Third Sunday in Advent – Saturday
Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God. – Acts 7:56.
When our last hour comes, the crisis will be at hand, the great crisis, as physicians call that turning-point of a sickness which makes it plain whether recovery or death will be the final outcome. All who in the hour of death will be found to believe in Christ will be saved; those, however, who will lack this faith will be damned.
And it is just in the hour of death, the most important and critical hour, that a person can be very weak, most exceedingly so. It is just then that the Evil Foe will see his opportunity for making the last and fiercest assault. And what then? – When Stephen knew that his last hour was at hand, he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and he said: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God.” He saw that Jesus was going to be with him in death; he knew that the Savior would help him and take him to heaven. – I tell you, Christian, just when you need the Savior most, He will be nearest to you, to rescue you. Then will His strength be made perfect in your weakness. And you shall conquer all, yes, all the terrors of death. This is most certainly true. – But let no man foolishly think that he can convert himself, or make himself a true Christian (which no man can do), when that last hour comes. True conversion must be worked by the Holy Ghost; and he accomplishes that conversion through the power of His Word.
By the Gospel He will also preserve you in the faith in your dying hour. You are now His own dear child by faith; and He will be your Savior in death.
PRAYER. – Lord Jesus, grant that through Thy Word and Holy Spirit – now and always – I may believe in Thee and be Thine own. And when my last hour shall come, then do come, Thou faithful Savior, and grant me Thy strength, and keep the devil from me, and receive my spirit as Thou received that of Stephen. Amen, Thou wilt do this, Thou faithful Savior, who saith, regarding Thy sheep: “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.” Amen, Lord Jesus, Amen.
My Savior, be Thou near me When death is at my door;
Then let Thy presence cheer me, Forsake me nevermore!
When soul and body languish, Oh, leave me not alone,
But take away mine anguish By virtue of Thine own!
Hymn 172, 9.