Faithlife Sermons


Notes & Transcripts


Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

—John 5:25

5020 Raleigh’s Trust

After Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded in the tower they found in his Bible these true and striking lines, written the night before his death:

Even such is time, that takes in trust

Our youth, our joys, our all we have,

And pays us but with age and dust;

Who in the dark and silent grave,

When we have wandered all our ways,

Shuts up the story of our days.

But from this earth, this grave, this dust,

My God shall raise me up, I trust!

All the things of this world he had lost, but he had kept his faith; and faith spoke to him of a hope and life beyond the grave.

—C. E. Macartney

5021 Christ And Funerals

As a young man, D. L. Moody was called upon suddenly to preach a funeral sermon. He hunted all through the Four Gospels trying to find one of Christ’s funeral sermons, but searched in vain. He found that Christ broke up every funeral He ever attended. Death could not exist where He was. When the dead heard His voice they sprang to life. Jesus said, I am the resurrection, and the life (John 11:25).

5022 Woman Pronounced Dead

Twice Canton, Ohio (AP)—Four years ago, Mrs. Cordray, a widow, 68, who had been under care for treatment of Parkinson’s disease, was declared dead and her body was sent to a funeral home.

A funeral home employee began making preparations for embalming when he thought he saw her tongue move. A moment later she took a breath.

Mrs. Cordray recovered from that ordeal, but spent the remaining years of her life at an extended care facility. A spokesman confirmed that she died in a hospital in Canton in 1975.

5023 “Dead” Man Coughs

Burmingham, England (UPI)—A Coroner, George Billington, said McEldowney, a bachelor, had only a five-percent chance of recovering from the accident and his relatives gave permission for his kidneys to be transplanted.

Dr. Padmore said when Barnes opened McEldowney’s abdomen he saw the patient’s feet twitch.

“I heard him cough, and he started to breathe of his own accord—regularly and with reasonable depth,” she said.

“After the cough Barnes asked, “Did he do that or was that you?”” Nurse Anna Whitcomb said. “Dr. Padmore replied, “No, he did that,”” the nurse said.

Barnes told the inquest he had to remove the kidneys within an hour of death which he said he assumed had been confirmed by two doctors.

5024 Awakened By Police Siren

A newspaper item informs us that a four-month-old baby in Sheffield, England, was feared by his mother to be dead. Showing no signs of life, the baby was bundled into a police car for a dash to the hospital. First-aid failed to start tiny Nathan Oat’s breathing. But on hearing the emergency siren, Nathan jumped, coughed, and struggled back to life.

5025 Mistaken Death Identification

Twelve hours after her funeral and burial 17-year-old Ria van Roelen of Gilzerijen, Holland, was found alive in a hospital. She and another 17-year-old had been so badly mangled in a car accident that they were almost beyond recognition. Ria had been identified by the four parents before the funeral. But the body turned out to be that of the other girl.

5026 Back From The Dead

At least it must have seemed that way for Mrs. Blanche Gwinn of Elizabethtown, Tenn. After burying what she thought was the body of her son, Pfc. John W. Gwinn, she was notified that there had been an error and the body was actually that of Pfc. Quinn W. Tichnor. A check of fingerprints by the FBI provided the proper identity. Thereupon the U.S. army arranged an immediate home leave for her son serving in Vietnam.

5027 Lady’s Eternal Burial Place?

A certain Hanoverian countess, who lived about a hundred years ago, was a noted unbeliever, and was especially opposed to the doctrine of the resurrection, as indeed every unbeliever might well be, especially if his opposition could alter it.

This lady died when about thirty years of age. Before her death she gave orders that her grave should be covered with a slab of granite, that around it should be placed square blocks of stone, and that the corners should be fastened to each other and to the granite slab by heavy iron clamps.

Upon the covering this inscription was placed:




All that human power could do to prevent any change in that grave was done. But a little birch tree seed sprouted, and the root found its way between the side stone and the upper slab and grew there. Slowly but steadily it forced its way until the iron clamps were torn asunder, the granite lid was raised, and it is now resting upon the trunk of the birch tree, which is large and flourishing.


5028 A Tree Out Of Her Grave

In Tewin churchyard, a short distance from King’s Cross Station, in England, stands a great four-trunked tree growing out of a grave. Its presence there has given rise to much speculation among the residents of that section. The grave from which it grows is that of Lady Anne Grimston.

Is the tree a monument to a woman’s disbelief or did it happen to grow there merely by chance? Nobody knows.

Lady Anne Grimston did not believe in life after death. When she lay dying in her palatial home, she said to a friend, “I shall live again as surely as a tree will grow from my body.”

She was buried in a marble tomb. The grave was marked by a large marble slab, and surrounded by an iron railing. Years later the marble slab was found to be moved a little. Then it cracked, and through the crack a small tree grew.

The tree continued to grow, tilting the stone and breaking the marble masonry until today it has surrounded the tomb with its roots, and has torn the railing out of the ground with its massive trunk. The tree at Lady Anne Grimston’s grave is one of the largest in England.

Was it mere chance that caused the tree to grow there? Perhaps God the Almighty took her challenge.

—Pastor’s Manual

5029 Socrates’ Uncertainty

Four hundred years before the birth of Christ, Socrates, the renowned Greek Philosopher, drank the poison hemlock and lay down to die.

“Shall we live again?” his friends asked. The dying philosopher could only reply, “I hope so, but no man can know.”

—Gospel Herald

5030 The 11,111 Heads

According to Dr. E. R. Bull, a Methodist missionary to the Ryuku Islands of Japan, a huge grave has been discovered on the Island of Amakusa, where a marker states that the heads of 11,111 Christians are buried there. The date of the grave is 1637, in which year the Japanese government ordered all Christians exterminated, and the inscription above this grave states that 11,111 Christians were killed, and that their bodies were buried separately.

The purpose in this was that the missionaries who had brought Christianity to Japan had preached the resurrection of the body, and the Japanese rulers supposed that by separating the heads from the rest of the bodies in burial, there could be no possibility of the Christians coming forth from their graves.


5031 Emperor’s Limitation

The Emperor Theodosius having on a great occasion opened all the prisons and released his prisoners, is reported to have said: “And now would to God I could open all the tombs and give life to the dead!”


5032 A Sub Named “Resurgam”

In 1879 an experimental steam-driven submarine bearing the proud name, Resurgam (“I Shall Rise Again”) was launced with great confidence and celebration. During its trials, however, the submarine sank and never rose again. “Resurgam” was an empty boast.

—Prairie Overcomer

5033 Science And Dead Mr. Brown

A man named Brown was hanged in Philadelphia sometime ago. In ten minutes after he was legally dead he was resting on a table in the physiological laboratory. Around the table were three of the most famous physiologists of the scientific world. Could motion and life be restored to that inanimate body? Science waited anxiously for an answer to the question.

A sharp wire, charged with electricity, was applied to the various nerve centers of the body and brain. A superstitious layman would have been horrified at the result. Brown raised first his right hand and then his left. His head moved. His mouth twitched in a convulsive grin. The cords of his neck swelled and the mouth opened as if he would complete his unfinished sentence on the scaffold. The hands drew up and then extended. Unceasingly the electric wire prodded center after center in the nervous organism. At a fresh touch from the plying needle the body sat upright. There seemed to be breath, for the respiratory organs were agitated. Would he walk? Would he talk?

Science was anxious; another stroke and it had found the secret of life. But placed on the floor, the body fell over limp—dead. Science had demonstrated wonders, but had failed to raise the dead.

—S. T. Nicholls

5034 Contestants Keep Hamlet Alive

The Manchester Guardian once ran a literacy contest which involved writing a new ending for Shakespeare’s famed tragedy Hamlet. Contestants were to present a synopsis for “a better last act.” All of the contestants kept Hamlet alive, and some had the heroine return after her death.

In the revisions, they state that she had only been in a trance, or that she had been feigning death to see if Hamlet really loved her. Each of the entries involved some artful device to insure a perfect, happy ending.

—Donald Grey Barhouse

5035 The Grieving Caterpillars

Arthur Brisbane once pictured a crowd of grieving caterpillars carrying the corpse of a cocoon to its final resting place. The poor, distressed caterpillars, clad in black raiment, were weeping, and all the while the beautiful butterfly fluttered happily above the muck and mire of earth, forever freed from its earthly shell. Needless to say, Brisbane had the average orthodox funeral in mind and sought to convey the idea that when our loved ones pass, it is foolish to remember only the cocoon and concentrate our attention on the remains, while forgetting the bright butterfly.

—Sanctuary Magazine

5036 Sprouting After 200 Years

Archbishop Trench tells how, in 1690, an agave plant was brought over and planted in the gardens of Hampton Court Palace by Queen Mary. The last ten years of the seventeenth century passed, and the plant gave no sign of flowering. The whole of the eighteenth century passed, and never a bud did the plant put forth. Eighty-eight years of the nineteenth century passed, and still no sign of a flower. But in 1889 the venerable plant burst into blossom.

5037 The 800-Year Rose

In Romsey, England, an expert in ancient plants has identified a seed discovered inside an abbey wall as an 856-year-old rose. Workmen found the rose behind a medieval painting in a hole sealed in 1120.

Think of it! A seed preserved and isolated for 856 years. That seed which was never allowed to fall into the ground, die, and spring up as a beautiful rose bush.

—Prairie Overcomer

5038 Thirty Centuries In Egyptian Tomb

William Jennings Bryan describes securing a few grains of wheat when in Cairo that had slumbered thirty centuries in an Egyptian tomb. Upon thinking of the unbroken chain of life of the grain we sow and harvest today, he wrote,

“If this invisible germ of life in the grain of wheat can pass unimpaired through three thousand resurrections, I shall not doubt that my soul has power to clothe itself with a new body suited to its new existence when this earthly frame has crumbled to dust.”

5039 600-Year-Old Seed

A seed taken from a 600-year-old rattle necklace in South America has germinated and grown into a plant. The seed was imprisoned in a nutshell, as part of the rattle necklace taken from a tomb in Santa Rosa de Tastil. The seed germinated in 1968 and has grown to six feet and flowered.

—Pastor’s Manual

5040 Origin Of The Dahlias

It is said that when Lord Lindsay and some of the members of his company went into one of the pyramids they were permitted to open one of the mummies, and they saw in the hand one of the bulbous and tuberous roses. According to the rules of interpreting hieroglyphics, they determined that the person had been encased perhaps three thousand years. And as soon as the air touched the mummy the roses all crumbled to the finest dust save the seed of the rose, which was gathered and brought to England and planted in one of the gardens of Lord Lindsay; and it shot up a stalk to bear a beautiful flower. The question was asked what it should be called. There was nothing in the range of their botany like it.

And the Lord said, “We will name it for the Swedish botanist. We will call it Dahl.” And this is the origin of the name of one of the species of dahlia. Coming across three thousand years, it still lives.

—James E. Denton

5041 The Mummy-Pit Seed

Some years ago a vase hermetically sealed was found in a mummy-pit in Egypt, by the English traveler Wilkinson, who sent it to the British museum. The librarian there, having unfortunately broken it, discovered in it a few grains of wheat and one or two peas, old, wrinkled and hard as stone.

The peas were planted carefully under glass on the 4th of June, 1844, and at the end of thirty days these old seeds were seen to spring up into new life. They had been buried probably about three thousand years ago, perhaps in the time of Moses, and had slept all that long time, apparently dead, yet still living in the dust of the tomb.


5042 Freeze-Storing The Body

A retired psychologist is dying of cancer but wants his body preserved by freezing for later revival if possible. He therefore leaves $4,200 for a steel capsule and for liquid nitrogen to keep body frozen at 200 degrees below zero centigrade. The Cryonics Society of California helped. And the body is flown to Phoenix where the professor’s remains are kept in liquid-nitrogen storage.

Underlying is the hope that when cures for cancer are discovered, the body could be thawed out, cured, and restored to healthy life.

But although some of the lower forms of life, such as bacteria, can survive freezing and thawing, no higher animal can, and certainly not man. Not even a single major human organ can be thus preserved. Since even an achievement of restoring a live organ is still future, the prospect of restoring functions to a whole body with dozens of organs and cell types is even more remote.

5043 More On Deep-Freeze

In an underground storage site near Los Angeles, a dozen men and women lie in capsules that look like giant vacuum flasks. Their bodies are wrapped in tinfoil. Remove the foil and a thin layer of frost covers their faces. An icy mist of liquid nitrogen clings around each body.

These people have been dead for some years. But centuries from now, attempts may be made to bring them back to life again. They chose this odd method of entombment in the hope that, at some time in the future when medical science has improved far beyond today’s standards, they will be thawed from their deep-frozen state and cured of the disease that killed them. Some of the corpses have been there since 1967. They could be there for hundreds of years because, if the person died from a particular form of cancer, it could take that long before an effective cure is found.

5044 Modern Reincarnation?

When Egyptians mummified their pharaohs and priests thousands of years ago, they did so believing that the dead would reincarnate in all their splendor. Now comes Dr. Elof Carlson, a zoologist at the University of California, who believes that expectation will be at least partially fulfilled in another century or two.

Dr. Carlson says the process will be reconstitution instead of reincarnation. Geneticists will be able to copy the genetic codes or gene patterns in the dried tissue of mummified bodies and place this in fertilized egg cells. The egg cells will grow into physical copies of the mummies, except for their memories and emotions.

However, Dr. Carlson says this can be done only with mummies. The bodies of persons cremated or buried cannot be reconstituted because their cells will have been destroyed.

5045 Genetic Engineering

The creation of new forms of life is allegedly becoming possible through “genetic engineering.” The process takes the gene for a specific characteristic out of one organism and transplants it into another for a desired change. It would revolutionize food production, diagnose and cure diseases, and alter forms of life such as giving a cat a bark and dogs hooves instead of paws.

The recombinant-DNA technique of the early 1970’s allows scientists to identify a characteristic from the DNA a molecule of one species and to transplant it into another. This literally permits them to “recombine” genetic characteristics into hybrid forms of life unique in nature.

Over 80 university laboratories in the U. S. are working in this new dimension in science, together with at least nine private companies.

5046 Some Risks Involved

On the negative side, however, there are grave risks involved. If deadly and recombined organisms escaped from the lab, they could irreversibly cripple life on earth.

For instance, the E. Coli bacteria, which is most often used by scientists, is commonly found in nearly all mammals, including man. If an altered E. Coli should escape, it would find a ready home almost any place. Possibility: spreading contagious, uncontrollable diseases across the land.

Actions to control the scope of recombinant-DNA research has come from the federal government.

5047 The P4 Laboratory

According to news report, the National Institute of Health is building the nation’s first certified “P4” level laboratory, where the most hazardous genetic experiments could be conducted, in Fort Detrick, Maryland. The $3-million facility would enhance research. The P4 classification requires air-locks, use of protective clothing and sterilization of all wastes.

5048 Dr. Hsu’s Frozen Zoo

Most zoos with animals like Tasmanian rat kangaroos, white dolphins, snow leopards, cheetahs and a rare Indian barking deer are swamped with visitors. Cell Biologist T. C. Hsu (pronounced shoe) has assembled more than 300 rare species in a collection that rivals New York’s huge Bronz Zoo; but it draws no crowds. Dr. Hsu’s pets are all in test tubes, stored in steel bins at the University of Texas’ M. D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute.

Each test tube, embedded in dry ice, contains between 60 and 100 million cells of an individual species, usually grown from bits of skin tissue. Most of the samples come from animals Hsu believes are doomed to extinction. When that happens, their genes will be lost. Hsu’s hope is that scientists of the future will be able to use the genetic “codes” locked in the cells of each species to reconstitute the original animals.

China-born Dr. Hsu, whose more conventional field is the study of chromosome behavior, concedes that this notion is still close to science fiction. But he can point out that a complete carrot plant has indeed been grown from a single carrot cell. At any rate, other scientists are becoming interested; some have even risked life and limb to contribute to his frozen zoo.

A few years ago, Navy health officers came under fire while trying to take skin samples from a rare Vietnamese mole. On another occasion, a California biologist set out for a remote and desolate island off Southern California, which Hsu had heard was the only habitat of a certain rodent. The biologist’s boat sank, and he was marooned for three days. He fed himself on a bait he had brought for the rodents.

Says Hsu: “If through my work children two centuries hence may be able to see extinct species live again, I feel that I will have left a worthwhile legacy.”


See also: Deaths ; Miracles ; Heaven ; Rev. 11:11; 13:3, 12.

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