Sermon Starters

Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals

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

Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Series B

Option #1: "Majoring in Minors"
Mark 7:1-8; 14-15; 21-23
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.S., M.Div.

I. The Minors

A. Man-made laws in the church--vv6-8; Col 2:21-22; Rev 22:18

B. Dietary laws that were changed in the NT--Acts 10:14-16, especially Heb. 9:10 & 13:9

II. The Majors: God’s law and the dirty dozen + 2--verses 14-23

III. The MAJOR solution--Heb 9:9-14, especially vv12 & 14

Barnes Notes on the New Testament: Neither by the blood of goats and calves--The Jewish sacrifice consisted of the shedding of the blood of animals. On the great day of the atonement, the high priest took with him into the most holy place:

(1) The blood of a young bullock--Lev 16:3, 11, which is here called the blood of a "calf," which he offered for his own sin; and,

(2) The blood of a goat as a sin-offering for others--Lev 16:9, 15. It was "by," or "by means of"--dia--blood thus sprinkled on the mercyseat, that the high priest sought the forgiveness of his own sins and the sins of the people.

But by his own blood--that is, by his own blood shed for the remission of sins. The meaning is that it was in virtue of his own blood, or "by means" of that, that he sought the pardon of his people. That blood was not shed for himself, for he had no sin, and consequently there was a material difference between his offering and that of the Jewish high priest. The difference related to such points as these.

(1) The offering which Christ made was wholly for others; that of the Jewish priest for himself as well as for them.

(2) The blood offered by the Jewish priest was that of animals; that offered by the Saviour was his own.

(3) That offered by the Jewish priest was only an emblem or type--for it could not take away sin. That offered by Christ had a real efficacy, and removes transgression from the soul.

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The Message for Children

(Mark 7:1) The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and 2) saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were "unclean," that is, unwashed.

Visual: hand cleaner

When I was growing up, two things happened before we could eat. My mother would ring the dinner bell and we would come from the barn or the fields for lunch. Can you guess what else we had to do before we could eat? (Allow for answers) Right! Mom insisted that we washed our hands before we could eat.

(Show hand cleaner) Washing your hands is a good idea even at other times. This is a hand washer, and you don’t even need water!

In Jesus’ time, the Pharisees washed their hands and many other things so that they would be right with God. Jesus and his disciples didn’t! Not because they didn't care about dirt, but to show that a ceremony type hand washing didn't help you to get right with God. Why not? Because Jesus said the really dirty stuff with us isn’t on your hands, but inside of us, in our hearts! And then he told us about a different kind of GERM! It's the germ we call sin. Jesus made a long list of 14 sins that come from inside of us.

I tell you more about that in a few minutes. Just remember that the only washing that works with these "inside germs" is the one Jesus’ disciple John wrote about: "The blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses from all sin."

Make sure you get the right cleaner and that comes only from Jesus!


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Option #2: "God's War on Spiritual Terror"
Ephesians 6:10-20
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.
Point: We're in a spiritual war of terror which has ultimately already been won by God.
Problem: We think the war is against the evil things life or against evil people and, accordingly, discount the presence and power of the devil and his cohorts.
Promise: Because God stripped Jesus of His spiritual armor and He lost the battle of His life for us and for our forgiveness, the Spirit now equips us with the spiritual armor we need to withstand the battles of life and to celebrate the already won war victory.
Note: spiritual armor briefly described:
The belt. As Christian soldiers prepared for battle, we are to put on truthfulness like a belt. In simple terms, tell the truth.
The breastplate. We are to put on right behavior like a breastplate. Be Christ-like is the exhortation.
Shoes. We are to put on peacefulness like shoes. The most popular interpretation is in terms of witnessing, evangelism. Yet Paul possibly means something like speaking peace--being peaceful rather than argumentative.

The shield. We are to take up trustworthiness like a shield. Again, this image is often interpreted in the terms of faith in Christ--saving faith. Yet, when treated as an ethical quality, the shield represents faithfulness rather than faith in God

The helmet. We are to put on salvation like a helmet. This image is not an easy one. The most accepted view is to see the image in the terms of assurance--"be sure of your salvation." Yet this is not really an ethical exhortation [and...] there is no need to expect Paul to make all the pieces of armor ethical. To support this view, Isaiah 59:17 describes God as wearing victory like a helmet.

The sword. We are to take up prayer like a sword. The accepted interpretation is the taking up of the word of God, the Bible. So, the exhortation is that we read the Bible and believe in it. There is though a strong possibility that the exhortation is to prayer. The sword then represents praying in the Spirit. This view sees the prayer of faith through the Spirit as prayer according to the will of God (prayer that is based on His promises).

[John] Bunyan [in Pilgrim's Progress] made a point of noting that there is no armor for the back. Christian[s] will not be able to run. He[/they] must "venture and stand his [their] ground". In simple terms, the armor image illustrates putting on Christ. This involves the impartation of Christ's righteousness, which is a renewing work of the indwelling Spirit, ours by grace through faith. (Bryan Findlayson)

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This page was revised on: Monday, November 13, 2006 01:00:38 PM