Sermon Illustrations


When Standard Oil Company began to refine petroleum, there was a black substance, a by-product, that no one knew what to do with. It was black, sticky, and stinky. It couldn’t be buried because it would just find its way to the surface again. It couldn’t be burned because the smoke and stench would keep people from breathing anywhere near it. If that by-product was drained into a river, all the fish died. So Standard Oil offered a large reward to anyone who could come up with a solution to get rid of it.

One day, a chemist went into Mr. Rockefeller’s office and showed him a brick made from a cloudy white substance. It had no smell or other offensive quality. As a matter of fact, the scientist showed Mr. Rockefeller a long list of useful purposes it had. What was this substance? The scientist called it paraffin. And how do they make paraffin? They refine that black, sticky, stinky stuff that is a by-product of oil and make something useful and non-offensive from it.

We were dead in our sin. We were as useless and as offensive as that ugly, smelly, and lethal by-product. That was how we were before Christ. Now let’s take a look at how we are after Christ.

When Jesus comes into our hearts, He begins to refine us; to clean us up from the inside out. We start changing to be of a higher quality spiritually. In short, we become useful and saved by the grace of God.

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