Sermon Starters

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

Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost
Series C

From Rev Kelly Bedard

"From Worst to First"
1 Timothy 1:12-17

A. Back-Turners (Like "Calling" Saul)
    1. Headstrong, faithless, falsely humble
    2. Ignostic; however, we found that ignorance is not bliss

B. Turned Back! (Like "Small" Paul)
    1. A Strong Head, faith-filled, humble exaggeration
    2. Gnostics; bliss found through God's "ignorance" of our sin


1. blasphemos (verse 13): speaking evil, slanderous, reproachful, railing, abusive

2. hubristes (verse 13): despiteful, injurious, an insolent man; one who, uplifted with pride, either heaps insulting language upon others or does them some shameful act of wrong

3. Our own religious pedigrees may not provoke us to go on persecuting rampages as Paul did, but protecting our positions in the right families, the right schools, the right jobs and appointments may just as effectively preoccupy us so that we forget to trust our Lord. (Robin Morgan)

4. ...the amazing thing is how many people think they are doing the right thing, yet they are tearing up their families and destroying their homes, wrecking their marriages, ruining their lives, and their health. All the time they think they are doing right, living good, clean, moral lives. That is the deceitful power, the blinding character of sin. God constantly works to bring light into our darkness; and Scripture warns us against continuing to sin when this light increases. (Ray Stedman)

5. ...the worst of sinners: humble exaggeration versus false humility

From Rev. Wayne Dobratz

"The One Thing Even God Can't Do"
Exodus 32:7-14

I. Not the contrived dilemmas that skeptics have framed for Him
    A. "You say God can do anything. Can God make a stone so large He can't lift it?"
    B. "If God is all powerful, why did He need angels to do His work?"
    C. "Where did God from? Everything has to have a beginning!"
    D. The College Professor said: "I'm challenging God to prove His existence. If God exists, then He can prove it by preventing this chalk from breaking when it hits the floor." As the student challenged the atheist, the chalk slipped out of the Professor's hand, off of his shirt cuff and pants leg and rolled away unbroken.
II. The one thing that God cannot do is break His promises
   A. He wanted to destroy the people for their idolatry--text, vv9-14.
   B. Moses interceded and reminded the Lord of His promises-v.13
   C. Moses had to do again in Num 14:17ff
    1. The Lord forgave
    2. But he also disciplined His wayward people
   D. Moses retells the story of his intercession for the people and for Aaron in Deut. 9:11ff.
   E. See these Old Covenant promises of faithful love-Deut. 7:9, 1 Kings 8:56, Ps. 36:5, Ps. 89:1,
III. The New Covenant restates these promises of God's forgiving love in Christ
    A. As in Ezekiel 33:11
    B. As in Matt. 23:37
    C. As in 2 Tim. 2:11-13
    D. As in 1 John 1:9; 2:1-2
    E. See also these New Covenant promises-1 Cor. 1:9, Heb. 6:18, 1 Peter 4:19

The Believer's Study Bible summarizes:
Moses appealed to three things he knew God highly valued: (1) God's relationship with Israel, (2) God's reputation before the nations of the world (v. 12), and (3) the Lord's covenant  promises to the patriarchs (v. 13). The translation "relent" in vv. 12, 14 is much better than the traditional "repent." It means that the action God had announced was actually conditional. When the condition was fulfilled, God retracted the punishment (cf. Jon. 3; 4). God is not to be understood merely as static, abstract perfection. Rather, He is a dynamic Being who always acts in ways which are perfectly consistent with His own eternal purposes and moral character.

The Keil-Delitzsch Commentary shares a word from John Calvin:  The repentance of God is an anthropomorphic expression for the pain of divine love at the sin of man, and signifies that "God is hurt no less by the atrocious sins of men than if they pierced His heart with mortal anguish"

Matthew Henry writes:
Thus also he would put an honor upon prayer, intimating that nothing but the intercession of Moses could save them from ruin, that he might be a type of Christ, by whose mediation alone God would reconcile the world unto himself He pleads God's promise to the patriarchs that he would multiply their seed, and give them the land of Canaan for an inheritance, and this promise confirmed by an oath, an oath by himself, since he could swear by no greater, v. 13. God's promises are to be our pleas in prayer; for what he has promised he is able to perform, and the honour of this truth is engaged for the performance of it. "Lord, if Israel be cut off, what will become of the promise? Shall their unbelief make that of no effect? God forbid."

Thus we must take our encouragement in prayer from God only.  See here, 1. The power of prayer; God allows himself to be prevailed with by the humble believing persistence of intercessors. 2. The compassion of God towards poor sinners, and how ready he is to forgive. Thus he has given other proofs besides his own oath that he has no pleasure in the death of those that die; for he not only pardons upon the repentance of sinners, but spares and reprieves upon the intercession of others for them.

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