Summary: Funeral Sermon of one who has died in the Lord
ROMANS 3:22b-24 "There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."
Alice Has Been Given A Glorious Resting Place.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
With those words, we end Alice’s time on this earth the same way they began. She was baptized into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. God redeemed her and made her an heir of eternal life. For over 91 years, the Lord has been with Alice; and his promises to her never fell short. Not even once. That is why we take comfort even at a time as sad and solemn as today. For we know that, thanks to Jesus Christ, Alice has been given a glorious resting place. She has been given eternal glory even though her life was not glorious.
I have only known Alice for about two years. In that time, we spoke on the phone regarding the baptismal napkins that she made for us to give to the newly baptized, we chatted on the phone so that I could get to know her. Alice would speak of her ailments. She knew that her body was winding down. But she was always eager to confess her faith in Jesus and tell me how in times of trial she would turn to the Word of the Lord. Why? Because she found her greatest comforts in God’s promises.
One of the promises of God that were of great comfort is in the sermon text for today. "There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." Part of that reading is not good news. It reminds us that we are sinful. We have not measured up to what God demands, which is a perfect life. God fully expects us to love him above all people and all things, and to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. He also says that he will condemn anyone who falls short. You and I have. Alice did too. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Alice’s life was not glorious. She knew that herself. She confessed that to me. We dare not think Alice is in heaven because she earned it. Alice earned the same thing you and I deserve--God’s punishment and eternity in hell.
But that is not what Alice has been given. No, Alice has been given a glorious resting place. Her life was not glorious; however, Jesus made her glorious. Thanks to everything Jesus did for her, we know that she is not spending her eternity in torment, but in joy.
Alice knew that when the God of all grace called her out of this world she would be exactly where she is. She spent a portion of her life here in this church teaching children in Sunday school & VBS all about what her Savior had done. She taught God’s promises and knew the importance of the word of God which tells us that adults and children are born sinful and in need of salvation. Again, "There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."
Alice knew about the covenant which God made with her at her baptism. God justified her of every sin she ever committed. That does not mean God ignores sin. No, he sent his Son to redeem us from our sins. Jesus Christ lived a perfect life, obeying all of God’s law. He did measure up to the glory of God, and he did it in our place. Alice received the full benefit of Jesus holiness when she was baptized into his name. The Bible reminds us that "All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." (Galatians 3:27) God no longer sees Alice’s short comings. He sees holiness. That is why Alice has been given a glorious resting place. Jesus made her glorious. As far as Alice’s sins go, Jesus has taken care of them too. God will not let anything that is sinful enter heaven. That is why heaven is perfect. So Jesus took Alice’s sins away. He took them upon himself and paid for them with his death on the cross. The Bible teaches us, "The Lord has laid on him the (sins) of us all. By his wounds we are healed." (Isaiah 53:6,5) Since Jesus has taken Alice’s sins away, she has been justified before God. That is to say, when she stands before the Lord to be judged for her life to enter eternal life, the Lord will look at Alice and will declare, "Not guilty. Enter the mansions of heaven." Alice has been given a glorious resting place because Jesus made her glorious.