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"Sermons"

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.

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.

Remember Who You Are!

Thursday, December 6, 1956

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.

Symbolic Mountains

On the stationary of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York, Dr. King outlines a sermon entitled "Symbolic Mountains." These include the mountains of ethical relations, practical materialism, indifference concerning poverty, and racial segregation.

Loving Your Enemies

Sunday, November 17, 1957

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.

"Discerning the Signs of History"

Sunday, November 15, 1964

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."

The Dimensions of a Complete Life

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."

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.

What is Man?

Sunday, January 12, 1958

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.

The Answer to a Perplexing Question

"Why Could Not We Cast Him Out?" is a chapter in Dr. King's book "Strength to Love." In this chapter, Dr. King discusses the methods in which man attempts to deal with evil in the world. Two methodologies are distinguished. The first concerns man's independent attempt to remove evil and the second stems from man's ideology of making God solely responsible for eliminating evil. Dr. King concludes that neither method is successful and that man has to find a medium between the two.

Loving Your Enemies

Sunday, November 10, 1957

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.

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.

Optimism

Dr. King quotes F. S. Marvin's "The Living Past."

The Birth of a New Nation

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

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.

Dr. King Sermon Outline

"A Constructive Use of the Sense of Shame" is the title of this sermon outline, prepared by Dr. King. The parable of the 'Prodigal Son' is the chosen text for the sermon.

Follow Me

Dr. King outlines a sermon. "Follow Me" and "The Call of Christ" are considered as possible titles.

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.

Radio Sermon Titles and Dates

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

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. .

MLK Sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church

Sunday, January 16, 1966

As pastor of Ebenezer, Dr. King delivered this particular sermon to his congregation in January of 196. He begins by referencing representative-elect Julian Bond's statement against war and against America's involvement in Vietnam, and he commends Mr. Bond for being courageous enough to speak his mind. He uses quotes from historical figures and biblical passages to support his claim that humans should be men of conviction and not of conformity. Dr.

MLK's Acceptance Sermon, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church

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."

Handwritten Notecard about Peace

On this notecard, Dr. King outlines J Maritain's views on Peace, from the book Christianity and Democracy.

MLK Sermon: Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam

Sunday, April 30, 1967

Dr. King gives a sermon on why he does not support the war in Vietnam.

God

Dr. King records a portion of Carl Jung's argument that God is a function of the unconscious.

Sacrifice

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

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.

Old Bull, The Great Violinist

Dr. King relates the mishap of a great violinist, during a concert, to the general act of overcoming obstacles in life.

MLK's Sermon Notes

Dr. King composed these notes in preparation for a sermon. The themes include faith, man's dealing with crisis, and "God's Search for Man."

Why the Christian Must Oppose Segregation

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