Sermon Starters

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

First Sunday In Advent
Series C

Option #1: "An Apostle's Joyful Prayer"
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.S., M.Div.

I. Joy in God’s grace--vv9-10; 1 Thess 2:19; Ps 68:3

II. A prayer for increasing love--v12; 1 Thess 4:9-10; Phil 1:9; 2 Thess 1:3

III. A prayer for preparedness

A. Blameless in God’s sight--v13; 1 Thess 5:23; 1 Cor 1:8; Jude 1:24-25

B. Holiness of life--v13; 1 John 3:24; Rom 12:1; 1 Cor 1:2; Eph 1:4, Col 1:22, 3:12         

Holman Bible Dictionary: Holiness in Christians was attained through the cross and is to be preserved in clean and moral living. Thus "holy" defines the godness of God. It also defines places where God is present. For the holy God to be present among His people, special holy places were set apart where God and people could safely come together. The tabernacle and Temple fulfilled this purpose. Special restrictions on access were established for the safety of the worshipers. Rules of sacrifice and cleanliness helped them prepare for this contact. Jesus gave His blood and His body for the remission of sins. Faith in Christ is portrayed as acceptance of His full atonement for sin

The Holy Spirit is the agent of holiness for the church and its leaders. He keeps the church pure (Acts 5:1-11). He promotes holiness in its members (1 Cor 6:19; 1 Thess 4:7). Christians are called to holy living (1 Cor 1:2; 3:17). They are saints who lead godly, righteous lives. Being sanctified, or made holy, is a work of the Holy Spirit on the basis of Christ’s atonement that calls for obedient submission from those who have been saved. Christians are holy because of their calling in Christ, because of His atonement for their sins, and because of the continual ministrations of the Holy Spirit. They are holy inasmuch as they receive and submit to these saving and sanctifying agents.

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The Message for Children

These days before Christmas can become so busy that we don’t see what is going on around us. Next time you go to a shopping mall you will find people performing a service that some shoppers don’t have time to do. I’m referring to the people who do gift wrapping. Some of them may be there to raise some money for their church or maybe to go on a trip.

In the hurry of shopping for that right gift, don’t miss two important things about Christmas:

1) Jesus came here gift wrapped in our flesh so that he could be our Savior from sin. He was placed in a manger so that shepherds could worship him as the Savior sent from heaven.

2) When you have a gift wrapped to be given away, they will ask you to fill out a tag with the name of the person who is to receive the gift.

God sent his Son gift wrapped to be our Savior. When we worship Jesus as our Savior, we present ourselves to him as a gift, the gift of our lives. (Have a volunteer write the first name of each child on a gift tag to be placed on each child’s shirt/blouse, dress.) Paul tells us in today’s Bible reading that we are to be holy. That means that just as you bought that gift for one special person, we are to be a special gift to God for our whole life. Your name tag tells God and all who see you that you are HOLY for Jesus’ sake and that you are presenting him with the gift of your life.

Make this Christmas extra special. Gift the gift that keeps on giving. Give God the gift of your life.

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Option 2: "The Right(eous) Stuff!"
Jeremiah 33:14-16
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

Point: God's promises to us are fulfilled now but not yet!
Problem: We put our hope and trust in self-decreed and -imposed justice and righteousness, forgetting that ultimate and eternal justice and righteousness have already been fulfilled through and in Jesus Christ, our righteous Branch.
Promise: Because God executed justice most unrighteously--at least by human standards--by making Jesus suffer and die for our sins, we are assured of our salvation and eternal security via the Spirit's working faith and justice in and through us.
1.Jeremiah gives The Messiah a symbolic name that might be translated: "Yahweh is the source of our vindication." (Ralph Klein)
2.If in Advent we think we await the fulfilment of a fixed and well-defined promise by God, then we only partly understand the deep sense of Advent, of waiting for the Lord. God’s coming among us always requires clarity, and is open to debate and new perceptions by the people of God. There is always the sense of surprise, of an unexpected coming...
Advent is not just about something in the future. It is as much about the reform of our present ways: the ways we govern ourselves, share wealth and responsibility, organise our communal life, and prepare ourselves for the future (cf the Psalm for this week, Ps 25:1-10). Waiting for the Lord’s coming is not an idle, passive activity. It is waiting that is passionate and active. It is about calling for reform in the world, personal and social. In Jeremiah’s case it was about speaking from prison about hope beyond exile, of envisioning that through commitment to the old covenant expectations there would be a day when again the sound of joy would be heard in the streets (Jer 33:10-13). Jeremiah hopes not only that one day there will be a king who will reshape the people’s lives, but that, even against all that circumstance dictates, kingship itself would be reshaped so as to make new life possible...
 “The Lord is our righteousness.” If there is any cause for hope in the Lord’s coming to us, it is in this proclamation. The source of energy behind any sense of hope for the present or future is God’s own word and action, and God’s challenge to present realities, present structures of society and church, and present visions of what is possible. Jeremiah’s hope was deeply rooted in God’s love and faithfulness, and in God’s own speech and concern about the political, social, religious, and personal dimensions of community life. (Howard Wallace)


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This page was revised on: Sunday, December 10, 2006 04:49:13 AM