Sermon Starters

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Christian Ministry Professionals

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

Twenty-First Sunday After Pentecost
Series C

Option #1: "The Mercy Factor"
Luke 17:11-19

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

1) Mercy received--vv11-14; Lev 13:1-3

2) Mercy remembered--v16; Gen 17:3; Matt 2:11; Mark 5:33; Rev 4-5, 10

3) Mercy forgotten--vv17-18; 2 Chron 32:24ff; Isa 38:19-22; Rom 1:21

4) Mercy is the source of the gratitude attitude--v19; Lk 7:50, 8:48, 18:42-43

Barnes Notes on the New Testament:

One of them: this man, sensible of the power of God and grateful for his mercies, returned to express his gratitude to God for his goodness. Instead of obeying "at once" the "letter" of the command, he "first" expressed his thanks to God and to his Great Benefactor. ...The first duty of sinners after they have been forgiven and have the hope of eternal life is to prostrate themselves at the feet of their Great Benefactor and to consecrate themselves to his service. "Then" let them go and show to others the evidence that they are cleansed. Let them go and mingle, like a restored leper, with their families and friends, and show by the purity and holiness of their lives how great is the mercy that has cleansed them.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the New Testament:

Notice here the great encouragement Christ gave him, v19. The rest had their cure and had it not revoked, as justly it might have been for their ingratitude, though they had such a good example of gratitude set before them; but he had his cure confirmed particularly with an encomium: Thy faith hath made thee whole. The rest were made whole by the power of Christ in compassion to their distress and in answer to their prayer; but he was made whole by his faith, by which Christ saw him distinguished from the rest. Note: temporal mercies are then doubled and sweetened to us when they are fetched in by the prayers of faith and returned by the praises of faith.

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Children's Message

Visual aid: a dictionary

I have a large book in my bag here. What do you suppose this book is for? I’m going to make this a multiple choice quiz: A) to dry leaves in it; B) to stand on it when you can’t quite reach something; or C) to look up words so that you can understand what they mean. Which one is it? Well, actually, all of the above are right, but C) is the one for which this book is most often used.

Alright. Now how do you find a word in here? Let’s find the word "thank" in this dictionary. Wait a minute. There are so many "T" words! How will I ever find it? What’s that? It’s in alphabetical order?

In the Bible story for today, there are two "T" words that are not in alphabetical order. The two words are "thank" and "think." Jesus healed ten men of leprosy. They were so eager to get on their way that they didn’t do either one; they didn’t thank  because they didn’t think. In Bible dictionary words, "think" comes before "thank." You have to think before you can thank. You have to think about the many things Jesus has done for you before you can really thank Him. You have to think about how He obeyed the Law for you; about those many things He has taught you, about how He died on the cross for your sins, about His promise to take you home to eternal life someday.

Don’t ever forget to think about God’s great love for you so that you can thank Him everyday.

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Option #2: "What A Ruth We Have In Jesus!"
Ruth 1:1-19a
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

The Point: So-called "outsiders" are also among those who receive great blessings from God.
The Problem: Though oftentimes despising "foreigners" (Moabites), our sinfulness makes also us aliens to God's kingdom.
The Promise: God's sending His only Son as a "stranger" among a rebellious and thankless people and Jesus' life given that we might be called children of God, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to believe and tell the story so that "my God becomes your God."
(The above is inspired by and adapted from a homiletical help by James Brauer)  
1. "Ruth" means "friend to all," "Orpah" means "neck" or "gazelle," "Naomi" means "pleasantness" or "delightful." (Blue Letter Bible and Behind the Name: Etymology and History of First Names at
2.It is one thing to love the ways of the Lord when all is fair, and quite another to cleave to them under all discouragements and difficulties. The kiss of outward profession is very cheap and easy, but the practical cleaving to the Lord, which must show itself in holy decision for truth and holiness, is not so small a matter. How stands the case with us? Is our heart fixed upon Jesus? Is the sacrifice bound with cords to the horns of the altar? Have we counted the cost, and are we solemnly ready to suffer all worldly loss for the Master's sake? The after gain will be an abundant recompense, for Egypt's treasures are not to be compared with the glory to be revealed. Orpah is heard of no more; in glorious ease and idolatrous pleasure her life melts into the gloom of death; but Ruth lives in history and in heaven, for grace has placed her in the noble line whence sprung the King of kings. Blessed among women shall those be who for Christ's sake can renounce all; but forgotten and worse than forgotten shall those be who in the hour of temptation do violence to conscience and turn back unto the world. O that this morning we may not be content with the form of devotion, which may be no better than Orpah's kiss, but may the Holy Spirit work in us a cleaving of our whole heart to our Lord Jesus. (Charles Spurgeon)
3. When Benjamin Franklin was United States Ambassador to France, he occasionally attended the Infidels Club--a group that spent most of its time searching for and reading literary masterpieces. On one occasion Franklin read the book of Ruth to the club when it was gathered together but changed the names in it so it would not be recognized as a book of the Bible. When he finished, they were unanimous in their praise. They said it was one of the most beautiful short stories that they had ever heard and demanded that he tell them where he had run across such a remarkable literary masterpiece. It was his great delight to tell them that it was from the Bible, which they professed to regard with scorn and derision, and in which they felt there was nothing good.

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