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The story has been told of a do-it-yourselfer who went into a hardware store early one morning and asked for a saw. The salesman took a chain saw from the shelf and commented that it was their “newest model, with the latest in technology, guaranteed to cut ten cords of firewood a day.” The customer thought that sounded pretty good, so he bought it on the spot.

The next day the customer returned, looking somewhat exhausted. “Something must be wrong with this saw,” he moaned. “I worked as hard as I could and only managed to cut three cords of wood. I used to do four with my old-fashioned saw.” Looking confused, the salesman said, “Here, let me try it out back on some wood we keep there.” They went to the woodpile, the salesman pulled the cord, and as the motor went Vvvrooommm, the customer leaped back and exclaimed, “What’s that noise?”

The customer trying to saw wood without the power of the saw to help him is very much like the believer who attempts to live the Christian life without the daily empowerment of the Spirit. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching


Instant Sanctification

Chrlie Waters, former strong safety for the Dallas Cowboys football team, tells a story about frank Howard, who had been Charlie’s college coach. When Frank Howard was head coach at Clemson University, he went out to practice one Monday before a big game with his first- and third-string quarterbacks out with injuries. That left him with his second-, fourth-, and fifth-string QB’s to play the coming Saturday. In the first five minutes of practice, his starting quarterback (previously second-stringer) hurt his knee. That elevated the fourth-stringer to first-string position and put the fifth-stringer on the second team. About ten minutes later, that replacement QB hurt his knee. Well, the fifth-stringer was now next in line for the first team.

Coach Howard blew the whistle and gathered all the players around him. He took the one remaining QB, put his arm around him, and said in his gruff voice, “Son, do you believe in magic?” The QB said in a halfhearted way, “Well, sort of.” Coach Howard looked at him, pointed his five fingers at him like a magician, and said, “Poof! You are now a first-string quarterback.”

Many people expect the Christian life to work in the same manner—“Poof! All your problems are now solved!” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching


Process of Sanctification

God deals with some people like grapes. He seems to take them in one bite, to take hold of their whole life all at once. Others are dealt with more like onions. God seems to take them one layer at a time. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching


Process of Sanctification

Construction activity is going on as God is building his church. You probably have seen the button given out at the Basic Youth Conflicts Seminars that has the letters “PBPGINTWMY” on it. It is designed, of course, to evoke the question, “What do all of those letters mean?” The answer is: “Please Be Patient, God Is Not Through With Me Yet.” It is true that we are “under construction.” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching


Process of Sanctification

God’s work of grace apparently moves downward through our physical body. The last part of us to experience full salvation seems to be our right foot! Actually, the way we act behind the wheel of a car is often more indicative of our walk with God than the way we act praying in a pew or smiling over a well-marked Bible. So, if we occasionally must speed, maybe it would help to sing loudly:

        At 45 m.p.h.-“God Will Take Care of You”

        At 55 m.p.h.-“Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah”

        At 65 m.p.h.-“Nearer, My God, to Thee”

        At 75 m.p.h.-“Near, Still Nearer!”

        At 85 m.p.h.-“This World Is Not My Home”

        At 95 m.p.h.-“Lord, I’m Coming Home”

        Over 100 m.p.h.-“Precious memories”

── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching


Process of Sanctification

The process of sanctification is something like the springtime ritual of “scalping” a lawn. After months of inactivity and apparent deadness the thick and tangled thatch of dead and decaying grass must be violently removed to allow the fresh, new, green growth to appear.

So God uses the trials and problems of our Christian life to strip away the worthless and self-defeating habits of our old nature. This allows the glorious new nature, God’s own loving, holy character, to appear and triumph through us. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching


Process of Sanctification

The process of sanctification can be compared to an iceberg, which is almost 90 percent under water. As the sun shines on the iceberg, the exposed part melts, moving the lower part upward.

In the same way, we are usually aware of only a small part of our sinfulness and need, which is all we can deal with at any one time. However, as the light of God’s work in our lives changes us in the areas we know about, we become aware of new areas needing the work of God. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching


Process of Sanctification

A little boy had a toothache and knew that if he went to his mother, she would give him something to deaden the pain and let him get to sleep that night. But he did not go to his mother, at least not until the pain was very bad, because he knew she would also do something else-take him to the dentist the next morning. He could not get what he wanted, immediate relief from pain, without getting something more, having his tooth repaired. And, since he knew dentists, he knew that something else would probably happen to his mouth, because dentists tend to fiddle about with other teeth, those that have not yet begun to ache.

Our Lord is like a dentist. People go to him to be cured of some particular sin. Well, he will cure us of that sin, all right, but he will not stop there. That may be all you asked for, but if you call him in, he is likely to give you the full treatment. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching