SERMON TITLE: “The Promise of God”
SERMON TEXT: Romans 4:13-25
(Children’s sermon on Gen. 18-21 promise of son to Abraham & Sarah)
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: February 25, 2018, at First UMC
Have you been watching the Olympics? As the athletes skated around the ice or skied down the slopes, the announcers shared the competitors’ stories of past victories and challenges and the current potential they brought to those international games. Some were accurately predicted winners, and others won by surprising upsets. Some of the athletes were veterans of the rigor and stress of such high-level competition and had already earned many medals, while others were young and full of hopes of bronze, silver, and gold to come—if not in PyeongChang in 2018, then in another place in a future year. For those who had devoted their lives to their sport, there was and still is so much promise.
Promise is important to Olympians, in more ways than one. Did you know that the Olympics began in the opening ceremony with a promise? In English, the promise went like this:
In the name of the athletes,
in the name of all judges,
in the name of all the coaches and officials,
we promise to take part in these Olympic Games,
respecting and abiding by the rules and in the spirit of fair play.
We all commit ourselves to sport without doping and cheating.
We do this, for the glory of sport, for the honor of our teams
and in respect for the Fundamental Principles of Olympism.1
Olympic athletes, coaches, and judges aren’t the only ones who make promises, of course. We all make small promises on a regular basis and big promises on special occasions. And today’s scripture reading reminds us that—ever since the time of Abraham in the Old Testament, and even before that—God was making promises. This morning, I invite you to dig into Paul’s letter to the Romans chapter 4. It isn’t a super easy text to get your mind around. Few of Paul’s writings are. But, like the Olympians have to work hard for their victories, let’s apply ourselves here and see what we can learn about the promise of God.