Sermon Starters

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

Twenty-Fifth Sunday After Pentecost
Festival of Christ the King 
Series C

Option #1: "A Promise You Can Bank On"
Malachi 3:14-18
Rev. Wayne Dobratz

I. Our world is no different than theirs

    A. It doesn't seem to do any good to obey God--Psalm 73 passim

    B. Good and evil seem to be all mixed up--Isaiah 5:20

II. God's people need to talk about it

    A. With the Lord--Psalm 73

    B. With each other--Luke 24:12-14, Ephesians 5:19

III. The Lord issues an official proclamation--Psalm 98:3

    A. "They will be mine"--Revelation 3:5, 21:27

    B. "I will show them my compassion"--Luke 15:17ff

    C. The difference between good and evil will once again be clear--cf. Malachi 3:18 , Matthew 13:43

    D. This distinction will be visible for all eternity--Psalm 32:10-11; Revelation 22:10-17

Adam Clarke writes: They that feared the Lord--there were a few godly in the land, who, hearing the language and seeing the profligacy of the rebels above, concluded that some signal mark of God's vengeance must fall upon them; they, therefore, as the corruption increased, cleaved the closer to their Maker. There are three characteristics given of this people, viz:

1. They feared the Lord. They had that reverence for Jehovah that caused them to depart from evil, and to keep his ordinances.

2. They spake often one to another. They kept up the communion of saints. By mutual exhortation they strengthened each others' hands in the Lord.

3. They thought on his name. His name was sacred to them; it was a fruitful source of profound and edifying meditation. The name of God is God himself in the plenitude of his power, omniscience, justice, goodness, mercy, and truth.

What a source for thinking and contemplation! See how God treats such persons: The Lord hearkened to their conversation, heard the meditations of their hearts; and so approved of the whole that a book of remembrance was written before the Lord--all their names were carefully registered in heaven. Here is an allusion to records kept by kings, Esther 6:1, of such as had performed signal services, and who should be the first to be rewarded.

Matthew Henry:
(1.) He took notice of their pious discourses, and was graciously present at their conferences: The Lord hearkened and heard it, and was well pleased with it. God says (Jeremiah 8:6) that he hearkened and heard what bad men would say, and they spoke not aright; here he hearkened and heard what good men did say, for they spoke aright. 

Note, the gracious God observes all the gracious words that proceed out of the mouths of his people; they need not desire that men may hear them, and commend them; let them not seek praise from men by them, nor affect to be taken notice of by them; but let it satisfy them that, be the conference ever so private, God sees and hears in secret and will reward openly. When the two disciples, going to Emmaus, were discoursing concerning Christ, he hearkened and heard, and joined himself to them, and made a third, Luke 24:15.

(2) He kept an account of them: A book of remembrance was written before him. Not that the Eternal Mind needs to be reminded of things by books and writings, but it is an expression after the manner of men, intimating that their pious affections and performances are kept in remembrance as punctually and particularly as if they were written in a book, as if journals were kept of all their
conferences. Great kings had books of remembrance written, and read before them, in which were entered all the services done them, when, and by whom, as Esther 2:23. 

God, in like manner, remembers the services of his people, that, in the review of them, he may say, Well done; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. God has a book for the sighs and tears of his mourners (Psalm 56:8), much more for the pleadings of his advocates. Never was any good word spoken of God, or for God, from an honest heart, but it was registered, that it might be recompensed in the resurrection of the just, and in no wise lose its reward.

  +  +  +

Option #2: "God's Peculiar Treasure: Us!"
Malachi 3:14-18
Rev. Kelly Bedard

A. Good For Nothing?

    1. Sometimes it seems that all we do for God--serve, obey, and confess--goes for naught

    2. Insult to injury: evildoers seem to prosper and God-challengers escape

B. Good For SomeThing!

    1. The Christian life doesn't really make sense apart from eternity

    2. Good/God will come and reward His faithful--even now


1. Once upon a time a family was driving home from their summer vacation. It had been a good vacation and everyone was happy about it, including the daddy, who had a reputation of being something of an impatient man. However, the vacation was now over and it was time to get back to the real world. To this with the greatest amount of efficiency--the daddy always prized efficiency-- the family had to leave their vacation house at noon on Sunday to beat the late afternoon traffic. 

WELL, I hardly need tell you that, mommies and kids being what they are, they had not even begun to load the SUV at noon. Nor at 1:00. Nor even at 1:30. Finally, they hit the highway at 1:45, right on the cusp of Sunday traffic. With a little bit of luck, they would miss the worst of it, though there would be delays at the toll gates. 

They had driven about a half mile down the road when they saw one of those little cars that parents give their kids for graduation (an Izuzu Trooper, actually) pulled over at the side of the road with a flat tire. "Melissa has a flat tire!" one of the kids shouted. Melissa was a teenager who had babysat for the family. "We should stop and help her," the mommy said. Mommies are always saying things like that. "We haven't got time," the daddy said as he drove on. We have to beat the traffic. Someone else will stop to help her. The car was very silent the rest of the way home. (Andrew Greeley)

2. When the fire of religion burns low, true believers should draw the nearer together, to keep the holy flame alive. Coals separated soon go out. (A.R. Faussett)

3. rasha (verse 18): wicked, criminal; guilty one, one guilty of crime; wicked (hostile to God); wicked, guilty of sin (against God or man)

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