Sermon Starters

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

Second Sunday After Pentecost 

Option A: From  Kelly Bedard 

Hearing Faith
Romans 10:5-17

Note: the Lutheran lectionary provides for the option of observing "The Presentation of the Augsburg Confession." So the following outline:

A. A Journalistic Approach to The Augsburg Confession

    1. Who (author): primarily Philip Melanchthon, a layman, friend and colleague of Martin Luther
    2. What
        a. An account of the beliefs and practices of the reforming Christians in sixteenth 
            century Germany
        b. A summary of faith of the advocates of the Reformation 
        c. 28 articles, 21 of which spelled out what the Protestants believed, 7 of which cited 
            abuses of the (Roman Catholic) Church
    3. When: presented to Emperor Charles V on June 25, 1530
    4. Why 
        a. Charles' desire for a united military front against the Turks (this allowed for the 
            Confession to be heard) 
        b. Demand to end the religious disunity which had resulted from the Reformation
    5. How 
        a. At a diet, the highest political body of the German Empire in the sixteenth century; 
            like the present United States Congress or an extended national presidential convention;
            Worms, 1521; Nurenberg, 1522 & 1524; Speyer, 1529 
        b. Both German and Latin texts (German actually read before the diet; thus considered 
            more official); neither text is today in its extant form
The basic theological thrust of the Augsburg Confession is continued in parts B & C of the outline and as indicated by the assigned Epistle pericope for the Presentation:

Hearing Faith
Romans 10:5-17

 B. Inward Belief
    1. In "...the righteousness that is by faith" (verse 6)
    2. "Faith" = persuasion, conviction, reliance upon Christ for salvation
C. Outward Confession
    1. Living that belief: "The person who does these things will live by them" (verse 5).
    2. "Live" = "for a lifetime," "lively," "quick"

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


Option B: From Wayne Dobratz

God's Grace--An Offer You Can't Refuse
Isaiah 55:6-9

I. It will not be on the table forever (2 Cor. 6:2) 

A. You won't live forever.  (James 4:14)

B. Time itself will end.  (1 Pet. 4:7)


II. Accepting it involves repentance

A. It involves changing your thoughts and ways with the help of God's Spirit.  (Rom. 12:1-2)

B. Repentance leads to God=s mercy and pardon, full and free. Isa. 55:7


III. Man-made ways of pleasing God won't work (Text, v. 9)

A. Every religion in the history of the world has been sacrificial--a do-it-yourself religion (Rom. 8:6)

B. God's ways and thoughts are higher than ours

1. Jesus did it all for us ( Heb. 9:26b)

a. with his perfect life (Heb. 7:26)
b. with his sinless death ( Isa. 59:16; John 1:29)

2. The Holy Spirit shares God's Way in the Bible.  (John 20:31)                

IV. You can depend upon the power of God's Word.

A. It is as dependable as God providing rain and snow to nurture the earth. (Isa.  55:10-11)

B. It always accomplishes what God desires. (1 Kings 8:56; Matt. 5:18; Lk. 21:33


Comment: Max Mueller writes about God's grace: 

I have devoted a lifetime to the study of the sacred books of the East.  This is what I found in these "bibles" of Eastern religion. There is one refrain throughout. They all say that salvation must be purchased, must be bought with a price, and that the sole price, the sole purchase money, must be our own works and deservings.

Our own Holy Bible, our Sacred Book of the East, is from beginning to end a protest against this teaching. Let us not shut our eyes to what is excellent and true in the other sacred books. But let us teach Hindus, Buddhists, Moslems that there is only one Sacred Book of the East that can be their mainstay  in that awful hour when they pass into the unseen world all alone. It is that Sacred Book which contains that faithful saying, worthy to be received of all, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."

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

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