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"Sermons"

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."

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.

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.

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.

Manichaeism

Dr. King describes Manichaeism, a religion and philosophical doctrine that originated in Persia.

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."

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.

Soul

Dr. King quotes Ephesus of Heraclitus' thoughts on soul.

Is It Wrong to Segregate?

Sunday, June 5, 1960
Atlanta, GA, Illinois (IL), ETHIOPIA, Texas (TX), CUBA

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.

Remember Who You Are!

Thursday, December 6, 1956
Washington, D.C., Alabama (AL), Montgomery, AL, New York (NY), New York, NY, Atlanta, GA

Dr. King addresses the student body and officials of Howard University with a poignant sermon entitled, "Remember Who You Are." The content of the sermon makes various references between Jesus, Shakespeare and Greek philosophers who sought to identify the mechanisms that made man important to society.

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.

Transformed Noncomformist

Friday, November 1, 1957

Dr. King delivered this sermon in November 1957 while serving as the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. In the sermon, Dr. King discusses the Christian dilemma of being "a citizen of two worlds: the world of time and the world of eternity." He situates the experience of black people in America within this dichotomy, and asserts that Christians must not conform to the world of mass opinion when it lacks Christian virtue, but must assume nonconformity.

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 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.

"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.

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.

Monotheism

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

I Sat Where They Sat Sermon Outline

This sermon draft of Dr. King's was never delivered, but focuses on the Christian themes of empathy and understanding. Dr. King claims that "if the white man was closer to the Negro he would... ...understand them" better.

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.

What Is Man?

This is one of several documents where Dr. King explores the nature of "man." He considers the question "what is man?" to be a timeless concept that "confronts any generation." Dr. King's analysis incorporates Biblical and Shakespearean texts, among other notable references.

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.

Sacrifice

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

Faith As A Way of Knowing (Wieman)

Dr. King cites Henry Nelson Wieman's "The Source of Human Good" on faith as a way of knowing.

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.

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. .

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.

Nature of Religion

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

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.

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.

Note Cards on God

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