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The Net Pastor’s Journal, Eng Ed, Issue 50, Winter 2024

A ministry of…

Author: Dr. Roger Pascoe, President,
Email: [email protected]

I. Strengthening Expository Preaching: Preaching Doctrine

Since it is impossible for me to deal with all aspects of preaching doctrine, I have decided to focus particularly on the application of doctrine since that, it seems to me, is one of the big challenges in preaching. How do I make doctrine relevant to life and not simply a concept to be understood? How can I teach doctrine in my preaching in such a way that people recognize its importance and value to their lives, such that it shapes their thinking, behaviour, decisions, relationships, values etc.?

In addressing this topic, I will try, in this and subsequent editions of this Journal, to give you…

A. Some factors in our contemporary culture that impact the preaching of doctrine.

B. Three important steps in preaching doctrine.

C. Some specific examples of the application of doctrine in preaching.

D. Helpful hints for preaching doctrine.

E. Some concluding reminders about preaching doctrine.

First, then, by way of an introduction to this topic let me comment on…

A. Some Factors In Our Contemporary Culture That Impact The Preaching Of Doctrine.

A1. The Impact of Contemporary Christian Music on Doctrine. The music we hear and sing in church now is influenced greatly by secular music. You could argue that such has always been the case, but that doesn’t make it right nor does it mean that it should continue to be the case. Many contemporary Christian songs could just as easily be songs played on secular radio programs since they sound the same and contain, in some instances, no references that would easily identify them as Christian.

Christian music genre is not just a matter of preference. It’s not just a matter of whether you like traditional hymns or contemporary worship music. That’s a very superficial way of looking at music. Surely, the music we choose for our worship services must be selected on the basis of…

1. The theology of the lyrics - their theological integrity and instruction.

2. Its connection to the theme of the sermon, for all aspects of a church service, I would argue, should be unified. Indeed, a kaleidoscope of music totally unrelated to the theme of the sermon produces a disjointed service and disconnects the worship in music from the worship in the Word.

3. Its expression of worship to God

4. Its connection with Christian life experience

5. The style of the musical composition and the instrumentation played.

6. Its connection with our evangelical history. This criterion is often overlooked but vitally necessary because the advent and popularity of contemporary Christian music lays the emphasis on “contemporary” and contributes to the disconnection from the past that has arisen in our churches, so much so that we are actually raising a generation of young people now who have no connection to our theological traditions, doctrines, or history.

So, as we talk about preaching doctrine, be aware that preaching and teaching doctrine is not limited to the sermon. We should teach doctrine in our music as well. Sadly, much of the contemporary music (not all) either contains no doctrinal content whatsoever or doctrine that is rooted in other ecclesiastical traditions that may be contrary to what we believe and practice. Thus, the proliferation of church music that is from the contemporary genre only, without some traditional music, exacerbates the movement away from preaching doctrine and contributes to the biblical and theological illiteracy of so many of our congregants, particularly our young people.

A2. The Impact of a Contemporary Worldview on Doctrine. The way our society in general thinks usually makes its way into our congregations. Contemporary cultural thinking rejects the notion that there is knowable, absolute, authoritative truth. Instead, those who hold this philosophy consider all truth to be relative and situational, depending on your personal worldview and experience, which, they think, is more relevant to and authoritative in their lives than abstract concepts. Thus, this contemporary philosophy has affected the attitude with which people listen to sermons, particularly sermons on biblical doctrine.

Closely connected to this way of thinking is the cultural emphasis today on individual rights and freedoms, which similarly impacts the preaching of doctrine. Individualism not only stresses private preference but also personal, individual authority that says, “What I believe is my business and no one else is going to tell me what is right or wrong.” Rather than preaching to people whose basic assumption is that the Bible is true and accurate in all that it affirms, many people today come to our church services with the attitude, “Since when was biblical doctrine the ultimate authority for my faith and practice? Who gives you the authority to tell me what is true and what is not?” As a result we have pews filled with people of diverse theological persuasions, many of which have no sound biblical basis, and, in many cases, people with no theological persuasion at all.

Added to this, many Christians view the church, its ministry, and programs, much like choosing from a menu in a restaurant or buying your groceries: “Which one do I like best, suits my needs best, delivers the most benefit to me?” This emphasis on individualistic preference manifests itself in the erratic attendance levels in many evangelical churches today. As one pastor said to me, the congregation seems to change weekly. If the schedule of another activity (e.g. sports) conflicts with and is considered to be more attractive than attending a church service, then that activity gets priority.

Part of this consumer-oriented, self-centered mentality is the drive for instant gratification, from fast foods to pain killers. Undoubtedly this is why so many popular Christian books that fill the Christian bookstores are so superficial. They are responding to the demand for a “five easy step solution” to life’s complex questions, all the way from raising children, to handling debt, to knowing the future.

All this to say that the demand for instant solutions and the emphasis on private preference manifests itself in the general attitude to biblical doctrine. Church, for much of the current generation, is just another item on the list of things that they can purchase and when assessing which church or church service to purchase from they are driven by a materialistic view: “What’s in it for me? What’s the benefit for my children?”

Undoubtedly, television and movies have had a great impact on the seeming inability of people in general to interact with and think through philosophical and theological issues. TV and Hollywood are bombarding the culture with their philosophy and people are subconsciously absorbing it. So, the challenge for us, as preachers, is to make sure that the theology we teach is not left in the realm of an abstract concept but is directly related to practical living.

Sadly, many preachers have fallen captive to this materialistic culture and, in response, preach sermons that satisfy the contemporary worldview, such as “how-to” sermons, “felt-need” sermons, and Christian psychology and counselling, all of which are designed to deliver a tangible, take-home value to the listener’s perceived needs, but which, in the final analysis, are by-and-large anthropocentric sermons devoid, in many instances, of any focus on God and the doctrines of his Word. We must remember that theology is and must be fundamentally practical, otherwise it fails to make a difference in people’s lives. Thus, when preaching doctrine, preachers must be sure to make clear how this should affect lives – our relationships, values, priorities, beliefs, morality etc.

So, the challenge for preachers in this contemporary context is: How do you preach to people whose largely secular thinking drives every part of their lives, including what they want out of church? How do you effectively preach to people who are more attuned to feelings, sights, sounds, touch, and experience than they are to thinking with their minds about propositional truth? How do you preach to people who do not believe that there is absolute truth? How do you preach to people, many of whom think that what is true for you is not necessarily true for them?

I would argue that as postmodernism gradually deconstructs society’s worldview (through concepts such as moral relativism, social pluralism, evolutionary humanism), the more Christian doctrine becomes relevant in helping people put their lives and worldview back together again. Furthermore, before we can teach people the “how” of Christian behavior, we must teach them the “what” of Christian doctrine. If they don’t know “what” we believe and “why” we believe it, they cannot possibly understand “how” to apply it to their Christian lives. As B. B. Warfield expresses it: “The universally acknowledged principle that what a person believes will determine how he behaves underscores the importance of preaching correct doctrine” (“The Indispensableness of Systematic Theology to the Preacher,” in The Masters Seminary Journal, Fall 1996). This is one of the problems with “how-to” or “felt-needs” anthropocentric sermons. They try to change the way people live without first changing the way they think based on biblical truth.

A3. The Impact of Contemporary Biblical Illiteracy on Doctrine. Not that long ago (perhaps only as far back as the early to mid-20th century), preachers could count on the majority of their congregation knowing the biblical narratives and understanding and affirming biblical doctrines, at least to varying degrees. But you can’t count on that now. Fewer and fewer church-goers know their Bibles or biblical doctrine.

As preaching doctrine becomes more and more of a necessity, many preachers find it more and more of a challenge and less and less attractive to do so, perhaps because they themselves do not know or adequately understand biblical doctrine, or perhaps because preaching doctrine might impact their relationship with their congregation, many of whom may not accept what they preach. Thus, this issue of the biblical illiteracy of many church-goers has the effect of rendering many preachers fearful of preaching doctrine lest they be misunderstood, or worse lest they offend their congregations. Thus, in many cases, they shy away from doing so.

Life seems to be advancing at such a pace that what was accepted even 10 years ago is now redundant and tossed aside to make way for the new. In this culture of high speed change, history and tradition are not important to the younger generation anymore. They live for the present in isolation from the past and without much concern for the future. Evolution, which is being fervently preached in schools, on TV and other forms of entertainment, has probably had one of the greatest impacts on this type of thinking as it effectively detaches people from any significant past and leaves them confused about any significant future.

We must maintain a connection to our evangelical roots and recognize their impact on the church. I mentioned it earlier with regard to the church music scene, but its impact is more far-reaching than just music. It impacts doctrinal traditions as well. The doctrines we teach in conservative, evangelical churches has grown out of a long history of theological debate and study by individuals, churches, and denominations. What we believe today is, in large part, due to the theological scholarship of people whom God has gifted to analyze, articulate, and promote sound biblical doctrine, and we thank God for them.

Concluding Remarks. This short background survey is designed to highlight some of the secular influences on our contemporary evangelical churches that underscore the necessity of getting back to basics through the preaching and teaching of biblical doctrine. As Timothy George argues, “The recovery of doctrinal preaching is essential to the renewal of the church ... The presupposition of doctrinal preaching is that the God who has once and for all come in Jesus Christ and once and for all spoken in Holy Scripture still comes and still speaks to His people through the faithful proclamation of His Word in the power of the Holy Spirit” (“Doctrinal Preaching” in Handbook of Contemporary Preaching, ed. Michael Duduit, pages 93 and 95).

Though many people would say that they want sermons that address their “felt needs,” our task is to deliver sermons that address their “real needs.” Their real needs are spiritual and their spiritual needs must be addressed first and foremost with sound biblical teaching, including doctrine.

This concludes my discussion of the first item (“A”) above: “Some factors in our contemporary culture that impact the preaching of doctrine.” I will continue discussing various other aspects of doctrinal preaching (see “B” to “E” above) in subsequent editions of this NET Pastors Journal.

II. Strengthening Biblical Leadership:
Order In The Church, Part 4, 1 Timothy 2:1-15

As we noticed last time, 1 Timothy is structured around five “charges” (points of instruction) that the apostle Paul issues to the young pastor Timothy, who was Paul’s son in the faith and his protégé (pupil, apprentice). These five charges are as follows:

A. A charge concerning pastoral responsibility (1:3-20): “Wage the good warfare.”

B. A charge concerning public worship (2:1-15): “The men should pray…the women should learn quietly.”

C. A charge concerning pastoral leadership (3:1-16): “How one ought to behave in the house of God.”

D. A charge concerning personal devotion (4:1-6:2): “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching.”

E. A charge concerning pastoral motives (6:3-21): “Keep the commandment unstained…guard the deposit entrusted to you.”

In the previous three editions of this Journal (NPJ 47, 48, 49), I covered the first charge (“A”) concerning pastoral responsibilities:

A1. The responsibility to maintain pure doctrine (1:3-11)

A2. The responsibility to testify to God’s saving grace (1:12-17)

A3. The responsibility to fulfill your pastoral mandate (1:18-20).

In this edition we will study the second charge in 1 Timothy…

B. A Charge Concerning Public Worship (2:1-15): “The men should pray…the women should learn quietly.”

Paul now proceeds to lay out certain specifics and procedural details about the general charge to Timothy to fulfill his mandate (1:18-20). The first item is…

B1. An exhortation to congregational prayer (2:1-7). “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people” (2:1).

a) The primacy of congregational prayer (2:1a). By saying “first of all, then, I urge…” Paul evidently wants Timothy, in his leadership of the church at Ephesus, to give first priority to the public, collective, and regular practice of prayer. Paul is not exercising his apostolic authority here by way of command but rather he is appealing to the congregation (urging them) to engage in what should be of primary importance.

b) The nature of congregational prayer (2:1b) is described here in four terms - “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings” - all of which should be expressed in the church’s public prayers. It is difficult to make clear distinctions between these various descriptions of prayer, but, without trying to be too definitive, I think there are subtle differences in these terms, perhaps as follows…

“Supplications” - requests presented to God concerning specific needs.

“Prayers” – a general term of speaking to and hearing from God.

“Intercessions” – petitioning God on behalf of someone else.

“Thanksgivings” – expressing to God our gratitude for blessings received, strength provided, clarity given, opportunities presented, responses awaited etc. Surely, thanksgiving should be our attitude in all our prayers.

Prayer, then, should not only have priority and regularity among us as to its practice and include different aspects as to its nature, but notice also…

c) The scope of congregational prayer (2:1c-2a) is to be universal: “…for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions.” Public prayer is not to be limited to our needs or our locality but is to be universal (“all people”) including those in positions of authority (“for kings and all who are in high positions”). Indeed, those who hold higher official positions in government, in law enforcement, in the law courts etc., and in our places of employment surely need our prayers today more than ever.

This exhortation should challenge us as to whether prayer in the churches in which we minister is so characterized. It is so easy for us to become myopic in our prayer life, isn’t it? Do we engage in serious supplication and intercession in the spirit of thanksgiving, not only for ourselves but for all people? Do we remember to pray publicly for world affairs, the spread of the gospel, the salvation of the lost? Or are we more concerned about our own needs and wants?

d) The objective of congregational prayer (2:2b) is that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” Our rulers, leaders, and authorities make a significant difference in the conditions under which we live congregationally and individually. Those who rule over us can impact the quality and freedom and testimony of our lives. Our earnest prayer should be that we be allowed to live “peaceful and quiet” lives, unopposed by our neighbors and authorities and undistracted from our Christian responsibilities, such that our Christian testimony would be “godly and dignified in every way.” Collective prayers of this nature and with this objective would have as their ultimate goal the spread of the gospel through the freedom and peace that we would enjoy.

e) The reasons for congregational prayer (2:3-7). Paul gives three reasons why the practice of congregational prayer, as he has described it, is so important.

First, congregational prayer is important because … prayer for “all people” (2:1) is “good and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior” (2:3). It is always “good” to engage in practices that are “pleasing” to God, and prayers that are pleasing to God are efficacious because they accord with God’s desire for “all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2:4). This is a marvelous truth, that the heart of God, expressed in its fullness at the cross of Christ, has as its objective the salvation of all people.

The saving purpose of God is universal in its scope – no one can ever say that God did not love them or that Christ did not die for them. Nonetheless, sadly, some will not be saved, not because of any deficiency on God’s part but because of their stubborn refusal to accept the salvation he has provided for them and offers them in Christ. Indeed, God’s desire is not only the salvation of all people, but that once saved they will “come to the knowledge of the truth.” This is surely one of the primary responsibilities of pastoral leadership – to ensure that believers are taught the Scriptures accurately and clearly and trained in upright Christian living, so that they progress in their knowledge of the truth and their relationship with God (2 Tim. 3:16; Eph. 4:13-16).

Second, congregational prayer is important because … prayer for the salvation of all people has a profoundly doctrinal basis concerning the essential nature of the godhead and God’s relationship with the human race. The truth that “there is one God” (2:5a) eliminates any pagan notion of multiple gods or that all roads lead to heaven. And since there is only one God, there can only be “one mediator between God and humanity,” and that person is “the man Christ Jesus” (2:5b). Only Christ Jesus, being truly God, could provide the way by which rebellious people can be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:14-21), which purpose he mediated when, at the cross, he “gave himself as a ransom for all” (2:6a).

Notice again, that salvation is provided for and available to all people through Christ, “which is the testimony given at the proper time” (2:6b), the time when Christ came into the world, lived a perfect life and died as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world, all at just the right time in world history (Gal. 4:4). This short statement of Christian doctrine sets out very succinctly the basis of salvation and the underlying motivation to pray for the salvation of all people.

Third, congregational prayer is important because … prayer for the salvation of all people is a continuation of the apostle Paul’s ministry. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth” (2:7). Paul himself was called by Christ (Gal. 1:15) and appointed as an apostle to preach and teach the Gentiles based on his personal faith and the objective truth of the gospel, which ministry he exhorts pastor Timothy (and us) to continue.

B2. An instruction on congregational conduct (2:8-15). The apostle’s exhortation to congregational prayer leads to this instruction regarding a distinction between the participation and conduct of men and women in the church.

a) The participation and conduct of men in congregational prayer (2:8). “Therefore, I desire that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.” That the apostle addresses this instruction specifically to “the men” is notable and relevant for our day in which there seems to be much confusion about who may participate in public worship and how.

As to the participants in public prayer, the apostle Paul instructs the men in the church to be active in this aspect of congregational worship. This raises some obvious questions, such as whether he means that only men exclusively may pray in public services or whether the women may pray as well, since in 1 Corinthians 11:5-6 he states that a woman who prays publicly must either have her head covered or have her hair cut off. It also raises the question as to whether Paul is addressing the men in the Ephesian church only or all men in every church.

My sense is that in 1 Timothy 2, Paul is not assigning public prayer to men exclusively any more than he is ordering proper deportment for women only. Rather, here in 1 Timothy 2:8, he is simply speaking to the men, urging them to take their proper responsibility and role in public worship services, one of which is public prayer. Perhaps the men in the Ephesian church were failing in this responsibility. Then, in 2:9-10, he is speaking to women, urging them to adorn themselves with appropriate apparel and godliness. These are the specific issues he is addressing in Timothy’s context. Furthermore, the introductory “likewise…” (2:9) seems to imply that women also may pray publicly, but that isn’t his focus in this chapter. This does not in any way contradict his instructions in 1 Corinthians 11, since orderly deportment and relationship between men and women in public worship is always to be maintained.

The manner in which the men pray publicly is also of importance to the apostle. They were to pray “lifting holy hands,” which in the first century church was a demonstration of reverence. I think it reasonable to suppose that such a mode of praying is not necessarily binding on all cultures for all time. Indeed, the emphasis seems to be not on the outward mode of public prayer but rather on the man’s inner holiness of life as manifested in his outward conduct - “without anger or quarreling” (2:8).

The behavior of an angry person is not conducive to holiness. Anger is the internal root of external quarreling. Anger is a lack of emotional self-control, usually in the person’s attempt to dominate others, to persuade others to submit to their will and their opinions. If left unjudged, this attitude often spills over into sinful behavior like quarreling. An angry, quarrelsome man is usually known by all in the congregation to be such, rendering him incapable of effectively praying on behalf of the congregation, some of whom have probably been negatively impacted by his behavior.

b) The participation and conduct of women in congregational worship (9-15). Here there are two aspects to the apostle’s instruction:

The first aspect is their modest deportment in congregational worship (2:9-10):9 Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with good works, as is proper for women who profess godliness.”

Here the apostle focuses not on the woman’s participation in prayer (as you might expect, following what he has just said to the men), but on their general decorum. The reason for this instruction is not given, so we will not speculate. Nevertheless, it seems self-evident that some of the women in the church at Ephesus were presenting themselves in ways that drew attention to themselves. Paul addresses this practice by instructing the women that their behavior and dress be characterized by “modesty and self-control” both in dress and behavior, which, given the context, have a direct impact on congregational worship.

Lest you think that Paul is focused on the externals only, note that with both the men and the women he links the external directly with the internal. As to the men they are to “pray, lifting holy hands” (external) and to do so “without anger or quarreling” (internal). As to the women, they are to dress “in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire” (external) but “with good works, as is proper for women who profess godliness” (internal).

As with the men (2:8), what goes on internally in a woman’s mind, heart, and attitude, is manifest outwardly in her dress and behavior. This is something that is largely forgotten in today’s culture, in which outward dress and conduct is often not connected to inward attitude and reverence. But surely, how we present ourselves outwardly when we gather as a church must be consistent with the occasion of worshipping God - our dress and conduct are a reflection of our attitude to the place and the person we worship, from which nothing in our deportment should be a distraction. This, according to the apostle Paul, should be clearly manifested by both Christian men and women in public worship.

Rather than drawing attention to themselves in the place of public worship by their external adornment, the women should adorn themselves with “good works” as is “proper for women who profess godliness.” Thus, internal holiness of character is always reflected in external modesty and reverence.

The second aspect of the apostle’s instruction to women is their quiet attitude in public worship (2:11-15): 11 A woman must learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet (2:11-12).

Here, Paul personalizes his exhortation - “a woman” (rather than “the women”) must learn quietly with all submissiveness” (2:11). The deportment of a woman in a public worship service is to be that of a quiet, submissive learner, specifically in relation to the men. Paul goes on to qualify what he has just said: “But I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet” (2:12). That’s what he means by a quiet, submissive learner – it’s all in relation to the men who are assigned the role of leadership in the church. This instruction appears to support the idea that there must have been some women in the church at Ephesus who were anything but quiet and submissive to the men.

Paul supports his instruction here by citing two factors…

1. The order of creation: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve” (2:13). Eve was created after Adam, from Adam, and for Adam (Gen. 2:7; 2:20-23; 1 Cor. 11:8-9). Adam was her head, not vice-versa, and this order in creation is to be recognized in the assembly of God’s people in public worship. Thus, before sin entered the world, God had already established a distinction in the relationship and functions of the man and the woman at creation.

2. The order of the fall: “…and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and has come to be in transgression” (2:14). This is most instructive as to how Paul states this. On the one hand, Eve was the first to sin, being thoroughly deceived by Satan. On the other hand, Adam, following Eve’s initiative, also sinned, but knowingly and voluntarily. He was not deceived as Eve was; he knew exactly what he was doing, choosing to be disobedient to God’s instruction. The point is that by usurping Adam’s God-appointed role as the leader in their relationship, Eve became a transgressor and for that she came under God’s judgement so that despite her desire to rule over her husband he would rule over her (Gen. 3:16). This forms the basis for Paul’s instruction concerning the position of women in public worship – a position of subordination and submissiveness, not leadership and authority.

Nonetheless, a woman is not consigned to a position of insignificance: “Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control” (2:15). As a direct result of Eve’s transgression, the woman (Eve specifically but all women by extension) was cursed with pain in childbirth (Gen. 3:16). Nevertheless, in spite of introducing sin into the world and despite the consequent curse of pain in childbirth, women are not beyond the reach of salvation. Rather, she will be saved through childbearing.” There are several interpretive difficulties here…

a) What does childbearing have to do with a woman’s salvation? The reference to childbearing is connected to the curse on women because of sin – namely, pain in childbearing. The overall sense seems to be that despite the curse, Eve’s sin was not irredeemable. Rather, even though the consequence of her sin was pain in childbearing for all women, women can and are saved and the evidence of their salvation is their continuance in “faith and love and holiness…” This qualification is consistent with the doctrine of perseverance, that those who are truly saved will manifest a godly life and persevere to the end.

Since this verse is contrasted to the previous verse (“nevertheless” or “yet”), contextually it seems that Paul is saying that the primary role of married women (whom he has been addressing in the church at Ephesus) is to bear children (obviously, only if they are able), not to lead in the church. That is, a married woman’s “leadership” role is bearing children, something for which women are uniquely gifted and which men cannot do.

“Through childbearing” here does not mean that childbearing is the means of a woman’s salvation, but rather that as a consequence of childbearing she provides leadership and derives fulfillment in the home through giving birth to and raising godly children.

b) To whom does “they” refer? The switch from singular “she” to plural “they” is simply the way Paul is switching from his reference to Eve specifically to all women generally. Thus, “they (all women generally) will be saved in childbearing if…”.

c) What does “if they continue in faith…” mean? A married women’s contribution to the building up of the church is through their godly example to their children – hence, “if they continue in faith.”

III. Sermon Outlines

Title: Learning from Jesus – Witnessing his deity (Matthew 27:45-54)

Subject: Five testimonies of Calvary.

Theme: God has given ample evidence at Calvary that Jesus Christ is his Son.

Point I: The testimony of the midday darkness (27:45).

1. The peculiarity of the darkness.

a) It extinguished the sun.

b) It enveloped the land.

c) It exposed God’s hand.

2. The portrayal of the darkness.

a) The darkness portrayed the sufferings of Christ.

b) The darkness portrayed the identity of Christ.

c) The darkness portrayed the isolation of Christ.

d) The darkness portrayed the blackness of sin.

e) The darkness portrayed the wrath of God.

Point II: The testimony of the temple veil (27:51a).

1. The veil of the temple was a warning to stay away from God because he is holy and men are sinful.

2. The torn veil of the temple was an invitation to come near to God…

a) … because the debt of sin had been paid.

b) … because access to God had been opened up for all.

Point III: The testimony of the earthquake (27:51b).

1. The earthquake testified to the significance of Christ’s death.

2. The earthquake fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy (Lk. 19:40).

3. The earthquake was Calvary’s answer to Sinai.

4. The earthquake was Calvary’s response to Eden.

Point IV: The testimony of the opened graves (27:52-53).

1. The opened graves symbolized the final resurrection of the saints.

2. The opened graves were a public exhibition.

Point V: The testimony of the soldiers (27:54).

1. What they saw caused them to fear.

2. Their fear caused them to testify.

Related Topics: Pastors

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