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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.

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…

Hebrews 3b – The “Unbelief” of Psalm 95

In my sermon today, I summarized the flow of thought in Hebrews 3:7-19 like this: 1) The unbelief and hard hearts of the first-generation Israelites led them to lose out on the reward of rest. 2) Christian believers, likewise, can be deceived by sin, resulting in unbelief, hard hearts and loss of reward. 3) To avoid this, Christians must regularly encourage one another and hold firm their confidence in the Gospel. The text I preached ended with the statement: “So…

Hebrews 3a – An Allusion to Numbers 12:7 in Hebrews 3:2

We have seen a number of overt quotations in the book of Hebrews (I keep a catalog comparing them on the blog here—I’ll update it as I work throughout the book). In Hebrews 3:2, however, we have an allusion to a specific text, not an explicit quotation. The verse reads, “He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house” (NASB). Many commentators note the similarity this verse has with Numbers 12:7. Let’s look at that…

Hebrews 2b – Quoting Psalm 8

This blog started out as a “Cutting Room Floor” of my sermons—stuff that I left out of the sermon because it was too deep, took too much time, or was simply not directly related to the main focus of the sermon.  If I were to follow that line of thinking directly, the true “cutting room floor” of this week’s sermon will be next week’s sermon!  I originally intended to preach all the rest of Hebrews 2, down through the end…

Who Wrote the Book of Hebrews?

HISTORICAL WITNESSES 1) Clement of Rome (AD 96) Most scholars believe that Clement of Rome wrote the letter called 1 Clement in 96 AD.  In that letter, he quotes a significant portion of the book of Hebrews. 1 Clement 36:1-6 This is the way, dearly beloved, wherein we found our salvation, even Jesus Christ the High priest of our offerings, the Guardian and Helper of our weakness. 2 Through Him let us look steadfastly unto the heights of the heavens;…

Hebrews 1:3 – Christ on the Throne: Davidic or Priestly?

Hebrews 1:1-4 opens with a magisterial statement about the Son of God—Jesus Christ.  It provides seven statements about Jesus in a series of doctrinally-rich phrases.  One of those statements reads: “After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (1:3b; all verses here in ESV). The question here: does this sitting down next to the Father relate primarily to Jesus’s priestly role, or does it relate to the fulfillment of the Davidic…

Proverbs – A Few Good Things

Every good sermon leaves good things on the cutting room floor… hence this weekly blog!  This week I examined a “few good things” from the book of Proverbs – passages that used the word “good” (Hebrew: tov) to describe one thing or the other. But alas!  There were too many “good” verses in Proverbs for me to handle in a single sermon.  Here are five bonus “good” verses that might edify you today and a few words about why I…

Leviticus 27 – The Value of Male and Female, Young and Old

Most of Leviticus 27 deals with taking back vows.  To vow a person, object or place to God was a serious commitment in Bible times.  To take back a vow once it was committed was allowable, but costly. Leviticus 27:1-8 overviews the valuation of vows that dealt with people.  Here’s the chart I put on the screen during the sermon: AGE 1 m. – 5 yrs. 5-20 yrs. 20-60 yrs. 60+ yrs. MALE 5 shekels 20 shekels 50 shekels 15…

Leviticus 26 – Idols, Idols, Idols (Idols, Idols)

Leviticus 26 provides rich sources of further study. Immediately the “sister chapter” Deuteronomy 28 comes to mind for parallel texts. Also, the book of Ezekiel provides much overlap with the curses in Lev 26. We can also compare other Ancient Near Eastern law codes—such as that of Hammurabi—to help further our understanding of how covenants blessed and cursed. But what caught my attention most of all were the many words used in Lev 26 used for the concept of idolatry. The chapter begins, “You…

Leviticus 25b – Jubilee in Acts?

During the Year of Jubilee, the Israelites celebrated the release of slaves, the forgiveness of debt and the return to tribal land.  Property sold due to poverty was restored to its original owner and the land had another year of rest. In today’s sermon, we briefly explored connections between Isaiah 61 and Luke 4 and the way the Jubilee prophetically looked forward to the coming of the Messiah.  But is there a hint of more Jubilee in the book of…

Leviticus 25a – When Was the Year of Jubilee?

Leviticus 25:8-10 reads: “You shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years. 9 Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. 10 And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be…

Leviticus 23 – Jewish Holidays

Leviticus 23 overviewed seven of Israel’s major holy days and holidays: 1) Sabbath; 2) Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (viewed as one holiday); 3) Feast of Firstfruits; 4) Feast of Weeks; 5) Trumpets; 6) Day of Atonement; 7) Feast of Booths. You may wonder: What about Hanukkah?  What about Purim? These are two other Jewish holidays, but they both came after Moses gave Israel the Law in Leviticus.  Purim was established in the book of Esther (after the…

Leviticus 22b – Comparing Defects

When we read the list of defects that would have kept an animal from being sacrificed in Lev 22:22-25, we find that they resemble the list of defects that would have kept a priest from serving publicly in 21:18-20.  Because I know you are super curious, here’s a handy chart comparing the two lists (English is taken from ESV): Both lists offer twelve disqualifying defects.  The lists don’t match, but they both begin with blindness and end with injuries to…

Leviticus 21-22a: The Bachelor: OT Priest Edition

Every wonder what an Old Testament priest’s love life was like? Me neither. But Leviticus 21 answers the question for us anyway.  At least, it regulates who a priest could and could not marry.  (Keep in mind—we’re talking about OT priests, not Catholic priests.  The latter do not have a love life, as they take vows of celibacy and remained unmarried.) An OT priest was not allowed to marry a prostitute or a woman who had been divorced (Lev 21:7). …

Comparing Leviticus 20 and Leviticus 18

Leviticus 20 sounds a whole lot like Leviticus 18. In fact, most of the laws in Leviticus 20 are identical with those of the earlier chapter… with one major exception: the latter chapter includes the penalties associated with each law. Leviticus 18 says, “Don’t commit adultery” (vs 20). Leviticus 20 says, “Don’t commit adultery… and if you do, both offenders shall be put to death” (vs 10). And so on. Here’s a comparison showing the relationship between the two chapters: Lev…

Leviticus 19b – An Unmixed Mixture

God commanded the Israelites to “be holy, for I, the LORD your God am holy.”  To be holy means to be set apart unto God and away from the world.  One of the ways God had Israel demonstrated the nature of their “set-apartness” was to dress with only unmixed clothing: “[You shall not] wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material” (Lev 19:19c ESV). 100% cotton, 100% wool, 100% silk… it had to be 100% something.  The…

The 10 Commandments of Leviticus 19

As we read the first half of Leviticus 19 during this morning’s sermon, you might have noticed that many of the commandments sounded familiar.  Revere your parents; keep the Sabbath; don’t lie.  Where have we read that before? The 10 Commandments! Each of the original 10 Commandments from Exodus 20 can be found in Leviticus 19.  This makes sense, because Leviticus 19 is all about love.  We love God by keeping His commands.  We love God through loving others.  Over…

Leviticus 18 – “If a Person Does Them, He Shall Live By Them.”

What is the most-quoted verse or phrase in Scripture?  Depending on what we count as a quotation or allusion, there are a few candidates for consideration.  Among them is the short phrase at the end of Lev 18:5 – “You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD” (all Scripture ESV). Life comes through keeping the Law.  Not that the Law gives life; Paul refutes that…