Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Trading ‘Abundant Life’ Gospel for the Real Thing

Benny Hinn’s nephew, Costi Hinn, was confident of his relationship with the Lord. He traveled the world in a private jet and enjoying all the luxuries that money could buy. He believed he was serving Jesus Christ and as a result was enjoying the abundant life he promised. The only problem--he wasn’t preaching the true Gospel.

Costi Hinn writes:

Growing up in the Hinn family our lifestyle was lavish and our version of the gospel was big business. God’s goal was not to set us free from sin but to make us rich. We lived in a 10,000-square-foot mansion, drove two Mercedes Benz vehicles, vacationed in exotic destinations, and shopped at the most expensive stores. We were abundantly blessed.

Doubts would surface. What about unsuccessful healing attempts? I learned that it was the sick person’s fault for doubting God. Why did many of our prophecies contradict the Bible? Despite the questions, I trusted my family because we were so successful. Millions packed stadiums annually to hear my uncle. We healed the sick, performed miracles, rubbed elbows with celebrities, and got incredibly wealthy. God must be on our side!

After graduating college, I met my wife, Christyne. I had no idea that God would use her in bringing about my salvation. In fact, my family and I were nervous because she didn’t speak in tongues. We set out to fix that problem by having her attend one of Benny’s crusades, but nothing happened.

Then one day she pointed to a verse I had never seen: 1 Corinthians 12:30 (“Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues?”). I was shaken to the core. There it was plain as day—not everybody has to speak in tongues. Soon, the domino e­ffect began. Other longstanding beliefs were failing the biblical test. No longer did I believe that God’s purpose was to make me happy, healthy, and wealthy. Instead, I saw that he wanted me to live for him regardless of what I could get from him.

While struggling to strike out into ministry, I received a call from a pastor friend, offering me a part-time youth pastor position. One of my first preaching assignments was John 5:1–17—the healing at Bethesda. The passage showed that Jesus healed (only) one man out of a multitude, the man didn’t know who Jesus was, and the man was healed instantly! This left three treasured beliefs in tatters.

I wept bitterly over my participation in greedy ministry manipulation and my life of false teaching and beliefs, and I thanked God for his mercy and grace through Jesus Christ. I am thankful that my wife was willing to question my insistence on speaking in tongues and that my pastor loved me enough to disciple me out of prosperity gospel confusion.

Related Sermon Illustrations

A Supernatural Shakeup

Jonathan Tjarks is a staff­ writer at The Ringer who shares how he found meaning and identity in Christ:

I never thought I would become a Christian. I grew up believing science ...
[Read More]

An Iranian Refugee’s Terrible Journey to God

Annahita Parsan shares how she survived snowy mountains, a filthy prison, and an abusive husband as God brought her to faith in Christ.

I was born in beautiful, peaceful Iran. My life ...
[Read More]