Posted in Fridays are For Illustrations

Sermon Illustration: “It’s What You Do”

My approach to opening illustrations is to provide a smooth runway. I want there to be an easy and smooth and gripping take off, so a good opening is critical. If the take off is bad, the rest of the message can include a lot of turbulence. The preacher wants something to grab the attention of the congregation, leading them to want more. Recently, in order to help the congregation see the gravity of Luke’s nonchalant statement about all of Asia Minor hearing the message of the Lord (from Acts 19), I started the message with the following reference to...

Continue Reading

Sermon Illustration: Doctor Making Uninvited Home Visits

In order to challenge the congregation to build a relationship with the lost and searching for the purpose of disciple-making, I began a recent sermon with a hypothetical illustration about a doctor making a home visit. You can listen to the entire message here. Below is how I began . . .   What would you think of a doctor who made house calls? Not at your request, however . . . at his. He knocked on your door, told you he was a doctor, and wanted to talk to you for a few minutes. He asks if you have...

Continue Reading

Sermon Illustration: Sent Church vs. Sent Culture

Below is an opening illustration I used to communicate the difference of doing something just to say you do it, and doing something because it is a part of who you are. You can listen to the sermon here.   Tuesday of this week, I went to the dentist for my bi-annual cleaning. I am happy to report that I had zero cavities and have been cavity free for several years now. I was not worried and had solid confidence this would be the case. As a matter of fact, I practically strut my way into the dentist office. I...

Continue Reading

Sermon Illustration: Why Saying, “I Will Just Let My Life Be My Testimony” is Ridiculous

I hear many well-meaning, well-intentioned people say things like, “I don’t have to share theĀ gospel, I will just let my life speak for me.” I have heard an ancient preacher (I have no idea who actually said this) quoted as saying, “Wherever you go, preach the gospel. When necessary, use words.” If you think about it, this one of the most absurd claims ever made. We don’t do that with anything else, do we? With anything else that excites us and is changing us, we joyfully talk about what that thing is. Think about it this way. You find a...

Continue Reading

Sermon Illustration: Doing For (Duty) vs. Being With (Delight)

Flowers

In effort to explain the difference between doing things for God (in order to get Him to like us) and doing things with Him (because He is with us and for us and loves us already), I talked about planning for a wedding anniversary. [Full disclosure: I got the idea from a different version of this shared by John Piper years ago. I have no idea which sermon or I would link to it here.] It went something like this…

Continue Reading

Sermon Illustration: Identity-Security-Purpose

Recently, I preached through a series of messages entitled “Living Sent.” One of the messages had to do with the reality that we do or don’t live to make disciples of Jesus based on our identity, security and purpose. Another way to say it is that believing in who we are and resting in whose we are compels us to risk everything so that others know the incredible love of God for us in Jesus. You can listen to the message here. I closed the sermon by using an illustration from the Bible. My main text was Ephesians 3:14-21, but...

Continue Reading

Sermon Illustration: Sheep

Sheep and shepherds are word pictures used throughout both Old and New Testaments. If you preach the Bible long enough, you are guaranteed to talk about how clueless sheep are and how all of us are in such desperate need of the Good Shepherd.

Continue Reading