Illustrations & Applications
Updated: Jun 2
A sermon is an explanation of the Bible story however, its purpose is not only to educate but also to lead the congregation to the place where they can spiritually transform to become more like Jesus. In any story two things happen, first the central character experiences a problem that leads them to examine their relationship with God and second, they learn a spiritual lesson as a result of that examination. Illustrations make the problems faced by the central character relevant in their own lives and applications help the congregation to apply the lesson to their own life situation.
Illustrations are wonderful because they give the listener an insight into the experience of the central character. It's hard to image what life must be like for those who have a physical disability such as the man at the pool of Bethesda or blind Bartimaeus. However, by taking a minute to describe how you believe they would feel, the sense of sadness and rejection, forced to be dependent on others, perhaps without the possibility of a marital relationship or of children and family. Just a minute to give your listeners a glimpse into their lives can produce a sense of empathy and understanding toward them.
Of course you may also want to illustrate the problem faced by the central character. David, a teenager, faced the giant Goliath, an experienced warrior, on the battlefield. That is hardly an experience any of us meet on a daily basis however, we all face problems in our personal or working lives that appear equally as fearful and as intimidating as David facing Goliath. We can use those problems that we face in our lives to illustrate the same sense of fearfulness and intimidation David felt. When a young person faces an exam, or an adult faces a difficult work colleague or manager, or a parent faces a challenging adolescent, the giants in our lives may be different but they are giants nonetheless.
Here’s how to do it: