Subject: Representing Christ
Put on the Lord Jesus Christ
Twelve year-old David Whitthoft wore the same Green Bay Packers football jersey every day for over four years. For 1,581 straight days, David donned the jersey of his hero, quarterback Brett Favre. Week after week, month after month, and school year after school year, David's classmates didn't have to wonder whom he admired the most. When they looked at David Whitthoft, they saw Brett Favre.
Perhaps this is what Paul means when he says to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 13:14). We should represent the Lord in our behavior so that when people look at us, they see Jesus Christ.
Kent Crockett's Sermon Illustrations,
Subject: Man's Carnal Nature
Prisoner by Choice
Raynald III was a fourteenth-century duke in what is now Belgium. Throughout his life he was a child of his appetites-especially for food. As a result, he was grossly overweight.
Raynald had a younger brother, Edward, and as brothers often do, they sometimes quarreled. After a particularly violent quarrel, Edward led a successful revolt against Raynald, and captured him. But he did not kill him. Instead, he had a special room constructed around Raynald in the Nieuwkerk Castle.
Ordinary people would find nothing special about the room: it had ordinary-sized windows and an ordinary-size door. But Raynald could not squeeze through it.
Edward promised his brother his freedom, if he wanted it. All he had to do was leave the unlocked room.
However, Edward also made sure that a generous supply of tempting rich foods was always in Raynald's room. And instead of losing weight, Raynald grew fatter. As a result, he stayed in the non-prison prison for ten years, until Edward died in battle.
Freedom came too late for Raynald, for his indulgence of his appetite had ruined his health, and he died within a year.
Our choice of sin and rebellion smoothes the path for a nature of wrath to consume us. Children of wrath are their own worst enemy.
Practical Illustrations-Galatians-Colossians, by Leadership Ministyries Worldwide. Retold from Thomas Costain's history, via Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching.
Subject: Getting Right with God
What Caused the Headache
Back in the 1800s, there was a notable preacher named Sam Clawson, who was at that time pastoring a church in Newark, Ohio. One of the influential church members seemed to enjoy the morning services, but at the evening services (when the bigger crowds came) he sat with his head down and his face covered by his hands.
Clawson spoke with him after yet another episode and asked him why he acted so strangely. He replied that "the loud preaching made my head ache."
"That is a mistake," Clawson said. "It is not the loud preaching. If you were to hold your head up and keep your heart lifted up to God in prayer for God to help me, there would be no headache. But you get your head down, and get to whacking heads with the devil, and the devil's head is so much harder than yours that he make your head ache-and you blame it on the loud preaching."
Brother John Brand's attached editor's note is instructive: "There may be a lesson in this for some of the rest of us!"
They Didn't Know Their Ruler
"How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?" (Rom. 10:14).
Unfortunately, modern man is much like the people of India following British rule for 300 years. Subsequent to independence, a group of sociologists entered India to determine the effect foreign domination had had on the people.
Village after village was studied, month upon month went by, and the results were startling. The "people" of India were not only unaware the British had departed they were unaware the British had been there in the first place. Indians were born, lived, and died without ever knowing their sovereign lived in London, thousands of miles away.
People today are born, live out their lives, and die not ever knowing their Sovereign lives in heaven across an infinite divide. How will they know their sovereign has provided a Deliverer unless someone is sent to tell them?
John Gillmartin, sheepcribone.blogspot.com
Too Little Peace
A few months ago, while attending the dedication of the McPeake Cabin, at the Civil War battleground in Parker's Crossroads, Tenn., I noticed the old washboards and clothes buckets where women had to scrub and wring their clothes by hand. I looked at the old wood stove that required a lot of preparation by both men and women if anyone was going to eat. Things were primitive-even the old outhouses-according to today's standards.
Life is physically much easier for us today-but we're also cursed. Our lives are filled with stress. People know too much of the wrong thing or not enough of the right thing. People worry about storms coming their way. They're stressed out over predictions by economists about our economy, or are stressed by the rising gasoline prices, etc., etc. We just know WAY too much! Add to this the stress of everyday life: sickness, death in your family, your job, family problems-the list goes on and on.
Stress, if not handled properly, makes us do the wrong thing. When King Saul "saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled" (1 Sam. 28:5). King David shamed himself before Achish, king of Gath, from fear (1 Sam. 21:13), and even Elijah, fresh from his faith victory over the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, grew fearful at Queen Jezebel's threats and asked God to end his life (1 Kgs. 19:4).
Stress and fear cripple, defeat, rob, and kill that in which it is allowed to dwell. What is the solution to fear and stress? Only Jesus. We must turn to Him for the peace of God which passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7). We must let His peace rule in our hearts (Col. 3:15). We must turn to Jesus alone for perfect peace
Pastor of Rock Hill Baptist Church,
Subject: Rejecting Christ
The Rejected Pardon
About the year 1830, a man named George Wilson killed a government employee who caught him in the act of robbing the U.S. mails. He was tried and sentenced to be hanged.
However, President Andrew Jackson sent him a pardon. But Wilson did a strange thing: He refused to accept the pardon, and no one seemed to know what to do. So the case was carried to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Chief Justice Marshall wrote the opinion. In it he said: "A pardon is a slip of paper, the value of which is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned. If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged." And he was.
Charles L. Allen, via Sparks
(Sparks creator John F. Brand adds this editor's note: God in heaven sent a pardon to sinful man, in the person of Jesus Christ. What a pity it would be if anybody rejected that pardon!)
"Just as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!'" (Rom. 10:15b).
The news report read: "The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) presented its 1999 International Press Freedom Awards last night to four journalists-from Columbia, Kosovo and Pakistan-at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City."
The report told of the heroic exploits of four journalists who kept on reporting the news in spite of beatings, imprisonments, and death threats. A fifth reporter would have been recognized except he was in a Cuban jail for proclaiming the truth.
Two thousand years ago, and again and again since, men and women have put themselves on the line to bring the Good News of a great joy to mankind. They too have been beaten, imprisoned, and threatened; in fact for many it has cost them their lives.
I think of Paul in his report to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 6:4-5). I recall the accounts preserved for believers in the "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews 11. My mind reflects on the lives of the apostles; men who were reportedly skinned alive, torn asunder, crucified upside down, and decapitated-all after torture and great hardship. Fox's Book of Martyrs calls to my mind all those who've served and suffered and been slain.
But most of all I think on the Son of God who, for the love of God, came bearing Good News-only to be beaten, and crucified for telling the truth:
So many have given so much so that we might know the truth and meet Christ, the Savior. Do not fail to pass on the torch!
Subject: God's Love
The Overlooked Baby
On some occasion, I had settled down for a four-hour flight on a large DC-10, hoping to catch up on some reading. As the plane began to taxi down the runway, one of the flight attendants suddenly noticed a lady with two babies, one without adequate seat belt security. Quickly she took the smallest baby from the mother and looked around for one of the passengers to hold it during take-off. Catching my eye, the stewardess thanked me as she handed me the ugliest baby I have ever seen (excuse me for saying this). The baby was asleep, but did it ever make noise!
I began to read through the baby noises and 20 minutes went by, 30 minutes went by, and then 40. I finally got up and went looking for the mother. Finding her five rows up, I asked, "Is this baby yours?" She looked up surprised and said, "Oh, I forgot all about him!"
I have thought about this incident many times. Yes, we may be small in the world's eyes and our own mothers may forget us, but God's arms are always stretched out to hold us, and He will never drop or leave or ever forget us!
Doug Nichols, founder & international director emeritus of Action International Ministries
Subject: Answering God's Call
On Aug. 7, 1771, Francis Asbury made a critical choice, which was to affect millions of Americans over the succeeding centuries.
Asbury had been converted at age 15, through the Wesleyan revival that swept across England. He instantly had an insatiable hunger for the Scriptures and prayer, and spent endless hours during his spare time in Bible study and research. When he turned 21, he gave up his saddler's work and became a poor Methodist minister.
Then, at age 26, he attended a Methodist conference on this critical day of Aug. 7. Filling the pulpit that day was John Wesley, who urged: "Our brethren in America call aloud for help. Who are willing to go?" Asbury, without hesitation, said, "Send me!"
In America, Francis was "back in the saddle again," riding 5,000 miles a year by horse, and delivering 17,000 sermons. During his ministry he saw more than 3,000 preachers ordained, and five schools established for the propagation of the gospel.
Long ago, Isaiah wrote: "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?'" And Isaiah answered: "Here am I. Send me!"
Will you saddle up for the sake of the gospel, no matter where the trail may lead?
Remember: For followers of Christ, essential to being dependable is being sendable.
J. Kenneth Bassett,
Timeless Signatures, © 2003