Preaching Sermon Illustrations

Preaching Sermon Illustrations

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A young preacher in a college town was embarrassed by the thought of criticism that he was likely to receive from such a cultured congregation. He sought out his father, an old and wise minister of the Gospel, and said, 'Father, I find it hard to outline a sermon I can preach to these people. If I cite anything from geology, there is Professor A—the geology professor, before me. If I use an illustration from history, there is Professor B—ready to trip me up. If I choose English literature for some allusion, I am afraid the whole English department will rise and challenge me. What shall I do?'

The sagacious and godly old man replied, `Preach the Gospel, my son! They probably know very little about that.'

(Mark 16. 15; 1 Cor. 2. 1, 2)


More and more, as I get older and go on preaching, I find that, if I take a text, I need the whole Bible to explain it.—Dr. G. Campbell Morgan

(Luke 24. 27; Acts 13. 15, 16; 1 Cor. 15. 3, 4)


A negro of standing was once introducing a negro preacher to his audience, and said:

'Bruddahs and sistahs, dis bruddah's gwine to preach a powahful sermon dis mo'nin'. He's gwine to define de undefinable: he's gwine to explain de unexplainable; he's gwine to dispense wid de indispensable; he's gwine to prove de improbable; an' he's gwine to unscrew de unscrutable.'


There is a message for all classes of people in the Scout motto: 'Be prepared'. It is—A mandate from the Sovereign of the Universe—Matt. 24. 44

A message for the sinner from God—Amos 4. 12
A maxim for the servant of Christ-2 Tim. 2. 21
A motto for the soldier of Jesus Christ —Acts 21. 13.


Who going up the steps of a pulpit would not feel the mystery and the awe of any congregation? It is that which makes the pulpit what Spencer called it, "this awful place." What sorrows, what hopes, what fears, what anxieties, what prejudices, what sins, what temptations, and what despairs, are all present before him! Thinking of that, who would not say, "Who is sufficient for these things?" Yet here the people are, waiting to hear what he will say!


O teach me, Lord, that I may teach
The precious things Thou dost impart;
And wing my words that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart.—Frances R. Havergal


The services in the chapel of a certain western university are from time to time conducted by eminent clergymen of many denominations and from many cities.
On one occasion, when one of these visiting divines asked the president how long he should speak, that witty officer replied:

"There is no limit, Doctor, upon the time you may preach; but I may tell you that there is a tradition here that the most souls are saved during the first twenty-five minutes."


One Sunday morning a certain young pastor in his first charge announced nervously:

"I will take for my text the words, 'And they fed five men with five thousand loaves of bread and two thousand fishes.'"

At this misquotation an old parishioner from his seat in the amen corner said audibly:

"That's no miracle—I could do it myself."

The young preacher said nothing at the time, but the next Sunday he announced the same text again. This time he got it right:

"And they fed five thousand men on five loaves of bread and two fishes."

He waited a moment, and then, leaning over the pulpit and looking at the amen corner, he said:

"And could you do that, too, Mr. Smith?"

"Of course I could," Mr. Smith replied.

"And how would you do it?" said the preacher.

"With what was left over from last Sunday," said Mr. Smith.


The late Bishop Foss once visited a Philadelphia physician for some trifling ailment. "Do you, sir," the doctor asked, in the course of his examination, "talk in your sleep?"

"No sir," answered the bishop. "I talk in other people's. Aren't you aware that I am a divine?"


"Yes, sir," said the irate man, "I got even with that clergyman. I slurred him. Why, I hired one hundred people to attend his church and go to sleep before he had preached five minutes."


A noted eastern Judge when visiting in the west went to church on Sunday; which isn't so remarkable as the fact that he knew beforehand that the preacher was exceedingly tedious and long winded to the last degree. After the service the preacher met the Judge in the vestibule and said: "Well, your Honor, how did you like the sermon?"

"Oh, most wonderfully," replied the Judge. "It was like the peace of God; for it passed all understanding, and, like His mercy, I thought it would have endured forever."


The preacher's evening discourse was dry and long, and the congregation gradually melted away. The sexton tiptoed up to the pulpit and slipped a note under one corner of the Bible. It read:

"When you are through, will you please turn off the lights, lock the door, and put the key under the mat?"


The new minister's first sermon was very touching and created much favorable comment among the members of the church. One morning, a few days later, his nine-year-old son happened to be alone in the pastor's study and with childish curiosity started to read through some papers on the desk. They happened to be this identical sermon, but he was most interested in the marginal notes. In one place in the margin were written the words, "Cry a little." Further on in the discourse appeared another marginal remark, "Cry a little more." On the next to the last sheet the boy found his good father had penned another remark, "Cry like thunder."

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