Finding Peace in Faithfulness

In Luke 2:25-32, the biblical character Simeon is an old man waiting on the promise of the Messiah. He has placed himself in the Temple which he rightly assumes to be the best possible location to maintain a daily lookout for the deliverer. It is in the course of this relentless vigil that Joseph, Mary, and a very young baby Jesus cross paths with this singular man “waiting for the consolation of Israel.” In a Rafiki action that was sure to shock the nativity family, Simeon takes the child and declares: “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation.” His faithful persistence had been rewarded with personal peace. Continue reading “Finding Peace in Faithfulness”

“Because We Need Him:” Historical Sermon Illustrations from Matthew 9:12

“But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.” – Matthew 9:12 (NASB)

 

“I try to be as good as I can”

From Charles H. Spurgeon’s “The Great Physician and His Patients,” 1865

A minister, when he had done preaching in a country village, said to a farm-labourer who had been listening to him, “Do you think Jesus Christ died to save good people, or bad people?” “Well, sir,” said the man, “I should say he died to save good people.” “But did he die to save bad people?” “No, sir; no, certainly not, sir.” “Well, then, what will become of you and me?” “Well, sir, I do not know. I dare say you be pretty good, sir; and I try to be as good as I can.” That is just the common doctrine; and after all, though we think it has died out among us, that is the religion of ninety-nine English people out of every hundred who know nothing of divine grace: we are to be as good as we can; we are to go to church or to chapel, and do all that we can, and then Jesus Christ died for us, and we shall be saved. Whereas the gospel is, that he did not do anything at all for people who can rely on themselves, but gave himself for lost and ruined ones. He did not come into the world to save self-righteous people; on their own showing, they do not want to be saved. He comes because we need him.[1]

Continue reading ““Because We Need Him:” Historical Sermon Illustrations from Matthew 9:12”

Salt & Light: Historical Sermon Illustrations from Matthew 5:13-16

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – -Matthew 5:13-16 (ESV)

To this day, I remember a well-meaning college student teaching on this passage at an event when I was part of a youth group. With all the wisdom of a church father, they read the passage and then waded into interpretation by saying: “Christians are here to give flavor to the world” as they attempted to explain the meaning of “you are the salt of the earth.” I remember how strange and unhelpful that was for years to come. However, for all the weird and uninformed hermeneutics available, there are some great historical examples of references to this passage that will be sure to add flavor to any sermon or Bible study.  Continue reading “Salt & Light: Historical Sermon Illustrations from Matthew 5:13-16”