[This object lesson might be useful at a baptism service.]
Often when we have a baptism Pastor gives the illustration of the importance of putting a correct label on a can. We want people to know that we belong to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let me do that in a little different way.
I have four friends Iíd like to introduce to you: four books.
[The first book has the wrong jacket on it with the correct jacket underneath.] My first friend is named phoney. Mr. Phoney is pretending to be a book about Martin Luther. But thatís not what he really is at all. He wants you to think heís a Martin Luther book, but he isnít. (Remove top jacket). Heís really a book about the ferocious conqueror Genghis Khan. Mr. Phoney is like some people who want you to think they are a Christian, but in reality Christ does not live in them at all.
[The second book also has two jackets.] My next friend is called Hypocrite. One day a week Mr. Hypocrite pretends that heís a book about Abraham Lincoln. The other days of the week he takes off his phoney cover and he shows his true colors. Heís really a book about The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler. Someone has said, A hypocrite is a fellow who isnít himself on Sunday.
[The third book is covered with a jacket that is totally blank and gives no indication of the contents.] My next friend is called Ashamed. He doesnít want you to know who he truly is. He doesnít want you to know his contents, whatís on the inside. Heís ashamed of who he really is. He wants to keep it a secret. You know, God does not want us to be secret believers. God wants us to proudly confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and not be ashamed of the One who died for us.
[The fourth book has a jacket that matches the contents of the book.] My final friendís name is "Sincrer." Heís not hypocritical. Heís the same on the inside as he is on the outside. He claims to be a book about Daniel Boone. You open up this book and it says Daniel Boone. What he presents is what he really is.
As believers, we are containers for something very precious on the inside. We have a treasure in these earthen vessels. We want to make sure that we are wearing the right label, the right jacket cover. "The Lord Jesus lives in my heart." Paul says that the believer is like a book, known and read by all men. May the message of our lips be the same as the message of our life, pointing clearly to a great Saviour.
"The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad" (Psalm 126:3). And may we be glad to share with others what He has done!
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