Sermon by F. Peters – Poughkeepsie SDA Church – October 5, 2019 [To watch recording of the sermon, click here]
Thank the leadership and Pastor for sharing this desk with me if only for an hour. Thank the Lord for helping my knees not buckle up until this point, and for the hearts or more directly the heart which will be touched by these words. Let us pray.
- A sudden, sometimes temporary, cessation of function of the heart — Oxford
- The stopping of the heartbeat, usually because of interference with the electrical signal (often associated with coronary heart disease) — Texasheart.org
- Cardiac arrest is a serious heart condition. The word arrest means to stop or bring to a halt. In cardiac arrest, the heart ceases to beat — Healthline
- Cardiac arrest may be reversed if CPR is performed and a defibrillator is used to shock the heart and restore a normal heart rhythm within a few minutes — American Heart Association
We will now open up our Bibles and view a couple instances in which I believe certain characters experienced this condition.
1. Herod /Death of John the Baptist – Cardiac arrest suffered by Herod when told to behead John.
This can be found in Matthew 14 1-12 but I like how Mark puts it in Mark 6:14-29. Turn there while I focus on a couple verses. (Read verses 14-23, read quote).
Desire of Ages sheds a little further light on this instance. Listen to this:
“The king was dazed with wine. Passion held sway, and reason was dethroned. He saw only the hall of pleasure, with its reveling guests, the banquet table, the sparkling wine and the flashing lights, and the young girl dancing before him. In the recklessness of the moment, he desired to make some display that would exalt him before the great men of his realm. With an oath he promised to give the daughter of Herodias whatever she might ask, even to the half of his kingdom.” Desire of Ages, Page 221.3
And then it follows with this.
Before that though it’s amazing sometimes how quickly we can be placed within our right mind.
Sometimes a dramatic situation can thrust you back into your right mind.
By a blink of those flashing lights and police siren, a careless reckless criminal can appear to be the most law abiding citizen;
A slurring drunken man can speak with the clarity and eloquence of a scholar.
And stumbling inebriated fellow can somehow find himself with posture stiffer than a board. Those flashing lights and the thought of pending punishment has an interesting effect.
But back to the story read verses 24-27.
“Herod was astonished and confounded. The riotous mirth ceased, and an ominous silence settled down upon the scene of revelry. The king was horror-stricken at the thought of taking the life of John. Yet his word was pledged, and he was unwilling to appear fickle or rash. The oath had been made in honor of his guests, and if one of them had offered a word against the fulfillment of his promise, he would gladly have spared the prophet. He gave them opportunity to speak in the prisoner’s behalf. They had traveled long distances in order to hear the preaching of John, and they knew him to be a man without crime, and a servant of God. But though shocked at the girl’s demand, they were too besotted to interpose a remonstrance. No voice was raised to save the life of Heaven’s messenger. These men occupied high positions of trust in the nation, and upon them rested grave responsibilities; yet they had given themselves up to feasting and drunkenness until the senses were benumbed. Their heads were turned with the giddy scene of music and dancing, and conscience lay dormant. By their silence they pronounced the sentence of death upon the prophet of God to satisfy the revenge of an abandoned woman.”
Suffered by Judas when realization came that he betrayed innocent blood. I look upon this man, Brother Iscariot, as having 3 moments of cardiac arrest before his self inflicted demise.
1. The last words spoken at the Passover feast before he went to get the troops, “Master is it I?”
Thou hast said, what thou doest do quickly”
2. The last words Christ spoke to him, “Betrayest thou the son of Man with a kiss”
3. When Judas’ plan came to fruition and he fully betrayed and sold the Savior, when he realized that Jesus was not using His power to free Himself and begin His reign as King of the Jews (according to his understanding); and then reality hit. We find this final instance recorded in Matthew 27. In a last futile attempt, he took his compensation and tearfully, cast it back to his benefactors (the chief priests and elders) and therein he utters his last words in scripture. “I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood”. The wicked folks at this point tell him plainly, that’s your problem, that’s blood money, were not touching that. Basically, making it seem like everything that has happened was his shoulders, you we’re our puppet for the time and that which we paid you to deliver him to us amounts to nothing, that’s your problem.
He later runs out and ends his life.
CARDIAC ARREST AND NO RESUSCITATION.
3. This last instance that I’ll share deals with something a bit more recent.
The year was 1844 and up to this point, there had already been a few wrong dates predicted regarding the end of the world and second coming of Jesus. But this last one, October 22nd, held all the rage and there was seemingly and evangelistic tornado sweeping through with the whole country; not even just the country but the whole world, even groups without Christ could sense that something major was at hand. The mockers and scoffers were about and abounding, but those who truly loved the Lord and the thought of His appearing were far greater.
People sold their houses and lands and cattle; great groups of people didn’t even harvest their crops that year. It was about to be the greatest and last day of many of these peoples lives: their long-awaited King was going to make his appearance. Virtually, the whole Christian world was a buzz: there were some who believed that the Lord could be making his appearance, but there were many others who eagerly anxiously, awaiting His coming. But then, the unthinkable happened. October 22nd, 1844 came and the hours passed by – 8am, 9am, midday, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm … just a few more hours till midnight on the day and no Jesus.
Before I get to what I’m going to read. If you love someone or something, you tend to want to spend all of your time with them or it. When you love a show you do what you can to be present for when it begins and afterwards you talk about it with like-minded people and even influence other people to watch. These individuals loved the thought of their Jesus coming to the earth and according to the Bible, the date was right but their interpretation of the event was wrong. These folks loved their Jesus with a passion which is rare to behold this day; wrongs we’re righted, reconciliation abounded, their preaching and teachings were so dynamic and impactful that it even shared front page news alongside the national election stories. These were individuals sold out to their Lord and the country knew it.
Back to the event…
Seconds become minutes, becomes hours, midnight hits and these words are recorded.
“Our expectations were raised high, and thus we looked for our coming Lord until the clock tolled twelve at midnight.The day had then passed, and our disappointment had become a certainty. Our fondest hopes and expectations were blasted and such a spirit of weeping came over us as I never experienced before. It seemed that the loss of all earthly friends could have been no comparison. We wept and wept, till the day dawn….;”
CARDIAC ARREST But in this instance there was resuscitation.
Hiram Edson, O.R.L. Crozier and another saint the very next morning (October 23rd) after their hours of weeping, decided to strengthen themselves in the Lord. They did that by spending time praying first until they felt that the Lord would hear their prayers, and after having that assurance proceeded to attempt to strengthen the brethren.
They chose to avoid the roads. The shame and mocking and embarrassment which would proceed from the nonbelievers was inevitable, so they walked through the cornfield and that’s when the vision was made plain. Right date, wrong event: it wasn’t the end of the world but it was the beginning of Jesus’ last phase in the heavenly sanctuary. The brethren didn’t fully understand it, but just as in the earthly sanctuary system, the High priest once a year would enter into the Most Holy Place, so was it being reflected in heaven.
Before that day the number of believers in the second coming of that time numbered in the thousands even tens of thousands. After the disappointment, the number dwindled exponentially. But Praise God, for the few that endured the shame and mockery of the days, weeks and months which followed; trusted in the Lord and in His word.
Here we are 175 years later, one hundred three score and fifteen. Seemingly living on borrowed time. Numerous prophecies have been fulfilled, great men and women have come and gone, and there are some excruciating days ahead for Gods people, if you want to believe it or not, There is a very real war being waged on those who call themselves Christians. We have an extremely high calling because we serve the Most High God.
As in the case of Herod and Judas their cardiac arrests led to the death of righteous men. But we in this time have a chance to have our cardiac arrest moments be the time when we uplift and exalt and magnify The Righteous Man.
May those moments of cardiac arrest be as a result of striving to follow the Savior whithersoever He goeth. May they be moments when we are taking God at his word and through His power being holy as He is holy, being perfect as He is perfect.
Our Lord is coming soon and He is coming for reflections of Himself. Anything less than that cannot find home in the eternal kingdom.
The conditions of this world are rapidly deteriorating: disease, sickness, moral depravity, hatred, racism, you can’t turn your head and not hear about a scandal in music, politics, economy, church. It’s as if the world is screaming, Lord come quickly.
Jesus longs for us, to accept His robe of righteousness and to accept His promise of eternal life. If you’ve never accepted Him, this is your moment of cardiac arrest, if you’ve walked away this is your moment of cardiac arrest. He’s ready to place you on the right course or place you back on the right course. The great physician is ready to resuscitate.