Church Sermon Illustrations

Church Sermon illustrations

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Upper or Supper Room?

The early Church prayed in the upper room, the twentieth century Church cooks in the supper room.

Today the supper room has taken the place of the upper room. Play has taken the place of prayer, and feasting the place of fasting. There are more full stomachs than there are bended knees and broken hearts. There is more fire in the range in the kitchen, than there is in the pulpit. When you build a fire in the church kitchen, it often, if not altogether, puts out the fire in the pulpit. Ice cream chills the fervor of spiritual life.

The early Christians were not cooking in the supper room the day the Holy Ghost came, they were praying in the upper room. They were not waiting on tables, they were waiting on God. They were not waiting for the fire from the stove, but for the fire from above. They were detained by the command of God, and not entertained by the cunning of men. They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, not stuffed with a stew or roast.

Oh, I would like the cooking squad put out, and the praying band put in; less ham and sham, and more heaven; less pie, and more piety; less use for the cook­book, and more use for the old Book. Put out the fire in the kitchen and build it on the altar. More love and more life, fewer dinners and get after sinners. Let us have a church full of waiters on God, a church full of servers, serving God and waiting for His Son from heaven.—Selected.

Farewell, Old Church

The structure built in 1872-3 by Dwight L. Moody was known as the Chicago Avenue Church for many years. After the great evangelist's death it was renamed the Moody Church. Since 1918, when it became Institute property, it has served as The Moody Bible Institute Auditorium.

Farewell, dear church, the time has come
Our last good-by to say,
Ere thy blest walls come crumbling down
To pass from sight away.
What mighty saints have here proclaimed
The riches of God's grace!
What multitudes His love have claimed
Within this hallowed place!

And though the hand of time hath sought
To lay this temple low,
The miracles that God hath wrought
Destruction cannot know.
These walls of clay, alas, must fall,
The living Church goes on
With Him who is her life, her all,
To greater things to come.

We bid thee, then, our fond farewells,
With mingled joy and tears—
Joy that new heights to come foretells,
Grief as thy sad end nears,
And unto Him who changeth not
We lift our hearts in praise
For all that He in love hath wrought
Through glorious bygone days!—Avis B. Christiansen. Courtesy Moody Monthly.

Is It Safe to Count?

Gypsy Smith once remarked that he rejoiced over figures. "I was sitting at a table with some preachers," he said, "and one, a Scotsman, said, 'How did you get on at your meeting?' I said, `Well, so many passed through the inquiry room.' He said, `Is it safe to count?' I said, `Well, they counted at Pentecost, and put it down at three thousand.' He changed the subject. Later on the Scotsman said, 'Are you married, Mr. Smith?' I said, 'Yes.' `Any family?' 'Yes.' `How many?' he asked. I replied, 'Is it safe to count?"' When the laughter had subsided the Gypsy added: "You count your children and the Lord counts His. You made enough fuss when your first babe was born. The Church doesn't fuss half enough when sinners are converted."—Sunday School Chronicle.

Worldly Church

The Church and the world walked far apart on the changing shores of time:
The world was singing a giddy song, and the Church a hymn sublime.
`Come, give me your hand,' cried the merry world, 'and walk with me this way.'
But the good Church hid her snowy hand, and solemnly answered—'Nay!'
'Nay, walk with me but a little space,' said the world with a kindly air,
`The road I walk is a pleasant road, and the sun shines always there.
My path, you see, is a broad, fair path, and my gate is high and wide;
There is room enough for you and for me to travel side by side,'
Half-shyly the Church approached the world and gave him her hand of snow;
The old world grasped it and walked along, saying in accents low:
`Your dress is too simple to suit my taste; I will give you pearls to wear;
Rich velvet and silk for your graceful form and diamonds to deck your hair.'
The Church looked down on her plain, white robes and then at the dazzling world, And blushed as she saw his handsome lip with a smile contemptuous curled.
`I will change my dress for a costlier one,' said the Church with a smile of grace;
Then her pure white garments drifted away, and the world gave her in place Beautiful satins and shining silks, and roses, and gems and pearls;
And over her forehead her bright hair fell, crisped in a thousand curls.
`Your house is too plain,' said the proud old world, 'I'll build you one like mine; Carpets of Brussels and curtains of lace, and furniture ever so fine.'
And he bought her a costly and beautiful home—splendid it was to behold;
Her sons and her beautiful daughters dwelt there, gleaming in purple and gold.

And fairs and shows in the halls were held, and the world and his children were there;

And laughter and music and feasts were heard in the place that was meant for prayer.

The Angel of Mercy flew over the Church, and whispered, 'I know thy sin.'
The Church looked back with a sigh and longed to gather her children in.
`Your preachers are all too old and plain,' said the gay old world with a sneer,
`They frighten my children with dreadful tales which I like not for them to hear.
They talk of brimstone and fire and pain, and the horrors of endless night;
They talk of a place that should never at all be mentioned in ears polite.
I shall send you some of the better stamp, brilliant and gay and fast,
Who will tell them that people may live as they list and go to heaven at last.'
The sons of the world and the sons of the church walked closely, hand and heart, And only the Master Who knoweth all could tell the two apart.
Then the church sat down at her ease and said, 'I am rich and in goods increased;
I have need of nothing, have nought to do but to laugh and dance and feast.'
The sly world heard her and laughed in his sleeve, and mockingly said aside,
`The church is fallen, the beautiful church, and her shame is her boast and pride.'

(John 17. 16; 2 Cor. 6. 17; Heb. 13. 13; Rev. 3. 17-19)

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