Repentance Sermon Illustrations

Repentance Sermon Illustrations

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"Except Ye Repent"

By his frequent spasms of violent coughing, a tall emaciated patient drew attention to himself in the prison ward of Bellevue Hospital in New York City. He had been a policeman and only a few years had passed since he was happily married. He had acquired the bad habit of going home nights in an intoxicated condition. One night his mother-in-law met him at the entrance to the house. "Drunk again," she ejaculated and began to chide him sharply. Then without a moment's hesitation, he drew his gun, fired and killed her. He was arrested, charged with homicide and held for trial in the city prison. There he developed tuberculosis and that resulted in his transfer to the prison ward of a municipal hospital.

Over and over in a mournful and disconsolate tone of voice, he could be heard asking the question, "Why did I pull that gun?" Gospel messengers pled with him, to call upon the Son of God who said, "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). They assured him that Jesus was able and willing to save, but he spurned them and the offer of full and free salvation through the atoning Blood of Jesus Christ. He was never brought before an earthly judge because he died before the prosecuting attorney was ready to present his case for trial before a jury. He was summoned to appear before the court from which there is no appeal. His final words before he departed this world were the frequently muttered question, "Why-did-I-pull-that-gun?"—The late Ernest A. Eggers, in Gospel Herald.


If there is no repentance, there can be no pardon. Some years ago a murderer was sentenced to death in the United States. The murderer's brother, to whom the State was deeply indebted for former services, besought the governor of the State for his brother's pardon. The pardon was granted, and the man visited his brother with the pardon in his pocket. "What would you do," he said to him, "if you received a pardon?" "The first thing I would do," he answered, is to track down the judge who sentenced me, and murder him; and the next thing I would do is to track down the chief witness, and murder him." The brother rose, and left the prison with the pardon in his pocket.—The Dawn.

Real Repentance

Perhaps the quaintest letter in the whole White House collection is one which came from a child, addressed to President Cleveland, written in September, 1895. This is what it says: "To His Majesty President Cleveland. Dear President: I am in a dreadful state of mind, and I thought I would write and tell you all. About two years ago—as near as I can remember, it is two years —I used two postage stamps that had been used before on letters; perhaps more than two stamps, but I can only remember of doing it twice. I did not realize what I had done until lately. My mind is constantly turned on that subject, and I think of it night and day. Now, dear President, will you please forgive me, and I will promise you I will never do it again. Enclosed find cost of three stamps, and please forgive me, for I was then but thirteen years old, for I am heartily sorry for what I have done. From one of your subjects."—The King's Business.

In the early years of the twentieth century, in the town of Wishaw, Lanarkshire, Scotland, on a Saturday night, a faithful preacher of the Gospel might be heard preaching `repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ', and repeating again and again the warning, `Turn or burn! Turn or burn!'

(Prov. 9. 4; Acts 2. 38; 20. 21; 1 Thess. 1. 9)

Nay, but much rather let me late returning,
Bruised of my brethren, wounded from within,
Stoop with sad countenance and blushes burning,
Bitter with weariness and sick with sin.

Straight to Thy presence get me and reveal it,
Nothing ashamed of tears upon Thy feet;
Show the sore wound and beg Thy hand to heal it;
Pour Thee the bitter, pray Thee for the sweet.

(Luke 7. 37-48; 1 John 1. 9)

Repentance is a hearty sorrow for our past misdeeds, and a sincere resolution and an endeavor to the utmost of our power, to conform all our actions to the law of God. It does not consist in one single act of sorrow, but in doing works meet for repentance; in a sincere obedience to the law of Christ for the remainder of our lives.—John Locke

It is said there was but one gate in ancient Troy by which men might enter or leave the city. So there is but one way to escape for us now, through the door which Jesus opens for us. "Behold," He says, "I set before you an open door." That door is repentance, and Christ has opened it by the shedding of His Blood on the Cross.—Selected

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