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7 More Sermons for Ordinary Time

posted Jun 28, 2011, 2:28 PM by Tim Isbell   [ updated Jul 10, 2011, 5:37 AM ]

Here are several sermons from Genesis, Matthew and Romans that fit almost anywhere in the Christian calendar, and especially in Year A Propers 9-12.   You can find the detail at Year A - Trinity thru Proper 16 Downloads.  Some of these encourage personal evangelism, one from Romans 7 and 8 zeros in on holiness, a couple address the Kingdom of God, and one helps us know how to deal with the "weeds" we perceive all around us.  If you look through these, I'm sure you'll find some things to use in upcoming messages.

Pastor Tim

Proper 9 or 10 (7/3 or 10/2011): Holiness, Putting Things in Context

This sermon fits either Proper 9 (Romans 7) or Proper 10 (Romans 8).

Thesis:   It is impossible to live a holy life by administering the Law within ourselves.  Holy living is possible only as a by-product of a passionate love affair with Jesus leads us to relinquish our own sovereignty and trust all dimensions of our own lives to the Spirit of Jesus living within us.  As we live in this “space” the Spirit will graciously administer the Law in our lives.

While preaching on Romans 7 is always a challenge, it is hard to preach holiness without visiting this difficult passage and showing people that this passage does not describe the normative Christian life.  To grasp the fullness of the Good News, we need to understand Romans 7 as a step on the journey to the life of Romans 8.  If you haven't preached holiness lately, here's a great chance to do it.

Proper 10 (7/10/2011): Farming 101, the Soil

Matthew 13.1-9, 18-23.  (Jesus' story of the farmer who cast seeds on a variety of soils)

Thesis:  God values extravagance above efficiency so he casts his grace on all kinds of people, and invites his followers to join him in the "farming ministry."

This sermon is a good, light message in lifestyle evangelism.  You can easily connect in as much of the Evangelism for the Rest of Us teaching as you have time for.  This message also includes the use of the BLESS a FRAN form as a way of helping parishioners actively pray for a list of their unchurched Friends, Relatives, Associates, and Neighbors.

Proper 11 (7/17/2011): Farming 20, Managing Weeds

Matthew 13.24-30, 36-43.  (Jesus' parable of the wheat and the weeds)

Thesis:  There are many areas of life where we’re not capable of sorting the good from the evil, but God is, and we can trust him to do right.

This is another sermon that lifts up the extravagance of God.  In the process it encourages parishioners to be slow to label things as evil and slow to pull the "weeds" of evil that we see around us.  While weed pulling makes perfect sense to the human mind, Jesus cautions us to be slow to pull the plants that we are so sure are weeds, and instead trust God to sort the weeds from the wheat at harvest time.  This is a very good sermon for churches/parishioners who have a tendency to connect their ideas of Christian holiness with political action designed to limit the evil we perceive in the world around us.

Proper 12... 4 sermons in this set!

This week's scripture set is so rich that I am posting four sermons to choose from.   Take your pick, or use them any time you want.  This whole lectionary season the scripture sets are so good I wish there were more weeks!  Mostly we're in Genesis, Matthew and Romans!

Proper 12 (7/24/2011): The Kingdom Is Like...

Matthew 13.31-33, 44-46  (Jesus' illustrations of the mustard seed, yeast, treasure in the field, and the pearl.)

Thesis:  Lifesaving is a Grand Adventure, worth giving our life to.

This sermon and "Lifesaving - the Grand Adventure" (the next sermon) are similar, but they were first preached in different years and using different stories.  This one starts with the story of Saint Patrick (Ireland) as an example of God's tendency to start with something small and humble and grow it into something large and valuable.  The direction of the message is to invite people to give all of themselves to life in the Kingdom.

Proper 12 (7/24/2011): Lifesaving - the Grand Adventure

Matthew 13.34,  44-46  (Jesus' illustrations of the treasure in the field and the merchant finding the pearl.)

Thesis:  The Kingdom of God, like and an individual’s Christian faith, begins as something very small which grows into something very large and valuable.

This sermon and "The Kingdom Is Like..." (the previous sermon) are similar, but they were first preached in different years and using different stories.  This one includes the great story of the Massachusetts Humane Society, the forerunner of the U.S. Coast Guard.  While this was once an heroic, volunteer adventure it faded to just a social organization that holds gatherings for it's members. Many preachers have used this over the years, and for good reason - it is a great illustration of what can happen to  a church that once had a passion for lost people but now is just a social gathering point.   The message invites the congregation to rekindle their evangelistic fires.  This is another sermon that uses the BLESS a FRAN form.  Again, you could also incorporate some elements of Evangelism for the Rest of Us in this message, or point the congregation to this material on the website as supplemental.

Proper 12 (7/24/2011): Adjusting to God's Story

Genesis 29.15-28 (The story of Jacob marrying Leah and Rachael)

Thesis:   The smartest thing we can do is trust God in EVERYTHING.

Many people struggle with the apparent injustices in the Old Testament stories.  This is a good sermon to help people see the Jacob/Leah/Rachael story in a new light.  Jacob received unjust treatment from his uncle Laban, but then you might say he deserved it because of his own injustice to his brother Esau.  But in today's scripture Leah receives a huge injustice from her father Laban, and humiliating treatment from her husband Jacob.  But as she adjusted to living in God's story he blessed her in wonderful ways.  In the end, even Jacob showed a degree of preference for Leah over Rachael.  If you are looking for a chance to help people see God's grace in the Old Testament, try this one.

Proper 12 (7/24/2011): The Bad, the Good, the Best

Romans 8.28-30 (All things work together for good...)

Thesis:  Christians can live with a deep joy because we are confident that God uses the bad things to bring about good, this good will never be lost because it is independent of circumstances, and the best is yet to come when God will give us new circumstances.  

In this sermon I borrow from Timothy Keller's "A Christian's Happiness" to unpack the dilemma of Romans 8.28-30.  Most know that Christianity is supposed to include a deep joy in spite of circumstances.  But when things are go bad it's hard to see what good God is doing in it.  In the final analysis it comes down to understanding that our joy does not come from our circumstances but from God using the circumstances of our life to develop our heart to beat more like Jesus' heart.  In this sense, God uses all the bad that happens to us to do the good work of shaping our heart to be more and more like Jesus'.  This is the source of deep joy.