Sermon Starters

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Christian Ministry Professionals

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

Lent 3
Series C

Option One: Rev. Kelly Bedard

"Fertilized With Forgiveness"
Luke 13:6-9

A. Up A Tree

    1. Home gardening: self-made and cared for

    2. Spoiled rotten fruit--if any at all

B. Up God's Tree

    1. Community gardens: made right by God through Christ

    2. Bearing fruit of repentance and righteousness


1. karpos (fruit): the fruit of one's loins, i.e., progeny, posterity; that which originates or comes from something, an effect, result; work, act, deed; praises, which are presented to God as a thank offering; to gather fruit (i.e., a reaped harvest) into life eternal

2. aphiemi (leave): forgive; to leave on dying, leave behind one; to leave so that what is left may remain, leave remaining

3. "Three years": a long enough trial for a fig tree, and so denoting probably just a sufficient period of culture for spiritual fruit

4. "Dig": loosen the earth about it and enrich it with manure; pointing to changes of method in the divine treatment of the impenitent, in order to freshen spiritual culture

5. "...the cure of the gardener Jesus is quite radical. He offers his own body as our new source of fertilizer, becoming "dung" (dead matter) in the form of a crucified body on the cross. He takes our dead and trashed existences, and in exchange gives us himself as the new source of life. His tree allows our trees to find new soil, new roots." (Cathy Lessmann)

6. "...God's long-suffering, which is a merciful fact, must not be construed as indicating that He will never terminate the period of grace." (William F. Arndt)

Rev. Kelly Bedard

Option Two: Rev. Wayne Dobratz

His Name Is "I AM"
Exodus 3:1-8a; 10-15

Introduction: Names meant much more in the ancient world than they do today. It's true that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but it's not true that one name is as good as another. Surrounded by a sea of pagan deities, the Israelites naturally wanted to know God's name. When asked His name, God said, "Tell them I AM sent me to you."

I. He is the God who always was and always will be

A. The meaning of the word appears from Ex. 3:14 to be "the unchanging, eternal, self-existent God...." (Easton's Bible Dictionary)

B. He created us; we did not create Him-Ps. 100:3

C. He is Almighty, totally different man-made gods-Ps. 115:3ff 

II. He is holy-Moses was standing on "Holy Ground"

A. Sinless-Text, v.5-See also Isa. 6:3 & Rev. 15:4

B. Hating sin-Prov. 8:13ff, Amos 5:14-15.

C. He is actively opposed to sin-Cf. Exodus 20:5

D. But He loves to show mercy also-Exodus 20:6 

III. He keeps His promises

A. Deliverance was His business THEN-Text, 3:7ff

B. Deliverance is His business NOW

1."From the Lord comes deliverance"-Ps. 3:8, see also Ps. 32:7,Joel 2:32.

2. "Deliverer" is one of His titles of praise-Cf. 2 Sam. 2:22-23, Ps. 40:17, Rom. 11:26.

3. At his Transfiguration, His journey to the cross was called His "exodus."

    a. "By His death and woe are we rescued from all misery."

    b. He rescued us from the Enemy's Kingdom-Col. 1:13-14

IV. He wants us to remember His name, from generation to generation text: v.15--Jesus claims this name in John 8:58

A. Through Christian Education-Deut. 6:6ff.

B. Through Worship-Rev. 4:9

C. Through sharing the Good News-Ps. 51:13, Isa. 53:12, Lk. 22:37.

Matthew Henry writes: Two names God would now be known by. A name that denotes what he is in himself, I AM THAT I AM. This explains his name Jehovah, and signifies:
1. That he is self-existent: he has his being of himself.
2. That he is eternal and unchangeable, and always the same, yesterday, to-day, and forever.
3. That he is incomprehensible; we cannot by searching find him out: this name checks all bold and curious inquiries concerning God.
4. That he is faithful and true to all his promises, unchangeable in his word as well as in his
nature; let Israel know this, I AM hath sent me unto you. I am, and there is none else besides me. 

All else have their being from God, and are wholly dependent upon him. Also, here is a name that denotes what God is to his people. The Lord God of your fathers sent me unto you. Moses must revive among them the religion of their fathers, which was almost lost; and then they might expect the speedy performance of the promises made unto their fathers.

And regarding John 8:58:

"Before Abraham was, I AM." This speaks Abraham a creature, and our Lord the Creator; well, therefore, might he make himself greater than Abraham. I AM, is the name of God, Exodus 3:14; it speaks his self-existence; he is the First and the Last, ever the same, Revelation 1:8. Thus he was not only before Abraham, but before all worlds, Proverbs 8:23; John 1:1. 

As Mediator, he was the appointed Messiah, long before Abraham; the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, Revelation 13:8. The Lord Jesus was made of God:
Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption, to Adam, and Abel, and all that lived and died by faith in him, before Abraham. The Jews were about to stone Jesus for blasphemy, but he withdrew; by his miraculous power he passed through them unhurt. 

Let us steadfastly profess what we know and believe concerning God; and if heirs of Abraham's faith, we shall rejoice in looking forward to that day when the Savior shall appear in glory, to the confusion of his enemies, and to complete the salvation of all who  believe in him.

Rev. Wayne Dobratz  

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

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