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"Sermons"

The Significant Contributions of Jeremiah to Religious Thought

These handwritten notes appear to be a draft of the essay "The Significant Contributions of Jeremiah to Religious Thought." Dr. King wrote this for James Bennett Pritchard's class on the Old Testament at Crozer Theological Seminary. Circa September 14, 1948 - November 24, 1948. The actual essay is in the King Archive at Boston University's Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center.

Old Bull, The Great Violinist

Dr. King relates the mishap of a great violinist, during a concert, to the general act of overcoming obstacles in life.

Beyond Condemnation

Dr. King outlines a sermon entitled "Beyond Condemnation." He references the biblical story about a woman condemned to death by the Pharisees for adultery. Jesus commands "the person without sin to cast the first stone" as a lesson that all sins are equal and that no one should judge the flaws of others.

Three Dimensions of a Complete Life

This sermon is one draft of Dr. King's "Three Dimensions of a Complete Life." It was first delivered by Dr. King to the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.
Another version is entitled, "The Dimensions of a Complete Life." The first dimension is concerned with the well-being of the self. The second dimension is concerned with the well-being of others. The last dimension is concerned with reaching towards God.
As Dr. King implies, if all of these dimensions are equal, then a complete life will be obtained.

Opportunity, Fidelity, and Reward

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This handwritten outline reflects a sermon delivered by Dr. King at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in January of 1954. The sermon is structured around "The Parable of the Talents" taken from Matthew 25:14-30. Dr. King highlights how the passage assures a "reward for faithfulness."

Friday, January 1, 1954

Excerpt from The Drum Major Instinct

This passage quotes one of Dr. King's acclaimed sermons delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He defines the desire to lead as "the Drum Major instinct." Seeing himself as a Drum Major for justice, peace, and righteousness, Dr. King posits what should be said at his funeral.

B. Clifton Reardon Recap of William Temple

This is an essay written by B. Clifton Reardon on William Temple, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Temple was one of the founding members of the Council of Christians and Jews.

A Christmas Sermon

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Dr. King discusses the topics of peace, the state of mankind, and his vision for the future during the delivery of this sermon to the congregation of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

Sunday, December 24, 1967

The False God of Money

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This sermon titled "The False God of Money" was preached by Dr. King on July 19, 1953. Dr. King raised a question to his congregation stating, "Will you serve the transitory god of money which is here today and gone tomorrow or will you serve the eternal God of the universe who is the same yesterday, today and forever?"

Sunday, July 19, 1953

Radio Sermons Listing

Under the title "Radio Sermons," is a listing of sermon titles and dates given by Dr. King.

Paul's Letter to American Christians

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Dr. King shares "Paul's Letter to American Christians" with the congregation of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. In this contemporary letter revised by Dr. King, Apostle Paul writes concerning the "responsibilities of Americans to live as Christians." He discusses his appreciation for America, the danger of capitalism, communism, segregation in churches, and the many denominations of Protestantism. But above all things, Apostle Paul believes that love is the most "durable power in the world."

Sunday, November 4, 1956

God

Dr. King expresses the power of God as being infinite beyond comprehension of man.

"Lost Sheep" or "The God of the Lost"

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Dr. King delivers a sermon about the parable of the lost sheep from the book of Luke. In this sermon, Dr. King poses the question that has pondered mankind for ages, "What is God Like?" He declares, "God is like a good shepherd" caring for his sheep. Dr. King commends the good done in America, but compares the nation to "a lost sheep" for failing to maintain equality for all men. He summarizes by describing good as a process, that everyone is significant and God is seeking to find the lost.

Sunday, September 18, 1966

"The Drum Major Instinct" Ebenezer Baptist Church

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The Drum Major Instinct, a sermon delivered by Dr. King at the Atlanta Ebenezer Baptist Church, frames the “instinct” as being responsible for the social ills of the world. Dr. King proclaims that racial inequality in America and the war in Vietnam are the result of nations engaging in a “bitter colossal contest for supremacy.” He suggests that the only way to end this “suicidal thrust” is to abide by an altered definition of the instinct – the definition of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, February 4, 1968

The Second Sunday After Easter

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The preacher begins by reminding the audience about various forms of evil, the church's mission to help humans obtain heavenly rights and other topics from the previous week's sermon. After recapping last Sunday's sermon, the preacher uses the Word of God to answer the question, "How should Christians react to the afflictions they suffer in the world?" The three answers to this question are broken up into three different sections and explained in depth by the speaker.

Sunday, April 28, 1968

What Is Man?

This is one of several documents where Dr. King explores the nature of "man." He considers the question "what is man?" to be a timeless concept that "confronts any generation." Dr. King's analysis incorporates Biblical and Shakespearean texts, among other notable references.

Sermon at The Washington Cathedral

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In a sermon written by Dr. King and addressed to an audience at the Washington Cathedral, the Reverend expounds upon the problem of poverty and war. In describing a projected human revolution, Dr. King states, "Somewhere we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability." This is just one of the many passages in this inspirational sermon encouraging hope and freedom for all.

Sunday, March 31, 1968

We Would See Jesus

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Dr. King gives this sermon to a congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church. He conveys a message of Christ's acceptance of all despite any person's wrong doings in the past. He also points out that Christ's work is exemplified through individual acts of kindness and helping others.

Sunday, May 7, 1967

Love in Action

Dr. King expounds on the love of God by referencing a verse from the Bible in the Book of Luke. The verse states, "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Dr. King notes the truth of this verse is also revealed in race relation of today.

The Drum Major Instinct Sermon Outline

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Dr. King outlines on scraps of paper his great sermon based on Mark 10:37. Everyone wants to be first, to get attention, he says, starting with our first cry as a baby. Adults want to do good and be praised. If the drum major instinct is not harnessed, the personality is distorted and we become boastful, gossip, put others down. On a societal level, this leads to exclusive social groups, racial prejudice and war. King states that Jesus’ answer is to dedicate this great force to worthy ends – goodness, moral excellence, generosity, kindness and service. .

Monday, February 5, 1968

It's Hard to Be a Christian

Dr. King outlines his sermon entitled "It's Hard to Be a Christian." King asserts that in order for one to be a fully committed Christian he or she must subordinate their ego and prioritize their concern for God's kingdom.

God

Dr. King contextualizes the speed of God.

Who is Truly Great

Dr. King addresses the subject of individual greatness within society and how to truly go about achieving such a status. He begins by dispelling common signifiers of greatness before indicating that greatness can only be substantively measured through the ability to put others before self. Dr. King cites the life of Jesus Christ as an example of humility culminating into greatness.

Dr. King Outlines "If"

Dr. King expounds on the subject "if." He proclaims the word to be primary in the English language.

Moving to Another Mountain

Wesleyan University publishes an edited transcript of a speech given by Dr. King in 1964. The publication is made in the aftermath of Dr. King's assassination.

Tribute to Jimmy Lee Jackson

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Dr. King edits a draft of a eulogy he wrote in the wake of four girls killed in a bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Dr. King applauded these martyrs, for their brief yet powerful appearance on this Earth and their contribution to the "holy crusade for freedom and human dignity." Reiterating these sentiments, Dr. King edits the eulogy to fit the life story of Jimmy Lee Jackson.

Friday, February 26, 1965

Shattered Dreams

In a sermon entitled "Shattered Dreams", Dr. King opens with a passage from Romans 15:24. The Reverend continues with the expansion of hopes and the contrast of shattered dreams. Delivering this message from a theological vantage point, Dr. King closes with "Christian faith makes it possible for us nobly to accept that which cannot be changed, to meet disappointments and sorrow with an inner poise..."

Guidelines for a Constructive Church

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In this sermon delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Dr. King spells out guidelines for the church: healing the broken-hearted, preaching deliverance to the captive (freeing people from everything that enslaves), and preaching the acceptable year of the Lord. The acceptable year of the Lord, he says, is every year the time is right to do right, stop lying and cheating, do justice, learn to live as brothers and beat swords into plowshares.

Sunday, June 5, 1966

On Being A Good Neighbor

In Dr. King's sermon "On Being A Good Neighbor," he explains variety of stories that aid him in defining a good samaritan as an altruistic human being. He uses the path to Jerusalem and Jericho as a walking path where people must help others to accomplish one goal equality.

God (Dewey)

According to Dr. King's understanding of Dewey's interpretation, God is the connection between the ideal and the actual.

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