By James Merritt
II Timothy 4:6-8
1. If you knew that you were about to die, what do you think you would say? The last words of dying people have always fascinated me. They are so revealing of a person's heart and soul. Here are just a few famous last words:
2. John Wilkes Booth who assassinated President Lincoln said only two words: "Useless-useless."
George Washington said: "Doctor, I die hard, but I am not afraid to go."
Benjamin Franklin said: "A dying man can do nothing easy."
Thomas Jefferson said: "Is it the Fourth?"
John Adams said: "Thomas Jefferson still lives."
John Quincy Adams said: "This is the last of earth! I am content."1
P. T. Barnham, the famous circus showman said: "How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden?"
Grover Cleveland said: "I have tried so hard to do the right."
John F. Kennedy said: "My God, I've been hit."
Stonewall Jackson said: "Let us cross over the river and rest under the trees."
Edgar Allan Poe, the famous author, said: "Lord, help my poor soul."2
3. But I believe the greatest words ever uttered by a mortal man about to die came from the lips of the Apostle Paul. The year was AD 68. Paul was in what is known as the Mammertine Prison in Rome. I have been there. It is a dark, dank, damp hole carved out of rock underground. In Paul's day it would have been filled with sewage, sweat, vermin, and rats. It would make today's prisons look like a town house on Park Avenue.
4. Paul is penning his last words to a young preacher named Timothy, and he makes the greatest life-ending statement in human history: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (v.7) I hope that I can say that at the end of my life, whenever, wherever, however that may be.
5. You see, the real test of your religion, your faith, your belief, your creed, ...
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