Institutional First Baptist Church Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr
Delivered On
December 28, 2014 at 10:45 AM
Subject
Ending To The Beginning
Description
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr. Sunday December 28, 2014
Ending to the Beginning
“...I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end... Rev. 21:6
The Book of Revelation is associated with the end of 
life and its aftermath. So to select a sermon anchor for the 
last Sunday of the year 2014 may well cause ambivalence 
regarding its application to the contemporary calendar 
which is ending Wednesday night at 12:00 PM. 
In the Book of Revelation, John records that Jesus 
said of himself, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and 
the ending”. This assertion shows that Jesus is infinite 
whereas humankind is finite. Jesus is immune to time 
whereas the humanity is intricately woven into time. 
Accordingly, the human group must think and live within 
a time boundary. Accordingly, humanity functions with 
a time established “box” known as the calendar. 
The sermon topic for today was selected to explore some 
implications of time in human existence. It was entitled, 
The End and the Beginning. The sermon will be undergirded 
by the following dimensions, namely: response to the 
calendar’s end of the year; response to the mortal end 
of life; and your response these ends. 
Since the textual anchor was lifted from the 
Book of Revelation, the most symbolic Book of the Bible, 
it is deemed appropriate to provide some background 
information on this Book. Its author is Saint John, who 
was exiled to the Island of Patmos. The book was written 
between 95/96 AD. It is referred to as “The Revelation of 
of Saint John the Divine”. It “can only be properly 
understood in the light of scores of symbols...”. The 
book is an apocalypse, or view of events yet to come. 
His apocalypse was multi faceted; it include a new 
heaven and a new earth, the great white throne judgment, 
and the end of time. The date of this finality was not 
revealed to him, but John was fully convinced that this 
even would occur in accordance with God’s plan. With 
these sketchy observations of Revelation, attention will 
now be focused on the earlier specified three concerns 
of the sermon, the first of which is - response to the 
calendar’s end of the year. Twenty Fourteen will official 
come to an end in three day at 12:00 PM. This event will 
encompass innumerable activities ranging from dropping 
of the time ball at Times Square, popping of champagne 
bottles, ball room dancing, special hats, exotic attires, 
the singing of Robert Burn’s song “Auld Lang Syne” 
immortalized by Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, 
blowing of the New Year party horns, hugging and 
kissing, multiple toasts, and the protracted dancing until for 
most of the predawn morning of the New Year. Thus, the 
old year of 2014 is replaced by the 2015 New Year. It 
should be noted, however, that the calendar transition 
is accompanied by another celebration, less well 
publicized; it is religious in nature and generally labeled 
as “Watch Night” meeting. According to historians who 
study the African American evolution from slavery to the 
post slavery, this service started secretly in slavery and 
continues, in diminishing frequency, in contemporary times. 
The third festivity of the annual calendar transition is that 
of parades and football games. Closely akin to the thrills 
of the New Year is that of traditional customs and quasi 
suspicions that include: to make "resolution" and plan to 
lead a better life, to feast on a meal of black eye peas with 
pork, collard greens and corn bread - in anticipation of 
adequate finance during the New Year, and having a male 
to be the first visitor at the home - an act designed to 
protect the home from unwanted guest. No attempt is 
herein made to evaluate the effective of these actions; 
instead, the emphasis will now be directed to the second 
dimension of the sermon which is - the end of mortal life 
and the beginning of immortal existence. It is the change 
in which the individual will have no consciousness 
nor physical mobility as in moral life. That reality is known 
as death and it can be described as from the end ( life ) to 
the beginning ( death ). This is a change that the calendar 
carries no designated dates, events, for seasons. Hence, 
humanity must turn to the Bible for teachings on the change 
from ending to beginning. The sermon, in this connection, 
will submit a few biblical teachings on the change. The Holy 
Bible is replete with references to the inevitability of death. 
The references are found in both Testaments and they 
include assertions about death, designation of persons who 
died, statements on the certainty of death, names of 
persons who died, the unknown time of death, and the 
reward after death for having been faithful in moral life. 
The Bible, among its many topics, can be studied as 
a chronology of decedents - persons who lived and died; 
symbolically, their life like 2014 had an ending and their 
immortality, like 2015 was the new beginning. Beloved, 
all of us along with the whole of humanity will ultimately 
encounter the same reality. In support of this somber 
event, attention will now be directed to a few scriptural 
citations. The list is by no means exhaustive; it is rather 
a partial delineation. It includes: “ a time to be born and a 
time to die” ( Eccl. 3:2 ); “Is not there an appointed time 
to man upon the earth...” ( Job 7:1 ); “Man that is born of 
woman is of few days and full of trouble...” ( Job 14:1 ); 
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow, I will 
fear no evil...” ( Ps. 23:4 ); “...and the day of death than the 
day of birth” ( Eccl. 7:1 ); “...man goeth to his long home, and 
his mourners go about the street” ( Eccl. 12:7 ); “ watch 
therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” 
( Matt. 24:42 ); “if we have been planted - died - in his 
likeness, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection” 
( Ro. 6:5 ); “ And in those days shall men seek death, and 
shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them” ( Rev. 
9:6 ); “...be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a 
life” ( Rev. 2:10 ). Beloved, let us take confident in the 
power of Jesus to deliver on his promise. Remember, He 
said of himself, “ I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning 
and the end, the first and the last” ( Rev. 22:13). This 
glorious assurance leads to the, third, phase of the 
sermon which is - What is your response to the Ending and 
Beginning phenomenon of life? As noted in the sermon, 
there are to crucial areas that the who of humanity face; 
they are the calendar time frame, and the life sojourn. 
The first is general knowledge and earthly experiences 
for humankind. Each normal person knows and experiences 
the passing of the Old Year and the entrance of the New 
Year. The second area, however, is encumbered by a 
common reality for everyone. That problem is the fact 
that, while knowing about the beginning of life, on one 
has ever experienced the ending of life nor its 
consequences. Hence, there is an urgent need, first, for 
information about and making plans for the end of physical 
life and, secondly, being or becoming firmly committed to 
Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is in response to the second 
need - that of passing from life to death - that this final 
phase of the sermon is directed. Unlike the physician or 
attorney who used their training and professional 
references, this pastor is using his training and professional 
book - the Holy Bible - to present the prescription for the 
ending of life and preparation for the immortal existence. 
Heading the list of spiritual medication is the fact that there 
is a time to be born and a time to die. This certainty leads 
to a daily dose of prayer and thanksgiving, remember the 
Bible teaches that man ought to always pray. Another 
ingredient of the spiritual medication includes regular 
exercise in helping the needy as described in Matthew 
(25:31-46), remain confidence in the Lord to walk with 
you through the valley of the shadow of death, and 
before retiring at night think of, if not utter, the childhood 
prayer - Now lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul 
to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my 
soul to take. Amen.
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