Lessons

Sermon Notes of
Reverend Harvey Alford Matney
(1868 – 1951)
December 3, 1916 – Sealy, Texas

Introduction

In this sermon, my grandfather compares the final moments in life of Jesus, David and Paul, and the lessons we can learn from all three. — Harrison Woodard

1 Kings 2:1-10 KJV

Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; And keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: That the Lord may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel. Moreover thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner, and unto Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet. Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace. But shew kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table: for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother. And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the Lord, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword. Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood. So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.

Luke 23:38-47 KJV

And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

John 19:26-27 KJV

When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

2 Timothy 4:1-8 KJV

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 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.

Lessons

A brilliant poet and essayist once called his stepson, the young Earl of Warwick to his bedside and with perfect dignity and composure bade him mark how a Christian man can die.

In our lessons we have the death scenes of three distinguished characters, who lived and died in three distinctive periods of the development of the Christian faith.

One of them was from the Old Testament, David, the man after God’s own heart. He was far greater as a poet, a statesman, a patriot than Addison, yet he had far less of a revelation than he. His songs are still chanted in church and synagogue, and Christians find no better expressions of the soul’s devout longings than are found in his Psalms.

Lets study his last words to his son, both as to what he says and what he does not say. He is not afraid to meet death. His calm utterance says this: “I go the way of all.” He sees but little of the life beyond and leaves no invitation to meet him after death. The burden of his dying words to his son is: “Show thyself a man.”

Experience is a great schoolmaster, one who makes his lessons doubly impressive. The retrospective views of life, from a given summit, enable us to see the lowest vales and the highest peaks, of life’s important features.

David had reached the summit of all heights from which life’s assets are most impressive: the place where passion, ambition and worldly desire fade away, and only the worthwhile remains.

Ah then, to have been a man: true, brave and for the consciousness of having risen to a proper conception of life’s dignity and importance. David’s ideal of a man was to fill God’s idea of manhood: to stand before the universe as a Godchild, measure all by the divine rule, and keep that rule.

From the death scene of Jesus we get a new revelation. The tender interest in those he is leaving: “Son, thy mother, Mother, thy son.” He was duly conscious of the great beyond, its marvelous importance and companionship.

To the thief: “Thou shalt be with me today in paradise.”

His realization of a great work completed: “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.” Then: “It is finished.” And (then he) died.

Paul, the great apostle, delivers his dying message with a note of hope and victory. “I am now ready, the time is here…I have fought a good fight…finished my course…have kept the faith…There is laid up for me a crown of life…Not only for me…It is for all that love his appearing.”

David, gave a crown to His son and went the way of all the earth, the son must do the same.

Jesus in his death tore the crown of life from the head of death and gave it to every faithful follower of his among the children of men.

Paul fell in the terrific struggle of the battle of righteousness, and though dead, he puts on the victors crown and goes home to his God and our God. Shouting back the encouragement to earth as he sweeps away: “It is not for me only, but for all them which love his appearing.” You may have it too.

Dying testimony is reckoned in the courts as the strongest evidence that comes before the jury. Here we have the dying testimony of three prominent witnesses in support of the genuineness of the Christian religion as a factor of two worlds.

 

 

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