Mortification Sermon Illustrations

Mortification Sermon Illustrations

Mortification of Self

It is said of Mahmoud, the mighty conqueror of a large part of India, that he caused the destruction of all the idols in every town which he entered. In his great career of conquest, he laid siege to the important city of Guzarat. Entering the city at last, he forced his way to the costly shrine of the Brahmins. There he saw a gigantic image, fifteen feet high. Mahmoud gave immediate orders for its destruction. The Brahmins of the temple flung themselves at his feet and begged him with many entreaties to spare their god as the fortunes of the city depended upon him A poet has described what happened thus:

Ransom vast of gold they offer,
Pearls of price and jewels rare,
Purchase of their idol's safety,
This their dearest will he spare.

And there wanted not who counseled
That he should his hand withhold;
Should that single image suffer,
And accept the proffered gold.

But after further reflection Mahmoud replied that he would rather be known as the breaker than as the seller of idols, and he struck the image a blow with his battle-axe. His soldiers seeing this followed their leader, and made short work of the huge image, which was smashed to pieces. It proved to be hollow inside and was the hiding-place of a vast treasure. No wonder the Brahmins begged that their idol might be spared. Thousands of most precious gems fell at the conqueror's feet as the image was shattered by the blows of the soldiers.

From its shattered side revealing
Pearls and diamonds, showers of gold;
More than all that proffered ransom,
More than all a hundredfold.

Such an idol is self. It offers much if only it be spared, but this cannot be. True wealth and heavenly treasure is secured to those who have learned the secret of losing their life for Christ's sake. Did not Christ declare: 'He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal' (John 12. 25). The way of the cross is the way of death to the self life.—Jesse Webb

(Rom. 8. 13; Col. 3. 5)


Look at the candle. What is it used for? Is it not for giving light? If it is to give light it must burn and make itself less and less. But if the candle were to protest and say, 'I will not burn and become less and less; I cannot suffer hurt, neither can my form be changed,' then what would be its value? In the same way, those who determine not to put self to death will never see the will of God fulfilled in their lives. Those who ought to become the light of the world must necessarily burn and become less and less. By denying self we are able to win others.—Sadhu Sundar Singh

(John 12. 25; Phil. 2. 15; Col. 3. 5)

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