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"Sermons"

New Wine in New Bottles

Dr. King outlines a sermon he preached at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery on October 17, 1954. His text is Matthew 9:17. He compares new ideas to new wine, stating that an idea cannot progress if people are not ready to accept it; this is what it means for an idea to be before its time. New ideas require new structures to contain them. The same is true in our personal lives when we resolve to rid ourselves of bad habits.

Transformed Nonconformists Sermon Outline

In this brief outline for a sermon based on Romans 12:2, Dr. King asserts that Christians are citizens of two worlds, those of time and eternity. They are in the world, but not of it. In a generation of the mass mind, they are called to live differently – to make history not be made by history. But nonconformity in itself is not good; there must be a mental transformation. The world is on the brink of moral and physical destruction and the need of the hour is for nonconformists to materialism, nationalism and militarism.

Discerning the Signs of History

Dr. King's sermon "Discerning the Signs of History" asserts "evil carries the seeds of its own destruction." King gives examples throughout history, such as slavery, colonialism, and the rise and fall of King Louis XVI.

Tribute to Dr. King by Rev. Joseph L. Roberts

Friday, April 5, 1968

In this document, Rev. Joseph L. Roberts, Presiding Elder for the West Detroit District of the AME church, delivered this profound tribute to Dr. King, the day after his assassination.

"A Knock At Midnight"

Sunday, August 9, 1964

This is a draft of the sermon Dr. King wrote comparing a story from the Bible in St. Luke to the struggle to obtain equality and civil rights.

The Mastery of Fear

This outline explains the direction of Dr. King's sermon entitled "The Mastery of Fear." In it, Dr. King explores the challenges and necessity of confronting fear.

We Would See Jesus

Dr. King summarizes a biblical passage from the Book of John, in which he describes "inquiring Greeks" from a rich heritage who came to Philip and made the simple request, "sir, we would see Jesus." These words are also the title of one of Dr. King's sermons delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

The Birth of a New Nation

Dr. King compares the ongoing civil rights struggle in the United States to the Hebrews' Exodus from Egypt.

Loving Your Enemies

Sunday, November 17, 1957

Dr. King interprets Jesus' command to "love your enemies" and outlines how to accomplish this goal. He closes this sermon by relating the philosophy of love to the use of nonviolence as a means to overcome oppression.

Eulogy for Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Victims

This is Dr. King?s eulogy for three of the four young girls killed in the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. God gives man the right to exercise good and evil, King says, but God wills that everything will happen for the good ? that out of tragedy comes redemption. Martyred in the struggle for freedom, the girls have become symbols of the crusade and of the faith that sustains it. King speaks of forgiving those who murdered the girls and the need to transform the system, the way of life, and the philosophy that led to the bombing.

Fleeing From God

This sermon, delivered by Dr. King on April 4, 1956, discusses the human desire to escape God. Dr. King attributes this inclination to the fact that man wants to hide from God's immanent nature and harbors a general unwillingness to follow God's commandments.

Schleiermacher (The Religious Man)

Dr. King quotes Schleiermacher's views on man's identification with Religion.

Outline for The Secret of Adjustment

In this sermon, Dr. King notes applicable methods used to deal with the tensions in life. It is said that "the secret to adjustment is to find contentment." King further references the experience of the Apostle Paul and what he learned in confronting this problem.

The Second Sunday After Easter

Sunday, April 28, 1968

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.

God

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

God is Light

Dr. King prepares a sermon entitled, "God is Light." He refers to I John 1:5 during his preparation.

Mastering Ourselves

"Mastering Ourselves" is Dr. King's exploration of the inner struggle for good and evil that occurs within every human's experience. Dr. King asserts that this "dualism" can sometimes cause good people to do bad things and bad people to do good things. According to Dr. King, this can only be overcome through identifying and replacing one's own weaknesses. He also suggests finding a profitable way to use leisure time coupled with a devotional life and continuous prayer.

Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam

Sunday, April 30, 1967

"Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam" is a sermon Dr. King delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on April 30, 1967 in Atlanta. In this draft of the sermon, Dr. King references a previous speech, "Beyond Vietnam," that he delivered to the group "Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam" at Riverside Baptist Church in New York City.

Outline of The Distinctions In God's Creation

This outline of Dr. King's sermon entitled, "The Distinctions of God's Creation," references Thomas Aquinas. The document suggests focusing on the central message that God created all beings and features of nature, each with its own unique form and purpose.

Outline for Why Does History Move?

Dr. King's sermon outline references Hegel and Marx in relation to questions surrounding the concept of history.

Success and Failure Sermon Outline

"Success and Failure" is the title of a sermon given by Dr. King. The handwritten outline, shown here, referenced Philippians 3:13 as the passage of scripture. The date and location, of which this sermon was delivered is unknown.

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.

The Drum Major Instinct Sermon Outline

Monday, February 5, 1968

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. .

Optimism

Dr. King quotes F. S. Marvin's "The Living Past."

God (Dewey)

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

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.

Unity

These notes, prepared by Dr. King, were for a sermon entitled "Unity." This sermon, believed to be composed during the time of 1948-1954, was never delivered.

What is Man?

Sunday, January 12, 1958

Citing views from historical and contemporary figures, Dr. King asserts that the definition of "man" lies somewhere between God and an animal. Dr. King contends that, although man is limited by time and space, humans are not animals, because they have the capacity for rational thought. However, the central theme that Dr. King argues is that humanity is inherently evil and must constantly strive for high moral standards.

Why the Christian Must Oppose Segregation

This draft examines segregation and the reason Dr. King deems it his responsibility to discuss the matter.

Sermon Outline

This document outlines sermon notes and ideas. Dr. King references passages from the book of Luke. He also wonders what Christ did to give people hope when their desires had not been reached. King also discusses that Jesus conquers time, where as, human beings are victims of time.