Illustrations

ILLUSTRATIONS

Subject: Gratitude

Scripture: Col 3:17

A Little Boy wanted $100.00 badly and prayed to God for a whole week, but nothing happened. So, he decided to write God a letter requesting the $100.00. When the Post Office got the letter addressed to God they forwarded it on to the Whitehouse. The President was very impressed, touched and amused so he instructed his aid to send the boy $5.00. He thought $5.00 would be a lot to the little boy. The boy was, indeed, delighted by the money. He sat down and wrote a thank you note immediately. Gratitude is a word used to express thankfulness and praise. A general attitude of thanksgiving in both the trials and blessings of life distinguishes the Christian. The apostle Paul exhorts us in Scripture to to give thanks for all things, in all circumstances.

Subject: Repentance and Commitment to Christ

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10:1-6

A custom of the natives in New Guinea is told. At certain times they have rituals, songs, and dances. They work themselves up into frenzy and the ritual culminates in what are called “the murder songs,” in which they shout before God the names of the people they wish to kill. When the natives became Christian, they retained these customs and that ritual’ however, in the murder songs, they no longer shouted the names of the people they hated, but the names of the sins they hated, and called on God to destroy them. A pagan custom had been captured for Christ.

Subject: God Rescued Humanity

Scripture: 2 Samuel 22:17–20

Some years ago on a hot summer day in South Florida a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore. His mother in the house was looking out the window saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could.

Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his mother. It was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. Then began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from his truck, took careful aim and shot the alligator. Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his mother’s fingernails dug into his flesh in her effort to hang on to the son she loved

Subject: Forgiving Others

Scripture: Matthew 6:14,

I can’t go to heaven if I haven’t got it right down here. I think we need to take the words of Jesus serious and start speaking to this thing so that we can stay saved. The Message Bible in v.10 say’s, “When you’ve done everything expected of you, be matter-of-fact and say, ’The work is done. What we were told to do, we did.’” I don’t know about you but I want to be able to say Lord I did what you told me to do I forgave and it feels good.

Subject: Faith

Scripture: Matthew 17:20

Sometimes small churches look at themselves and say, “Oh, we can’t do this and we can’t do that because we are too small. We don’t have the resources.” And their vision gets limited by their circumstances and instead of taking giant steps of faith, they take baby steps. I’m reminded of the story of a man who had done something wonderful and the king called him in and told him he could mark off as much of the kingdom as he wanted and it would be his. The man took his staff and traced a line in the dirt around himself. The king watched as he finished and said, “Is that all you want? Just what’s in that circle?” The man said, “NO. I want everything OUTSIDE the circle.” What if we drew a line around this building?

Subject: The Devil

Scripture: Luke 22:40

Two little boys were walking home from Sunday School where the lesson had been on the Devil and one asked the other “What do you think of this devil business?” “Well” replied the other boy, “You know.

Subject: God’s Provision

Scripture: 2 Cor. 9:8

It is the Japanese who have created the best swords in the world. To create these fine weapons, ancient Japanese sword makers had to create a sword that was hard enough to retain a sharp edge, but at the same time soft enough not to be brittle. Sword makers who made swords by making the steel hard found they could preserve a sharp edge. Such swords, however, were often so brittle that they would often break when they clashed in battle. Soft steel, however, was found to be not as brittle, but would easily dull and be unable to slice through armor. Japanese sword makers therefore had to forge a sword with steel hard enough to retain a sharp edge, but at the same time pliable enough not to break in battle. What Japanese sword makers learned to do was to create a sword made of hard and soft steel. Multiple sheets of hard and soft steel are heated, folded and pummeled together over and over again. Japanese swords go through a lengthy forging process until they have up to 33,000 paper-thin laminations of hard and soft metal. Each of these layers is one hundred thousandth of an inch thick. This is all done to a very precise recipe of temperature treatment. The end result is a finely crafted weapon with extreme pliability and a blade that will retain a finely honed edge. Just as Japanese sword makers repeatedly hammer together layers of metal to produce a sword that will be strong enough to withstand breaking, so God allows trials to hammer metal into the lives of His children. Just a sword made of hard metal will easily break in battle, so the believer filled with pride will also break in adversity. It is in the forging hand of God that humility and dependence on Him are developed into our lives to create character that will triumph in adversity. The hard steel in our lives is the word of God. The soft steel in our lives is humility and a dependence on God. These are forged together in our lives through fiery trials and prayer to produce vessels that will give Him glory. We need the hard steel confidence of what we believe together with the soft steel of humility.

Subject: Becoming A Christian and Sin Bondage

Scripture: Romans 6:11–22

One of the chores that I enjoy doing is washing my car. Like to see that dirt disappears. Like to see the shine of a freshly washed car. Like to shine up the tires, make the chrome sparkle, clean all the fingerprints and dog nose prints off the windows. Finish washing it. Park in front of house, standoff at a distance and admire the finished product.

i. But it doesn’t stay that way. Drive it. Dust gets on it. Go through mud puddle. Fingerprints and dog nose prints show back up. Road grime gets back on it. Needs a fresh washing again.

ii. We are like that. We drive our lives through the streets of life. The dust of sin settles on us. Go through the puddles of temptation instead of going around them. The tar of disobedience sticks to us. We need a fresh washing again.

Subject: Assurance

Scripture: John 5:24

An airline company was disturbed over a high percentage of accidents so they decided to eliminate human errors by building a completely computerized plane. “Ladies and gentlemen,” came a voice over the PA during the initial flight, “It may interest you to know that you are traveling in the world’s first completely automated and computerized plane. Now just back and relax because nothing can go wrong….go wrong….go wrong….go wrong”

Subject: Human Depravity and Temptation

Scripture: Ephesians 2:1–3

A good-looking society woman was invited to an expensive fund-raising dinner in New York City. She was seated next to a wealthy lawyer. During the meal, they had a chance to get to know each other and were having a good time. When the meal was finished, the lawyer leaned over and asked the woman if she would go to bed with him for $10,000. The woman blushed but said that she would. The man then asked her if she would go to bed with him for $10. The woman was shocked and said, “What kind of a woman do you think I am?” The man responded, “My dear, we have already established that. Now we are merely deciding on the price.”

What’s your price? What would it take to cause you to sell out? We already know who we are. We are sinners who have been saved by faith in Christ. None of us is immune to sinful behavior. Even Paul the apostle stumbled and fell. Peter, when faced with possible.

Subject: Endurance and Christian Discipline

Scripture: James 1:2–3

Winston Churchill is remembered as perhaps the greatest Prime Minister in the history of Great Britain. By the steel of his will, he led his island nation to stand against Hitler and eventually triumph in World War ll. But years before that victorious moment for the ages, Churchill found himself plunging through a succession of devastating trapdoors–each one worse than the one before. In August 1929, Churchill had managed to bring in approximately $70,000 into the family coffers. That’s a lot of money even today. In 1929, that was an unimaginable amount of money for a single month’s work. He invested nearly all of it into the American stock market. He then jotted a note to his wife saying how pleased he was to finally reach a place of financial independence. Less than ninety days later the stock market fell through its own trapdoor and Churchill lost virtually everything. It was a major blow. Churchill had experienced ninety days of financial security–and then the bottom fell out. For the first time in his adult life he had been on easy street enjoying the prospects of a comfortable future and then the trapdoor fell open beneath his feet and down he went. That setback alone would be enough to send most any man into the dungeon of depression. But there were two more difficulties that waited quietly and patiently for Churchill to arrive. In 1931, after serving his entire adult life as a central figure in the British government, he was not invited to serve in the cabinet. This was another staggering blow to Churchill. He had been banished to the political wilderness. While Hitler was working full-time to build his war machine, Churchill, virtually the only British politician, who saw the reality of Hitler’s threat, was put out to pasture. When he should have been center stage, he was banished to his country home where he wrote, painted, and built brick walls and cleaned out the ponds to stay busy. The great statesman was sent down to the minors to play Class A ball when he should have been starting in the All Star game. This defeat was even bitterer than the financial loss. It was heating up in the British steel furnace. And then in the same year, while he was trying to hold things together financially and fight off depression of political defeat, he decided to take a tour of Canada and the United States. In New York City he looked the wrong way while crossing a street and was hit by a taxi traveling at thirty-five miles per hour. The accident sent him to the hospital, clinging to life by a thread. In less than three years he had suffered three shattering transitions that had devastated him financially, then politically, and then in an accident that nearly cost him his life.

Subject: Overcoming Evil with Good

Scripture: Galatians 5:22-23

Stuart Holden (1874-1934), the author of “Prevailing Intercessory Prayer”, was in Egypt and met a Sergeant in a Highland regiment. “How were you brought to Christ?” he asked this bright Christian. The sergeant responded: “There was a private in the same company as myself who had been converted in Malta, and I gave him a terrible time. I remember one night in particular when it was very rainy and he came in wet and weary from sentry duty. Yet, as usual, he still got down on his knees before going to bed. My boots were covered in mud and I threw them both at him and hit him twice on the head. He kept kneeling and praying. The next morning when I woke up I found my boots beautifully cleaned and polished at my bedside. This was his reply to me and it broke my heart. That day I was brought to repentance.”

Subject: Character Development

Scripture: James 1:1–4

The grace of God can turn problems to patience, vexation to victory and tragedy to triumph. The same pressure that can cause a destructive explosion can be harnessed to drive the wheels of progress. Pressure usually produces and the production can be good or bad. Both the Old and New Testaments give many examples of the right and wrong ways God’s people have responded to pressure as they were tested in the crucible of crisis. The mere mention of names such as Job, Jonah, Joseph, Elijah, David and Peter immediately conjures up images of proper and improper responses to the pressures of Christian living. It is clear that the grace of God is the key factor in the proper response to problems. One of my most vivid and pleasant memories from my childhood involves working the bellows for my Father and Uncle, who were both trained by my grandfather as blacksmiths. I would watch as they would heat farm tools in a fiery bed of charcoal, quickly withdraw them, and beat them.

Subject: Emotion and Communication

Scripture:  Mark 2:17

A woman went to the doctor’s office, where she was seen by one of the new doctors, but after about 4 minutes in the examination room, she burst out, screaming as she ran down the hall. An older doctor stopped her and asked what the problem was, and she told him her story. After listening, he had her sit down and told her to go relax in another room. The older doctor marched down hallway to the back where the first doctor was and demanded, “What’s the matter with you? Mrs. Terry is 63 years old, she has four grown children.

Subject: Romantic Love

Scripture: 1 Peter 4:8

A couple was driving home on their 25th wedding anniversary after a celebration at a fine restaurant. The wife was sitting over against the door on the passenger side. Her husband was behind the wheel. And she began to lament: “Oh, honey, remember when we were so close? I mean, I remember when we first got married. We sat so close that.

Subject: Friendship

Scripture: Proverb 27:9

A recent e-mail asked readers to reflect on the following questions: 1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world. 2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners. 3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest. 4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize. 5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress. 6. Name the last 10 World Series winners. Then as we sit and realize that we don’t know the answers to these questions, another set of questions are asked: 1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school. 2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time. 3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile. 4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special. 5. Think of five people you can help.

Subject: Endurance and Goal

Scripture: Romans 15:5

For example, in late fall of 1777, General George Washington and his rag tag army of militiamen suffered 2 defeats at the hands of the British at Brandywine and Germantown. He and his 11,000 men retreated to Valley Forge, PA to establish winter headquarters. It was a dark time for the revolution. Many died of starvation or cold, never more than half of the force was in any shape to battle at one time. Many deserted the cause, because the stress and suffering was too great. But thousand others remained faithful. They stayed in there, despite frozen bodies, starvation, sickness and bone-biting coldness, because they had a goal and a purpose for being there – that was more important to them than personal comfort or even safety. In February they began a regrouping that prepared them for pursuing the British all the way across New Jersey in June of 1778.

Subject: God’s Promises and Provisions

Scripture: 2 Cor. 9:8

Hudson Taylor founder of China Inland Mission used to hang in his home a plaque with two Hebrew Words on it: EBENEZER & JEHOVAH JIREH. The first word means ‘Hitherto hath the Lord helped us’ and the second, ‘The Lord will see to it or provide.’ One looked back while.

Subject: Appreciation

Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:12

A Little Boy wanted $100.00 badly and prayed to God for a whole week, but nothing happened. So, he decided to write God a letter requesting the $100.00. When the Post Office got the letter addressed to God they forwarded it on to the Whitehouse. The President was very impressed, touched and amused so he instructed his aid to send the boy $5.00. He thought $5.00 would be a lot to the little boy. The boy was, indeed, delighted by the money. He sat down and wrote a thank you note immediately, which read:

Subject: Faith and Humility

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

We live in a world full of people struggling to be, or at least to appear, strong in order not to be weak; and we follow a gospel which says that when I am weak, then I am strong.

Subject: Suffering

Scripture: Isaiah 25:8–12

It was 2 a.m. and Ken, my husband was snoring softly beside me, not aware that I was biting my lip to keep from waking him up. The combination of my paralysis with middle-of-the-night insomnia always makes me feel claustrophobic. But this was different. The pain in my neck and shoulders was searing. I tried to move my head on the pillow, but was stopped short by a razor –sharp stab in the back of my neck. O God,” I whispered, “I need to reposition, but I haven’t the heart to wake up Ken. He only has a few hours before hi alarm goes off, ye I cannot tolerate this pain. Please, I can’t live like this help me?” I began to breathe deeply and recite a favorite hymn: “And I shall see Him face to face, and tell the store – Saved by Grace. And I shall see Him face to face, and tell the story – Saved by Grace.”

The next thing I knew it was morning, Ken was off to work, and my girlfriend had arrived to get me up. When I told her about my rough night, she replied, “I bet you can’t wait for heaven.” Joni looked at her friend and said, “I just experienced a small piece of it.”

Subject: Marriage and Sexuality

Scripture: 1 Cor. 7:3–4

I read an account of a man named James Matlock. (He has nothing to do with the old Matlock TV series starring Andy Griffith!) James Matlock was a Puritan who lived in New England in the 17th century. Apparently he was placed under church discipline. And the reason was because he wasn’t having sex with his wife. His wife complained to the church elders that her husband wasn’t fulfilling his marital duty to her. They investigated the matter and then excommunicated Matlock. And they told him he would remain under church discipline until he began.

Subject: Prayer Adoration

Scripture: Isaiah 6:3

E. M. Bounds writes in “The Possibilities of Prayer” : “THE ministry of prayer has been the peculiar distinction of all of God’s saints. This has been the secret of their power. The energy and the soul of their work has been the closet. The need of help outside of man being so great, man’s natural inability to always judge kindly, justly, and truly, and to act the Golden Rule, so prayer is enjoined by Christ to enable man to act in all these things according to the Divine will. By prayer, the ability is secured to feel the law of love, to speak according to the law of love, and to do everything in harmony with the law of love.”

Subject: Encouragement, Failure, and Self Image

Scripture: James 1:2–4

A teenager’s low popularity convinced her that she was not attractive. She became a top fashion model, hailed by many as the most beautiful woman in the world. All those who had ignored her are now boasting that they had gone to school with Claudia Schiffer! He was rejected as too awkward and clumsy to be a ball boy in a Davis Cup tennis match: Stan Smith went on to become the officially ranked number one tennis player in the world (1972-1973). He received an unbroken succession of 743 rejections. Now over sixty million of John Creasey’s Crime novels have been published. What will they send me next!’ said Edmund Hillary’s gym instructor of the puny school boy now known as the man who conquered Mount Everest. ‘Balding, skinny, can dance a little,’ they said of Fred Astaire at his first audition. Beethoven’s music teacher declared him ‘hopeless’ at composing. Beethoven’s music teacher declared him ‘hopeless’ at composing. Albert Einstein’s parents feared he was sub-normal. As Billy Graham preached, a missionary’s daughter battled an almost uncontrollable urge to run out of the meeting. It was his future wife, and it wasn’t conviction that made her squirm. It was her response to what she considered appalling preaching. I think I may say without contradiction that when the Paris Exhibition closes, electric light will close with it, and no more will be heard of it.” -Professor Erasmus Wilson of Oxford University. An invitation was extended to witness one of humanity’s most historic moments – the Wright brothers’ first flight in theirs.

Subject: Life-Changing Love

Scripture: Malachi 1:1-5

Two years ago, I was talking with the Manager of the rental property in my neighborhood. He told me that in the past years his company has provided his tenants the necessities they need; unfortunately, the tenants do not appreciate these provisions, but destroyed them. He has recently installed garbage disposal to every apartment in the facility; recently, the last renters who left the facility put holes in the wall, broke five windows and glasses in the back and front doors. He told me that the people do not care and appreciate these provisions. Malachi 1:1–5, describes cotemporary situation between God and the children of Israel. Despite of God’s provisions for his people, they did not honor him neither obey him.

Subject: Are You Serious?

Scripture: Malachi 1:6-14

When I was growing up as a child, I grew up with my Aunt’s husband. He was a tough man who rendered disciplinary action to whom disciplinary action was due; in the same token, he rendered rewards to whom reward was due. In this light, to please him, we were obligated to go on the farm daily once school was over. In rebelliousness to his instruction, his biological son became indifferent to the rule; therefore, there was friction between him and his son as the result of breaking the regulations. In similar manner, this how the children of Israel became indifferent to the law of God and eventually birthed defiled worship before their God.

One of the greatest definitions of worship ever laid down was one by William Temple: “To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.”[1] This definition does not align with the attitude exhibited by the children of Israel when it came to the worship of God. They worshipped God in vain as contemporary to the today’s church.

Christians are advised to take notification that God takes no pleasure in vain worship.

In Matthew 15:8-9, read, “This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me…” Let Jesus’ words echo in our ears, “in vain do they worship me.” Vain worship is that which is professed with the tongue but not possessed in the heart. God takes no pleasure in vain worship and polluted sacrifices. Take a moment to reflect on the following: Why pray, why do you read the Bible, why do you attend weekly worship service, why do you give tithes and offering, and why do you urge friends and family to be reconciled to God through Jesus?

Are there any of the above that you have stopped doing? If you still do these things, do you do them unwillingly? Do you do them in a way that is most convenient for you? If so, you have lost the fear of the Lord.

Subject: Keep the Faith

Scripture: Malachi 2:10-16

While ministering in Africa, I met a Christian worker who raised his six children on $10 a month. He told me the story of how children in his village were going blind because of a disease that could be prevented with medicine that only cost 50 cents. He began to pray and ask God to send a rich person to their village to help vive the money for the medicine, but no one ever came. As he kept praying, the Lord told him he should give the money to buy the medicine. But with six children and only a $10 a month salary, he couldn’t see how he could do this. But he and his family prayed and decided that every month they would buy the medicine to help one child. When I last spoke with him, he has been doing this for seven years and had saved 84 children from going blind. And this family saw God meet all of their needs.

Subject: Be Careful What You Ask For

Scripture: Malachi 2:17-3:5

A child has willfully disobeyed. For this offense he has been chastised, and confined to his own room. He is very sullen and obstinate, and his father reasons with him, and tells him with tears that he is greatly grieved with him, and feels wounded by the ingratitude which he receives after all his love. The boy angrily replies that he does not believe in his father’s love: if he loved him, why did he whip him, and send him to bed? This would be a very rebellious speech; but it would be pitched in the same key as our text. It would also set forth the spirit which is often seen in Christians when they measure the Lord’s love by their temporal circumstances, and ask in rebellion whether their poverty, their pains, and their persecutions are fit fruits of divine favor. The Lord knows how foolish we are apt to be when our soul is vexed with bitter anguish, and therefore he does not destroy us for our presumption, but he patiently reasons with us that he may bring us to a better mind.

Subject: Rob or Return?

Scripture: Malachi 3:6-12

Leighton Farrell was the minister of Highland Park Church in Dallas for many years. He tells of a man in the church who once made a covenant with a former pastor to tithe ten percent of their income every year. They were both young and neither of them had much money. But things changed. The layman tithed one thousand dollars the year he earned ten thousand, ten thousand dollars the year he earned one-hundred thousand, and one- hundred thousand dollars the year he earned one million. But the year he earned six million dollars he just could not bring himself to write out that check for six-hundred thousand dollars to the Church.  He telephoned the minister, long since having moved to another church, and asked to see him. Walking into the pastor’s office the man begged to be let out of the covenant, saying, “This tithing business has to stop. It was fine when my tithe was one thousand dollars, but I just cannot afford six-hundred thousand dollars. You’ve got to do something, Reverend!” The pastor knelt on the floor and prayed silently for a long time. Eventually the man said, “What are you doing? Are you praying that God will let me out of the covenant to tithe?” “No,” said the minister. “I am praying for God to reduce your income back to the level where one thousand dollars will be your tithe!”

Subject: Does Serving God Really Matter?

Scripture: Malachi 3:13-18

There goes a story that the man carried a sign that says “Talking Dog For Sale.” The owner directed him to the backyard to see the dog. He was not sure and decided to call out. Do you talk? “Yep.” the mutt dog replied. The man said to the dog, what is your story? The dog said “Well, I discovered this gift when I was young and wanted to help the government; therefore, I went to work for the CIA. I travelled around from country to country in order to spy on world leaders because no one ever figured a dog could eavesdrop. I was one of their most valuable agents during those days in disguised. I uncovered some incredible secrets and was awarded a bunch of medals. I had a wife, a mess of puppies, and now I am just retired.” The man could not believe that a dog could talk. He was already contemplating of way he could get an eavesdropping dog; therefore, he turned to the owner and said, “How much do you sell him?” The owner replied, “Ten dollars.” The man replied, “Your dog is amazing. Can I ask why you are selling him so cheap?” The owner said that he is selling him cheap because he is a big liar. It reminds me of the man who had serious hearing problems for over 15 years. He went to see the doctor and was given hearing aids that enable him to hear perfectly. On his follow-up visit a month later, the doctor said, “Your hearing is 100 percent; therefore, your family should be pleased that you can hear again. The man replied and said he has not told his family; however, he sits around and listens to conversations. He has changed his will three times. As we come to our passage today, God is eavesdropping on some our conversations. He is listening to two groups of people who are talking. The first group is speaking against Him. The other group speaks in awe of Him. Group one looked around and complained and group two looked up and understood.

Subject: The God of Thunder and Sunshine

Scripture: Malachi 4:1-3

My fellow Christian brothers and sisters, could you allow me to briefly interact with you today? I would like to hear from you a couple of you today in this forum. Please tell me and this Christian assembly your best day. Just shout out a date and tell me this Christian assembly what happened on that day. Thank you for sharing those wonderful days with us. I will not ask you to share your worst days with me and this assembly; however several of you could name several worst days you faced in your lives. Some days you desire you could live over and over and some days you try to forget because they were not good days at all. Today we are going to be hearing from God’s word about a day that is coming that will be unlike any other day ever in the history of the world or the universe. If you have asked Jesus to be your Savior and Leader of your lives, that day will be infinitely better than even your best day. If you do not have a relationship with God, that day will make your worst day seem like a picnic! It will be the most terrible, day ever.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Hummel, Dale. In His Book Hidden In Plain Sight. Online: 14 May 2008, No Pages

https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon-illustrations/17049/i-read-about-a-man-dreaming-about-the-by-melvin-shelton?ref=TextIllustrationDetails


[1]http://www.pastorlife.com/members/sermon.asp?sermon_id=4157