Summary: This is the first message in a series that examines the parallels between well know Dr. Seuss stories and Biblical Truth.


This series is entitled “The Gospel by Dr. Seuss.” Who would have thought that weaved through out the pages of Dr. Seuss’ stories were nuggets of Biblical truth. As we go through this series we will draw parallels between Biblical truth and some of Dr. Seuss’ best known stories.

Perhaps we could say that the book of 1 Peter is written to all the Hortons in the world. This letter was written during the height of the persecution of Christians under Nero. Like most persecution this persecution was undoubtedly the result of hatred, misunderstanding and resistance to changing the status quo. The persecution was cruel and brutal and aimed at all those who refused to adhere to the beliefs and expectations of the Roman Empire. Christians stood against the culture and refused to participate in the decaying morality that prevailed. As we know it is never easy to stand against the majority but the first century believers hung in there even though it could have meant their life. Like Horton, these believers remained faithful in the face of challenges, persecution and ridicule. Where did these early Christians find the strength to be so faithful? The answer is simple: there hope was rooted in the hope they had in Jesus Christ. While we may never have to lay our life down for our faith, we do face other challenges. The question before us is, “Can we remain faithful regardless of what it may cost us?” The letter of 1 Peter should be good news for us today like it was for the believers in the first century. The words that Peter pens are words of encouragement when it seems like the whole world is against us. So let’s connect the dots between Horton’s example and the lives we are called to live as Christians.

I. Challenges to our faith often come in subtle and unexpected ways.

A. Horton’s faithfulness will be challenged simply by keeping his word to a friend.

1. Horton is an extremely kind hearted elephant that wants to provide a helping hand to someone.

2. The recipient of Horton’s help was a lazy bird named Mayzie, who is sick and tired of being confined to her nest waiting for her egg to hatch.

3. The problem is that the short break for Mayzie will turn into an extended vacation.

4. The challenges will begin to surface for Horton as he refuses to be anything but true to his word.

B. The early believers never could have imagined the challenges that would result from their new life in Christ.

1. When many of these believers that Peter writes to first became Christians, persecution was more of an inconvenience than a mortal threat.

2. As Nero rises to power in Rome, his twisted mind will literally change these believers’ entire world.

3. As Peter pens this letter becoming a Christian meant facing unpleasant and uncertain circumstances.

4. This is the exact reason that Peter chooses to encourage and remind his readers of the living hope that they have in Jesus Christ.

5. Peter wants to convey a simple message: eternal salvation is not simply wishful thinking, it is a reality that can be counted on.

C. Our faith is often attacked in ways that we never saw coming.

1. Our greatest challenge is to remain faithful to our commitment and convictions regardless of what it costs us.

2. Complacency can sneak up on us and slowly erode our faith to the point where we simply are going through the motions.

3. Today there many things that we view as acceptable and normal that we would have never tolerated in years gone by.

4. Instead of conforming the culture to the church, we are guilty of conforming the church to the culture and maintaining tradition for the sake of keeping traditions alive.

5. TS Eliot sounded this warning, “The last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right deed for the wrong reason.”

II. The road of genuine faithfulness is often rugged and lonely.

A. As time passed it became obvious that Horton never realized what he had signed up for.

1. The hours turned into days, the days into weeks and the weeks into months. It became painfully obvious to Horton that Mayzie might never return.

2. Horton finds himself forced to stay out in all types of unpleasant weather in order to remain faithful to his word.

3. The loneliness set in as instead of giving Horton some relief, his friends began to poke fun at him and ridicule him.

4. Even at the prospect of losing his life Horton refused to be unfaithful.

5. Horton remains faithful even after being captured and put on display in a circus. He remains faithful 100%.

B. The early Christians undoubtedly struggled with the fact that they had gotten more than they bargained for.

1. Peter challenges the readers to remain faithful and even rejoice as they go through persecution and suffering.

2. The Greek word for rejoice is agalliasthe and it is in the imperative form.

3. These persecuted believers definitely did not see this coming. More than likely they never expected things to get so bad for them.

4. More than likely there were those who simply walked way because the price was too high and those who would not become a Christian because of the unpleasant circumstances that went along with it.

5. Jesus is referred to as Lord and Peter shows that this is the reason that He deserved our complete faithfulness.

a. The Greek word for Lord kurios was used to translate the divine name (Yahweh).

b. This shows that Jesus is deserving of the same loyalty that would normally be given to God.

C. Jesus never promised that our life would be perfect and pain free after we accepted Him.

1. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33—NIV 2011)

2. Too many believe the health and wealth Gospel. If you are a good enough Christian then your life will be free from stress and worry.

3. There is a great danger in enduring suffering and persecution. That we allow it to become a badge of honor and reputation.

4. God uses the times of suffering and persecution to prove how genuine our faith is. The fire of trial burns away all the garbage to help make us the people God has intended us to be.

III. True faithfulness has its root in future hope through Jesus Christ.

A. Horton had to remind himself that the rewards of faithfulness far outweigh any pain or inconvenience.

1. After fifty-one weeks of faithfully sitting on the egg, Horton encounters lazy Mayzie. As the egg begins to hatch Mayzie wants to reclaim her egg after the work has been done.

2. The surprising twist is that when the egg hatches out comes a little elephant with wings, essentially a little Horton.

3. Horton once again discovers that faithfulness always yields rewards in the end, although some can be unexpected.

B. The early Christians kept moving forward because they kept their eye on the ultimate prize.

1. Peter reminds them that their faithfulness through all the trials will lead to honor and glory that will outweigh anything that was faced upon the earth.

2. The cross was not the end of the story for Jesus, on the third day God raised Him to life again giving Him the victory over death and sin.

3. The source of the believer’s hope is what God did through Jesus Christ to insure their eternal inheritance.

4. Peter wants these believers to see that God has acted, God is presently acting and will continue to act in times to come. So their hope is not in vain.

C. God often works in miraculous and unexpected ways during those times that really test our faith.

1. When facing those times of suffering it is extremely hard to remain positive and to see how anything good could result.

2. We are called to live faithfully, trusting not in ourselves but in the grace and mercy of God that has brought us into a new relationship with Him.

3. Through Jesus Christ our reservations in Heaven have been made and we need to remain faithful to realize this promise.

4. God is faithful 100%, and when we like Horton remain faithful to the end, we too shall receive a great reward.


Old Faithful is a cone geyser located in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park. It was so named in 1870 by the explorers who discovered it during the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition of the uncharted territory. Judge, then, what must have been our astonishment, as we entered the basin at mid-afternoon of our second day's travel, to see in the clear sunlight, at no great distance, an immense volume of clear, sparkling water projected into the air to the height of one hundred and twenty-five feet. "Geysers! geysers!" exclaimed one of our company, and, spurring our jaded horses, we soon gathered around this wonderful phenomenon. It was indeed a perfect geyser. … It spouted at regular intervals nine times during our stay, the columns of boiling water being thrown from ninety to one hundred and twenty-five feet at each discharge, which lasted from fifteen to twenty minutes. We gave it the name of "Old Faithful." Nathaniel P. Langford, 1871. Since that day, Old Faithful has been faithfully monitored and her eruptions logged and chronicled. Eruptions can shoot 3,700 to 8,400 gallons of boiling water into the air from a little over 100 feet to its highest recorded blast of 185. Eruptions can last anywhere from 1.5 to 5 minutes. Intervals between eruptions can range from 45 to 125 minutes. Since the mid-20th century, the intervals between eruptions has gradually increased from approximately every 65 minutes to an average of every 90 minutes today. Some have come to see this increase in intervals as evidence that the geyser is no longer worthy of its characterization “faithful.” But the truth is, the geyser is actually more predictable today than it was just decades ago. Old Faithful spews 65 minutes after an eruption lasting less than 2.5 minutes or 91 minutes after an eruption lasting more than 2.5 minutes. It is believed that this unusual reliability is due to the geyser's independence from other thermal features. Old Faithful’s eruptions have been impacted by earthquakes and turbulence in the geological landscape, but the geyser’s response to the changes has grown more predictable with time because it is “not connected” to any other thermal features. In other words, her reliability is independent of the reactions of other thermal features.