Sermon Starters

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

Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Series C

Option #1: "Paul's Teaching About Prayer"
1 Timothy 2:1-8

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

  I. Pray for those in authority--vv1-2; Rom 13:1-7; 1 Pet 2:13-14

 II. Pray through the One Mediator--vv3-6; Job 9:33; Heb 7:25, 9:15; Matt 1:23, 20:28, 23:37; Mark 10:45; John 1:14  Eph 1:7, 5:1-2; Heb 9:12; 1 Pet 1:18-19, 3:18; 1 John 2:1-2, 4:10

III. Why this teaching has authority--vv7-8; Acts 9:15, 26:17; Eph 3:7-8; Gal 2:15-16; 2 Tim 1:11

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the New Testament:

1 Timothy 2:5: There is one God--who is the maker, governor, and preserver of all men, of every condition, and of every nation, and equally wills the salvation of all. And one mediator--the word "mediator" signifies, literally, a middle person, one whose office it is to reconcile two parties at enmity; and hence Suidas explains it by a peace-maker. God was offended with the crimes of men; to restore them to his peace, Jesus Christ was incarnated; and being God and man, both God and men met in and were reconciled by him. But this reconciliation required a sacrifice on the part of the peace-maker or mediator; hence what follows.

1 Timothy 2:6: who gave himself a ransom--the word lutron signifies a ransom paid for the redemption of a captive; and aneelutron, the word used here, and applied to the death of Christ, signifies that ransom which consists in the exchange of one person for another, or the redemption of life by life; or, as Schleusner has expressed it in his translation of these words, "He who by his death has redeemed all from the power and punishment of vice, from the slavery and misery of sinners." As God is the God and father of all (for there is but one God--verse 5), and Jesus Christ the mediator of all, so he gave himself a ransom for all; i.e., for all that God made, consequently for every human soul; unless we could suppose that there are human souls of which God is not the Creator; for the argument of the apostle is plainly this:

1. There is one God;

2. This God is the Creator of all;

3. He has made a revelation of his kindness to all;

4. He will have all men to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth; and

5. He has provided a mediator for all, who has given himself a ransom for all. As surely as God has created all men, so surely has Jesus Christ died for all men. This is a truth which the nature and revelation of God unequivocally proclaim.

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Children's Message

Visual: picture of The White House

Recognize this place? Do you know the name of the people who live there? That’s right; this is the White House, the home of President Bush and his family. Right now there is quite a battle going on to decide who will live there for the next four years, but that’s not why I brought this picture along today. I brought it along to tell you about an old friend of mine who had a chance to see much more of this House than most people ever do. Why was he and his family so special? Because they knew somebody who worked in this white house. This man’s sister was the Secretary of the President of the United States. You might say she had the inside track on a really good tour of the White House.

What my friend’s sister did for him, Jesus does for us with the Heavenly Father. The Bible says that there "is one Mediator between God and Man, the Man Christ Jesus." A mediator has a special position which he/she can use to get you something you’d never have otherwise. That’s just what Jesus did for us. We couldn’t save ourselves from sin, so he came here to be our Savior. Only a perfect man could die for our sins; otherwise he would be dying for his own sins--he couldn’t die for anyone else’s.

That’s what Jesus did. He didn’t have any sins to pay for, so he paid for ours. That’s why you and I can eternal life as a free gift. We receive this gift by faith, by trusting that Jesus paid everything we needed for forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Now when we pray, Jesus is our Mediator. That’s because we sinners could never hope on our own to talk to the Heavenly Father. But we can pray in Jesus’ name and have our prayers not only heard, but also answered.

You must remember this: there is only ONE MEDIATOR. Jesus is the only one who speaks to the Heavenly Father for us. There are people out there who will tell that you need somebody else to talk to Jesus for you. That’s not true. Jesus loved us enough to die for our sins. Do you think he will ever give you a busy signal?

Thank God for Jesus, our Savior and Mediator!

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Option #2: "God's Side of The Story"
1 Timothy 2:3b-4&7
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

The Point: We keep/hide the truth from each other
The Problem: lack of prayer; falsehood and secrecy damaging relationships and, possibly and ultimately, precluding people from enjoying eternal life; anger and disputing
The Promise: Through Jesus' death and resurrection, God remained/remains true to the ultimate truth--He wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth--even in the midst of all the lies that were/are made up about Him, also sending the Holy Spirit, "the Spirit of truth" (John 16:13), to teach and convince us of this truth and to empower us to share it with others 
1. Sometimes what we see is only part of the story. That was the situation when a woman commented to her next-door neighbor, "What a wonderful husband you have. You've been married more than 20 years, and every day I still see him get out of the car, walk around to your side, and open the door for you. It's wonderful to see chivalry hasn't died. You two must be very happy together!" Her friend replied, "Well, actually we are. But, if the truth be told, what you can't see is that every time he gets out to open my door, he is complaining about the blasted door handle that doesn't open from the inside!"
2. In a "Dennis the Menace" cartoon Dennis is pictured sitting on the front step of his home. His mother stands in the doorway, a scowl on her face, her arms folded, and she is obviously upset. Dennis' father is coming home from work. Dennis asks his father, "Would you rather hear the truth...or my side of the story?" ("Dennis the Menace" by Hamilton, 2003 North American Syndicates, 11-17)
3. The Wizard of Id shows the king a machine and says, "My new lie detector beeps when someone lies." The king asks, "Is it reliable?" The wizard says, "Of course" the machine beaps repeatedly and loudly! ("Wizard of Id," 2004 Creators Syndicate, Incorporated, in The Stillwater NewsPress, March 29, 2004) 
4. Your fig leaf is showing!
5. There is a small midwestern town that actually has lying contests to see who can tell the tallest tale. The residents want the reputation of being "the biggest liars the Midwest has even seen," even if, ironically, that would be stretching the truth. They claim to be developing lying into an art form. While that kind of lying is meant to be humorous, the practical jokes they play on one another are done in jest and for fun, nevertheless the fact is--if the truth be told--they ARE telling lies. But here's the point: what if Christians expended as much energy and creativity on telling the truth, especially the truth about Jesus, in winsome, bold ways, as people expend energy and creativity on telling lies, even when the lies are told in jest? What is the truth be told? 


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