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What About Sudden Conversion?

Sudden conversion is the very heart of the gospel.

I am very intrigued by the new invention that is now being foisted upon some parts of the American people, whereby on closed-circuit television they can ask you a question, you can sit in your home and push a button, and they have an instant response. That has all kinds of possibilities. Someday we will all have that. We will do catalog shopping through that with two-way communication.

I wonder this morning what would happen if you had buttons and I said, "Now, what do you think of the validity of sudden conversion? Do you think it really is a possibility? What do you think about a Billy Graham rally, in which every night many go forward to have a sudden conversion or reconversion?"

Would you say, "Oh yes, of course!" and push the number one button? Or would you say, "Well, maybe sometimes it works," and push the number two button? Or would you say, "Listen, that's not what the whole thing's about at all. That's all some kind of psychological game," and push button number three?

Now I have no idea what kind of response we'd get from this congregation. I suspect we'd have a lot of people who would push the one button, because some of you have been converted suddenly.

We all wonder whether a person can really change.

The great question is found in the song Fagan sings in the musical Oliver just before the walls are about to crash in on him and his little gang of pickpockets he'd trained to work for him. His life is about to be called into account, and he sings this song: "Can a man change? Can a man change? Can a man change?"

That is the great question today. All of us in various ways want to know. At report card time: can the grasshopper ever become an ant? On the job scene with the real estate salesman or the insurance salesman: ...

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Sermon Outline:

Introduction

I. We wonder whether a person can really change

II. All people have the opportunity to be suddenly converted

III. Zacchaeus is a case study of sudden conversion

IV. Detecting the fruits of a sudden conversion

Conclusion