In his book, Death by Love: Letters from the Cross (Crossway), Marc Driscoll writes: “You can learn a basic principle of how your enemy works. The great Puritan Thomas Brooks wrote one of my favorite books on spiritual warfare, Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices. Brooks uses a wonderful illustration that explains why Jesus rejected Satan’s simple offer of bread.
“Brooks says our Enemy will bait our hook with anything we find desirable. This means he will gladly give us sex, money, power, pleasure, fame, fortune and relationships. Satan’s goal is for us to take the bait without seeing the hook, and once the hook is in our mouth he then reels us in to take us captive. His gifts are often very good things offered for sinful uses. He’ll challenge us to examine the gift to ensure its quality. That is the essence of the trap. The gift may be
good, but the giver is evil. In this way, Satan and demons are akin to a pedophile who seeks to entice children into trust with gifts of candy and toys, only to destroy them.
“When we take the gifts Satan and demons give, we are in essence biting down on the bait. As a result, the hook of sin is in our mouth, and Satan reels us in as his captive so that, as Jesus says in John 8:34, we become slaves to our sin.”
Quoted from ‘Preaching Now’ email
“Take this rule: whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off your relish of spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself.”
Susanna Wesley – Letter to her son John Wesley – June 8, 1725
“Sin is the most expensive thing in the universe… If it is forgiven sin, it cost God His only Son… If it is unforgiven sin, it cost the sinner his soul and an eternity in hell.”
Charles G Finney – Quoted from A Box of Delights J. John & Mark Stibble
A Slav folk tale tells the story of men who once visited a holy man to ask his advice. “We have done wrong actions,” they said, “and our consciences are troubled. What must we do to be forgiven?”
“Tell me of your wrong doings my sons,” said the old man.
The first man said, “I committed a great and grevious sin.”
“I have done a number of wrong things,” said the second man, “but they are all quite small, and not at all important.”
“Go,” said the holy man, “and bring me a stone for each misdeed.”
The first man staggered back with an enormous boulder. The second cheerfully brought a bag of small pebbles.
“Now,” said the holy man, “go and put them back where you found them.”
The first man shouldered his great rock again, and staggered back to the place from which he had brought it. But the second man could only remember where a very few of his pebbles had lain. He came back saying that the task was too difficult.
“Sins are like those stones,” said the old man. “If a man has committed a great sin, it lies like a heavy stone on his conscience; yet if he is truly sorry, he is forgiven and the load of guilt is taken away. But if a man is constantly doing small things that he knows to be wrong, he does not feel any great load of guilt, and so he is not sorry, and remains a sinner. Do you see, my sons, it is as important to avoid little sins as big ones.”
1500 Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching – Pub Marshall Pickering
I went to the psychiatrist to be psychoanalysed
To find out why I killed the cat and blackened my husband’s eyes.
He laid me on a downy couch to see what he could find,
And here is what de dredged up from my subconscoius mind:
When I was one, my mommie hid my dollie in a trunk,
And so it follows naturally that I am always drunk.
When I was two, I saw my father kiss the maid one day,
And that is why I suffer now from kleptomania.
At three, I had the feeling of ambivalence towards my brothers,
And so it folllows naturally I poison all my lovers.
But I am happy; now I’ve learned the lesson this has taught;
That everything I do that’s wrong is someone eals’s fault.
Drive the point home, G Twelftree, p 174
There was a famous correspondance in The Times under the title of ‘What’s wrong with the world?’ Probably the most penetrating of all the letters was from G.K. Chesterton:
That is precisely the answer. The heart of the human problem is the problem of the heart. People have a variety of theories about ‘what is wrong with the world?’ but no one can truthfully answer the question until he can say eith honesty, ‘Dear Sir, I am.’
Christ described human nature in these words; ‘From the inside , out of man’s heart come evil thoughts, acts of fornication, of theft, murder, adultery, ruthless greed and malice; fraud, indecency, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly; these evil things all come from inside, and they defule a man. (Mk 7:21-23)
David Watson, My God is Real, p26
I put my congregation through this exercise once to help them become more aware of the tendency of Indwelling Sin to blind and deceive us (and to illustrate why we all need to be open and respond more humbly to correction):
Close your eyes and picture someone you know who…
1. Has got a significant fault or area of self-deception.
2. You’ve tried to talk to them about it, maybe others have, but they don’t see it.
3. It’s not easy to talk to them about it, because of the way they react.
4. They haven’t begun to change, even a little (but why should that be a surprise they don’t even see their sin?)
5. You care about them, but you’ve become frustrated because of their hardness of heart.
6. Can you see this person?
Now stop for a moment and think…it’s quite possible someone in this auditorium is thinking about you.
does he see
even though he knows
“You are precious
to my heart”?
Wellsprings p227 – Anthony de Meool
The minister arose to address his congregation. “There is a certain man among us today who is flirting with another man’s wife. Unless he puts ten pounds in the collection box, his name will be read from the pulpit.”
When the collection plate came in, there were 19 ten pound notes, and a five pound note with this note attached: “Other five on payday.”
Quoted and adapted from the SermonFodder email list
In the 14th century, Robert Bruce of Scotland was leading his men in a battle to gain independence from England. Near the end of the conflict, the English wanted to capture Bruce to keep him from the Scottish crown. So they put his own bloodhounds on his trail. When the bloodhounds got close, Bruce could hear their baying. His attendant said, “We are done for. They are on your trail, and they will reveal your hiding place.” Bruce replied, “It’s all right.” Then he headed for a stream that flowed through the forest. He plunged in and waded upstream a short distance. When he came out on the other bank, he was in the depths of the forest. Within minutes, the hounds, tracing their master’s steps, came to the bank. They went no farther. The English soldiers urged them on, but the trail was broken. The stream had carried the scent away. A short time later, the crown of Scotland rested on the head of Robert Bruce. The memory of our sins, prodded on by Satan, can be like those baying dogs–but a stream flows, red with the blood of God’s own Son. By grace through faith we are safe. No sin-hound can touch us. The trail is broken by the precious blood of Christ. “The purpose of the cross,” someone observed, “is to repair the irreparable.”
E. Lutzer, Putting Your Past Behind You, Here’s Life, 1990, p.42 – quoted off the Internet
Karl Menninger, the famed psychiatrist, once said that if he could convince the patients in psychiatric hospitals that their sins were forgiven, 75 percent of them could walk out the next day!
Today in the Word, March 1989, p. 8. – quoted off the Internet
In a dream, Martin Luther found himself being attacked by Satan. The devil unrolled a long scroll containing a list of Luther’s sins, and held it before him. On reaching the end of the scroll Luther asked the devil, “Is that all?” “No,” came the reply, and a second scroll was thrust in front of him. Then, after a second came a third. But now the devil had no more. “You’ve forgotten something,” Luther exclaimed triumphiantly. “Quickly write on each of them, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ God’s son cleanses us from all sins.'”
K. Koch, Occult Bondage and Deliverance, p. 10 – quoted off the Internet
A Sunday School teacher had just concluded her lesson and wanted to make sure she had made her point. She said, “Can anyone tell me what you must do before you can obtain forgiveness of sin?” There was a short pause and then, from the back of the room, a small boy spoke up. “Sin,” he said.
Bits and Pieces, May, 1991 – quoted off the Internet
Calvary shows how far men will go in sin, and how far God went for man’s salvation.
H. D. Trumbull
A woman was waiting at an airport one night
There were several long hours to wait for her flight.
She hunted for reading in the airport’s gift shop
bought a big bag of cookies — found a place she could drop.
She was engrossed in her book, but she happened to see
a man sat beside her — as bold as can be
and grabbed up a cookie from the bag in between
which she tried to ignore — and not make a scene.
She munched at her cookies and glanced at the clock
as the masculine cookie-thief diminished her stock!
She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by
Thinking, “If I wasn’t a lady, I’d blacken his eye!”
With each cookie she took, he took one or two.
With only one left, she watched what he’d do
With a grin on his face, and a nice nervous laugh
He took the last cookie and broke it in half!
He offered her half as he munched on the other
She snatched from him and murmured “Oh Brother!
This guy has some nerve, and he’s also quite rude
He never showed even polite gratitude.”
She had never known when she had been quite so galled
She smiled with relief when her flight — it was called.
She gathered her stuff and marched to the gate.
(With not even a glance at the thieving ingrate.)
She boarded the plane and sank in her seat,
Then sought out her book which was almost complete.
As she reached in her bag, she gasped with surprise,
Her bag of cookies were in front of her eyes!
“If mine are right here,” she moaned in despair,
then the others were his and he was trying to share!
Too late to apologize, she realized with grief
That she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief!
Author Valerie Cox – From the book: A 3rd Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul