Substitution Sermon Illustrations

Substitution Sermon Illustrations

In Napoleon's time, in one of the conscriptions, a man who was balloted to a place and did not want to go, had a friend who offered to go in his place. His friend joined up in his name, was sent off to the front, and was killed in action.

Sometime after, Napoleon wanted more men, and by mistake the first man was balloted a second time. 'You cannot take me: I am dead,' he said; 'in such and such a battle you left me buried on the field. Look up your books and see.'

They looked and found he had been killed in action. 'It must have been a substitute,' they said. 'Yes, true!' he replied, 'he died in my stead and the law has now no claim on me.'

(1 Pet. 3. 18)


Under an Eastern sky,
Amid a rabble's cry,
A man went forth to die
For me.

Thorn-crowned His blessed head,
Blood-stained His every tread;
Cross-laden, on He sped
For me.

Pierced through His hands and feet,
Three hours there o'er Him beat
Fierce rays of noontide heat
For me.

Thus wast Thou made all mine:
Lord, make me wholly Thine:
Grant grace and strength divine
To me.

In thought and word and deed
Thy will to do: 0, lead
My soul, e'en though it bleed
To Thee.

(Mark 10. 45; 15. 22-34)


J. T. Badclay, in his book, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus, tells of a brave leader in the Caucasus who, in the middle of the last century, was struggling to maintain the independence of his people. He was Shamil of the tribes of Dagestan. On one occasion, when defeatism was prevalent among his countrymen, Shamil proclaimed that whoever would contend for capitulation with the Russians would be beaten with a hundred heavy lashes. An offender was caught. To Shamil's embarrassment and grief he found it to be his own mother. Following a period of fasting, prayer and meditation, he instructed that the penalty should be executed. After the fifth stroke, however, he stopped the executioner, had his mother withdrawn, and then, baring his own back, insisted on taking the full weight of all the remaining 95 strokes. His tribesmen were so impressed by their leader's justice, sincerity and willingness to suffer that no one again mentioned negotiations with the enemy.—Sunday School Times


Scarlet robe!—Sins of my heart were placed upon my King.
His heart, not mine, was pierced for every evil thing:
In Him no sin—He is my perfect rest—
I see Him now with gold about His breast.

Thorny crown!—Sins of my head were placed upon His brow.
His head, not mine, was scarred: by faith I see Him now:
He knew no sin, He is eternal Light—
Ancient of days, with hair of purest white.

Withered reed!—Sins of my hands were placed in His right hand.
His hands, not mine, were nailed in death's dark, lonely land:
He did no sin, so now in highest heaven,
In His right hand the stars He holds are seven.—I. Gauba

(Matt. 27. 28, 29; Rev. 1. 13-16)


Beware of Substitution

Dr. Horton, in Practical and Personal Christian Work, writes: Beware of any teaching that denies or shrouds the fact that Jesus Christ, as "God manifest in the flesh," went to Calvary's cross "as the Lamb of God that beareth away the sin of the world," that "whosoever believeth on Him might have everlasting life."

Mrs. Eddy's (Christian Science) Substitute for substitution is: "Final deliverance from error is not reached by pinning one's faith to another's vicarious effort To get rid of our sins is to divest sin of any supposed reality."

The Substitute of Russellism: "One unforfeited life could redeem one forfeited life and no more. After this life, man will be granted a second trial as to whether he may or may not have everlasting life."

The Substitute of Spiritualism; "Man becomes his own savior. He is made better in this life by intercourse with spirits."

The Substitute of Theosophy: "An ordinary being must pass through hundreds of incarnations before he can complete his purification from sin."

The Substitute of Mormonism; "To get rid of our sins, we must work out our own salvation through the teachings and forms of the Mormon church."

The Substitute of Seventh Day Adventism: "The sins of God's people will be laid upon Satan. Satan will bear our sins into oblivion where he will be annihilated with them still upon him."

The Substitute of Catholicism: "The instrumental cause of justification is the sacrament of baptism and the grace purchased by Christ's death can flow only through the hands of the Catholic priests."

The Unitarian, Universalist and Higher Critics Substitute: "God is the Father of all men. No sacrificial death of Jesus Christ is necessary. Every man atones for his own soul, and all will eventually be saved."

Accept no substitute—but the One Substitute, Jesus Christ. "He bore your sins in his body on the tree."

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