Sermon Starters

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Christian Ministry Professionals

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

Third Sunday In Lent

Option #1: "Two Kinds of Blindness"
John 9:13-39
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

A blind man was led into the hall at a polka festival and he followed his ears right to the source of the music. A broad smile brightened his face as he was immersed in the music just a few feet away from the band. Though he will likely never see a polka band or the whirling polka dancers, his face told how much he was enjoying the experience.

Imagine him being healed of his blindness and joining in the joy of the dance. Everyone would stop just to watch the miracle. Something like that happened when Jesus healed the man born blind. Please remember that there are no parables in John’s Gospel. John refers to miracles as "signs." We are to see their teaching value as well, as much as we marvel at the miracle. John tells us about:


I. Incurable

    A. When "law" supersedes Gospel--vv16-17 & 34

    B. When fulfilled prophecy in the miracles is ignored--Isa 35:5, John 5:39-40; 10:21

Albert Barnes: The miracles were such as could not be denied, nor did even the enemies of Jesus attempt to deny them or to explain them away. They were open, public, frequent. And this shows that they could not deny their reality. Had it been possible, they would have done it; but the reality and power of those miracles had already made a party in favor of Jesus, even in the Sanhedrin--John 7:50; 12:42--and those opposed to them could not deny their reality. It may be added that the early opponents of Christianity never denied the reality of the miracles performed by the Savior and his apostles.

II. Curable

    A. When we see God intervening in our lives in Christ, giving a taste of eternal life here and now--vv35-39

    B. When we see Jesus giving spiritual sight--v39

Barnes Notes on the New Testament: We see here the works of Jesus were such as to prove that he came from God, however much he may have appeared to oppose the previous notions of men, the interpretation of the law by the Pharisees, or the deductions of reason. People should yield their own views of religion to the teachings of God and believe that he could open the eyes of the blind and raise the dead and so was fitted to declare his will.

    C. We worship him for his grace--contrary to all who deny Jesus’ divinity

Albert Barnes:  I believe--this was the overflowing expression of gratitude and faith. And he worshiped him--he did homage to him as the Messiah and as his gracious benefactor. This shows:

1. That it is right and natural to express thanks and praise for mercies.

2. All blessings should lead us to pour out our gratitude to Jesus, for it is from him that we receive them.

3. Especially is this true when the mind has been enlightened, when our spiritual eyes have been opened, and we are permitted to see the glories of the heavenly world.

4. It is right to pay homage or worship to Jesus. He forbade it not. He received it on earth, and for all mercies of providence and redemption we should pay to him the tribute of humble and grateful hearts. The Syriac renders the phrase "he worshiped him" thus: "and, casting himself down, he adored him." The Persian: "and he bowed down and adored Christ." The Arabic: "and he adored him." The Latin Vulgate: "and, falling down, he adored him."

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Visual aid: a scissors pointed downward

You’ve used an instrument like this often in your school. These are pretty safe. They don’t have pointed edges. If they did, your teacher would tell you to carry it this way, with the sharp part pointed away from you. She wouldn't want you to fall and hurt your eyes.

How can you tell if someone is blind? You’ll see a guide dog leading them or you’ll see the white cane that they use to find any obstacles in their path.

John tells us in today’s gospel reading that Jesus healed a man born blind. Imagine never to have seen a sunset or a rose or a humming bird. Then Jesus speaks his word of power and you are healed. YOU CAN SEE! Well, we need the power of Jesus’ Word so that we can see him as our Savior and so that we can see the truth he gives us in his Word. We need the power of his Word so that we look forward to eternal life with him. That’s what eternal life is--being with Jesus in our heavenly Father’s house forever.

So be careful with your eyes; you’ll need them for this life. And thank the Lord Jesus that he has given you the hope of seeing eternal life.

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Option #2: "Decent Exposure"
Ephesians 5:8-14
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

The Point: We're sometimes more afraid of the (God's) light than we are of the dark.

The Problem: We know and fear that, left to ourselves, our lives are more bad than good, wrong than right, deceitful than true, pleasing lords rather than The Lord, participating in and/or tolerating deeds of darkness, secret-keeping.

The Promise: God makes light of our darkness through Christ's crucifixion on our behalf, also empowering us with the fire-light of the Holy Spirit to live as His children and to expose darkness for the purpose of salvation. 
1.skotos {skot'-os}, v8: darkness; of night darkness; of darkened eyesight or blindness; metaphorically, of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality, together with their consequent misery in hell; persons in whom darkness becomes visible and holds sway. (Blue Letter Bible)
2. phos {foce}, v8: light, the light emitted by a lamp, a heavenly light such as surrounds angels when they appear on earth; anything emitting light: a star; fire, because it is light and sheds light; a lamp or torch; light, i.e., brightness of a lamp; metaphorically, God is light because light has the extremely delicate, subtle, pure, brilliant quality; of truth and its knowledge, together with the spiritual purity associated with it; that which is exposed to the view of all, openly, publicly; reason, mind;  the power of understanding, especially moral and spiritual truth. (Ibid)
3.agathosune {ag-ath-o-soo'-nay}, v9: uprightness of heart and life, goodness, kindness. (Ibid)
4. dikaiosune {dik-ah-yos-oo'-nay}, v9: in a broad sense, state of those who are as they ought to be; righteousness, the condition acceptable to God; the doctrine concerning the way in which people may attain a state approved of God; integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting; in a narrower sense, justice or the virtue which gives each their due. (Ibid)
5.aletheia {al-ay'-thi-a}, v9: objectively, what is true in any matter under consideration; truly, in truth, according to truth; of a truth, in reality, in fact, certainly; what is true in things appertaining to God and the duties of people, moral and religious truth; in the greatest latitude, the true notions of God which are open to human reason without his supernatural intervention; the truth as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of his purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of people, opposing alike to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians; subjectively, truth as a personal excellence; that candour of mind which is free from affection, pretence, simulation, falsehood, deceit. (Ibid)
6.katheudo {kath-yoo'-do}, v14: to fall asleep, drop off to sleep; to sleep; to sleep normally; euphemistically, to be dead; metaphorically, to yield to sloth and sin; to be indifferent to one's salvation. (Ibid) 
7.What was it like when you were darkness? The author recalls how, like the darkness, you hid things, covered them up (v 11). What things? Perhaps you hid the bad things about your own community. Perhaps you hid the good things about another group of people. Perhaps you were double-blinded and even hid the good things you could have offered. (Carolyn Scheider)

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