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Sermon Illustrations: Gospel

A person may sincerely believe their plane won't crash, but their sincerity won't save them if it does. It won't change what actually happens. "Our beliefs - no matter how deeply held - have no effect on reality."1

The Gospel In The Key Of F. Feeling footloose and frisky, a featherbrained fellow forced his fond father to fork over the farthings, and flew far to foreign fields and frittered his fortune feasting fabulously with faithless friends. Fleeced by his fellows in folly, and facing famine, he found himself a feedflinger in a filthy farmyard. Fairly famishing, he fain would have filled his frame with foraged food from fodder fragments. "Phooey! My father's flunkies fare far finer!" The frazzled fugitive, frankly facing facts, frustrated by failure and filled with foreboding, fled forthwith to his family. Falling at his father's feet, he forlornly fumbled, "Father, I've flunked, I've fruitlessly forfeited family favour." The farsighted father, forestalling further flinching, frantically flagged the flunkies to fetch the fatling from the flock and fix a feast. The fugitive's fault-finding brother frowned on fickle forgiveness of former fritterer, but the faithful father figured, "Filial fidelity is fine, but the fugitive is found! What forbids fervent festivity? Let flags be unfurled, let fanfares flare." So the father's forgiveness formed the foundation for the former fugitive's future fortitude. Source unknown.

Imagine you are speeding along - 30ks over the limit. The police pull you up and begin to write out a ticket, when suddenly you cry out, "Hold on officer! I think you ought to know that I made a donation to charity this morning. And not only that, I helped a little old lady cross the road." "Well, I didn't know that," says the policeman. "Why didn't you say so in the first place? Two good deeds and only one bad deed. I think I'll let you go." He doesn't care which laws you've kept; he's still going to book you for the one you broke. No country operates differently from that. Why would we expect God to operate on that basis?

A wealthy young man was told that he needed to turn to God. He dismissed the idea. That night he woke up to find a frightening being at the end of his bed. "Who are you?" he cried. "I am the angel of death," said the mysterious visitor. "Is my time up?" asked the young man. "Not yet," said the angel. "Before I come to take you, I will send my messengers to warn you that your time is near." Then the angel disappeared. Relieved, the man fell asleep. The years went by, and he thought, "I've got plenty of time to make my peace with God. There have been no messengers." "That night he woke to find the angel of death sitting on the end of his bed again. "W-what are you doing here?" he stammered. "I've come for you," replied the angel. "But you can't. I mean, I'm not ready." "Well, I've kept my part of the bargain. I sent my messengers." "What messengers?" "How could you miss them? Your grey hair, your wrinkles, your failing eyesight."

The strongest, richest, most educated man outside the ark was lost. But the weakest, poorest, least educated man in the ark was saved. Reinhard Bonnke

Power of the gospel: A World Literature Crusade worker was distributing gospel literature in a remote village in India. After a long day, he was on his way back to his starting point where they had a camp. But on his way back through the village, he saw a teenager distributing printed messages to the exact same homes he had already been to. When he approached the teenager, he saw that the literature was exactly the same. "Surely," he thought, "the organisers hadn't sent two people to do the same job!" But the boy told him what had happened. He had seen the gospel worker distributing literature, and since he thought it must be evil propaganda, the boy followed the evangelist around, collecting every piece of literature distributed. He was then about to set them alight when he realised he hadn't read it. He was born again while reading, and was so excited that he quickly redelivered all the literature he had collected.

1 Mittelberg, Mark; Strobel, Lee; Hybels, Bill Becoming A Contagious Christian p.91
2 Coplestone, E.S. Jesus Christ or Mohammed? p35