What Would You Do Today if You Knew That Tomorrow

You Would Be in Eternity?
I Peter 4 :7-ll.
BUT the end of all things is at hand : be ye therefore sober and
watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity
among yourselves : for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath
received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good
stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him
speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister let him do it as of
the ability which God giveth : that God in all things may be glorified
through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and
ever. Amen.
Sanctify us, O Lord, through Thy truth:
Thy Word is truth. Amen.
Beloved in Christ :
We have just said, using Christ's own words, that
the Word of God is true. Is is true? Did not Peter
say nearly two thousand years ago. But the end of all
things is at hand? Wasn't Peter mistaken? Did not
Peter suppose that in a year or two the world would
eome to an end, and if so, was he not mistaken when
he said, The end of all things is at hand? Dear friends,
it is not in my power to say exactly what Peter thought,
but it is in my calling to tell you that Peter made no
mistake when as an inspired apostle he said at that
time that the end of all things is at hand. You must
remember that the Apostle Peter is not talking now as
a man in relation to man, but he is talking as a man
giving forth the voice of the eternal God. An hour is
longer for an insect that lives a day than a year is for a
man that lives to be thirty years of age, and when we
remember that God is eternal, and stop and meditate on
the great meaning of eternity, we will begin to see that
not only two thousand years, but ten times two thousand
years, is but a moment in God's sight. The Psalmist has
said that a thousand years are in Thy sight as a day. We
can just as truthfully say that ten thousand years, O God,
are in Thy sight as a day. Yesterday as I was trying to
meditate on this great word Eternity, Providence so ar-
ranged it that the mail carrier threw a paper into my
study, on the first page of which I found these beautiful
words :
"Eternity ! Eternity ! Oh if
The soul could grasp the lengthening, lengthening,
Ever endless lengthening, lengthening of this,
The endless endless, never ending endless
Endlessness, as countless ages roll
In flaming waves, or glory's tide,
O'er lost or ransomed soul,
If crippled wren with broken wing could start
On earth throughout this endless, endless,
ever ending endless day
To hobble from Pacific's peaceful shore
To where Atlantic's waves and traffic roar.
Taking the sunset route, the world to cross to fill
Its mission wide of bearing in its bill
One single grain of sand from where it first begun
Its weary, fluttering, wingless course to run.
Returning slow on each world wide circle trip,
If when of sands the western ocean's shore it stripped
And cast them at Atlantic's bosom wide.
It then reversed and bore to western tide
The double portion o'er the same long run —
Eternity, Eternity has just begun."
I do not believe I have ever seen in human language
the beginning of eternity described more beautifully than
in this little poem by Matthew S. Allen. If, therefore,
my friends, this utter endlessness of which we have heard
is but the beginning of eternity, you can understand how
the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Peter could say two
thousand years ago. The end of all things is at hand.
And now, my dear friends, after these few words of medi-
tation, let me ask this question :
In order to answer this question I may ask you
twenty-five others today.
I. Would you become intoxicated? In view of the
fact that the end of all things is at hand, Peter said. Be
ye therefore sober.
1. I am satisfied if you knew that before the sun
went down tonight you would breathe your last breath,
you would not think of becoming intoxicated this after-
noon, and yet we have in this town over fifty-four institu-
tions set up for no other purpose than simply to make
drunkards, and hundreds and thousands of men are plung-
ing in there like flies to the light, day after day, never
stopping to think that the end of all things is at hand.
If you knew that this night your soul should stand
before God, would you spend this afternoon with your
brain reeling with the deadly sleep of a drunkard?
2. If you knew that this would be your last day on
earth and you had the privilege to vote whether the
saloons shall stay or go, would you vote for the saloon
to stay ? I know there are some even professed Chris-
tians who expect to stay here a few years yet, and they
are afraid on account of the loss of business, or on ac-
count of the loss of friendship, to vote as their con-
sciences dictate, but if you knew, if you positively knew
that this evening at six o'clock your work on earth is
done, that you have a vote to cast this afternoon that is
to decide the welfare of your children, and of your chil-
dren's children for years and years to come, would you
vote for the damnable institutions to stay? Would you
do it?
3. If you knew that you would have to die this
evening, would you prefer to drink a few glasses of whis-
key and a few glasses of beer and become dead drunk
and roll into eternity in a drunken stupor? When Jesus
Christ on the cross refused to take the vinegar in order
that he might die clear minded, would you want to take
a stupefying draught of any kind the last morning of
your life? I am satisfied there isn't a man sitting before
me today that would go to the saloon this afternoon, or
that Avould vote for the saloon to stay, or would want to
die drunk, if he knew that this were the end of his life.
And now I would like to ask this question : Has a man
a right to do anything two days before he dies that he
has not a right to do one day before he dies? If I have
no right to die a drunkard in ten years from today, I
have no right to be one this afternoon, for I am sure if
there is smj difference it would be in favor of the last
day. If I get intoxicated the last day I live it is only
once, but if I begin this afternoon and get drunk every
day that I live, and die in a year from now, it means
three hundred and sixty-five drunks instead of one. And
what I want to impress upon this intelligent audience
this morning is this, that the longer the last day is away
for you or for the world, the more important it is to be-
gin right now to live right, for every day adds to your
sum total a great amount of grace or a great amount of
II. Would you want to live without prayer? The
Apostle Peter, in view of the fact that he saw the end
was coming of all things, said "And watch unto prayer.''
He did not say Watch and pray as we are told in some
other sermons of prayer, but Watch unto prayer. In
other words, he not only means for us to be watchful as
jou would be if you knew that the thief would break into
your house tonight, but you must watch for the coming
of the end, and watch for the opportunity of being where
you can pray best. Watch unto prayer.
1. I should like to ask you, if you knew that to-
morrow you would be in eternity, would you be sorrow-
ful that you had prayerful parents? I am satisfied there
are some people in the present day who are not as prayer-
ful as their fathers and their mothers were. I do not
know whether all communities are the same — in fact I
know they are not, but I do knoAv in the old community
where I lived, though we had some people that had their
weaknesses, I do not believe there was a family connected
with the Christian Church that did not have family wor-
ship. T do not believe that any one of us here had a
father or a grandfather, or a mother or a grandmother
who came across the waters, whether from Europe in the
north, or from the south, that did not come with a God^s
library, a Bible and a prayer book, and some devotional
books besides, and you will find when you leaf over those
old books that their pages are not clean, but they are
soiled by use. You will find, too, that those parents,
though they trslj not have stood up and made any very
loud public prayers, were people that had the conviction
that they must be honest at any cost, that they must
pay their debts, that they must give an account before
God, that they must trust alone in the righteousness of
Jesus Christ, and that there was not a day passed when
they did not sit down to their tables and offer a prayer
of thanksgiving to God at least three times. Were you
ashamed of those parents? Are you sorry that you had
a Godly father or a Godly mother?
2. I would like to ask you furthermore, if you knew
that tomorrow you would be in eternity, would you mock
the man that prays for you? Remember there are thou-
sands of professed Christians all over this world praying
every day for friends and foes, praying for you, no dif-
ference who you are, sitting before me this morning, there
are thousands of prayers ascending to the throne of God
day after day in your behalf. Would you mock those
prayers today if you knew that tomorrow you would be
in eternity?
3. And would you despise the little closet of prayer?
The Apostle Peter admonishes us to watch unto prayer.
What he had in mind is this, every true Christian knows
the true meaning of that phrase. o difference how
much we pray in public, no difference how many sermons
we hear, how many songs of praise and how many public
prayers, the real genuine Christian is not satisfied until
he has gotten away from the multitude, away from the
best friends he has on earth, away from his own wife
and children, into some little place where he realizes that
he is alone with God. ow if you knew that tomorrow
you were to be in eternity, would you despise the little
closet of prayer?
I am satisfied that if you knew that tomorrow you
would be in eternity you would pray today as you never
prayed before, but I want to assure you that if you posi-
tively knew that you w^ere to die tonight it is less im-
portant that you pray today than it would be if you
knew that you would live ten years yet. If I must die
tonight, all that I need to pray for today is for God to
watch over me twelve hours yet; but if I am to live
twelve years more, there are hundreds and thousands of
temptations coming that I knoAV nothing about, and con-
sequently I need more strength today than I do the last
day of my life. Watch unto prayer. Seek your little
closet, bow down in the presence of your God all alone,
where you do not need to weigh words and think of crit-
ics, but where you can just pour out your soul to God,
and remember, my friends, that if you are a Christian
God will always give you something special to pray for.
It may be that some of you have felt at times, that now
if God would give me this thing I am asking for, then I
will not need to trouble him any more. He gave you the
very gift you asked for, and just then God gave you
another problem to solve, and it came right after the
first one Avas solved, and it still became necessar^^ for
you to watch unto prayer, and thus He gives you some-
thing to solve all the time through life. And what a
blessing it is that everything is not solved this morning!
What a blessing it is that the time never comes in this
life when we have nothing to pray over and to pray for!
III. Would you try to hurt and harm your neigh-
bor today if you knew that tomorrow you would be in
eternity? There are some people who seemingly just de-
light in doing some mean, devilish little trick that hurts
somebody. Would you do that if tomorrow you knew
you would be in eternity? Would you do it? Stop and
avsk yourself the question this morning. Oh! what a state
of. mind that would be, just to delight to say , ^something
or do something that might hurt some innocent party.
The Apostle Peter calls attention to the fact that if the
end of all things is at hand and eternity is near, we
ought to become a little more charitable. "And above
all things" — that is sa^^ ing a good deal — above being
sober, above praying, above all religion, above all things
have fervent — warm, almost a hot charity among your-
selves, for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Ee-
member, my dear friends, that no man on earth can hide
the sins of the world with his charity, only the righteous-
ness of Jesus Christ can cover sins away from the eyes
of God, but there is a kind of feeling in the human heart
that likes to find sin even where it is not. God knows
and man knows there is enough real sin in the world that
we must not try to put sin where it is not, and yet there
are people that just love to try to find sin where there
is none. They have some kind of a Satanic suspicion
in their minds that something is wrong somewhere; then
they think it; the next thing tliey say it; next publish it,
and it will spread from place to place and from mouth
to mouth, and then they think they have done something
noble, trying to lift themselves up by pushing, somebody
else doAvn. If you knew that tomorrow you would be in
eternity you would be a little bit careful, would, you not,
of what you say about your neighbor, when you do not
know the truth? Do you not remember Avhat Dr. Luther
taught you in the explanation of the eighth command-
Dient? I guess the trouble is you have forgotten it. o,
the great trouble is you never knew it. That is the trou-
ble. 'We have too many professed Christians, that were
not correctly catechised; they never knew the true mean-
ing of .God's Holy Word. While Dr. Luther said of the
eighth commandment that we should put the most char-
itable construction on everything, many professed Chris-
tians are going around putting the worst construction
on everything. oav in relation to our neighbor, let us
have not only a love — for that is what charity means —
but let T^s have a fervent love. A fervent love, is- a love
that is warm, a love like the love of a- mother for her
dearest child. Let us have such a love for our fellow-
men, and wherever we can w^e will try and stretch the
mantle of charity and never find sin where it is not, and,,
on the other hand, never call black w^hite, either, but
black black and white W'hite, and where w^e do not knoAv
that white is black, let us call it white. That is charity.
IV. Would you exclude company from your home
today if you knew that tomorrow you would be in eter-
nity? The Apostle Peter says: "Use hospitality one to
another without grudging."
It does seem to me that true hospitality is not
known today as it has been known in the past, nor known
in this country as it is in some other countries. There
are homes in Europe, and in this country, where the
European spirit still prevails, where you cannot enter
without being shown a spirit of hospitality concerning
which the American people know nothing. There are
some good old German homes where the coffee-pot is
never taken off the stove, in order that no man may step
in without a warm drink being given him, homes w^here
they know that to be hospitable it is not necessary to
prepare a meal for a king or a queen, but just as simple
and plain as possible. A bite of bread means so much.
Just a sip of good warm tea on a cold day means so much,
and now, if you positively knew that tomorrow you would
be in eternity, I would like to ask the question if the
poorly clad came to your door this afternoon, would you
say. Go away? If you knew that tomorrow^ you would
be in eternity, would you invite company in this after-
noon when they come to the door, give them a chair, and
when they go out say, I am glad they are gone? Would
you do that? If you knew this, that tomorrow you would
be in eternity, w^ould you close your blinds down and
lock the door, and always live as if no one had a right in
your home but yourself? AVould it not be better, in
view of the fact that eternity is coming for us all to culti-
vate a more loving spirit of hospitality?
V. Would you oppose the Church of God?
How many people there are in these days actually
opposing the Church. Jesus Christ said: He that does^
not gather with Me scattereth. He that is not for Me
is against Me. I will admit that a great many people
are not positively fighting the Church, but they are nega-
tively doing it. There are names on our own church
book of people whom I have not seen here twelve times
in two years. Where are they? They must be blind. If
they were, then I would have a better feeling for
them if they were so they could not come. But we
have men whom I have never seen ; I do not know whether
they have been in church for ten years or not. Where
are they? We have men who are in church but absolutely
do nothing to build up the kingdom of God. We have
men who would not miss a Divine service for anything,
and they would not teach a Sunday school class for
anything; we have men who would not sing a hymn for
anything, and they would not miss doing nothing for
anything. The Lord our God has given to every man
some kind of a gift, and let that gift be what it will,
he is as responsible for that gift he has as any other
man for the gift that he has. You are as responsible
this morning for the gift that God has given you, for the
place that you occupy in this country, as a citizen, in
the family and in the church as President Koosevelt is
in the chair as president of this country. As we heard
the other night, a penny is just as round as a quarter;
a quarter is just as round as a dollar, and the penny has
no more right to be square or to be three-cornered than
the dollar has. There are penny people in the world;
there are quarter people in the world and there are dol-
lar people in the world, but every dollar is responsible
for one hundred cents, and every quarter for twenty-five
cents and every penny for a penny, and the Lord our
God demands of every one of us that we give an account
of our stewardship on the last great day. ow then, if
you knew that eternity were open to you tomorrow, and
that your life is ended, or the world would come to an
end, what would be your relation to the Church of God
today? The Apostle Peter tells us what it ought to be:
"As every man hath received the gift, even so minister
the same one to another, as good stewards of the mani-
fold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak ai^
the oracles of God; if any man minister let him do it as
of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things
may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise
and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.''
1. If you knew that tomorrow you would be in
eternity, would you oppose the means of grace? Would
you refuse to hear God's Word? Would 3^ou go on until
tomorrow unbaptized? Would you refuse to go to the
Lord's Supper? Would you refuse to prepare to meet
your God? My dear friends, the means of grace are the
means that God has given us to become Christians, and
for that reason as said in this text of ours. As every
man hath received the gift, even so minister the same
one to another as good stewards of the manifold grace
of God. God pours out His grace to you through these
means I have mentioned. When you hear God's Word
the Holy Spirit offers you His grace. When you are
baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Ghost, there you are born of water and the
Spirit. When Jesus says to you. Take, eat, this is My
body, and take drink, this is My blood which was shed
for you for the remission of sins. This do as oft as ye
drink it in remembrance of Me, what more can God do
than to come and offer Himself to you? And now the
question is, what would you do with these means of grace
if you knew that tomorrow you would be in eternity?
2. Would you rest all day and do nothing? Some
people seem to think that Sunday is a day of rest, and
consequently, although they can be up Saturday night
until after midnight, and can get up every morning dur-
ing the week at half past five, they imagine they are doing
the Lord a wonderful service if they can sleep and snore
on Sunday until noon. Would you do that if you knew that
tomorrow you would be in eternity? Would you lie in bed
during the day, knowing that there are many souls all
around you that are going to do just like you do? Would
you leave these things undone? Would you sit down in
your chair and absolutely do nothing? Remember, my
friends, that the Apostle Peter tells us that just because
the end of all things is at hand, it is our purpose to go
and render God a service. If that is serving God, lying
in bed and sleeping, or sitting at home doing nothing, too
lazy to wash and dress, too lazy to go to God's house,
then God can get service by putting you in your grave
and putting a rock in the chair or a stone in the bed.
Man is more than simply a block ; he ought to have brain,
and God has given him brain with which to work and
with which to serve his Lord and Master.
3. Would you seek your own glory if you knew that
tomorrow would be the end of the world, if you knew
that tomorrow you would be in eternity? What is the
trouble with so many people in the present day that they
are not in church, that they are not good Christians?
The trouble is that the devil has made them believe that
if they just try to keep the moral law they will go to
heaven, and the result is that they are driving the rest
to the lodge that has no Christ in it instead of the
true religion; they are listening to the voice that says
cut off this corner and round up this side, and quit this
thing and quit that thing, and make yourself a better man,
and live righteous before the Avorld, and when you die
it will be all right, and if there is anything in the world
that makes the devil laugh it is to get a bad man to try
to make himself better and to succeed in it. The devil
himself has more respect for a decent child of the devil
than for a real devilish child of the devil. If there is
an^^thing the devil loves it is to have one of his own handi-
work almost an imitation of God's work. What is the
trouble? Men are giving themselves the glory instead
of giving it to Jesus, where it belongs. It was true in
the days of the apostle and it is true today, and it will
be true on the Judgment Day. If any man speak let him
speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let
him do it as of the ability which God giveth : that God
in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to
whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Yes, my dear friends, there is the secret of true
Christianity. We are poor, lost, condemned, helpless sin-
ners. There is no strength in us. There is no hope in us.
There is absolutely no merit in us. God is our all in
all. Christ is our Savior. He even gives us the faith
with which we believe in Him. He gives us the spirit of
prayer. He gives us thankful hearts. He does all. There
is only one thing that we can do, and that is to rebel
against Him, and if we will continue to rebel and con-
tinue to resist Him, He will finally let us stand and will
go and seek others as He did of old, and let us stand
until we find ourselves lost, and lost forever. May God
help us in this morning hour, my dear hearers and friends,
to lead a new life, to lead it as we would lead it the day
before we step into eternity, the day before the end of
the world. Amen.
O God, our heavenly Father, we thank Thee for Thy Word, which
is the truth and therefore never makes a mistake. We pray Thee in this
morning hour th'at Thou wilt bless this message to our eternal good.
Our Father in heaven, do Thou help us to lead a sober and clean life;
help us to watch for a closet of prayer where we can pour our hearts
out to Thee. Help us that we may lead a life that is truly hospitable.
Help us to lead a life that looks to the welfare and happiness of those
around us. And we ask Thee that Thou wilt cover us with the mantle
of Thy righteousness and give us of Thine own Spirit that we may try
to treat our fellowmen as we would ask Thee to treat us. And we pray
Thee, our Heavenly Father that Thou wilt help us to render Thee a
service, that we mav not sleep, nor sit down and do nothing, but arise
in the name of the Lord our God, and with His might and power from
on high go forth and labor while it is day, for the night comelh when
no man can work. O Lord our God, bless these dear fathers and
mothers who are in our presence today with the hoary crowns upon
their heads. Help that everything they have yet to say and to do may
be so said and done that the younger generation walking in their foot-
steps, may walk in the footsteps of Him who will keep them, Jesus
Christ. And we pray Thee, O God, that Thou wilt be with all young
fathers and mothers in the training of their children, in establishing
their homes upon the Rock of Ages. We pray Thee especially to be
with the youth of this congregation and of our country. Lord, throw
Thine arms of mercy around them and move some one to go to every
one in the right hour and in the right moment, to say just the right
thing to save that one for heaven. We pray Thee to bless the dear
little children who love to sing songs of praise to Thy name, who are
starting in life and learning Thy good Word, and when they are old
they will not depart from it. Bless the little infants, those that have
just been brought to the altar in Holy Baptism in the past year. We
pray Thee lo bless the Httle children just born and not yet baptized,
and may they soon have their names on the records of the church as
members of Thee, the Christ, who is the Head of the great family of
God. We pray Thee not only for the newly born children, we pray Thee
in this day, heavenly Father, that children may be born in the future
who shall be mighty men of God to do the great work that is to be done
in the latter age of the world, when Satan with all of his host is fighting
his last great battle. Give us men of God ! Oh, hear the prayer of
those who, like Hannah of old, and Elizabeth and Zacharias, are
for Samuels and for John the Baptists. Lord our God, hear all our
prayers, which we would sum up in that one beautiful prayer which
Thou, Thyself, hast taught us :
Our Father who art in heaven ; Hallowed be Thy name ; Thy
kingdom conie ; Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven ; Give
us this day our daily bread ; And forgive us our trespasses, as we for-
give those who trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation;
But deliver us from evil ; For Thine is the kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

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