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The Broken Xylophone

Sin Human Nature God's Love

Source: Sermon

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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). 

The Sex Exposure Calculator

Marriage Purity God's Love

Source: “How many people have you indirectly slept with?” by Harry Readhead, Metro.co.uk, Apr 7, 2016

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-06-20

Scripture: John 15:10

Author: Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

Harry Readhead, reporting for METRO, writes:

A new calculator will tell you how many sexual partners you’ve been indirectly exposed to.

For instance, if you have had nine lovers – that’s the average in the UK – and your other half has had the same, you have been indirectly exposed to 597,870 individuals.

That’s the population of Belfast.

The Sexual Exposure and STI Risk Calculator also tells you your risk of catching gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia.

APPLICATION

This adds new meaning to the expression “getting more than you bargained for.” By contrast, only those who follow God’s prescription and wait to become sexually active until they’ve found their life partner, protect themselves from exposure to these diseases.  In effect, they reduce that risk to zero percent! What a wonderful gift for a couple to exchange on their wedding day.

But the negative effects of multiple sex partners are not limited to the transmission of STDs. Casual attitudes toward sex tend to be translated into casual attitudes toward marital commitment, which serves to undermine the security and health of the relationship.

Yes, God’s will for marriage requires us to delay our sexual gratifications. But God doesn’t set forth these expectations to harm us. Rather, His desire is to protect us from what He knows would cause us, and our future spouse, harm. 

“If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands and remain in his love” (John 15:10). 

Crime Does Pay

Motivation God's Love Cultural Trends

Source: “DC bill would pay people stipends not to commit crimes” AP, By BEN NUCKOLS - February 2, 2016

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-04-23

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:14

Author: Illustration Exchange
3

ILLUSTRATION

Ben Nuckols reports:

WASHINGTON (AP) — They say crime doesn’t pay, but that might not be entirely true in the District of Columbia as lawmakers look for ways to discourage people from becoming repeat offenders.

The D.C. Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a bill that includes a proposal to pay residents a stipend not to commit crimes. It’s based on a program in Richmond, California, that advocates say has contributed to deep reductions in crime there.

Under the bill, city officials would identify up to 200 people a year who are considered at risk of either committing or becoming victims of violent crime. Those people would be directed to participate in behavioral therapy and other programs. If they fulfill those obligations and stay out of trouble, they would be paid.

The bill doesn’t specify the value of the stipends, but participants in the California program receive up to $9,000 per year.

The program in California experienced a 77 percent drop in homicides over the seven years after it was implemented. Not only that, the $9,000 a year spent in stipends is said to be a bargain compared to the pain and suffering of the victims and the cost of incarcerating the offender. Follow this link to an article on the original program in Richmond.

APPLICATION

Just because it’s cheaper to pay criminals not to commit crimes than to incarcerate them doesn’t mean that's what should be done. While paying criminals off may seem like the pragmatic thing to do, it offers no incentive for them to actually begin making a positive contribution to society.  But having abandoned our Judeo-Christian principles, we no longer look for moral or spiritual answers to our social ills.

God has a different solution. His love not only turns our hearts from evil, it also motivates us to love others the way He has loved us.  It doesn’t just prevent negative actions, it replaces them with positive actions.

If $9000 keeps some on the straight and narrow, imagine what the gift of God’s eternal forgiveness and love will do.

"For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died" (2 Corinthians 5:14).

The Wonders of a Mother's Milk

Spiritual Health Word of God God's Love

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-03-16

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:2 ; Jeremiah 15:16

Author: Illustration Exchange
5

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Divorce Day

God's Love Divorce Marriage

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-03-15

Scripture: Ephesians 5:25 ; Ephesians 5:31

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Is The Bible Guilty of Hate Speech?

God's Love God's Judgment Sexual Promiscuity

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-01-18

Scripture: John 3:16 ; 1 John 4:10

Author: Mitchell Dillon
6

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Hell Defined

Hell Self-image God's Love

Contributed By: John Reed | Date Posted: 2015-12-08

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:6 ; 1 Corinthians 13:12

Author: Jean-Paul Sartre / Illustration Exchange
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Rich in Christ

Gratitude Repentance God's Love

Contributed By: Vince Putnam | Date Posted: 2015-11-18

Scripture: Acts 2:

Author: Vince Putnam
9

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Love Moves Mountains

Love (Human) Motivation God's Love

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-10-29

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:8

Author: Illustration Exchange
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God's Perspective

God's Judgment God's Love Perspective

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-10-10

Scripture: John 3:16

Author: Illustration Exchange
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