Skip to content Skip to navigation

"Christ Our Starting Point," Sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church

King, Martin Luther, Jr. (Dexter Avenue Baptist Church)
Martin Luther King, Jr. - Career in Ministry


In this handwritten outline for a sermon he delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, King emphasizes the importance of beginning life with Christ: “When you start with Christ you go the second mile; you give a cup of cold water; you stop on the [Jericho] road and help your brother; and you even love your enemies.”1

Rev. 1:22

  1. Intro
    1. The necessity of the right starting point in life. The starting point determnis the ending point.
    1. Our starting point should be an absolute. We must not begin with relativism.
  2. Christianity has always insisted that Christ is the proper starting point. Some would argue with this by saying God is the starting point. But if we start with God we start with our ideas about him.
    1. But Christ telles us what God is like. God is Christlike.3
    2. Christ is the moral and spiritual ultimate
  3. When we start with Christ several things happen
    1. We place a new value on ourselves and our possibilities. We are never hopeless about our plight. Christ reminds us that we can be better than we are. We place new value on the dignity ad worth4
    2. When you start with Christ you go the second mile; you give a cup of cold water; you stop on the Jerico road and help your brother; and you even love your enemies…”5
    3. We come to see that there is a reliable dependable God in the universe whose purpose changeth not.6
      1. We are not thrown out as ophrans on the planet. We are not alone in our struggle. We can depend on him.
      2. So we can live without fear. If we are always worring about death, or the future, or what will happen [tomorrow?] we have the wong starting point.
    4. Conclusion: So we have a hope. Old secourities may fall, but we have a hope. Fried may desert us, but we have a hope. Even western civilization may crumble and decay, but we have a hope

      I can hear you asking now what is it. Is it your econic security, no

My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus' blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus' name.

When darkness seems to hide his face I rest on his unchanging grace; In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds with-in the veil.—On Christ7

1. The 21 December 1958 Dexter program indicates King preached “Christ, Our Starting Point.” He also wrote “Preached at Dexter Dec. 21, 1958” on the file folder containing this sermon.

2. “Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.” King wrote this biblical citation in a second pen.

3. King may be referring to John 10:36-38: “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.”

4. King wrote this sentence in a second pen.

5. Cf. Matthew 5:41, 10:42; Luke 10:25-37; and Matthew 5:44.

6. Cf. Malachi 3:6.

7. King quotes Edward Mote's hymn “My Hope Is Built” (1834). He added this entire reference to the hymn in a second pen.


CSKC-INP, Coretta Scott King Collection, In Private Hands, Sermon file, folder 94, "Christ, Our Starting Point."