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Sermon Illustrations: Flexibility

You need flexibility just to live. If you're not a flexible person, then you're living in the wrong century. Because things are changing so rapidly - knowledge is said to double every few years. And in comparison to what has happened prior to this century, thousands of years of technological advances are made every 50 years. As a musician, I look back and see how music has evolved enormously during the last few hundred years. There's quite a difference between the Gregorian chants of 6th and 7th Centuries and the latest CD of Metallica. Instrumentation has changed enormously, and it's not just the electronics. Imagine you had a time machine, and you chronoported a piano back to the early 1700s when Christofori was bringing out the first pianos, and you go to Germany, and meet the great Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel and you show them your piano. "Ya, an interesting concept. But we could never get used to the feel of one of those things." Now go back even further to England in the 1100s, where you meet a group of wandering musicians. You play a simple chord only to get a response like, "Forsooth, it maketh an unholy din. Hast thou never thought to tune it?" Because the system of tuning we use today is quite different from the one in use then. This is just one of innumerable changes, and only flexible people survive.

The stonecutter sandblasts the granite after placing a rubber cut-out over it. The flexible rubber survives almost untouched but the unyielding stone is worn away.

Jesus was flexible. In Mark 6 there's a story of how He and His disciples were so busy they hadn't even had time to eat. So, at Jesus' command they departed in a boat to a deserted place. But when they got there, they found that the multitudes were already there waiting for them. Naturally, Jesus immediately said, "Look, if you don't mind, I'm hungry, My disciples are hungry, and we'd just like a bit of peace and quiet. So, see you later." Not! Jesus was moved with compassion, and He taught them. Then He worked one of the greatest miracles in the Bible - the feeding of the 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes.

My Collection of Jokes, Quotes & Anecdotes

Acts 17:22-34 When Paul was in Athens, he saw an altar with the inscription: "To the unknown God". He even quoted one of their poets. He was flexible enough to begin with what they knew and he led them into what they didn't know, allowing the Spirit of God to do His work. But read his sermon, he didn't quote Scripture once.

Did you know that throughout history the church has found it difficult to adapt? It found it hard to accept new concepts, both spiritually and in the secular world. As the church began to come out of the dark ages, and once again began to understand the truth of salvation by grace, what happened as God gradually restored spiritual truths to the church? Water baptism, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the supernatural gifts, church government. As each truth was restored, the majority rejected it and persecuted the ones who accepted it.

Throughout Jewish history, God had to contend with what He Himself described as a "stiff-necked people".

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© 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.