Sermon Illustrations

Smallpox is an infectious disease unique to humans. It raises fluid-filled blisters in the skin. How many remember the smallpox vaccination? Do you remember that one big blister on your arm? A person with smallpox has them all over his skin. The image on Google was too hideous to show you. It results in scars, blindness, arthritis and osteomyelitis.

It was a scourge during the 18th century and killed an estimated 400,000 Europeans each year, including three rulers. It caused one-third of all blindness. Of all those infected, 20–60%—and over 80% of infected children—died from the disease. During the 20th century, it is estimated that smallpox was responsible for 300–500 million deaths.

In the early 1950s an estimated 50 million cases of smallpox occurred in the world each year. As recently as 1967, the World Health Organization estimated that 15 million people contracted the disease and that two million died in that year.

After successful vaccination campaigns throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the WHO certified the eradication of smallpox in December 1979. To this day, smallpox is the only human infectious disease to have been completely eradicated.

Vaccination was developed with astute observers noted that milkmaids who had contracted cowpox never got smallpox. Cowpox is a contagious viral disease of cows and is a mild form of smallpox.

Religion is a mild form of righteousness but it not the real thing. It is close enough that it will inoculate people from really coming to Christ. The mere form of religion will make them unaware they need faith in Christ.

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