Summary: A eulogy for a woman who died, who had several physical challenges, but was raised in the church and knew the Lord. The sermon can be easily adapted to fit any person who dies in Christ.
Text: 1 Corinthians 15:51-58
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Subject: “Every Shut Eye Ain’t Sleep... Every Goodbye Ain’t Gone”
My sisters and brothers... the title of this sermon is borrowed from the rich colloquial legacy of the African American experience. It’s one of those hidden message phrases that has been passed down from one generation to another in the black community. For the most part, black folk don’t talk like that anymore, but I’m reminded of a time when there was great wisdom to be gleaned from phrases used by “Big Momma” and them.
— When someone wanted something but had no money to buy it, they used to say:
“Charge it to the dust and let the rain settle it."
— If someone did you wrong, you didn’t waste your time trying to get even, for they told us: "What goes around, comes around."
— They told us to be friendly to everybody by saying, “Shake every hand you meet, because you never know who you may have to beg for a piece of bread one day.”
— If a man or a woman talked too much, they said: "They got tongue enough for 10 rows of teeth."
— They taught us that appearances can be deceptive by saying: "Just because a chicken has wings don’t mean it can fly.”
— If we had plans for the next day and were serious about getting them accomplished, they taught us to say: “I’ll do it tomorrow if the Lord is willing and the creek don’t rise.”
... And of course, the one that I’ve borrowed for the title of this sermon: “Every shut eye ain’t sleep, and every goodbye ain’t gone,” which meant that one must look beneath the surface of situations if you really want to understand life, or understand people.
Well... the Apostle Paul, here in 1st Corinithians 15, speaks in a kind of spiritual colloquialism when he says: “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
— And let me suggest to this family that if you look beneath the surface of ___________________ ’s passing you’ll find great comfort in this scripture from three areas. I have 3-points I want to give you, then I’ll take my seat.
Point #1: in this text, THERE IS ENLIGHTENMENT IN THIS WORD.
Paul, here, is describing the difference between these mortal bodies and a resurrected body that the saints in heaven wear. What Paul is really saying is that... we can’t go to heaven like we are right now!
He’s reminding us that these earthly bodies of ours are defiled by sin and cannot enter Heaven. These bodies are mortal and are not designed to exist for eternity in that Heavenly realm. And so, if we’re going to go there, these bodies must be changed!
I didn’t read it, but in verses 35-49 we’re told that the saints can expect to inherit a new body in the resurrection. In other words, when they die in Jesus, they’ll be raised from the dead in a body like His.
Now I don’t know how the Lord will do it. I don’t know how He’ll take these old bodies which are filled with both physical disease and spiritual disease and transform them into perfect heavenly bodies. I don’t know how He’ll do it, and neither did Paul. That’s why he says, “Behold, I show you a mystery.”
They word “mystery” refers to “the hidden things of God.” Church... it’s a mystery, but one thing about it is... when we get to heaven, it will all be revealed. But now... in order to get to heaven, we have to die!