Sin Sermon Illustrations

Sin Sermon Illustrations

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In Victor Hugo's great tale The Toilers of the Sea, laid on the Channel Islands, we have that thrilling story of the battle between a man and a devilfish. Searching in the sea grotto, the man thrust his arm into a crevice to draw out a crab; and at once he felt the arm seized by something living, slimy, adhesive, cold as ice, but solid as steel. It wound in spirals about his arm, and furrowed under the armpit. As he struggled to break its hold, lo, a second, a third, a fourth, a fifth tentacle shot out from the darkness and wound itself in excruciating pain about his chest and waist and limbs.

Evil is armed like that. The cruel tentacle of one transgression is quickly followed by others, if the first is permitted to get a grip upon its victim. Sin is like the octopus; out of its dark center come forth not one cruel, abominable, and adhesive arm but many, which seek to draw man down to destruction and death.

In the days when tyrants did their will one of these despots ordered a man into his presence and asked him what his calling was. When he told him he was a blacksmith, he ordered him to go to his forge and make a chain. The man soon returned with a chain in his hand. "Go and make it longer," was the order of the tyrant. He soon appeared again, this time with a longer chain. "Go and make it still longer," was the order of the despot. This was repeated a number of times; and when finally the perplexed blacksmith appeared with a long chain in his hand, the despot gave the order to wrap the chain about him and cast him into the fire.

So men by repeated indulgence are forging an ever-lengthening chain with which they are to be bound and cast into the furnace of retribution and judgment.

The way to avoid the second edition and the third edition of sin is not to publish a first. How true those words which Stephen Phillips puts into the mouth of the guilty Herod, "The first step lies with us. The rest belongs to fate." It is the first step in iniquity which tears the veil of innocence which the Creator has put about the soul as a safeguard. When that has once been rent, the second and the third attack are far more difficult to resist.

Tito Melema, George Eliot's creation in her story Romola, is one of the best illustrations of how men do evil to avoid something hard and unpleasant. This cultured and naturally good-natured and lovable Greek had no positive purpose or sinister desire to do wrong. Yet he proceeded from one sin and cruelty to another, because always he sought to avoid that which was difficult and unpleasant. Thus he became involved in a net of hypocrisy, treachery, falsehood, disloyalty, and crime. "He had spun a web about himself which he was incapable of breaking. The web had gone on spinning itself in spite of him, like the growth over which he had no control."

Until we realize the seriousness of sin, and that it deserves punishment, we are not prepared to receive the forgiveness of the Cross. In his great story of sin, The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne brings this out in a striking manner. When Hester bent over the dying Puritan minister, who had bade her farewell, she said: "Shall we not meet again? Shall we not spend our immortal life together? Surely, surely, we have ransomed one another with all this woe. Thou lookest far into eternity with those bright dying eyes. Then tell me what thou seest."

"Hush, Hester, hush," said he with tremulous solemnity, "the law we broke, the sin here so awfully revealed, let these alone be in thy thoughts. I fear! I fear! It may be that when we forgot our God, when we violated our reverence each for the other's soul, it was thenceforth vain to hope that we could meet hereafter in an everlasting and pure reunion. God knows and he is merciful. He hath proved his mercy most of all in my afflictions by giving me this burning torture to bear upon my breast, by sending yonder dark and terrible old man to keep the torture always at red heat, by bringing me hither to die this death of triumphant ignominy before the people. Had either of these agonies been wanting, I had been lost forever. Praise be his name; his will be done. Farewell!"

In that magnificent climax to his great tale Hawthorne showed his wonderful appreciation of the deep things of the human soul. Strong as was the minister's affection for Hester and his desire to be with her in eternity, stronger yet was his sense of his sin and his complete submission to the judgment of God. There are tilings in human life so deep that nothing can answer them or meet them but the deeps which are in the Cross of Christ.

An old Welsh poem tells how the Creator once held a review of the heavenly bodies. One by one sun, moon, stars, and all the host of heaven passed by, and as they passed by, their august Maker greeted them with a smile. But when the earth passed, God blushed!

Yes, it matters not how fair the beginning of life, or how unclouded its early sky, every man comes at length within that shadow which is as eternal as human history, the deep, deep shadow of sin.

Sin and Salvation

Sir John Simpson, the Scotch surgeon, was once approached by a young man. who asked him what he regarded as his greatest discovery. The simple reply of this eminent scientist was, "My greatest discovery is that I am a sinner, and that Jesus is a great Saviour."

This generation seems to have lost the true sense of sin. Indeed, many individuals say there is no such thing as sin. Others admit the reality of it, but confine it to those acts which are commonly regarded as disgraceful and heinous. By this reasoning they confine sin to a small group.—William James Robinson, D.D., in Gospel Herald.

The Pressure of Need

If we have a conviction of sin, we will feel the pressure of need. Sin is not a theological abstraction. It is the evil of the world brought home to our door. It is the lust of the world that brings men to ruin. It is the lowered moral standard that threatens our youth. It is the greed for power and money that fills the economic world with rackets. It is the impatience with discipline that breaks up our homes. Sin crouches at the door of democracy to weaken it. Sin is as real as flu or cancer, the corrupting influence which poisons the very air. We face the sickness of soul which sin has created.

The world we face is lost. Men are lost when they don't know where they are or where they are going or what they are here for. They are lost when the moral compass does not operate and when the price tags are so mixed that they can't tell where life's values really are. We should not be surprised if people stay away from special meetings. Why should they come? They are lost. They don't know God or the Father's house. The Son of Man came to seek the lost, not to have them seek Him.—Gospel Herald.

Do You Ever Feel the Burden?

As an Indian evangelist was preaching, a flippant youth interrupted him. "You tell me about the burden of sin. I feel none. How heavy is it? Eighty pounds? Ten pounds?" The preacher answered: "Tell me, if you laid four hundred pounds' weight on a corpse, would it feel the load ?" "No, because it is dead," replied the youth. The preacher said: "That spirit, too, is dead which feels no load of sin."—The King's Business.

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