Self Sermon Illustrations

Self Sermon Illustrations

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The deepest and most dangerous troubles which afflict man's life come from within, not from without. Man's soul, that great fortress of Bunyan's imagination, fell only when there was treason within. The enemy entered through a gate that had been opened from within. The outside dangers and temptations of the world have no power over us until they receive the cooperation and help of the foe within our own souls.


Alcibiades, the gifted but unscrupulous Greek, was noted as an unhappy man. Someone asked Socrates why it was that Alcibiades, who had traveled so much and had seen so much of the world, was still an unhappy man. The sage answered, "Because wherever he goes, he always takes himself with him."


It was told some time ago of a Shakespearean scholar who said that several times in the year he read through Macbeth, not for scholastic purposes or literary investigations, but because the reading did him good, warning him and instructing him, because it showed the danger of ambition and the menace which lurks in the secret pool of imagination and desire. Macbeth is an illustration of the evil man in us and the loosing of him through the meeting of evil desire and opportunity. As the loyal soldier is returning from the wars in Norway, the spirits salute him as thane of Glamis, thane of Cawdor, and then as the future king. "All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!" The spirits have hardly left him when messengers arrive to tell him that he has been elevated to the rank of thane of Cawdor. Why should not the third prophecy be fulfilled also? His companion warns the excited Macbeth against even entertaining such a desire:

And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray's
In deepest consequence
.

At that time Macbeth would have scorned the slightest suggestion that he gain his ambition by treason or murder. But when he reached his home he found that the king had come to visit him. In that moment his ambition and the opportunity to fulfill it were married, and the issue of that marriage was crime and sin.


Alexander the Great had a wonderful horse, Bucephalus. This spirited creature had defied every attempt to tame him, and the soothsayers of those days foretold that the man who could mount and ride him would conquer the world

Alexander, at that time a young man, determined to succeed where others had failed After many fruitless efforts, he found that the cause of the horse's restlessness was its aversion to its own shadow. Then he deduced a simple remedy, and turned the horse's head toward the sun.

(Rom. 7. 16-18; Gal. 2. 20; Col. 3. 1, 2)

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