Sermon Starters

Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals

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

Last Sunday Of The Church Year/
Sunday Of The Fulfillment
Series C


Option #1: "A Promise You Can Bank On"
Malachi 3:14-18

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

  I. Our world is no different than theirs

    A. It doesn't seem to do any good to obey God--Psalm 73

    B. Good and evil seem to be all mixed up--Isaiah 5:20

 II. God's people need to talk about it

    A. With the Lord--Psalm 73

    B. With each other--Luke 24:12-14, Ephesians 5:19

III. The Lord issues an official proclamation--Psalm 98:3

    A. "They will be mine"--Revelation 3:5, 21:27

    B. "I will show them my compassion"--Luke 15:17ff

    C. The difference between good and evil will once again be clear--Malachi 3:18 , Matthew 13:43

    D. This distinction will be visible for all eternity--Psalm 32:10-11; Revelation 22:10-17

Adam Clarke  writes: There are three marks of God’s people: 1. They feared the Lord. 2. They spake often one to another. They kept up the communion of saints. They strengthened each others' hands in the Lord. 3. They thought on his name. His name was sacred to them; it was a fruitful source of profound and edifying meditation. The name of God is God himself in the plenitude of his power, omniscience, justice, goodness, mercy, and truth.

What a source for thinking and contemplation! See how God treats such persons: The Lord hearkened to their conversation, heard the meditations of their hearts; and so approved of the whole that a book of remembrance was written before Him--all their names were carefully registered in heaven. Here is an allusion to records kept by kings, Esther 6:1, of such as had performed signal services, and who should be the first to be rewarded.

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Malachi 3:14-18
Visual aid: a football in a bag

Today is Sunday, and you may have noticed that you father might not want to go anywhere on some Sundays or some Monday nights--or even Sunday night. Do you know why? Because he wants to watch a football game! (Show football.) If you’re in the room when the game is on, he may be talking to someone when there is no one else in the room. He’s telling the coach that he made the wrong call. He might think that the coach should take a chance instead of kicking the field goal. But the coach for some reason can’t hear your father, and his team kicks the field goal. They win the game by three points and, you know what? It turns out that the coach knows more about football than your father does.

That’s the way it is with God, too. Sometimes we’re just like the football fan in the middle of the game.We question God’s decisions, and it’s not until the end that we see that God was right all along. In today’s Bible reading, it appeared that it just didn’t pay to follow God. But, like in the football game, it did pay in the end.

So here’s some advice for you: if God tells you to do something, do it! If God’s Word says something you don’t understand, believe it! He’s a lot smarter than we are. You’ll see that with your own two eyes when you get to eternal life.

But don’t wait that long. Trust God and His Word right now, even before you can see the end of things. After all, it didn’t look good when God’s Son was hanging on the cross, but it was the best thing that could have happened. That’s how our sins were forgiven; that’s how the road was built to eternal life; that’s how we became God’s people.

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Option #2: "God Does The Rite Thing Right!"
Malachi 3:14-18
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

The Point: The Christian life doesn't really seem to make sense apart from eternity.
The Problem: The wicked seem to prosper and faithfulness to God seemingly goes unrewarded.
The Promise:  We will be spared and rewarded because God did not spare his own Son for us; in the meantime, God gives us what we need to carry on in wake of seemed injustice(s).
Inspired and adapted from a homiletical help by Timothy Saleska
1. Notice the two things that mark those who are faithful in the day of apostasy. First, they spoke with one another. This does not mean that they just talked to each other. It means that they opened up to each other. They shared with one another. They encouraged each other. They confessed their weak points and prayed for one another. They let others see what they were like. Ah, yes, but that was on the horizontal level, wasn't it? But there was also the vertical: they thought on his name. That is always the great resource of the people of God.

The name of God stands for all that he is, just as your name stands for all that you are. You sign a check and all that you are is laid on the line to the amount of that check because of your name. They thought on his name. There is not a week that goes by that there is not a flood of propaganda crossing my desk, telling me what is wrong with the church, analyzing its weakness, and presenting some gadget or gimmick that will take all the blood and sweat and tears out of living as a Christian. We are being assaulted today with solutions for the problems of the weakness of the church that are not solutions at all.

Here is the answer to the weakness of the church--"to think upon his name," to reckon on the resources of God. You can take away all the props of the church, its buildings, its visual aids, its committees, its programs and everything else, and if you have a people who have learned to reckon on the name of God, you have not lost a thing. That is what this age needs to hear again.

Someone suggested recently that if we would introduce some of the electronic marvels that are available to businesses today, the job of preaching the gospel could be done electronically, and in just a few short years the whole world could be converted and our job would be done, electronically. I have also heard the suggestion that what we need to do is to take the words of the hymns and put them to popular, or rock music, and that is what the church needs. Now I know that many people would agree with this approach. They say we need to capture the spirit of the age and move with it and get modern---that is the missing element. Oh! No. God is the missing element. We are to think on his name, reckon on his power. The church is never so strong as when in utter weakness it casts itself back upon the resources of God and moves in dependence upon him. (Ray Stedman)

2. Managers do things right. Leaders do the right thing. (Peter Drucker) God does the right/rite thing right!

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