Death Sermon Illustrations

Death Sermon Illustrations

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Alfred Mace, a minister of the Word of God, and his father, Jim Mace, the world's champion pugilist at one time, were walking together one day along a street when a funeral cortege approached. `Here he comes again, dad, and only been beaten once,' said the son to the father. `Where is he?' said the pugilist, assuming a boxing attitude. 'There he is: his name is Death,' said the preacher.

(1 Cor. 15. 55-57; Heb. 2. 14)

In a village of West Godavari District, India, there lives a goldsmith named Mruthyamjayachari, formerly a Viswabrahman, but now a preacher of the Gospel. Convinced of the error and sin of idolatry, he turned to God from idols while still young, and began to serve the living and true God and to wait for His Son from Heaven. He has since been greatly used in winning many souls for Christ. His long name means 'Priest of Death's conqueror'. This is what he has in truth become, for Jesus Christ is death's Conqueror.

(Heb. 2. 13; Rev. 1. 5, 6, 18; 5. 9, 10)

Facing Death

The following is the true account of an episode recorded in the Readers Digest some time ago. On a warm Thursday afternoon of October, 1958, over a hundred men went down to work in a mine in Springhill, Nova Scotia. That day a catastrophic earth tremor occurred 12,000 feet down. Seventy-five men were killed immediately and about twenty more were trapped in the pit. Twelve of these managed to get together to face what seemed certain death. One had a leg broken in three places: another had his leg badly crushed and turned black from internal bleeding: and still another, suffering excruciating pain, had had his shoulder dislocated and his ribs battered.

By Saturday evening their water supply was exhausted, and their only remaining lamp flickered its last glow, plunging the twelve men into darkness. One of the men, a Christian named Caleb Rushton, started humming a tune. 'Let's have a song,' said one of his mates, and Caleb sang to them the hymn—The Stranger of Galilee—with its stirring chorus:

`And I felt I could love Him forever,
So gracious and tender was He:
I claimed Him that day as my Savior,
That Stranger of Galilee.'

On Sunday morning Rushton brought the dial of his watch close to his face. 'It's going on 7. They'll be getting ready for church soon,' he said. Without another word those men began praying, some almost incessantly. Occasional drifts of methane brought an added danger: it could kill any one of them and the others would not know. But God heard and answered their cry for deliverance, although they were nearly a week facing death in some form or other. Truly the gates of death seemed to have opened to them. Rescuers arrived at 2.25 on Thursday morning, and they were taken to fresh air and to safety.

(Job. 38. 17; Ps. 9. 13; 107. 18, 19)

Death and the Hereafter

In the city of Valladolid, the ancient capital of Spain, there stands a monument erected in commemoration of the great discoveries made by Christopher Columbus. The most notable feature of it is a lion represented as deliberately destroying one of the words which had formed Spain's national motto for centuries. The Romans, thinking they had come to the confines of the earth, pronounced the three words which became Spain's motto—'Ne Plus Ultra'. The lion of Castile is represented as tearing the 'Isle' away, making it read 'Plus ultra', 'more beyond' or 'something beyond'. Death is not the end: it is not annihilation. There is something beyond, a hereafter.

(Heb. 9. 27)

Who would fardels bear
To grunt and sweat under a weary life
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourne
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear the ills we have
Than fly to others we know nothing of.—Shakespeare in Hamlet

A keen Christian witness wherever he went, a minister of the gospel was on a journey from London to the North of England, and got into a carriage in which three men and two women were already seated. One of the men said to him, 'May I ask you a question?' Certainly!' answered the preacher. 'There was a man who had a family, who was a good citizen, an indulgent father, and brought up his family well. At 60 he developed cancer. He was a friend of Charles Bradlaugh and used to defy God. To save trouble and expense he committed suicide. Where did he go?' The minister of the gospel replied, 'That is a simple question. He went to his own place, where you will go and I shall go. Everybody goes to his own place. But I have a Friend Who has told me He has prepared a place for me. His place shall be mine. The Lord Jesus is arranging my future home.'

(John 14. 1-3; Acts 1. 25)

Second Lieutenant H. F. Sargood, a young officer aged nineteen of the Middlesex Regiment, wrote the following, his last letter from the Front. It was found in his kit, having been left there just before he went into action.

`My own dearest parents, I don't suppose you will ever get this, and I certainly hope you won't as it is only to be sent to you if I am killed while on the "Trench Stunt". I expect you have wondered (or will do so) how I regarded the prospect of death, for of course, the possibility of it is always before one. As you know, I have always been expecting it, so it has not taken me by surprise. As for the rest, well, I have never been able to express it to myself, so I don't suppose I can do any better for you. Although I have not regarded the prospect with pleasure (I should imagine that in a young man that would be unnatural) yet I can say that it caused me no fear. I have, of course, such feelings to buck me up as the thought of being an Englishman, a gentleman, the descendant of soldiers, and so on; but when it comes to the point such things are of little or no value.

`No, I have an assurance which is of far more use to me than any of these things, the knowledge that Jesus Christ is my Saviour, and that He will be with me after death, the same as He has been with me for the last three or four years. This has been of the greatest comfort to me, and—under God—I owe it all to you, my dearest parents, and I could never, if I lived a thousand years, tell you what I would want to, or thank you for all that you have done for me, and especially the best thing of all, in bringing me up in the knowledge of my Saviour. And if I am killed, remember that it is our Lord's will, and He Who is our Friend, knows far better than we what is good for us; and after all, none of us would wish it otherwise, would we? I know you wouldn't, and though it means more for you than for me, yet I'm sure you wouldn't.

`And now, as I hope you will never get this, I'll leave off. Good-bye, my dearest parents. Don't sorrow.'—A. Mercer

(Rom. 14. 8; 1 Cor. 15. 55)

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