Funeral Sermon for Mature Christian
Text: John 14:1-6
Title: Heaven Bound!
As I began to consider what to say on such an occasion as this, I thought how great of a privilege it would have been to be a door keeper in the celestial city, when _________ entered there this past TUESDAY morning. As the doors swung open, an announcement would ring out through heaven: “My heavenly Father, I present to you, your humble and faithful servant, _________!” With her eyes wide open, Mae probably grinned and shouted, “I finally made it!”
Of her we may say: “The silver cord is loosened, the golden bowl is broken, the body has returned to the Earth as it was, and the spirit has returned to God who gave it. A tall cedar of Lebanon has fallen. A servant has ceased from her work to enjoy peace and rest and to receive her reward. A Christian soldier for Christ has been given an honorable discharge, and now goes to wear the victor’s crown.”
I have been asked to come to speak to all of you to tell you several things, but take note of this, SORROW folks, is not one of those things. You see __________ made it abundantly clear that she wanted her life and death to be a celebration. While some of you here today feel that her death is an occasion of sorrow, by virtue of the life she led, it CAN and SHOULD be an occasion of happiness, celebration, and hope. The Apostle Paul says, “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” And “while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,” Ladies and gentlemen, our loving _________ died with this hope. Let me start off by saying…
I. SHE WAS A CHRISTIAN WOMAN WHOS HEART WAS AT PEACE! John 14:1 says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
Her heart was at peace because she abided in God’s word. She didn’t run to scripture when life got hard, NO, she was able to handle the troubled times because she was always in God’s word. She had such a deep respect and admiration for God’s word that she would never dream of adding to it or taking away from it. She knew it was the authority in her life and it was the way to life. As any of you who have studied the love letters you received from those you adore, without missing a word, so ___________ clung to every word from her God. She referred to the Bible as God’s personal love letter to her. A letter of reconciliation. And because of this love she has for God’s word, she begs us, from beyond the grave, to never be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ because she recognized that the gospel is the power unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). She knew the gospel contained:
FACTS to be believed ---COMMANDS to be obeyed---WARNINGS to be heeded---PROMISES to be enjoyed. She knew that, “to live is Christ and to die is gain”. She knew, that Jesus was not “a way, a truth, a life” but instead she took comfort in knowing that Jesus is, “the way, the truth, the life” as it says in V. 6, and that no one folks, goes to the Father except through Him”) you see…
II. HER HEART WAS AT PEACE BECAUSE SHE TRUSTED IN THE LORD. Verse 1 says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled” and, “trust in God, trust also in me”.
This wonderful example of a heart at peace by _________, came from meditating on passages such as Psalm 23. Psalm 23 says, “1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
_________ understood that God leads on paths of righteousness, not because He is trying to protect His name, but because it lines up with His character. God leads on no other path than that of righteousness. But notice that His paths of righteousness lead right through the “valley of shadow of death”. She knew that going through the valley of shadow of death led to greener pastures and quiet waters. Continuing on in the passage we read…
“5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.” This gives the picture of God not just filling our cup half way, or even to the brim, but so much that it overflows from us. Verse 6 says, “6 Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me (pursue me) all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
We should not think of death as the end, but rather the beginning…the beginning of abundant life. We might be tempted to think of losing, when it should be gaining. Death is not closing the door; it is the opening of the gate to eternity. Death is not paying a debt…it is taking a note to the bank and obtaining gold in exchange. While we might mourn _____________ passing…we should rejoice in her promotion. The Bible says it so beautifully in Revelation 7:16-17, “16 They will never again be hungry or thirsty; they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun. 17 For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” Not only was _____________ at peace but….
III. SHE WAS ALSO PREPARED TO GO TO HER TRUE HOME. John 14:2-3 says, “In my father’s house there are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am”
You see ____________ was always reminding others that this was not her home and that she was just passing through and something greater was waiting for her. She was comforted by the Apostle Paul words in 2 Timothy 4:6-8“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” The word for departed was used to illustrate a ship being prepared to go from one country to another. __________ was ready to set sail into eternity. I personally picture it happening like this….
TUESDAY morning, in God’s throne room, the announcement rang out in heaven….that __________ was coming home. Trumpets sounded and activity quickened as the BOOMING voice of our Father signaled to His son Jesus and an entourage of angels, to bring ____________ home. The golden chariot left heaven with shouts of joy and the chorus of hallelujahs. In the twinkling of an eye, that chariot pulled to the bedside of _____________. And then Jesus spoke, no one else in the room could hear, but _______________ could. Her spiritual body rose and she sat up and heard his voice, eyes wide open along with her jaw, with maybe a tear of joy in her eye. Jesus said, “It is time for you to come home”….quickly….she stepped into the golden chariot and said, “Thank you for coming to get me”. Then there was a pause….she asked, “Who will take care of my family?” With assurance, Jesus smiled and said, “You know that just as I have taken care of you, I will also take care of them”.
I can only imagine that ____________ suddenly noticed that she was not old anymore, she needed no glasses, she stood tall and felt no pain because her cancer had been banished, and heavenly strength surged through her body. Her mind crystal clear and she enjoyed the health and strength of her youth (PROBABLY DID SOME CARTWHEELS). With the click of the reigns the chariot left the room and ___________ departed to a realm of glory. I imagine that the azure sky greeted ____________ eyes….the soft warm wind blew in her face….and then she saw the celestial city for the first time. Streets of gold and walls of Jasper and gates of pearl. It was awesome beyond description just like the Apostle Paul said it would be when he said in 1 Cor 2:9 “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him”. They touched down and ___________ saw friends and family that had gone on before her. Then just when she thought it couldn’t get any better….Jesus, shining bright in His glory, turns to her and gives her a warm embrace while saying, “welcome home MY CHILD”.
There now in heaven, I tell you that _____________is as healthy as she will ever be, never needing to take another pill or see another doctor. She is also as happier that she has ever been because she has DEPARTED from this world and entered her true home, free of pain and sickness. She is in the loving arms of her God!
Let me end by saying this….There is only one thing __________ wanted from this world…not riches, not fame, not power. It was for all of you here today. Her desire was to see all of you again one day, to join her in her new home, to be in the blissful state that she is currently in right now, in the presence of our benevolent God. The only way that can happen is by having what _________ has, a rekindled relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Let me say it like _______ wanted me too: very simple and to the point!
God created mankind---Mankind sinned against God by living as if he knows better that God, thus putting a wall between them and severing their relationship---Jesus then does the unthinkable, He leaves His glory in heaven that ____________ now shares in…steps into time, wraps Himself in flesh, goes through all the temptations we go through so no one can say, “you don’t know what it is like”. He allows His creation to hit Him, spit on Him, rip the flesh from His body, and torture Him by nailing Him to the cross only to say, “ Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
You see what __________ knew, and dedicated her life to get all of you to know, is that God has went out of His way to woo you back into His presence. God and ____________ wants you in heaven with them for all eternity, so what do you want?
(Some credit goes to Dr. John Gibson for helping me with this first funeral sermon)