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Illustrations

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:13-16).

Jesus illustrated his message by referring to everyday items or items which the audience could see. He used illustrations often in his messages. Later in the Sermon he will tell the multitudes to look at the birds of the air (Matt. 6:26). Since they were outside, the audience could literally look at the birds. He also told them to consider the lilies of the field (Matt. 6:28) and since they were on a mountainside, they could literally see the lilies.

Illustrations help the audience to understand the message because they connect what the audience may not understand to something they do understand. Illustrations also place a picture in the minds of the audience, which makes it easier to remember the message.

Educational psychologists also tell us that the more senses that are involved in the learning process, the more likely the student will remember the lesson. For example, your audience may remember the meaning of a word by simply listening to you say what the meaning is. But they are far more likely to remember it if they hear you and also see it on a screen or on a handout. Teaching automatically involves the sense of hearing, but whenever possible also involve the senses of sight, touch, taste, and smell. And also involve the audience’s imagination. The more involved the audience is in the teaching, the more likely they are to remember it.

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