Sermon Starters

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

Second Sunday After Pentecost
Series C

Option One: “The Great King’s Prayer To The 
Great God Of The Universe”

1 Kings 8: 22-23, 27-30, 41-43

Rev. Wayne Dobratz

I. A prayer of praise to the Covenant God–vv. 22-23; 27-28 Cf. Ex. 3:15; 2 Sam. 7:22ff.; Isa. 40:25ff.

II. A prayer for forgiveness, vv.29-30; Cf.1 Kings 8:39-40; Isa. 57:15; Ezra 9:5ff.; Micah 7:18;

III. A prayer for mercy to Gentiles Cf. Matt. 8:5-11; John 12:20-26;

God’s Great Name–Ex. 34:5-7; God’s Mighty Hand–Deut. 11:2ff.; Jer. 32:17ff.

KEIL & DELITSZCH OLD TESTAMENT COMMENTARY: The fifth prayer has reference to the hearing of the prayers of foreigners, who shall pray in the temple. Solomon assumes as certain that foreigners will come and worship before Jehovah in His temple; even Moses himself had allowed the foreigners living among the Israelites to offer sacrifice at the temple (Num 15:14ff.), and the great name and the arm of the Lord, that had manifested itself in deeds of omnipotence, had become known in the times of Moses to the surrounding nations....

The reason for the hearing of the prayers of foreigners is "that all nations may know Thy name to fear Thee," ...The name of the Lord is always used in the Scriptures to denote the working of God among His people or in His kingdom (see at 2 Sam 6:2). The naming of this name over the nation, the temple, etc., presupposes the working of God within it, and denotes the confession and acknowledgment of that working. This is obvious from such passages as Jer 14:9, where the expression "Thy name is called over us" is only a further explanation of the word "Thou art in the midst of us;" and from Isa 63:19, where "we are they over whom Thou hast not ruled from eternity" is equivalent to "over whom Thy name has not been called." The name of Jehovah will be named over the temple, when Jehovah manifests His gracious presence within it in such a manner, that the nations who pray towards it experience the working of the living God within His sanctuary.


Do you remember the last time you prayed for someone who really needed help? We do that every Sunday here in God’s house. We say prayers for many people. We pray for people who are sick, we pray for the family of someone who has died, we pray for people we don’t even know, people who live all over the world.

You probably don’t know that a very important man, a great King, prayed for you and me almost 3,000 years ago. The King’s name was Solomon and his prayer was part of a Dedication ceremony for this Temple (show picture), the greatest Temple God’s people ever had.

That was a really long time ago, but the Holy Spirit made certain that we know what he said in that prayer. He prayed that you and I would come to know the true God. He prayed to God that "all nations may know His name."

One of the names of God points to the fact that He always keeps His promises. Another name for God is the name that we know best, the name of Jesus. The name Jesus is "Yeshua" in Hebrew; it means "God saves."

Jesus died on the cross to save people from their sins. He came so that you and I could not only worship God but also see Him someday in the Heavenly Home Jesus is preparing. Jesus said: "I am going to prepare a place for you. When I come back, I will take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going (John 14).

Yes, we know. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Because of Him, that prayer prayed by the great King so long ago comes true. Let us praise God in the name of Jesus our Savior!

 Option Two: "Living In God's Freedom"
Galatians 1:1-10
Thomas F. Fischer


A farmer put out a special kind of “No Trespassing” sign to keep intruders away. It read,

All Violators will be shot.
Survivors will be shot until dead.”

Sometimes the Law can hurt! And, if one asks St. Paul, one will find that Paul says the Law can not only hurt, it can kill…and kill eternally. 

Perhaps that’s the most critical issue for Christians—learning the proper use of the Law so that it doesn’t ultimately trap us in our guilt and condemn us to the eternal curse of hell. 

That’s the reason that Paul wrote this Letter to the Galatians. The Galatians had forgotten the love of Jesus Christ. In a sense, they believed that God, like the farmer, was one who shoots all violators of His law…and kills the sinners so that they cannot survive. 

And so do we, don’t we? Whenever we are trapped by our guilt, whenever we are so overcome with shame that we can’t even imagine seeking God’s love, grace and forgiveness, we feel like the violators who are shot…and the survivors who are shot until dead. 

Is that what God intends for us? 

Certainly, we know that the Law—the Ten Commandments—is holy. It is God-given. The Law is God’s plan for showing us how to live our lives and, more specifically, how to respond to His love for us. 

But the thing we forget is what the Galatians so easily forgot. No one is saved by the law. No one can get into heaven by doing enough good things. Even if you only sinned once, even if you only thought of the sin but didn’t do it, you’ve sinned. You’ve broken all the Ten Commandments. You cannot earn your way into heaven. 

And, even if you didn’t actually sin, the fact that you are born in a sinful world of sinful parents makes you a sinner. You have no choice. You are a sinner. You are under God’s wrath. 

Quite a downer, isn’t it! That’s really pessimistic, isn’t it! And it is! Yet so many people live their lives trapped, strapped and enslaved to the guilt, the shame, the burden that they are sinners. 

If only they knew what the Gospel was all about. Then they would know freedom, true freedom…God’s freedom for their lives. The freedom that we have from Jesus’ death on the cross for us. It is only because of his death and resurrection that we experience real freedom. 

Like the Galatians, we turn away from the freedom of grace that Jesus give us…and still try to live our lives without God, without His presence, without His power, without His guidance…and without His grace. 

When we do, we’re doomed the fail. In a way, we’re like the golfer that resisted his caddy’s coaching.

 From “Top Ten Caddy Comments”


Golfer: “Think I’m going to drown myself in the lake.”
Caddy: “Think you can keep your head down that long?”


Golfer: “I’d move heaven and earth to break 100 on this course.”
Caddy: “Try heaven. You’ve already moved most of the earth.”


Golfer: “Do you think my game is improving?”
Caddy: “Yes sir, you miss the ball much closer now.”


Golfer: “Do you think I can get there with a 5 iron?”
Caddy: “Eventually.”


Golfer: “This is the worst course I’ve ever played on.’
Caddy: “This isn’t the golf course. We left that an hour ago.”


Golfer: “That can’t be my ball. It’s too old.”
Caddy: “It’s been a long time since we teed off, sir


Golfer: “Do you think it’s a sin to play golf on Sunday?”
Caddy: “The way you play, sir, it’s a sin any day.”

Poor Golfer! And poor us…if we, like the golfer, persist in trying to find joy, peace and the true freedom of God in our works…and not in Jesus Christ. 

About that, Paul was adamantly uncompromising!

“If we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Gal. 1:8 (NIV) 

Are you under the curse? Do you somehow not believe that Jesus—and only Jesus—saves you? Have you somehow forgotten that Jesus—and only Jesus—is your savior? Have you forgotten that no matter how good you are, you can’t earn your way into heaven and, that now matter how sinful you are, there isn’t a sin that Jesus can’t, won’t and hasn’t forgiven? 

Ah, that’s true freedom, isn’t it! Later in Galatians 5 Paul wrote, “It is for freedom, you have been set free.” (Gal. 5:1) 

A little boy, age 9, wrote a letter to his pastor.

“Dear Pastor,” he wrote,
Please say in your sermon that Peter Peterson has been a good boy all week. I am Peter Peterson.
Age 9, Phoenix

Sorry, Pete, that’s not how to get freedom. We can only get it in Jesus Christ, only in His cross, His resurrection and His love which He gives us so freely.

Pete, if you believe in Jesus, you are free. All you out there who belive in Jesus, you are free, too. You are a child of God. You are redeemed by Jesus Christ. No matter who you are, you are forgiven…totally, completely…and forever.

Why? Only because of God’s grace. That’s where freedom starts…in God, in Jesus, and in His love for you and me. And how do we live this in our lives? …. (Application).

May Christ make you—and keep you—truly free in Hs grace unto life everlasting. Amen.

Thomas F. Fischer


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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:34 PM