Sometimes, in order to make a point, to argue a position, or to clarify a truth you can highlight “the who.”
When you do that, it will be “the who” that helps drive the point, illustration, or argument you are making from a passage.
Therefore, it will take a short and simple review of that person to illustrate, argue, emphasize, or clarify your point.
Stephen Davey illustrates this technique as he speaks on Romans chapter 7. Davey is arguing the position that even Paul struggles with sin — Paul, a man WHO . . . .
• had been taken out of body into heaven for a personal tour (II Corinthians 12:2).
• had personal visions as Christ came to him with revelation (Acts 18:9-10). • was one of the apostles (Galatians 1:1).
• was the leading missionary and church planter and theologian and author and pastor of his generation!
And after twenty-five years of this incredible ministry
and personal visits from Christ
and private instruction from the Holy Spirit,
you would think Paul knew the formula;
you would think he had had the experience!
If there was something to know, he would have known it!
If there was something to experience, he would have experienced it!
By now, Paul should be breathing the air of perpetual “mountain top” Christianity!
after knowing what he knew and experiencing what he experienced;
after twenty-five incredible years filled with commitment and dedication and worship and service, cried,
Wretched man that I am! . . .
— Stephen Davey
If there was anyone who you would have thought . . . .
- no longer dealt with sin on a daily basis
- could talk about victory over sin and Satan
- no longer experienced a battle with the sin desire of the flesh
- would have been an example of a sinless, or near sinless life
- who would have liked to assure God’s people that there is a day of maturity and perfection where you will free from the power of sin in this world
- experienced daily victory over the old sinful nature
Surely, Paul is the one who would have said – “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and giving me victory over the law of sin which is in my members.” — Romans 7:22
But No! – Rather Paul says,
“For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
Davey is bringing in material about Paul’s life and experience, not found in the passage he is speaking about, to illustrate what the passage is saying. In light of this-and-that of Paul’s life, Paul says _____.
To . . . .
- support the particular point being which is being made
- illustrate a concept
- argue for an interpretation of a verse or passage
- clarify or simplify a biblical truth or principle
- explain a truth
- contrast a point
. . . . you can point to “the who.”
Sometimes that involves reviewing the life of the person who is making the comment.
Sometimes that involves going to the life of a person who illustrates that truth.
Sometimes that involves going to the life of a person who contrasts that truth or principle.
Mind Generating Statements:
- Who just said that?
- If anyone should be able to say that, it would be ____ and yet he doesn’t speak like that, but ______.
- Here is what you would have expected _____ to say.
- Notice his reaction and put that together with who he was.
- After that, he is able to use the word ______ (i.e. — “content)?”
- What a contrast to the life of one who had a this-or-that life (i.e. — a blessed life of abundance like Lot).
- Who thinks like that?
- I would not have expected him to say _______, and yet he does.
- He said what? He who _______
- You would have never thought that ______ would have made such a statement when you remember what he/she has gone through.
- I know of some others in the Bible who never would have said / did / reacted that way.
Let’s try that with another biblical character — Elijah — and use him as an illustration for a sermon from Psalm 40:1-3
Surely, a prophet such as Elijah . . . .
- was free from the swaying emotions of life and living
- was no longer was frightened by the words of men or women
- could overcome discouragement when experiencing great victory
- would be buoyed by great victory of false teachers, leaders, and prophets
- would have been greatly encouraged by the defeat of God’s enemies
- rejoicing in a victory which took place in the very presence of God’s people
- who did what no other prophet had ever done
- who called down a 3-year drought against the wicked King of Israel, Ahab
- who defeated the weak King & controlling Queen of Israel, Ahab & Jezebel
- who stood before 100’s of false prophets, mocking their god Baal
Surely, Elijah would be the person to go to to prove that there is no such thing as spiritual depression in the life of God’s people!
But that is not the case. We find even a man like Elijah, who experienced great victories, great opportunities, great provision by God both naturally and supernaturally — discouraged – depressed – confused in I Kings 19:4 . . . .
Of course, you can use this same technique in the positive. Even though the two examples provided above are framed in the negative (that is not the case), you can use the same technique to make a positive point.
If anyone knew how to find joy in difficult circumstances it was Paul.
Is there anyone among the many New Testament characters who has traveled a rougher road of ministry than Paul and who is still able to even use the word joy, it is Paul.
In Ephesus . . . .
In Philippi . . . .
In Athens . . . .
Paul has experienced trials, troubles, and persecutions and in II Corinthians 11 we can add to his list of difficulties. . . .
- Yet he is able to sing in jail
- move to the next town
- knowingly accept a Roman trial
- stand onboard the deck of a ship and calm others who were facing a shipwreck – thrown onto an island in the middle of the sea
- then bitten by a venomous snake
- experience the confinement of house arrest
and through it all is able to say that he has learned to be content.
This is a man who knows where to find joy, rejoicing, contentment. And this is what he says . . .
How did a person like Paul do it? Get there?