Sermon Illustrations


Vance Havner tells the story of a who lady came forward during the invitation in one of his meetings to be saved. She was a very sophisticated and refined woman. She had a graduate’s degree and was very articulate and intelligent.

When she came forward during the invitation, Dr. Havner asked her, "Why have you come forward?"

She said, "I want to go to heaven."

Havner doesn’t know why he said it this way, but he asked her, "Ma’am, do you realize that you are a hell-bound sinner worthy only of God’s judgment?"

She looked at him in shocked disbelief and said, "Why no. I’ve been good ALL my life."

He said, "Well, in that case ma’am, you cannot go to heaven. Why don’t you have a seat over there, because you can’t be saved."

Bewildered, she went to one of the front row seats. On the next verse of the song of invitation, she came forward again and said, "Sir, I would like to be saved."

He said, "Ma’am, to be saved, you have to have something to be saved FROM. To be saved is to be saved from SIN. Until you recognize that you are a lost, helpless sinner you cannot be saved. Jesus said, '...They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'"

Suddenly it was as if he saw a light go off in her head. "Ma'am, do you realize that you are a poor, lost, wicked sinner in need of God’s grace and unable to add to His work on Calvary through any works or goodness of your own?"

Tears rolled down her cheeks as the shame for her sin overcame her soul. "Yes! I do," she said. When she said that, she was in a place where God could save her, and Havner was able to lead her to Christ.

(From a sermon by Charles Sligh, The Components of Salvation, 4/15/2011)

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