What Kind of Illustrations Do You Use?

Luke 18:1 “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;”

Jesus often used parables when He taught a lesson. I once heard someone say that a parable is “an earthly story with a Heavenly meaning”. Now Jesus could have impressed the people with His immense knowledge of the scripture or His infinite wisdom about the universe, but that is not how He chose to relate to the people. Instead, He took every day things and taught them valuable life lessons that we are still preaching about today! If you will take your Bible and go to I John 2:15, you will see an exhortation for Christians to love not this old world, but also to love not the things of this old world! So, if we are not to love the world or its things, why would we use them to illustrate our sermons? Here is the thought that I want to leave you with today: YOUTH LEADER, when you preach, do you use EARTHLY illustrations, or WORLDLY illustrations?

I am asking this because I see a growing trend among youth pastors to use things that are worldly in an attempt to reach young people. One the most extreme cases I have seen was a book I happened to notice on a shelf at an AIRBNB house that I stayed at. The book was called “God on the Rocks”. It was a poor, misguided Catholic man’s attempt at humor and finding God through alcoholic illustrations! How completely ridiculous is that! While that gets my blood boiling just to think about that, I have seen Independent, Fundamental Baptist Youth Pastors that are using worldly illustrations to try to reach their teenagers! I am talking about things like having a youth conference themed after a Hollywood movie, quoting country music lyrics on social media, and using language that is borderline at best during their preaching! YP, You can’t preach on the dangers of video games on Sunday if you are a participant on Saturday night! Look, we are not of this world! Why would we promote those things and leave it up to the discernment of our young people to choose what is right and wrong. Mark it down, anything that you say will be taken as an endorsement! When in doubt, don’t do it! There are other ways you can teach the truth without using a worldly illustration! It may be that you have to study the Bible more. The Bible illustrates itself! Buy books written by trustworthy men of God and get your illustrations from them! There are many, many, many books on illustrations! The only reason you are using a worldly illustration is because you have a misguided notion that it will help you connect with young people, when in reality it will only feed their flesh’s desire for worldliness! If you preach on sin, make sure you identify it as the wicked, vile, abomination that it is!

James Young

YP | Open Door Baptist Church

Lima, OH