Sermon Illustrations Get in the Way

Failing Pastor Poem:

My biggest preaching frustration
Is that all they heard
Was the Illustration.



Advertisements for salads all look the same. Each one shows a young, beautiful woman with large eyes and a huge smile with beautiful white teeth, about to slide a fork of green salad into her mouth. Salad eating looks so fun! It looks like the most thrilling and exciting activity on the planet in these ads!

The reason they make salad eating look so fun is because no one is that happy eating a salad. They are lying, making what is drudgery at worst and slightly tasty at best, into the most thrilling event of a person’s day.

The Church is selling salad. The Gospel is salad. It’s good for you, but wow, no one really wants to eat it. The Church, knowing that no one wants to eat Gospel Salad, uses bait and switch; we use marketing to make the Gospel look more appealing.

“Hey, if you believe our Gospel, you’ll have your best life now!”

“Hey, if you believe our Gospel, you’ll have health and wealth!”

“Hey, if you believe our Gospel, God will work a wonderful plan for your life and when you die, it gets even wonderfuller!”

Come and eat our happy Gospel salad and be happy with us!

The Gospel is tough; it is hard, it leads you into a fight that needs to be fought and a race that needs to be run. You need armor, you need spiritual rebirth, and you need Divine power if you want to survive it. Don’t lie to people about the Gospel. Tell them the truth. Let them know there’s a good chance this Gospel might mess up their lives. Tell them what Jesus Christ said to those listening to Him: Count the cost!


I used the above as a sermon illustration one week. I thought it was brilliant and was perfectly delivered with comedic timing and everything. It made an excellent point, one that needs to be made by more people in the church, if you ask me.

The whole message was about following in the footsteps of Christ as said in 1 Peter. The whole message was about the suffering brought about by following Jesus Christ, the Suffering Servant.

It was intended to stir people up to follow Christ no matter the cost. To depend upon the power available in the Gospel to allow you to forgive, to love your enemy, to turn the other cheek, to give to those who ask of you, to deny yourself and take up the cross, and to present your bodies a living sacrifice.

A barn-burner of a sermon. One that should have converted sinners and stirred up believers. It was a beauty.

Afterward, exactly ZERO (0) people told me about any change they were making in life. ZERO people told me how glad they were for the encouragement, the challenge, and the straight shooting provided in the message. ZERO mentioned any tangible evidence they heard anything I said.

EXCEPT, there were eight (8) people who told me how much they like salad.



Then said I, Ah Lord God! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?
–Ezekiel 20:49

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