Summary: Funeral Service for a Christian woman based upon the hymn, "Beautiful Savior".
Funeral Message Nov. 1, 2012 “Beautiful Savior” I John 4:7-17
A reading from I John 4:7-17:
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit, and we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this. We may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as He is, so are we in this world." —May the Lord add His blessing to this reading of His Holy Word.
Many people think that in order to be saved we must have all the right beliefs, all the right theology, and all the right interpretations of Scripture. I don't think this is right at all. We do not need to correctly understand complex doctrines and such in order to love. And, really, all that is essential is that we love God with all our heart and strength and that we love our neighbor as our self. As the Apostle to the Gentiles put it, “though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
That being said, I'm not going to try to give a profound or learned message. On the contrary, I would simply suggest that we celebrate today the love of Jesus and emulate His service.
There is an old hymn that goes like this:
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
We have heard how Dorothy spent hours quilting, sewing and knitting for others. This act of giving was, I believe, an expression of love. Just imagine for a moment if you will the many prayers offered by Dorothy for you and others as she spent time knitting mittens, and sewing her quilts and blankets. It fills my heart with warmth just thinking of those things. And in my heart I know that in those moments Dorothy was close to the Lord and to his heart. I think that Dorothy's professional work as a Nurse Anesthetist was also a labor of love. And her generous support for the youth fellowship here in this church, again, an expression of love.
Jesus was the source of the love that motivated Dorothy to a life of service. It was love dwelling within that enabled her to live a live of service to others, a life that glorified God. Now some people may discount love, thinking that correct doctrine is a more important expression of what it means to be a Christian. But what was the doctrine taught by our Lord if not that we should love and serve one another, and give thanks to and love God for the life that He has given us?
Such love is a sufficient affirmation of faith for in I John 4:8 we read, “God is love”. Jesus did not give us great and detailed confessions of faith, nor did he demand correct doctrine. Instead he commanded love and modeled it for us. In the case of Jesus, that love was perfect. And there is nothing more beautiful to behold than pure and unqualified love.Such a beautiful Savior! How could we not love such a Lord! How could we not serve such a Lord! How could we not rejoice in such a Lord!
There is a great hymn that I would like to comment upon this morning. It is the hymn “Beautiful Savior”, also known as “Fairest Lord Jesus”. What do the words of this hymn have to say to us today? A great deal, if I am not mistaken. This hymn speaks to us of the special comfort and joy that endures throughout all hardship. The source of this comfort and joy is our Beautiful Savior. There is nothing more enduring than love. And the Lord's love toward us is perfect. Such love inspires a reciprocal love in our hearts. It is the foundation of our being. Let us look now at these words and take renewed comfort in them.