Summary: A Funeral message
A funeral service
Corinthians 5:1-4 "For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life"
Some of us enjoy camping with a tent. A tent provides mobility to go to areas where regular transportation can not go. But tents do not provide the comforts of home. Sleeping in a sleeping bag will never be as comfortable as sleeping in your own bed. As a tent is moved from place to place, season after season it becomes worn and ragged.
Paul says the same is true of our earthly bodies. We travel through life apart from the comfort of our heavenly home and all its comforts. We grow weary at times. We groan through problems and illnesses. We sigh through sadness and sorrows. When traveling we desire to fold up our tent and head home.
But the cost of going to our heavenly home is death.
Today I want to ponder three aspects of death.
1) Death is a promise.
The promise of death was given at the very beginning of man’s journey in the Garden of Eden.
"The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”
Death was not God’s plan for us. Man was given a choice to obey one simple command or to receive the promise of death. Man made a choice that has impacted us all even until today. It was a choice that even affected Jesus at the death of Lazarus.
"When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled."
Jesus became angry over the circumstances. He became angry over the corruption of his creation due to the effects of sin.
John 11:35 "Then Jesus wept". He felt their sorrow. Even though He knew that soon Lazarus would be raised from the grave, He felt their sense of lost.
He weeps with you today. He feels your sorrow. And He is angry with you today. But his anger is not directed at God but at the enemy that has robbed you of your loved one today. And that enemy is death.
Death is not a messenger of God. He is an enemy of God created to fulfill the promise made in the Garden. And one day death will meet his demise.
"Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death."
2) Death is a necessity
1 Corinthians 15:53-55 "For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.
Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
For us to escape this earthly tent we must be transformed through death into an immortal body. As death approaches with his cold grasp to remove us to the grave he must repel back. Because we are a follower of Jesus he does not see a victim but rather a victor. We are not dead but rather alive in Christ. Death has lost his sting. His victory over us has been replaced with our victory over him.
3) Death is a bridge.
Ecclesiastes 8:8 "None of us can hold back our spirit from departing. None of us has the power to prevent the day of our death. There is no escaping that obligation, that dark battle. And in the face of death, wickedness will certainly not rescue the wicked."
We all face the day of our death. Barring the return of Jesus we will all die. We don’t know when. Death respects no one due to age, wealth, or social status. We will all cross that bridge that will take us from this life to our eternal destination. It is a narrow bridge that will allow one person to cross. No one can go with us. We can’t carry any possessions including our tent. And our destination will be the judgment seat.