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Sermon Starters

Support and Resources For Pastors and
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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor


Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost 

Option One: Rev. Kelly Bedard

"The Disgrace of Grace"
Isaiah 50:4-10

A. In Your Face!
    1. Personal humiliation: weakness and weariness
    2. Walking in darkness: anguish, pain and rejection

B. Saving Face
    1. Personal exaltation: Christ, not us--yea, Christ in us!
    2. Sustained and supported through instruction in God's Word

Notes:

1. "Learned" (verse 4)="taught, discipled"

2. "Speak" (ibid)="hasten to, help, succor with words"; spiritual sound
bytes, if you will

3. "Weary"="burdened with the sense of his deplorable condition" (Wesley's
Notes)

4. Plucking or shaving one's beard (verse 6) was an ultimate act of personal
disgrace

5. To spit in another's presence is an insult in the East, much more on a
person; most of all, in the face

6. "Like flint" (verse 7)=rock-solid (Rock-solid!) determination

7. "Name" (verse 10)="reputation, fame, glory"

8. "Stay" (ibid)="lean on, trust in, support"

9. "It is a rare thing that any should obey correctly God's true ministers, though they labour to bring them from hell to heaven" (Geneva Notes)

10. "This grace usually appears most in believers when in darkness, when other graces appear not" (Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary)

11. "A godly man's way may be dark, but his end shall be peace and everlasting light. A wicked man's way may be pleasant, but his end and abode for ever will be utter darkness" (Ibid)

12. "[Jesus]" had the ear of a learner. He pored over the Scriptures. He saw himself in them. He understood what his work would be. There came dawning into his heart the revelation that he was to endure anguish, pain and rejection." (Ray Stedman)

 

Option Two: Rev. Wayne Dobratz

"Let Your Faith Show!"
James 2:14-18

I. Not to gain favor with God, but...

II. To show that God has made you His own.

Introduction: The Dairy Farmers of America want you to put real cream in your coffee and have real cheese on your pizza. So they have developed THE REAL SEAL. They don't want you to use some synthetic imitation when the real and nutritious product is readily available. Just as the Dairy industry guarantees real calcium and real dairy nutrition, so the good works that accompany faith are proof your faith is real. The Holy Spirit wants you to wear THE REAL SEAL too.

"Let Your Faith Show!"

I. Not to gain favor with God

A. That's impossible through works,
1. As we see in Eph. 2:8-9
2. As the Scripture says in Rom. 4:6-8

B. Righteousness is a gift
1. as we see in Rom. 4:1-5
2. As it is written in Rom. 5:15-17

II. To Show that God has made you His own.

A. Text--v. 18
B. As James wrote in Ch. 1 of this Letter--1:27
C. As the Lord spoke in the Old Testament
1. In Deut. 10:12
2. Eccl. 12:13
3. Hos. 6:6
4. Mic. 6:8
D. As the Lord told us in the New Testament
1. Mk. 12:33
2. Rom. 13:10
3. As Paul set an example in 2 Cor. 1:12
4. As Paul prayed in Phil. 1:9-10
5. As John exhorted in I John 3:18-19

Martin Luther writes: "We teach that to reconcile God, to make pious and to abolish sin are works so sublime, so great and so glorious that only Christ, God's Son, must do them. But we must not think that good works are of no consequence--this comes from the lying lips of the devil. 

I would not exchange one of my sermons, one of my lectures, one of my writings, nay, even the smallest work I have ever done or shall still do, for the treasures of all the world. In fact, I consider these of greater value than the life of my own body....

For if it is a good work, God has done it through me and in me. But if God has done it, then what is the whole world in comparison to it? Now although I do not become pious through such works (that must have already taken place, through Christ's blood and grace, without works), yet I do them for the praise and honor of God and for the benefit and welfare of my fellow man. (What Luther Says, Vol. III, #4881, p. 1509)

Copyright 2000 Ministry Health, LLC 
All Rights Reserved
http://ministryhealth.net
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Director

A. In Your Face!
    1. Personal humiliation: weakness and weariness
    2. Walking in darkness: anguish, pain and rejection

B. Saving Face
    1. Personal exaltation: Christ, not us--yea, Christ in us!
    2. Sustained and supported through instruction in God's Word

Notes:

1. "Learned" (verse 4)="taught, discipled"

2. "Speak" (ibid)="hasten to, help, succor with words"; spiritual sound
bytes, if you will

3. "Weary"="burdened with the sense of his deplorable condition" (Wesley's
Notes)

4. Plucking or shaving one's beard (verse 6) was an ultimate act of personal
disgrace

5. To spit in another's presence is an insult in the East, much more on a
person; most of all, in the face

6. "Like flint" (verse 7)=rock-solid (Rock-solid!) determination

7. "Name" (verse 10)="reputation, fame, glory"

8. "Stay" (ibid)="lean on, trust in, support"

9. "It is a rare thing that any should obey correctly God's true ministers, though they labour to bring them from hell to heaven" (Geneva Notes)

10. "This grace usually appears most in believers when in darkness, when other graces appear not" (Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary)

11. "A godly man's way may be dark, but his end shall be peace and everlasting light. A wicked man's way may be pleasant, but his end and abode for ever will be utter darkness" (Ibid)

12. "[Jesus]" had the ear of a learner. He pored over the Scriptures. He saw himself in them. He understood what his work would be. There came dawning into his heart the revelation that he was to endure anguish, pain and rejection." (Ray Stedman)

 

Option Two: Rev. Wayne Dobratz

"Let Your Faith Show!"
James 2:14-18

I. Not to gain favor with God, but...

II. To show that God has made you His own.

Introduction: The Dairy Farmers of America want you to put real cream in your coffee and have real cheese on your pizza. So they have developed THE REAL SEAL. They don't want you to use some synthetic imitation when the real and nutritious product is readily available. Just as the Dairy industry guarantees real calcium and real dairy nutrition, so the good works that accompany faith are proof your faith is real. The Holy Spirit wants you to wear THE REAL SEAL too.

"Let Your Faith Show!"

I. Not to gain favor with God

A. That's impossible through works,
1. As we see in Eph. 2:8-9
2. As the Scripture says in Rom. 4:6-8

B. Righteousness is a gift
1. as we see in Rom. 4:1-5
2. As it is written in Rom. 5:15-17

II. To Show that God has made you His own.

A. Text--v. 18
B. As James wrote in Ch. 1 of this Letter--1:27
C. As the Lord spoke in the Old Testament
1. In Deut. 10:12
2. Eccl. 12:13
3. Hos. 6:6
4. Mic. 6:8
D. As the Lord told us in the New Testament
1. Mk. 12:33
2. Rom. 13:10
3. As Paul set an example in 2 Cor. 1:12
4. As Paul prayed in Phil. 1:9-10
5. As John exhorted in I John 3:18-19

Martin Luther writes: "We teach that to reconcile God, to make pious and to abolish sin are works so sublime, so great and so glorious that only Christ, God's Son, must do them. But we must not think that good works are of no consequence--this comes from the lying lips of the devil. 

I would not exchange one of my sermons, one of my lectures, one of my writings, nay, even the smallest work I have ever done or shall still do, for the treasures of all the world. In fact, I consider these of greater value than the life of my own body....

For if it is a good work, God has done it through me and in me. But if God has done it, then what is the whole world in comparison to it? Now although I do not become pious through such works (that must have already taken place, through Christ's blood and grace, without works), yet I do them for the praise and honor of God and for the benefit and welfare of my fellow man. (What Luther Says, Vol. III, #4881, p. 1509)

Copyright 2000 Ministry Health, LLC 
All Rights Reserved
http://ministryhealth.net
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Director

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