James H. Zachary was Associate Secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association and the first editor of Elder’s Digest when this article was written.

Successful sermons need outlines. The following sermon graphically illustrates the amazing grace of God to accept, forgive, and restore even the most wicked person. The sermon's objective is to encourage all in the congregation to accept God's forgiveness─ listen to the still, small voice of God and follow Him.

Study each of the Scripture passages. This is a biographical sermon, so you need to make the characters come alive. Draw from your own community further illustrations. Remember that any illustrations used must have meaning for your congregation.

For additional study see Prophets and Kings, pages 349-366; 381-383.

Scripture: 2 Chronicles 33:1-20

I. Introduction

Ask the congregation to draw a picture in their minds of a very wicked man─an adulterer, murderer, child abuser, rebel, apostate.

A. Does God love him?
B. Can God save him?

II. Manasseh's Godly Father

A. Manasseh had a good father─King Hezekiah.

1. Hezekiah was a reformer. 2 Chron. 29:1-31:21.
2. Hezekiah prayed when Sennacherib attacked. 2 Chron. 32:1-23.

a. God answered Hezekiah's prayer,
b. 185,000 soldiers were destroyed.2 Chron. 32:20, 21; 2 Kings 19:35, 36.

3. Hezekiah modeled for his son the life of a Godly leader.

III. The Character of Manasseh

A. We know nothing about his mother, Hephzibah. Could she have been a bad influence?

B. At 12 years of age he became coregent with his father.

C. He went wrong.

1. Describe the list of his sins.
2 Chron. 33:1-9; 2 Kings 21:1-9. 2. See Prophets and Kings, page 382, concerning the murder of Isaiah by Manasseh.

D. Did Manasseh fall into the company of evil friends? Why do some youth take the wrong path in life?

IV. God Speaks to Manasseh. 2 Chron. 33:10, first part.

A. The message that God gives to sinners. Eze. 18:20-32.

B. King Manasseh and his people refuse to listen. 2 Chron. 33:10, second part.

C. God speaks in louder tones. 2 Chron. 33:11; 2 Kings 21:10-16. An enemy army invades; Manasseh is taken prisoner. A ring is put in his nose as one would do to an animal; he is put in brass chains in a line of slaves.

Illustration: Just as there are two sides to a coin, there are two sides to sin: the pleasure side and the side of pain and suffering.

Illustration: Picture the young king suffering in a dark, damp dungeon. The chains cutting into his skin cause intense pain. He now has time to think of his wasted life.

V. Where Was God While Wicked Manasseh Suffered?

God was in the prison with His rebel son, still loving, still wooing, still ready to forgive and restore him.

A. The king begins to listen to God.

B. Manasseh prays and God answers. 2 Chron. 33:12, 13.

Illustration: At this point I am reminded of the struggle between the Lord and Satan over Joshua the high priest. Zech. 3:1-7. Satan calls upon God to let the rebel die in the fire. But God silences the devil and pulls the "stick" (Joshua) out of the fire.

C. We can assume that as with Joshua, an angel pulls off Manasseh's dirty robes and places a clean white robe on him. God looks upon the king as having never sinned. See Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1142.

VI. God Returns Manasseh to His Throne.

A. Manasseh attempts to undo all the wrong that he has done. 2 Chron. 33:14-20.

B. But the scars of sin remain:

1. The ashes of his children in the altar of pagan gods.2 Chron. 33:6.
2. The citizens murdered by the king's orders.
3. Citizens who still walk in sin because of the king's example.

VII. Appeal

"Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God." 2 Chron. 33:13.

A. Thankfully the king could look forward to a new life with God in his remaining years. But how different his life would have been if he had made this decision at age 16 instead of 60.
B. Appeal to audience to begin with God and stay with God.
C. Appeal to the congregation to listen to the voice of God.
D. Appeal to all to be aware of the other side of sin.


James H. Zachary, editor of Elder's Digest, is an associate secretary of the Ministerial Association of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He worked as a teacher for 27 years and was the ministerial secretary of the Far Eastern Division for nine years. He has done evangelism in some 30 countries.

James H. Zachary was Associate Secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association and the first editor of Elder’s Digest when this article was written.