Summary: A sermon about the final two minutes of life.
THE TWO-MINUTE DRILL
A short time ago I preached a sermon on “The Final Quarter.” That sermon was about people who are in the last part of their life. I talked about lessons I had learned about the last quarter and how people should live in the last quarter.
Today, I want to talk to people who are facing the end. You’ve got the phone call and it’s cancer . . . terminal cancer. The doctor says you will not live. Once you’ve received that message, everything in life changes; now you’ve got to prepare for death. That’s hard for unsaved people to say because they think death ends it all. But Christians know better.
So this sermon is not about the “Final Quarter” that involves the elderly or the retired. This sermon is about the final two minutes. It could be about a teenager with a terminal disease, or it could be about a middle-aged person who is dying. Now you’re in “The Two-Minute Drill.”
When it comes to the last two minutes of the football game, everything changes for the players. Either you have to change your strategy to catch up so you can win the game, or you have to change your defensive strategy to keep from turning the ball to the opponents so they can win. Whatever you do, the Final Two Minutes are imperative.
This sermon is for those who (a) know they’re going to die, (b) know that the end is predictably soon, and (c) know they have to get their life in order.
When you are within the last two minutes, it’s a whole new ballgame. You need a new strategy, a new focus, and new motivation. Just as a football team practices the two-minute drill (what they’re going to do when the game is almost over); so Christians must have a two-minute drill. We ought to know what we’re going to do when we face the end of our life.
A. PAUL FACED THE END.
When Paul was in prison, he knew he was going to die. But it was going to be a triumphant death. John Wesley said, “Methodists know how to die well.” Can that be said about you? Notice what Paul said when he faced the final two minutes.
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:6-8).
What can be said in the above verses about Paul? Notice the three things I see in these verses:
1. Paul was ready to go, meaning there wasn’t any other spiritual thing he had to do to get ready to die.
2. Paul looked back over his life and knew that he had done all that God had wanted him to do.
3. Paul knew there was a reward for him after death, i.e., he would meet the Lord and be rewarded.
B. SAMSON WAS THE OPPOSITE OF PAUL WHEN HE DIED.
As Samson faced death, he knew he had failed the Lord. He had embarrassed the cause of the Lord God of Israel. Samson knew he was a failure.
“So it happened, when their hearts were merry, that they said, ‘Call for Samson, that he may perform for us.’ So they called for Samson from the prison, and he performed for them. And they stationed him between the pillars. Then Samson said to the lad who held him by the hand, ‘Let me feel the pillars which support the temple, so that I can lean on them.’ Now the temple was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines [were] there--about three thousand men and women on the roof watching while Samson performed. Then Samson called to the LORD, saying, ‘O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one [blow] take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!’ And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left. Then Samson said, ‘Let me die with the Philistines!’ And he pushed with [all his] might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who [were] in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life” (Judges 16:25-30, NKJV).
As Samson faced his final two minutes, he knew three things: