Sermon Illustrations

Holy Sway Bars! (08.02.05--Boldness Too!--2 Samuel 4:1)

Have you ever followed behind one of those pick-up trucks pulling a hay wagon? Around these parts that can be an every day experience especially during hay baling time. You’re driving along the highway and then, as you come over the crest of a hill, there it is–a truck pulling a wagon along at about 25 miles below the posted limit. As the cars and trucks begin to line up behind the slowly moving rig, what happens next is usually pretty predictable. The hauler, sensing the traffic behind him, invariably begins to pick up speed. As he does so, the hay wagon begins to wander; first slowly from side to side and, as speed picks up, wildly. It’s simply not built to travel at those speeds. Without sway bars, it will continue to pull wildly until one of two things happens. Either the truck slows down or the wagon tips over. Hay wagons simply aren’t designed to be pulled along at 55 miles an hour on a country highway.

Hugh Lattimer once preached before King Henry VIII. Henry was greatly displeased by the boldness in the sermon and ordered Lattimer to preach again on the following Sunday and apologize for the offense he had given. The next Sunday, after reading his text, he thus began his sermon: “Hugh Lattimer, dost thou know before whom thou are this day to speak? To the high and mighty monarch, the king’s most excellent majesty, who can take away thy life, if thou offendest. Therefore, take heed that thou speakest not a word that may displease. But then consider well, Hugh, dost thou not know from whence thou comest--upon Whose message thou are sent? Even by the great and mighty God, Who is all-present and Who beholdeth all thy ways and Who is able to cast thy soul into hell! Therefore, take care that thou deliverest thy message faithfully.” He then preached the same sermon he had preached the preceding Sunday--and with considerably more energy. (M. Cocoris, Evangelism, A Biblical Approach, Moody, 1984, p. 126.)

When it comes to boldness, we can “hitch our wagons” to some person or something here on earth that may provide us with some sense of stability and direction for a time. We are pulled along, dependent upon another until all at once the pace changes. It seems safe for a while and then, wham! Something happens to affect the pace. When we derive our boldness and...

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