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"Sermons"

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.

If I Can Help Somebody

These are the words to a song written in 1945 by Alma Bazel Androzzo that was made famous by gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. Dr. King quotes this song in his Drum Major Instinct sermon delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on February 4, 1968.

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.

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.

Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam

Sunday, April 30, 1967
New York, NY, CHINA, Geneva, Switzerland, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, GUATEMALA, PERU, MEXICO

"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.

How to Believe in a Good God in the Midst of Glaring Evil

Dr. King outlines a sermon entitled "How to Believe in a Good God in the Midst of Glaring Evil." In this sermon, King asserts that in many instances the facts of life contradicts a believer's faith, and poses reasons why one should hold firm to their faith.

Moving to Another Mountain

Connecticut (CT), EGYPT, Massachusetts (MA), Alabama (AL), UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, JORDAN

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.

Transformed Nonconformist

In this draft of the "Transformed Nonconformist", Dr. King urges the abandonment of societal practices of injustice.

Death

Dr. King quotes Nels Frederick Solomon Ferré on the subject of death from his book Evil and the Christian Faith.

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.

MLK Sermon: The Dimensions of A Complete Life

Sunday, April 19, 1959
Montgomery, AL, GREECE, JORDAN, INDIA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

In this sermon given at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Dr. King details the three dimensions of a complete life: length, breadth, and height.

Making the Best of a Bad Mess

In this sermon, Dr. King discusses the letter Paul sent to Titus while he was in Crete. According to the letter, Crete was a terrible place for Christians, and Titus may have been confused as to why he was left there. Paul wrote to him saying that he left him there to make the situation better for the other people there. That is how one makes the best out of a bad mess.

MLK's Sermon Outline

Dr. King categorizes different types of Christians.

Conditions for Entering the Kingdom

Dr. King opens these sermon notes by discussing a child's behavior and actions. According to King, "a child has the inexhaustible capacity to forgive" and is inquisitive, honest, and open-minded. These are characteristics that adults should possess, which would help them gain entry into the Kingdom.

Optimism

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

A Tough Mind and a Tender Heart

New York, NY, EGYPT, ISRAEL

"A Tough Mind and a Tender Heart" by Dr. King discusses the importance of creating a synthesis of opposites and characteristics of one engaged in shrewd thinking with a loving spirit.

Love in Action

GREECE, ISRAEL

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.

Note Cards on God

Dr. King's writes on the possibility of finding God from the First Book of Chronicles.

Dr. King Sermon Outline

"A Constructive Use of the Sense of Shame" is the title of this sermon outline, prepared by Dr. King. The parable of the 'Prodigal Son' is the chosen text for the sermon.

Right & Wrong

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

Tribute to Jimmy Lee Jackson

Friday, February 26, 1965
Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL

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.

MLK Draft: Man's Extensions

Boston, MA, California (CA), New York, NY, CHINA

Dr. King describes how man has invented tools to extend his knowledge: the telescope for his eyes, the microphone and radio for his ears, and the airplane and automobile for his legs.

MLK Sermon: Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam

Sunday, April 30, 1967
Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA, VIETNAM, New York (NY), New York, NY, CHINA, FORMER SOVIET UNION / USSR, Illinois (IL), Chicago, IL, Alabama (AL), Albany, GA, Birmingham, AL, Montgomery, AL, Selma, AL, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, FRANCE, JAPAN, SWITZERLAND, Geneva, Switzerland

Dr. King gives a sermon on why he does not support the war in Vietnam.

God's Relation to the World

Dr. King outlines the sermon "God's Relation to the World." Dr. King breaks down the sermon into three themes: God's creation of the world, His conservation of the world, and His transformation of the world.

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.

MLK Draft Notes: Worship

Dr. King preached this sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist church on August 7, 1955. In this handwritten outline, Dr. King focuses on the practice of worship, claiming that it is an intrinsic part of human culture. After outlining a negative definition of worship, he approaches it from a "positive angle," describing a multitude of experiences he deems worshipful. Ultimately, he asserts that worship is useful on both a private and public level as it "helps us to transcend the hurly-burly of everyday life."

God

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

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.

Shattered Dreams and Unfulfilled Hopes

SPAIN

Dr. King based this sermon on unfulfilled hopes and dreams. He focused on the story of the Apostle Paul and his wish to journey to Spain. Paul did eventually go to Spain but "as a prisoner and not as a free man." Dr. King told his congregation that they all faced unfulfilled dreams at some point in their lives.

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.