Faith Sermon Illustrations

Faith Sermon Illustrations

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The Offer of the Irish Landlord

 "I told you, and ye believed not" ( John 10:25).

The unwillingness of the human heart to rely on the promise of grace in Christ Jesus is well illustrated in the story of an eccentric Irish landlord on whose vast estates dwelt a number of very needy tenants. Upon becoming converted, this wealthy man was anxious to make clear to these people the marvelous provision God had made for their salvation. So he caused to be posted in prominent places on his wide domains, notices to the effect that, on a given day, he would be in his office down by the lodge gates, from ten o'clock in the morning until twelve noon. During that time, he would be prepared to pay the debts of all his tenantry who brought their unpaid bills with them.

For days the notices were the cause of much excitement. People talked of the strange offer and some declared it a hoax. Others were certain "there must be a catch somewhere." A few even thought it indicated that the landlord was going out of his mind, for "who had ever heard of any sane man making such an offer?"

When the announced day came, many of the people could be seen making their way to the office, and as the time approached a great crowd had gathered about the door. Promptly at ten the landlord and his secretary drove to the gate, left the carriage and, without a word to anyone, entered the office and closed the door. Outside a great discussion had begun; it became more vehement every minute. Was there anything to it? Did he really mean it? Would he only make a fool of one who brought the evi­dence of his indebtedness? Some insisted that it was his actual signature at the foot of the notices, and surely he would not dishonor his name. But an hour passed and no one had gone in to present his claim. If one suggested to someone else to venture, he would be met by the angry response, "I don't owe so very much. I have no need to go in. Let someone else try it first—someone who owes more than I do!" And so the precious moments slipped away.

Finally, when it was nearing twelve o'clock, an aged couple from the farthest bounds of the estate came hobbling along arm in arm; the old man had a bundle of bills clutched tightly in one hand. In quavering tones he inquired. "Is it true, neighbor, that the landlord be paying the debts of all who come today?"

"He ain't paid none yet," said one.

"We think it is just a cruel joke," said another.

The old couple's eyes filled with tears. "Is it all a mistake? We hoped it was true and thought how good it would be to be able to die free of debt."

They were turning disconsolately away, when somebody said, "No one has tried him yet. Why not go in? If he pays your bills, come out quickly and tell us and we'll go in, too."

To this the old folks agreed and timidly opened the door and entered the office, where a cordial welcome awaited them. In answer to their question as to whether the notice was true, the secretary said:

"Do you think the landlord would deceive you? Let me see your bills."

They were all presented, carefully tabulated, and a check made out to cover them. Overwhelmed with gratitude, the old man and his wife arose to leave, but the secretary said:

"Just be seated. You must remain here till the office closes at noon."

They explained that the crowd outside was waiting for verification from them of the strange offer.

But the landlord said, "No, you took me at my word. They must do the same if they want their debts paid."

And so the minutes passed. Outside, the people moved restlessly about, watching the closed door, but none lifted the latch. At high noon the door opened and the old folks came out first.

"Did he keep his word?" the throng asked.

"Yes, neighbors. Here is his check and it's good as gold."

"Why didn't you come out and tell us ?" angrily asked many.

"He said we must wait inside and you must come as we did and take him at his word."

A moment later the landlord and his secretary came out and hurried to the carriage—the crowd pressing about them, holding out hands full of personal bills, and crying, "Won't you do for us as you did for those folks?" But rising in his carriage, the landlord said, "It is too late now. I gave you every opportunity. I would have paid for you all, but you would not believe me."

Then he likened the events of the morning to the way men treat God's offer to free the sinner of all that divine justice has against him. Solemnly he warned them of the folly of passing up so great salvation until the day of grace was over and it was too late to be saved.


Faith is that quality which leads a man to expect that his flowers and garden will resemble the views shown on the seed packets.—Country Life in America.


"What is faith, Johnny?" asks the Sunday school teacher.

"Pa says," answers Johnny, "that it's readin' in the papers that the price o' things has come down, an expectin' to find it true when the bills comes in."


Faith is believing the dentist when he says it isn't going to hurt.


"As I understand it, Doctor, if I believe I'm well, I'll be well. Is that the idea?"

"It is."

"Then, if you believe you are paid, I suppose you'll be paid."

"Not necessarily."

"But why shouldn't faith work as well in one case as in the other?"

"Why, you see, there is considerable difference between having faith in Providence and having faith in you."—Horace Zimmerman.


Mother had been having considerable argument with her infant daughter as to whether the latter was going to be left alone in a dark room to go to sleep. As a clincher, the mother said: "There is no reason at all why you should be afraid. Remember that God is here all the time, and, besides, you have your dolly. Now go to sleep like a good little girl." Twenty minutes later a wail came from upstairs, and mother went to the foot of the stairs to pacify her daughter. "Don't cry," she said; "remember what I told you—God is there with you and you have your dolly." "But I don't want them," wailed the baby; "I want you, muvver; I want somebody here that has got a skin face on them."


Faith is a fine invention
For gentlemen who see;
But Microscopes are prudent
In an emergency.—Emily Dickinson.

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