Temptation Sermon Illustrations

Temptation Sermon Illustrations

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Temptation is a sleepless, unwearying enemy. The Scotch-Irish forefathers who settled and conquered the wilderness of Western Pennsylvania, as they went about their daily toil, clearing the forests, cultivating the fields, looking after the stock, did so ever mindful of the fact that there was a cruel, crafty, merciless, and blood-thirsty foe always lurking about, waiting for an opportunity to find the settler off his guard and fire the fatal shot or hurl his tomahawk and rush forward with the encircling knife.

So, although we are often supinely oblivious of it, you and I have an enemy who is waiting and watching to find us off our guard; and his patience is never worn out and his enmity is unsleeping. How powerful a figure did the Lord use when he spoke to Cain, warning him against the temptation of hatred and jealousy that at length moved him to his dreadful crime: "Sin coucheth at the door" (Gen. 4:7). The figure is that of a wild animal, flattened against the ground or a rock, or against the limb of the tree, watching and waiting to make his fatal spring.


The dramatic events that took place in Russia during the second World War recalled the disastrous retreat of Napoleon from Moscow in 1801. The best account we have of that retreat is by Caulaincourt, the Duke of Vicenza, Napoleon's master of horse, who was with him in intimate contact all through the Russian campaign. Caulaincourt describes how the soldiers of the Guard, overcome by the cold, fell out of the ranks and lay prostrate in the snow, too weak or too numb to stand. Once they fell asleep they were dead. To sleep was to die.

He relates how on a number of occasions he tried to arouse men who had thus fallen to the ground, warning them that they would perish; but the drowsiness engendered by the cold was irresistibly strong. To all his entreaties the drowsy soldiers were deaf. The only words they uttered were to beg him for the love of God to go away and let them sleep.

So is it with the sleep of the soul, with the fatal allurement of temptation and of sin.


The ship which carried Paul was lured to its destruction by the south wind. Paul admonished the men to remain safe in the harbor at Fair Havens, but when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had gained their purpose, they put out to sea on the last voyage, which ended on the rocks of Malta. All temptations come along the line of least resistance—the easy, the pleasant, the desirable. The thief is told that there is an easier and a more pleasant way to make money than by the sweat of the brow and the labor of the mind.

Gehazi saw the flashing colors of the Syrian raiment, not the leprous scars on the face. Achan saw the Babylonian garments, not the execrations of the people and the lamentations of his wife and children. Judas saw the glitter of the gold, not the darkness of remorse. The man who fools with whisky sees only the immediate stimulus and the good fellowship, and hears only the roaring chorus of his companions. He does not see the poisonous stuff eating out the vitality of his body and dulling the windows of his mind and defiling the temple of his spirit.

The young man who goes down into the swamp of impure and unclean living sees only the gratification of his curiosity, the strange excitement of his mysterious adventure. He does not see the awful retribution which nature exacts of those who break her laws; he does not see himself, his body devoured with ulcers, his will broken, his spirit degraded to a level far below that of the brute. He knows only that stolen waters are sweet and that bread eaten in secret is pleasant; he does not know that Death is there, and that her guests are in the depths of hell.


Could Christ Have Sinned?

Dr. I. M. Haldeman tells of a scene in New York State among the mountains. A bridge had been thrown across a great chasm hundreds of feet deep. One day he heard the first train on the road approaching, and looking out saw two huge locomotives drawn up on the bridge. There was a sharp challenging whistle, then the brakes crashed down, and the two great machines came to a standstill. There they waited for fully half a day right in the center of the bridge, with their great tons of iron quivering and beating and the bridge beneath like a great spider's web supporting them. What did it mean? They were there to demonstrate the strength of the bridge, to show there was no weakness in it; but that it was able to bear up under the greatest test put on it, and so was worthy of the fullest trust on the part of man. "All the weight of temptation was crowded on our Lord Jesus Christ in that hour when the Devil met him on the mount. He was "tempted in all points as we are," from animal appetites and desires, to the highest reaches of ambition for self - gratification and power. He was tempted and tried and tested at every point to prove and demonstrate to angels and to men that he could not say, "Yes" to the temptation; that He could not have sinned; that it was no more possible for Him to have sinned than it was possible for God to lie. "That we might see Him as the majestic, unbreakable bridge across the deep chasm of sin and death; and so seeing fling ourselves without reserve, and in unhesitating confidence upon Him as the One and all supreme object of our unfaltering faith and profound adoration."—From pamphlet by Haldeman, Could Our Lord Have Sinned?


Always a Way of Escape

There is a place in the Hudson river where, as you sail, you seem to be entirely hemmed in with hills. The boat drives on toward a rocky wall, and it seems as if it must either stop or be dashed to pieces. But just as you come within the shadow of the mountain, an opening is suddenly discovered, and the boat passes out into one of the grandest bays on the river.

So it is with temptation. You are not to seek it, not to enter into it; God promises no way out in such a case. But if it meets you on your Heaven-ward journey, you are to go straight on though you see no way out. God does not promise "a way of escape" until the temptation actually comes. The way will reveal itself in due time if you only keep on, your way being the way of duty. And remember that as in the river the beautiful bay lies just around the frowning rock, so often your sweetest and best experience in life lies just behind your most threatening temptation.—Selected.


When Temptation Comes

I was talking with a young man some time ago, who had gotten into sin. He came from a lovely home and had fine training. He began to go out to night clubs, and it upset the whole family in a terrible way. He did not think. I had a talk with that young man about it, and I told him that he could not do that and be a Christian. The young man yielded to the Lord Jesus Christ, and he is all right today. One thing I said to him in our conversation was this: "Young man, when you are tempted to go this way, when you are tempted to go into this place, you simply stop where you are and say, 'Now, Lord Jesus, here I am, You lead me in.' Do you think you would go in very often if you did that?" He said, "No, I do not think I would." Of course he would not! Whenever temptation comes to you, all you need to do is to stop just where you are and say, "Now, Lord Jesus, You lead me in." And the Lord Jesus will turn you around and send you the other way just as fast as you can go. There is victory in the conquest of self only in Jesus Christ. Only trust Him!—Christian Beacon.

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