Sermon Starters

Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals

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

Eighth Sunday After Pentecost (Alternate)
Series A

Option #1: "God's Word--A Sure Thing"
Isaiah 55:10-11
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

I. In creating new life

    A. Physical--v10, Gen 1:11-12, 20-22; 24-25

    B. Spiritual--Mark 4:8 & 20; Luke 8:15; Gal 5:22; Col 1:10; Acts 13:46-49; 1 Peter 1:23

II. In confronting sin--as in David’s case. 2 Sam 12

III. In saving the sinner--also as with David, 1 Kings 3:11-14; 1 Peter 1:18ff

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(Isa 55:10) As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11) so is my word that goes out from my mouth...

Objects: items from a grocery bag, especially one with corn or corn syrup in it; also a Bible

It’s been a little dry around here, but the corn is still "knee high by the 4th of July." I’ve seen a lot of July 4ths, and I don’t remember many where the corn wasn’t that high by the 4th of July.

In today’s Bible reading, God says that it is He who makes rain and snow fall so that our crops get enough moisture to grow. So (show foods) these come from God, right?

That isn’t all that He said, though; He said that His Word does what He sent it to do. So when you hear or read God’s Word, it will tell you when you have sinned. It will point you to the cross of Jesus, where all of your sins were paid for. God’s Word will comfort you when you are sick; it will dry your tears when you have lost a Christian loved one; it will point you in the way you should go when you’re not sure about that.

So when you eat some of these, don’t fail to notice how they are connected with this (Bible) and how God’s promises help you your whole life and to take you to eternal life.

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Option #2: "Growing Like A Seed!"
Isaiah 55:10-11
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.
The Point: God's Word works!
The Problem: We complain about and doubt God's rain/reign and snow, looking at/to all the wrong things and places for growth, and thus experiencing emptiness.
The Promise: God's Word will ultimately bud and flower--already has, matter of fact, through Jesus, the Word become flesh, and, in the meantime, through the power of the Holy Spirit, accomplishes the purposes for which He sent it out.
1. "Remember that sermon you preached your senior year?" a fellow attendee at our university's 100th anniversary reunion queried. He didn't wait for an answer. "You talked about God's grace and about all the things we do to earn His favor being inconsequential"--or something to that effect. So dumbfounded, not remembering the sermon myself, it being well over twenty years ago, he continued: "I never attended chapel services up until then and then, after that, never missed!" Repentant joy engulfed me. "Repentant" because I had categorized him with the rest of the baseball players on campus, "joyful" because a seed I hadn't even remembered planting had come to fruition. Needless to say, the rest of the weekend was heavenly, not to mention that this text was in the back of my mine and now, lo and behold, a sublime real-to-life sermon illustration has been sent, especially as our new associate pastor is ordained and installed on Sunday. As I'll share with him, even just one experience like this is reward and encouragement enough, yet God graces us with, oh, so much more. Help us to see, Lord and, not seeing, empower us to trust and to keep on sowing.
2. The meaning of the verbravah in verse 10 is "to saturate" (Blue Letter Bible). No water miser God have we--yea, He fills to overflowing!
3. These verses come from Second Isaiah, who wrote toward the end of the Babylonian exile. With the elite of the nation in a foreign land and Jerusalem in ruins, a general malaise fell over the Jews in Babylon. Not only were they cut off from their land; they could not worship their God through sacrifice. It was as if the heart was torn out of the people.

But the winds of change blew from the east. Cyrus led a vast Persian army on a westward conquest. Babylon was next. There was hope in the air. For the Jews, the idea of return could be thinkable!

Second Isaiah tried to capitalize on this hope. Yes, the people would return because it was God's command. As certain as the rain cycle, God's word had an effect. He was a God that worked in the lives of people!

When we are down, even at the point of despair, we should remember who our God is. He will give us hope even in the most dire times. Why? Because he is a God who works in our lives! (Larry Broding)

4. Like the woman at the well, I was seeking for things that could not satisfy.
    And then I heard my Savior speaking: "Draw from my well that never shall run dry."
    Fill my cup, Lord; I lift it up, Lord. Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.
    Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more; fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole
    There are millions in this world who are craving the pleasure earthly things afford.
    But none can match the wondrous treasure that I find in Jesus Christ, my Lord. Fill my cup, Lord...
    So, my brother, if the things this world gave you leave hungers that won't pass away,
    my blessed Lord will come and save you if you kneel to Him and humbly pray. Fill my cup, Lord...
    (Richard Blanchard)
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This page was revised on: Monday, November 13, 2006 10:20:13 AM