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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 Sermon About Courage and Cowardice

The document is a single draft page from Dr. King's larger work "Strength to Love," with annotations handwritten by Dr. King. On this page, he discusses courage and self-affirmation.

Sermon Introductions by MLK

Dr. King frames a series of introductions to sermons that includes such selections as Civilization's Great Need, Life Is What You Make It, and Why Religion?

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.

B. Clifton Reardon Recap of William Temple

London, England, New York (NY)

This is an essay written by B. Clifton Reardon on William Temple, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Temple was one of the founding members of the Council of Christians and Jews.

"Discerning the Signs of History"

Sunday, November 15, 1964
Atlanta, GA

Dr. King believes that there are lessons in understanding the process of history, that evil carries the seed of destruction and that militarism is ultimately suicidal. Dr. King states that "history teaches the lesson that all reality hinges on moral foundations."

Paul's Letter to American Christians

Sunday, November 4, 1956
Montgomery, AL, FRANCE, New York, NY, ISRAEL

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."

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.

God is a Spirit

Dr. King outlines a sermon entitled "God Is A Spirit" and lists three different meanings for that assertion.

Antidotes For Fear

MEXICO, Montgomery, AL

Dr. King uses this sermon to discuss the causation of human fears while identifying four ways in which these shortcomings can be combated. He does not promote the eradication of all human fears, for some are essential to creation and innovation. However, Dr. King encourages the elimination of unfounded fears as a method to overcome adversities that are experienced in life.

MLK Note Card - Schleiermacher, Theology and God-consciousness

The person to whom Dr. King is referring is the German philosopher Friedrich Schleiermacher.

The Dimensions of a Complete Life

Montgomery, AL

Dr. King begins this sermon with the story of John's first sight of the holy city of Jerusalem. He uses the story to emphasize "an eternal truth which we must forever recognize, and that is that life at its best and life as it should be is the life that is complete on all sides." This famous sermon had been drafted several times and also takes up the name "Three Dimensions of A Complete Life."

God

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

Standing By The Best in an Evil Time" E

Sunday, August 6, 1967
Atlanta, GA

In this sermon, Dr. King addresses the evil in the world and suggest to his congregation that they counter this by being strong and steadfast in the Lord. Dr. King also touches on the current issues in society and how to continue the use of nonviolence as means to for peace and social justice.

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.

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."

A Knock At Midnight

Sunday, August 9, 1964
Atlanta, GA, New York (NY), New York, NY, New Jersey (NJ), Mississippi (MS), Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL

In a tape-recorded address to the Riverside Church in New York City, Dr. King compares the civil rights struggle to a parable from St. Luke. His sermon specifically tackles contemporary social issues such as segregation, discrimination, and the philosophy of nonviolence. In addition, Dr. King explores the role of the church in dealing with such problems.

Nature of Religion

Dr. King indicates Schleiermacher's view on the nature of religion.

Three Dimensions of a Complete Life

GREECE, Virginia (VA), Georgia (GA), INDIA

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.

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.

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.

MLK's Acceptance Sermon, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church

Montgomery, AL

Dr. King accepts his appointment as the new pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. His first time serving as head of a ministry, Dr. King admits that he has no pretense to being an extraordinary preacher and comes only with the claim of "being a servant of Christ."

We Would See Jesus

Atlanta, GA

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.

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.

The Significant Contributions of Jeremiah to Religious Thought

Pennsylvania (PA)

These handwritten notes appear to be a draft of the essay "The Significant Contributions of Jeremiah to Religious Thought." Dr. King wrote this for James Bennett Pritchard's class on the Old Testament at Crozer Theological Seminary. Circa September 14, 1948 - November 24, 1948. The actual essay is in the King Archive at Boston University's Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center.

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.

Loving Your Enemies

Sunday, November 10, 1957
Washington, D.C., Montgomery, AL

In this sermon, Dr. King states that "love is the key to the solution of the problems which we confront in the world today." Dr. King notes that this is not a simple task, but it is necessary.

MLK Sermon Notes

Dr. King examines the contradictions in human nature in this handwritten draft of a sermon.

Three Dimensions of a Complete Life

Sunday, April 9, 1967
Chicago, IL, Alabama (AL), Montgomery, AL, Georgia (GA)

Dr. King discusses the primary three dimensions of life, which include: length, breadth, and height.

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.