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A Lent

Here are preaching and study resources for Lent (Revised Common Lectionary, Year A). Lent is a season of reflection and growing deeper in personal holiness and a season to prepare us for the Easter season. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and continues for the following five Sundays, setting the stage for Palm Sunday and Easter.

In the listing below, clicking on a sermon title takes you to a Google Doc of the sermon notes. You can view/print these from any browser, or download the file in various formats (such as Word, RTF, or PDF). If you are using a version of Word prior to 2007 you may need to download it in RTF. Then it will open with most (if not all) the formatting intact.

You can also access any of these sermons from the Sermon Chart, which displays them in the context of the entire 3-year lectionary cycle. Browse down the second column until you see the lectionary season of interest. To access the sermon notes just click on the sermon title.

Not a lectionary preacher? You can change the Sermon Chart so that it lists the sermons in the order of the primary biblical text for each sermon. In the Sermon Chart, browse down to the chart and look at the right-hand column. Click on Sort: Ascending. Notice that many sermons list additional scriptures. If you want to find all entries for a particular biblical book from the whole list just use your browser's Find function. The top of the Sermon Chart web page explains the biblical text abbreviation system I use.

For more about the Revised Common Lectionary, click on Lectionary Basics and Lectionary Preaching.

Feel free to extract any ideas, outlines, or entire sermons from my site. That's what it is for. To subscribe to email or RSS notifications of new posts from this site, click IsbellOnline News.


1 Lent: Resisting Temptation

Genesis 2.15-17 and 3.1-7, Matthew 4.1-11 (Jesus' wilderness temptation), Romans 5.12-19 (Adam & Christ contrasted)

Thesis: The Bible says that we can have victory over temptation and this sermon explains how. 

This sermon uses 3 lectionary scriptures from the first Sunday of Lent. It begins by unpacking the Genesis scriptures, then uses the Matthew scripture to compare Adam and Eve's response to temptation with Jesus' response. And it incorporates some important teaching by the Apostle Paul. 

It also gives the preacher an opportunity to deal with 2 common misconceptions:

  1. Temptation itself is a sin.
  2. As we mature as Christians, temptations will decrease in challenge
Finally, the sermon offers some practical help on how to deal with temptations.

1 Lent: Sin - Distrusting God

This is a strong stand-alone sermon, and it is also the fourth of The 10 Big Ideas of Christian Faith (follow this link for a synopsis of the sermon, and to find out how it fits into the distributed series).

2 Lent: Belief that Saves

John 3.1-17  (Nicodemus visits Jesus)

Thesis: Authentic Christian belief is bigger than belief about Jesus, or believing in Jesus; it’s about believing ON Jesus.

This simple and direct message explains how authentic Christian belief is bigger than belief about Jesus, or belief in Jesus; it’s about believing ON Jesus.

3 Lent: Four Habits of Contagious Christians

John 4.4-42  (Samaritan woman story)

Thesis: Contagious Christians...

  1. Pray for God to change their hearts to beat like Jesus’ heart for unchurched people.
  2. Spend time with unchurched people.
  3. Learn to share an appropriate verbal witness.
  4. Take the initiative to invite people into a next step in their journey with God. 

This is a rather a long sermon which you can easily break into a 2 sermon series fitting for 3 and 4 Lent.

4 Lent: A Special Kid (David)

1 Samuel 16 and 17  (Saul becomes king, David, and Goliath)

Thesis: God looks past outward characteristics and sees the heart, and comes to live in every heart that is committed, consecrated, and compassionate.

This short sermon shows that God is not necessarily looking for A students; he is looking for C students. Because he can see the heart, he searches for people who are Committed, Consecrated, and Compassionate.  This sermon was used on a special Sunday when our weekday preschool families were in attendance. Our demographic is heavily Asian where the emphasis is strongly on performance. Around Cupertino families, a B is called an "Asian F." So I wanted to make a case for "C students" to parents of preschoolers, knowing that many of these families also had children in higher grades. Basically, I used their proclivity to achieve to subversively present a case for an alternate.

3 Lent: Living with the Weak, the Strong, and Even Our Enemies

Luke 10.25-28 (the most important commandment), 2 Peter 1.1-11 (... Supplement faith with moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, patient endurance, godliness, and love for everyone.)

Thesis: God’s love for us is “unprovoked” and he intends for all disciples of Jesus to also extend unprovoked love to those weaker, stronger, and even to those who are our enemies.

This sermon unpacks the concept of "unprovoked love," which is love with no apparent payback. It is loving someone who doesn't deserve it and doesn't appear to offer anything in return. 

The sermon uses 3 stories to illustrate this sort of love in regards to people weaker than we are, stronger than we are, and even our enemies. Then it moves on to the concept that God's love for us is not only unprovoked, but his instruction for us is to become the kind of person who extends unprovoked love to the world around us. 

4 Lent: When Tragedy Strikes

John 11.1-44  (The story of the man born blind)

Thesis: When tragedy or suffering strike we can be confident that God knows all about it, cares deeply, ultimately will rule in his good wisdom, and stands close to us throughout our suffering.

If you are looking for a very solid sermon to preach dealing with the question "Where is God when Suffering/Tragedy Strikes", please check this one. It also uses Ezekiel 5.

5 Lent: A Bone Rattling Message

Ezekiel 37.1-14  (Valley of dry bones)

Thesis: God offers to breathe his Spirit into the dead areas of our lives, and bring us new life.

You will need to invest quite a bit of work to make this sermon your own. I've included it because it was one of the most fun sermon I've ever prepared for, preached, and it turned out to be one of the most memorable. It includes the use of the old song Them Bones (Dem Bones), a rib dinner from Armadillo's Restaurant, and a very affirming message to the people with whom I'd worshiped for 9 years (at that time). If you give it a read I suspect you'll find some ideas you can use.



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