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The Broken Xylophone

Sin Human Nature God's Love

Source: Sermon

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: James Miller | Date Posted: 2018-12-29

Scripture: Romans 3:9 ; 1 John 4:10

Author: James Miller
3

ILLUSTRATION

According to the book of Romans in the NT, sin is not a list of unacceptable behaviors, it’s embedded in our nature.  It’s like this: A friend of mine is a pastor who, early in his marriage, started having kids.  People in the congregation tried to care for this new family, but one person brought over some toys for his kids that were hand-me-downs.  Some hand-me-downs are great. My son is 11 and we have yet to buy him a shirt.  It's good not to be the oldest cousin.

But some-hand-me-downs are actually just throw-me-outs, and people who are waste-not-want-nots think churches are beggers-not-choosers, so that’s where they dump their someone’s-treasure that was pretty much just everyone’s-trash.

So, a family gave him hand-me-down toys, one of which was an 8-note xylophone with one of the keys missing.  He asked me, “Do they want my kids to grow up tone deaf?” That xylophone was never going to play right.  You couldn’t sing do-re-mi with that thing because there was no "fa." 

The doctrine of sin isn’t like a xylophone player who isn’t good at it and makes mistakes; it’s like a xylophone player who is missing some keys.  No matter how good they might become, they'll never be able to play it exactly right.

APPLICATION

So, you and I are not sometimes sinful, we were born broken.  Which just tells you how loving Jesus is.  No kid at the store is going to pick up the xylophone that's missing keys.  You and I are that toy, but Jesus picked us anyway. 

He picked us and in his supernatural power, he restores us.  But make sure you get this; He restores us because he loves us. He doesn’t love us because we can be restored. He loves us first.

Most of us think it’s the other way around – he’ll love us when he’s done with us. No. He restores us because he loved us first. 

"And love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:10). 

Your Faith In Human Nature Is An Inspiration, Charlie Brown

Human Nature Faith Deceived/Deception

Source: WAITING by Ben Peterson, p.127

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-02-10

Scripture: Jeremiah 8:11 ; 1 Corinthians 1:20

Author: Ben Patterson / Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

Christian author Ben Patterson notes:

We are like the cartoon character Charlie Brown. Each year he tries to kick the football offered by Lucy. Each year she pulls it away just as he is about to kick it. Each year he swears he’ll not try again, and each year he is duped into just one more attempt. In one of these episodes, Charlie brown is taking the long run toward the ball. As always, he kicks into a blank space left by the ball she has jerked away. In the final frame, he is laying on his back, and Lucy looks down into his face and says, “Your faith in human nature is an inspiration to all young people.”

[Ben Patterson has been campus pastor at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, since 2001. He is a contributing editor to Christianity Today and Leadership Journal. Previously he was a contributing editor and editorial writer with The Wittenburg Door. Ben has written several books, including Serving God: The Grand Essentials of Work & Worship and Waiting.]

APPLICATION

It seems that no matter how many times the world makes promises it can't keep, or how many times we end up flat on our backs after having believed what the world has promised, we just keep coming back for another try. Peace, fulfillment, real meaning and purpose are things that only God can provide. 

"They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. "Peace, peace," they say, when there is no peace" (Jeremiah 8:11).

"Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" (1 Corinthians 1:20).

Illustration Exchange

Crocodiles More Trustworthy Than Men

Human Nature Trustworthy Man

Source: “Pet Project: Indonesia considers crocodiles for prison guards” Postmedia Network, Nov 10, 2015

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-01-29

Scripture: James 3:9 ; Proverbs 25:19

Author: Illustration Exchange
8

ILLUSTRATION

According to the U.K. Guardian:

Indonesia's anti-drug czar wants to build a prison on an island and staff it with crocodiles because, as he correctly explains, "You can't bribe crocodiles."

"You can't convince (crocodiles) to let inmates escape," Budi Waseso told local media.

The proposed prison was inspired by the croc-filled island in the James Bond film Live and Let Die. The Guardian further quotes Waseso as saying,

"We will place as many crocodiles as we can there. I will search for the most ferocious type of crocodile."

The prison will house death row drug convicts, the report says. 

APPLICATION

Rather than search for more trustworthy men, this anti-drug czar has decided that it’s a lot easier to find more ferocious crocodiles. That’s because a croc can be depended on, while the duplicitous nature of man, by contrast, cannot.

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be” (James 3:9-10).

Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble (Proverbs 25:19).

Self-Serving Servants

Jesus' Love Human Nature Motivation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-12-13

Scripture: John 15:3

Author: Illustration Exchange
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When Evil Became Good

Lies Deceived/Deception Worldly Mindset

Contributed By: Lingutla Raja | Date Posted: 2019-03-06

Scripture: Isaiah 5:20 ; Luke 11:35

Author: Lingutla Raja
5

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Evil Is "Make-Believe"

Evil Sin Nature Naive

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2018-09-09

Scripture: Mark 7:21

Author: Illustration Exchange
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The Town That Banned Death

Death Sin Nature Victory

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2018-04-25

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:54

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Jesus is Still the Only Way

Jesus, Savior Salvation Worldly Mindset

Contributed By: Seth Dillon | Date Posted: 2018-02-12

Scripture: John 14:6 ; John 3:16

Author: Seth Dillon
5

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Heaven Series--Surprise #5: You Won’t Be Bored In Heaven!

Heaven Series Sin Nature Unbelief

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-12-24

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:12 ; Jeremiah 17:9

Author: Mitchell Dillon
6

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Heaven Series--Surprise #10: The Perfect Ending!

Heaven Series Millennial Kingdom Sin Nature

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-12-24

Scripture: Genesis 1:31 ; Revelation 20:9

Author: Mitchell Dillon
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