Preaching CASKET EMPTY at Kenwood Baptist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio
God’s primary calling on my life is as a pastor. God’s Word is addressed to the community of faith. Scholarship should always benefit the life of the church. CASKET EMPTY is a powerful way to help God’s people see the unity of Scripture. Although God inspired sixty-six different books, in three distinct languages, over thousands of years, the Bible is one redemptive story from Genesis to Revelation. The unity of the Bible is found in the character of God and his saving plan for humanity in Jesus Christ. CASKET EMPTY helps us to see this.
We need the unity of Scripture to focus our attention on mission. In his essay “How the World Lost Its Story,” Robert Jenson explains that “it is the church’s task to tell the biblical narrative to the world in proclamation and to God in worship. It is the church’s mission to tell all who will listen that the God of Israel has raised his servant Jesus from the dead, and to unpack the soteriological and doxological import of that fact.” CASKET EMPTY helps us to do this.
We are preaching through the Bible this year in our church using CASKET EMPTY. It has been a remarkable journey. In the fall, C-A-S-K-E-T guided us through the Old Testament that begins at Creation and continues with the call of Abraham and the covenant God makes with his descendants at Sinai. God’s redemptive purpose advances in the period of Kings when the monarchy is established and David is promised an everlasting kingship. Despite the judgment of Exile, God’s plan remains certain during the period of Temple as the Old Testament concludes with a partial restoration and a vivid picture of future hope. The acronym E-M-P-T-Y is guiding us in the spring through the New Testament. We have been stirred at how God builds Expectations for a coming King. We see the hope of Israel realized in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the promised Messiah. God pours out the Holy Spirit upon the church at Pentecost as witnesses of forgiveness through Christ’s death and resurrection. God commissions us as his people so that the Teaching of Christ may spread to all nations of the world. In the last book of the Bible, God reveals the present rule and future glory of Christ as we eagerly await the return of him who is Yet-to-come. God’s plan of redemption reveals his identity and our own. His purpose provides meaning and coherence to our lives. His eternal actions guide our daily decisions. We are compelled us to join his mission in the world today. CASKET EMPTY helps us to live this.
Dr. David L. Palmer