Sermon Starters

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

Sixth Sunday Of Easter

Option A: From  Kelly Bedard 

They'll Know We Are Christians..."
Acts 11:19-30

A. By Our Work: in the New Testament, "Christian" occurs in only two other places (Acts 26:28 & 1 Peter 4:16), always in the context of suffering and persecution

B. By Our Walk: Barnabas, a Cypriote Jew, and Paul, a deposed one, expand the Gospel from: 1) Jew to Gentile; and 2) "Messiah," the hope of Israel, to "Lord," the guarantor of salvation and immortality to all who believe--which fit in well with the pagan culture's religious concept(s)

C. By Our Worship: Christ, who suffered and was persecuted for us ("He sent His one and only Son into the an atoning sacrifice for our sins" [1 John 4:9b & 10b; Epistle])

Recommended song: "They'll Know We Are Christians by Our Love," which in part frames this outline.

Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.


Option B: From Wayne Dobratz

Jesus’ Job Description
John 17:11b-19

I. Our Savior & Defense Attorney (1 John 2)

II. Our Prophet

III. Our Sanctifier

Sermon Introduction: Mom & Dad were doing some yard work. Their 3-year-old son was playing nearby and, as usual, asking non-stop questions. What is Mom doing? Mom is picking raspberries. What is Daddy doing? Daddy is pulling weeds. What is Spot doing? Spot is playing with his ball. What is Jesus doing? 

Somehow the answer to that last question didn’t come quite so quickly. Just how would you answer a child’s question like that? Since just about everyone who works these days has a job description, let’s think about JESUS’ JOB DESCRIPTION.

Jesus is with the disciples in the Upper Room. When a man knows he’s going to die the next day, he doesn’t waste words.

I. He is our Savior & Defense Attorney

A. Protection from the Evil One--v. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

1. That comes only through the power of His Holy Word, as Jesus employed it in the desert when tempted by Satan--Matt. 4:1-11

  2. The Word is a means of grace and power, as in Rev. 12:11

B. As our Defense Attorney

1. When a child of God sins, he has One who speaks to the Father on his behalf. I John 2:2

2. His perfect life is given in place of our disobedience

3. His sacrificial death covers over all sin--2 Cor. 5:18-21

II. Jesus is our Prophet--v. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 

A. His work as Prophet continues in His gifts to the Church--Eph. 4:11-15

B. His Word as our Prophet brings joy, as in 13 "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. Cf. Jer. 15:16, Is. 61:10, John 16:24, Rom. 14:17, I Pt. 1:8

III. Jesus is our Sanctifier--v. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. v. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. v. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

A. "Sanctify" means to be "separated from evil."

1. Jesus separates those who believe in Him from the punishment for their sins by taking it upon himself. John 1:29

2. His Word separates the Christian from evil in this life, as God’s Word did for Joseph in Gen. 39:9.

B. This Sanctification comes through God’s Word working in your Baptism.

1. As in Eph. 5:26
2. As in Rom. 6:4
3. As in 1 Pet. 1:2

C. The Holy Spirit continues this sanctifying work of Jesus

1. John 14:14-21
2. John 16:26-27

Albert Barnes writes re: John 17:17

Sanctify them—This word means to render pure, or to cleanse from sins, Sanctification in the heart of a Christian is progressive. It consists in his becoming more like God and less attached to the world; in his getting the ascendancy over evil thoughts, and passions, and impure desires; and in his becoming more and more weaned from earthly objects, and attached to those things which are unseen and eternal. The word also means 'to consecrate, to set apart to a holy office or purpose.' 

When Jesus prayed here that God would sanctify them, he probably included both these ideas, that they might be made personally more holy, and might be truly consecrated to God as the ministers of his religion. Ministers of the gospel will be really devoted to the service of God just in proportion as they are personally pure.

'Thy word is truth'—All that thou hast spoken—that is, all that is contained in the Bible. All the commands and promises of God; His representations of His own character and that of man; His account of the mission and death of His Son; of the grave, the resurrection, judgment, and eternity, all tend to represent things as they are, and are thus fitted to sanctify the soul. We have here also the testimony of the Savior that the revelation which God has given is true. All that God has spoken is true, and the Christian should rejoice and the sinner should tremble. See Ps. 19:7-14."

Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.S., M.Div.

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