Summary: funeral sermon
"And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive."
Dear Christian friends of Ervin Bushian,
The death of a loved can be a confusing time for us. We are saddened by the loss. The loss of someone we love. We miss their voice, their mannerisms, and their expressions of love for us. The death of a loved one can be a very heart breaking and a sad time.
It is at times like these when we start to notice our own mortality. When we are reminded that there will come a time when we will also die.
But death can also be a joyous occasion. For as children of God, when we pass through this veil of tears we will enter into eternity with our Savior, we know this because God tells us that “All Who Fall Asleep in Christ Will Be Made Alive.”
What is death? The dictionary defines death as the end of life, the end of biological functions.
Doctors define death in 2 terms – the ceasing of brain activity and the ceasing of vital organ activity.
As you read through the Bible it is interesting to note that God also gives 2 definitions of death.
For the unbelieving person in this world death is said to be eternal death in the torments of hell. Forever separated from God’s love and mercy.
For the vast majority of people, an occasion such as this is a very sad one. It is sad for them because they have no hope. To them death only means defeat.
Biological life comes to an end and after that its over. They view death as the final end. For them death and the funeral service that follows are indeed very sad occasions.
But for the believer who dies in the Lord – they just merely fall asleep because Jesus Christ has defeated death for us and when they awake they are in heaven. For the believing child of God death is not the end but a new beginning.
Ever since man fell into sin, death has reigned in this world. The Bible reminds us Rom. 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.”
If man had not fallen into sin, if we were not sinners, a funeral such as this one would be unnecessary, because no one would die. We would all live forever.
But we know this not to be the case because we have the result of sin is before us this morning and God’s word tells us “as in Adam all die.”
God however, does not want to leave us in despair.
He wants us to know that our sin separates us from him.
He wants us to know as he tells us in the book of Romans, “The wages of sin is death,” but he does not end it there.
Yes God tells us “the wages of sin is death,” but he also finishes the sentence with “the gift of God is eternal life.”
Yes God tells us “in Adam all die,” but God finishes the sentence with “in Christ all will be made alive.”
This is the promise we have from God. Physical functions may cease and life as we know it in this world may come to and end, but death is not the end for those who have faith in Christ.
God’s children shall not die but shall live forever. Jesus tells us: “Because I live, you also shall live.”
Jesus tells us “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
We might ask ourselves, "How can we be sure that Ervin is in heaven?"
Well, Ervin didn’t earn his way into heaven by committing good deeds and giving to charities.
He is walking beside his Savior not because he belonged to this church for his entire lifetime.
Ervin is in heaven not because he was a perfect person.
He was a sinner just like you and me. But he was also a forgiven sinner.
Through Word and Sacrament he was assured that his sins were all forgiven for Jesus’ sake.
Through Word and Sacrament Ervin came to know why death is in this world. He knew that all mankind is sinful from birth and our sinfulness separates us from God. But he also knew what God has done to remove our sin.