A series of sermons I enjoy preaching is called “Keynotes in Scripture.” I go through each book of the Bible and highlight what I consider to be the keynote of the book. In the same way there are keynotes to preaching. I think of the following passages as my keynotes in preaching. They guide my efforts to focus attention on the Christ and our redemption in him. My purpose is not to carry on the tradition of things past and let the pulpit ring with the sound of that “old time religion.” My purpose is reflected in the following keynotes:
“But he answered and said, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4).
“All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20).
“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).
“Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47).
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God… Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, 5).
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
“If anyone wants to do his will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on my own authority” (John 7:17).
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in me through their word; that they all may be one, as you, Father, are in me, and I in you; that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me” (John 17:20-21).
“Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Then, Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37-38). “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them…But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized” (Acts 8:5, 12).
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).
“But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:23-24).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
“But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7; see also, 2:5-9).
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:5-11).
“If indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister” (Colossians 1:23).
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).
“But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which he called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).
“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men…” (Titus 2:11-14). “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
“For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).
“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:22-23).
“But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
“And whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith” (1 John 5:4).
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
“And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirst come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).
This list of scriptures is far from being adequate or complete, but these are some of many passages of Scripture that come to mind as being those expressions of the divine mind that direct and dictate my efforts in preaching the gospel. So many more could be listed.