Here is a report from a local newspaper regarding Ian Paisleys final sermon as senior minister.
Former moderator and founder of the Free Presbyterian Church Ian Paisley is pictured delivering his final sermon from the pulpit of Martyrs Memorial on the Ravenhill Road for the last time.
Published on Monday 19 December 2011 09:46
IAN Paisley yesterday told his congregation that he is looking forward to life after death, as he preached his final sermons as minister of the church which ordained him 65 years ago.
Reflecting on his mortality, the former First Minister told his Ravenhill Road congregation that our day of fighting is about to close; our day of everlasting rejoicing is about to begin.
And, Dr Paisley, now known as Lord Bannside, talked to his congregation of what lies ahead.
The veteran preacher, pictured above, delivered his final two sermons yesterday after 65 years as a Christian minister.
Preaching in the vast Martyrs Memorial building yesterday morning, the 85-year-old referred to his readiness to die and firm belief that he will then be in heaven.
There is no suggestion that Dr Paisley is unwell and just weeks ago the peer said that he was fighting fit.
Yesterday he told his congregation: Thank God Im nearer home today than Ive ever been; home sweet home where Jesus is, where the great Apostles are, where the mighty angels are, where all our blood-washed friends are.
Later, he said: We leap not into darkness, we Christians, and the shadow of death.
We leap, rather, into the light and the burning sunshine of the light that will never go out.
He added: Our day of fighting is about to close. Our day of everlasting rejoicing is about to begin.
I rejoice in the simplicity of the gospel. I rejoice in the sweetness of the cross .I rejoice in the glory of being Christs for ever
God make us faithful unto death and give us the crown of life.
At another juncture in the 90-minute service, Dr Paisley told his congregation: Were all hastening on. Were all coming nearer to deaths day. Were all coming nearer to eternitys day. Were all coming near to the parting of the roads forever.
Which way will the road part for you?
Yesterday morning Dr Paisley preached about the Apostle Paul, whose epistle to the Romans formed the basis for a commentary which the then DUP leader and Free Presbyterian moderator wrote while serving a three month prison sentence for unlawful assembly in 1966.
He said that the anointing of the holy ghost made the Apostle Paul untameable and said that the apostle had burned with living fire, though adding that Paul had his times of desolation.
He added: May god this day send such burnings into our own souls as believers...I stand here today entirely a debtor to God the Father for his love, to God the Son for salvations blood and to God the Holy Spirit for the assurance of peace like a river thats flooding my soul.
Dr Paisley punctuated his sermon with frequent quotes from old Christian hymns.
Praying at the end of his sermon, the former politician said: We thank thee for every time that we have had at this pulpit to preach.
Forbid that any man should come here with another gospel. Forbid oh Lord that any man should come here preaching another Christ who is not a Christ
May this pulpit ever have old fashioned gospel preaching. May men be raised up to stand here to preach no other gospel but Jesus Christ but him crucified.
At the end of the service Dr Paisley and Baroness Paisley shook hands with the congregation in front of the pulpit.
In an interview with the News Letter last month, Lord Bannside said he needed a rest after being minister at his church for 65 years, since he was aged 20 in 1946.
With family commitments from five grown-up children, who have produced ten grandchildren and two great grandchildren, Lord Bannside said: We are nearly more busy than we ever were.
Baroness Paisley said that many men retired at 65, and he had worked on two decades past that age.