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Sermon illustrations

Saints

Christians as Saints

For a long time all Christians called each other “saints.” They were all saints regardless of how well or badly they lived, of how experienced or inexperienced they were. The word saint did not refer to the quality or virtue of their acts, but to the kind of life to which they had been chosen, life on a battlefield.

Taken from Run with the Horses by Eugene H. Peterson. ©2009, 2019 by Eugene H. Peterson.  Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove  IL  60515-1426. www.ivpress.com

Claiming Your Identity as a Saint

If you’re anything like me, when you hear the word saint, you probably think of anybody but yourself. We picture stained glass windows depicting Peter, Paul, or Mary. We think of modern-day heroes like Mother Teresa who seem to transcend the rest of humanity. Yet the word saint is innately human; it tells the story of people so devoted to the person of Jesus that they served him with their whole selves, their true selves. T

he word saint has a deep-rooted history within the story of God’s redemption and the fullness of life that he has for each one of us. A saint is someone who has been redeemed and found worthy by a perfect Savior.

…Claiming the identity of saint is not about how good a person each of us is—it is about the One who gave his life for us, who deserves our worship, who loves us in all our humanity. Saints is a charge to become more devoted followers of Jesus by encouraging us to expand our view of God and surrender our tendency toward self-worship and control. By expanding our view of God and allowing more space for wonder and mystery, we experience the world through God’s divine perspective; we begin to see our lives as glorious moments of God’s grace.

Addison D. Bevere, Saints: Becoming More Than “Christians,” Revell, 2020.

Saints of Darkness?

There are many ways to be a saint, and at times our fidelity may look like betrayal. We may have to become “saints of darkness.” We may have to be saints whose light seems to go out as we wander in the shadows, saints who tell the truth even when the truth seems blasphemous. 

Satan is the father of lies, so lying about our doubt and pain, even in the name of piety and reverence, is Satanic. Conversely, the truth, even when impious and irreverent, can free us. Saint Job is proof, and at the end of his story he gets what he asked for: a showdown with the divine.

Taken from Faith in the Shadows: Finding Christ in the Midst of Doubt by Austin Fischer. Copyright (c) 2018 by Austin Fischer. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

A Saint Like Us

For the most part, when we think of saints or heroes of the faith, we think of people who are altogether different than we are. They seem to embody a quality of communion with God that is impossible for the rest of us. On closer inspection, we find that most great “saints” are ordinary people who, in the midst of daily living, discover and interact with the reality of God’s presence.

One man like this was Nicholas Herman. His life seemed much like our own. Nicolas had a number of jobs in his life, starting out in the military and then in the transportation industry. After that, he found work in the food service industry, serving as a short-order cook and bottle-washer.

Eventually Nicholas became deeply discouraged by his life. He spent a lot of time, like us, thinking about himself. “Am I saved” was a particular question that burrowed deep into his soul. He struggled deeply with worry, until one day when everything changed. On that day, he was looking at a tree, not the most thrilling exercise, but something occurred to him: what makes a tree flourish is not its self-reliance, but it’s rootedness in something other than and deeper than itself.

With this in mind, Nick began an experiment to have a habitual, silent, secret conversation of the soul with God. Today we know Nick as Brother Lawrence, whose book, The Practice of the Presence of God has become a spiritual classic, continuing to beckon readers to a deeper, more intimate relationship with God 300 years after it was first written.

Stuart Strachan Jr.

Still Looking for inspiration?

Consider checking out our quotes page on saints. Don’t forget, sometimes a great quote is an illustration in itself!

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