Sermon Illustration: The Magic Coat

This is one of my all-time favorite illustrations. It is a tremendous visual to use to explain how the Spirit of God works inside the believer. I originally heard Al Jackson use it in a sermon on Ephesians 5. I have “borrowed” it numerous times. The good news is that it is a great illustration. The bad news is that – if you are a pastor – you can only use it once for your congregation!

If you don’t normally wear a sport coat when you preach, you might want to wear one the day you use this or bring a coat to the platform with you on that particular Sunday. Here goes. . .


I am not sure if you know this or not, but the coat I am wearing today is a magic coat. I will prove it to you. I am going to take this coat off, lay it on the ground, and give the coat 3 commands. This coat will magically obey all 3 commands. (Take coat off and lay it on the floor in front of you.)

Coat – Stand Up!” (Wait a few seconds . . . of course nothing happens, but this is the point.)

Coat – Pick Up My Bible!” (Again, wait a few seconds. . . and of course, nothing happens again. . . the audience will begin to feel a little tension. . . if you choose, start looking a little embarrassed.)

Coat – Wave Your Arms!” (Again, same thing. . . wait a few seconds. . . of course, nothing happens).

Now, if you will allow me the opportunity, I want to try the same three commands one more time and let’s see if the coat will obey me. Give me one more opportunity, please. . .

Coat – Stand Up!” (This time, pick up the coat and put it on your body like you would any other time.) Would you not all agree that this coat, that was moments ago lying horizontally is currently standing up vertically?

Coat – Pick Up My Bible!“(This time, because you are wearing the coat, your hand can reach to where your Bible is and pick it up.) As you can now see, the coat has retrieved my Bible.

Coat – Wave Your Arms!” (Feel free to do as you wish here – keeping it conservative, or going all out – but make sure you AT LEAST wave your arms a bit . . . I recommend, however, a nice dance that gets the audience laughing . . . and it gives you an opportunity to show off your moves.)

Now. I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, “Pastor, that’s not a magic coat. The coat isn’t doing those things. . . that’s you INSIDE the coat!” And you are exactly right. It’s not the coat. It’s me inside the coat. You see, the Father is going to lead you and call you and direct you to things you cannot do on your own. Left to yourself, it would be impossible. But it’s not you doing it. It’s the Spirit inside of you who brings out the action. Yield to the Spirit of God and you will join Him in doing only those things He can get the credit for doing because only He has the power to bring them about.