Sermon Starters

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Christian Ministry Professionals

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

Second Sunday In Lent
Series C

Option #1: "Two Different Patterns"
Philippians 3:17-21
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

Introduction: Many women and a few men are very much into quilting. Every weekday morning the quilter in my house watches Home & Garden TV’s Simply Quilts. The experts share patterns and techniques used in following them. The Bible talks about patterns too. Listen as Paul sets before us:

Two Different Patterns

1) Impenitence and its result--vv17-19, 1 Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 4:17ff, 5:5-6; 1 Thess 4:3-8; 2 Pet 2:13ff; its destination: Matt 25:41; Heb 6:6-8; 2 Tim 3:5; Rev 21:8

2) Faith and its results--vv20-21, Ps 16:11, 17:15, 73:24-28; Eph 2:19-21; Col 1:5-6, 3:1-10; 1 Pet 1:3-9; 1 John 3:2-3; Hos 13:14; Eph 1:18-23

Albert Barnes: "Their mind is on earthly things." That is, whose hearts are set on earthly things, or who live to obtain them. Their attention is directed to honor, gain, or pleasure, and their chief anxiety is that they may secure these objects. This is mentioned as one of the characteristics of enmity to the cross of Christ; and if this be so, how many are there in the church now who are the real enemies of the cross! How many professing Christians are there who regard little else than worldly things! How many who live only to acquire wealth, to gain honor, or to enjoy the pleasures of the world! It is not so much those who deny the doctrines of the cross, as it is those who oppose its influence on their hearts; not so much those who live to scoff and deride religion, as it is those who "mind earthly things," that injure this holy cause in the world.

Richard Lenski writes about heavenly citizenship: "He who is able to subdue all the universe to himself, He will with his omnipotence raise up our dead body in glory. This will be the final miracle. Ask all you please how our body whose dust has perhaps been scattered far and wide, as they threw the ashes of John Hus into the river, or which has been devoured by wild animals or by fish in the sea, how this body can possibly be restored--omnipotence will restore it."

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Children's Message

Object: perhaps a web page reprint of the state tournament schedule or advertising.

This is tournament time. There’s a big shopping mall near where I live and the traffic increases when the state tournament is on. Whether the sport is wrestling or hockey or basketball, the teams or athletes had to follow the coach’s directions or they won’t get that far. If they forget what got them there, they’ll be going home sooner rather than later.

In one of today’s Bible readings, Paul told his people: (Phil 3:17) Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.

A wrestling coach teaches how to execute a take-down, or how to avoid one, or how to get the pin. A wrestler who tries to do it his own way will find himself flat on his back.

Paul says that the same is true in this life. People who fail to follow God’s directions in his Word have destruction as their destiny. That means they’re headed for trouble now and a whole lot more when this life is over.

Paul says: follow the pattern that God gave you in the Bible and you are called one of the citizens of heaven. Even before you get to heaven, you’ll have God’s love and care in this life and the company of God’s people. Paul said: (Phil 3:20-21) Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

That means that people who have died with faith in Jesus are headed for the heavenly home. If you were traveling to Europe, you’d be headed back to the United States when it’s time to go home. If you’re a Christian, you are headed for heaven, because heaven is your real home. These bodies of ours get sick and old and die will be fixed and they will be like Jesus’ glorious body. I can’t think of anything greater than to be in heaven and to be like Jesus forever.

Follow the right pattern, the right coaching, and you’ll get there too.

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Option #2: "Our Intrusive But Inclusive God"
Jeremiah 26:8-15
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

The Point: what we hear as rejection and destruction is really an invitation to life and hope
The Problem: clinging to temporary earthly things, systems, religion, and status; unethical and unspiritual actions
The Promise: the power of evil in us--but not us--is destroyed in Jesus' being destroyed for us, his resurrection power moving us to relent and repent
Adapted from and inspired by Henry Rowold
1. Several preaching strategies might be used with this text. One could discuss how the believer sometimes has to deliver a hard word against society: not all its plans will turn out okay. Hananiah [Jeremiah 28:1-4] seems to have been playing to the grandstand, trying to gain popularity. He promised deliverance with no repentance. The other strategy would be to discuss how we know today whether the word of a prophet--or any religious teacher or teaching--is true. The answer suggested by this text is that that word or teaching is true that conforms to God's overall message. In the case of Jeremiah, no deliverance is possible without repentance. Christians often must decide on the appropriateness of current theological proposals on whether they are supported by, or give articulation to, the saving gift of salvation by grace for Christ's sake through faith. (Ralph Klein)
2. The only way you can ever tell that a man is from God and does not represent some other voice is that his prophesies must be 100% true! He is allowed no margin for error, no guesswork. If a prophet's predictions are ever erroneous, that man is marked as not a prophet of God. (Ray Stedman)
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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:34 PM