Sermon Starters

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

Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Series C

Option #1: "Things To Know Before You Must Go"
Luke 16:19-31

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

  I. Your resources are God’s tools to help the needy--vv19-21; Ps 49:12; Lk12:16-21 (Augustine: "You have barns, the pantries of the widow and fatherless children, the storehouses of the poor"); Matt. 25:32-40, et al

 II. There are two unchanging destinations in the afterlife--vv24-27; Matt 25:41ff; Mark 9:43-49; John 3:36; Rev 20:14-15

III. Your trip planning must take place before you depart--vv27-31; Lk 10:38-42; Acts 17:11

Barnes Notes on the New Testament: From this impressive and instructive parable we may learn:
  • That the souls of people do not die with their bodies.
  • That the soul is "conscious" after death; that it does not "sleep," as some have supposed, until the morning of the resurrection.
  • That the righteous are taken to a place of happiness immediately at death, and the wicked consigned at once to misery.
  • God gives us sufficient warning to prepare for death. He has sent his Word, his servants, his Son; he warns us by his Spirit and his providence; by the entreaties of our friends and by the death of sinners; he offers us heaven, and he threatens hell. If all this will not move sinners, what WOULD do it? There is NOTHING that would.
  • God will give us nothing farther to warn us. No dead man will come to life to tell us of what he has seen. If he DID we would not believe him. Religion appeals to man not by ghosts and frightful apparitions. It appeals to their reason, their conscience, their hopes, their fears. It sets life and death soberly before people, and if they "will not" choose life, they must die. If you will not hear the Son of God and the warnings of the Scriptures, there is nothing which you WILL or CAN hear. You will NEVER be persuaded, and will NEVER escape the place of torment.
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Children's Message on Luke 16:27-31
Visual aid: A folder or envelope such as would hold a plane ticket; a Bible.
Jesus loved to tell stories. We call them parables because they compare something we don’t know to something we do know. What I have here is an airplane ticket. They won’t let you on the plane without it. You can argue with them all you want; you won’t get on that plane without a ticket.
According to Jesus’ story for today, the Word of God is like that. It tells us about something that everyone wants to know about. Everyone wants to know where we go after we die. The Bible tells us that we get on to the "airplane" that flies to eternal life through faith in Jesus. While we are here, this faith makes us think like Jesus. You know that Jesus helped many people: he healed the sick and he even brought dead people back to life.
The rich man in Jesus’ story lived only for himself. He didn’t care about the poor, sick man right outside his door. There are people that you and I can help, too, and you don’t have to be a rich man to do it. Just think the way Jesus thought and you’ll get the idea.
When the selfish rich man ended up in hell, he begged that someone be sent to warn his brothers so that they didn’t come to hell also. But Father Abraham said they already had the "ticket" for the "plane flight" to heaven: They have Moses and the prophets (the word of God); let them listen to them. Besides, they weren’t listening to God’s Word anyway, and they wouldn’t listen even if someone came back from the dead.
(Hold up Bible) This is your "ticket" to eternal life. It tells you of Jesus, your Savior. It tells you how to live your life as you follow him. DON’T LEAVE THIS LIFE WITHOUT IT!

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Option #2: "A Heavenly Poor Boy"
Amos 6:1-7
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

The Point: complacency in material wealth and luxury brings God's judgment, but trust in God's provision and grace brings eternal security  
The Problem: we seek personal comfort and security by amassing wealth and luxury for ourselves
The Promise: Christ is our substitute: "...though he was rich, yet for [our] sake...became poor, so that [we] through his poverty might become rich" (2 Cor 8:9)
(The above is from a homiletical help by David Peter)  
1. God comes to afflict the comfortable and to comfort the afflicted.
2. The root of the false security which [Amos] exposes is pride--pride of person, pride of association, and pride of position. They rejoice in being notable, in belonging to the first of the nations, and in being those to whom the rest come deferentially for the settlement of cases. (The New Bible Commentary: Revised)
3. By their own lawlessness they were hastening the enthronement (seat) of violence, the day when "lawlessness will reign," "the reign of terror." So it must have been in the final years of the kingdom of Israel when, after Jeroboam, only one king passed the throne on to his son and the rest ended their reigns by assassination." (Ibid)

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