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 stage a firework I had purchased. I then proceeded to do/say the following:

This is fourth of July weekend, so I thought it a good time to bring with me a firework. I am going to take just a moment, if you don’t mind, to light this thing in here and let’s enjoy celebrating our country’s birthday while we are here. I am sure you won’t mind. It might be a little loud, and a bit of an explosion, but it’s the fourth. . . [pretend like I will light the firework].

Why would that be a bad idea? Why would lighting a firework of any magnitude, but in particular THIS magnitude, be a bad idea – in this building, at a time like this? Because of the power. Because of the impact. Because of the destruction it might cause. Because of the potency of the explosive. We know that if we set this thing off in this room, it would change things. It would adjust things. It would do something of significance that would rearrange the makeup, the atmosphere, the layout of the room and possibly our lives. I would venture to say that if I actually lit this thing and stood back from it, many of you would run out of here, panic, yell, go get our police officer, and have me under arrest. Everyone in this room believes there is power to change things in this explosive.

If we are ever going to be a church the city of Franklin loves, we are going to have to believe there is power in the Gospel of Jesus Christ to change things.

I wonder how many of us have more faith in the explosive power of this firecracker than we do in the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? We trust that a firework will explode and adjust the way things are. However, when it comes to the Gospel, we think it is a nice little expression that will keep people out of hell who adhere to some truths and repeat some words. In a sense, that is true. But I wonder if we really believe there is power in the Gospel?