Choosing Sermon Illustrations

Choosing Sermon Illustrations

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The Great Divide

Near Stephen, B.C., about 500 miles east of Vancouver and 950 miles west of Winnipeg, well over 5,000 feet above sea level, there is a scene well known to travelers, called the Great Divide.

Here will be seen a stream running north which just as it arrives within a few yards of the C.P.R. main line parts into two streams; one running eastward, eventually finding its way into the Atlantic Ocean; the other flowing off westward, at last draining into the Pacific.

This wonderful sight, where the water of the stream comes to a point where it must go one way or another, and after passing which its destination is definitely and unchangeably settled, might remind one of the dividing line in every man and woman's life when he or she is confronted with two eternal realities — when God's Holy Spirit pleads with that person to accept pardon, cleansing from sin, and peace; and when the enemy of souls is trying at the same time to keep that sinner from deciding for the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Spirit in love and mercy strives oftentimes with a sinner, but God has said in Genesis 6:3 "My Spirit shall not always strive with man." Today God wants to save you, but take heed, dear friend, lest you pass the fatal point, thus despising God's offer of salvation to you. How long, God asks, halt ye between two opinions?

There is a time, we know not when —
A place, we know not where—
That seals the destiny of men
For glory or despair.

There is a line, by us unseen,
Which crosses every path,
The hidden boundary between
God's mercy and His wrath.—Faithful Words.

Poor Taste in Clothes

In the spring of 1924, I was assisting Pastor N.E. Norwood in a revival meeting at Fort Ogden, Florida. Driving along the highway, we passed a gang of convicts working the road. They were clothed in stripes; and I remarked to Pastor Norwood: "I don't like their clothes. If I had had the selection, I should have selected a different suit." "Why," he answered, "they don't select their suits, do they?" "Oh, yes!" I answered. "Well," he said, "I didn't know that. I thought the state selected their suits for them." "No," I replied, "every man selects his own suit. Those fellows knew the penalty of violating the law before they committed the acts. They made their choice; they selected their suits. And they are wearing the suits of their own selection." What suit have you selected -- the black stripe suit of shame and dishonor, or the "white robe of righteousness?"—" Wings."

The Higher and the Lower Paths: John Wesley

From long experience and observation, I am inclined to think that whoever finds redemption in the Blood of Jesus — whoever is justified — has the choice of walking in the higher or the lower path. I believe the Holy Spirit at that time sets before him "the more excellent way," and incites him to walk therein — to choose the narrowest path in the narrow way — to aspire after the heights and depths of holiness —after the entire image of God. But if he does not accept this offer, he insensibly declines into the lower order of Christians; he still goes on in what may be called a good way, serving God in his degree, and finds mercy in the close of life through the Blood of the Covenant.

I have frequently observed that there are two very different ranks of Christians, both of whom may be in the favor of God — a higher and a lower rank. The latter avoid all known sin, do much good, use all the means of grace, but have little of the life of God in their souls, and are much conformed to the world. The former make the Bible their whole rule, and their sole aim is the will and image of God. This they steadily and uniformly pursue, through honor and dishonor, denying themselves, and taking up their cross daily; considering one point only, "How may I attain most of the mind that was in Christ, and how may I please Him most?"—Living Waters

But One Throne

When Raphael's great picture, the "Sistine Madonna," was first brought to Dresden it was displayed in the castle in the presence of the king. It was brought into the throne room, but the most favorable spot in the room was occupied by the throne itself. The king, taking in the situation, pushed the throne aside, saying, "Make room for the immortal Raphael."

There is but one throne in the human heart, and the most important question for any of us in life is to determine who is to occupy that throne. Will it be Christ or self? It cannot be both. It will not be easy to say "no" to self, to put one's foot on self, to keep self in the proper place. If we suppose it to be easy, it is because we have never seriously made the effort. To offer to God a divided allegiance means loss of spiritual power and fruitfulness in the Christian life.—Gospel Herald.

Bushnell's Choice

Long years ago there was a popular young professor in Yale College. There was a revival being held in the city in which the college was located. This young professor was not exactly an infidel, nor was he a Christian. He was, however, being disturbed in mind and heart by certain religious questions. He knew he was exerting a tremendous influence over his students, and that they would not be disposed to become Christians so long as he was half an infidel. What should he do, for he was grieved to see he was standing in the way of his students. He paced his room for hours with this problem on his mind. With even more concern for them than for himself he decided what to do and he expressed it in these words: "I throw myself over the line between right and wrong toward the right, and hereafter consecrate myself irrevocably, utterly, affectionately to the following of the best religious light I possess." That professor was Horace Bushnell who became one of our foremost religious thinkers, preachers, and writers.—Gospel Herald.

Decide You Must

When Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden, went over to Germany to help the Protestant princes in the cause of the Reformation, he was sorely tried by their lack of decision and lukewarmness. On meeting the ambassador of the Elector of Brandenburg, he uttered these stirring and memorable words:

"This I say unto you plainly before­hand, I will hear and know nothing of neutrality. His Highness must be friend or foe. When I come to his border he must declare himself hot or cold. The battle is between God and the devil. Will his Highness hold with God? let him stand at my side. Will he prefer to hold with the devil? then he must fight against me. No third position will be granted him."—Evangel Herald.

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