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Pastoral Resources

Sermon Illustrations Archive

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S E V E N Ways to Impact Your Child’s Faith

1. Model a growing and personal faith. [If they don’t see it, they won’t catch it.]

2. Include faith in normal conversations.

3. Be well-rounded. [Don’t compartmentalize your faith.]

4. Be authentic.

5. Serve together

6. Pray for your children and with them.

7. Learn and communicate love in their language.

The Relaxed Parent by Tim Smith

The story of Polycarp, Smyrna's bishop who studied under the Apostle John, comes to mind. Adamantly committed to the saving lordship of Jesus, which left no room for bowing to the empire, Polycarp was arrested and sentenced to death. Actually, he was given a chance to step out of the fire. The Roman proconsul gave Polycarp the choice of cursing the name of Jesus and worshiping Caesar to save his skin or continue embracing Jesus to his death. "Swear," said the proconsul, "and I will set you at liberty. Reproach Christ." Polycarp replied, "Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?" After the proconsul threatened him again with the specter of burning at the stake, Polycarp added, "You threaten me with fire which awaits the wicked in judgment to come and in everlasting punishment. Why are you waiting? Come, do what you will." As they approached him and prepared to tie him to the stake to be burned, he shouted, "Leave me as I am, for He who gives me power to endure the fire, will grant me to remain in the flames unmoved even without the security you will give by the nails." Loosely bound, with flames flashing about him, Polycarp prayed, "O Lord God Almighty, Father of Thy beloved Child, Jesus Christ...I bless Thee that Thou has granted unto me this day and hour, that I may share, among the number of the martyrs, in the cup of Thy Christ, for the resurrection to eternal life." And so on February 23, A.D. 155, Polycarp paid the price. Then he went to heaven. The pay off is worth the price.

Then there was Patrick Hamilton who studied under Martin Luther in Wittenberg. He literally ignited the Reformation in Scotland. As he burned at the stake in 1527, he said, "As to my confession, I will not deny it for awe of your fire, for my confession and belief is in Jesus Christ...I will rather be content that my body burn in this fire for confession of my faith in Christ than have my soul burn in the fire of hell for denying the same."

Sacrifice bor King Xerxes

It is said that on his retreat from Greece after his great military expedition there, King Xerxes boarded a Phoenician ship along with a number of his Persian troops. But a fearful storm came up, and the captain told Xerxes there was no hope unless the ship’s load was substantially lightened. The king turned to his fellow Persians on deck and said, “It is on you that my safety depends. Now let some of you show your regard for your king.” A number of the men bowed to Xerxes and threw themselves overboard!

Lightened of its load, the ship made it safely to harbor. Xerxes immediately ordered that a golden crown be given to the pilot for preserving the king’s life—then ordered the man beheaded for causing the loss of so many Persian lives!

Today in the Word, July 11, 1993
Sacrificial Love

Two weeks after the stolen steak deal, I took Helen (eight years old) and Brandon (five years old) to the Cloverleaf Mall in Hattiesburg to do a little shopping. As we drove up, we spotted a Peterbilt eighteen-wheeler parked with a big sign on it that said, “Petting Zoo.” The kids jumped up in a rush and asked, “Daddy, Daddy. Can we go? Please. Please. Can we go?”

“Sure,” I said, flipping them both a quarter before walking into Sears. They bolted away, and I felt free to take my time looking for a scroll saw. A petting zoo consists of a portable fence erected in the mall with about six inches of sawdust and a hundred little furry baby animals of all kinds. Kids pay their money and stay in the enclosure enraptured with the squirmy little critters while their moms and dads shop.

A few minutes later, I turned around and saw Helen walking along behind me. I was shocked to see she preferred the hardware department to the petting zoo. Recognizing my error, I bent down and asked her what was wrong.

She looked up at me with those giant limpid brown eyes and said sadly, “Well, Daddy, it cost fifty cents. So, I gave Brandon my quarter.” Then she said the most beautiful thing I ever heard. She repeated the family motto. The family motto is in “Love is Action!”

She had given Brandon her quarter, and no one loves cuddly furry creatures more than Helen. She had watched Sandy take my steak and say, “Love is Action!” She had watched both of us do and say “Love is Action!” for years around the house and Kings Arrow Ranch. She had heard and seen “Love is Action,” and now she had incorporated it into her little lifestyle. It had become part of her.

What do you think I did? Well, not what you might think. As soon as I finished my errands, I took Helen to the petting zoo. We stood by the fence and watched Brandon go crazy petting and feeding the animals. Helen stood with her hands and chin resting on the fence and just watched Brandon. I had fifty cents burning a hole in my pocket; I never offered it to Helen, and she never asked for it.

Because she knew the whole family motto. It’s not “Love is Action.” It’s “Love is SACRIFICIAL Action!” Love always pays a price. Love always costs something. Love is expensive. When you love, benefits accrue to another’s account. Love is for you, not for me. Love gives; it doesn’t grab. Helen gave her quarter to Brandon and wanted to follow through with her lesson. She knew she had to taste the sacrifice. She wanted to experience that total family motto. Love is sacrificial action.

Dad, The Family Coach by Dave Simmons, Victor Books, 1991, pp. 123-124
Sad but True

An old deacon was once asked about the state of his church. He replied, "We are in sad straits; the church is slipping back, getting worse all the time; but, thank the Lord, none of the other churches in our neighborhood is doing any better."

Sad Ending of a Life that Might have been Otherwise

I remember a few years ago I felt very anxious for a man who was present at a meeting like this. At the close of the meeting I asked all to rise, and he rose among the others. I took him aside and said, "Now you are going to become a Christian--you will come out for the Lord now?" He said he was wanting to very much. The man was trembling from head to foot, and I thought surely he was going to accept Him. I spoke to him in his hesitating condition, and found out what was standing between him and Christ. He was afraid of his companions. Nearly every day and night news came to me that some of these employers and clerks make light of these meetings, and make fun of all who attend them, and so many give the same reason that this man did. I said to him: "If heaven is what we are led to believe it is, I would be willing to accept it and bear their fun." I talked with him, but he wouldn't accept it. He went off, but for weeks he came every night, and went away as he came, without accepting it. One day I received a message to come and see him. He was sick, and I went to his chamber. He wanted to know if there was hope for him in the eleventh hour? I spoke to him, and gave him every hope I could. Day after day I visited him, and, contrary to all expectation, I saw him gradually recovering. When he got pretty well he was sitting on the front porch, and I sat down by him and said: "You will be going now to confess Christ; you'll be going to take your stand for him now?" "Well," said he, "Mr. Moody, I promised God on my sick bed that I would; but I will wait a little. I am going over to Michigan, where I am going to buy a farm and settle down, and then I'll become a Christian." "If God cannot make you a Christian here he cannot do it there," I replied. I tried to get him to make an unconditional surrender, but he wouldn't; he would put it off till the next spring. "Why," I said, "you may not live till next spring." "Don't you see I am getting quite well?" "But are you willing to take the risk till next spring?" "Oh, yes, I'll take it; Mr. Moody, you needn't trouble yourself any more about my soul; I'll risk it; you can just attend to your business, and I will to mine, and if I lose my soul, no one will be to blame but myself--certainly not you, for you've done all you could." I went away from that house then with a heavy heart.

I well remember the day of the week, Thursday, about noon, just one week from that very day, when his wife sent for me. When I went to their home I found her in great trouble, and learned that he had had a relapse. I asked if he had expressed a desire to see me. She said "No; he is always saying 'there is no hope,' and I cannot bear to have him die in that condition." I went into the room. He did not speak to me, but I went around to the foot of the bed and looked in his face and said, "Won't you speak to me?" and at last he fixed that terrible deathly look upon me and said, "Mr. Moody, you need not talk to me any more. It is too late; there is no hope for me now. Go talk to my wife and children; pray for them; but my heart is as hard as the iron in that stove there. When I was sick He came to the door of my heart, and I promised to serve Him, but I broke that promise, and now I must die without Him." I got down to pray. "You needn't pray for me," he said. I prayed, but it seemed as if my prayer went no higher than my head. He lingered till that night, repeating, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and I am not saved." There he lay in agony, every few minutes this lamentation breaking from him. Just as the sun was going down behind those Western prairies, his wife leaned over him, and in an almost inaudible voice, he whispered, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and I am not saved," and he died. He had lived a Christless life, he died a Christless death, he was wrapped in a Christless shroud, and he was buried in a Christless grave. Oh, how dark and sad! Dear friends, the harvest is passing; the summer will soon be ended; won't you let Him redeem you?

Moody's Anecdotes and Illustrations
Sad Lack of Zeal
Two young men came into our inquiry room here the other night, and after a convert had talked with them, and showed them the way, the light broke in upon them. They were asked, "Where do you go to church?" They gave the name of the church where they had been going. Said one, "I advise you to go and see the minister of that church." They said, "We don't want to go there any more; we have gone there for six years and no one has spoken to us."
Moody's Anecdotes and Illustrations
Safe in the Ark
When the voice came down from heaven to Noah, "Come thou and all thy house into the ark, for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation," now there was a minute when Noah was outside the ark, and another when he was inside, and by being inside he was saved. As long as he was outside of the ark he was exposed to the wrath of God just like the rest of those antediluvians. If he stayed out, and remained with those antediluvians, he would have been swept away, as they were. It was not his righteousness it was not his faith nor his works that saved him it was the ark. And, my friends, we have not, like Noah, to be one hundred and twenty years making an ark for our safety. God has provided an ark for us, and the question is: Are you inside or outside this ark? If you are inside you are safe if you are outside you are not safe.
Moody's Anecdotes and Illustrations
Safe on the Lord's Side

President Lincoln was once told by an associate, "I am very anxious that the Lord should be on our side." "Oh," said Mr. Lincoln, "that does not give me the least trouble in the world, sir. The only question is whether we are on the Lord's side. If we are on the Lord's side, we are perfectly safe."

Safe on the Lord's Side

President Lincoln was once told by an associate, "I am very anxious that the Lord should be on our side." "Oh," said Mr. Lincoln, "that does not give me the least trouble in the world, sir. The only question is whether we are on the Lord's side. If we are on the Lord's side, we are perfectly safe."

Safe Only on Your Knees

Sir George Adam Smith tells how he and his guide were climbing the Weisshorn in the Swiss Alps. It was stormy and they were making their climb on the sheltered side of the peak. When they reached the summit, they were filled with the exhilaration. Sir George forgot about the fierce winds, leaped up and was nearly blown over the edge to the glacier below! The guide grabbed hold of him and exclaimed: “On your knees, sir. You are safe here only on your knees!”

Source unknown
Safely Home

I am home in Heaven, dear ones;

Oh, so happy and so bright!

There is perfect joy and beauty

In this everlasting light.

All pain and grief is over,

Every restless tossing passed;

I am now at peace forever,

Safely home in Heaven at last.

Did you wonder I so calmly

Trod the valley of the shade?

Oh! But Jesus’ love illumined

Every dark and fearful glade.

And He came Himself to meet me

In that way so hard to tread;

And with Jesus’ arm to lean on,

Could I have one doubt, dread?

Then you must not grieve so sorely,

For I love you dearly still:

Try to look beyond earth’s shadows,

Pray to trust our Father’s will.

There is work still waiting for you,

So you must not idly stand;

Do it now, while life remaineth

You shall rest in Jesus’ land.

When the work is all completed,

He will gently call you home;

Oh, the rapture of that meeting,

Oh, the joy to see you come!

Source unknown
Safest Places

Some things that appear dangerous are actually much less hazardous than their safer-looking alternative. Commercial airline travel, for instance, is 30 times safer than transportation by car. It may not seem that way to the person who would rather fight rush hour traffic on the ground than ride a solitary Boeing 747 at 35,000 feet. But out of 5 million scheduled commercial flights in 1982, only 5 resulted in fatal accidents. Being carried by tons of metal thrust through the air by huge jet engines is actually safer than being pulled along in an 8-cylinder machine that never leaves the ground.

Our Daily Bread
Safety Net

During initial construction on the Golden Gate Bridge, no safety devices were used and 23 men fell to their deaths. For the final part of the project, however, a large net was used as a safety precaution. At least 10 men fell into it and were saved from certain death. Even more interesting, however, is the fact that 25% more work was accomplished after the net was installed. Why? Because the men had the assurance of their safety, and they were free to wholeheartedly serve the project.

Source unknown
Safety Tips

Do not ride in an automobile (or get in the way of one), as automobiles cause 20 percent of all fatal accidents.

Do not stay at home; that's where 17 percent of all accidents occur.

Do not walk across the street; pedestrians are victims of 14 percent of all accidents.

Do not travel by air, rail or water; 16 percent of all accidents are the result of these activities.

Only .001 percent of all fatal accidents occur at church and almost none of these during worship and Sunday School.

Obviously, the safest place to be is in worship and Bible Study with your family and fellow Christians. I hope to see YOU in Bible Study and worship this coming Lord's Day!


Perhaps you, like I, have spent some time in a sailboat. Relying on the boat to keep us afloat, we slide across the water propelled by a gentle breeze. Yet within the confines of the shores, I had the opportunity and responsibility of guiding the rudder to determine the direction of travel. Is that not similar to living within the will of God? As Christians we must rest upon God to sustain us, and upon the breath of his Spirit to empower us. Yet within his moral boundaries, we each have the opportunity and responsibility to determine our course. - Steve Prieb

Source unknown
Sailing Around the World

In my late twenties, a bunch of my friends and I decided to sail around the world. I have to admit, though, at the time I was a bit worried. I hadn’t even sailed before. I was uneasy and anxious. So I spent a lot of time reading the Bible and praying about it, until it dawned on me that God was whispering, “Tim, I’ll give you peace if you read some books on sailing. The reason you’re anxious is not due to lack of prayer, but to your lack of sailing knowledge.”

I wasn’t unprayerful; I was unskilled. So I took a step I needed to take to “let” God work his peace in my heart. I began reading about sailing.

Holy Sweat, Tim Hansel, 1987, Word Books Publisher, p. 63
Sailor Wouldn’t Believe the Compass

An old sailor repeatedly got lost at sea, so his friends gave him a compass and urged him to use it. The next time he went out in his boat, he followed their advice and took the compass with him. But as usual he became hopelessly confused and was unable to find land.

Finally he was rescued by his friends. Disgusted and impatient with him, they asked, “Why didn’t you use that compass we gave you? You could have saved us a lot of trouble!”

The sailor responded, “I didn’t dare to! I wanted to go north, but as hard as I tried to make the needle aim in that direction, it just kept on pointing southeast.”

That old sailor was so certain he knew which was north that he stubbornly tired to force his own personal persuasion on his compass. Unable to do so, he tossed it aside as worthless and failed to benefit from the guidance it offered.

Source unknown
Saint Gregory

Fourth-century church father Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, prayed:

I am spent, O my Christ, Breath of my life. Perpetual stress and surge, in league together, make long, oh long, this life, this business of living. Grappling with foes within and foes without, my soul hath lost its beauty, blurred your image.

Paul D. Robbins, Leadership, 1988, p. 146.
Saints in Wrong Places

The sins committed by ancient Israel were recorded "for our admonition" (1Co 10:6, 1Co 10:11) that we might not make the same mistakes. Many great men have failed God because they were found in the wrong places. In the form of a question, we introduce several of the "wrong places" where some great servants of God failed.

Are you on the slippery path of DISHONESTY, as was Abraham when he went down to Egypt (see Gen 12:10-20)? Since his wife, Sarah, was such a beautiful woman, Abraham feared that the Egyptians might kill him in order to have her. To prevent this, Abraham deceived them by telling them she was his sister. It was only a "half-truth" for Sarah was Abraham's half-sister (Gen 20:12). We have a modern name for what Abraham did: "situation ethics," the philosophy which says that one's ethics are determined by the situation in which he finds himself. According to this concept, there is no absolute standard of morality, no objective basis for conduct. Thus, one may lie, cheat, commit immorality, etc., if the situation "calls for it." However, God has always abhorred the practice of dishonesty (Deu 25:13-16), no matter who was involved. Christians are to "provide things honest in the sight of all men" (Rom 12:17).

Are you giving way to IMPURITY as did David when he walked upon the housetop (2 Sam. 11, 12)? David yielded to his lower and baser instincts when he saw the beautiful Bathsheba bathing. The immorality led to further sin-murder! It all began when David was at the wrong place at the wrong time. The Christian, whose mind should be on things above (Col 3:2), would do well to avoid people, places and literature which tempt him to yield to unholy passions.

Are you sitting under the juniper tree of DISCOURAGEMENT as did Elijah (1 Kings 19:1-18)? Elijah's great victory at Mt. Carmel was followed by despondency when he learned that Jezebel was out to kill him. He sat down under a juniper tree and prayed that God would let him die. Despondency frequently comes after a mountain-top experience, doesn't it? When it happens we want to crawl under our "juniper tree" and let the rest of the world pass us by. Remember, God is still on His throne and rules the world (cf. Psa 42:5).

Are you sailing on the ship of DISOBEDIENCE as did Jonah when he fled to Tarshish (Jonah 1:1-17)? Jonah's prejudice prompted him to disobey God when he was told to preach in Nineveh. Is it possible that you are "on the way to Tarshish" when you should be "on the way to Nineveh?" Did you obey the Lord in becoming a Christian, but you have now boarded the ship of disobedience and are fleeing away from your Redeemer?

Saints in the wrong places! Maybe we can learn something from them and avoid their mistakes.


In WWII when the marines captured the island of Saipan, the Japanese ordered the inhabitants to kill themselves by jumping off a cliff. Hundreds of feet below were the rocks and waters of the beach. American translators yelled through bullhorns that if the inhabitants would come to the U. S. side, they would be spared. A few did. Most jumped. Many respond in the same way to the gospel today.

Source unknown
Sakharov’s Memoirs

Elena Bonner, wife of Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, says that as he wrote his memoirs she typed, edited, and nursed the work, doing everything she could to make sure it survived seizure by the government. Sakharov worked on his memoirs in Gorky, rewriting sections because they kept vanishing. Then one day he met Elena at the train station and with trembling lips told her, “They stole it.” She says he looked like a man who had just learned of the death of a close friend. But after a few days, Sakharov returned to his work. According to his wife, each time he rewrote his memoirs there was something new—something better.

Today in the Word, Moody Bible Institute, January, 1991, p. 34
Saloon Keeper Comes to the Lord

“What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death” (Rom. 6:21).

Many years ago, when I was a young Salvation Army officer, it was my privilege to participate in a most unique service at a wide street intersection in the heart of the city of San Diego, California.

We had among our adherents a lovely Christian girl, who was saved out of a very ungodly family. Her father was a saloonkeeper and, while kind to his family and in many respects an admirable character, he had no use for “religion,” as he called it, nor for the church. But, through the consistent life of his daughter, he was at last awakened to see his need of a Saviour. He realized that she had something of which he knew nothing, and one night we were all surprised to see him in our audience.

At the close of the service, he came forward, weeping, to confess his sins and seek Christ as his Saviour. We pointed him to the Lord and before the meeting closed, he was rejoicing in the knowledge of sins forgiven.

At once he was faced with the fact that the business in which he was engaged was utterly inconsistent with the Christian life. Some suggested that he should sell out and put the proceeds into some other business. He indignantly spurned the suggestion. Realizing that the saloon was a detriment to humanity, he said he could not, since he had accepted Christ as his Saviour and his Lord, allow himself to profit in any way from the stock of what he afterwards called “liquid damnation.” Instead of this, he went to the city authorities and got a permit for what some might have thought was a rather fantastic service.

At the intersection of four streets, near his saloon, he rolled out all the beer barrels and made of them quite a pyramid. The Salvation Army surrounded this rather remarkable spectacle and with band playing and Salvationists singing, soon attracted an immense crowd. The converted saloonkeeper had boxes full of liquor piled up by the pyramid, to the top of which he climbed. “Praise God,” he exclaimed as he began his testimony, “I am on top of the beer barrel. For years I used to be under its power, but now I can preach on its head.” Then he told the story of his own conversion and pleaded with sinners to come to his Saviour.

As the liquor bottles were passed up to him, he broke them and spilled their contents over the barrels. Then descending, he set fire to the whole pyramid which went up in a great blaze as a the song of the Lord continued. What a remarkable testimony to the power of the gospel of Christ to completely change a life! No longer a saloonkeeper, our friend went into a legitimate business, where his life was a bright testimony to the reality of God’s salvation.

Illustrations of Bible Truth by H.A. Ironside, Moody Press, 1945, pp. 29-31
Salt Creates Thirst

At a missionary meeting some young people were discussing the text, "Ye are the salt of the earth."

One suggestion after another was made as to the meaning of "salt" in this verse.

"Salt imparts a desirable flavor," said one. "Salt preserves from decay," another suggested.

Then at last a Chinese Christian girl spoke out of an experience none of the others had. "Salt creates thirst," she said, and there was a sudden hush over the room.

Everyone was thinking, "Have I ever made anyone thirsty for the Lord Jesus Christ?"

Salt of the Earth

In his early remarks during what we call the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus describes His disciples as "the salt of the earth." Notice this verse carefully:

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men" (Mat 5:13).

Jesus takes it for granted that all understood the uselessness of salt that is incapable of preserving and flavoring. "Throw it away!" is His advice for useless salt. The application to Christians is clearly seen. God put us here to preserve and flavor His world. If we are not doing that, what good are we to Him or others?

In A.D. 252, a killing plague swept through the North African city of Carthage. The heathens threw the dead in the streets and fled the city in fear for their lives. Cyprian, leader of the church in Carthage, marshaled the saints and they began burying the dead and nursing the sick. Their action saved the city and thrust the church into prominence in the minds of its citizens.

Good people are salting the earth and preserving the creation of God. They are lighting the world and glorifying the God who made it.

I have a question: If we are not salting this earth and lighting this world, then why are we here?

Salvaged Sculpture

A sculptor had ruined a huge piece of beautiful Carrara marble. It was left in the courtyard of the cathedral in Florence, Italy, for almost a hundred years. Artisans thought it was beyond repair. But in 1505, a young sculptor by the name of Michelangelo was asked if he thought anything could be done with “The Giant.” He measured the block and carefully noted the imperfections caused by the bungling workman of an earlier day. To his mind came the image of the young shepherd boy David. So he carefully made a sketch of that biblical character as he envisioned him. For 3 years he worked steadily, his chisel skillfully shaping the marble. Finally, when one of his students was allowed to view the towering figure, 18 feet high and weighing 9 tons, he exclaimed, “Master, it lacks only one thing, and that is speech!”

Source unknown

The author of salvation, the Lord Jesus - Heb. 5:9

The way of salvation, through faith - Acts 14:17

The knowledge of salvation, by the Word - Luke 1:77

The day of salvation, now - 2 Cor. 6:2

From the Book of 750 Bible and Gospel Studies, 1909, George W. Noble, Chicago
Salvation Army

I will tell you the secret: God has had all that there was of me. There have been men with greater brains than I, even with greater opportunities, but from the day I got the poor of London on my heart and caught a vision of what Jesus Christ could do with me and them, on that day I made up my mind that God should have all of William Booth there was. And if there is anything of power in the Salvation Army, it is because God has had all the adoration of my heart, all the power of my will, and all the influence of my life. - William Booth

Source unknown
Salvation Army Shelters

William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, was brushing his mane-like white hair when his son Bramwell stepped into the room. “Bramwell!” he cried. “Did you know that men sleep out all night on the bridges?” “Well, yes,” the son replied. “A lot of poor fellows I suppose do that.” “Then you ought to be ashamed of yourself to have known it and to have done nothing for them!” his father retorted. And when the son began to talk about the Poor Law program, General Booth waved a hand and said, “Go and do something! We must do something!” “What can we do?” “Get them a shelter!” “That will cost money,” replied Bramwell. “Well, that is your affair. Something must be done. Get hold of a warehouse and warm it, and find something to cover them. But mind, Bramwell, no coddling!” That was the beginning of Salvation Army shelters.

The Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, W. Wiersbe, p. 184
Salvation Assurance

Nothing disqualifies us for doing God's work more than a doubt as to our salvation. Mr. Moody used to illustrate this by saying: "If I were in the river, and I didn't have a firm grip on something, I couldn't help anybody. I've got to get a good hold for myself before I can help someone else." There is no liberty, peace, rest, joy, or power until we have assurance.

Salvation by Works

Glendale, California. - A survey by the Barna Research Group suggests widespread confusion about the gospel - even among churchgoers who feel responsible to spread the gospel. Almost half of the respondents (46 percent) say they have a personal responsibility to explain their beliefs to others. Most of those “evangelizers” (81 percent) believe that the Bible is accurate in all its teachings and that Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected (94 percent). But 48 percent of the evangelizers also believe that “if people are generally good, or do enough good things for others...they will earn places in heaven.”

“There is plenty of reason for churches to worry if nearly one-half of their people who believe in evangelism also believe in salvation by works,” says George Barna, president of the Barna Research Group. “The central message of Protestantism is in salvation by faith alone in Christ, yet (many) Protestant evangelizers seem to be preaching a different message.”

Respondents from “mainline” Protestant churches tended to believe in salvation by works more frequently than those from “evangelical” churches. Yet pastors from mainline churches seemed more confident in their members’ ability to evangelize. Almost half (46 percent) of mainline pastors believe their congregations are qualified to present the gospel, while only one-fourth (24 percent) of Baptist pastors do.

Moody Monthly, October 1993, p. 67
Salvation in Three Tenses

Past, from sin’s penalty, immediate, secured by Christ’s death Rom. 1:16; Acts 28:18, 16:31; Rom. 10:10; 1 Cor. 15:2; 2 Tim. 1:9

Present, from sin’s power, continuous by Christ’s life Heb. 7:25; Rom. 5:9; James 1:23; 1 Tim. 4:6; Phil. 2:12

Future, from sin’s presence, prospective at Christ’s coming Rom. 13:11; Heb. 9:28; Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 5:8

From the Book of 750 Bible and Gospel Studies, 1909, George W. Noble, Chicago
Salvation Is the Deliverance from Sin

Salvation is the deliverance from sin. When someone appeals to God and seeks forgiveness in Jesus, his sins are removed. He is cleansed. His relationship with God is restored, and he is made a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17). All of this is the work of God, not man. Salvation is a free gift (Rom. 6:23).

We are saved from damnation. When anyone sins, and we all have (Rom. 3:23; 6:23), he deserves eternal separation from God (Is. 59:2). Yet, because of His love and mercy, God became a man (John 1:1,14) and bore the sins of the world in His body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24; 1 John 2:2). We are forgiven when we realize there is nothing we can do to merit the favor of God and put our trust in what Jesus did for us on the cross (Eph. 2:8-9; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). Only God saves. The only thing we bring to the cross is our sin.

Both God the Father (Is. 14:21) and Jesus (John 4:42) are called Savior; that is, deliverer from sin. Remember, it was the Father who sent the Son (1 John 4:10) to be the Savior.

Source unknown
Salvation Sounds Too Easy

I read about an instant cake mix that was a big flop. The instructions said all you had to do was add water and bake. The company couldn’t understand why it didn’t sell—until their research discovered that the buying public felt uneasy about a mix that required only water. Apparently people thought it was too easy. So the company altered the formula and changed the directions to call for adding an egg to the mix in addition to the water. The idea worked and sales jumped dramatically.

That story reminds me of how some people react to the plan of salvation. To them it sounds too easy and simple to be true, even though the Bible says, “By grace you have been saved through faith...; it is the gift of God, not of works” (Eph. 2:8-9). They feel that there is something more they must do, something they must add to God’s “recipe” for salvation. They think they must perform good works to gain God’s favor and earn eternal life. But the Bible is clear—we are saved, “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy” (Titus 3:5).

Unlike the cake-mix manufacturer, God has not changed His “formula” to make salvation more marketable. The gospel we proclaim must be free of works, even though it may sound too easy. R.W.D.

Our Daily Bread, June 2, 1992
Salvation Too Cheap?

A miner once said to a preacher, "I'd like to be a Christian, but I can't receive what you said tonight." "Why not?" asked the preacher. "Well, I'd give anything to believe that God would forgive my sins, but I can't believe He'll forgive me if I just turn to Him. It's too cheap." The preacher looked at him and said, "Have you been working today?" Surprised, the man replied, "Yes, I was down in the pit as usual. Why?" "How did you get out of the pit?" "The way I usually do. I got into the cage and was pulled to the top." "How much did you pay to come out of the pit?" The miner looked at the preacher in astonishment. "Pay? Of course, I didn't pay anything." "Well," said the preacher, "weren't you afraid to trust yourself to that cage? Wasn't it too cheap?" "Oh, no," he said; "it was cheap for me, but it cost the company a lot of money to sink that shaft." Then the implication of what he had said struck him, and he saw that though he could have salvation without money and without price, it had cost the infinite God a great price to rescue lost men.

Sam Goldwyn

Sam Goldwyn, the movie producer, used to mangle the English language so badly that his malaprops and mixed metaphors came to be known as Goldwynisms. Some that have become classics are...

A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

Every Tom, Dick, and Harry is named William.

Now, gentlemen, listen slowly.

For your information, I would like to ask a question.

Include me out.

Don’t talk to me while I’m interrupting.

I may not always be right, but I’m never wrong.

Bits and Pieces, December, 1989, pp. 12-13
Sambo and the Infidel Judge
Once there was a Judge who had a colored man. The colored man was very godly, and the Judge used to have him to drive him around in his circuit. The Judge used often to talk with him, and the colored man would tell the Judge about his religious experience, and about his battles and conflicts. One day the Judge said to him, "Sambo, how is it that you Christians are always talking about the conflicts you have with Satan. I am better off than you are. I don't have any conflicts or trouble, and yet I am an infidel and you are a Christian--always in a muss-how's that, Sambo?" This floored the colored man for a while. He didn't know how to meet the old infidel's argument. So he shook his head sorrowfully and said: "I dunno. Massa, I dunno." The Judge always carried a gun along with him for hunting. Pretty soon they came to a lot of ducks. The Judge took his gun and blazed away at them, and wounded one and killed another. The Judge said quickly, "You jump in, Sambo, and get that wounded duck before he gets off," and did not pay any attention to the dead one. In went Sambo for the wounded duck and came out reflecting. The colored man then thought he had an illustration. He said to the Judge: "I hab 'im now, Massa, I'se able to show you how de Christian hab greater conflict den de infidel. Don't you know de moment you wounded dat ar duck, how anxious you was to get 'im out, and you didn't care for de dead duck, but just lef 'im alone!" "Yes," said the Judge. "Well," said Sambo, "ye see as how dat ar dead duck's a sure thing. I'se wounded, and I tries to get away from de debbil. It takes trouble to catch me. But, massa, you are a dead duck--dar is no squabble for you. The debbil have you "sure!" So the devil has no conflict with the infidel.
Moody's Anecdotes and Illustrations
Same Today as 4,000 Years Ago

Generational tension is not a phenomenon which erupted in the 1960s and 1970s. It is as old as the trouble Adam and Eve had with their two boys. Parents need to remember that. For example, when did this conversation occur?

An angry father asks his teenage son, “Where did you go?”

The boy, trying to sneak home late at night, answers, “Nowhere.”

“Grow up,” the father chides him.

“Stop hanging around the public squares, and wandering up and down the street. Go to school. Night and day you torture me. Night and day you waste your time having fun.”

Was that sharp rebuke administered last night by an irate dad to a defiant juvenile? No, it comes from Sumerian clay tablets 4,000 years old.

Dr. Vernon Grounds in Homemade, Dec., 1984

Our purpose is to glorify God by making disciples of all people groups and multiplying churches so that believers worship God, win unbelievers to Christ, and become more like Christ.

Beyond Church Growth, R. Logan, p. 30
Samuel Morse

Wakefield tells the story of the famous inventor Samuel Morse who was once asked if he ever encountered situations where he didn’t know what to do. Morse responded, “More than once, and whenever I could not see my way clearly, I knelt down and prayed to God for light and understanding.”

Morse received many honors from his invention of the telegraph but felt undeserving: “I have made a valuable application of electricity not because I was superior to other men but solely because God, who meant it for mankind, must reveal it to someone and He was pleased to reveal it to me.”

Eating Problems for Breakfast by Tim Hansel, (Word Publishing, 1988), pp. 33-34.

The Bible teaching on sanctification - Largely misunderstood and abused, sanctification (a setting apart for God’s worship and service), as taught by the Scripture, is in three aspects: past, present, future. The following chart will illustrate.

Three Aspects of Sanctification

Past aspect of sanctification

Present aspect of sanctification

Future aspect sanctification of

Positional (1 Cor. 1:2, 30). All believers were so sanctified as saints, the youngest as well as the oldest, the most carnal as well as the most spiritual.

Experiential. Depends upon our knowledge of and faith in our position in Christ (Rom. 6:1-11), converting our position into experience. Progressive, changeable, depends upon yieldedness, & God’s will (Rom. 6:13),

Final. When we see the Lord and are made like Him sinless, sickless, deathless (1 Cor. 4; 15:54; 1 Jn. 3:2). Static, unalterable, Will result in our state in eternity (Phil. 3:21).

As God sees us in Christ (1 Cor. 1:2 with Phil 1:1, etc.)

As we are in our conduct (2 Thess. 2:13)

As we shall be in glory (Rom 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:49).

The New Unger’s Bible Handbook, Merrill F. Unger, Revised by Gary N. Larson, Moody Press, Chicago, 1984, p. 481
Sand Castle

A town in Florida wanted to increase tourism—spent $80,000 for two men and many volunteers to build the world’s largest sand castle. Hundreds of hours of labor, dump trucks full of sand, bulldozers, and finally all was destroyed: 1985.

Source unknown
Sand Castles

Growing up on the Atlantic Coast, I spent long hours working on intricate sand castles; whole cities would appear beneath my hands. One year, for several days in a row, I was accosted by bullies who smashed my creations. Finally I tried an experiment: I placed cinder blocks, rocks, and chunks of concrete in the base of my castles. Then I built the sand kingdoms on top of the rocks. When the local toughs appeared (and I disappeared), their bare feet suddenly met their match.

Many people see the church in grave peril from a variety of dangers: secularism, politics, heresies, or plain old sin. They forget that the church is built upon a Rock (Mt. 16:16), over which the gates of hell itself shall not prevail. - Gregory P. Elder

Source unknown
Sand in His Shoes

Imagine all the obstacles a person might have to overcome if he were to walk from New York City to San Francisco. One man who accomplished this rare achievement mentioned a rather surprising difficulty when asked to tell of his biggest hurdle. He said that the toughest part of the trip wasn’t traversing the steep slopes of the mountains or crossing hot, dry, barren stretches of desert. Instead, he said, “The thing that came the closest to defeating me was the sand in my shoes.”

Our Daily Bread
Sand in my Shoes

Imagine all of the obstacles a person might have to overcome if he were to walk from New York City to San Francisco. One man who accomplished this rare achievement mentioned a rather surprising difficulty when asked to tell of his biggest hurdle. He said that the toughest part of the trip wasn’t traversing the steep slopes of the mountains or crossing hot, dry, barren stretches of desert. Instead, he said, “The thing that came the closest to defeating me was the sand in my shoes.”

Source unknown
Sandhill Cranes

Bruce Larson, in his book “Wind and Fire,” points out some interesting facts about sandhill cranes:

“These large birds, who fly great distances across continents, have three remarkable qualities.

First, they rotate leadership. No one bird stays out in front all the time.

Second, they choose leaders who can handle turbulence.

And then, all during the time one bird is leading, the rest are honking their affirmation.

That’s not a bad model for the church. Certainly we need leaders who can handle turbulence and who are aware that leadership ought to be shared. But most of all, we need a church where we are all honking encouragement.”

Source unknown

There are four ages of man:

(1) when you believe in Santa Claus,

(2) when you don’t believe in Santa Claus,

(3) when you are Santa Claus,

(4) when you look like Santa Claus.

Source unknown

Unless you subscribe to The Atlanta Journal Constitution, you probably missed the story that was in the May 17, 1987 edition.

A rock hound named Rob Cutshaw owns a little roadside shop outside Andrews, North Carolina. Like many in the trade, he hunts for rocks, then sells them to collectors or jewelry makers. He knows enough about rocks to decide which to pick up and sell, but he’s no expert. He leaves the appraising of his rocks to other people. As much as he enjoys the work, it doesn’t always pay the bills. He occasionally moonlights, cutting wood to help put bread on the table.

While on a dig twenty years ago, Rob found a rock he described as “purdy and big.” He tried unsuccessfully to sell the specimen, and according to the Constitution, kept the rock under his bed or in his closet. He guessed the blue chunk could bring as much as $500 dollars, but he would have taken less if something urgent came up like paying his power bill.

That’s how close Rob came to hawking for a few hundred dollars what turned out to be the largest, most valuable sapphire ever found. The blue rock that Rob had abandoned to the darkness of a closet two decades ago—now known as “The Star of David” sapphire—weighs nearly a pound, and could easily sell for $2.75 million.

Grace to You Newsletter, John MacArthur, April 15, 1993
Sarah Winchester

Sarah Winchester’s husband had acquired a fortune by manufacturing and selling rifles. After he died of influenza in 1918, she moved to San Jose, California.

Because of her grief and her long time interest in spiritism, Sarah sought out a medium to contact her dead husband. The medium told her, “As long as you keep building your home, you will never face death.”

Sarah believed the spiritist, so she bought an unfinished 17-room mansion and started to expand it. The project continued until she died at the age of 85. It cost 5 million dollars at a time when workmen earned 50 cents a day. The mansion had 150 rooms, 13 bathrooms, 2,000 doors, 47 fireplaces, and 10,000 windows. And Mrs. Winchester left enough materials so that they could have continued building for another 80 years.

Today that house stands as more than a tourist attraction. It is a silent witness to the dread of death that holds millions of people in bondage (Heb. 2:15).

Our Daily Bread, April 2, 1994
SAT Test

If you think the SAT tests are tough, don’t bother applying to the University of Al Azhar in Cairo, Egypt. Though the ancient school has been graduating students for more than a thousand years, the qualifying exam is far more challenging than any devised by the Educational Testing Service. Each year, every incoming freshman is required to recite the entire Koran from memory. The text of this Islamic holy book is nearly as long as the New Testament and takes three days to repeat. But every one of Al Azhar’s 20,000 students has passed the test.

Campus Life, December, 1979
SAT Tests Declined Because of TV

The A. C. Nielson Co., which measures television audiences and their behavior, revealed that in the average American home the television set is on six hours and fourteen minutes per day. This is 2 hours more per day than the daily average in the 1960’s which is approximately the same point in time that the Standard Achievement Test scores began to decline. This time frame is significant because the first generation to cut its teeth on TV began taking SATs in the early 1960’s, which is, of course, when the decline in scores started. Media and Methods reported that while the TV is on in the American home approximately 2100 hours per year, the average American spends only five hours per year reading books.

Resources, #2, May/June, 1990
Satan Can Bring Sickness and Suffering

I believe that Satan works in three major ways to bring sickness and suffering on people:

1. Satan causes sickness directly. An obvious tactic is demonization. For example, approximately 25 percent of Jesus’ healings as recorded in the Gospel of Mark involve demons. The direct influence of the devil is explicitly demonstrated when Jesus healed a crippled woman and was scolded by a synagogue leader for doing it on the Sabbath. Jesus said, “Ought not this woman being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” (Luke 13:16). Satan’s direct role is also explicit in the case of Job. What percentage of sickness is directly caused by Satan we do not know, but unquestionably much is.

2. Satan indirectly uses the natural results of the Fall to cause sickness and suffering. He uses bacteria, viruses, malnutrition, accidents, fights, poison, old age, rapists, murderers and on and on. In all probability most sickness falls into this category.

3. Satan tempts people to fall into sin, and God at times uses sickness to punish them for it. There are many examples in the Old Testament of plagues, which God sent on His own people to punish them for sin. When some Israelites rebelled against Moses and Aaron, God sent a plague and killed 14,700 (see Num. 16:45-50). Then God killed another 50,070 Israelites at Beth Shemesh when they disobeyed him by looking into the ark of the Lord (see 1 Sam. 6:19), just to cite two examples. In the New Testament, God made Elymas the sorcerer blind as part of a power encounter (see Acts 13:6-12). In Corinth some believers were sick and some had died as a result of abusing the Lord’s supper (see ! Cor. 11:30).

No matter what the immediate cause, the usual outcomes of sickness are pain, suffering and death, all the works of Satan.

C. Peter Wagner, How to Have a Healing Ministry Without Making Your Church Sick!, (Regal Books, Ventura, CA; 1988), pp. 109-110
Satan Defeated

Dwight L. Moody said that one of the happiest men he ever knew was a man in Dundee, Scotland, who had fallen and broken his back when a boy of fifteen. He had lain on his bed for forty years and could not be moved without a good deal of pain. Probably not a day had passed in all those years without acute suffering. But day after day the grace of God had been granted him, and when Mr. Moody was in his room it seemed as if he was as near heaven as he could get on earth. When Mr. Moody saw him, he thought he must be beyond the reach of the tempter, and he asked him, "Doesn't Satan ever tempt you to doubt God and to think that He is a hard master?" "Oh, yes," he said, "he does try to tempt me. I lie here and see my old schoolmates driving along, and Satan says, 'If God is so good, why has He kept you here all these years? You might have been a rich man, riding in your carriage.' Then I see a man, who was young when I was, walk by in perfect health, and Satan whispers, 'If God loved you, couldn't He have kept you from breaking your back?' " "And what do you do when Satan tempts you?" "Ah, I just take him to Calvary, and I show him Christ, and I point out those wounds in His hands and feet and side, and say, 'Doesn't He love me?' The fact is Satan got such a scare there nineteen hundred years ago that he cannot stand it; he leaves me every time." That bedridden saint of God did not have much trouble with doubts; he was too full of the grace of God.

Satan Is Real

A man came to Charles Finney, the well-known evangelist, and said, "I don't believe in the existence of a devil." "Don't you?" asked Finney. "Well, you resist him for a while, and you will believe in it." That's what the second commandment of James is: "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (Jam 4:7). A godly life is characterized by its conflicts with sin. The place most frequented by Satan is where holiness dwells.

Satan Judged

At the cross, Jesus drove out Satan, “the prince of this world” (John 12:31-33. Today Satan is a usurper. The cross passed initial judgment on him. His claims were destroyed; his claimed authority was invalidated. His defeat was so complete that he has lost his place and authority. The Greek word ekballo means “to drive out, expel.” The cross doomed Satan to ultimate expulsion from our world, though he is still active and desperate in his anger and futility. He is the archon, the ruler of this age only until God enforces the judgment of the cross after Christ’s return.

At the cross, Jesus “disarmed the powers and authorities” (Col. 2:15). The word disarmed is from the Greek apekoyo, a double compound meaning “to put off completely, to undress completely and thus render powerless.” At the cross, Christ undressed all demon authorities. It is a picture from the ancient oriental custom of stripping the robes of office from a deposed official. At the cross, the leaders and authorities of Satan’s forces and kingdom were stripped of their authority and honor. They now have no authority to oppose, intimidate, or harass you.

But that is not all; there is even more in this picture. Paul says Christ “made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (v.15). This again is an illustration taken from ancient history. When a conquering emperor returned from a great victory, he was often given a triumphal procession. The victor and his army marched through streets lined by cheering thousands. While the musicians played, chariots and soldiers carried the looted treasures of the defeated king, and he and his general or other selected prisoners were led in chains, their shame openly displayed.

The Greek word edeigmatisen means “to make a public exhibition.” During the interval between Christ’s death and resurrection, when He announced (ekarussen) Satan’s defeat at the cross to the evil spirits in prison (I Peter 3:19), in symbolism Christ marched triumphantly through the spirit prison, with Satan and his demonic rulers chained in inglorious defeat behind Him. He made a public spectacle of their defeat, says Paul, and now every demonic being knows his cause is defeated forever, his satanic lord’s authority stripped from him, and his own doom waiting for the appointed time (Matt. 8:29).

At the cross, Satan and his unclean spirits were destroyed (Heb. 2:14). The word destroy is from the Greek katargeo, which means “to put out of action, to make useless.” It is used repeatedly to show how through the death and the return of Christ (parousia), the powers of destruction that threaten man spiritually are put out of action. In I Corinthians 15:24, this includes all dominion of demonic authority and power. In verse 26, death itself will be the last enemy to be rendered useless.

All these are “coming to nothing,” including Satan himself (Heb. 2:14) and his demonic leaders (I Cor. 2:6).

Source Unknown
Satan Satan's Moves

If you have ever seen a wrestling match, you know it is not pretty It is sweaty, sticky, dirty, and painful When you wrestle, you get down and get dirty There is no half-hearted involvement You give it everything you've got, or you lose.

Anthony T Evans wrote: "I know a bit about wrestling because my brother, Arthur, was the Maryland state wrestling champion in his weight class At his championship match my brother weighed in at about 230 pounds and was going up against the three-time Maryland state champion who out-weighed him by 35 pounds Before the match, a reporter asked, 'Who is the toughest wrestler in this room?'

"My brother, humble fellow that he is, said, 'You are looking at him!'

"The reporter looked at him and asked, 'What makes you think you are so tough? You are about to fight the man who has won the state championship three times in a row.'

"My brother replied with a very insightful comment, 'I know He is bigger and perhaps stronger than I am, but I know his methods.'

"We are in a similar fight against Satan Just as my brother needed to learn his opponent's moves, we need to understand Satan's moves We need to know how he operates, so that we can prepare ourselves 'to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm' (Ephesians 6:13) No place in Scripture reveals Satan's schemes better than Genesis 3, which records Satan's initial contact with man As the story unfolds, we clearly see Satan's strategy to ruin the human race."

Satan Tries to Quench Faith but Christ Keeps it Alive

A scene from Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress portrays Interpreter bringing Christian to a wall where fire is blazing from a grate. A man is trying to douse the fire with water. Then Interpreter shows Christian the other side of the wall, where another man is secretly pouring oil on the fire to keep it ablaze. Interpreter says, “You saw the man standing behind the wall to maintain the fire, teaching you that it is hard for the tempted to see how this work of grace is maintained in the soul.” Satan tries to quench faith, but Christ keeps it alive.

Source unknown
Satan’s Power is Permitted

Lest we be “terrified by our adversaries,” it is well to remember that Satan’s power is not inherent but permitted (Rom. 13:1). It is not unlimited, but controlled (Job 1:12; 2:6). It is not invincible, but broken (Luke 11:21-11). It is not assured of success, but is surely doomed (Rev. 20:2-3). Satan knows well that there is no ultimate victory for him. The pronounced sentence has only been postponed. But he works to hinder and postpone Christ’s final triumph. We can rejoice in the certainty of John’s assurance: “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4).

J. Oswald Sanders, Cultivation of Christian Character, (Moody Press, Chicago; 1965), p. 86
Satan’s Temptation

It is a common temptation of Satan to make us give up the reading of the Word and prayer when our enjoyment is gone; as if it were of no use to read the Scriptures when we do not enjoy them, and as if it were no use to pray when we have no spirit of prayer. The truth is that in order to enjoy the Word, we ought to continue to read it, and the way to obtain a spirit of prayer is to continue praying. The less we read the Word of God, the less we desire to read it, and the less we pray, the less we desire to pray.

George Mueller in A Narrative of Some of the Lord’s Dealings with George Mueller
Satan’s Trinity

Satan has his own trinity—the devil, the beast, and the false prophet (Revelation 16:13). He has his own church, “a synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 2:9). He has his own ministers, “ministers of Satan” (2 Corinthians 11:4-5). He has formulated his own system of theology “doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). He has established his own sacrificial system; “The Gentiles...sacrifice to demons” (1 Corinthians 10:20). He has his own communion service, “the cup of demons...and the table of demons” (1 Corinthians 10:21). His ministers proclaim his own gospel, “a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you” (Galatians 1:7-8). He has his own throne (Revelation 13:2) and his own worshipers (Revelation 13:4). So he has developed a thorough imitation of Christianity, viewed as a system of religion. In his role as the imitator of God, he inspires false christs, self-constituted messiahs (Matthew 24:4-5). He employs false teachers who are specialists in his “theology,” to bring in “destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them” (2 Peter 2:1). They are adept at mixing truth and error in such proportions as to make error palatable. They carry on their teaching surreptitiously and often anonymously. He sends out false prophets. “And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many” (Matthew 24:11). He introduces false brethren into the church, who “had sneaked in to spy out our order to bring us into bondage” (Galatians 2:4). He sponsors false apostles who imitate the true (2 Corinthians 11:13).

Satan is No Myth, J. O. Sanders, Moody, 1975, pp. 5-36
Satan’s Ways to Bring Sickness

I believe that Satan works in three major ways to bring sickness and suffering on people:

1. Satan causes sickness directly. An obvious tactic is demonization. For example, approximately 25 percent of Jesus’ healings as recorded in the Gospel of Mark involve demons. The direct influence of the devil is explicitly demonstrated when Jesus healed a crippled woman and was scolded by a synagogue leader for doing it on the Sabbath. Jesus said, “Ought not this woman being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” (Luke 13:16). Satan’s direct role is also explicit in the case of Job. What percentage of sickness is directly caused by Satan we do not know, but unquestionably much is.

2. Satan indirectly uses the natural results of the Fall to cause sickness and suffering. He uses bacteria, viruses, malnutrition, accidents, fights, poison, old age, rapists, murderers and on and on. In all probability most sickness falls into this category.

3. Satan tempts people to fall into sin, and God at times uses sickness to punish them for it. There are many examples in the Old Testament of plagues, which God sent on His own people to punish them for sin. When some Israelites rebelled against Moses and Aaron, God sent a plague and killed 14,700 (see Num. 16:45-50). Then God killed another 50,070 Israelites at Beth Shemesh when they disobeyed him by looking into the ark of the Lord (see 1 Sam. 6:19), just to cite two examples. In the New Testament, God made Elymas the sorcerer blind as part of a power encounter (see Acts 13:6-12). In Corinth some believers were sick and some had died as a result of abusing the Lord’s supper (see ! Cor. 11:30).

No matter what the immediate cause, the usual outcomes of sickness are pain, suffering and death, all the works of Satan.

C. Peter Wagner, How to Have a Healing Ministry Without Making Your Church Sick!, (Regal Books, Ventura, CA; 1988), pp. 109-110
Satan's Big Trick

Luther says in one of his sermons: "The devil held a great anniversary at which his emissaries were convened to report the results of their several missions. 'I let loose the wild beasts of the desert,' said one, 'on a caravan of Christians, and their bones are now bleaching on the sands.' 'What of that?' said the devil. 'Their souls were all saved.' 'I drove the east wind,' said another, 'against a ship freighted with Christians, and they were all drowned.' 'What of that?' said the devil. 'Their souls were all saved.' 'For ten years I tried to get a single Christian asleep,' said a third, 'and I succeeded, and left him so.' "Then the devil shouted," continues Luther, "and the night stars of hell sang for joy." One of the tricks of Satan is to make us believe that submission to God means a spiritual stupor. Far from it. It is a battle; it is resistance and first of all to Satan himself.

Satan's Match
If you will allow me an expression, Satan got a match when he got Paul. He tried to get him away from God, but he never switched off. Look how they tortured him. Look how they stripped and beat him. Not only did the Romans do this, but the Jews also. How the Jews tried to drag him from his high calling. How they stripped him and laid upon the back of the apostle blow after blow. And you know that the scourge in those days was no light thing. Sometimes men died under that punishment. If one of us got one of the stripes that Paul got, how the papers would talk about it. But it was nothing to Paul. He just looked at it as if it were a trivial thing--as if it were a light affliction. When he was stripped and scourged by his persecutors you might have gone and asked him: "Well, Paul, what are you going to do now?" "Why, press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus;" Take your stand before Him and ask him as they bring the rod down upon his head, "What are you going to do now, Paul?" "Do? I am going to press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." He had one idea, and that was it. Look at him as they stoned him. The Jews took up great stones to throw upon the great apostle. They left him for dead, and I suppose he was dead, but God raised him up. Come up and look at him all bruised and bleeding as he lies. "Well, Paul, you've had a narrow escape this time. Don't you think you had better give up? Go off into Arabia and rest for six weeks. What will you do if you remain here? They mean to kill you." "Do!" he cries as he raises himself like a mighty giant, "I am going to press toward the mark of the high calling of God." And he goes forth and preaches the gospel. I am ashamed of Christianity in the nineteenth century when I think of those early Christians. Why, it would take all the Christians in the Northwest to make one Paul. Look at his heroism everywhere he went. Talk about your Alexanders; why, the mighty power of God rested upon Paul. "Why," said he, "thrice was I shipwrecked while going off to preach the gospel." What did he care about that? Cold churches wouldn't trouble him, although they trouble us. What would lying elders and false deacons be to him? That wouldn't stop him. He had but one idea, and over all obstacles he triumphed for that one idea. Look at him as he comes back from his punishment. He goes up some side street and gets lodgings. He works during the day and preaches at night on the street. He had no building like this, no committee to wait on him, no carriage to carry him from the meeting, no one to be waiting to pay his board bills. There he was toiling and preaching, and, after preaching for eighteen months, they say, "We'll have to pay you for all this preaching, Paul," and they take him to the corner of the street and pay him with thirty-nine stripes! That is the way they paid him. Oh, my friends, when you look at the lives of such men don't it make you feel ashamed of yourselves. I confess I feel like hanging my head. Go to him in the Philippian jail and ask him what he is going to do now. "Do? press forward for the mark of my high calling." And so he went on looking toward one point, and no man could stand before him.
Moody's Anecdotes and Illustrations
Satan's Tools

An old fable says that the devil once offered his tools for sale, intending to give up his business. He displayed these tools-malice, hatred, jealousy, deceit, and several others, with the prices marked on them. One of them was set apart, marked with a higher price than the others. When the devil was asked why this was, he said, "Because that is my most useful tool; it is called depression; with that I can do anything with people." How true! Let us watch, therefore, when it makes its appearance and take our stand against depression; it is often from the devil.

Satisfied with Second Best

Robert Browning tells of a famous musician who, under financial pressure and the influence of popular demand, lowered his standards and produced some inferior works that brought in ready cash and a measure of success. One evening as he stood on the platform enjoying the applause of the audience, he happened to glance at a private box and see the master, Rossini. His eyes fell and his color rose. The mob applauded, but he knew that the master condemned the cheap and unworthy work.

Saturday Is the Sabbath

J. Vernon McGee told of a man who came to him and said, “I’ll give you $100 if you will show me where the Sabbath day has been changed.” McGee answered, “I don’t think it has been changed. Saturday is Saturday, it is the seventh say of the week, and it is the Sabbath day. I realize our calendar has been adjusted, and can be off a few days, but we won’t even consider that point. The seventh day is still Saturday, and it is still the Sabbath day.” He got a gleam in his eye and said, “Then why don’t you keep the Sabbath day if it hasn’t been changed?” McGee answered, “the DAY hasn’t changed, but I have been changed. I’ve been given a new nature now, I am joined to Christ; I am a part of the new creation. We celebrate the first day because that is the day He rose from the grave.” That is what it means that the ordinances have been nailed to the cross, Col. 2:14.

Source unknown
Save Me, Dad

On a bitterly cold January day several years ago, five-year-old Jimmy Tonglewicz chased a sled onto the glazed ice of Lake Michigan. In a blink of the eye he disappeared beneath the ice. The last words his dad heard were: “Save me, Dad!” Jimmy’s panic-stricken father plunged into the freezing water, but the cold quickly rendered him helpless and he left the scene in an ambulance. For over twenty minutes Jimmy remained submerged beneath the icy waters. When his limp, lifeless body was pulled from the lake by divers, he had no pulse. But he had a lot going for him—especially the cold water! Scientists call what happened the “mammalian diving reflex.” The shock of the cold water allowed Jimmy to live without breathing an abnormally long time. Slowly he came around, and today Jimmy lives a normal life.

Today in the Word, May, 1990, MBI, p. 9.
I remember while in a town East at the time of the loss of the Atlantic on the banks of Newfoundland, there was a business man in the town who was reported lost. His store was closed, and all his friends mourned him as among those who went down on that vessel. But a telegram was received from him by his partner with the word "saved," and that partner was filled with joy. The store was opened and the telegram was framed, and if you go into that store to-day you will see that little bit of paper hanging on the wall, with the word "saved" upon it. Let the news go over the wires to heaven to-night from you. Let the word "Saved" go from everyone of you, and there will be joy in heaven. You can be saved--the Son of man wants to save you.
Moody's Anecdotes and Illustrations
Saved ‘Through’ Faith

The N. T. never says that a man is saved on account of his faith, but always that he is saved through his faith, or by means of his faith; faith is merely the means which the Holy Spirit uses to apply to the individual soul the benefits of Christ’s death.”

J. Gresham Machen, What is Faith, p. 180.
Saved and Saving
One day I saw a steel engraving that I liked very much. I thought it was the finest thing I ever had seen, at the time, and I bought it. It was a picture of a woman coming out of the water, and clinging with both arms to the cross. There she came out of the drowning waves with both arms around the cross perfectly safe. Afterwards, I saw another picture that spoiled this one for me entirely, it was so much more lovely. It was a picture of a person coming out of the dark waters, with one arm clinging to the cross and with the other she was lifting some one else out of the waves. That is what I like. Keep a firm hold upon the cross, but always try to rescue another from the drowning.
Moody's Anecdotes and Illustrations
Saved at the Bottom of the Sea

Off the Florida coast, Mike, a professional diver, was engaged in salvaging parts of a ship which had sunk some months previously. He had just descended one morning and was making his way slowly toward the sunken hull when he noticed something white in the mouth of an oyster or shellfish of some sort.

Stooping, Mike picked up the small piece of white paper and turned his marine light on it. A gospel tract! He read its message slowly and carefully, and conviction struck home to his heart. If God's message of mercy in Christ had pursued him to the bottom of the sea, he could not hold out any longer.

Standing where he was that morning, Mike accepted Christ as his Savior. When he returned to the surface, he took with him the little tract which had followed him to the bottom of the ocean.

Saved by Faith

The recognition of your sinful and lost estate does not necessarily mean that you have to understand fully how and why it all happened before you can cry out for help and salvation. A man once came to a preacher and asked, "How is it that I was born with an evil heart? Is that fair, that I should inherit the sin of Adam?" The preacher replied, "The question that should concern you more is how to get rid of your evil heart. You have an evil heart which renders you completely unfit for the Kingdom of God; you must have a new heart or you cannot be saved. The question which now most deeply concerns you is, how shall you obtain it?" But the man insisted, "I wish you would tell me how I came by my wicked heart." "I shall not do that at present," replied the preacher, "for if I could do it to your entire satisfaction, it would not in the least help you toward obtaining a new heart. The great thing for which I am desirous is that you should become a new creature and be prepared for heaven." Then he continued, "You are like a man who is drowning. Along come his friends to save him, but he insists on being told exactly how he came to be drowning before he will consent to be rescued." The man started to think. The preacher was right. The most urgent thing for him and for you is not the full understanding of why and how you came to be what you are, but to come to the Savior, to become what you can be-a child of God by receiving Jesus Christ.

Saved by Grace—Rewarded by Works

Christians do not practically remember that while we are saved by grace, altogether by grace, so that in the matter of salvation works are altogether excluded; yet that so far as the rewards of grace are concerned, in the world to come, there is an intimate connection between the life of the Christian here and the enjoyment and the glory in the day of Christ’s appearing.

From George Muller of Bristol and His Witness to a Prayer Hearing God, by Arthur T. Pierson, p. 460, quoted in Grace in Focus, Vol. II, Number 3, (Irving, TX), May/June 1996, p. 4.
Saved by Hope

A mother, the instant that she knows she is with child, lives her every moment in anticipation of her deliverance from the burden that is within her. After a time she cannot take a step, make a move, think a thought that is disassociated from the coming of her child.

In America, people are supposed to ignore the obvious fact that a woman is with child. In France the case is quite the contrary. If a man is introduced to a woman who is an expectant mother, it is the height of politeness for him to congratulate her. "Je vous felicite de votre esperance." "I congratulate you on your hope," is a common phrase among the cultured.

Just as a woman becomes pregnant in anticipation of bearing a child, so a believer becomes saved in anticipation of being fully like the Lord Jesus Christ. It is unto this state of hope that we are saved.

Saved by the Bell

The citizens of Feldkirch, Austria, didn’t know what to do. Napoleon’s massive army was preparing to attack. Soldiers had been spotted on the heights above the little town, which was situated on the Austrian border. A council of citizens was hastily summoned to decide whether they should try to defend themselves or display the white flag of surrender. It happened to be Easter Sunday, and the people had gathered in the local church. The pastor rose and said, “Friends, we have been counting on our own strength, and apparently that has failed. As this is the day of our Lord’s resurrection, let us just ring the bells, have our services as usual, and leave the matter in His hands. We know only our weakness, and not the power of God to defend us.” The council accepted his plan and the church bells rang. The enemy, hearing the sudden peal, concluded that the Austrian army had arrived during the night to defend the town. Before the service ended, the enemy broke camp and left.

Source Unknown