Sermon illustrations


Daughter Cheating?

As a committed Southern Baptist, president Jimmy Carter was often questioned by reporters on a variety of moral issues. One day, a reporter asked, “How would you feel if you were told that your daughter was having an affair?” “Shocked and overwhelmed,” Carter responded, “but then, she’s only seven years old.”

Stuart Strachan Jr.

What If Satan Told The Truth When He Tempted Us?  [Part 1 of 2]

Think for a second what it would be like if Satan were to tell the truth when he tempted people? Could you picture what that would look like? Imagine if Satan tried to tempt us honestly; it might go something like this:

SATAN: You should cheat on your wife with that good-looking girl in the office.        

PERSON: I don’t think so. It’s wrong, and it would hurt my wife.        

SATAN: Fair enough; you make a good point. But look, I’ve run a cost-benefit analysis for you. Here’s what I’ve come up with:


  1. A few moments of physical (if perhaps awkward) pleasure.


  1. Disobedience to God.           
  2. Erode your communion with God.           
  3. Ruin, or possibly even end, your marriage.            
  4. Humiliate your wife.            
  5. Mess up your kids’ lives.           
  6. Public humiliation and exposure.            
  7. Might cost you your job.            
  8. Might mess up your coworker’s life.            
  9. Diseases?          
  10. Unwanted pregnancy?          
  11. Dishonor and disgrace on your church.          
  12. Wreck your witness to others.

PERSON: Yeah, wow. Umm . . . no, thanks.

Mike McKinley, Did The Devil Make Me Do It?: And Other Questions About Satan, Evil Spirits, The Good Book Company, 2013.

The Devils Logic [Part 2 of 2]

If I were making a list of benefits like the one Mike McKinley imagines, only this time using the devil’s actual logic, it might look more like this:        

  1. Experience the excitement of new romance.        
  2. Get the kind of satisfaction my wife isn’t willing to give or interested in giving anymore.        
  3. Find someone who listens to me and actually understands.        
  4. Relieve this stress and boredom.        
  5. Feel attractive and desired.        
  6. Feel loved.

Those are the lines we follow when we ponder affairs. We give an inch at a time, compromise after compromise, not in the explicit interest of disobeying God and dishonoring our marriage vows, but in the interest of fulfillment, beauty, and enlightenment. Sin makes an emotional kind of sense to us that defies biblical reason, and the devil is more than happy to help us with that too. After all, God forgives anything, right?

Jared C. Wilson, The Gospel According to Satan: Eight Lies about God that Sound Like the Truth, Nelson Books, 2020.

A Roomful of Yearning & Regret

Writer Wendy Plump wrote a candid, vulnerable article in the NY Times called “A Roomful of Yearning and Regret” (Dec. 9, 2010).

In the article she disclosed that both her & her husband had affairs leading to their divorce. She described how her affair was passionate & steamy as she expected. There was an ego rush of being desired which was mistaken for love, but the relationship didn’t last & her marriage fell apart.

Plump then looked at her parents. She reflects: They have this marriage of 50 years behind them, and it is a monument to success. A few weeks or months of illicit passion could not hold a candle to it. She asks, “If you were 75, which would you rather have: years of steady if occasionally strained devotion, or something that looks like [a war zone]. Her parent’s marriage, the creation of time and will,” was indeed more interesting than her fleeting romance, however passionate.

Timothy & Kathy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, Penguin, 2013, p.98.

When Scandales Become Blasé

In his thoughtful book, Our Good Crisis: Overcoming Moral Chaos with the Beatitudes, Jonathan K. Dodson describes what has become a reality of modern-day life-scandals happen every day, and no-one seems to even notice:

After settling into my tech-savvy dining booth at JFK international airport, I heard “breaking news” in stereo. News blaring–flat screens scattered throughout the terminal announced CNN had obtained a tape of a conversation between Donald Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen discussing how they planned to buy the rights to a Playboy model’s story of an alleged affair.

I looked around the terminal, scanning gates and bars filled with TVs. No one paid attention. Not a single person seemed to be concerned that evidence had surfaced indicting an American president of an extramarital affair, with a Playmate, which he tried to cover up by paying her off. Irrespective of political affiliations, this news should grab our attention.

Not a head turned. Why? Perhaps it’s because we’ve become so accustomed to public crises. Just this week I came across the vicious ethnic cleansing of Myanmar’s Rohingya, the massacre of six American women and three children in Mexico, an impudent religious leader hurling racial insults, impeachment hearings in DC, and a college admission scandal. If I’m honest, I’m kind of overloaded, even numb to these atrocities.

Taken from Our Good Crisis: Overcoming Moral Chaos with the Beatitudes by Jonathan K. Dodson Copyright (c) 2020 by Jonathan K. Dodson. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

See also Illustrations on Adultery, Divorce, Marriage, SexSin