Summary: This is for the funereal of a Christian and offers hope to the family
Note: (I just want to make a couple of suggestions for anyone who preaches a funeral. Remeber it is about offering comfort to the family. They have been up a lot and are very tired. They will not remember much of what is said, so my suggestion is keep it short. I have seen family memebers actually fall asleep because a minister preached a long message. Remeber your responsibility is to the family, so take care of them.)
There are many changes that come into our lives and none more dramatic than the loss of a loved one. Death leaves many questions and uncertainty in our minds. We don't understand why this had to happen. In Thess. 4:13-18 Uses some unusuat language when it speaks about death. The writer speaks of Hope and Comfort. To the lost person this sounds strange and very unusual, but to the Christian it should excite us.We read these words in this text
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Notice verse 13 The writer writes "I would not have you to be ignorant". This implies that would should understand death. We have plenty of scripture to help us understand death. First Heb. 9:27 says "and as it is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment". We need to understand death will claim us all. There is a time that each one of us will take this same journey and pass from life unto death. For the Christian this is different than the lost person. The later part of verse 13 says "That you sorrow not, even as others who have no hope". This is where I would like to really begin.
Hope is never strange to the Christian. We find hope when there seems to be no hope. Faith in God always gives us that hope.Having been assured that the person had asked Jesus to come into their heart and God had forgiven their sins I can honestly say that they had hope. First they trusted that God had forgiven them of their sins. They asked and believed that God would do it. Secondly they had hope in the promise of John 14. Let not your hearts be troubled, you believe in God believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you. I go and prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you then I will come again and receive you unto My self that where I am ye may be also. They trusted and believed that God had a place for them. It is the hope of every Christian to one day be with God in a beautiful place called heaven. They had that hope and now it has been realized. They also had hope in the ressurection. The writer tells us that the dead in Christ will come back with Him. What a wonderful thought that they are gathered around the throne of God awaiting the day they will return with Him.
To the family I want to also assure you that we have hope. As we continue to read this text we find the writer tells us we have in seeing them again. The later part of this text tells us that we will all join them in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord. We have hope, a blessed hope, that we will see them again. We can't help but feel the loss when we lose a loved one, but if they have placed their trust in God we will see them again, and this time their will be no parting. There is hope even in death. That is why the writer tells us to comfort one another with these words. It doesn't make the pain go away, but we can trust that it is not the end.