Sermon Illustrations

There was a very capable evangelist whom God used in a significant way. But he lost his interest in spiritual things and drifted into a life of sin, for a number of months. Some of his sin was done in secret but ultimately, it became public knowledge and even made the headlines. At first, all he could think of was that he had been ruined for life, but, finally, he realized what a fool he had been, and he came back to God like the prodigal from the pigpen.

He found exactly the same thing the prodigal did. The Lord welcomed him with open arms and began to strengthen him and bless him. Finally, after a period of waiting, he felt pressed back into a public ministry for the Lord. He was afraid that his sin would be found out and brought up all over again, but after he felt sure it was hidden and tucked away in the past, he went back to preaching, rejoicing in the forgiveness of God.

One night he was given a sealed letter. Just before the service began, he read the unsigned letter. It described a shameful series of events he had been engaged in. His stomach churned as he read it. The letter said, "If you have the gall to preach tonight, I’ll stand and expose you."

He took that letter and went to his knees. A few minutes later, he was in the pulpit. He began his message by reading the letter, from start to finish. Then he said, "I want to make it clear that this letter is perfectly true. I’m ashamed of what I’ve read, and what I’ve done. I come tonight, not as one who is perfect, but as one who is forgiven." God used that letter and the rest of his ministry as a magnet to draw people to Jesus Christ.