A few inspirational quotes, sermon illustrations, jokes and humor from Illustrations for Biblical Preaching
Need for salvation. A little boy came running into the house after playing outside. His mother stopped him and asked what was on his right hand. He replied, "Oh, just a little mud." His mother then asked if he was planning on getting it off his hand. He thought for a moment and said, "Sure, Mom. I'll just wipe it off with my other hand." There was only one problem with the plan, one dirty hand plus one clean hand equals two dirty hands. Many people are like that little boy, they see the evil and wrongs in their life and think they can make themselves clean by bringing the good in their life to bear on the problem. But it doesn't work that way. We all need a way to be made morally and spiritually clean, and we will never succeed in doing it ourselves. The only solution is to be found in the blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanses us from all of our sins.
Rejection of salvation. In the year 1829, a Philadelphia man named George Wilson robbed the U. S. mails, killing someone in the process. Wilson was arrested, brought to trial, found guilty, and sentenced to be hanged. Some friends intervened in his behalf and were finally able to obtain a pardon for him from President Andrew Jackson. But, when he was informed of this, George Wilson refused to accept the pardon! The sheriff was unwilling to enact the sentence for how could he hang a pardoned man? An appeal was sent to President Jackson. The perplexed President turned to the United States Supreme Court to decide the case. Chief Justice Marshall ruled that a pardon is a piece of paper, the value of which depends on its acceptance by the person implicated. It is hardly to be supposed that a person under the sentence of death would refuse to accept a pardon, but if it is refused, it is then not a pardon. George Wilson must be hanged. So George Wilson was executed, although his pardon lay on the sheriff's desk. So, too, do some of us reject the gift of salvation by refusing the pardon thereby offered.
Works and salvation. A leading manufacturing company developed a new cake mix that required only water to be added. Tests were run, surveys were made, and the cake mix was found to be of superior quality to the other mixes available. It tasted good, it was easy to use, and it made a moist, tender cake. The company spent large sums of money on an advertising campaign and then released the cake mix to the general market. But few people bought the new cake mix. The company then spent more money on a survey to find out why the cake mix didn't sell. Based on the results of this survey, the company recalled the mix, reworked the formula, and released the revised cake mix. The new cake mix required that one add not only water, but also an egg. It sold like hot cakes and is now a leading product in the field. You see, the first cake mix was just too simple to be believable. People would not accept it. The same is true of salvation by grace.
Sanctification. The story has been told of a do-it- yourselfer who went into a hardware store early one morning and asked for a saw. The salesman took a chain saw from the shelf and commented that it was their "newest model, with the latest in technology, guaranteed to cut ten cords of firewood a day." The customer thought that sounded pretty good, so he bought it on the spot. The next day the customer returned, looking somewhat exhausted. "Something must be wrong with this saw," he moaned. "I worked as hard as I could and only managed to cut three cords of wood. I used to do four with my old-fashioned saw." Looking confused, the salesman said, "Here, let me try it out back on some wood we keep there." They went to the woodpile, the salesman pulled the cord, and as the motor went Vvvrooommm, the customer leaped back and exclaimed, "What's that noise?" The customer trying to saw wood without the power of the saw to help him is very much like the believer who attempts to live the Christian life without the daily empowerment of the Spirit.
Savior. Two construction workers once fell into a deep pit. One said to the other, "Save me from this wretched place. Please get me out of the dirt and mud." The other replied, "You idiot, how can I? I am in the same plight as you." Since they were both in the pit, neither one could help the other. Then they heard a voice from above calling to them to grasp a rope. A third worker had not fallen into the pit, so he was the only one who could save them. He brought help from above. The very best man among the prophets could not save us from the pit of sin because he, too, was a sinner just as we are. He landed in the same pit we did. But Jesus was God and thus was not sinful. He came from above to save us from the horrible mess we are in. Like the two workmen, we cannot save ourselves. Only Jesus Christ can save us.
Self-control. Self-control is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands, and then eat just one of the pieces.
Self-image. At twenty, we worry about what people think about us At forty, we don't care what people think about us. At sixty, we find out that people haven't been thinking about us at all.