Conversion Sermon Illustrations

Conversion Sermon Illustrations

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On a stormy January day in 1850 an English lad fifteen years of age started down the street to go to his regular place of worship. A storm came up, and he turned into the Primitive Methodist Chapel in Artillery Street. The regular preacher did not appear, and a man, to this day unknown, stepped into the pulpit and took his place. What happened is best told by the lad himself: "Six years ago today, as near as possible at this very hour of the day, I was in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity, but had yet by divine grace been led to feel the bitterness of that bondage and to cry out I reason of the soreness of its slavery. Seeking rest and finding none, I stepped within the house of God and sat there afraid to look upward lest I should be utterly cut off and lest his fierce wrath should consume me. The minister rose in his pulpit, and, as I have done this morning, read this text, 'Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else' [Isa. 45:22], I looked that moment. The grace of faith was vouchsafed to me in the self-same instant, and now I think I can say with truth,

'E'er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,

Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.' "
William Cowper

The lad was Charles H. Spurgeon.

The conversion of the jailor was sudden and dramatic. It was accompanied by an earthquake. The converted man was full of excitement, emotion, and alarm. Some great men have been converted that way.

One was Paul. Another was Luther, who, terrified by a thunderstorm as he was going through the wood to his home at Erfurt, fell on his knees and determined to give his life to God, which resolution at that time meant entering a monastery. John Newton started toward God while the ship on which he was a passenger was being tossed in a storm on the wild Atlantic. Peter Waldo, generally thought to be the first of the Waldensians, was changed from a gay man of the world to a servant of Christ when a friend seated near him at a banquet in Lyons fell dead, and Waldo asked himself, "Where would I now be if it had been I who had fallen dead?"

One of the most eloquent of Presbyterian divines of the last century left college and entered the Civil War a skeptic, proud of his unbelief. But when  in battle a cannon ball annihilated his companion, who was lying face down on the earth during an artillery bombardment, his unbelief and skepticism were blown up—and he entered the ministry. Some come into the Kingdom of God by the earthquake gate.

Conversion, a Change of life

Conversion has been called a change of mind and a change of attitude, and this produces a change in the whole tenor of a life.

A young girl desiring baptism and admission to the Lord's supper in a town in Scotland was being interviewed by the elders of the local church who wanted to be sure she really had had a spiritual experience, for they considered her rather young.

First she was asked, 'Did you ever find out that you were a sinner?'

`Yes!' she replied without hesitation, 'I did indeed.'

The second question put to her was, `Do you think, my girl, that you have undergone a change?' `I know I have,' was the immediate reply.

`And do you think you are a sinner still?' she was asked.

`Yes,' she said, 'I know I am a sinner.'

`Well,' the question came, 'and what change has come over you?'

`Well,' she said, 'it's like this. Before I was converted I was running after sin. Now I am running away from it.'

There was in her both a change of attitude and a change of direction.

(Ps. 119. 59; Acts 11. 21; 1 Thess. 1. 9, 10)

Conversion, Change of Master

Horatio Bottomley, a very popular man and editor of a popular periodical, made a fortune. When his swindles were exposed, he was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment for embezzlement. Captain Tylor of the Church Army, hearing of him, determined to visit him and have a conversation with him in prison. As he approached the prisoner's cell, he wondered what he could say by way of introduction and decided to begin right away by telling the story of his conversion. So, when they met, Captain Tylor began, 'I was converted in Colston Hall, Bristol, when Canon Hay Aitken was preaching on the text, "Ye must be born again".'

`Was that in the year so and so?' asked Bottomley, specifying the year.

`Yes!' was Tyler's reply.

`And was it on a Friday night?' asked Bottomley.

`It was, but how did you know?'

`I too was there, but I curled my lip and walked out, saying, "It's not for me. I'm going to run my life in my own way, and shan't let anyone else manage it".'

(Josh. 24. 15; Rom. 6. 17-19; 10. 9, 10)

Necessary for all

On one occasion H. P. Barker was having some Gospel meetings in a soap-manufacturing area, and the manager of one of the factories, who was a fine Christian man, asked him if he would like to see over his soap factory. Mr. Barker said he would be delighted, so, at the appointed hour, he went to the factory, was met by the manager and had the processes used in the manufacture of soap explained to him as they moved round the establishment. First, the manager took him to a number of vats filled with bad-smelling fats, and Mr. Barker was glad when they moved on because the stench was most unpleasant. After going round the various departments of the factory and explaining everything to his visitor, the manager had a lovely box of toilet soap brought and presented it to Mr. Barker, saying, 'The beautiful, useful, fragrant soap contained in this box was made from the evil-smelling fats you saw in those vats at the beginning of our tour round the factory.'

That night H. P. Barker preached on `Conversion' and used the illustration of the conversion of the fats into fragrant soaps by means of a process known to the trade.

Next day he received a letter from one who had attended the meeting and heard his illustration. The writer said that he too was manager of a soap factory and invited Mr. Barker to come and visit it, 'for', said he, 'we do not use evil-smelling fats, but only the finest sweet-smelling oils for the manufacture of our soaps.' Mr. Barker wrote thanking him, but assuring him at the same time that a second visit to a soap factory was unnecessary. `For', he said, 'whether the material used be bad-smelling fats or pleasant, sweet oils, it needs to be converted before it can become fragrant, useful soap.'

(Matt. 18. 3; Rom. 3. 23; Acts 15. 9)

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