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"Sermons"

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.

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.

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.

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 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."

Answer to a Perplexing Question

Sunday, March 3, 1963
Atlanta, GA, South Africa, ISRAEL

Dr. King preaches about faith, based on Matthew 17:14-20, and applies it to the Civil Rights Movement. He defines faith as cooperating with God by surrendering to God's will so that His strength may act freely through us. He asserts that faith, intellect, and work must blend together.

Radio Sermon Titles and Dates

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Sunday, September 18, 1966
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Massachusetts (MA), Boston, MA, California (CA), Los Angeles, CA, Alabama (AL), Selma, AL, Mississippi (MS), Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

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.

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.

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.

Sin

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

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.

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.

MLK's Sermon Outline

Dr. King categorizes different types of Christians.

Levels of Love

Sunday, May 21, 1967
Atlanta, GA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RUSSIAN FEDERATION, CHINA, FRANCE

Dr. King describes five levels of love, from lowest to highest: utilitarian love, friendship, romantic love, humanitarian love, and agape. The last he refers to as Christian love, the love of God operating in the human heart. The first four, he states, are love for one’s own sake. The fifth is love for another person for their sake. This sermon was delivered by Dr. King on May 21, 1967 at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

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.

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.

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."

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."

Predestination

Dr. King defines predestination.

Sacrifice

Dr. King explains that Isaiah 1:11 means God can’t be appeased by sacrifice but demands righteous living.

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.

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.

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.

Loving Your Enemies

Sunday, November 17, 1957
Chattanooga, TN, Tennessee (TN), Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA), Montgomery, AL, Alabama (AL), RUSSIAN FEDERATION, GREECE, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Washington, D.C.

Dr. King interprets Jesus' command to "love your enemies" and outlines how to accomplish this goal. He closes this sermon by relating the philosophy of love to the use of nonviolence as a means to overcome oppression.

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. .

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.