Summary: A funeral message for a Korean War Veteran.
Dr. Gerald W. Nash Jr., D.Min.
Foothills Baptist Church
Faith, Freedom, and Fellowship
Hebrews 9:27, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:"
If the Lord tarries His coming, we will all face the reality of a physical death. David told Jonathan that there was just “a step between him and death.” Each time I officiate or preach a funeral I know that you and I are a step closer ourselves.
Our service today is not to ponder on death but to talk about and celebrate a life that has been lived.
Paul Speake was a man of “faith.” He was a man who fought in the Korean War for the freedom of others. He was also a man who understood that fellowship with his comrades was important. This is what I want to speak to you about for
just a few moments.
The Faith He Professed
When I visited with Paul in the hospital, I asked him about his relationship with the Lord. He told me he had faith. As a matter of fact, he said that my faith was the same as his faith. His estimony was that each day he prayed for his dear wife and his children. Professing faith is important.
Faith is Essential for Salvation
Ephesians 2:8 says, "...For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: "
Faith is Essential for Sanctification
The Lord called the Apostle Paul to be a missionary to the Gentiles. They would be sanctified by faith in Christ.
Acts 26:18, "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto
God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."
Faith is Essential for Service
Romans 12:6, "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy,
let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;"
The Freedom He Fought For.
Paul was a Korean War Veteran. He fought so that others could have the same freedom that he had. He loved his country and he fought in a foreign land so that the people of that foreign land could have the freedom that we have here. Listen to this poem:
I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze
A young Marine saluted it, and then
He stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He’d stand out in any crowd.
I thought, how many men like him
Had fallen through the years?
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers’ tears?
How many Pilots’ planes shot down?
How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?
No, Freedom is not free.
I heard the sound of taps one night,
When everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That taps had meant "Amen"
When a flag had draped a coffin
of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
at the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, Freedom isn’t free!!
The Apostle Paul was speaking to those who arrested him. He basically asked them did they treat all Roman citizens as bad as they were treating him. Listen to their dialogue.
Acts 22:28, "And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But
I was free born."
We are fortunate to be born in a country where he have freedom. Many others are not as fortunate. Brave people like Paul Speake fought for their freedom.
The Fellowship He Treasured
This past May, Paul was able to meet the man who pulled him off the front line when he was shot. What an emotional charge moment that must have been. There was a comradery among these veterans. They share a kindred spirit that you and I may not understand. Their fellowship reminds me of the fellowship we are to have with God.
1 John 1:3, "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with
us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."
Let us remember the life that Paul lived. He professed a faith in God. He fought for the freedom of others. He treasured the fellowship with those whom he served with in the Korean War. All three of these areas has provided some precious memories. Right now your heart hurts because Paul is not here with us. However, time will turn our thought from
sorrow to precious memories.