Sermon Starters

See You at the Pole

Numbers 21:4-9

Introduction: The student-led See You at the Pole event that began 17 years ago in Burleson, Texas, was not the first time people gathered around a pole to express their faith.

I. ‑The Sojourn by Israel (v. 4a). The children of Israel sojourned 40 years in the wilderness between Egypt and Canaan.

II. ‑The Souls of Israel (vv. 4b-5). They were discouraged and discontented. They called the "manna" (a.k.a. "angel food"), "worthless bread." They longed for "the fleshpots of Egypt."

III. ‑The Sovereign over Israel (v. 6). "For men who have been bitten by the fiery serpents of sin, Jesus Christ is lifted up." -C. H. Spurgeon

IV. ‑The Sorrow from Israel (v.7). "Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned....' So Moses prayed for the people." The contrast between being "sorry in a godly manner" and "the sorrow of the world" is illustrated in the very different responses by Simon Peter and Judas Iscariot after their sin. Simon Peter went out and wept bitterly, repented, and was restored; although Judas Iscariot regretted his actions, he went out and committed suicide.

V. -The Solution for Israel (vv. 8-9).

Here is the refrain of a song written by William A. Ogden in 1887:

Look and live, my brother, live!

Look to Jesus now, and live;

'Tis recorded in His word, hallelujah!

It is only that you "look and live."

This is not merely a look of curiosity but a look of genuine faith!


First, we see the superstition of the serpent on the pole (see 2 Kings 18:4)-man's perversion of God's provision.

Second, we find the symbolism of the serpent on the pole-adopted from Asclepius, pagan Greek god of healing, by the American Medical Association and many others-though the biblical event took place some 700 years before the Greek cult arose, circa 700 BC.

Third, we discover the significance of the serpent on the pole-Our Lord said to Nicodemus: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:14-15).

Charles Spurgeon told of his conversion at age 15 on a snowy Sunday when he chanced to stop at a Primitive Methodist chapel, where the speaker appeared to address him directly and read the words: "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." And then he cried: "Look, look, look! It is only look !" Spurgeon said: "I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard this word Look!' what a charming word it seemed to me. I saw at once the way of salvation."

Franklin Kirksey, pastor of First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Ala.


The Call to Do God's Work

Matthew 28:18-20

I. The Power by Christ (v. 18).

A. Power by waiting (Isa. 40:33).

B. Power to war (Eph. 6:10-18).

C. Power to work (Mark 16:17-18).

II. The Provision by Christ (v. 19).

A. ‑The world-"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations" (see Mark 16:15).

B. ‑The way-"Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and Son, and the Holy Ghost."

III. The Plan by Christ (v. 20).

A. ‑Teaching-"Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you" (see also John 15:16).

B. ‑Time-"And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (v. 20).

Croft M. Pentz


The Kind of Preaching God Desires

"Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you" (Jonah 3:1-2 nkjv).

Every preacher is confronted with the same question: "What should I preach?" The sermon should not be what the preacher wants to say or what the people want to hear. It should be that which God wants preached.

I. We Are to Preach a God-Directed Message.

A. ‑Jonah (finally!) did so and the entire city repented. God relented from the disaster He said He was going to bring upon them (Jon. 3:10).

B. ‑Martin Luther said, "He that has but one word of God before him, and out of that word cannot make a sermon, can never be a preacher." Jonah had eight words and he turned Nineveh on its head.

II. We Are to Preach the Word.

A. ‑Paul told Timothy, "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching" (2 Tim. 4:2).

B. ‑What percentage of God's Word is a part of the message? Is there too much "me" in our "message" (see 2 Cor. 4:5). He must increase; we must decrease. Not "I" but "Christ."

III. We Are to Preach Christ.

A. ‑"But we preach Christ crucified" (1 Cor. 2:23). After all, Christ is the red-letter theme of Scripture. Philip launched the church in Africa by preaching Jesus to the Ethiopian (Acts 8:35).

B. ‑Billy Sunday said, "You can preach sociology or psychology or any other kind of ology,' but if you leave Jesus Christ out of it, you hit the toboggan slide to hell."

IV. We Are to Preach the Gospel.

A. ‑"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:15-16).

B. ‑The gospel is the good news that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day (1 Cor. 15:1-4). This message of "glad tidings" should not be stored up for Easter only!

V. We Are to Preach the Kingdom of God.

A. ‑The Kingdom was the theme of Christ's 40-day preaching seminar to His apostles after His resurrection (Acts 1:3).

B. ‑It was also the theme of Paul's two-year preaching seminar while he was a prisoner in Rome (Acts 28:30-31). "Go thou and preach the kingdom of God!" (Luke 9:60). What is it? How do we become part of it? What are our duties once within?

VI. We Are to Preach the Cross.

A. ‑"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Cor. 1:18). Charles Spurgeon said he took his text and then made a beeline straight to the cross.

B. ‑Even though it offends many (Gal. 5:11), it is a message that must be preached. The cross is God's last roadblock on the road to hell.

VII. We Are to Preach that Which Is Helpful.

A. ‑"I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus" (Acts 20:20-21).

B. ‑We do not have time to preach what is unprofitable. Don't major in minors. Eternity hangs in the balance.

Conclusion: Martyn Lloyd Jones said: "The most decadent periods in church history have always been those periods where preaching has declined." Preachers, preach the message that God tells you! The great cities of our world, from Boston to Bombay, desperately need to hear the message that God wants His messengers to preach.

Victor Knowles, Peace on Earth Ministries, Joplin, MO


The Understanding God

Ps. 73:17,24

I. Faith: "Then I understood their end."

II. Faithfulness: "You will guide me."

III. ‑Future: "And afterwards receive me to glory."

Croft M. Pentz


Job's Sincere Request

Job 6:24

I. Request: "Teach me."

II. Restaint: "And I will hold my tongue."

III. ‑Reality: "And cause me to understand wherein I have erred."

Croft M. Pentz

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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