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Cutting Room Floor

One of the most difficult and painful tasks for any well-studied sermon is to condense the material that is most important, relevant and valuable to the audience. Oftentimes, a good deal of good material is left on the preacher’s cutting room floor. Luckily, some of that material has found a place here.

At The Pastor’s Cutting Room Floor, you’ll find a number of things that don’t make it into the sermon, for a variety of reasons: there wasn’t enough time, the point was too small to make, the point was too technical to make, the issue is better dealt with out of the pulpit, etc.

Welcome to the stuff that didn’t make it. I pray it challenges you to deepen your understanding of God’s Word and to ultimately know Him better.

Isaiah 3 – Connections and Quirks of the Text

A good study of a biblical text will produce more insight than a preacher can ever share in a single sermon.  Here are a few connections and quirky traits of Isaiah 3 that did not make my sermon: Isaiah 3 predicts a time of coming exile as judgment against Judah’s sin.  Particularly, Isaiah focuses on the social upheaval and reversal of fortunes for the leadership in the land.  A few connections with the book of Lamentations caught my attention.  Keep…

Isaiah 2:2-5 // Micah 4:1-5

Note: All Scripture in NASB. *Black font indicates identical Hebrew language; gray font indicates differences; red font notes where “peoples” and “nations” are switched in Hebrew. **In a number of places, the NASB is inconsistent with the translation from the Hebrew. In these places, the Hebrew is identical and the English translation slightly differs. Examples: “Now” and “And” in the opening sentence both translate vav. “Concerning” and “about” in Isa 2:3//Mic 4:2 are the same in Hebrew. “Learn” and “train…

Isaiah 1b – What Does God Hate?

We like to think about God as a loving God.  And he is.  1 John says it twice: “God is love” (4:8, 16).  2 Corinthians 13:11 calls God “the God of love.”  The testimony of Scripture is clear that God is a God of love. But it may come as a surprise to some Christians that the God of love… hates.  But isn’t hatred a sin?  Not when it is directed at sin. Isaiah 1:10-31 speaks against religious hypocrisy.  The…

Isaiah 1a – 58 Years of Faithful Ministry

Ministry longevity is something to be valued.  Unfortunately, fewer pastors boast decades of ministry in the pulpit, much less to a single church.  I consider those I studied with in Bible college and seminary and very few of them still pastor (though many are still involved in ministry in some form). In my sermon on Isaiah 1:1-9, I mentioned that—at the very least—Isaiah ministered faithfully for 58 years.  Nearly six decades of ministry! Where did that number come from?  There…

Hebrews 13c – Big Ideas in Hebrews

At the end of each sermon series, I like to collect together all the “Big Ideas” of each sermon and reflect on the entire book as a whole.  Skim down through each Big Idea and see if you can notice some of the main themes and emphases in this magnificent book!  (For two sermons, I did not have a formal Big Idea, mainly because the original intent was to preach it with the passage before or after and the original…

Hebrews 13:7 – Who Are Our “Leaders”?

The word “leader” can mean many different things.  It can refer to the leader of a country or the leader of a team of employees.  One can be a leader in the game, “Follow the Leader” or one can be the leader of a sports team with most points scored. So what does the Preacher mean in Hebrews 13:7 when he says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God.  Consider the outcome of their way…

Hebrews 12b – A Hidden Allusion in Hebrews

Hebrews is a book well-known for its many overt quotations of the Old Testament.  Usually the author announces such references with explicit lead-in statements like, “he said” or “it has been testified somewhere.”  They usually aren’t hard to miss! Occasionally, though, with someone as saturated in OT thought as the Preacher in Hebrews, allusions can slip by almost unnoticed.  In Hebrews 12:12-13, the Preacher writes, “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for…

Hebrews 11:35 – Heaven is Better than Bacon

How great is Heaven?  The author of Hebrews might give us a clue. In Hebrews 11, the anonymous writer recites dozens of examples of men and women of faith.  In verse 35, he writes, “Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life” (ESV). Though most (if not all) the examples given in Hebrews 11 point to people in the Old Testament, many Bible scholars believe that this verse possibly refers to…

Hebrews 11c – You Gotta See the Baby!

A classic Seinfeld episode has the famous quartet at a friend’s house, who continually insists, “Jerry, you gotta see the ba-by!”  The baby’s mother thinks the child is beautiful, but everyone else has a very different opinion. Hebrews 11:23 tells us that Moses’s parents hid him for three months after his birth, “because they saw that the child was beautiful” (all Scripture references in ESV).  This raises the question: what if Moses were ugly?  Would they have been less inclined…

The Structure of Hebrews 11

Hebrews 11 offers a simple structure that helps organize the material in a nice, orderly fashion.  Yet it still throws in a few surprises along the way that serve to highlight some of the author’s main points. A cursory reading of the text will show 18 times when the author begins a sentence, “By faith.” 11:3 – “By faith we…” 11:4 – “By faith Abel…” 11:5 – “By faith Enoch…” 11:7 – “By faith Noah…” 11:8 – “By faith Abraham…”…

Hebrews 10b – Closing the Gap with 4:14-16

After reading Hebrews 10:19-25, you might feel like you’ve heard some of this before.  That’s because you have!  Hebrews 4:14-16 sounds remarkably familiar, paralleling much of the language in 10:19-25 in what scholars call an “inclusio.”  The effect frames the material in between, wrapping up a long, detailed argument. I did a textual comparison between the two texts (using NASB for the English).  Studying this, you can see how carefully the two texts parallel each other in their main thoughts…

A Double Parallel: Hebrews 9:20 // Exodus 24:8 // Matthew 26:28

Most times when we quote another source, that quote is singular: we want our audience to think about one reference.  Whether we quote a movie, a book, or a music lyric, our quotes tend to be singular and—let’s be honest—usually superficial. The author of Hebrews, however, often has multiple layers to his references.  Consider the quote in Hebrews 9:20.  I’ll give you the verse before as well for context: “For when every commandment of the law had been declared by…

Hebrews 9a – What Was in the Ark of the Covenant?

What was in the Ark of the Covenant?  Hebrews 9:4 reads, “the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant” (all Scripture ESV).  Here, the author of Hebrews lists three items that were “in” the Ark: a golden urn holding manna, Aaron the high priest’s staff and the tablets of the 10 Commandments. It seems so straightforward.  But…

Hebrews 8 – The Relationship between Israel and the Church: An Analogy

The quotation and application of the New Covenant from Jeremiah 31 in Hebrews 8 encourages us to consider the relationship between Israel and the Church.  Jeremiah 31:31-34 clearly and emphatically speaks of the recipients of the New Covenant as Israel (“I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah”; vs 31; cf vs 33; ESV translation used throughout).  The New Testament, however, broadens the application of the covenant to the church, including Gentile…

Hebrews 7b – 10 Reasons Why Jesus’s Priesthood is Greater Than the Levitical Priesthood

In my sermon on Hebrews 7:11-28, I noted 10 reasons why Jesus’s priesthood is greater than the Levitical priesthood.  I’ll also throw in here three bonus topics that I had to cut from the sermon due to time and pacing. Here are the 10 reasons why Jesus’s priesthood is greater, along with the verse references: 1) The new priesthood obtained perfection (7:11) 2) The new priesthood changed the Law (7:12) 3) The new Priest is indestructible (7:16) 4) The new…

Hebrews 6b: Are You the Only One Who Holds That View, Pastor?

I was taught in seminary that if you ever come up with a totally new view while studying Scripture, you should study harder.  It’s not that pastors never have new thoughts, but after 2000 years of Bible study, a genuinely new thought is sometimes hard to come by. After my sermon last week on Hebrews 6, where I presented five views on the passage, then argued for one of them, I had a few people ask me, “Are you the…

Hebrews 6a – Two “Deleted Scenes” from Hebrews 6:1-8

I always hear complaints when I preach long on a communion Sunday, which is also when we keep the kids in the service (mainly the complaints come from my wife!).  As a last ditch (failed) effort to shorten the length of my sermon, I cut out two larger portions.  Without additional comment, I’ll provide my manuscript of those “deleted scenes” here for you, with the verse references (in ESV). Hebrews 6:1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ…

Hebrews 5b – Who are the milk drinkers?

Hebrews 5:11-14 chastises the original readers for still relying on milk, when they should really be eating meat by now.  Somewhere along the way, they became spiritually dull of hearing.  They are “unskilled in the word of righteousness” and lack discernment and the ability to distinguish between good and evil.  They ought to be teachers, but instead, they’re still learning to count to 10 and how to sing their ABCs. Who are these milk drinkers? Pastor John MacArthur argues that…

Hebrews 4b-5a – Who Should I Vote For?

Jesus is greater. That’s the theme of Hebrews.  Three simple words.  One profound truth. In today’s sermon, we saw that truth applied against the leadership of our country.  Who is greater: Jesus or Trump?  Who is greater: Jesus or Biden? The answer is simple: Jesus!  The encouragement was to proclaim the name of Jesus more than you proclaim the name of a political leader or a political party.  Turn a political conversation into a spiritual conversation by pointing people to…

Hebrews 4a – Tidbits from the Text

In today’s sermon, I cut out a few minor points, none of which significantly contributed to the overall picture that the Preacher of Hebrews makes in this chapter.  All details of each text of Scripture are important, but this doesn’t mean that each detail is equally important in a sermon.  If a preacher preached all the thing he could preach in a given text, he’d likely never get past a single chapter of Scripture! Here are a few odds and…