Summary: Many Christians go through life with "monkeys on their back"...burdens that keep them from experiencing all that God has for them. This New Year's sermon challenge people to get rid of these hindrances.

Get That Monkey Off Your Back

Chuck Sligh

January 11, 2015

NOTE: A PowerPoint presentation of this sermon is available upon request by emailing me at

[PROP: As large a stuffed monkey as can be found; 2-3 if available.]

TEXT: Please turn in your Bibles to Luke 4


Our text today takes place shortly after the temptation of Christ in the wilderness. Luke 4:14-15 tell us that Jesus returned in the power of the Holy Spirit. His first public sermon is recorded for us in the following verses.

Please stand in honor of the Word of God this morning as I read verses 17-22 – “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias [Isaiah]. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” (OPEN IN PRAYER)

Joke – I remember a story of a woman with a baby who got on a bus and sat down. She was carrying the baby in one of those baby-carrying thingies on her back.

When she got to her seat, it was apparent she was worn out and frazzled from carrying her baby all day on her back. Once seated, she pulled him off her back and held him in her arms, but this little rascal was squirming and wriggling around and restless, and she was just having the worst time with him, which only added to her frustration.

At the next bus top, a man got on the bus and when he looked down at the bundle in her arms, he said, “Ma’am, that is the UGLIEST baby I’ve ever seen in my life!”

She was naturally SO offended as he just walked by and sat down. Almost to the point of tears, another man boarded and sat down beside her. Seeing she was upset, he said, “What’s wrong ma’am? Are you okay?”

And she said, “That man over there was so rude to me. I am SO upset. I feel like I should go back there and give him a piece of my mind.”

The man said, “Well, I think you should. No one should be rude, especially to strangers. You shouldn’t have to put up with that. You should to tell him off.”

And she said, “You really think I should?”

And he said, “Yeah. You go ahead and give him a piece of your mind. You go on and I’ll hold your monkey for you.”

Well, the point of the joke is that some babies only a mother could love! But I’d like to suspend common sense for a moment and take the joke literally. What if she wasn’t carrying a homely baby, but a real monkey! That would be pretty absurd wouldn’t it? I think we’d say to her, “Ma’am, you don’t have to carry this monkey around on your back. You can put it down and live a normal life.”

I wonder how many of us actually have a monkey on OUR backs. Maybe you’re carrying around the monkey of worry or rejection or anger or bitterness or sorrow for past offenses or missed opportunities or screw-ups in your past. I think God wants us to take those monkeys off our backs and not carry that baggage. I think God wants you to enter this new year with freedom and hope and courage and joy and strength and boldness and passion for God. I think God wants you to experience some things you’ve never experienced before, but you won’t be able to because you’ve got a monkey on your back weighing you down.

Illus. – I’ll never forget a woman who got saved in our church in Wiesbaden who had a BUNCH of monkeys on her back. She had experienced ABANDONMENT from her dad who deserted his family when she was just three or four years old. She had experienced REJECTION from her mother who told her almost every day that she was a mistake and she wished she had never been born. She had experienced ABUSE from a male baby-sitter her mother left her with after school who raped her every day he watched her for two years in her pre-teens. She had recurring NIGHTMARES after once witnessing police fill a thug full of lead right before her eyes in her teens when on vacation at a motel.

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