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Unpublished Appendix from 'Are You Getting This?' #9

The Shape of the Gospel

The Shape of the Gospel

I am a great believer in sermon illustrations, or better still, sermon props. They create visual cues to aid memory and can help me simplify a complex subject to one that can be understood more easily.

Jesus used parables, pictures, and props all the time. So, I have several boxes which are filled with objects which help me reveal truths. They contain Roman coins, ancient pottery, anointing oil, keys, and prayer shawls, among other random items.

Recently, I bought a shepherd’s crook to add to my collection. Sadly, a real one was too expensive, so a plastic one had to suffice. It sits in the corner of my office to remind me of my calling to be a shepherd. It reminds me that sheep tend to wander, and it is my responsibility to draw them back into the fold.

One of the characteristics of a crook is that it is shaped for sheep. Its end is curved in order to catch and restore them. In other words, it is specifically designed both for a sheep’s wilfulness and also its wellbeing.

That is also true of the gospel. It is shaped for our sin and our salvation; our capacity for lostness, and our potential to be found.

Why don’t you re-read Psalm 23 or Isaiah 53 with the shape of the gospel in mind?


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