Sermon Starters

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

First Sunday In Advent

Option #1: "A Wake-Up Call"
Romans 13:11-14
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

The time: Saturday morning. The place: your bed. Your intention: to sleep in. That's when your spouse shouts: "We've got company! Get up!" The Lord Jesus tells us in today's text that this is no time to "sleep in" when it comes to things of the Spirit. So He issues a wake-up call:

  I. His coming is nearer now than before

        A. Nearer than when Paul wrote this letter

        B. Nearer now than when you first became God's child

        C. There are only so many days left--cf Acts 17:31

        D. The night is nearly over--v12

 II. Take your shower!

        A. Go back to your Baptism in repentance--1 Cor 6:11

        B. You were washed, so change your mind and don't "roll around" in the mud of:

            1. The "wild life"--orgies and drunkenness--1 Cor 6:9-10

            2. Sexual sins--2 Cor 12:21, Eph 4:17-19, Jude 6-7

            3. Power games the likes of dissension and jealousy--Prov 17:14, Prov 20:3, 1 Cor 1:1, 3:3--"still worldly"; 2 Cor12:20

III. Get dressed!

        A. Clothe yourself with Christ's righteousness--text, v14; Eph 4:22-24

        B. Be what you are in God's sight!

            1. See Col 3:12-14

            2. See what Christ's peace does to your heart!--Col 3:15ff

        C. Don't think that joy is found in sin--see Rom 6:21-23

            1. See Rom 1:30

            2. Ps 73:3 passim

Albert Barnes writes: "To awake." This is a beautiful figure. The dawn of day, the approaching light of the morning, is the time to arouse from slumber. In the darkness of night, people sleep. So says the apostle. The world has been sunk in the "night" of paganism and sin. At that time it was to be expected that they would sleep the sleep of spiritual death. But now the morning light of the gospel dawns. The Sun of righteousness has arisen. It is "time," therefore, for people to cast off the deeds of darkness, and rise to life, and purity, and action; compare Acts 17:30-31.

The same idea is beautifully presented in 1 Thess 5:5-8. The meaning is, "In our old way of life we walked in darkness and in sin. Now we walk in the light of the gospel. We know our duty. We are sure that the God of light is around us and is a witness of all we do. We are going soon to meet him, and it becomes us to wake up and to do those deeds which will bear the bright shining the light of the truth, and the scrutiny of him who is "light, and in whom is no darkness at all"; 1 John 1:5.

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Visual aid: a TV program guide, as from a newspaper

There are some pretty strange commercials on TV these days. Because of today’s computers and office equipment, people can sometimes do their work at home. The people who wrote the commercial showed this woman in her bathrobe with her hair up in a towel. Nothing unusual about that, except that she was giving a speech at a business meeting dressed like that. That was pretty strange.

You wouldn’t go to school dressed in your pajamas or your nightgown. Now it’s time to tug on the "imagination switch" and I’ll try to explain what Paul the Apostle is telling us. He said: "THE TIME HAS COME FOR YOU TO WAKE FROM YOUR SLUMBER." He’s telling the Christian people who are reading his letter that sin is like the darkness of night. They used to live in that darkness. They didn’t know right from wrong anymore than someone knows where he is going when it is so dark you can’t see your hand in front of your face. There are people all around us who don’t believe that there is such a thing as right and wrong ; they are living in sin’s darkness just as these people in Rome were.

Here’s the second thing he told them and us: CLOTHE YOURSELVES WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. Just as you would not go to School or shopping wearing your night clothes, he’s telling them to GET DRESSED! Our Deer Hunting Friends are wearing bright Orange clothes, so they don’t get shot while they’re hunting. Christians need to wear the right clothes too!

You received the right clothes when you were baptized. Tell me, do you know what a child wears at his/her Baptism? Right! A white gown. Why not blue? Or pink with purple polka dots? Because WHITE is a picture of being cleaned from sin; because WHITE is how we are after Jesus washes away our sins. So don’t wear the night clothes of sin; rather, always wear the white clothes that Jesus gave you when he washed your sins away. Then you’ll be dressed the right way!

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Option #2: "Advent With Attitude!"
Romans 13:11-14
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

The Point: Christianity involves both negative--avoiding evil--and positive--practicing love--behavior
The Problem: Lethargy in or perfunctory good-doing and/or pre-occupation with evil; relying on human resolution and will-power
The Promise: God clothes us with Christ's righteousness and, through the Holy Spirit, empowers us for obedience to Him.
Inspired and adapted from a homiletical help by Timothy Saleska
If God clothes us with "the Lord Jesus Christ," how does that leave Him? Stripped and strapped to the cross for us! "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus..." (Philippians 2:5ff)
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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:34 PM