Sermon Illustrations

Many people fear the prospect of dying.

· Some fear the pain associated with dying. Although because of modern medicine most deaths are not that painful.

· Some fear the separation from loved ones that dying brings.

· Some fear the unknown. They don’t know what awaits them beyond the grave—perhaps punishment.

· Some fear non-existence. In philosopher Bertrand Russell’s words, “Brief and powerless is man’s life; on his and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark.” How depressing!

Well, whatever fear man has of death, that is the grip that Satan uses to hold them in bondage.

In January 2004, police were shocked by what they found inside a house in the small town of Durham, Ontario, Canada. The police responded to complaints from relatives. And when they entered the ramshackle house, they discovered two teenage boys—ages 14 and 15—locked in cages. Their biological aunt had adopted the teens when they were 4 and 5 years old. For over a decade, the boys suffered abuse at the hands of their adoptive parents. Ontario officials learned that the boys did attend school during the day, but they were sent to their cages at night. On weekends and holidays, they often were allowed downstairs for a bowl of cereal in the morning, and then sent back to their cages wearing diapers, where they would spend the rest of the day. The adoptive mother was described to the court as “a domineering, controlling woman whose husband was an illiterate and dyslexic handyman, who beat the boys on her command.” It was Detective Kate Lang and Constable Tim Maw who released the boys from their makeshift cages. They told the boys that they would never be locked in those cages again. And the teens responded with one word: “Really?”

Really! They were released once and for all from their bondage. And released from their fear of bondage as well.

Satan holds men in bondage by fear of death. But Jesus died so that we might have eternal life and be released from that gripping fear of death.

Peter T. Forsythe was right when he said, “The first duty of every soul is to find—not its freedom, but its Master.”

The duty of every child of God is to make Jesus Christ Master of his life. It is only then that he will experience true freedom from the fear of death.

From Doug Lyon’s Sermon: The Suffering Savior