Sermon Starters

Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals

Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

Second Sunday in Advent
Series A

Option #1: "The Scriptures: Past Writing to Correct Present Mistakes to Provide Future Hope"
Romans 15:4-13
Rev. Wayne Dobratz

I. Past Writing

   A. Inspired by God to teach us–cf 2 Tim 3:16 & 2 Pet 1:21

        1. About sin–1 Cor 10:1-11

        2. About our Savior–John 1:29 & 36; 4:42; Acts 5:31, 1 Tim 2:3-4

   B. The message of this writing–cf Ps 78:1-8

        1. Shows us the futility of sin–Ps 32:9-10; Isa 46:9-13

        2. Shows our complete dependence upon God–Acts 17:26-28; Isa 41:10; 46:4

II. This writing corrects present mistakes–Ps 32:8-10

    A. Seeking help in all the wrong places–Ps 115:1-11

    B. Looking on the exterior–race, ethnic origin–cf Acts 17:26

    C. Teaching unity in Christ as we are members of His Body–1 Cor 12:13 passim; Eph 2:12ff 

III. This writing provides hope for the future–Jer 29:11ff

    A. Hope for the future of the visible church–cf Rev 2:18-19; 3:7-8, 10-11

    B. Hope that overflows through the Holy Spirit–Acts 5:32; 7:55-60; 1 John 3:3

    C. Hope for eternal life in the church triumphant–John 3:36; 4:14; 5:24; 6:27 & 40; 10:28; 17:3; Rom 5:20-23; Titus 3:4-7; 1 John 1:2

Adam Clarke wrote: May the God of this hope—that God who caused both Jews and Gentiles to hope that the gracious promises which he made to them should be fulfilled; and who, accordingly, has fulfilled them in the most punctual and circumstantial manner; fill you with all joy—give you true spiritual happiness; peace in your own hearts, and unity among yourselves; in believing not only the promises which he has given you, but believing in Christ Jesus, in whom all the promises are yea and amen. 

That ye may abound in hope—that ye may be excited to take more enlarged views of the salvation which God has provided for you, and have all your expectations fulfilled by the power of the Holy Ghost, enabling you to hope and believe; and then sealing the fulfillment of the promises upon your hearts.

John MacArthur: Paul closes this passage with a beautiful benediction of intercession for all the people of God, not mentioning Jew or Gentile, but addressing the entire, unified Body of Jesus Christ. He petitions the God of hope to graciously fill His people with His divine joy and peace and hope. It expresses the apostle’s deep desire for all believers to have total spiritual satisfaction in their beloved Savior and Lord. I

t is essentially the same benediction with which Paul blessed the church at Philippi: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7). It is a prayer for satisfied souls in Christ to know and experience the peace, the hope, the love, the victory, the joy, and the power of the indwelling Spirit of God, who makes them one in Jesus Christ their Lord.

 +  +  +

Option #2: "Stumps Lie!"
Isaiah 11:1-10
Rev. Kelly Bedard

Opponents to clear-cutting timber banner the motto "Stumps don't lie." Isaiah banners just the opposite: ...the stump of Jesse will come up...bear fruit...stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to Him, and His place of rest will be glorious"!

 (This outline is inspired by an article by Michael Hoy)

A. Chumps Lumped

     1. Pretensions of righteousness: trying to pull the wool over God's eyes

     2. We deserve, at best, only a lump of coal, a stump

B. Stump Trumped!

     1. God doesn't judge by what He sees or hears but by Christ's righteousness on our behalf

     2. He gives us an eternal kingdom where even bitter enemies live in peace


  1. chokmah (verse 2): wisdom; skill (in war); wisdom (in administration); shrewdness; wisdom, prudence in religious affairs; ethical and religious wisdom 

 2. biynah (verse 2): understanding, wisdom, knowledge, meaning, perfectly understand; discernment; act; faculty; object; personified 

 3. etsah (verse 2): counsel, counsels, purpose, advice, counselors, advisement, purpose 

 4. gebuwrah (verse 2): might, strength, power, mighty acts, mighty, force; mastery; valor, bravery; mighty deeds (of God) 

 5. da`ath (verse 2): knowledge, know, cunning, unwittingly, ignorantly, unawares; perception, skill; discernment, understanding, wisdom 

 6. Words can kill: ...these he shall smite with the rod of his mouth, the word of his mouth, speaking terror and ruin to them; his threatenings shall take hold of them, and be executed upon them 

 7. 'ezowr (verse 5): girdle; waist-cloth, the innermost piece of clothing; of God's power over kings, figuratively; of faithfulness, metaphorically; waistband 

 8. 'emuwnah (verse 5): faithfulness, truth, faithfully, office, faithful, faith, stability, steady, truly, verily; firmness, fidelity, steadfastness, steadiness 

 9. na`ar (verse 6): young man, servant, child, lad, young, children, youth, babe, boys, young; a boy, lad, servant, youth, retainer 

10. mayim (verse 9): water, piss, waters, watersprings, washing, watercourse, waterflood, watering;  water of the feet, urine; of danger, violence, transitory things, refreshment, figuratively 

11. nec (verse 10): standard, ensign, pole, banner, sail, sign; something lifted up, signal, signal pole; rallying point 

12. menuwchah (verse 10): rest, resting place, comfortable, ease, quiet, still; quietness 

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