Francis has left his post as pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, CA after 16 years because he feels God calling him to inner city ministry - probably Los Angeles. So, I was very curious as to what he would say in his final sermon to his congregation. What was on his mind and heart after being there from the beginning when it was just a couple dozen of them meeting in a home?
The passage he chose was Revelation 21:1-8:
1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
5And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." 6And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."
Although I have only heard Francis preach a handful of times, it is not surprising that his final message was very much like the other messages I have heard...and much like his book "Crazy Love". He really picked up on the word cowardly in verse 8. He implored his congregation, as he does so often, to live for God completely and without fear. Don't trade in what is infinitely eternal and worthy for those things that are detestable and temporal. If you are not ashamed of God, He will not be ashamed of you. He referenced Matthew 10:26-28:
26"So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Don't fear man. Don't live like a coward because of what others may say about you or do to you. If they kill you for following God than you are just following in the footsteps of your Savior. How wonderful your reward will be. Only fear God. For if you refuse to follow Him than you truly have something to be worried about.
I think every sermon should center on at least one of two primary themes: 1) The Gospel; and 2) Our response to it. Ideally, each sermon should include both. For without both there is no relationship between us and our Lord.