Sermon Illustrations

I used to fly small planes, Cessnas and Pipers, single engine and multi-engine, and I would give flight instruction to people who wanted to learn flying and I would also do what is called “bank runs” where we would fly cancelled checks to various places throughout the country. We would fly somewhere, sit around all day until the banks closed, then pick up their cancelled checks and fly them to the banks headquarters in another city. Well one time I was flying along up in Oregon, at night, and the airport I was going to land at had bad weather, it had heavy fog and rain, low visibility, just poor flying conditions. I was also acquiring some icing on the wings of the airplane, which is a pretty dangerous thing to get on your wings. So here I am in this little single engine airplane, at night, all by myself, in the clouds, picking up icing, hoping I’m going to be able to land at this little airport that is all fogged in.

And its dark as can be outside, and I’m flying on the instruments, about 15 miles from the airport, coming in to land, when all of a sudden everything went pitch black. I could not see outside at all, I could not see the instruments at all. The cabin lighting system had completely failed and everything was so dark you could feel it.

Well I instinctively dropped down to my flight bag which was supposed to contain a flashlight. I say supposed to because I could not find it for what was probably 10 seconds but it seemed like an eternity. An eternity of groping in the darkness, feeling around for the flashlight, all the while my mind is telling me the airplane is rolling over and I’m about to spin into the ground. Have you ever been in darkness so thick it felt like you could slice it with a knife?

Finally my hand touched what I knew was my flashlight, I yanked it out of the bag and quickly turned it on and shined it on the instruments. Sure enough, I was in a 45 degree banking turn but was able to quickly level the wings. I then put the flashlight in my mouth and flew with both hands on the control yoke.

I discovered that I hate flying in pitch darkness. But this story illustrates both the danger of darkness and the saving power of light.

John 3:18-21

18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." John 3:18-21