Faith Sermon Illustrations

Faith Sermon Illustrations

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Eisleben is a small town, but one of the most interesting in the in the world. At one end of the town the house in which on a November nigh in 1483 Martin Luther was born. The house was at that time an inn. Strange that the greatest man in the world, in the last ten centuries, should have been born in an inn, and died in one. At the other end of the town is the house where Luther died. He had come to Eisleben on a mission of reconciliation, and there his last days were spent in preaching the gospel and bringing men and women to Christ. On the night of the eighteenth of February, 1546, Luther awoke in great pain and cried out, "Lord God, how I suffer! I believe I am going to remain here in Eisleben where I was born and baptized."

Then he sank into a stupor and was roused out of it only when a friend said to him, "Reverend Father, do you stand firm by Christ and the doctrine you have preached?"

In a child's whisper he answered, "Yes."

Then those great deep eyes that all men had wondered at, and which sixty-three years before had opened on the world for the first time, now opened for the last time, and Luther was with his God, a sinner saved by grace.


Traveling in Norway, you sail slowly through the beautiful and silent fjords, with the grand mountains rising all about and beautiful cascades making sweet music as they hurry down the perpendicular cliffs on their way back to their mother, the sea. Standing on the deck of the vessel, you will see the channel in front narrowing until it looks like a blind end. You seem to be sailing straight into the mountain. A few hundred yards farther, and you are sure the prow of the steamer will strike on the iron cliffs. But just when progress seems impossible the channel opens up and the steamer glides out upon another fjord of entrancing beauty.

So it is with the iron gates up to which we come on the pilgrimage of life, whether it be the iron gate of present and personal difficulty, or temptation, or sorrow, or sin, or death itself. In God's own way and in God's own time the gate will swing open and we shall pass out into the city.


Jeremy Taylor wrote a famous book of noble English prose whose second section bears the lugubrious title "Holy Dying." In the first chapter of the book, "On the Shortness of Man's Life," he gives the record, or epitaph, of Ninus, the legendary king of Assyria. "Ninus, the Assyrian, had an ocean of gold, and other riches more than the sand in the Caspian Sea. He never saw the stars; and perhaps he never desired it. But he was most valiant to eat and drink. This man is dead. Behold his sepulchre, and now hear where Ninus is: 'Sometimes I was Ninus, and drew the breath of living man. But now I am nothing, but clay. I have nothing but what I did eat, and what I served to myself in lust. I that wore a mitre am now a little heap of dust.' "


One of the romances of the heavens is the story of the discovery of the planet Neptune, the outermost of known planets as related by Professor Simon Newcomb. Up to that time the planet Uranus, discovered in 1781, had been regarded as the outermost of the planets. The study of Uranus by the astronomers revealed certain deviations and perturbations for which they could not account by any of the known laws and theories. Then they began to wonder if these perturbations might not arise from the action of another planet. They got to work with their mathematics and their theories, and finally reached the conclusion that the disturbances which they had noted in Uranus must be due to the action of an unknown planet. Then they located on their charts the place in the heavens where that planet must be. Finally, after midnight on the morning of September 14, 1846, an astronomer student turned his instrument on the place designated, and the great planet swam into view. The theories upon which they followed' their investigations and finally discovered the planet were, of course, based upon observed data; nevertheless, it was faith in the laws of the universe, and in the fidelity of those laws, which led them to discover the great planet. The eye of the mind, the eye of faith, discovered it long before it was seen through the lens of the telescope.


The Faith That Honors God

A faith that will believe without encouragement from others.— Abraham (Gen. 18:9-15; Rom. 4:19, 20) .

A faith that will believe without encouragement from God.—The Syrophenician woman (Matt. 15:22-28).

A faith that will believe without previous experience.—Noah (Heb. 11:7).

A faith that will believe without hurrying to prove.—The nobleman of Capernaum (John 4:47-53).

It is this calm, unswerving steadiness that marks matured faith, though many a tottering moment is apt to spoil its earlier steps while the evil heart of unbelief remains.—Selected.


Finding the Meaning

When the late Dr. John G. Paton was a missionary in the New Hebrides, he wanted to translate the Gospel of John into the native tongue. He had worked on the Gospel and found that there wasn't a word—at least he couldn't locate a word—in the native tongue which meant "believe." How could he translate the Gospel of John without a word for "believe"? If it is the key word (and it is) and if it is true that the word occurs more than ninety times (and it does), how could you translate it if you didn't have any word to correspond with it? So he laid his manuscript aside.

But one day one of the native workers who had been out over the hills in some Christian service came in to Dr. Paton's office, and sitting in one chair and putting his feet up on another, he used a native word which meant, "I am resting my whole weight on these two chairs." There was one native word which meant all this—"I am resting my whole weight upon." And Dr. Paton said, "I have my word." He translated the Gospel of John, and every time he needed a word for "believe," he put in the word which meant, "I am resting my whole weight upon."

Let us try it and see how it works. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever resteth his whole weight upon him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that rest their whole weight upon him" (John 1:12). Is that it? Yes, that is it! "What must I do to be saved?" "Rest your whole weight upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Is that it? Yes, that is it!—Will H. Houghton, in The Living Christ.


"Help Thou Mine Unbelief"

A church of which I was at one time pastor was heavily in debt, and I made it a matter of prayer. One day a stranger called on me and said, "Mr. McNeill, I understand that you have a debt on your church that you are anxious to pay. I have heard a great deal about your work and I want to help." Then laying a blank check on my desk, he said, "Fill in the amount you require and I will return later and sign it." Then he was gone.

As I sat looking at that check I said, "Surely he doesn't realize that our debt runs into thousands of pounds. He would never give that much. He told me to make it out for the full amount, but I'll just put down half. I'm afraid he will not even sign that much."

After a little while the stranger returned, and with scarcely a glance signed the check, and left without another word. I looked at the signature; it was that of a well-known philanthropist. When I realized that he meant what he said, and could easily have paid the whole debt, I exclaimed, "Oh, man of little faith, I will never doubt again."The King's Business.

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