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"Sermons"

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.

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."

The Meaning of Hope

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Washington, D.C., Alabama (AL), GREECE, TURKEY, Mississippi (MS), Cleveland, OH, Chicago, IL, CYPRUS, VIETNAM, NIGERIA

Dr. King delivered this sermon while pastoring Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. In spite of the existence of racial injustice in America, Dr. King maintains hope for equality, and reminds the church of their responsibility to "keep the flame of hope burning."

Our God is Able

Sunday, January 4, 1953
Boston, MA

Reverend Frederick M. Meek retells a story in the New Testament about a civilization and their journey to discover that God is able.

MLK Sermon: Non-Conformist

Sunday, January 16, 1966
Atlanta, GA, VIETNAM, CHINA, FRANCE, Geneva, Switzerland, Birmingham, AL

Dr. King delivers this sermon at Ebenezer Baptist church in Atlanta, Georgia. He references the statement Representative Julian Bond made regarding the Vietnam War and discusses the responsibility of Christians to be morally noble instead of socially respectable. He references multiple biblical figures and explains the importance of not conforming to society.

God

Dr. King cites and comments on a passage from I Chronicles about the gods that are idols.

Why the Christian Must Oppose Segregation

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

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.

Opportunity, Fidelity, and Reward

Friday, January 1, 1954
Alabama (AL)

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."

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.

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.

The Birth of a New Nation

GHANA, Alabama (AL)

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

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.

Shattered Dreams

SPAIN, INDIA, PAKISTAN, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Atlanta, GA, Florida (FL), Washington, D.C., New York, NY, New York (NY), London, England, ITALY

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..."

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.

Transition Period

Dr. King quotes an unknown source that links the transition period to Alfred North Whitehead’s rejection of his earlier view about science and philosophy.

God is Light

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

Transformed Nonconformist

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

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."

MLK Sermon Outline

Dr. King prepares an Easter sermon entitled "Why Death Could Not Hold Him." He references scripture passage Acts 2: 24. The date and place of delivery for this sermon is unknown.

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.

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.

Outline for Why Does History Move?

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

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. .

God

Dr. King notes that Samuel Alexander does not see God as creator but creature.

Paul's Letter to American Christians

FRANCE, New York (NY)

This is a sermon chapter and possible draft for Dr. King's book "Strength to Love." Dr. King writes from the perspective of Paul the Apostle. Through the words of King, Paul speaks to modern day American Christians and challenges them to uphold true Christian values. Paul notes the presence of economic, scientific, and technological development, yet questions the contradiction of social injustices in a society that seems so advanced.

Right & Wrong

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

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.

Sermon at The Washington Cathedral

Sunday, March 31, 1968
New York (NY), INDIA, SOUTH AFRICA, Washington, D.C.

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.

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.