Summary: This is a very simple sermon written specifically for a lady in our church who passed away. But the message is a salvation message. I hope you may be able to use it to help you in writing a personal message about someone in your church.
From the moment I walked through the door of Warrenton Wesleyan Church 16 months ago I knew there was something special about Flora. I will admit that I pride myself in trying to learn and remember names, but for some reason, and I have never admitted this, I have the hardest time remembering older people’s names, especially elderly women. Because I confessed that doesn’t mean you are free to test me later. I shared this concern with another Pastor and he said, “it’s because after a certain time they all start to look alike.”
It was easy to laugh at his answer but the more I have thought about it the more I think it’s true. But it doesn’t become true when we are old. It is always true when we don’t know Christ as our Lord and Savior. When we live like the world. When we follow the ways of the world when we conform to the patterns of this world then we will all begin to look a like. Even people who claim to be Christians can become nothing more than a shell of what God intended for them to be. In reality there are a lot fewer people in this world who truly love the Lord with everything in them.
That is why I said a minute ago that as soon as I walked through the doors of Warrenton Wesleyan Church 16 months ago I knew there was something different about Flora Rutledge. The first time I met her she came right up to me and gave me a hug. Every Sunday morning I always looked for Flora. She was the sweetest lady who was always encouraging even if the sermon really wasn’t that good, she would say it was. She always told me about her family. How she loved them and was proud of them and always asked me to pray for them.
And we did. I want you to know, and I am sure you do, that your mother and grandmother was praying for you daily. Almost every Sunday when she came to the alter for prayer and I went over to pray with her, not once did she seek prayer for herself, she always wanted to pray for her children or grandchildren or people in the church. She was different because she wasn’t just a shell of what God wanted her to be she was what God intended her to be. She lived her life full of love, full of service, full of sacrifice. She was an example to all of us. Her name was easy to remember because even though she was soft spoken and quiet she stood out in a crowd to me. Her love for God made her infectious to be around.
And I know that if she were here with us now she would not want me to just talk about her, but she would want me to share with all of you what was truly on her heart. I want to read to you today from Romans 6:20-23.
20In those days, when you were slaves of sin, you weren’t concerned with doing what was right. 21And what was the result? It was not good, since now you are ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. 22But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
This passage of scripture was Flora’s favorite passage and it was chosen by her to be read on the day of her funeral service. This scripture, planned for today, is the perfect example of describing Flora Rutledge. A woman who even when preparing for her own funeral was thinking of other people. Even though she has passed on from this life to a new one. Even though she is rejoicing with Christ in Heaven this very minute she is thinking of you because she chose this verse to be read to you on this day.
This scripture is significant because it is a very famous scripture. If you have ever learned the ABC’s of salvation or the Roman’s Road to salvation then you know that Romans 6:23 is usually the first scripture that is used. It is the first step in understanding and beginning your new life in Christ. The last verse of this passage reads, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.”
All of us are sinners. We are born into the world as sinners. This passage even says we are all slaves to sin. Before we know Christ we are slaves. Our freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms, freedom to marry whom we choose, freedom of religion, our freedom’s written on a piece of paper 200 years ago are all man’s laws. They are laws that are only good while we are in our physical bodies. God’s laws and God’s word always transcend man’s laws. God’s laws and His word are eternal. And no matter who we think we are or what we choose to believe God’s word says we are all sinners. We have all failed Him. And we are all condemned to an eternal punishment.