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Sermon Illustrations: Death



A woman went to see her late husband at the funeral parlour. When she saw him, she started crying. "What's wrong?" asked the undertaker. "He's wearing a black suit," she replied. "He always wanted to be buried in blue." The undertaker apologised and explained that they normally buried people in a black suit, but he'd see what he could arrange. Next morning, the woman returned and her husband was now in a blue suit. "That's great," she said. "How did you manage it?" "Well, just after you left," said the undertaker, "a man about your husband's size was brought in wearing a blue suit. And funny enough, his wife said that he wanted to be buried in black and asked if we could do anything about it." "That's wonderful," said the woman gratefully. "After that," continued the undertaker, "it was just a matter of swapping the heads."

The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Brits or Americans. However, the French eat lots of fat and still suffer fewer heart attacks than Brits or Americans. The Japanese don't drink much red wine and have fewer heart attacks than Brits and Americans. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and have fewer heart attacks than Brits or Americans. What's the conclusion? Eat and drink whatever you want. It's speaking English that kills you.

A wealthy young man was told that he needed to turn to God. He dismissed the idea. That night he woke up to find a frightening being at the end of his bed. "Who are you?" he cried. "I am the angel of death." "Is my time up?" "Not yet," said the angel. "Before I come to take you, I will send my messengers to warn you that your time is near." Then the angel disappeared. Relieved, the man fell asleep. The years went by, and he thought, "I've got plenty of time to make my peace with God. There have been no messengers." That night he woke to find the angel of death sitting on the end of his bed again. "W-what are you doing here?" he stammered. "I've come for you," replied the angel. "But you can't. I mean, I'm not ready." "Well, I've kept my part of the bargain. I sent my messengers." "What messengers?" "How could you miss them? Your grey hair, your wrinkles, your failing eyesight. And now, your time is up."

One patient said to another, "Are you getting a new suit?" "No, why?" asked the second patient. "because there was a whole bunch of people measuring you up while you were asleep."

Death is always painful. We can suffer God's way or our way. For instance, a young woman becomes a Christian and an unsaved man shows an interest in her. If she chooses to suffer God's way by crucifying her own desires, it will hurt for a while. If she decides to marry him, then she will suffer anyway in her marriage.

When they're dying, people pray about (or think about) what's important. They're not thinking about whether the garbage was put out. In John 17, Jesus is praying about things that are important to Him. What does He pray for? Community in the church.

It was very late in the evening, and after a night of solid drinking, Jack decided to take a short cut through the local cemetery and fell into a freshly dug grave. Unable to climb out, he laid down at the bottom and fell asleep. Early in the morning, the gravedigger heard moaning and groaning, so he went to investigate. When he looked into the grave, he saw Jack shivering and demanded, "What on earth is wrong with you, making all that noise?" "I'm freezing to death," Jack replied. "Well, of course you are," said the gravedigger. "You've kicked all the dirt off yourself."

An elderly woman died. Having never married, she requested there be no male pallbearers at her funeral. In her instructions for her memorial service, she wrote, "They wouldn't take me out while I was alive, I don't want them to take me out when I'm dead."

My Collection of Jokes, Quotes & Anecdotes

When Julio Ruibal, a pastor in Cali, Colombia received death threats from the drug lords, he said, "I am immortal until I've done everything God has asked me to do." He was right, and he preached the gospel fearlessly till he was martyred.

O'Hara worked at the local brewery. One day, he lost his balance and fell into a vat of beer. Later that day, they delivered the terrible news of his drowning to his wife. "I hope it was mercifully quick," she said weeping. The foreman shook his head sadly. "I don't know if I can honestly tell you that Mrs O'Hara," he replied. "To tell you the truth, he climbed out twice to go to the toilet."

A lady once asked John Wesley how he would spend his time if he knew he was to die at midnight the next day. "Why madam, just as I intend to spend it now. I would preach this evening at Gloucester, and again at five tomorrow morning: after that I would ride to Tewkesbury, preach in the afternoon, and meet the societies in the evening. I would then go to Martin's house, who expects to entertain me, talk and pray with the family as usual, retire to my room at 10 o'clock, commend myself to my heavenly Father, lie down to rest, and wake up in Glory."

Warning on a sticker on a vehicle bedecked in shiny chrome and obviously someone's pride and joy: "Is there life after death? Touch this ute and find out." Reader's Digest August 2005 p 114

One time John Wayne got shot in a movie, and the woman who shot him came over and kicked him. He stood up and she jumped backwards. "I thought I hit you," she said. "You did," he replied. Then he fell down dead. He died a tough man's death. That's fine for the movies, but in real life when John Wayne was actually about to die, he called for Billy Graham and said, "I need to get right with God".

Shortly before his death, Gandhi wrote, "All about me is darkness; I am praying for light." Contrast this with evangelist D. L. Moody's last recorded words: "This is my triumph; this is my coronation day! It is glorious!"


Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead - don't you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.

I am like a person going a journey in a stage coach, who expects its arrival every hour, and is frequently looking out at that window for it. John Newton when nearing the end of his life. (He also described himself as "packed and sealed, and waiting for the post.")

It is possible to provide security against other ills, but as far as death is concerned, we men live in a city without walls. Epicurus (Ancient Greek philosopher)

Every time you sit down at a meal, something has died that you may live. Trevor Chandler

I want to die before my wife and the reason is this: if it is true that when you die your soul goes up to judgment, I don't want my wife up there ahead of me to tell them things. Bill Cosby

The certainty of death and the uncertainty of the hour of death is a source of grief throughout our life. Edgar Morin, French philosopher

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. Benjamin Franklin

1 Ministry Advantage: Leading Change p19

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