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C Ordinary Time (late)

By Tim Isbell

Ordinary Time began back on Trinity Sunday, and proceeds through several numbered weeks Proper 4, 5, 6... 26, 27, 28, finally finishing 
on Christ the King Sunday (the last Sunday in November).

This web page, Ordinary Time (late), picks up the Lectionary year calendar at Proper 20 and goes through the last Sunday of the Christian year. 

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 webpage 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.

C Proper 20: Church Health for Men & Women

1 Timothy 2.  I urge you all to pray for all people... I want men to pray with holy hands... I want women to be modest... and women should learn quietly and submissively...

Thesis: Paul offers advice to all church-people, including specific items for men and for women will guide modern churches to health.

This is a pretty expository sermon that includes a very challenging scripture for our culture. But I think you'll find in this sermon a gracious approach and at the same time theologically solid.

It's a good message for the members to hear; and it's a healthy message for visitors to hear.

C Proper 20: Money 2-sermon series

The second of these sermons, which can be preached in isolation from the other, fits the lection for C Proper 20. But please take a look at both sermons in the series. You are likely to decide to use them for two sequential weeks.

The Key to Mastering Money. The key to mastering money’s grasp on us is to see it from God’s perspective. The sermon captures attention with a great story about Oseola McCardy.

The Shrewd-factor. The shrewd manager in Luke 16 teaches us two things about managing money: we must face the situation, and we must develop and work our plan.

C Proper 21: Why Life Blows Up

Psalms 146, Ephesians 6.10-13... for we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers...

Thesis: Some blowups in life occur to convince us that things don’t always “compute." Rightly understood, they remind us that there’s a Cosmic War going on that is far bigger than us - and our best option is to choose sides and get into the battle.

This is a very powerful sermon that begins with a very powerful story, sneaks up on a complex topic, challenges people to choose sides in the Cosmic War, and ends with a quote as powerful as the beginning story:

We will go before God to be judged, and God will ask us “Where are your wounds?”
And we will say “We have no wounds.” 
And God will ask us “Was nothing worth fighting for?”

C Proper 22: An Untold Biblical Story

2 Timothy 1.1-14 and other passages in Acts and Paul's letters to Timothy.

Thesis: Disciples are made, not born.

Few people have ever gathered and then reconstructed the various New Testament scriptures about Paul and Timothy into the story-line of Paul's meeting and discipling of Timothy. It's a great story and this sermon tells it by diving pretty deep into Paul's first and second missionary journeys. On this platform, the sermon then teaches about discipling. It does encourage the kind of discipleship we see Paul giving to Timothy, but also brings in the dimension that Paul didn't have a Paul to disciple him. So if we don't have a discipler leading us, we can trust the Spirit of Jesus to do a pretty good job, too!

It's a strong sermon, one well worth a read. And if you are a good story-teller, it's a fun sermon to preach!

C Proper 23: Go Multiply (It's Easier Than You Think)

This is the second of the Ten Big Ideas of Christian Faith.

There's quite a bit of self-disclosure in this sermon, about my own early steps in the journey to personal evangelism - way back in my engineering days. It also includes the testimony of a person I (unknowingly) influenced to Christian faith. When we met I was a director of engineering at National Semiconductor, and he was our Chinese application engineer working in Taiwan. The sermon notes include a written version of his journey to faith, and the audio file of the sermon includes his spoken testimony. You are welcome to use the audio file as you wish - including playing it in your service.

I think this sermon provides an excellent understanding of lifestyle evangelism, where the Christian adopts a life of Ordinary Practices that God can work through to bring someone into faith. In this case, the Christian (me) didn't even know it was happening. 

In order to preach it, you will need to do quite a bit of work to make your own.

C Proper 24: Yes, No, or Not Yet

Luke 18.1-8  Jesus tells the parable of the persistent woman with the unjust judge.

Thesis: Jesus calls us to persistence in prayer coupled with a trusting heart because we know in the end God and his will prevail.

This sermon clarifies the often misunderstood thinking that Jesus means that God is like the unjust judge. It also unpacks the teaching that when we pray to God he essentially has 3 possible responses: Yes, No, or Not Yet. And it helps people understand the place of persistence in prayer, as well as the attitude with which we persist.

C Proper 24-28: Healthy Thinking series

This is a 5-sermon series on how to think healthy. It's based on Philippians 4.8 using a framework from Mary Whelchel's book What Would Jesus Think?.

  1. We Are What We Think
  2. Thinking what is True and Honorable
  3. Thinking what is Right and Pure
  4. Thinking what is Lovely and Admirable
  5. Renewing Our Minds

C Proper 25 Ministry of Encouragement

2 Timothy 3.11  Paul writes to Timothy: Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry.

Thesis: Barnabas’ life of encouragement is a good model for all of us.

This sermon leverages off of a single verse in Paul's second letter to Timothy. Mark got off to a marginal beginning in ministry and was something of a problem for Paul early on. But by the time of this writing Mark had become a solid player in the ministry to the Gentiles. One element of the turnaround, perhaps the key element, was the encouragement of Barnabas. 

This sermon is more about Barnabas than anyone else. It chronicles his encouragements that were so important in the early church. As you can imagine, the sermon is itself quite encouraging and it is designed to affirm the encouragers of the congregation. It is also an invitation for more people to practice the gifts of encouragement.

C Proper 27: Lessons from Haggai


Thesis: God invites his followers to honor him with action, and when they do he does much more than just be a spectator, he gets personally involved blessing the action.

Haggai does not get preached very often; indeed, this is the only time it appears in the 3-year lectionary cycle. So the sermon begins with a bit of an introduction of Haggai. Then it moves on to unpack the top-level messages in Haggai's book. The take-home messages are:

  • Don’t wait for circumstances to improve before giving God our full devotion.
  • Don’t get discouraged by bigger, fancier churches.
  • Be patient with God and with each other as he transforms us.
  • Even if we've been procrastinating for 17 years (like the remnant Jews who had returned to Jerusalem), or more, it’s not too late. God has an assignment for each of us and if we give ourselves to it he will honor us in the fullness of time.


C Christ the King Sunday: Things Are Not Always as They Seem

Luke 23.33-43  Part of Luke's crucifixion story.

Thesis: Things are often not what they appear, and the crucifixion is the greatest example.

This sermon begins by offering some guidelines for how to read scripture, and then uses these to unpack the Luke passage. The over-riding theme is to help people realize that there are many things in life that at first glance seem obvious, but upon further investigation, we find out that that thing was much different than we first thought. The crucifixion is like this; on the surface, it looks like the end of a man and a movement that never really got started but upon investigation, we discover that what looked like weakness was, in fact, strength. It looked like the end but turned out to be the beginning of new life - for Jesus and even for those who will follow him.

Since Christ the King Sunday is right around Thanksgiving, the end of the sermon moves to thankfulness... and then to action using a unique object lesson.

C Proper 10: Jesus and the Fellowship

This sermon is part of The Alternate Life, 4-sermon series. I hope you will consider packaging this series somewhere around this time in year C and the beginning of year A.

Note that this series is a part of a larger group of sermons called The Alternate Life Collection. There you will also find some single sermon approaches to the alternate life material.



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