Sermon Starters

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

The Fourth Sunday After Easter
Series B

Option #1: "Great Love"
1 John 3:1-2
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

1) Great love made you God’s child--John 1:12; He gave you the right to be called God’s children, given to you by Christ in His Word (see below).

2) Great love is not recognized by the world--Mark 8:36; John 14:27

3) Great love gives a great future!--Col 3:4; Heb 9:28; Job 19:26-27; Ps 16:11; John 17:24; 1 Cor 13:12; 2 Cor 5:6-8

Vincent's Word Studies, Volume 2: The Writings of John

"Behold"--literally, behold ye. The plural is peculiar. The usual form is the singular n or k. See John 1:29; 11:3, etc.; 4:35; 19:26, 27. Elsewhere the plural is used of something actually visible (Galatians 6:11)

"What manner of"--the word is of infrequent occurrence in the New Testament, but is found in all the Synoptists and in 2 Peter 3:11. Only here in John’s writings. Originally it means from what country or race; then, of what sort or quality. It is used of the quality of both persons and things.

"Hath bestowed"--emphasizing the endowment of the receiver. Compare "from" grace, favor, which emphasizes the goodwill of the giver. See Galatians 3:18; Philippians 2:9; 1:29.

"We should be called"--or, named. As Matthew 2:23; 21:13; Luke 1:13, 31, etc. The verb is never used by John of the divine call.

"The sons"--better, children. See on John 1:12.

"And such we are"--literally, and we are. A parenthetical, reflective comment, characteristic of John.



Oswald Chambers:


"… it has not yet been revealed what we shall be …" (1 John 3:2).

Our natural inclination is to be so precise--trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next--that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, "Well, what if I were in that circumstance?" We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.

Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life--gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises... The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled... Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in--but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.

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The Message For Children
Based on 1 John 3:1

Object: mirror


As you grow older, let’s say about the time you graduate from high school, you will probably go someplace else--either to school or for work. Some people won’t see you very often--if at all. You’ll notice that you look a little different. The people who haven’t see you very often will tell you that you look different and you’ll notice that when you look into one of these (mirror).

Last Sunday as I was getting ready to go home after church, an old friend came to say hello. I had not seen him in about 40 years! I had gone to high school with him for 2 years and it took me a little while to figure out how he fit in with his family and other people I knew from where he lived.

When you come back home, people will ask you who your father and mother are. I’d like you to give them two answers to that question. When you look into the mirror, you’ll see that you look like one or both of your parents. So tell them who your parents are. But tell them something else too. Tell them what the Bible says in one of the readings for today: 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!

The Bible tells us that we were ADOPTED into God’s family when we were baptized. Jesus died for us so that we could be a part of His family forever. Now we have to live that way! Be sure that EVERYONE can see that you are a child of God everyday of your life.

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Option #2: "Easter Presents/Presence!"
1 John 3:1-2
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.
Point: In a world of absent fathers and mothers--even those who are present!--God assures us that He loves us by adopting us into His family.
Problem: We act like orphans, sometimes so in love with the world that we fail to realize the real and lasting nature of God's many gifts to us.
Promise: Because God gave up His child, Jesus, for "adoption"--utimately, to death!--the Holy Spirit reminds us that we always have a place in His eternal family.
1. "Children of God"? Wouldn't we rather be called by our own "name"(s): "Child/Student of the Month"; Father/Mother/Employee of the Year"? Too, we might think we are worthy of God's name, but not, for example, the poor or the rich, Whites, Blacks, undocumented Hispanics, Asians.
...1 John is full of opposties: if you are hating, you are not loving. If you say you love and do not, you are a liar. Being an "ethical American" might not be the same as being a "loving Christian."
...The Good Shepherd has a future for us. He will come again to take us to His ultimate place of refuge and to feed us at His banquet. Then all of the perplexing contradictions of today, all that isn't quite clear to us, now will be resolved. We shall see things clearly, and He will let us be in Him. (Douglas Groll, Adapted)
2.Little does the world know of the happiness of the real followers of Christ. Little does the world think that these poor, humble, despised ones, are favourites of God, and will dwell in heaven. Let the followers of Christ be content with hard fare here, since they are in a land of strangers, where their Lord was so badly treated before them." (Matthew Henry)




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