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I Have Finished the Course

David Shin

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David Shin

Pastor, Hillside O'Malley Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Anchorage, AK

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Recorded

  • November 2, 2019
    1:15 PM
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Father in heaven we think you for this opportunity that we have to come together as your people to worship you in spirit and in truth and we pray that as we pause for a few moments to reflect on your word and on your goodness towards us that you would speak to us me behind the cross me in Jesus be uplifted in Christ be seen we asked the sings in the precious name of Jesus man on the screen I have a photograph of Randy posh He was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University and in 2006 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and in August of 2007 he was told that he would have about 3 to 6 months of healthy life to live and in September of that same year a month later he gave his last lecture at Carnegie Mellon University and the auditorium was packed and as he got up to speak they met him with a standing ovation and I watched it last night a segment of it and to this day there are 19500000 views of his last lecture at Carnegie Mellon University by an hour long and there's an academic tradition that goes like if you had one lecture to give what would you say let's say you were diagnosed with a terminal disease what would be your last contribution to the academic community except in this case it was not hypothetical This man was dying. He died less than a year later and his legacy is forever online. He wrote a book The Last Lecture which became a New York Times bestseller. You know when it comes to the last words of individuals people tend to pay attention and I want to reflect today on the last words of a man that knows he's going to die and this is the last recorded words of Paul to Timothy and I want to invite you to open your Bibles with me to 2nd Timothy Chapter 4 verses one through 4. The mentor is speaking to his student to his mentee in 2nd Timothy Chapter 4 the last words recorded in Scripture of Paul before he is executed by a Roman soldier. 2nd Timothy Chapter 4 verse one I charge you therefore before God the Lord Jesus Christ who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom preach the Word be instant in season and out of season convince rebuke exhort with all longsuffering and teaching for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine but according to their own desires because they have each ng ears they will heap up for themselves teachers and will turn their ears away from the true truth and be turned aside to fables but you be watchful in all things in your afflictions do the work of an evangelist fulfill your ministry verse 6 he knows he's going to die says for I'm ready to be poured out as a drink offering and the time of my departure is at hand verse 7 I have fought the good fight I have finished the race I have kept the faith Finally there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord the righteous judge will give me on that day and not to me only but also to all those who have loved his appearing. Last words to Timothy that are recorded in Scripture were not sure if Timothy ever made it to him before he was executed but here we have in the Bible the last words that we know of that he spoke or wrote to Timothy. I want to reflect a little bit about dying and the last words there is a book entitled The last words of sinners and saints by Herbert Locke here. Fascinating book and it's a collection of the last words of individuals before they breathe their last and. I have been by the bedside of individuals that are dying with a terminal illness. And I want to tell you there's something sacred about that time I tend to hang on to every word that that person is to me because they know few months few days they will be no more and it seems like when you're about to die it's a moment of self reflection you look back on your life that you lived perhaps there are some regrets Perhaps you say in certain situations I would not have lived any other way and then and then you look forward into the future and what the portals behind beyond the grave may or may not be and so it's that moment in time when you're ministering to an individual and believe you me there's an openness that is many times there that is not in any point. Other than when they're facing this terminal disease and I think sometimes it's a blessing to know that you're going to die because you can make those phone calls you can say those I'm sorry you can reach out to those people that have been is strange from your family and friends and and make amends and many times they'll listen because you know you're going to die and here it is her luck here it's a collection and I've as I peruse through this book through the years I have it in my library and. Says in the back cover of the book the last words of the dying have fascinated readers throughout history they provide a brief glimpse through the window of human character revealing the fears hopes courage and legacies of both famous and not so famous in Bible times when a person was going to die the family would gather around because they want to hear what that man or woman is going to say member Jacob was going to die in the family gathered around and he went through from oldest to youngest to all of his sons and said some things Bible says after he said those things he died he died and so here's the last words of individuals some of them are more profound than others these are individuals that I'll begin with that don't believe in God please tidy my hair last words. Here's another individual I have not drunk champagne for a long time. I have no enemies I have shot them all. Here's enter through. You must not let me die I dare not die oh Dr save me if you can. Cling on to life fearing what is to lie after Here's Kay the infidel hell I'll hell. Synthesis you can show a lot about the legacy in the character of individual And here's Voltaire atheist I'm in Bandon by God and man I will give you half of what I'm worth if you'll give me 6 months of life then I shall go to hell and you'll go with me a Christ Jesus Christ. This is from the nurse the nurse who attended Voltaire said for all the wealth in Europe I would not see another infidel die I want to give you a contrast to that now in the introduction to this book the author says Christianity gave men and women a new attitude towards death the early saints and martyrs manifested a heroic cheerfulness and tranquil hope in the face of terrible suffering Christians of every age although expressing themselves in different ways as they approach their last hour all knew what it was to share in the victory Christ secured when he died and rose again. Through the coming of Christ then death was no longer that in comprehensible enemy that frightful Phantom of the senses see in it death becomes to the Christian as the benefactor to deliver working his perfection not his destruction this is why he can meet it courageously and hopefully So the book gives a collection of people that believe in God are Christians and I want you to notice the last words and contrast this with the words that we've just read earlier this is from John Wesley the reformer the best of all God is with us farewell I want to die like that John Wesley f.b. Meyer read me something from the Bible something brave and triumph. Thomas Goodwin Ah this is dying how I have dreaded as an enemy this smiling friend what a contrast between those that believe in God than those that don't and I love David Livingston build me a hut to die in I am going home. And here it is last words of Paul to Timothy 2nd Timothy Chapter 4 over 638 I have fought the good fight I have finished the race I have kept the faith Finally there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord the righteous judge will give me on that day and not to me only but also to all who have loved his appearing he's looking forward to that blessid hold no I told this a number of years ago and I won't tell it again because the closest thing that I can relate to an experience where I faced. Uncertainty about my future I had the privilege when I was in college and see my pointer here to go to West Africa to Cameroon and it's something about this continent and myself we have a unique relationship I've been to Africa 4 times never been to Korea. And we were married in Africa had our honeymoon in Africa and so there's a unique relationship I have with Africa and I went there for the 1st time 2 to West Africa and I believe a photograph of that experience or that's me. Next to Chester Clark he's a pastor now and Dalton Georgia but there we are you can see that we're absolutely having a wonderful time and I remember the unique circumstances of Arriving there we were there about a month and I recognized when we drove out about 12 hours out into the bush the jungles of Africa no running water. No grocery store every week they would have a market day where the individuals would lay out blankets fish you know the flies would just be swarming out there and in those and so it was just that's how you lived from week to week you flush the toilet on the inside and you saw it go out the back and so forth and so these were the circumstances that we had they would collect rainwater and so forth and we would walk to where we were holding meetings and I told my friend if the world economy were to fall today we would not even recognize it because he were living just subsistence these individuals from from day to day and it was a remarkable experience because people would stop me daily on our on our hike to our meetings and ask us for literature you know there was such a hungering for the Word of God that was there and the 1st brush with death I had was in the van we were going around this corner on the wrong side of the road and the driver was just on the horn and I'm like that's not going to make a difference and so we're going around the corner and I turned to my friend Chester and I said just so you know we're going to die right because this this is not a good 12 hours with this driver I said we are going to die we're going around the corner and we're feeling you know the force and I'm just waiting for that impact and I said Chester we are going to die and he turned to me not very helpfully and said David if we die we die. Anyways we we had our meetings there. And I remember distinctly. Being just inundated with a swarm of mosquitoes and there's something about my blood type that no one else is getting bitten but there's like this fog around me of all these mosquitoes that are congregating in I remember sleeping at the airport and there were mosquitoes in the airport believe it or not and so we came back to the United States and I was staying at home at the time and I started developing flu like symptoms as a flu bug going around and I started to experience these symptoms of fever and nausea and finally after 6 days I believe the Holy Spirit impressed me because I'm like your typical male I don't like to go to the hospital. And I held out to 6 days and I believe the spirit impressed me and said David you need to go to the emergency room tonight and I fought that conviction for the longest time I don't want to go finally impression came again you need to go tonight so I literally crawled up stairs to my parents are where and and I said Mom Dad something's wrong something's wrong we need to go tonight so they bundled me up I member like it was yesterday they bundled me up in blankets because I'm I'm shivering you know I'm sure that bundled me up in blankets took me to the emergency room admitted me. And and I remember sitting in the hospital bed just pouring with sweat drenched down my back soaking through the the robe they had given me the doctors looking looking at my history in my charts and and he had been a missionary to Africa he happened to be on duty that night he was looking at my charts and he said We've just taken a blood sample and sent it off it's going to take $3.00 to $4.00 days for that blood sample to get back and he said I'm not going to wait. Till the blood samples get back because I believe you have malaria and if we wait you may be a dead man now he gave me a very quick education as to what happens with malaria a mosquito comes and takes your blood but then he leaves you with a gift he he leaves you with parasites and that are injected into your bloodstream and that parasite incubates in your labor for about 2 weeks and then is put out into your bloodstream and then they go into your red blood cells and then when they reach a certain point of of critical mass that red blood cell bursts and so you can imagine what happens after time you run out of red blood cells and and the type of strain I had we come to find out later I would have died from and so when I was sitting in that hospital bed and the the doctor told me I had malaria and the facts were not very good. A I could die be I could have kidney failure and be on dialysis for the rest of my life see I could have a liver failure and so as he's he's going through this I want to tell you that that suddenly everything just just seems to crystallize you know what I'm talking about like suddenly you realize what's really really important in life all these trivial things just vanish into almost insignificance and there was one thing and one thing alone that was on my heart and mind you actually 2 things One thing was if I die today am I ready Am I ready to meet my maker if if this malaria takes over my body and I die and that's it. You have the assurance of salvation that was number one and number 2. Was people I was it my family what type of relationships I had with people you know what type of relationship I have my parents my my sister my loved ones my family and friends that's it my relationship with God and my relationship with people and I want to tell you there I was 19 years of age recognizing that at the moment of death or when you think that you're going to die certain things just emerge naturally and there's 2 things that always emerge God and and people that's it that's it everything else pales into insignificance your bank account your car your 4 a one k. you know I didn't have one at the time but you know what I'm talking about all of your stocks and bonds and all of those things are insignificant and death is the great equalizer that is the great equalizer in my mom told me Look it doesn't matter if you're good looking if you're rich or if you're smart because when you get to a certain age if you're good looking everybody looks the same. If you're intelligent you may lose your mind if you're rich all of that maybe evaporate in medical expenses death is the great equalizer and the question is how are we living our lives now you know this is this is something that we need to recognize and here's a place Pascal the philosopher and a mathematician he says I've learned to define life backwards and live it forwards in other words if you want to know how to live your life go to the end of your life. And define it then and then live your life accordingly because when you come to the end of life you recognize what's ultimately important so many people are climbing up a ladder and they come to the end of their life and they say all have the letter against the wrong wall this entire time and so place Pascal says look I've learned to define life backwards and live it forward so go to the end go to the Ask a time the end and recognize Look what is really valuable and here is the end the transition from life on planet Earth to eternal life the transition from temporal time to eternal time and this is the transition point what is known as the 2nd coming the the demarcation of the 2nd coming marks a defined moment of a transition from life as we know it right now to eternal time that is the demarcation So here it is and 1st lesson only in chapter 4 for 16 for the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout and voice of the Archangel on the trumpet of God That's the dot dot dot and the dead in Christ shall rise 1st this is what it is going to feel like if we are not privileged to be alive when Jesus comes let's say in 2019 I die it could very well happen talk about The Last Lecture this could be my last sermon and say I die I say I'm driving down the road and I go through a green light and someone goes through a red light. Smash this happens every single day going through. Smash So from my reality I'm going through that light smash Ah lights out from my consciousness the next thing I know. From my perspective I miss my entire funeral all those nice things people hopefully say about you miss all of that all the flowers everything I am transported from my consciousness to going through that then green light impact ah and then I'm like. What just happened and I look up and the entire horizon and I pray that this is my next reality I look up in the entire horizon is filled with light and angels and the 1st voice I hear before that is the voice of cheese us praise the lord going through and I'm like that is the sweetest voice I've ever heard I've never heard that voice before and I believe it's going to be personalized That's my belief I guess we'll find out David started. David it's time to get up and I'm like ah I recognize that get a glorified body right then you start to look for people you're like This is the 2nd Coming I can't believe it Jesus is here this is it everything I've hoped for all these years this is the reality I am here I must have died going through that traffic light I died I'm here looking for my wife my son. Jesus my wife son parents where are they that's that's the next reality every person living on planet Earth that is dying today or going to die today from their reality if they are in Jesus they're going to wake up here this is the reality friends and the devil does not want to to live with the end in mind because this is the end. He wants us to forget about this thing it caught up in nonsense so that we don't have any time to secure our eternal destiny that the devil knows you can secure right now this is the next moment of our consciousness if we die today next month this year next year then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds and so shall we ever be with the Lord that is one reality let me bring you to the other one Revelation chapter 20 verse 4 and 5 and they lived and reigned with Christ a 1000 years that's those that go to heaven but the rest of the dead lived not again until the 1000 years were finished and here is this the uniqueness of the experience of an individual that dies from a from a conscious standpoint of you let's paint that scenario again going through the light and I'm not right with Jesus I haven't accepted him as my personal savior I'm going through the light smash lights out Wake Up next thing you know. You see the Holy City New Jerusalem those are one of 2 realities that people are consciously waking up to and so according to the Bible there are 2 resurrections that are separated by 1000 years but from a conscious stand point of view this is where you wake up at the 2nd coming that's where we all want to be you wake up at the 2nd coming and you see clouds and you see angels you say Praise the Lord I must have died I'm waking up on the right side that's that's where you want to wake up. But there's a whole host of other individuals that are dying and from their conscious stand point of view they're not waking up here but the next thing that they know they're actually waking up a 1000 years later waking up in a resurrection in a multitude of individuals and you see the New Jerusalem So here here's an artist depiction So you either wake up here at the 2nd coming or you wake up here outside the city of the New Jerusalem 1000 years apart here or here here or here and there are people today from their conscious stand point of view that are waking up hearing trumpets and the sweets sweet voice of Jesus the sweetest voice you've ever heard they're waking up here to an eternal resurrection and there are other people that are waking up here outside the city of the New Jerusalem and the Bible. Through Paul's writings I believe is calling us to live our life with the eternal destiny in mind life is short Bible says life is like a press it's like a vapor you're here and you're gone and every day your heart still beats and your long still take in air it's a moment of grace because you can still choose where you're going to end up no one can make this decision for you. Only you can honor read the words of Thomas Payne from that book I would give worlds if I had them at the age of reason had not been published Oh Lord help me. Christ tell me if ever the devil had an agent I have been that one let's not sell out our eternal destiny but the temporal pleasures of this life want to be the words of Paul as we close last recorded words to Timothy that we have today I have fought the good fight I pray that I'm able to say that I have finished the race I have kept the faith Finally there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord the righteous judge will give me on that day and not to me only but also to all who have loved is of hearing. One of my just stand as we prepare to close this morning. We we don't know when we're going to die some people do but the vast majority of us in this room don't 2019 could be your last year could be my last year 2020 could be this day will never come around again it will for ever pass Don't let this opportunity slip away want to make a very simple appeal this morning if you feel in your heart Holy Spirit speaking to you this morning and saying. It's decision time today don't put it off until tomorrow today it's decision time today and you want to say Lord today right now. I want to commit or recommit my life to Jesus Christ today right now it was the Lord I want to walk out of this church knowing that if I die I'm waking up on the right side payment. On invite you to come for for a special prayer this morning I want to commend or recommit my life to Jesus Christ don't care about the person next to you this is between you and the Lord you want to be saved for eternity us in Lord I want to commit a recommit my life to Jesus Christ I want to invite you to come forward today for a special prayer you want to say Lord I give you my heart today I want to wake up on the right side of the resurrection this morning. This prayer Father in Heaven Lord. You know our hearts. You know many times we get so distracted with the things of this world that we have no time to ask how is it with my soul. Lord we know that without you in the 2nd coming there is no hope beyond the grave and the road we want to be ready we want to be faithful and Lord I pray for every person that's come forward this morning saying Lord I want the assurance of salvation today on invite you into my heart and into my life pray that you would cover them with your robe of righteousness and give them of your sweet spirit thank you that we can know that we have eternal life because of faith in Jesus Christ thank you. For hearing unions are your prayer. In Jesus' name amen this media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more service lead to visit w w w audio verse or.

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