Summary: A funeral message for a young beliver, with an invitation for salvation.
Father, Your Word teaches us to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Today as we come together as friends and family to weep and to grieve our loss, today is also a day to rejoice knowing that through Christ, Alonzo has gone to be with You. We ask O Lord that You fill this house with the fragrance of faith, and Your Holy Spirit abide with us today providing peace and comfort beyond our realm of understanding to all those who mourn. We commit this time to You. Have Your way in this place. We ask in the lovely name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, Amen.
Family and friends, thank you for coming today. As we find ourselves sitting here this afternoon reflecting on Alonzo’s life, our minds may race with a wide range of thoughts. Perhaps of how he touched your life, or something he said to you, or just remembering his laughter. I myself can’t help but think of the first time I ever met Alonzo. Sadly enough it was over two years ago in this very room, in a setting very similar to this that I shook Alonzo’s hand for the first time. As friends and family, perhaps many of you who are here today were gathered to remember the life of Nikki, I can’t help but recall the amazing strength that Alonzo and Terri demonstrated during such a difficult time.
No doubt Alonzo was a man of amazing strength and character. But no matter how strong one may be, no one cannot escape the inevitable. You see, should the Lord tarry, we too will face death. Walking through the cemetery you will notice gravestones etched with two dates, one representing birth the other, burial. Those dates may be very close together, while others maybe very far apart. Then of course there are those who fall in between. Death is not a respecter of persons.
It is in times like these that we are prone to ask, “Why God?” “Why do bad things happen to good people?” The fact is, I don’t know. Many scholars and theologians may speculate, but they really don’t have any answers. All I do know for sure is that God has a sovereign will, and “all things work together for good to them that love God, who are called according to His purpose.” With that being said, I would like for us to look to God’s Word to provide solace to us today.
Read John 11:1-44
I would like for us to draw some applications from God’s Word. For you see, this service isn’t for Alonzo’s benefit; it’s for those of us who remain.
• Blaming God – Many of you here today may identify with Martha. Realizing that Christ is all-powerful, but still in her grief she blamed Him for the death of her brother. “If YOU would have been here”. There is a part of us that may want to cry out, “Why God?” Death is as much apart of life as birth. Notice though, that Christ doesn’t not criticize them for their statements. He too, grieves with them during their time of loss. It is not a sign of weakness to grieve. It is a natural course of emotions that all of us who feel this loss must endure. But in the midst of grieving there’s hope in knowing that all things occur for a purpose.
• Remember, there is always a purpose –Lazarus’ death was not an accident, it was for a purpose. Remember Jesus intentionally delayed his visit to Bethany so that God would be glorified. As a result of Lazarus’ death, many believed in Christ as a result of Lazarus’ resurrection. Those around the tomb didn’t understand it at the time, but it was for a reason.
We know that Alonzo touched people’s lives. His life and death was ordained by God before the beginning of time to touch the lives of those around him. But it doesn’t stop here. Revelation 14:13 says, ’Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ““Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them." In other words, Alonzo is free from his toil and his suffering, but his God ordained purpose followed him into the portals of Heaven, and is being fulfilled in this place today.
• Lazarus’ death served a purpose to those present at the tomb, and to us today – Lazarus’ death symbolizes the death we all shall face because of the sin of Adam. His resurrection symbolizes the eternal life and victory over the power of death we have through Christ.
When Lazarus came walking out, he was bound by the grave clothes. Jesus commanded that those be removed, symbolizing that we through Christ cannot be bound by death because He Himself defeated death, hell and the grave.