Sermon Illustrations

Just Passing Through! (09.16.05--Heavenly Citizens!--John 8:51)

How disturbing it would be to take a trip and every time you came to a town or city you were compelled to stop and investigate every facet of where you were; to taste and see everything there was everywhere you went. So inclined you might never reach your ultimate destination.

We all have the same goal in life. Let’s face it, no one wants to end up in hell. The difference is, some will reach the goal while others won’t. The distractions along the way are just so alluring that it often becomes difficult to stay focused on the destination. “Perhaps we should stop here and try this lifestyle?” Or, “It really wouldn’t hurt to take a risk, and try the shortcut that leads through the land of self-gratification--would it?”

A young soldier, while dying very happily, broke out in singing the following stanza: “Great Jehovah, we adore thee, God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit, joined in glory on the same eternal throne: Endless praised to Jehovah, three in one.” The chaplain then asked if he had any message to send his friends. “Yes,” said he. “Tell my father that I have tried to eat my meals with thanksgiving.” “Tell him that Christ is now all my hope, all my trust, and that he is precious to my soul.” “Tell him that I am not afraid to die--all is calm” “Tell him that I believe Christ will take me to himself, and to my dear sister who is in heaven.”

The voice of the dying boy faltered in the intervals between these precious sentences. When the hymn commencing, “Nearer, my God to thee,” was read to him, at the end of each stanza he exclaimed, with striking energy, “Oh Lord Jesus, thou are coming nearer to me.” . . . His last words were, “Father, I’m coming to thee!” Then the Christian soldier sweetly and calmly “fell asleep in Jesus.” (Anonymous Confederate soldier--1861-65/died in battle in the War Between the States.)

Jesus promises us that if we stay on the path to righteousness, “we shall never see death” (John 8:51) Does he mean that death will be of no consequence to us at all--we shall no be aware of it? Hardly, every Christian whose goal is heaven must pass through the realm of death before actually getting there. In that respect we will see and taste death. But, as a Christian, there will be...

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