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"Sermons"

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

Sunday, September 18, 1966

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.

Interruptions: Man from Porlock

Sunday, January 21, 1968

Dr. King delivered this sermon, "Interruptions," on January 21, 1968 at Ebenezer Baptist Church. He describes how no one lives a life free of interruptions, and that the major problem of life is learning how to handle them.

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..."

The False God of Money

Sunday, July 19, 1953

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?"

Paul's Letter to American Christians

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.

Religion (Definition)

Dr. King quotes John M. E. McTaggart's "Some Dogmas of Religion."

A Christian Movement in a Revolutionary Age

Tuesday, September 28, 1965

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.

Right & Wrong

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

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.

The Birth of a New Nation

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

MLK Sermon Notes

Dr. King writes notes regarding the story of Jesus and the healing of the paralytic. Jesus asked the crippled man, "will thou be made whole?" Dr. King states that some people are happy to be crippled because they lack the responsibilities of life that a healthy man has, and many people cater to their needs, but cautions against this attitude.

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.

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.

Three Dimensions of a Complete Life

Dr. King delivers a sermon that urges his listeners to search for their purpose in life. He requests that his younger listeners attend school and strive for higher education. He stresses to not let the color of their skin keep them from achieving their dreams.

Monotheism

Dr. King cites passages in the sixth century BCE Second Isaiah (chapters 40-55) as the first clear evidence of monotheism.

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.

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.

Is It Wrong to Segregate?

Sunday, June 5, 1960

This Sermon titled "Is It Wrong to Segregate?" was delivered by the Reverend A. L. Kendrick on June 5, 1960. He expounds on several topics including equal rights, communism and the political element of the government.

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.

Predestination

Dr. King defines predestination.

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.

Radio Sermon Titles and Dates

In this document Dr. King lists a series of radio sermon titles and their respective dates of delivery.

The Ultimate Doom of Evil

These sermon notes outline the inevitable fall of evil. Dr. King uses the work of influential American historian, Charles A. Beard to prove this claim. "A graphic example of this truth" is found in ancient proverbs that Dr. King aims to examine in detail.

"The Drum Major Instinct" Ebenezer Baptist Church

Sunday, February 4, 1968

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.

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.

Paul's Letter to American Christians

Sunday, November 4, 1956

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."

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.

God (Dewey)

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

Outline of Sincerity Is Not Enough

This partial sermon outline in Dr. King's handwriting focuses on the subject "Sincerity Is Not Enough", based on the text Romans 10:2.

We Would See Jesus

Sunday, May 7, 1967

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.