Sermon Illustrations


Colossians 3:12 - 17

12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Now, there should be no misunderstanding that.

Believe it or not the following announcements actually appeared in various church bulletins, or so we’re told. Regardless, they highlight misunderstanding and will undoubtedly give you a chuckle.

1. Don’t let worry kill you—let the church help.

2. Thursday night—Potluck supper. Prayer and medication to follow.

3. Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.

4. For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

5. The rosebud on the alter this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Julius Belzer.

6. This afternoon there will be a meeting in the South and North ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends.

7. This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the alter.

8. The service will close with “Little Drops of Water.” One of the ladies will start quietly and the rest if the congregation will join in.

9. Next Sunday a special collection will be taken to defray the cost of the new carpet. All those wishing to do something on the new carpet will come forward and do so.

10. The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind. They can be seen in the church basement Saturday.

11. A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

12. At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be “What is Hell?” Come early and listen to our choir practice.

Those are misunderstandings…..

But what did Paul mean when he said: “as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

To answer that, let me ask you this.

What happens when you put on old clothes?

They just feel the same don’t they?

“What are you wearing?”…. “Oh, just the same old clothes!”

But what happens when you put on new clothes?

You feel good….you hold your head a little higher.

People notice too…..”Oh you have new clothes, nice shirt, nice pants….”

That’s what Paul meant when he said: clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

To have a fresh start, you have to be a new person, you have to put on new clothes, you have to walk the walk and talk the talk.

If we are going to enjoy the kind of relationships Jesus wants us to experience, then we need to re-clothe ourselves with virtues that come from a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 43:18-19

18 "Forget the former things;

do not dwell on the past.

19 “See, I am doing a new thing!”

All of us have made mistakes in our lives. We have done things that should not have done.

The fact of the matter is, we can’t turn back time, we can’t go back a year, a day or even one second that has already passed.

Listen to what God is saying to you…..He says “I want you to have a fresh start in life, I want you to have a new beginning, I want to do something new in your life.”

Here’s proof John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Jesus says “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.”

What does that mean?

A bunch…Jesus said because of me, because my father loves you so much, he wants you to have the best of the best.

He wants you to have more.

More love for one another, more kindness to you and from you.

He’s also speaking financially, more at work, more in relationships, more from your kinds, from your parents, every part of life.

Then Jesus says to watch out,…because there is someone out there who wants you to fail and will stop at nothing to make sure that happens…

He goes on to tell us that there is an adversary, called the Devil, that seeks to steal, kill and destroy that life.

The Devil will remind us of our past in order to keep us from enjoying the life that God gave us to live.

The Devil does not want you to have a fresh start in life.

John 10:11 – 12 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.

Aren’t you glad that God wants to do something new in your life?

Doesn’t it make you excited to know that God desires to give you a fresh start, a new beginning in life.

What all of us here need this morning is a Fresh Start, a New Beginning with God.

According to Isaiah 43:18 “The Lord says, `Forget about what has happened before. Do not think about the past. Instead, look at the new things I’m going to do. ”

Listen to what God is saying in this verse.

Forget about what’s happened before. He says don’t think about the past. It’s over. The book’s closed on it.

When you bring up what he said or she said, it opens up an old hurtful wound that is harder to heal.

We are in the time of season to where all old things are going away and the new things are coming.

The leaves are changing colors, the weather is getting colder, and holidays are coming up.

Our lives, your life is like a year.

At first we are born, (New Year)

Then we experience love (Valentines Day)

Then we feel a tug from God in our life and realize that one man died for us, took on the world gave his life for us that we could live forever and escape the wrath of God. And we are saved, born again. (Good Friday & Easter)

Then, this is where the enemy steps in, once Satan hears of this he tries to change our life and get us to lose our focus on God….

(Halloween, celebrating the dead)

Then as we realize that we are going through a backslide, we become thankful and get more of a loving spirit in out hearts. (Thanksgiving)

Then at last we celebrate the birth of the one who saved us. (Christmas)

So, back to the original question, how do you get a fresh start?

I want to share with you a formula for starting over.


S – Stop making excuses.

If I want a fresh start in life, I have to stop making excuses for my failures. I’ve got to stop blaming other people. I’ve got to stop seeing myself as the victim of my circumstances.

Proverbs 28:13 “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them he gets another chance.”

T - Take An Inventory Of Life

You need to take an inventory of your life. That means I need to evaluate all my experiences. I need to look at what I have left after the failure. I need to take an inventory of my life’s experiences and learn from them.

Galatians 3:4 "You have experienced many things. Were all those experiences wasted? I hope not." I hope you’ll remember this and pass it along.

A - Act in faith

You have to venture into new territory.

The Bible says that the key to changing anything is faith.

If you want to change your circumstance, it takes faith.

If you want to change your personality, anything in your life, you have to have some faith.

Matthew 9:29. “ According to your faith it will be done to you. ”

That is a very simple but powerful statement.

That means we tend to get out of life what we expect.

“According to your faith it will be done to you."

If we expect things to always be grey & dull, they always will be.

"I wish that hadn’t happened! I wish I could change that. If only I could go back, reverse the clock and redo history," and you’re rehearsing and regretting, you’ll not only make yourself miserable right now, you’re setting yourself up for more of the same thing in the future.

The way you set yourself up for more failure is by focusing on past failures.

Whatever you focus on you tend to reproduce in your life. "According to your faith it will be done unto you."

R - Refocus

I need to refocus my thoughts if I want to change my life.

If I want to get going again, if I want a fresh start, I need to rethink the way that I think.

I need to change my mind about a number of issues.

Proverbs 4:23 "Be careful how you think. Your life is shaped by your thoughts."

Start thinking things like…: ”I may not get that job promotion I want, but that only means that God has something better for me.”

My kids may be hard to control right now, but one day soon, they will learn, God will bring em back.”

I know right know we’re just barley makings ends meet, but God said he wants me to have a more abundant life…and I believe him.

Romans 12:2 “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. ”

T – Trust

Trust God to help you succeed.

Depend on Him.

Not on others or yourself.

God will put others that can help you in your path.

We’ve already proven that we can’t do it on our own. That’s why we’ve failed.

Success in the Christian life is not trying harder, but living smarter.

Giving God control of your life.

Zechariah 4:6 “You will not succeed by your own strength or power but by My Spirit, says the Lord.”

Regardless of what kind of failure you had in the past.

You may have had a financial failure, or maybe a relational failure, a failure in your marriage.

You may have had a moral failure.

Maybe you just plain and simple Blew It…and you may have made some decisions you’re so ashamed of and hope nobody ever finds out about.

Regardless of the failure you’ve had in your life, here’s how you start over.

Stop making excuse

Take an inventory of my life

Act in faith

Refocus my thoughts

Trust God

With the most important being the last. Trust God.

There’s no misunderstanding what God wants for you.

What are you going to do for him?

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