Sermon Illustrations

Mark 8:35 For whoever wants to save his life a will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. (NIV)

Now, Jesus is not talking about the cost of our salvation here, because that is free! Romans 6:23 says, “The FREE gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” All we have to do is trust Him. Jesus is not talking about the cost of our salvation. He’s talking about the cost of serving Him. Jesus is not telling us how to be saved and go to heaven. He’s telling us how to save our lives and make the most of them on this earth. In other words, He’s saying, “If you want to really live, then give up your life for my sake; risk it all in the cause of the Gospel.”

Tyrtaeus, an old Greek poet who lived before the time of Christ, wrote something very similar to what Jesus said here. Tyrtaeus wrote, “The man who risks his life in battle has the best chance in saving it; the one who flees to save it is most likely to lose it.” (Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 2nd ed., p.95b)

That’s true in modern warfare, as well. During World War II, psychologist E. Paul Torrance made a study of the top U.S. pilots who flew over the Pacific Ocean. There was one common trait he found among all of them. They were risk-takers.

Throughout their lives, they kept testing the limits of their abilities, and yet they were highly resistant to accidents. In fact, during the war, they suffered fewer casualties than pilots who were inclined to play it safe.

Dr. Torrance concluded, “Living itself is a risky business. If we spent half as much time learning how to take risks as we spend avoiding them, we wouldn’t have nearly so much to fear in life.” (Bible Illustrator, #1211, 5/1988.8) That’s interesting…

Those who play it safe are actually at greatest risk, but those who take great risks are actually the most secure. Or as Jesus put it: “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.”

From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Take A Risk, 11/5/2009

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