Object Lessons

Though Your Sins Be a Scarlet

Objects: Old Rags, especially some red ones. A piece of White Paper

Any rags, any bottles, any bones today?" Did you ever hear a call like that, boys and girls? I have. When a lad, I often heard this cry as an old man pushed a cart up and down the street collecting old rags and old bottles and anything else that could be sold for a few pennies.

I used to wonder what happened to all of the rags the old ragman (for so we called him) collected; and never really understood until I visited a paper mill in Iowa one time.

There I saw rags of all kinds. There were piles and piles of rags all sorted out according to color. White ones were in (rue   on a table, blues in another, etc.
These rags were placed in a large receptacle, according to color. Acid was applied, and they passed through a bleaching process. Then they were passed through large rollers which turned out pure white sheets of paper. What a transformation from old rags to snowy-white paper! (Display old rags and white paper.)

But I noticed that all red rags were put aside in a place by themselves and were not put through the bleaching process with the others. This, I learned, was because of the color. No acid can be found to completely bleach a red cloth. However, there is a use even fur red rags. They are made into red blotting paper, and this we know is very useful in offices and schools, etc.

As I heard the story of the red rags, I thought of the Scripture which says, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."—Isaiah 1:18. God knew how hard men would find it to bleach the color "red," and so He used it in describing sin. No matter how great a sinner one is, God has provided a way whereby that one may become white as snow. Jesus Christ died on the cross and shed His precious blood for the sinner, and when He is received as the sinner's Saviour, sins red as scarlet become white as snow.

In the paper mill, wonderful products were made out of old rags—even the reddest of them were made into something useful. If man can work such a transformation, how much more can God do with a life that has been cleansed in the blood of Jesus, and become a "new creature in Christ Jesus."—2 Cor. 5:17. (Suggest men who are now leading useful lives who were once great sinners.)

In the paper mill, the bleaching process preceded the making of a useful product, so the cross is the way to a life of service for the Lord.

Put your life in the hands of the Lord Jesus, boys and girls; let Him fit you for service, and place you in a place of usefulness where "it hath pleased Him" to use you.

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