Conversion Sermon Illustrations

Conversion Sermon Illustrations

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Providence of God in. A young man had been for some time under a sense of sin, longing to find mercy; but he could not reach it. He was a telegraph clerk, and being in the office one morning, he had to receive and transmit a telegram. To his great surprise, he spelled out these words, `Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world!' A gentleman out for a holiday was telegraphing a message in answer to a letter from a friend who was in trouble of soul. It was meant for another, but he who transmitted it received eternal life, as the words came flashing into his soul.—C. H. Spurgeon

(John I. 29, 36, 37; Rev. 5. 9)

Conversion of a Boxer

Bendigo was a prize-fighter who had been in Nottingham gaol. While there he had to attend the services on Sunday. One Sunday the subject was David's victory over Goliath, and Bendigo bawled out at the end, 'Bravo! I'm glad the little 'un won', and this was treated as a great joke by the other prisoners. The following Sunday he heard a sermon on Dan. 3, about the three Hebrew youths cast into the fiery furnace but saved by the Lord. Bendigo said to himself, `If one Bendigo (Abednego) can be saved, why not another?' The last sermon he heard before finishing his time was about the seven hundred left-handed men in the book of Judges, and, remarking on this, Bendigo said, 'And I'm a left-handed man, of course I am, that was what beat the knowing ones I had to stand up against;' and added, 'Now, please God, I'll turn, and this Bendigo shall be saved too.'

When he finished his prison sentence his old chums were waiting for him and wanted him to go to the public-house, but he said to them, `Look here, I will never again drink with any man in a public-house as long as I live.' They looked at each other and kept discreetly quiet, for they were afraid of his fists. From that Bendigo continues his story: 'As I walked, I met a friend who wished me well, and he said, "Bendy, what do you say to coming up tonight to hear Undaunted Dick?" "Who's he?" said I, "I never heard of him." "Oh," says he, "he's a collier chap that was once in a bad way, and is now converted and turned preacher." "Ay," said I, "I'll go and hear him, he's one of my sort." So I went to hear him, and the next night I went again. It was bad weather and snowing hard, and I had to make my way home late at night across a park, and when I was half way across I couldn't hold out any longer. So, in the dark, with the snow coming down, I fell down on to my knees, and I asked the blessed Savior to forgive me my many sins, and to blot them out in His blood and make me a new man; and when I got up I knew it was all done, I felt it in my heart.

`The next day I went again to hear Dick, and didn't I feel happy. I felt a peace and pardon in my soul, and I heard my Savior saying, "My peace I give unto you".' There he made his first stand for God and gave his first public witness. (Acts 11. 14; 16. 30, 31; 1 Tim. 1. 15, 16)

Conversion of a Brahmin

Kasturi Sambamurthy was a Telugu Brahmin born in a very orthodox family but adopted by a rich uncle when a baby of only eleven months. He was invested with the sacred cord (Yagnopavita) while still a boy and thus became a Dwija (twice-born one), though he knew nothing of the new birth. Very religious, he made a study of the world religions, learnt Sanskrit, and became well-versed in the Vedas, the sacred writings of the Hindus.

During the Dasara festival of 1912, in the month of October, the Holy Spirit began first to work in his heart. The question—'What is prayer?'—arose in the depths of his heart. He knew that his prayers as a Brahmin were all repetitions of Sanskrit prayers. Just at that time he was transferred to the Taylor High School, Narsapur, as a teacher there, and took on work as a munshi to a lady missionary in Narsapur, giving her tuition in the Telugu language. About that time he received direct from Scotland a book entitled Answers to Prayer, but could not understand how the sender knew about him or what his address and the yearning of his heart were.

During the festival days in January, 1918, while reading Down Water Street, he found himself weeping like a child, but could not understand why. From his heart came the cry, `How can I find peace?' Then came the answer, `The Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins' (Mark 2. 10). But his proud heart objected—'How can I believe in the same God as some who are eaters of carrion and pork?' He found an excuse in the argument, 'If Jesus is omnipotent and Lord of the universe, He will bring me out in spite of my resistance.' Many believers were at that time praying for him. He prayed himself in Telugu but not in the name of the Lord Jesus.

One afternoon, while he was helping one of his missionary students to translate the first verses of John's Gospel into Telugu, a sudden flash of light illumined his mind, showing him that Jesus Christ was the Creator of the universe. After that he began to pray in the name of the Lord Jesus and read the Bible to his children, instructing them in its teaching. He could no longer remain happy as a Brahmin.

Three years went by, and the death of his mother and his wife (the latter a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ before she passed away) made it possible for him to come out boldly for the Lord. Then, after one of his daughters who was taken very ill with typhoid fever recovered, he left home, taking her with him, was baptized by the missionary, Mr. E. S. Bowden, and spent the remainder of his life till he was called Home in November, 1943, in humble, devoted service to his Lord and Master.

(1 Thess. 1. 9, 10; 1 John 5. 13)

Conversion of a Crook

Jerry McAuley, the founder of the Water Street Mission in New York, at the age of 19 was sentenced to Sing Sing prison for a term of sixteen years and six months. In the prison chapel one morning, 'Awful Gardiner'—a notorious prize­fighter and an all-round ruffian whom Jerry had known prior to going to prison—was preaching. As Gardiner went on, with tears streaming down his face, telling of the love of Jesus, Jerry was convicted of sin. Gardiner quoted some passage of Scripture that impressed itself upon Jerry, and when they were dismissed and he had gone to his cell, he looked in the ventilator and found a Bible. Dusting it he tried to read but with some difficulty. He had never had one in his hands before, and he looked aimlessly to try to find the verse Gardiner had quoted. He never found that particular verse, but he did find that Jesus died for sinners, and the Holy Spirit showed him that he was a sinner.

`I've found Jesus,' he shouted. 'Oh, bless the Lord, I've found Jesus.' The unusual sound attracted the keeper, and he threw the rays of his dark lantern on Jerry as he was praising God in his lonely cell. In rough tones he shouted, 'What's the matter with you?' `I've found Jesus,' replied Jerry. 'I'll put you in the cooler in the morning,' the keeper said, and took down his number. Jerry said, 'The Lord made him forget it, for I was never put in the cooler.' This was Jerry McAuley's conversion.

A wonderful revival broke out in the prison. Missionaries from the city went up and every opportunity was given them by the management. Jerry was the centre of all this activity. It resulted in his being pardoned by Governor John A. Dix, eight years of his sentence being remitted.

(John 1. 45; Acts 11. 21)

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