fbpx

Sermon Illustrations on

taking a leap of faith

Background

Faith Requires Thought

Faith according to our Lord’s teaching in this paragraph is primarily thinking; and the whole trouble with a man of little faith is that he does not think. He allows circumstances to bludgeon him. . . . We must spend more time in studying our Lord’s lessons in observation and deduction. The Bible is full of logic, and we must never think of faith as something purely mystical. We do not just sit down in an armchair and expect marvelous things to happen to us. That is not Christian faith. Christian faith is essentially thinking. Look at the birds, think about them, and draw your deductions.

Look at the grass, look at the lilies of the field, consider them. . . . Faith, if you like, can be defined like this: It is a man insisting upon thinking when everything seems determined to bludgeon and knock him down in an intellectual sense. The trouble with the person of little faith is that, instead of controlling his own thought, his thought is being controlled by something else [circumstances, for example], and, as we put it, he goes round and round in circles. That is the essence of worry. . . . That is not thought; that is the absence of thought, a failure to think.

  1. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1960), pp. 129–30.

Richard Dawkins View of Faith (For Contrast)

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence…. Faith, being belief that isn’t based on evidence, is the principal vice of any religion.

Richard Dawkins, Is Science a Religion?, The Humanist.

Stories

The Blue Pill or the Red Pill

There is an iconic scene in the cult classic The Matrix that makes for a great metaphor. Morpheus gives Neo a choice between two pills:

You can take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake up in your bed and you believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill and you stay in wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

The red pill is what if. Its the rabbit hole of faith.

Quoted in Mark Batterson, If: Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities, Baker Books.

Can Anyone Hear Me?

When I think of the way God allows His servants to suffer, I can’t help but remember the classic story of poor Jack, who was out jogging. As he passed a cliff, he got a little too close to the edge, and suddenly found himself falling. On the way down, he managed to grab a branch, nearly yanking it out of the cliff. When he caught his breath, he realized what a terrible jam he was in. He couldn’t get up, and letting go certainly seemed to be a poor option. He began to scream, “Hello up there! Can anyone hear me?”

In a moment, a voice returned.

“Jack, Can you hear me?”

“Yes, Yes, I can hear you I’m down here.”

“I can see you, Jack, are you alright?”

“Yes, but, who are you, and where are you?”

“I am the Lord Jack, I am everywhere.”

“The Lord? You mean God?”

“That’s me.”

“God, help me, I promise that if you get me down from here, I’ll stop sinning. I’ll be a really good person and serve you for the rest of my life.”

“Easy on the promises, Jack. First let’s get you down, then we can discuss those.”

“I’ll do anything, Lord, just tell me what to do, okay?”

“Okay, let go of the branch.”

“What?”

“I said, let go of the branch. Just trust me, let go.”

There was a long pause, as Jack thought of the offer.

In a moment, however, Jack let out a loud yell. “Hello, Hello – is there anybody else up there?!”

Andy Cook

Giving Myself

I heard a story about a little boy who wanted to give God an offering but had nothing to give. He sat on the floor, watching people pass by and place their offerings in large wicker baskets. How he longed to give a little something to the Savior he so dearly loved. He walked to the front of the church, grabbed the rim of the basket and hoisted himself inside. When the deacons went to retrieve the boy, one scolded him, saying, ‘This is not a play area!’ Embarrassed and bewildered, the little boy responded, ‘I didn’t have anything to give the Lord, so I was giving him myself’.

Adapted from Just Passion: A Six-Week Lenten Journey by Mark E. Strong Copyright (c) 2022 by Mark E. Strong. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

One-in-a-Million Talk

One of the most quotable movies of all time was released in 1994. It featured a rising comedic genius from Canada, paired with another highly successful actor, as well as a considerable ensemble cast that helped raise the work to one of the greatest films in comedy ever produced. 

You know what movie I’m referring to right? Dumb and Dumber, which was at its heart a love story, but unfortunately for its protagonist, Loyd Christmas, an unrequited love story. Lloyd Christmas, played by Jim Carrey, and Harry Dunne, played by Jeff Daniels, go on an epic road-trip to try and win over Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly) as his romantic interest; they finally arrive in Aspen, where Mary is currently on a ski vacation.

Loyd finally works up the courage and asks her the question on every lovestruck person’s mind: “what are the chances of a girl like me and a guy like you getting together?” Her response would have been seen as an outright rejection by most, but not the serial optimist Lloyd: “I don’t know, one in a million.” Cue the long pause, and then the punch-line… “So you’re saying there’s a chance!!!!!” Later, when Mary rejects Loyd more finally, his response is classic, “What was all that one-in-a-million talk?” 

Stuart Strachan Jr., Source content from Farrelly, Bobby, and Peter Farrelly. Dumb and Dumber. New Line Cinema, 1994.

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Bill Irwin was not the first person ever to walk the Appalachian Trail. He was not the only individual to begin in Springer Mountain, Georgia, and conclude on Mount Katahdin, Maine. Other adventuresome souls have hiked the twenty-one hundred miles, endured the snow and heat and rain, slept on the ground, forded the streams, and shivered in the cold. Bill Irwin was not the first to accomplish this feat. But he was the first in this respect: he was blind when he did it.

He was fifty years old when, in 1990, he set out on the hike. A recovering alcoholic and committed Christian, he memorized 2 Corinthians 5:7 and made it his mantra: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

And that is what he did. He did not use maps, GPS, or a compass. It was just Irwin, his German shepherd, and the rugged terrain of the mountains. He estimated that he fell five thousand times, which translates into an average of twenty times a day for eight months. He battled hypothermia, cracked his ribs, and skinned his hands and knees more times than he could count. But he made it. He made the long walk by faith and not by sight. You are doing the same. Probably not on the trails of the Appalachians, but in the trials of life. …No, you are walking on a road even steeper and longer—the path between offered prayer and answered prayer. Between      

  • supplication and celebration        
  • bent knees and lifted hands        
  • tears of fear and tears of joy        
  • “Help me, Lord” and “Thank you, Lord”

Max Lucado, You Are Never Alone: Trust in the Miracle of God’s Presence and Power, Thomas Nelson, 2020.

Analogies

The Blue Pill or the Red Pill

There is an iconic scene in the cult classic The Matrix that makes for a great metaphor. Morpheus gives Neo a choice between two pills:

You can take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake up in your bed and you believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill and you stay in wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

The red pill is what if. Its the rabbit hole of faith.

Quoted in Mark Batterson, If: Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities, Baker Books.

Giving Myself

I heard a story about a little boy who wanted to give God an offering but had nothing to give. He sat on the floor, watching people pass by and place their offerings in large wicker baskets. How he longed to give a little something to the Savior he so dearly loved. He walked to the front of the church, grabbed the rim of the basket and hoisted himself inside. When the deacons went to retrieve the boy, one scolded him, saying, ‘This is not a play area!’ Embarrassed and bewildered, the little boy responded, ‘I didn’t have anything to give the Lord, so I was giving him myself’.

Adapted from Just Passion: A Six-Week Lenten Journey by Mark E. Strong Copyright (c) 2022 by Mark E. Strong. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Humor

Can Anyone Hear Me?

When I think of the way God allows His servants to suffer, I can’t help but remember the classic story of poor Jack, who was out jogging. As he passed a cliff, he got a little too close to the edge, and suddenly found himself falling. On the way down, he managed to grab a branch, nearly yanking it out of the cliff. When he caught his breath, he realized what a terrible jam he was in. He couldn’t get up, and letting go certainly seemed to be a poor option. He began to scream, “Hello up there! Can anyone hear me?”

In a moment, a voice returned.

“Jack, Can you hear me?”

“Yes, Yes, I can hear you I’m down here.”

“I can see you, Jack, are you alright?”

“Yes, but, who are you, and where are you?”

“I am the Lord Jack, I am everywhere.”

“The Lord? You mean God?”

“That’s me.”

“God, help me, I promise that if you get me down from here, I’ll stop sinning. I’ll be a really good person and serve you for the rest of my life.”

“Easy on the promises, Jack. First let’s get you down, then we can discuss those.”

“I’ll do anything, Lord, just tell me what to do, okay?”

“Okay, let go of the branch.”

“What?”

“I said, let go of the branch. Just trust me, let go.”

There was a long pause, as Jack thought of the offer.

In a moment, however, Jack let out a loud yell. “Hello, Hello – is there anybody else up there?!”

Andy Cook

One-in-a-Million Talk

One of the most quotable movies of all time was released in 1994. It featured a rising comedic genius from Canada, paired with another highly successful actor, as well as a considerable ensemble cast that helped raise the work to one of the greatest films in comedy ever produced. 

You know what movie I’m referring to right? Dumb and Dumber, which was at its heart a love story, but unfortunately for its protagonist, Loyd Christmas, an unrequited love story. Lloyd Christmas, played by Jim Carrey, and Harry Dunne, played by Jeff Daniels, go on an epic road-trip to try and win over Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly) as his romantic interest; they finally arrive in Aspen, where Mary is currently on a ski vacation.

Loyd finally works up the courage and asks her the question on every lovestruck person’s mind: “what are the chances of a girl like me and a guy like you getting together?” Her response would have been seen as an outright rejection by most, but not the serial optimist Lloyd: “I don’t know, one in a million.” Cue the long pause, and then the punch-line… “So you’re saying there’s a chance!!!!!” Later, when Mary rejects Loyd more finally, his response is classic, “What was all that one-in-a-million talk?” 

Stuart Strachan Jr., Source content from Farrelly, Bobby, and Peter Farrelly. Dumb and Dumber. New Line Cinema, 1994.

More Resources

Related Themes

Click a topic below to explore more sermon illustrations! 

Beliefs

Boldness

Courage

Hope

 Trust

& Many More