“The ministry can be the means of making you more unlike Christ if you don’t watch your life.” —
The professors of preaching tell us to get an outline first: If I want to speak on a topical subject that is possible. I have never been able to do an outline first and them make a sermon from the outline.
Generally I read the text. Since I am a teacher I want to learn what the verses are saying. For example as I am in Luke 3, I want to know what the verses are saying. When I finish I want to be able to tell the people hearing me: this verse means this:
For example I was a little hung up on this verse in Luke 3:8
At first I didn’t have a clue what “That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.”
I had to do some research on this verse:
“God just sort of cut you out of a rock to begin with and God can make more of you if He chooses out of the rocks lying around on the ground. That’s nothing special.” John Mac.
Then over at BibleStudyTools looking at Matthew 3:9, looked up what John Gill said about this verse.
that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
- To “raise up children” is an Hebrew way of speaking, and the same with (Mv) or (erz Myqhl) to “raise up seed”, or a “name” to another, ( Genesis 38:8 ) ( Deuteronomy 25:7 ) ( Ruth 4:10 ) and signifies to beget children for another, who are to be called by his name
- . Some by “the stones” understand the Gentiles, comparable to stones, both for the hardness of their hearts, and their idolatry in worshipping stocks and stones; of and among whom God was able to raise, and has raised up, a spiritual seed to Abraham; who are of the same faith with him, who walk in his steps, and whose father he is: but then it must be supposed, according to this sense, that there were some Gentiles present, since John calls them “these” stones, pointing to some persons or things, that were before him;
- wherefore I rather think that this phrase is to be taken literally, and that John pointed to some certain stones that were near him, within sight, and which lay upon the banks of Jordan, where he was baptizing; for what is it that the omnipotent God cannot do? He could as easily of stones make men, as make Adam out of the dust of the earth, and then make these men, in a spiritual sense, children of Abraham; that is, believers in Christ, and partakers of his “grace; for if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise”, ( Galatians 3:29 ) .
- So that God stood in no need of these persons, nor had they any reason to boast of their natural descent from Abraham; since this in spiritual matters, and in things relating to the Gospel dispensation, would stand them in no stead, or be of any advantage to them.
So what I could not find in Luke 3 I knew the same story is in Matthew 3 and there I found some commentary.
I also have on Kindle Fire the commentary
These words show that John had the splendid courage to strike boldly at the very root of Jewish pride. They believed “Abraham would sit at the gates of hell, and would not permit any circumcised Israelite of decent moral character to enter in.” “A single Israelite is worth more in God’s sight than all the nations of the world.” “The world was made for their (Israel’s) sake.”
They had not got Paul’s point about this attitude : Galatians3:7, 29.
Therefore I like to know the understanding of the text so I can give a right description of the narrative that is before us. Of course I need a little help to do this.
I still am amazed how may sermons have been taught on Matthew 3 and Luke 3 over the years.
I am not John Nash who wanted to come up with something that no one else had every come up with. Maybe in my later years the Lord will give greater insight into the text and allow me to discover a new way of saying the same wonderful story.