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Sermon Starters

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


First Sunday After Pentecost/
Trinity Sunday

Series C

From Rev. Kelly Bedard

"Trinitarian Traits"
(Romans 5:3-5)

1. Suffering: giving up the right to indulge in certain human weaknesses

2. Steadfastness: "Patience is fear that has said its prayers"

3. Character: not caricature; a specimen of tried worth

4. Hope: in eternal, not temporal, salvation and situation(s)

Notes

 1. hupomone (verse 3): steadfastness, constancy, endurance; in the NT the characteristic of a people who are not swerved from their deliberate purpose and their loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings

 2. dokime (verse 4): proving, trial; approved, tried character; a proof, a specimen of tried worth

 3. elpis (verse 4): hope; in the Christian sense, joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation


 4. kataischuno (verse 5): to be ashamed, blush with shame; one is said to
be put to shame who suffers a repulse, or whom some hope has deceived

 5. Christian suffering is not about learning to take on additional burdens or problems so much as it is about learning to give up the right to indulge in certain human weaknesses. When we agree to participate in Christ's suffering, that means we forfeit the urge to "get even," take revenge, harbor malicious thoughts or speak vicious words. Shouldering our own cross means returning intentional wounding with love and forgiveness, even as Christ did. (Homiletics, June 14, 1992)

 6. Christian endurance means sticking by our faith, sticking to our grace and demonstrating our faithfulness even when the odds are overwhelming. (Ibid)

 7. Jacques Ellul has argued rightly, it would seem, that the challenge of the church today is not giving people something to believe in. It is giving people something to hope for. (Ibid)

 8. The real sting of suffering is not misfortune itself, nor even the pain of it or the injustice of it, but the apparent God-forsakenness of it. Pain is endurable, but the seeming indifference of God is not. Sometimes we picture Him lounging, perhaps dozing, in some celestial deck chair, while the hungry millions starve to death... It is this terrible caricature of God which the cross smashes to smithereens. We are not to envisage Him on a deck chair, but on a cross. (John R. W. Stott)

 9. Consider the story of an elderly gentleman who astounded everyone by his cheerfulness in the face of physical ailments, family troubles and deferred pleasures. When asked the secret of his cheerful disposition, he replied: "Well, you see, it is like this. The Bible says often, 'And it shall come to pass,' never, 'It came to stay.'" (Homiletics, June 14, 1992)

(Rev. Wayne Dobratz is on vacation)

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