Sermon Starters

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

Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Series C

Option #1: "Knowledge of the Holy One is Understanding"
Proverbs 9:8-12

Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

  I. The mocker doesn’t understand--Prov 23:9, 29:1; Matt 7:6, 13:11ff; Heb 6:7-8

 II. Characteristics of a wise person

        A. He will love you for correcting him--Prov 25:12

        B. He will add to his understanding--Prov 1:5-6; 1 Pet 2:2-3; 2 Pet 3:18

III. The benefits of this knowledge

        A. Longer life--Deut 6:1-3; Prov 3:1-2, 13-18, 10:2

        B. Better life--2 Pet 3:3-16

Holman Bible Dictionary

Religious fear is the human response to the presence of God.

Fear of God: A prominent element in Old Testament religion is the concept of the fear of God. Most often the sense of fear comes as individuals encounter the divine in the context of revelation. When God appears to a person, the person experiences the reality of God’s holiness. This self-disclosure of God points to the vast distinction between humans and God, to the mysterious characteristic of God that at the same time attracts and repels. There is a mystery in divine holiness that causes individuals to become overwhelmed with a sense of awe and fear. They respond by falling down or kneeling in reverence and worship, confessing sin, and seeking God’s will (Isa 6).

Fear as obedience: Deuteronomy sets out a relationship between the fear of God and the observance of the demands of the covenant. To fear the Lord is one of the ways by which Israel expresses its obedience and loyalty to Yahweh and to His divine requirements: "and now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?" (Deut 10:12-13; compare 6:24-25; 10:20; 13:4). Fear becomes a demand that can be learned (Deut 17:19). Fear of God was part of the religious life of every Israelite, where the acknowledgment of it required a specific behavior from each individual. Fear of God was a requirement demanded from every judge (Ex 18:21). The kings of Israel should rule in the fear of the Lord (2 Sam 23:3); even the messianic King would live in the fear of the Lord (Isa 11:2). To fear God was the beginning of wisdom and thus of the pathway to true life (Prov 1:7; 9:10; 15:33).

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Object: sign reading "No Fear!"

There is a sign that I see that I think is both good news and bad news. The sign says "No Fear!" That’s good news if you’re shooting a free throw, playing in a piano recital, or speaking your part in a play. To do these things well, you must overcome your fear and use the ability God has given you.

But there’s a bad news side to this "No Fear!" sign. It’s bad news if you’re not afraid of sinning; it’s really bad news when people don’t even think there is a God they must answer to. "No Fear!" is about the worst thing that can happen to you if it means that you have forgotten God.

That’s the kind of "No Fear!" that really gets people into trouble. God’s people in the Old Testament sinned against him often. The Bible writer said that "there is no fear of God in their eyes" (Ps 36:1). Again and again, when they forgot God, they did they thought was right; they didn’t read what God said in His Word. There was even a time when the Bible was lost. The godly King Josiah restored it to its proper place.

"No Fear!" is a really good thing if it’s because you know that God sent Jesus to be your Savior. Jesus came here to show us that God loves us more than we can possibly understand. He took our sins away so that on the Last Day we can have "No Fear!" of standing before Him. Our sins will be gone because He nailed them to His cross, taking them away once and for all.

Now you and I can look forward to seeing God face to face with "No Fear!"

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Option #2: "Wisdom's Three R's"
Proverbs 9:8-12
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

(Adapted from and inspired by a homiletical help by David Peter)
The Point: Like education's three R's--reading, writing, and 'rithmetic--so wisdom's three R's: reeding, God rebuking us for our sin(s); righting, pronouncing us right with Himself and setting us in the right direction--adding to our learning, faith in Him; and wrathmetic, self-inflicted suffering as a result of our boasting, scorning God's way(s). 
The Problem: rejecting and/or misinterpreting God's discipline/teaching/wrath
The Promise: "God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness." (Hebrews 12:10)
1. When the Duke of Windsor was asked what impressed him most in his visit to America, he replied: "The way American parents obey their children."
2. O Wisdom, proceeding from the mouth of the Most High,
        pervading and permeating all creation, mightily ordering all things:
        Come and teach us the way of prudence.
        (The Great O Antiphons)
3.  luwts {loots}, v8: a boasting, scorning one. (Blue Letter Bible)
4. The fear of the Lord: To act out of reverence and awe of abstaining from what He abhors and doing what pleases Him must be the axiomatic starting point if human existence is to be meaningful, satisfying, rewarding. Any philosophy of life which does not have its beginning in such a relationship to God is not wisdom but folly of follies. (Concordia Self-Study Commentary)
5. Wisdom's highest, noblest treasure, Jesus, is revealed in you.
        Let me find in you my pleasure, make my will and actions true,
        humility there and simplicity reigning, in paths of true wisdom my steps ever training.
        If I learn from Jesus this knowledge divine, the blessing of heavenly wisdom is mine.
        Therefore you alone, my Savior, shall be all in all to me;
        search my heart and my behavior, root out all hypocrisy.
        Through all my life's pilgrimage, guard and uphold me, in loving forgiveness, 
            O Jesus, enfold me.
        This one thing is needful, all others are vain; I count all but loss that I Christ 
           may obtain!
        (Johann Schroder)


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