Sermon Starters

Support and Resources For Pastors and
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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Pentecost
Second Last Sunday 
Series C

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Option #1: "Always Confident"
2 Corinthians 5:1-10
Rev. Wayne Dobratz

“Confidence is half the battle.” Just when some airline flights in major markets were nearing 75% capacity, the American Airlines crash last Monday will shake the confidence of some Thanksgiving/Christmas travelers. An already hurting airline industry may be in deeper trouble still.

We all will be taking a final flight when our time on earth is finished. Whether or not you can be confident about it depends on whether or not you know Jesus. Paul the Apostle was a tentmaker by trade. He knew how important it was for a tent to provide shelter in a storm. Our bodies are a lot like those tents Paul used to make–well-crafted, but limited in their ability to withstand the storms of life–and yet Paul was...


I. Because this earth is not our final home

    A. As he reminded us in Philippians 3:20-21

    B. As Jesus told us in John 14:1-3

II. Because we have the Holy Spirit as a down payment on the future

    A. As in 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

    B. As in 2 Corinthians 5:5

    C. As in Ephesians 1:13-14

III. Because Jesus the Righteous Judge is Himself our Righteousness, Peace and Hope

    A. It does not depend upon our own inadequate works–Ephesians 2:8-9

    B. It does depend on the solid legal foundation of Jesus being...

        1. Our Righteousness–Jeremiah 23:6

        2. Our Substitute–2 Corinthians 5:21

Matthew Henry has written:
Observe particularly the believer’s expectation of eternal happiness after death, v.1. He does not only know, or is well assured by faith of the truth and reality of the thing itself—that there is another and a happy life after this present life is ended, but he has good hope through grace of his interest in that everlasting blessedness of the unseen world: “We know that we have a building of God, we have a firm and well-grounded expectation of future happiness.” Let us take notice, 
(1.) What heaven is in the eye and hope of a believer. He looks upon it as a house, or habitation, a dwelling-place, a resting-place, our Father’s house, where there are many dwelling places, and our everlasting home. It is a house in the heavens, in that high and holy place which as far excels all the palaces of this earth as the heavens are high above the earth. It is a building of God, whose builder and maker is God, and therefore is worthy of its author; the happiness of the future state is what God hath prepared for those that love him. It is eternal in the heavens, everlasting habitations, not like the earthly tabernacles, the poor cottages of clay in which our souls now dwell, which are decaying, and whose foundations are in the dust. 
(2.) When it is expected this happiness shall be enjoyed—immediately after death, so soon as our house of this earthly tabernacle is dissolved. Note, [1.] That the body, this earthly house, is but a tabernacle, that must be dissolved shortly; the nails or pins will be drawn, and the cords be loosed, and then the body will return to dust as it was. [2.] 
When this comes to pass, then comes the house not made with hands. The spirit returns to God who gave it; and those who have walked with God here shall dwell with God for ever.

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Option #2: "An Edifying Edifice"
1 Corinthians 5:1-10
Rev. Kelly Bedard

A. A Temporary Make-Over

    1. Our tents (bodies) eventually have to come down

    2. All restlessness we feel is because of our longing for heaven

B. An Eternal Put-On

    1. Restlessness enables and empowers confidence

    2. Restlessness is God-pleasing, ultimately resting in Christ's work for us


1. skenos (verse 1): a tabernacle, a tent; metaphor of the human body, in which the soul dwells as in a tent, and which is taken down at death

2. kataluo (verse 1): to dissolve, disunite; (what has been joined together), to destroy, demolish; metaphorically, to overthrow, i.e., render vain, deprive of success, bring to naught; to subvert, overthrow; of institutions, forms of government, laws, etc., to deprive of force, annul, abrogate, discard; of travellers, to halt on a journey, to put up, lodge (the figurative expression originating in the circumstance that, to put up for the night, the straps and packs of the beasts of burden are unbound and taken off; or, more correctly from the fact that the traveller's garments, tied up when he is on the journey, are unloosed at it end)

3. oikodome (verse 1): (the act of) building, building up; metaphorically, edifying, edification; the act of one who promotes another's growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, holiness

4. ependuomai (verse 2): be clothed upon; to put on over

5. oiketerion (verse 2): house; a dwelling place, habitation; of the body as a dwelling place for the spirit

6. gumnos (verse 3): naked, bare; properly, unclad, without clothing, the naked body; ill-clad;
clad in undergarments only (the outer garments or cloak being laid aside); of the soul, whose garment is the body, stripped of the body, without a body; metaphorically, naked, i.e., open, lay bare; only, mere, bare, i.e., mere grain not the plant itself

7. Genuine faith is always humble, and the understanding that belongs to the life of faith (theology!) must be modest understanding, because it is only "on the way" to the living Truth; it has not "arrived." But faith also contains a lively hope, for despite its own limitations it already anticipates the completion of itself in "sight." (Douglas Hall)

8. Paul's whole point here is to insist on resurrection in the body; however, the body that is resurrected is not the same kind of body as the one “that we dwell in” now. He considers some kind of a body necessary in order that the human being not be naked and polemicizes here against those who deny physical resurrection. He is not, then, to be understood as holding a radical flesh/spirit dualism that sees the goal of human perfection as liberation from the body. Nevertheless, the image of the human being which Paul maintains is of a soul dwelling in or clothed by a body, and, however valuable the garment, it is less essential than that which it clothes... It is “the earthly tent that we live in”; it is not we. The body, while necessary and positively valued by Paul, is, as in Philo, not the human being but only his or her house or garment. (Daniel Boyarin)

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