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Sermon Outline Notes - MLK

This document is an outline handwritten by Dr. King, who frequently wrote such outlines as a precursor to a sermon. The topic centers on man's talent and his reasons for using--or more importantly, not using--that talent.

Dr. King Sermon Outline - "Moral Absolutism"

Dr. King drafted this handwritten outline entitled "Moral Absolutism." The focus is on judgement and its relation to both good and evil.

Paul's Letter to American Christians

FRANCE, New York, NY, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Dr. King writes an imaginary letter to modern day Christians from the perspective of the apostle Paul. In the letter, Paul praises his listeners for their technological advancements, yet reprimands them for their spiritual degradation. He encourages them to uphold Christian values despite outside factors.

The Danger of Misguided Goodness

Under the title, "The Danger of Misguided Goodness," the central message in these sermon notes is the need for all individuals to be morally conscientious.

MLK Sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church

Sunday, January 16, 1966
Atlanta, GA, VIETNAM, Georgia (GA)

As pastor of Ebenezer, Dr. King delivered this particular sermon to his congregation in January of 196. He begins by referencing representative-elect Julian Bond's statement against war and against America's involvement in Vietnam, and he commends Mr. Bond for being courageous enough to speak his mind. He uses quotes from historical figures and biblical passages to support his claim that humans should be men of conviction and not of conformity. Dr.

A Christmas Sermon

Sunday, December 24, 1967
Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, INDIA, GERMANY, VIETNAM, Washington, D.C., Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL, Mississippi (MS)

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.

God is Light

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

Remember Who You Are!

Thursday, December 6, 1956
Washington, D.C., Alabama (AL), Montgomery, AL, New York (NY), New York, NY, Atlanta, GA

Dr. King addresses the student body and officials of Howard University with a poignant sermon entitled, "Remember Who You Are." The content of the sermon makes various references between Jesus, Shakespeare and Greek philosophers who sought to identify the mechanisms that made man important to society.

The False God of Science

Sunday, July 5, 1953

In this manuscript the author addresses their belief on the validity of modern man making a god of science.

Immaculate Conception

Dr. King reflects on the birth of Christ and the fact that Mary was "kept free from original sin."

Transformed Nonconformist

Sunday, January 16, 1966
Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA), Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL, FRANCE, CHINA, North Carolina (NC), GERMANY, VIETNAM

Dr. King discusses the importance of not conforming in a sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Dr. King thoroughly discusses the hardships and the benefits that come with being a transformed non-conformist.

God

Dr. King contextualizes the speed of God.

What is Man?

Sunday, January 12, 1958
Montgomery, AL

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.

Secrets of Married Happiness

Los Angeles, CA

Dr. King writes notes regarding the way to a successful marriage. King asserts that in order to have a happy marriage, husband and wife must communicate and get to know one another's similarities and differences. It is also important to engage in mutual compromise.

The Tension Between Life's Palm Sunday and Life's Good Friday

Dr. King delivered this sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in April of 1960. In this sermon he discussed two days of prime importance in the life of Jesus namely Palm Sunday, "the moment of fulfillment" and Good Friday, the day of his crucifixion.

A Christian Movement in a Revolutionary Age

Tuesday, September 28, 1965
New York (NY), Alabama (AL), Selma, AL, Mississippi (MS), Massachusetts (MA), Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA), Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles, California, Illinois (IL), Chicago, IL, VIETNAM, CONGO / ZAIRE

In this address, Dr. King fuses the philosophies in the Old and New Testament regarding revolutionary social change. He argues that the most creative and constructive revolutionary force for change is one that combines the Old Testament’s “righteousness and justice that flow down like a mighty stream” with the New Testament’s call to love one’s enemies and bless those who persecute you. He asserts that God has been working actively since the time of Moses for the freedom and perfection of people and society. Dr.

Three Dimensions of a Complete Life

Montgomery, AL

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.

Manichaeism

Dr. King describes Manichaeism, a religion and philosophical doctrine that originated in Persia.

Dr. King Sermon Rough Draft - "Man Incurably Religious"

The document, shown here, is a rough draft of sermon notes, prepared by Dr. King, under the title "Man Incurably Religious." The exact timeframe, of this sermon draft, is unknown. Dr. King, in this draft, puts the spotlight on examples such as a baby's attachment to a mother, a flower's direction toward the sun and the flight pattern of a pigeon. He used a quotation of St. Augustine that said, "We come forth from God and we shall be homesick until we return to him."

Guidelines for a Constructive Church

Sunday, June 5, 1966
Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA, Alabama (AL)

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.

On Being a Good Neighbor

Dr. King tells the Biblical story of the "Good Samaritan on the Road to Jericho," in which a traveler has been robbed, beaten and left for dead. Dr. King connects this story to the Declaration of Independence and offers an analysis of the modern era. Following the example of the "Good Samaritan," he encourages looking beyond "race, religion and nationality" to help those wounded by injustices.

Right & Wrong

Dr. King quotes James Martineau’s “Types of Ethical Theory, Volume II.”

Sin

Dr. King quotes Isaiah 9:17, a passage from the Bible concerning sin.

A Religion of Doing

Alabama (AL)

Dr. King delivered this sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church on July 4, 1954. In the sermon, Dr. King asserts the importance of active religion over passive theoretical practice. Citing the Book of Matthew, he maintains that belief and action must be united, as action is the crux of true religion. He proclaims that the church has to be a passage of the "dynamic force" that encourages action of its members.

New Wine in Old Bottles

Sunday, January 2, 1966
Atlanta, GA

In a New Year's sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Dr. King addresses Matthew 9:17. His explains that new ideas or inspiration cannot thrive in closed minds or old structures, such as the idea of equality in a segregated society. While Victor Hugo's "idea whose time has come" may be here, Dr. King says, we need to "help time" and overcome the initial resistance to new ideas with persistence and a transformation of the old structures.

A Tough Mind and A Tender Heart

Sunday, August 30, 1959
Montgomery, AL, Alabama (AL)

An early foreshadowing of his nonviolent philosophy, Dr. King advises Negroes of a particular course of action they should adhere to in order to properly equip themselves to combat racial injustice. Seeking to avoid both complacency and hostility, he challenges those who desire self-satisfaction, as well as those who seek to pacify their oppressors, by proposing the idea of one having both a tough mind and a tender heart.

Making the Best of A Bad Mess

Sunday, April 24, 1966
Atlanta, GA

This text of Dr. King's "Making the Best of a Bad Mess" sermon encourages the congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church to remain faithful in times of destitution. He makes clear the point that happiness is not found, but is instead created.

We Would See Jesus

Sunday, May 7, 1967
Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA, GREECE

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.

God

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

Original Sin

Dr. King writes a definition of original sin.