Summary: In this concluding sermon on the life of Abraham, we learn some lessons about finishing strong.
A. Have you given much thought to how you hope to die?
1. One man with a sense of humor wrote, “When I die, I want to go like my grandfather did, peacefully in his sleep – not screaming in terror like the other people in his car!”
2. I know, I know, death isn’t something to joke about, but neither does it need to be something morbid and depressing.
3. When I ask us about how we hope to die, I’m really asking us how we intend to live until we die.
4. What do we want the condition of our mind and our heart to be when death comes for us?
B. Tragically for many, their gravestone could read, “Died: age 45. Buried: age 75.”
1. Many people die long before they draw their last breath.
2. Many people simply stop living along the way – they no longer seek all the joy and purpose and pleasure that life still has for them.
3. After a certain age, some people figure life is over for them and feel they have nothing more to live for.
C. Abraham had plenty of reasons to fade into the background and “while away” the days waiting to see his beloved Sarah again.
1. After roughly 112 years of marriage – which is longer than most people live – he buried his wife in a newly purchased family tomb and returned to his nomadic tent city near Hebron.
2. For the first few weeks or months, Abraham’s grief probably left him feeling like he wanted to die – which is not uncommon for a widowed partner after death ends a long, successful marriage.
3. But God’s will for all of us, throughout our lives, no matter what difficulties or setbacks we face, is to live each day to the full, for God’s glory.
D. I have been blessed to have a number of excellent examples of people in my life who have done that very thing – people who have lived each day to the full.
1. My paternal grandmother Owens was vibrant and fully engaged in life until a stroke took her quickly at age 96.
2. Our dear friends from Arkansas, Audrey and Ollie Z Golleher became our friends when they were in their 70s.
a. They lived into their 90s, always busy serving, growing and learning.
3. Here at Wetzel Road, we have had so many fine examples of people who have passed on to their reward, who lived each day to the full, for God’s glory – people like Charlie Vrooman, Rudy Carlson, and most recently, Mark Warren.
4. Some of our present senior saints are living out that very journey with God before our eyes – people like Bill and Joyce Perkins, and Pearley Taylor, Doris Coomey, Nancy Altic, Jacques Bourdon, and Kathryn Olbricht, just to name a few.
5. These people inspire us because they just keep serving and learning and growing.
6. Older age and retirement for them doesn’t mean a rocking chair and Bingo – it means using each day to serve the Lord and shine the light of God before others.
E. Abraham was also that kind of person.
1. He is an example of someone who lived life to the hilt, right up to the end of his life.
2. His biblical biography doesn’t even begin until he was 75 years old!
3. His life was one adventure after another for 100 years after that!
F. Today, as we conclude our sermon series on Abraham – A Journey of Faith, we want to explore the end of his life, and see what lessons we can learn about finishing strong.
1. Starting strong is not that difficult, but staying strong and finishing strong are much harder.
2. But isn’t that something that all of us want to do? Don’t we want to stay strong and finish strong?
I. The Story
A. The end of Abraham’s story begins in Genesis 25: 1 Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. 2 She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah. 3 Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan; the descendants of Dedan were the Asshurites, the Letushites and the Leummites. 4 The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida and Eldaah. All these were descendants of Keturah. (Gen. 25:1-4)
1. In our sermon on the death of Sarah, a few sermons ago, we discussed the fact that Abraham remarried after Sarah died.
2. We don’t know exactly how long it was after Sarah’s death that Abraham remarried, but it was likely a few years and it appears to have happened after Abraham got a wife for Isaac, which included the servant’s long journey to and from Abraham’s homeland 500 miles away.