Repentance Sermon Illustrations

Repentance Sermon Illustrations

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An old man once dreamed unhappily about his past. He saw before him a long list of things in his life which were wrong, and for which he was sorry and ashamed. In his dream he was about to seize a sponge and rub these things out of his biography, when, to his amazement, he discovered that wherever there were deeds of gold shining through the story of his life they had been wrought there by regret and sorrow over past transgression, and that if he wiped out those wrong acts he would at the same time destroy whatever of nobleness or beauty there was in his character.

Thus it is that even our sins and follies, repented of, can be made stones in. the walls of a godly life.


In the laboratory of the great chemist Faraday a workman accidentally dropped a very valuable silver cup into a tank of strong acid. He and the other workmen stood over the tank mournfully watching the quick disintegration of the cup. But Faraday, seeing what had happened, poured a chemical into the tank. The silver was precipitated to the bottom and recovered, and the shapeless mass was sent off again to the silversmith to be refashioned into its former likeness.

So the grace of repentance and of faith can recover what has been lost and restore it to its former usefulness and beauty.


Two brothers were once convicted of stealing sheep and, in accordance with the brutal punishment of that day, were branded on the forehead with the letters S T, which stood for "sheep thief." One of the brothers, unable to bear the stigma, tried to bury himself in a foreign land. But men would ask him about the letters on his brow, and what they meant. Thus he wandered from land to land, and at length, full of bitterness, died and was buried in a forgotten grave.

But the other brother, who repented of his misdeed, did not go away from his home. He said to himself: "I can't run away from the fact that I stole sheep, and here I will remain until I win back the respect of my neighbors and myself."

As the years passed by he established a reputation for respectability and integrity. One day a stranger in the town saw the old man with the letters S T branded on his forehead and asked a native what they signified. After thinking for a little time the villager said: "It all happened a great while ago, and I have forgotten the particulars; but I think the letters are an abbreviation of Saint."

Yes, that is it! The wonderful grace of God in the penitent and believing heart is able to change and transform the odious marking and scarring of sin into a badge of honor and beauty.


The divinest thing in man is repentance, and great was the repentance of David. Voltaire is said to have attempted to write a profane parody of Psalm 51—David's psalm of repentance after his great sin—but he was overcome with shame and confusion and abandoned the blasphemous project.


Real Repentance and Faith

Congo News tells of a very old woman who was being examined recently by the native pastor for baptism, and showed by her testimony that she fully understood the plan of salvation. When the day for baptism arrived, the old lady hesitated at the church door and said that she must go and fetch something from her house. When she came back, she walked right to the front of the church, laid a small fetish on the ground, and then quietly took her place with the other women. Serious looks were on every face, for they all knew that the "medicine" she had put there was "lightning medicine," the last that any of them is willing to give up. Her father had been killed by lightning years before, and never had she been without her fe­tish to protect her from the same fate.

Having found Jesus as her Lord and Saviour, she was willing to trust Him for all.Alliance Weekly.


The Difference Between Penance and Repentance

Repentance, which was the burden of the Baptist's message, involves the sense of sin, sorrow for sin, and severance from sin by the grace and power of God. He who repents realizes that he is a sinner, regrets his sin, and resolves to forsake it. Remember: "He that lacks time to mourn lacks time to mend." A clergyman found the children reading the Douay version of the Testament, and on noticing a passage in the chapter which was translated "Do penance," where the English version rendered the same word by "Repent," he asked them if they knew the difference between penance and repentance. A short silence followed, and then a little girl asked, "Is it not this ... : Judas did penance, and went and hanged himself; Peter repented, and wept bitterly?"—The Teacher.


His Fall Brought Humiliation

Bishop John Jewel (one of the English Protestant leaders expelled from Oxford in the reign of Mary, 1553-1558), being by the violence of Popish inquisitors, assaulted on a sudden to subscribe, he took a pen in his hand, and said smiling: "Have you a mind to see how well I can write?" and thereupon underwrit their opinions. Jewel, however, by his cowardly compliance, made his foes no fewer without, and one the more—a guilty conscience, within him. His life being waylaid for, with great difficulty he got over into Germany. Arriving at Frankfort, by the advice of some friends, he made a solemn and affecting recantation of his subscription, in a full congregation of English Protestants, on a Sunday morning, after having preached a most tender, penitential sermon. Said he: "It was my abject and cowardly mind, and faint heart that made my weak hand commit this wickedness." He bitterly bewailed his fall; and with sighs and tears supplicated the forgiveness of the God whose truth he had denied, and of the Church of Christ, which he had so grievously offended. The congregation was melted to tears, and all embraced him as a brother in Christ; yea, as an angel of God. Whoever seriously considers the high parts (talents) of Mr. Jewel will conclude, that his fall was necessary for his humiliation.—T. Fuller.

Thus was the penitent Peter restored from his denial, while Judas, the traitor, persistently impenitent, "went to his own place."—Gospel Herald.


Dead Trees

One day a man who had a Christian wife, but who himself was opposed to Christianity, left home for the woods to fell trees. As he glanced around before commencing, he noticed one tree dead and dry, with its leafless branches extending into the air, and he said to himself, "That tree will I cut down, for it is dead and dry, and fit only to be burned." The moment he arrived at that conclusion the question flashed into his mind, "Am I not a dead tree, fit only to burn?" He tried his utmost to banish this unpleasant thought, but it was an arrow from the quiver of the Almighty. He approached the tree and struck a few blows with the ax, but still the thought rankled in his heart, "Will God ever say of me, 'Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground'?" He plied his ax with increasing vigor, but every blow seemed to deepen the conviction of his own spiritual deadness and awful destiny. Eventually these thoughts became so unbearable that he shouldered his ax, returned home, and went directly to his room. There he fell upon his knees before God, and with a penitent and broken heart sought forgiveness through Christ.The Dawn.

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