Summary: What would you preach if you knew this Sunday's sermon would be your last? This sermon incorporates the true story of John Harper on the night the Titanic sunk.
The Last Sermon I'd Preach
If I Knew I Would Die Today
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Today's true story is about John Harper, a minister born in1872, to a solid Christian family in Scotland. As his young life unfolded, he was consumed by the word of God, and, by age 17, he was preaching the gospel on the streets of his village. A few years later, his calling led him to London, England, where his giant passion for the salvation of others became the defining mission of his ministry.
Empowered with courage and compassion, he started his own church in September of 1896 in Glasgow. His congregation grew dramatically over the next 13 years. He married during this time but was widowed shortly after God blessed their union with a beautiful baby girl. She was six years old when she boarded Titanic in Southampton with her father and his sister-in-law. They were on their way to Chicago where Harper was scheduled to conduct a series of revival meetings.
Psalm 90:12 tells us to number our days.
That is good advice for all of us.
Preachers die too and should be aware life is so brief.
What would I say if this was my last sermon?
Point #1. The First Part of My Sermon Would Be to Those I Love
We all have responsibilities to those closest to us!
I would assure my family of my faith in Jesus,
which gives me eternal life.
Many people leave loved ones...
wondering whether they will see them again.
I would tell them of the time I trusted Jesus as my Savior.
I would describe the times God spoke to my heart about His love.
I would give thanks...
for those who lived the Christian life before me.
I would describe the revival service...
when I opened my heart to Jesus.
(1) I would recall the words of the preacher at the invitation.
(2) I would tell my loved ones the miracle of that moment.
(3) I would share Bible verses that gave assurance of my salvation John 6:37
All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
Let's find out more about John Harper on his Titanic voyage.
On April 14, 1912, at 11:40 p.m., an iceberg scraped the ship's starboard side, ripping open six watertight compartments. According to reports, John Harper rushed his daughter to a lifeboat, kissed her goodbye and handed her over to his sister-in-law, promising they would see him again someday. As the freezing waters began to fill the ship, Harper was heard shouting, "Let the women, children and the unsaved into the lifeboats." Survivors reported that Harper took off his own life jacket and gave it to another man. "Don't worry about me," he reportedly said, "I'm not going down, I'm going up!"
Point #2. The Second Part of My Sermon Would Be to Show Where I'll Live
When I die, I'll move to heaven,
Jesus has been preparing a place for me.
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
At death, the souls of Christians leave this earth.
2 Tim. 4:6
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.
We move to a better place!
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.