Sermon Starters

Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals

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

Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost
Series A

Option #1: "One Depressed Prophet"
1 Kings 19:9-18
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

I. He has a lot of company

    A. A common Bible word for depression is "downcast"--Gen 4:5-6; Ps 42:5; Lam 3:1-25

    B. Note the negative self-talk in Ps 31:9-13

    C. Note the self-talk of faith in following verses

II. The nature of the problem

    A. Anger turned inward--text, vv9-10; 1 John 3:18-24; Rom 7:24-25

    B. Anger against God--Lamentations 3, especially vv1-18

    C. Anger against seemingly impossible circumstances--1 Kings 18:4 & 22, 19:2 & 14

III. How God helps--Ps 43:5

    A. Internal circumstances: we must take comfort in God's Word--text, vv11ff, Ex 34:6-7; Zech 4:6; Lk 24:27; Acts 3:18-26, 10:43

    B. External circumstances: we must trust God to take action in His own way and time--text, vv15-18; Ps 31:14ff, Lk 24:7; 2 Cor 7:6

Disciples Study Bible: The prophet, having just won a battle with Jezebel’s gods, feared for his safety. God sought him out, apparently while he slept. God did not reveal Himself in expected supernatural events, appearing instead in the quiet reflection of a silent whisper. Like Elijah, many expect God’s manifestation in spectacular occurrences, while God seeks the private road of faith and openness of heart. God’s whisper was heard again in the stable of a small village inn centuries later when Jesus was born. Coming out of the cave, Elijah heard God’s voice giving Him directions for personal action. The word may be one to communicate to God’s people or to direct one’s personal life.

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I want to tell you a story about a man in a cave. He wasn’t visiting in one of those caves for travelers to see. He was there because he was running for his life. You heard the reading about this man; his name was Elijah.

Another man, a long time later, was also in a cave because he was afraid he would be caught and killed. He was a US Marine during World War II. He became separated from his fellow soldiers. He was alone in the jungle and he could hear the enemy soldiers looking for him. He prayed that God would protect him. He heard the enemy soldiers come closer and he said: "Well, I guess God isn’t going to help me out of this one."

Just then God answered his prayer. He looked up at the cave entrance and he saw a spider begin to build a web over the front of his cave. "Hah," he thought, "what I need is a brick wall, and the Lord has sent me a spider web." As the enemy came to his cave, they looked at the entrance and then moved on. Suddenly he realized that with the spider web over the entrance his cave had looked as if no one had entered it for awhile. The man prayed again, "Lord, please forgive me; I forgot that in you a spider’s web is stronger than a brick wall."

Do you know what it means to be depressed? Elijah was so depressed that he wanted to die, but God heard Elijah’s prayer from a cave and told him He still had work for him to do.

If you ever get depressed and want to give up, or if you know someone like that, read the story about Elijah. Then tell them the story of the spider web that protected a soldier’s life in a place very far away from home. After all, God is everywhere, and he hears our prayers everywhere, and He can help us everywhere.

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Option #2: "Rescue At Sea"
Matthew 14:22-33
Rev. Mark Borchert, B.S., M.Div.




1. In the OT, Yahweh is the one who walks on water--e.g., Job 9:8, Psalm 77:19.


2. In the OT, Yahweh rescues from distress at sea--e.g., Psalm 107:25-32, Jonah 1:1-16.


3. Who walks on water? God. What does he do? Save.

4. Matthew 8:25--"Save us, Lord"; Matthew 14:30--"Lord, save me."
5. Matthew 8:27--"What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?"; Matthew 14:33--"Truly you are the Son of God."
6. Who walks on water? Jesus, who is the Son of God. What does he do? Save.
7. Angel said to name him Jesus because "He will save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)
8. God the Father says at Jesus’ baptism, "This is my beloved Son." (Matthew 3:17)
9. Demons address Jesus, "What do you have to do with us, O Son of God." (Matthew 8:29) Interesting: Right after the disciples wonder at who Jesus is, Matthew presents demons who call him the Son of God.
10. Only Yahweh can forgive sins, but Jesus says to the paralytic, "Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven." (Matthew 9: 2)
11. Identity of Jesus as the Son of God is important in understanding his reason for coming.
12. His identity (Son of God) and reason (to save) come together as Christ hangs on the cross and the signs of the end are happening. "When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, 'Truly this was the Son of God!'"
13. This account (Matthew 14:22-33) serves to show how the disciples have come to a deeper understanding of who this man Jesus is.


Point: Jesus is the Son of God. We can boldly confess His name and worship him because he has authority and he uses it to save us.


Problem: Lack of faith. Lack of faith paralyzes us from confessing our faith, from living our faith.


Promise: The Son of God is strong to save--and continues to save.



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This page was revised on: Monday, November 13, 2006 10:25:09 AM