Sermon Starters

Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals

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

The Fifth Sunday After Easter
Series C

Option 1: Rev. Kelly Bedard

"Love Personified"
(John 13:31-35)

1. Glorious: manifests the dignity and worth of all people
2. Laborious: uncommon love expressed in unprecedented deeds
3. Illustrious: indicates that we are genuine disciples of Jesus


 1. doxazo (glory), v. 31: to cause the dignity and worth of some person or
thing to become manifest and acknowledged

 2. kainos (new), v. 34: recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn;
unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of

 3. entole (commandment), v. 34: that which is prescribed to one by reason
of their office; a precept relating to lineage, of the Mosaic precept
concerning the priesthood; ethically used of the commandments in the Mosaic
law or Jewish tradition

 4. agapao (love), v. 34: to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love
dearly; to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing

 5. Loving one another as Jesus loved them suggests that if they will be
genuine disciples, they, too, should expect to face suffering and
misunderstanding and even persecution at the hands of this world. It is by
this kind of love, Jesus warns, that all will know they are truly his
disciples. (Homiletics Online, 5/14/95)

 6. ...a community of love is a statement of evangelism. (William Loader)

 7. We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us
love one another. (From Thoughts on Various Subjects; from Miscellanies by
Jonathan Swift, 1711)

 8. What is "new" (kainos) about this commandment? This word occurs only
twice in John, here and 19:14--"new" tomb. It can refer to something that
didn't exist before--but the command to love one another is not recent. It
is found in the Torah (Leviticus 19:18; Deuteronomy 6:4). It can refer to
something that existed previously, but was not fully known or understood;
e.g., a "new" understanding. I think that it is in this sense that this
commandment is "new." (Brian Stoffregen)

 9. ...what is new is that the commandment to love derives from the
incarnation (see 3:16). The "new" turn in the commandment of 13:34 is that
Jesus' "own" are asked to enter into the love that marks the relationship of
God and Jesus. Their participation in this relationship will be evidenced
the same way that Jesus' is: by acts of love that join the believer to God
(cf. 14:15, 21, 23; 15:12). Keeping this commandment is the identifying mark
of disciples (v. 35), because it is the tangible sign of the disciples'
abiding in Jesus (15:10). (O'Day, John, New Interpreters Bible)

10. ...a united community that transcends races, economic status, or
genders. In many of our congregations, the greater struggle may be between
the old and new members; or between those who believe that the
congregation's primary ministry is to its members and those who believe that
the congregation's ministry is to the unchurched. (Stoffregen)

11. [Loving others]...doesn't mean that I have to have wonderful, inner
feelings towards such people--or that we won't have disagreements; but that
there is a mutual respect and appreciation for each other's gifts. One of my
great complaints against some other Christians and pastors is that they may
expect me to appreciate and value what they have to tell me, but they aren't
willing to listen to or try to understand my point of view. Those are the
believers that I have the most difficulties loving as Christ has commanded
us to love. (Stoffregen)

Option 2: Rev. Wayne Dobratz

Revelation 21:1-5

I. When it happens

A. No one knows-except that it will be the last day.

B. "There was no longer any sea"-at a time when all danger is past.

II. Who's getting married?

A. The One Holy Christian Church is the Bride
1. God has often spoken of His Church as His bride-Cf. Isa. 62:5, 2 Cor.
11:2, Rev. 19:7, Rev. 22:17.
2. Her white gown shows that she has received the gift of righteousness.

B. Who's the Groom?-The Lord Jesus himself-Cf. Matt. 25:5 & 12; also Matt.
9:15, John 3:29.

III. What's planned for the party?

A. God will be there forever

B. He will wipe every tear from their eyes

C. This joy will be the end of sorrow.

D. This promise is as trustworthy as God Himself.

Albert Barnes writes: The word "sorrow" here denotes sorrow or grief of any
kind; sorrow for the loss of property or friends; sorrow for disappointment, persecution, or care; sorrow over our sins, or sorrow that we love God so little, and serve him so unfaithfully; sorrow that we are sick, or that we must die. How innumerable are the sources of sorrow here; how constant is it on the earth! 

Since the fall of man there has not been a day, an hour, a moment, in which this has not been a sorrowful world; there has not been a nation, a tribe-a city or a village-nay, not a family, where there has not been grief. There has been no individual who has been always perfectly happy. No one rises in the morning with any certainty that he may not end the day in grief; no one lies down at night with any assurance that it may not be a night of sorrow. How different would this world be if it were announced that henceforward there would be no sorrow! 

How different, therefore, will heaven be when we shall have the assurance that henceforward grief shall be at an end! 

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