Sermon Starters

Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals

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

Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost
Series A

Option #1: "The Facts of Faith"
Romans 8:31-39
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

I. God is for you--v31; John 3:16

    A. As demonstrated by giving His Son into death for you--v32

    B. As demonstrated by His promise to care for you--v32

II. Your guilt problem has been taken care of--vv33-34; Rom 5:6-10, Rom 8:1

    A. Your Judge is your Savior--Mk 13:26

    B. Your Judge is your Intercessor, the only one you need--v34

III. No external power can separate you from this love--vv35, 38-39

    A. Not even the persecution of powerful enemies--v36

    B. Nothing created can separate you from Gods love--2 Thess 2:13-14; Rev 1:5

Martin Luther writes on Romans 8:31: It will therefore be no small gain to a penitent to remember above all his baptism... His heart will find wonderful comfort and will be encouraged to hope for mercy when he considers that the promise which God made to him, which cannot possibly lie, is still unbroken and unchanged, and indeed, cannot be changed by sins, as Paul says (2 Tim 2[:13]): "If we are faithless, he remains faithful--for he cannot deny himself." This truth of God, I say, will sustain him, so that if all else should fail, this truth, if he believes in it, will not fail him. In it the penitent has a shield against all assaults of the scornful enemy, an answer to the sins that disturb his conscience, an antidote for the dread of death and judgment, and a comfort in every temptation--namely, this one truth--when he says: "God is faithful in his promises [Heb 10:23; 11:11], and I received his sign in baptism. If God is for me, who is against me?" [Rom 8:31]. (Luther's Works, Vol 36, p60)

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Objects: pictures of a family in a fishing boat; downloaded images from Great America or some other Amusement Park, or from a waterpark such as Noah’s Ark (in the Wisconsin Dells)

I want to talk to you about promises. Suppose you really like to go fishing. Your dad promises to take you to the lake next Saturday. But something comes up and he can’t keep his promise. He had Saturday off until his boss called and told him he had to work. And that’s why he can’t take you on a fishing trip.

Or maybe the promise was to take you to Great America or to Noah’s Ark. You’d like to go there, wouldn’t you? Dad was all ready to take you there and then the car broke down and he couldn’t keep his promise. He didn’t lie to you; he just couldn’t keep his promise.

Sometimes promises are broken because of things mom or dad can’t control. There are other people who make promises to us, but they don’t really mean what they say. None of that can happen when God makes a promise. There is no way that He can lie to us because God never lies to us. And there is nothing that is beyond His control. Nothing can keep Him from keeping a promise.

God sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins and He makes this promise: "Whoever believes in [Me] shall have...eternal life." (John 3:16)

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Option #2: "God's Gut Reaction"*
Matthew 14:13-21
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.
*The sermon title is taken from the verb splagchnizomai in verse 13, meaning "to be moved as to one's bowels, hence to be moved with compassion, have compassion (for the bowels were thought to be the seat of love and pity)." (Blue Letter Bible)
The Point: God gives us more than health and wealth.
The Problem: close-mindedness and lack of faith regarding Jesus' miraculous powers and provision; pre-occupation with practical and non-eternal concerns
The Promise: In Christ, God will continue to give us all we really need--the forgiveness of sins--and, in the Holy Spirit, faith for believing and receiving that and power for living and sharing it with all with whom we come into contact.
1. This is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels.
2. The LORD may not always come right when you want him, but He's always right on time. (African Proverb) He may not always give you what you want, but he always gives you what you need.
3. Many Christians remember St. Ignatius of Loyola on this day, July 31. He died in the year 1556. He writes of our giving: “Teach us, good Lord, to serve Thee as Thou deservest: To give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not to ask for any reward save that of knowing that we do Thy will.”

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This page was revised on: Monday, November 13, 2006 10:24:01 AM