Posted in Fridays are For Illustrations

Sermon Illustration: God’s Love

This is one of my all-time favorite illustrations and probably my all-time favorite personal story. Though it is personal to me, I hope it allows memories from your own life that tell a similar story – a story that points you (and others!) to the great love of God. In other words, though you are free to steal this illustration (ha), I hope it will cause a similar story from your own life to bubble up and use in future sermons.   When I was a junior in High School I dated a cheerleader from a nearby town. Her nickname...

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Sermon Illustration: The Magic Coat

This is one of my all-time favorite illustrations. It is a tremendous visual to use to explain how the Spirit of God works inside the believer. I originally heard Al Jackson use it in a sermon on Ephesians 5. I have “borrowed” it numerous times. The good news is that it is a great illustration. The bad news is that – if you are a pastor – you can only use it once for your congregation! If you don’t normally wear a sport coat when you preach, you might want to wear one the day you use this or bring...

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Sermon Illustration: It Happens So Fast

It’s happens so fast. It happens when aren’t expecting it. It happens and you don’t even mean for it to. Last Sunday morning, not only was the AC not working in the sanctuary, but we couldn’t figure out how to turn off the heat. It was really, really hot. The first service was held in the sanctuary, complete with bulletins serving multi-purposefully as fans and information. The second service was held in the fellowship hall where the AC was graciously and wonderfully working. In both services, due to the projectors being too warm to function, we were “forced” to use...

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Sermon Illustration: Power in the Gospel

Recently, in light of Independence Day, I opened the sermon with an illustration using fireworks. The text I preached from was Romans 1:14-17. You can listen to it here. My aim was to cause my listeners to think whether or not they truly believed there was power in the Gospel of Jesus. I wanted the congregation to contemplate whether or not they believed there was more power in a $5 fire cracker to change things in Franklin than there is in the Gospel of Christ. Using two different volunteers in each of the two services, I gave each volunteer on...

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Sermon Illustration: Jesus is the Question

I found this illustration in chapter 4 of Martin B. Copenhaver’s  Jesus is the Question. Imagine you are at a circus. A skilled high-wire artist has accomplished so many marvelous feats that the audience has come to believe that he can do almost anything. The ringmaster addresses the crowd: “Ladies and gentlemen, how many of you believe that this daring man can ride safely over the high wire on his bicycle while carrying someone on his shoulders? If you believe he can do it, please raise your hand!” If you were in the audience you might raise your hand along...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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 the 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...

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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…

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