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Sermon Starters

Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals

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


First Sunday In Advent
Series B

Option #1: "Paul's Celebration of Thanksgiving"
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

Past--vv3-6: notice the greeting: "Grace and peace"--Rom 6:17; John 15:26-27; Acts 11:23; 1 Pet 1:2; 1 John 5:11-13

John Mac Arthur: The first benefits of grace for the believer are established in the past... In Christ we are continually enriched in everything. A key word in verse 5 is "in." We are enriched in everythingÖin Him. The in Him qualifies the in everything. That is, we have everything that Christ has to give, and He gives everything we need--though many times not everything we want. Godís divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3), which is all a believer needs and should be all he wants. In Jesus Christ we "have been made complete" (Col 2:10). "All things belong to [us]" (1 Cor 3:21).

2) Present--v7: Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.

Among the most important of the things we have in Christ are all speech and all knowledge. Again, the all is qualified. We have all the speech and knowledge necessary to accomplish all God wants us to do. We will always be able to say everything God wants us to say and to know everything He wants us to know His will is concurrent with His enablement.

3) Future--v8: 2 Cor 1:21-22; 2 Thess 3:3; 1 Pet 5:10; 1 John 4:13

The Greek word apekdechomenous (awaiting eagerly) means to wait with eager anticipation and also with activity. It is not idle, passive waiting, as when sitting on a street corner waiting for a bus. It involves working while we wait and watch and hope. We know that God takes care of His own. We wait eagerly, but not anxiously. We live in a hopeless world, and often we cannot help grieving for it, as Jesus grieved over Jerusalem (Luke 13:34). But the worldís hopelessness does not steal our hope. We can say with Paul, "I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day" (2 Tim 1:12). It is that very day which is the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. The revelation refers to His manifestation without the veil of humanity He wore in His incarnation. At His next coming He will be fully revealed in blazing splendor.

Richard Lenski: "You come behind in no gift." God has done no less for them and in them than he has accomplished in others. "In no gift" cannot refer to the special charismatic gifts of the early church but must point to the general gracious gifts of God with which true believers are always endowed, the spiritual blessings of Christianity.

 

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THE MESSAGE FOR CHILDREN

Visual: want ad pages from a newspaper

Christmas will be here before we know it. When the big day comes, we sometimes make a big mistake. Instead of thanking God for the many things he gives us, sometimes we compare the gifts someone else has received with ours and think we have come out on the short end.

God gives many kinds of gifts. He gives gifts to us one at a time and he gives gifts to us as a group, as a church. Think of it this way: ask yourself what you'd like to do when you grow up. I have three children working in stores and one in college who wants to manage the people who work for a company or store.

We donít know where you will live or where you will work. You may look for a job in newspaper pages like this, in the want ads. Wherever you find a job, it will be because of the talents God has given you. But donít stop there. Think also of how those talents will be used in the church you will be attending. Thatís how God gets things done--not only through the pastor but especially through you, the people of the church. Itís been that way for more than 2,000 years and it will be that way until Jesus comes again. Be sure that you do your part. And while youíre at it, do your school work now so that you are ready when that time comes. God needs you and his church needs you.

 

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Option #2: "God's No Sleeper!"
Mark 13:33-37
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.
 
Point: God has called us to mind the "store" while He's gone.
 
Problem: We are spiritually asleep and inert, not ready for the Master's return.
 
Promise: God made Jesus sleep/die for us so that we might rest in peace eternally and, in the meantime, empowered by the Spirit, be on guard and alert for Him and for the sake of other "sleepers."
 
Notes:
 
1. katheudo {kath-yoo'-do}, v37: sleep, euphemistically, to be dead; metaphorically, to yield to sloth and sin; to be indifferent to one's salvation. (Blue Letter Bible)
 
2. The stress upon vigilance sustained throughout the discourse suggests that the final call to watchfulness in verse 37 is not focused exclusively upon the last day, but like the previous admonitions, has bearing upon the continuing life of the Church during an age marked by false teachers, persecution and delay in the Lord's return. (William Lane)
 
3. A young girl asked her Sunday school teacher, "What's a lert?" "A what?" the teacher asked. "A lert." she said again. "Why do you want to know?" asked the bewildered teacher. "Because the pastor said that we should "be alert," so I want to know what a lert is, so I can be one?" (c;
 
4. All the signs that have been given add up to one conclusion: the End cannot be prepared for. That is because the End is ultimately not a "then" but a mysteriously present now. The sole preparation for the End is watchfulness and faithfulness in the present. (James Edwards) 
 

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This page was revised on: Saturday, December 03, 2005 09:14:04 PM