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Posts Tagged ‘sermon illustration’

GO TO PART 22

IFWT_firefighter

Point: What do you do in a conversation when someone raise the objection that they find it repulsive that Christians believe Christianity is the Only Way?  What do you do when people don’t like how narrow it sounds when Jesus said ““I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6)?

Picture: Space does not permit me to deal with all the presuppositions behind the various form of objections against the exclusivity of Christianity but I do want to tackle one major undercurrent which asssumes that such an exclusiveness of Christianity is mean-spirited and not nice.  Think of the following scenario that puts the objection in perspective: A high rise apartment caught fire one night and a man living in one of the upper floor is stuck in his bedroom with no way out.  Fire is all around him and certain doom appears to be his fate.  But one courageous firefighter went up on a latter to rescue him.  No one would say the firefighter is mean to have provided only one way for the man to be rescued because there was no way out beforehand.  Furthermore the firefighter has put his life on the line to make sure there is at least one way out of the inferno.  As an analogy to spiritual truths, Jesus came on earth with the mission of saving sinners.  He didn’t just risked His life but GAVE HIS LIFE in order to save us by dying on the cross for our sins.

POSSIBLE SCENARIO FOR EMPLOYING THIS ILLUSTRATION DURING APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM

OPPONENT: I can’t believe in Christianity because of the fact that Christianity proclaim that there is only one way to heaven.

CHRISTIAN: I see.  Are you aware that this isn’t just mere Christian opinion but the teaching of the Bible itself?

OPPONENT: Yes.

CHRISTIAN: I just wanted you to be aware and realize that it’s not just Christians thinking they are right, just because they happen to believe in Christianity.  Have you heard of John 14:6 before?

OPPONENT: Not sure.

CHRISTIAN: It says “Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

OPPONENT: Uh, okay…there you go…

CHRISTIAN: I brought that up so that you hear it from God’s Word itself.  Now…

OPPONENT: That is so mean!  Why only one way?  Why not many ways to God and heaven?

CHRISTIAN: I think we need to have a little perspective here.  Allow me to give the following illustration [Insert analogy].  Now then, imagine you are the person who is stuck in the room with the fire at this very moment.  Would you complain to the firefighter who reaches up to you in a latter that he’s only provided one way?

OPPONENT: Of course not.

CHRISTIAN: That’s what I figured.

 

GO TO PART 24

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GO TO PART 18

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Point: One form of the problem of evil is the complaint of why God wouldn’t do a certain good such as answer a certain prayer if He is a good God.  Some then reason that God therefore must not exists.  But missing in the premise is the Biblical truth that we are sinners and we don’t deserve any “good” from Him, and even if He answers our “Prayer” there is still the problem of our enmity with God…

Picture: Several weeks ago there was a news article that got my attention titled “Stranded hikers rescued at Eaton Canyon, get arrested for warrants

ALTADENA – Two hikers who got stranded on a cliff at Eaton Canyon were rescued Tuesday then later arrested after they turned out to have outstanding warrants, authorities said.

The sheriff’s Crescenta Valley station got a call at 4:20 p.m. about hikers stuck on a cliff west of the first waterfall, according to Sgt. David Shoemaker.

The Altadena Mountain Rescue Team responded.

Shoemaker said the Los Angeles County Fire Department used a helicopter to airlift one of the hikers whose ankle was sprained. The 27-year-old man was taken to Farnsworth Park at 568 Mt. Curve Ave. in Altadena.

He said the rescue team walked out the other hiker. The 39-year-old man had a possible sprained ankle, Shoemaker added.

Both men turned out to have warrants and were arrested, Shoemaker said. He said one of the warrants was for theft with a prior conviction. He didn’t have details about the other warrant.

According to sheriff’s booking records, Gabriel Villalobos, 27, was being held at the Crescenta Valley station jail on a $40,000 bail.

The name of the second hiker wasn’t available because he wasn’t booked at the station.

I think this illustrate the reality that even if God has answered us in our immediate situation but if we are guilty and are in enmity against God with our sins, then our status as sinners demand that He has the obligation to deal with our sins with the punishment we deserve.  Just because God has done a good thing for us with His common grace, that does not remove the reality of our objective guilt before the Lord.  Of course, God has provided Jesus Christ as the redemption from the guilt and punishment for our sins, if we trust in Him that He saved us and is the Lord of our life.  But the point of this illustration is to note the irony of looking for God to help with us something we think it’s important that’s short of realizing our problem with God with our sins.

POSSIBLE SCENARIO FOR EMPLOYING THIS ILLUSTRATION DURING APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM

OPPONENT: I struggle with believing in God, because if He exist why, He should bless me….<INSERT HERE: (e.g., in my life, by going to heaven, etc)>

CHRISTIAN: Okay, but remember that it’s not rational for God to be obligated to bless His enemies.  Do you think you are an enemy of God?

<If there was a previous apologetics dialogue where the opponent attack Christianity, cite this as an example of the opponent being at war against God>

<Or show the person’s sin and enmity against God by the Law, Way of the Master, Roman’s Road, etc>

CHRISTIAN: If you are an enemy of God, you do not have any rational basis to demand God having to bless you.  But even if God answers your immediate prayer requests in showing Himself to you, don’t forget the dilemma of your sins.  In fact, that reminds me of a newstory I read <SHARE THE ILLUSTRATION>.  Would you not say that the hikers can say everything is all okay just because the government was nice enough to save them?

OPPONENT: Of course not, they are fugitive!

CHRISTIAN: That’s like the situation we have here as analogy of our relationship, or broken relationship with God in light of our sins!  If God has indeed been merciful to us, it’s should not be an excuse to make us comfortable with God, but if your sins are not dealt with through the person of Jesus, we have every reason to be afraid after He has helped us…

 

GO TO PART 20

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GO TO PART 17

If The World Lost Oxygen For 5 Seconds presuppositional apologetics

Point: As we mentioned earlier, it’s not easy conveying the two crucial idea of Presuppositional apologetics that (1) a non-Christian worldview end up being self-refuting and (2) the non-Christian actually presupposes something entirely different than what the nonbelievers professes to be their worldview.  How do we illustrate the fact that a non-believer can only theoretically argue against God’s existance when in actuality he’s dependent upon God as the precondition for human experience and rationality?

Picture:  Unlike the rest of the apologetics’ illustrations in this series, this one is not entirely original; rather it’s an attempt to improve on a popular analogy.  Greg Bahnsen, in his great debate with atheist Gordon Stein said

Imagine a person who comes in here tonight and argues ‘no air exists’ but continues to breathe air while he argues. Now intellectually, atheists continue to breathe – they continue to use reason and draw scientific conclusions [which assumes an orderly universe], to make moral judgments [which assumes absolute values] – but the atheistic view of things would in theory make such ‘breathing’ impossible. They are breathing God’s air all the time they are arguing against him.”

Using that same line of reasoning, we make our illustration more specific to Oxygen.  We are dependent upon Oxygen, even if we deny its existence; matter of fact, oxygen must exists to sustain someone’s life and breath to even utter their denial of Oxygen’s existence.

So what would the world be like if there is no oxygen?  What would it be like if the world loses its oxygen for say, five seconds?

Here’s an entertaining and educational video by Buzz Feed:

Note the benefit of Oxygen.  At the end of the day, one ought to feel thankful for Oxygen.

This picture is rather ironic and yet fitting for our analogy:

Thank you Oxygen

POSSIBLE SCENARIO FOR EMPLOYING THIS ILLUSTRATION DURING APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM

<After employing Presuppositional apologetics in a conversation >

CHRISTIAN: Don’t you see my argument?

OPPONENT: I’m having a hard time following.

CHRISTIAN: I’m trying to show that what you claim in theory doesn’t match with reality: you can’t even deny the existence of God and attempt to make your case without presupposing things that require God’s existence.  I suppose it’s like arguing with someone who denies Oxygen exists but continues to breathe in oxygen while he argues.

<Insert illustration>

 

GO TO PART 19

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GO TO PART 16

Russian attack dog ww2

Point: Sometimes an unbeliever articulates a worldview or uses an argument that ends up being self-refuting which undermines their own position more than it actually “refutes” Christianity.  Their attempt at attacking Christianity backfires on them so to speak.  Christians need to expose self-refutations when they see one and also gently press the antithesis to the nonbeliever.  At times a Christian might have to offer an illustration of the self-defeating nature of a self-refuting attack on Christianity.

Picture:  During World War two the Russians used dogs as an anti-tank weapon.  These dogs were taught to carry explosives to their military targets.  What the dogs did during training was one thing; and what these dogs did in real life was another.

According to Wikipedia, the following happened during World War two:

Another serious training mistake was revealed later; the Soviets used their own diesel-engine tanks to train the dogs rather than German tanks which had gasoline engines.[5] As the dogs relied on their acute sense of smell, the dogs sought out familiar Soviet tanks instead of strange-smelling German tanks.[7]

One can imagine that the Soviets strategy ended up backfiring and became self-defeating.

POSSIBLE SCENARIO FOR EMPLOYING THIS ILLUSTRATION DURING APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM

<After employing Presuppositional apologetics in a conversation >

OPPONENT: I don’t get what you are getting at.  What’s your point?

CHRISTIAN: I’m trying to show how your worldview is self-refuting if you believe in X.  X actually undermines and defeats your belief in Y.  You are shooting yourself in your own foot so to speak.  Your attempt to fight against Christianity ends up coming back to bite you.  I suppose this might be a fitting illustration.  Did you know that during World War 2 the Soviets used dogs as an anti-tank weapon?

OPPONENT:  No I didn’t know that.

CHRISTIAN: <Give illustration >

CHRISTIAN: In the same fashion, if you insulate yourself from Christians’ critical evaluation of what you believe, it’s easy for you to think that your arguments work against Christianity.  But in reality, in the battlefield of ideas, your weapon ends up coming back to destroy you.

OPPONENT: (Laughs)

CHRISTIAN: Do you need me to explain why it’s self-refuting and self-destructive your belief in X again?

 

GO TO PART 18

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