Sermon Illustrations

How God Used a Phrase from a Gospel Tract to Bring an Indian to Faith in Christ, the Bread of Life; Paul Harvey on the Meaning of God’s Providence

So providence assumes that God is the supreme Creator of all things. And as Creator he prevents the universe from going into non-existence, he guides and directs all of his creation, and he does so in order to accomplish his purposes in every given situation.

The story is told of a missionary who was passing out copies of the Gospel of John in the Central provinces of India. One man took the Gospel of John and the missionary was excited as the man opened it to read it. But when he realized it was Christian literature, he tore it into pieces and threw it on the ground. Another man shortly came by that same place and picked up a piece of the torn paper to see what it was. He read these words in his own language, “…the bread of life…”

He did not know what it meant and he asked some of his friends if they knew the meaning of this phrase. One friend told him, “I can tell you that these are words from the Christian Book. You must not read it or you will be defiled.” The man thought to himself, “A phrase as beautiful as this cannot defile.” So he bought a copy of the New Testament and read it until he found the statement, “I am the bread of life.”

Which means he opened the New Testament and read through Matthew, Mark, and Luke until he came to John 6. As he read and studied the passage, the light of the God’s Word flooded his heart and he trusted Christ as his Lord and Savior. And according to this story, that same man became a preacher of the Gospel in the central provinces of India. That’s providence.

Paul Harvey, the famous American radio broadcaster said this: Providence is God acting anonymously. That is the perfect way to describe providence from the human vantage point. Things happen all the time that make the world what it is and the way it is; God is in control of all of that without making his hand directly seen. Those unaware of or unwilling to acknowledge God’s rule would call it coincidence.

From a sermon by Matthew Grise, Joseph: A Man of Purpose, 11/18/2009

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