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Sermon quotes on conversion

Archibald Alexander

God is not glorified in any transaction upon earth so much as in the conversion of a sinner.

Practical Truths, 1857.

Bernard of Clairvaux

Neither fear nor self-interest can convert the soul. They may change the appearance, perhaps even the conduct, but never the object of supreme desire… Fear is the motive which constrains the slave; greed binds the selfish man, by which he is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed (James 1:14). But neither fear nor self-interest is undefiled, nor can they convert the soul. Only charity can convert the soul, freeing it from unworthy motives.

John Bunyan

Conversion is not the smooth, easy-going process some men seem to think… It is wounding work, this breaking of the hearts, but without wounding there is no saving… Where there is grafting there will always be a cutting, the graft must be let in with a wound; to stick it onto the outside or to tie it on with a string would be of no use. Heart must be set to heart and back to back or there will be no sap from root to branch. And this, I say, must be done by a wound, by a cut.

Samuel Chadwick

The Christian religion begins in a New Birth in the power of the Spirit. It is developed under His guidance, and sustained by His presence; but ignoring the Spirit, it becomes a matter of education and evolution.

Theodore Epp

The new life is life “in Christ”.

Bobby Harrington

So while conversion is the most important step in the journey, involving a fundamental change in our identity, life transformation is the end goal.

The Disciple Maker’s Handbook: Seven Elements of a Discipleship Lifestyle.

Stanley Hauerwas

North American Christians are trained to believe that they are capable of reading the Bible without spiritual and moral transformation.”

Unleashing the Scripture: Freeing the Bible from Captivity to America.

Alan Jones

The opportunity for conversion is brief,

and our lives are littered with missed opportunities.

Soul Making

C.S. Lewis

The world does not consist of 100 percent Christians and 100 percent non-Christians. There are people (a great many of them) who are slowly ceasing to be Christians but who still call themselves by that name: some of them are clergymen. There are other people who are slowly becoming Christians though they do not yet call themselves so. 

Mere Christianity

C.S. Lewis

Every story of conversion is a story of blessed defeat.

C.S. Lewis

We are to be re-made. All the rabbit in us is to disappear-and then, surprisingly, we shall find underneath it all a thing we have never yet imagined: a real Man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong, radiant, wise, beautiful, and drenched in joy.

C.S. Lewis

[The natural life] knows that if the spiritual life gets hold of it, all its self-centredness and self-will are going to be killed and it is ready to fight tooth and nail to avoid that.

Max Lucado

To see sin without grace is despair. To see grace without sin is arrogance. To see them in tandem is conversion.

Twitter post from Jul 20, 2014.

Martin Luther

People go through three conversions: The conversion of their head, their heart, and their pocketbook. Unfortunately, not all at the same time.

F.B. Meyer

When we are born again, a new life – the life of God – is put into us by the Holy Spirit. But the old self-life, which is called in Scripture the flesh, is not taken away. The two may coexist in the same heart. “The flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.

Watchman Nee

We should realize that the Bible never tells us to have ourselves crucified; it informs us only that we “were crucified.”

Henri Nouwen

Living a spiritual life requires a change of heart, a conversion. Such a conversion may be marked by a sudden inner change, or it can take place through a long, quiet process of transformation. But it always involves an inner experience of oneness.

The Spiritual Life: Eight Essential Titles by Henri Nouwen”, HarperCollins, 2016.

Henri Nouwen

I am increasingly convinced that conversion is the individual equivalent of revolution.

The Wounded Healer (Doubleday Image Book. an Image Book), The Crown Publishing Group.

Flannery O’Connor

Once the process [of conversion] is begun and continues…you are continually turning inward toward God and away from your own egocentricity…you have to see this selfish side of yourself in order to turn away from it. I measure God by everything I am not. I begin with that.

Thomas C. Oden

I did not become an orthodox believer or theologian until after I tried out most of the errors long rejected by Christianity. If my first forty years were spent hungering for meaning in life, the last forty have been spent in being fed. If the first forty were prodigal, the last forty have been a homecoming.”

A Change of Heart: A Personal and Theological Memoir.

Rudolph Otto

This being born again is no longer the active transfer of our will from the realm of inclination into that of obedience. It is, in the sense of the third chapter of the Gospel according to St. John, the conquest of the resistance of the natural man, to…overcome the natural aversion, indeed the horror, against that ‘entirely other’ to which after all he is called.

Blaise Pascal

People often mistake their imagination for their heart, & so often are convinced they are converted as soon as they start thinking of becoming converted.

The Mind on Fire: A Faith for the Skeptical and Indifferent.

William Penn

Force may make hypocrites, but it can never make converts.

Leonard Ravenhill

I think one of the serious breakdowns in modern evangelism is this: it has offered too much for too little. What we do mostly is offer forgiveness. We need cleansing! There is no true conversion until a man takes up his cross.

Alan Redpath

The conversion of a soul is the miracle of a moment, but the manufacture of a saint is the task of a lifetime.

The Making of a Man of God (Alan Redpath Library): Lessons from the Life of David, Baker Books, 2004, 6.

Blaise Pascal

People often mistake their imagination for their heart, & so often are convinced they are converted as soon as they start thinking of becoming converted.

The Mind on Fire: A Faith for the Skeptical and Indifferent.

Oscar A. Romero

The church must suffer for speaking the truth, for pointing out sin, for uprooting sin. No one wants to have a sore spot touched, and therefore a society with so many sores twitches when someone has the courage to touch it and say: “You have to treat that. You have to get rid of that. Believe in Christ. Be converted.

The Violence of Love

J. C. Ryle

To be born again is, as it were, to enter upon a new existence, to have a new mind, a new heart, new views, new principles, new tastes, new affections, new likings, new dislikings, new fears, new joys, new sorrows, new love to things once hated, new hatred to things once loved, new thoughts of God, and ourselves, and the world, and the life to come, and salvation.

J.C. Ryle

It costs something to be a real Christian, according to the standard of the Bible. There are enemies to be overcome, battles to be fought, sacrifices to be made, an Egypt to be forsaken, a wilderness to be passed through, a cross to be carried, a race to be run. Conversion is not putting a person in an arm-chair and taking them easily to heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in which it costs much to win the victory.

Charles Spurgeon

Another proof of the conquest of a soul for Christ will be found in a real change of life. If the man does not live differently from what he did before, both at home and abroad, his repentance needs to be repented of and his conversion is a fiction.

John Stott

Social responsibility becomes an aspect not of Christian mission only, but also of Christian conversion. It is impossible to be truly converted to God without being thereby converted to our neighbor.

John Stott

Social responsibility becomes an aspect not of Christian mission only, but also of Christian conversion. It is impossible to be truly converted to God without being thereby converted to our neighbor.

Charles H. Spurgeon

There is nothing that more tends to strengthen the faith of the young believer than to hear the veteran Christian, covered with scars from the battle, testifying that the service of his Master is a happy service, and that, if he could have served any other master, he would not have done so, for His service is pleasant, and His reward everlasting joy.

The Autobiography of Charles H. Spurgeon: Compiled from His Diary, Letters, and Records, vol. 1.

J.C. Ryle

I assert without hesitation, that the conversion described in Scripture is a happy thing and not a miserable one, and that if converted persons are not happy, the fault must be in themselves. . . . I am confident the converted man is the happiest man.

“Conversion,” Old Paths: Being Plain Statements on Some of the Weightier Matters of Christianity.

Henri J. M. Nouwen

I am increasingly convinced that conversion is the individual equivalent of revolution.

The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society, Image, 1979.

George MacDonald

But we who would be born again indeed, must wake our souls unnumbered times a day.

Donna Barber

Though conversion may be pinpointed to a moment, salvation is a process that continues over a lifetime. I am still being saved from old ways of thinking and behaving and am coming to new understandings, to new life.

Bread for the Resistance: Forty Devotions for Justice People, InterVarsity Press, 2019.

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