the Creator, the cross, and the church.

I. Paul praises the work of the Creator. (vs. 15-19)

1. The character over the creation. (vs. 15)
2. The completeness of the creation. (vs. 16)
3. The control over the creation. (vs. 17a)
4. The cementing agent of the creation. (vs.1 7b)
5. The church in the creation. (vs. 18a)
6. The crowning of the creation. (vs. 18b-19)

II. Paul praises the way of the cross. (vs. 20-22a)

1. The peace of the cross. (vs. 20-22a)
a. The blood was shed. (vs. 20-21)
b. The body was sacrificed. (vs. 22a)

2. The presentation of the cross. (vs. 22b)

a. To present one holy and unblamable. (vs. 22b)
b. To present one holy and unreprovable. (vs. 22b)

3. The preaching of the cross. (vs. 23)

a. Is necessary for one to be grounded. (vs. 23a)
b. Is necessary for one to receive the gospel. (vs. 23b)

III. Paul praises the witness of the church. (vs. 24-29)

1. The persecution of the church. (vs. 24)
a. Paul suffered for the believers of Christ. (vs. 24a)
b. Paul suffered for the body of Christ. (vs. 24b)

2. The period of the church. (vs. 25-26)

a. Was ministered to by Paul. (vs. 25)
b. Was manifested by Paul. (vs. 26)

3. The purpose of the church. (vs. 27-29)

a. To preach that men might be perfect in Christ Jesus. (vs. 27-28a)
b. To teach that men might be perfect in Christ Jesus. (vs. 28b-29)

Conclusion: May we each be mindful of the many things that we should praise God for.


Message number four:

Paul's Pastoring Through His Letter
To The Church At Colosse

Text: Colossians 2:1-8

Introduction: Though Paul was not actually in the presence of those to whom he was writing, he did, however, exhibit a pastorial concern for the congregation that comprised the church at Colosse. He also had a course for them to follow, and a caution for them to heed.

I. Paul's concern for the church. (vs. 1-3)

A. His concern was certainly great. (vs. 1)

1. He wanted them to know how much. (vs. 1a)
2. He wanted them to know how many. (vs. 1b)

B. His concern was certainly Godly. (vs. 2-3)

1. He wanted them to be comforted totally in their hearts. (vs. 2a)
2. He wanted them to be committed together in all holiness. (vs. 2b-3)

II. Paul's course for the church. (vs. 4-7)

A. He wanted them to be watchful along the way. (vs. 4-5)

1. Watching their mind. (vs. 4)
2. Watching their manner. (vs. 5)

B. He wanted them to be walking in the way. (vs. 6-7)

1. Walking in Christ. (vs. 6)
2. Walking on course. (vs. 7)

III. Paul's caution to the church. (vs. 8)

A. He told them to beware of the wicked traditions. (vs. 8a)

1. Their teachings would cause loss. (vs 8a)
2. Their teachings would consist of lies. (vs. 8a)

B. He told them to beware of the wordly traps. (vs. 8b)

Note: These traps are erroneous relgious traps made up of subtle, deceptive teachings. To avoid these "rudiments" of teaching, one must be very knowledge-abe of real truth.

Conclusion: Paul warns and Paul encourages the church at Colosse. He exhibits also a strong love for the people. He offers a great pattern for pastors to emulate.


Message Number five:

Paul's Preaching Through His Letter
To The Church At Colosse

A Message of Encouragement

Text: Colossians 2:9-23

Introduction: Much of the preaching being done today perpetrates discouragement. Preaching ought to offer encouragement to the discouraged. But so many times it does not! May we notice the encouragement that Paul gives to this people.

I. Paul's preaching was to encourage them. (vs. 9-15)

A. He showed them that they were complete spiritually. (vs. 9-10)

1. Because of God's positioning. (vs. 9)
2. Because of God's power. (vs. 10)

B. He showed them that they were circumcised spiritually. (vs. 11-13)

1. This provided for their identification. (vs. 11)
2. This provided for their Salvation. (vs. 12-13)

C. He showed them that they were conquerors spiritually. (vs. 14-15)

1. He made us conquerors through His great payment. (vs. 14)
2. He made us conquerors through His great power. (vs. 15)

II. Paul's preaching was to exhort them. (vs. 16-23)

A. To recognize the liberties in Christ. (vs. 16-17)

1. Recognize the obstacle to enjoyed liber-ties. (vs. 16)
2. Recognize the originator of every liberty. (vs. 17)

B. To retain the liberties in Christ. (vs. 18-19)

1. By resisting the luring tactics of men. (vs. 18a)
2. By refusing the lying tongue of men. (vs. 18b-19)
3. To not refuse the liberties in Christ. (vs. 20-23)

Note: the Apostle Paul was warning the church at Colosse not to be slaves to the ordinances after the commandments and doctines of men. He wanted them to claim the liberties that were theirs in Christ.

Conclusion: Paul encouraged them by preaching Jesus. He was even able to warn as he encouraged. There is great power in great preaching and great preaching comes from preaching Jesus.


Message number six:

Paul's Preaching Through His Letter
To The Church At Colosse

A Message of Enlightment

Text: Colossians 3:1-15

Introduction: The Word of God is the only source for spiritual enlightment. Paul is preaching that the saints at Colosse might be established in the faith, and then that they might be enlightened concerning their bodies, behavior, and their belief.

I. Paul's preaching was to establish them. (vs. 1-4)

A. He encouraged their activities to be directed towards things above. (vs. 1)

1. Because of the properness of it. (vs. 1a)
2. Because of the power of it. (vs. 1b)

B. He encouraged their affections to be directed towards things above. (vs. 2-4)

1. Because of the great relationship in Christ. (vs. 2-3)
2. Because of the great revealing of Christ. (vs. 4)

II. Paul's preaching was to enlighten them. (vs. 5-15)

A. Concerning their bodies. (vs. 5-7)

1. They were to die to fleshly ways. (vs. 5a)
2. They were to deny the fleshly worship. (vs. 5b-7)

B. Concerning their behavior. (vs. 8-13)

1. Their behavior was to be changed. (vs. 8-11)
2. Their behavior was to be Christ-like. (vs. 12-13)

C. Concerning their belief. (vs. 14-15)

1. Their belief provided for spiritual perfection (maturity). (vs. 14)
2. Their belief provided for spiritual peace. (vs. 15)

Conclusion: Paul, as he does quite often, builds his theology on the resurrection (vs. 1). A man that rejects the ressurrection never will be enlightened in any other area.


Message number seven:

Paul's Preaching Through His Letter
To The Church At Colosse

A Message of Edification

Text: Colossians 3: 16-4:6

Introduction: To be edified or "built up" in the faith requires that a man be filled with the spirit and obedient to the Word. In reality a person cannot be filled with the spirit who is not obedient to the Word.

I. Edification requires a dependence upon Scripture. (vs. 3:16a)

A. To be rich in wisdom. (vs. 3:16a)
B. To be right in the Word. (vs. 3:16a)

II. Edification results in a delightfulness in singing. (vs. 3:16b-17)

A. This kind of singing causes the heart to be taught. (vs. 3:16b)
B. This kind of singing causes the heart to be tender. (vs. 3:16b)
C. This kind of singing causes the heart to be thankful. (vs. 3:17)

III. Edification results in direction by submitting. (vs. 3:18-21)

A. Submitting produces control. (vs. 3:18)
B. Submitting produces charity. (vs. 3:19)
C. Submitting produces chastening. (vs. 3:20-21)

IV. Edification results in a dutifulness in serving. (vs. 3:22-24)

A. Service ought to be done consistently as unto Christ. (vs. 22)
B. Service ought to be done conscientiously as unto Christ. (vs. 23)
C. Service ought to be done committedly as d'nto Christ. (vs. 24)

V. Edification results in a difference in speaking. (vs. 4:1-6)

A. Speak differently unto servants. (vs. 1-2)
B. Speak differently as servants. (vs. 3-6)

1. Speak of the grace of God. (vs. 3-5)
2. Speak with the grace of God. (vs. 6)

Note: The difference is a language that is different from the world.

Conclusion: A person who is truly edified will witness forth that fact by his right relationships with his different relationships.


Message number eight:

Paul's Postscript In His Letter
To The Church At Colosse

Text: Colossians 4:7-18

Introduction: Last things are often of great importance. The last words that one speaks before death are often remembered the best. Paul's conclusion speaks volumes that are certainly worthy of one's consideration as he closes his letter.

I. Paul, in closing, expresses concern that the church be comforted. (vs. 7-8)

A. Comfort came with a person. (vs. 7)

1. By a beloved brother who was a faithful minister. (vs. 7a)
2. By a beloved brother who was a fellow servant. (vs. 7b)

B. Comfort came with a purpose. (vs. 8)

1. Paul demonstrated this attitude because of his concern. (vs. 8)
2. Paul demonstrated this action because of his concern. (vs. 8)

II. Paul, in closing, expresses concern that the church receive communication. (vs. 9-11)

A. Paul's communicating shows the ties he had with the Church. (vs. 9-10)

1. Paul showed a responsibility to the church. (vs. 9)
2. Paul showed a relationship among the churches. (vs. 10)

B. Paul's communicating shows his tenderness towards the church. (vs. 11)

1. He wanted them to be as complete as he. (cf. vs. 12, vs. 11)
2. He wanted them to be as comforted as he. (vs. 11)

III. Paul, in closing, expresses concern that the church be complete. (vs. 12-18)

A. As indicated by his writing. (vs. 12-16)

1. Paul witnessed that concern. (vs. 12-15)
2. Paul was also concerned. (vs. 16)

B. As indicated by his warning. (vs. 17-18)

1. His warning was intense because of his concern. (vs. 17)
2. His warning was indicative of his personal concern. (vs. 18)

Conclusion: Paul wrote to warn; he wrote to exhort, to instruct, and he wrote to strengthen the church at Colosse. May we consider the importance of these last words of Paul.

B. Sample Sermons in Manuscript Form

The following sermons illustrate how one can preach a series of messages on a certain theme. The theme that I selected for your example is a series on "Great Things."

May they not only be for an example, but a blessing to you as you read them.

The Great Presence Of God

Text: Mark 4:35-5:1

And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. Mark 4:35

And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. Mark 5:1

Though these two verses are separated from each other in the text, volumes may be written about their close connection. In the first passage Jesus said, "Let us pass over unto the other side." As students of the Sacred Word we can lift these verses out of the text and place them side by side for comparison. The connecting link between these two verses is a storm-tossed sea with all of its force and fury lashing out against a fearful, faithless group of disciples who were traveling in a ship with Jesus.

It was while Jesus slept that this violent storm appeared, causing great fear to seize the hearts of those seasoned sailors. From this, one can see that storms may come quickly. Such a storm could come without warning at any time and once over, there was no guarantee of when another might arise.

Even the seasoned veteran of the sea was bound to face some storms. A great storm such as this could make the best of sailors feel rather small. As water swept into the ship, the sailors cried, 'Master, carest thou not that we perish?" In response, Christ arose and rebuked the wind saying, "Peace be stilL" Immediately what had before been a great storm became a great calm.

From these verses three important truths may be observed about the storms of life.

There Was A Reason For Calmness
In The Midst Of The Storm

Perhaps the most significant reason for them to have remained calm was the Word of God. Christ expressly told the sailors, "Let us pass over unto the other side." Had the omniscient Christ foreseen trouble he would not have misled the disciples with such a confident statement of hope. Even though a man may be currently in the midst of a storm, he may be assured that, by the Grace of God, he will reach the other side. Sometimes it seems that the storms are here to stay. William Dean Howells was heard asking Mark Twain as the two walked out of church into a flooding downpour, "Do you think it will stop?" Twain dryly responded, "It always has."

No matter what storm you might be facing, you may cling to the anchor of God's Word and thereby be able to ride out the tempest.

There Was A Rebuke For Cowardice
In The Midst Of The Storm

A second aspect to consider is the rebuke for their cowardice in the storm. In verse 40 Christ asked, "Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?" Notice the contrast: "so fearful . . . no faith." The insufficiency in the disciples which caused them to be so fearful was their lack of faith. Hebrews 11 illustrates how men of old were able to triumph amidst the storms of life by their dependence upon faith. Thus were they able to face depression, doubts, discouragements, and disasters of all kinds.

Regardless of the storm, just knowing that the Lord is immediately aware of the problem and standing by to assist is of great encouragement. Recently I was called to the hospital during the night to comfort a family who had just lost their son in an automobile accident. I felt so inadequate as I struggled to find words appropriate to the situation. One seldom feels prepared for such a tragedy. Yet the Lord impressed upon my heart the following words of comfort: "If you have the Lord Jesus Christ and lose everything, you still have everything. But if you have everything and do not have Christ, you have nothing." His presence makes the difference.

There Was A Realization For
Correction After The Storm

When the believer goes through a storm, there is a lesson to be learned. It is imperative that one heed the message that comes forth from such an experience. There is never a tribulation in the Christian life except it be permitted by God. The disciples were to learn a great lesson and have their faith increased as a result.

Troubles may come into a person's life to show him his need for a sure foundation. In Matthew the story is told of the foolish man who built his house upon the sand. When the storm came and the winds blew, the house fell "and great was the fall of it." The wise man however, built his house upon the rock. Again the same testing occurred as with the other house, yet this house stood firm! Only those who are founded on the rock called Jesus can have confidence to stand in the day of judgement.

Storms may also come to strengthen a person for service. Abraham Lincoln suffered the storms of depression. He once said, "I am now the most miserable man living, whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell. I awfully forebode I shall not." Lincoln was wrong. He became one of the greatest presidents this nation has ever known.

May we learn the lesson from the storms of life, realizing that in each and every storm we have The Great Presence of God!

Above all else, may we learn that the same One who can calm the angry waters by saying, "Peace be still," can also calm the heart of the poor lost sinner who is tossed by the angry waves of sin.

As Jesus was on the cross, the storms of Hell lashed out viciously against Him; yet He endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him knowing that His substitionary death was the perfect will of the Father. Only this stormy encounter could provide forgiveness of sin and buy eternal life for otherwise condemned mankind. Today, this same Jesus can break the chains of sin in your life if you will but acknowledge Him as your personal Savior. If you do not now enjoy this wonderful and blessed salvation, why not accept his offer of everlasting life today.


The Great Providence Of God

Text: Acts 8:25-40

In the first several verses of the eighth chapter of Acts, we notice persecution being leveled against the church at Jerusalem. This persecution against Jerusalem was permitted by God as a dispersing tool to force the church to fulfill the requirements of the "Great Commission". As these early Christians scattered, they also preached. This preaching involved the regions beyond Jerusalem.

Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word (vs. 4)

In chapter eight of the book of Acts, we might note the conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch, a descendant of Ham. In chapter nine, notice the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, a descendant of Japheth. Finally, in chapter ten, note the conversion of Cornelius, a descendant of Shem. These three chapters illustrate the purpose and providence of God as He works in the conversion of these men.

The Willing Servant

A truly great illustration of God's providence, relative to salvation, is seen in the conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch. Notice how God used the willing servant to minister to the wealthy sinner.

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship. (vs. 26-27)

One cannot help but see this willing servant's unplanned opportunity. Philip had not entered this journey into his itinerary planning to visit the Ethiopian Eunuch as his schedule permitted; no, this visit was an unplanned opportunity to do the work of God. Quite often in God's providence, great oppor-tunities to witness arise that were not planned by men. In this situation no definite plans have been made on our part, but great plans have been made on God's part. We need to be completely available to unplanned opportunities.

Philip also demonstrated an uncomplaining obedi-ence. The Scripture says that "he arose and went". God uses non-complainers to do His work. Someone has wisely said, "all it takes to complain is a mouth". Philip did not complain, he only obeyed by going providentially to the very place that God wanted him to be, at the very time that God wanted him to arrive.

The Wealthy Sinner

The ministering of this willing servant was to be directed towards the Ethiopian Eunuch, who was nothing more than a wealthy sinner.

And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worshzp. (vs. 27)

The wealthy sinner had rank, but no real power. He was in charge of Queen Candace's treasury. In addition the eunuch had religion, but no real peace. He was reading from the Prophet Isaiah with a hungry and thirsty soul, yet still unsatisfied. He had riches, but no real possessions. What this wealthy sinner needed more than anything else was the Lord Jesus Christ. He needed someone to preach Jesus to him.

The Wounded Saviour

Yes, the wounded Saviour, who now is the resurrected Christ is the center of the gospel and the crowning of God's grace. Philip, knowing this, opened his mouth and began to preach unto him "Jesus".

Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water: what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine hear4 thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (vs. 35-37)

The Ethiopian Eunuch was able to enjoy such a wonderful salvation, providentially made available to him, by simply repenting and accepting Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Salvation is wonderful because judgment is past and joy is provided.

And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. (vs. 39)

Certainly, it is wonderful to recognize God's providence regarding salvation. Maybe this sermon has providentially made its way to a dear reader who needs salvation. Will you trust Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour today? If you do, then why not drop us a line so that we might rejoice with you.


The Great Peace Of God

Text: John 14:6

Men of this age, as each age since Adam, are a few days and full of troubles. Regardless of the standing that a man may possess, he can never claim immunity from the troubles and plagues of mortal life. Even the disciples who were in close contact with Christ were troubled in heart as the Lord told them that one of their own would betray Him (John 13:21). To add to their troubles the disciples saw their master "troubled in spirit" and soon learned that He would leave them (John 13:33). The final blow to their troubled hearts was to hear that one of the twelve would deny the Lord openly (John 13:38). In the midst of these events, certainly the time was right for Jesus to say, "Let not your heart be troubled..

With these words, the Saviour introduces three great arguments against a troubled heart.

A Place For You

The first argument is found in verses 1 and 2 and gives assurance that there is a "place for you."

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:1-2

The Lord provides comfort to troubled hearts as He tells the disciples about a place called Heaven. As a place, Heaven has been called a country because of its large number of inhabitants; a kingdom because of its orderliness; and a paradise because of its many delights. Man must constantly adjust to meet the needs of his restlessness. He must enlarge his cities to accommodate the influx of people. The introduction of other nationalities into America has made it necessary to adapt public places to accommodate the language barrier. Signs in airports may read in three or four languages. The governments of the world are under constant struggle to maintain order and balance. Even with these mammoth efforts the world is filled with unrest. Heaven, in contrast to this, is a perfectly prepared place infinitely well suited to accommodate the redeemed of all ages. What a comfort in knowing that the Lord had a desire to provide a dwelling place for a saved and eternal realm of people.

A Paraclete For you

A second argument is found in verses 16-18.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. John 14: 16-18

To the believer who is surrounded by troubles on every hand, there is the blessed promise of a comforter. (Greek - paracletos or paraclete, also used in 14:26; 15-26; 15:7) The Greek word paraclete, translated as a comforter, refers to one who appears on behalf of another. It is the kind of word that would be used in a courtroom drama to describe a defendant who has rested his case, yet still lacks the evidence needed to persuade the jury of his innocence. Just at the moment when it appears that all hope has gone, someone in the courtroom arises and comes to the defendant's side saying. "I have additional information which will prove this man's innocence." Likewise when we find ourselves backed into the corner like a frightened fox, with nowhere to turn, the comforter or paraclete comes along side to aid us. In the darkest of troubles, what a comfort to know that there is a paraclete for you.

A Peace For You

The world is looking for peace. All too often it searches among the wrong people, the wrong places, and the wrong things. Satan has provided a host of so called solutions to satisfy the world's empty, vain search for peace. Men will consume houses and lands in an effort to be at peace. When asked "how much do you want?" a rich man once replied, "Only a little more." But what shall a man give in exchange for God's peace for it cannot be purchased. Some have sought peace through worldly pleasure. The temporary gratification of the flesh cannot compare to the lasting satisfaction which only God can give. Real peace is found only in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is no greater argument against a troubled heart than having the peace of God. In the midst of chaos, there is a peace for you.

When we consider these three arguments against a troubled heart we find ourselves with no excuse for not having "the great peace of God." It is not an earthly peace, for its source is from above. It is not an explainable peace for it "passeth all understanding." This in-explicable, extra-terrestrial peace is only available in God through Christ Jesus His Son. Do you rest in His peace today?


The Great Provocation To Love

Text: Matthew 5:43-48

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your father which is in heaven for He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And (f ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

INTRODUCTION:

The Master-Teacher so wonderfully provoked some and so clearly parted others as He taught on the law of love. He began the great discourse on love with these words, "Ye have heard that it hath been said . . . " Jesus introduced His opening argument with the preciseness and accuracy demanded by a trial judge who is attempting to separate "fact" from "heresay". The statement "it hath been said" implied that what had been said was not what should have been said. In the case of our text, Jesus, as a perfect student of the law, proved that what was commonly said was not factual.

The pharisee had committed two serious errors concerning the law of love. He had added that which did not belong, and he had taken away that which should have remained. The law declared that "thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self" (cf. Luke 10:27). The phrase, "as thy self', was omitted because no pharisee could love anyone to the degree that he loved himself. The phrase, "and hate thy enemy", was added because no pharisee could honestly love his enemy.

The Great Exhortation Of Love

Knowing the extent that the law had been perverted and the lex talionis (law of retaliation) spirit that prevailed, the Perfect Lawgiver said, "But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you . . . "One of the most unnatural responses to a cursing is certainly a blessing. Yet with great clarity and with great purpose. Jesus paves the way for a clear manifestation of the law of love. He instructed them to bless the curser.

Jesus also said, "Do good to them that hate you . . . " Once again the natural inclination would be to poison, choke, or in some way abuse the person who hates you. Yet when Jesus said "do good", He was outlining the action necessary to remain within the boundaries of the law of love. The third dagger of truth that penetrated the very heart of this perverted law was to "pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you". The pharisee, in his perversion of the law, had so influenced the converted Jew, that he probably thought these instructions were most unreasonable. Yet Jesus proceeded to attack this notion as He gave the great example of love.

The Great Example Of Love

The great example of love was expressed in the Father's allowing the sun to rise on the evil as well as on the good, and in allowing the rain to fall on the just as well as the unjust. Certainly this example does not fall into the category of a lex talionis spirit. The get-even or the retaliatory spirit would involve blackening the sun and not permitting it to shine on the enemies' land. The same spirit would incite God to withhold the rain until the enemies' land was completely parched. Romans 2:4 tells us that the goodness of God leadeth men to repentance. Thank God that His benevolent grace showers upon us in spite of our wickedness. 136

The Great Explanation Of Love

Jesus, the perfect law giver, defined the spirit of love that should exist by asking the following question: "If ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?" By asking this question, Jesus proved that the law of love required more than a natural act of love; it required a supernatural act prompted by the Holy Spirit. This is the reason that Jesus said, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father which is in heaven is perfect". To love your enemies, to bless them that curse you, and to pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you, will require God's law working within you. Therefore, in order to keep the law of love, one must have the law of love ruling in his heart.

Consider what a difference there would be in our homes, businesses, and churches if we all obeyed the law of love as given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ.


The Great Prerequisite For Service

Text: Isaiah 6:1-13

What is the stimulus that has stirred men through the ages to give themselves completely to a cause? What motivation incites men to march faithfully and courageously against insurmountable odds to reach their most lofty goals? Alas, what causes an individual to enter into spiritual service faithfully serving out the balance of his life without earthly praise? Perhaps a single answer which would similarly fit each of these questions is "vision".

A great prerequisite for service is indeed vision. Isaiah had a vision which transformed him into a truly willing servant. This vision, recorded in Isaiah 6, reveals three areas where a servant must have vision.

A Proper Vision Of Sovereignty

First a servant must have a proper vision of sovereignty.

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings: with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. (vs. 1-4)

Certainly Isaiah recognized God's sovereignty as he observed the Lord in His prominence. He saw the Lord in His lofty position, "high and lifted up". It is only when the Lord becomes an exalted being clothed in His majesty that a person will dedicate himself completely to service. The man who serves a little God will do a little service as a little servant.

Isaiah, in his vision, also saw the Lord in His holiness and in His piety. The heavenly vision must have been an awesome sight to a mere mortal man. Yet the true servant of God must have a proper vision of the Lord's piety before he can adequately serve Him. A man will never perform a holy service until he recognizes the fact that he serves a holy God.

In verse four "the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried", demonstrating the tremendous power of the Sovereign One. One of the greatest comforts to an individual who serves God is in knowing that he serves a powerful God, a God who can powerfully protect him from the powerful enemy, Satan.

A Proper Vision Of Self

A servant must also have a proper vision of self as shown in the following verses.

Then said I, woe is me! I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraph ims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged (vs. 5-7)

Isaiah, after seeing the holiness of God in all His sovereignty became painfully aware that he was nothing apart from the grace of God. Paul, the servant of the New Testament, experienced this feeling of woe as he said, "for I am the least of the Apostles, that am not meet to be called an Apostle . . . " I Cor. 15:10. Until a person has a realistic view of himself, he will never be able to adequately serve.

Along with woefulness a person must recognize his wickedness apart from God's amazing grace.

Thank God for His amazing grace!

A Proper Vision for Service

Man also has the inability to serve God apart from his strengthening grace, Isaiah, once the Lord cleansed him and strengthened him, became available to service as illustrated by the third prerequisite for service, a proper vision for service. Like Isaiah, one must recognize the great call that is involved in service. The Lord asked, "whom shall I send, and who will go for us"? Then said I, "here am I; send me." When a man knows that he has been called to service, as Isaiah was, it will be virtually impossible to stop him.

Perhaps the element that made the call so great was the great cause. Notice the following verses.

And he said, Go, and tell this people. Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and convert to be healed. (vs. 9-10)

The great cause involved telling the people that they might be converted and healed. Just as Isaiah had a great cause, the believer today has a great cause; that sinners might be converted to Christ.

With any great call and great cause there is usually a great cost involved. Legend has it that Isaiah was put inside a hollow tree and sawed asunder at the command of Manasseh (read Hebrews 11:32-40; Romans 8:35-39).

May we be challenged from this study to surrender completely to His service that we might please Him.


The Great Peril Of The Last Days

Text: II Timothy 3

It is easy to recognize that the "last days", as mentioned in II Timothy 3 are upon us. The "perilous times" spoken of have arrived. Truly we are living in the last days. The truth of this thought is given in verse 1.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (vs. 1)

May we study briefly this third chapter and notice three particulars about the last days.

The Pattern Of The Last Days

The pattern of the last days is given to us in the first nine verses, beginning with a time of lawlessness. It appears that men become law breakers when they become selfish. Therefore, the self centered man is most likely to be a law-breaking man. The man who pulls a gun forcing another to give him money is a selfish man. This man wants only to care for himself. If a man is selfish enough, he will break the law to keep himself satisfied. Please note the following descriptive words used to describe the selfishness that exists in these last days.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, coveteous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobe-dient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good. (vs. 2-3)

These same descriptive words used to describe the selfish man also describe the general period of lawlessness that exists in these last days. This period of lawlessness is a time when there will be much looseness of living. For example, men will be loose in their sexuality causing them to burn in their lust one toward another.

And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. (Romans 1:27)

This is also a period of time when men become loose with their tongue. They boast; they blaspheme; they falsely accuse; they lie; and on and on the list could continue.

Another distinguishing mark or pattern of the last days is lustfulness. This is a time when men will be led away with many lusts.

For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts. (vs. 6)

Men lust after women, wealth, and worldly pleasures. Many in these last days will let the "pleasures of only a season" rob them of an eternity in Heaven. What a terrible tragedy this is.

The Persecution Of The Last Days

The general pattern of the last days is made transparently clear in the first nine verses. Then, beginning in verse ten, we are made aware of the persecution that comes to the Godly in Christ.

Paul reveals the persecution that he experienced giving us a Biblical example of true persecution. He then made a weighty statement by saying that all Godly will suffer persecution.

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (vs. 12)

In the closing moments of these last days the persecution will become more and more intense. The intensity of the persecution leveled against the Godly will be proportioned to their godliness.

The wicked intent of the persecutors (as they wax worse and worse) will be to bring about great deception. Apostasy will follow this as an out growth of this deception.

Perhaps you are wondering, how may believers be equipped for these last days? To answer this question consider .

The Preparation For The Last Days

The preparation for the last days requires that men be settled. This settling will come only from the Rock-of-Gibraltar of your faith, the Word of God. In these last days increasing numbers of the so-called fundamentalists are tampering with the Word and turning to different translations of the Bible. There is therefore less settling and more shifting. Give me the authorized, 1611, King James Version, that I might be settled in these last days.

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of knowing of whom thou hast learned them. (vs. 14)

Above all, for a man to be prepared for these last days, he needs to be saved. The Holy Scriptures can bring a peaceful and settled heart to a man that is saved. There is absolutely no real peace apart from salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (vs. 15)

To be saved is wonderful; to be settled is also wonderful. But there needs to be sureness in preparation for these last days. We are living in a great period of indecisiveness, a time when men do not seem to be sure. Instability is a common occurrence. Yet, according to the Scriptures the believer can be sure in these last days.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (vs. 16-17)

In God's Word we have the only perfect manual for the direction of our lives. We can be prepared in these last days as we face persecution by recognizing the pattern that exists. May we be challenged to live a life "thoroughly furnished unto all good works" in these perilous times.


The Great Problem Of Fornication

Text: Proverbs 6:20-35, Text Verses 23, 25

There is no way to measure the sorrow, the suffering, the shattered dreams, and the sadness that results from the evil, terrible and wicked sin of fornication. The sexual sin called fornication is indeed a great problem. When this sin is committed against the marriage partner, it is properly labeled as adultery. This sin had been committed by the rich and the poor, by the small and the great. The Scriptures show that even the greatest men have fallen to this horrible sin. David, who had the greatest heart, fell to this sin; Solomon, who had the greatest mind, fell to this sin. Samson, who had the greatest body, fell to this sin. Proverbs 7:26 reminds us that, "many strong men have been slain by her."

Notice three different aspects concerning fornication.

Note the Possibility Of Fornication

My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother; Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law ~ light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: To keep thee from the evil woman. (vs. 20-24a)

Many who have committed adultery, after they have fornicated admit that there was a time when they believed, "It could never happen to me!" Yet the Scripture warns that the possibility is always there. Along with the warning of the possibility, there is also a way to avoid the fornication. Obedience to the Scriptures will "lead", "keep" and "talk with thee" (vs. 22), thus guarding against fornication. From the Scriptures let us observe the second aspect of this problem.

Note The Protection Against Fornication

From the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. (vs. 24b-25)

Since fornication is a real possibility the Scripture provides four warnings one should be aware of as protection against adultery or fornication. First, man should avoid succumbing to her flattering tongue, vs. 24; and 7:2 1. The tongue can be a piercing spear or a soothing fountain. The tongue can be used to inspire a nation to battle the enemy, or it can be used to foam out profanity of the worst kind. The words of a harlot, or the strange woman, like a great spider, can spin a web around its victim thus forcing him into the trap.

With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. (7:21)

Often a man does not receive the encouragement and words that should be appropriately given by his wife to sustain him and strengthen his ego. If the wife does not, Satan has someone out there who will. Satan will use the same "flattering tongue" by a strange woman, which should have been used by the wife, to bring a man into a sexual trap. We as men must be aware of and avoid succumbing to the flattering tongue.

The second thing that one should avoid succumbing to is the strange woman's fleshly beauty, vs. 25a. It is not uncommon for a woman who, prior to her marriage, took great care for the way she looked, to become negligent after marriage. A wife, in modesty, should keep herself as attractive as possible for her own husband. If she does not, she opens the door to another who will. The wife, realizing that the husband has a natural tendency to be attracted to the beauty of a woman, should maintain her own beauty, especially her inward beauty. She should not consider herself in a contest with other beautiful women of the world, but rather desire to be her "beautiful best" for her own mate.

In contrast, even if a man's wife makes no attempt to keep herself attractive, the husband still has no right to be turned aside by the beauty of another. With the exploitation of the human body by Hollywood and the advertising industry, there are many temptations which could contribute to a man yielding. As men, we must, by all means, avoid succumbing to her fleshly beauty.

Another safe guard given in the text concerns the eyes. Avoid succumbing to her fooling eyes, vs. 25b. With the eyes one can communicate volumes. I had a school teacher who could say more with the stearness of her eyes than most could say with a mulitude of speaking.

Recently I walked into a store to purchase a snack. The young lady behind the counter, who I had never seen before, smiled and winked. An attractive woman such as this could, with those fooling eyes, easily lay a snare for some potential victim. The victim could have been me. I hurriedly made my purchase and left those "fooling eyes" behind. As men we are warned to beware of the fooling eyes.

The fourth safeguard given is the avoidance of her fondling touch, vs. 29. There is no way to calculate the power of touch. A mother can, with her touch calm a frightened child. A companion can touch as though to say, "I am with you." Yet, outside of marriage the touch can be dynamite. I recall years ago working on a job which required working in close confinement. A young lady who worked there would sometimes casually walk by and bump me. There was power in that touch which I soon recognized and avoided. This taught me the valuable lesson that I should always beware of the powerful touch.

When a man succumbs to the flattering tongue, the fleshly beauty, the fooling eyes, and the fondling touch; He is destined for great problems. Our text clearly shows that such a man faces defilement in verses 26-29.

For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of breadS and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbour's w(fe; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent. (vs. 26-29)

He faces being despised in verses 30-31.

Men do not despise a thief if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house. (vs. 30-31)

He faces destruction in verse 32.

But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. (vs. 32)

And at last he faces dishonor in verses 33-35.

A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. For jealousy is the rage of a man. therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content though thou gives! many gifts (vs. 33-35)

Note, in particular, the loss incurred by the man when he fornicates. The Scriptures declare that "by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread. . . "vs. 26.

When I observe this verse, I think of many lost treasures. A man looses the "treasure of a good name" Proverbs 22:1. A good name is not acquired over night, but may be lost in a single night. Another treasure is the "treasure of a peaceful mind" Psalms 5 1:3. I have seen men with a strong mind and a healthy emotional state crumble after committing adultery. Like David, they would say, "My sin is ever before me." The perpetual, haunting effect of this sin would take its awful toll stealing away the treasure of a peaceful mind. Then there is "the treasure of a healthy body"

Proverbs 7:26-27; 10:27. There are many sexual diseases such as veneral diseases, syphilis, and AIDS which can result from fornication. There is currently a campaign going on to educate people regarding "safe sex." Outside of the marriage there is no such thing as "safe" sex! The physiological and mental problems will eventually rob a man of "the treasure of a healthy body" Proverbs 7:26-27, 10:27.

One treasure so often lost is "the treasure of a happy home". I have heard wives say, "It would have been easier to have heard that he died in a wreck loving me, than for him to do this not knowing if he loved me." The little children, the wife, and the home in general are often destroyed when this terrible sin takes place. The home is certainly a treasure to be guarded. Another sacred treasure of the Christian that is lost is "the treasure of a full ministry" Proverbs 2:14. Preachers, in a moment of passion have lost their ministry. The loss of this great treasure is an awesome price to pay for a passing pleasure.

When these and other treasures are lost, the only things that remain are "the crumbs." He is brought to a "piece of bread."

If each crumb were labeled, the first would be called the "crumb of sorrow", the next, the "crumb of suffering" and another the "crumb of shattered dreams." There would finally be the "crumb of the sober reality of what has happened."

The picture is vividly clear. This terrible sin reduces a man to a piece of bread . . . to a crumb. May we be stirred by this warning found in Proverbs lest we loose our most precious treasures.



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