Conversion Sermon Illustrations

Conversion Sermon Illustrations

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Conversion of a Jew

I was born of Jewish parents in 1883 in Manchester, my father being a Sephardim or Spanish and Portuguese Jew. I learnt a little Hebrew and at eleven years of age went to a Jewish boarding school. In 1896 I went to Clifton College, which was the only school that had an orthodox Jewish house where the Jewish religion could be kept and where we had no work or games on the Sabbath. Shortly after I went to Clifton I had my Barmitzvah, which is something like the Church of England confirmation. I went to the synagogue and sang a portion of the law and recited a prayer in Hebrew. My parents gave a reception afterwards at our house and I received numerous presents. Altogether this is the most important day in the life of a young male Jew, as he is then considered to be himself responsible to God for his sins. I cannot say that I was 'touching the law blameless'. I did not keep the Sabbath or the whole law and was therefore condemned (Deut. 27. 26). Nevertheless I was considered quite religious by my friends.

With regard to my social life, I was a selfish and pleasure-loving person. I did a little dancing and horse and dog racing, and after my parents' death went every year to the South of France to see life and often spent a few days in Paris on my way back. The casinos were open on Sundays, and there were many gala dinners where we danced and were entertained by some of the best-known variety artists in the world. After that, play went on at the tables till all hours. I was also a great cinema fan. My great pastime, however, was card-playing, and I was an expert at bridge. I won a prize in one of the daily papers before I was 21 years of age and several other competitions and cups, as well as much money. Later on, Mr. Culbertson, an American, made bridge into a business, chiefly in the U.S.A., and he wrote books, spoke on the radio, and founded bridge schools. In 1933 he came over here and challenged us to a duplicate bridge match, and I was chosen to play for England.

We played at Selfridge's, and the match was so important that we had the hall muffled to stop all noise. There was a large room adjoining where lectures were given on the play of the most interesting hands. There were free drinks for all, and the scores were in the 'Stop-press'. We played for a whole week from 3 o'clock till midnight each day, with an interval for rest, dress and dinner. We were described as two of the greatest players in the world. I was often invited out, and made much of, but the war stopped all social and com­petitive bridge. However, I went to the cinema several times a week and played bridge from ten till one o'clock with an interval for dinner. I was averaging £700 a year free from tax. In fact, bridge was my god.

At this stage of my career the great and Almighty God took a hand in my life. Unlike some Jews of the present day, I had never read a word of the New Testament. I did not even know the names of the books, or who the Apostle Paul was. In the Old Testament I knew the five books of Moses, some of the better known stories and some of the Psalms which we sang at prayers in the synagogue. I then had my first introduction to the New Testament and was given a book called Grace and Truth by Dr. Mackay, and the first chapter, headed 'There is no difference', showed me that, no matter how religious I was, or what other people thought of me, I was a guilty sinner in God's sight and eternally lost.

I went to some meetings and met some believers, but it was not until sometime later and in God's good time, that my eyes were opened and I saw that Jesus of Nazareth was the Jewish Messiah, the Son of God and the Savior of the world, and that all the Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in Him. So on September 3rd, 1942, I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, Sin-bearer and Lord, confessing to God that I deserved punishment for my sins, but asking for forgiveness, not on my own merits, but on the finished work of Christ on the cross, where He shed His precious blood for me. I was now a child of God and had passed from death to life.

The wonderful part is not that I heard God's voice and obeyed Him, but that I have no more desire for cards or for any other worldly amusement or ambition. All these attractions have fallen away like dead leaves, as I am now a new creature in Christ. I was baptized by immersion nine days after. Recently a friend of mine told me that I used to be a miserable-looking chap and that now I look quite different. Why? I had good health, and enough money to gratify my desires, but without Christ. I am now ready to meet my Maker.—P. V. Tabbush (abridged)

(John 5. 24; Rom. 1. 16; 2 Cor. 5. 17)

Conversion of a Sikh

A proud boy from a noble home in the Punjab entered a mission school but flared into open rebellion on being compelled to read the Christian Scriptures. Rather than receive religious instruction under compulsion, he left the school and became ringleader of a hostile gang which threw mud and stones at the preacher. His final protest was publicly to burn copies of the Gospel. Then a miracle began and his mind was so disturbed that he determined, a few days later, that unless he could find some answer to his problems, he would take his own life.

That night he found Christ, became His bond-slave, and found in Him the answer to all his problems. He gave the rest of his life to proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ in India, and then ventured into Tibet with the same glorious Gospel. From there he never returned.

That man was Sadhu Sundar Singh

Creator! let thy Spirit shine
The darkness of our souls within
And lead us by Thy grace divine
From the forbidden paths of sin;
And may that voice which bade the earth
From chaos and the realms of night,
From doubt and darkness call us forth,
To God's own liberty and light!—Burleigh

When but a lad, Spurgeon was in great distress of mind. Being deeply conscious of his sin, he prayed earnestly, and read the Scriptures, and attended places of worship; but his darkness and despair continued. One Sunday morning he attended a little primitive Methodist chapel. Owing to a severe snowstorm, the minister did not arrive, and an illiterate shoemaker tried to preach. Using as his text, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth," he exhorted his few hearers to look to Christ who was their only hope of salvation. Then observing Spurgeon under the gallery, and knowing him to be a stranger, he said, "Young man you look very miserable. And you will always be miserable—miserable in life, and miserable in death—if you do not obey my text. But if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved." Then he shouted, "Young man, look to Jesus Christ!" Spurgeon did look, and the darkness rolled away.—Selected

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