Preaching Sermon Illustrations

Preaching Sermon Illustrations

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Dr. McCosh describes the extraordinary and sustained popularity of the famous preacher of Scotland, his uncle by marriage, Thomas Guthrie. Critical hearers said he was not logical and that he was not profound. "But," says McCosh, "the people thronged to hear him because they knew he would warm their hearts. Man longs for that. He likes a friend who has a real interest in him. He likes to go to a church where he believes the people and the minister are interested in him and where his heart will be warmed by the message of the love of God."

Percy Ainsworth, had rooms with the village wheelwright in Sussex. He often wished that he could see the results of his work as the wheelwright could view his finished product. But all his preaching and praying—what effect was it having upon the rough country and town lads ? Was it guarding them from evil, lifting them up into the likeness of God's children?

Many others who fish in the deep and mysterious sea of character, seeking to win from men and for them the fruits of the spirit—love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith—must wish at times that their fidelity and energy might have its visible reward, as in other kinds of work done by men. But that is denied them, and often it may seem to them that they too have toiled all night and taken nothing. They who thus labor must themselves have that faith which they commend to others, and endure as seeing Him who is invisible.

Stephen Grellet, the noted Friend, once felt a burden on his heart and the leading of the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel to men in an American lumber camp. But when he arrived at the camp he found it deserted, for the men had gone farther into the forest. Feeling, nevertheless, that he had been sent there by the Holy Spirit, he stood up in the empty mess hall and delivered his sermon, heard, as he thought, only by the board walls of the building and the lofty trees of the forest.

Years afterward, crossing London Bridge in the evening gloom, he was somewhat rudely stopped by a man who accosted him and said, "You are the man I have been looking for all these years. I have found you at last."

"There must be some mistake," said Grellet. "I have never seen thee."

"No," said the man. "But did you not preach at a lumber camp in the American forest?"

"Yes, but there was no one there." "I was there," responded the man, "and I heard the sermon."

Then he went on to relate how he had come back from where the men were working to get a saw that had been left behind, when he was startled and alarmed at hearing the sound of a man's voice. Approaching the building, he looked through a chink of the logs and saw Grellet standing by himself preaching the sermon. He listened to the preacher, was convicted of sin, got hold of a copy of the Scriptures, learned the way of life, was saved, and brought others with him into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Spurgeon went one day into Albert Hall, where he was to preach on the coming Sabbath. In order to test out the hall with his voice, he mounted the platform and repeated the text, "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I John 1:7). Not long afterward he received word that the repetition of that text had borne rich fruit. A painter, at work in some part of the great hall, was startled when he heard the voice of Spurgeon repeating in the empty hall that great sentence of John's. The words so impressed him that he was converted and brought to Christ.

A minister, buffeted and weary of the world, after confessing that he was afraid he had not brought a single soul to Christ, died and was buried. It was a cold, dismal, rainy day. Only the undertaker, the gravediggers, the officiating minister, and one other man were at the grave. When the benediction had been pronounced, the minister noted that the solitary attendant was in tears. He walked around the grave, and, taking the man by the hand, said to him, "Were you his relative?"


"A member of his congregation?"


"Were you his friend?"

"No. I was not his relative, nor his friend, nor a member of his church. But that man saved my soul!"

Every Sabbath morning and evening in a small New England church there was seen among the few worshipers a man whose great head and cavernous eyes were in keeping with his great distinction. Someone who knew him in Washington asked him how it was that there in the village he was so regular in going to the small church and listening to the ungifted minister, whereas in Washington he paid little attention to great churches and distinguished preachers. The man with the great head and the wonderful eyes answered: "In Washington they preach to Daniel Webster the statesman and the orator. Here in this village this man preaches to Daniel Webster the sinner."

Count Zinzendorf adopted the motto of Tholuck—'I have one passion, and it is He—only He.'

Martin Luther's preaching aroused the church from a thousand years' slumber during the Dark Ages—the devil's millennium. It is easy to understand why, when we discover how Luther preached. He said, 'I preach as though Christ was crucified yesterday; rose again from the dead today; and is coming back to earth tomorrow.'—Herald of His Coming

(1 Cor. I. 23; 2. 2; Acts 17. 18; 1 Thess. 4. 13­17)

The meaning of preaching can be learnt from four Greek words used in the New Testament to translate the word `preach'.

1. Kerusso—to proclaim, to herald. This is used of the public proclamation of the Gospel. (Matt. 11. 1; Mark 1. 4; 3. 14; 16. 20; Rom. 10. 15, etc.)
2. Euaggelizo—to tell good news. From this word are derived our terms—'evangel', 'evangelist', 'evangelize'. (Matt. 11. 5; Luke 4. 18; 7. 22; 1 Cor. 1. 17; Gal. 1. 8; Heb. 4. 2, etc.)
3. Kataggello—to tell thoroughly. (Acts 4. 2; 13. 38; 15. 36; Col. 1. 28)
4. Laleo—to talk. (Mark 2. 2; Acts 11. 19; 14. 25, etc.)

Of the 112 times, the word 'preach' is found in the New Testament, on only six instances does it mean a formal discourse. Thus to preach, in the New Testament sense of the term is to proclaim as a herald the message of the King of kings and Lord of lords; to tell the good news, to tell thoroughly all the truth of the gospel, holding back nothing, but declaring 'the whole counsel of God'; to talk to others, as we meet them on the highways, or in their homes, of the love of God as revealed in the gift of His Son, and of the salvation He has secured for whosoever will believe on Him.—Alfred P. Gibbs

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