Forgiveness Sermon Illustrations

Forgiveness Sermon Illustrations

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One hardly knows where to commence when he launches out upon this ocean of truth, the death of Christ for sinners. Here are two wills. The one was filed in May, 1564, at Geneva. The testator was a scholar and minister of Christ whose property amounted to thirty-two dollars, a few books, and a few old chairs. In this will, the testator says: "With my whole soul, I embrace the mercy which He has exercised to me through Jesus Christ, atoning for my sins by the merits of His death and passion, that in this way He might satisfy for all my crimes and faults, and blot them from His remembrance. I testify also and declare that I supplianfly beg of Him that He may be pleased so to wash and purify me in the blood which my sovereign Redeemer has shed for the sins of the human race, that under His shadow I may be able to stand at the Judgment Seat."

The second excerpt is from the will of a man who died at the beginning of the twentieth century, and who, at the time of his death, was probably the richest man in America. The first paragraph of his will is as follows: "I commit my soul into the hands of my Saviour in full confidence that having redeemed it and washed it in His most precious blood, He will present it faultless before the throne of my Heavenly Father, and I entreat my children to maintain and defend at any cost of personal sacrifice the blessed doctrine of the complete Atonement for sin through the blood of Jesus Christ once offered, and through that alone."

These two wills were made by men differing in race—one a Frenchman, the other an American; one living in the sixteenth century, the other in the twentieth century; one a scholar and a minister, the other a banker and financier; one a poor man, the other a rich man.

Yet they were alike in the confidence which the testators reposed in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Calvin did not plead his poverty, and Morgan did not plead his riches. Both put their trust in the precious blood of Christ.

Both of these testaments are alike in that they declare that man's greatest need is the forgiveness of sins, that Christianity's greatest blessing is the bestowal of forgiveness, and that the forgiveness of sins is secured for us by the shed blood of Christ, the death of the Son of God upon the cross.

In a Highland village there was a shepherd who had a little daughter. He would take her with him when he went out over the moors to tend and fold the sheep. Most of all the daughter liked to hear her father call the sheep with the shepherd's call, sounding free and beautiful down the wind, over the moors.

By and by the little girl became a beautiful young woman and went off to the great city, Edinburgh or Glasgow, to take a post. At first her letters came regularly every week. Then the intervals between them grew longer, and finally the letters ceased altogether. There were rumors, too, in the village, that the shepherd's daughter had been seen in gay company and in questionable places. At length a lad from the village who knew her well saw her one day in the city and spoke to her, but she pretended that she had never seen him before. When the shepherd heard this, he gathered a few things together and, clad in his shepherd's smock, with a shawl wrapped around his shoulders and his shepherd's staff in his hand, set out for the city to seek and find his lost daughter.

Day after day he sought her in vain, on the avenues and in the slums and closes of the city. Then he remembered how his daughter loved to hear him give the shepherd's call. Again he set out on his quest of sorrow and love, this time sounding, loud and free, the shepherd's call. Passersby turned with astonishment to look on the shepherd in his smock and with his staff as he went up and down the streets sounding the shepherd's call. At length, in one of the degraded sections of the city, his daughter, sitting in a room with her gay companions, suddenly looked up with astonishment in her face. There was no doubt about it! It was her father's voice! The shepherd's call! Flinging wide the door, she rushed out upon the street, and there was her father, who took her in his arms and carried her with him to the Highland home, and there loved her back to decency and to God.

Not far from New York there is a cemetery where there is a grave which has inscribed upon its headstone just one word—"Forgiven." There is no name, no date of birth or death. The stone is unembellished by the sculptor's art. There is no epitaph, no fulsome eulogy—just that one word, "Forgiven." But that is the greatest thing that can be said of any man, or written upon his grave, "Forgiven."

How Salvation Acted in Egypt

While holding meetings in Egypt among some soldiers, Rev. J. Stuart Holden asked a big sergeant in a Highland regiment, how he was brought to Christ. His answer was:

"There is a private in our company who was converted in Malta before the regiment came on to Egypt. We gave that fellow an awful time. One night he came in from sentry duty, very tired and wet, and before going to bed he got down to pray. I struck him on the side of the head with my boots, and he just went on with his prayers. Next morning I found my boots beautifully polished by the side of my bed. That was his reply to me. It just broke my heart, and I was saved that day.—Church of Christ Advocate.

Conquered by Love

Nearly thirty years ago, in a village in Northern Syria, Abu Dugaam was being severely persecuted because he had begun to believe in the teachings of the foreign missionaries. His father-in-law had taken his new wife away from him. The villagers had torn down his new house. Finally, when he refused again and again to give up his belief in his wonderful Book, he was led out to the edge of the village to be burned to death. He was tied to a pile of wood and was given a chance to say his "last words." Much to the surprise of the excited mob, he neither cursed nor wept. Ignorant of ancient martyrs, but with their selfsame spirit, he knelt and prayed for each of his persecutors. Either in fear or penitence, one by one the angry crowd stole quietly back to the village, leaving Abu Dugaam alone, but nearer to his God.—The Presbyterian of the South.

Loving a Neighbor

During a fierce engagement in the late war a British officer saw a German officer impaled on a barbed wire fence, writhing in agony. The fire was dreadful, yet he hung there unscathed. At length the Britisher said: "I can't bear to look at that poor chap any longer!" So he went out amid the hail of shell, released him, and bore him on his shoulders to the German trench. The firing ceased. While both sides waited in wonderment the German commander stepped out from the trench, took from his own bosom the iron cross, and pinned it upon the Britisher.—Record of Christian Work.


On his death-bed the minister reminded the dying King Frederick William of Prussia of the need of confession of sin. "Well, is there anything more?" he said: "Better now than too late." "There is forgiveness of enemies. Your Majesty is bound to forgive all men, or how can you ask to be forgiven?" "Well, I will, I do. You, Feekin (his wife), write to your brother after I am dead that I forgave him—died in peace with him." "Better Her Majesty should write at once," suggests Roloff. "No; after I am dead," persists the son of nature; "that will be safer."—Carlyle (condensed).

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