Summary: Funeral for a faithful believer and good friend.
Bro. Fritz Funeral
Now I realize that the interpretation of this passage deals with those coming out of the Tribulation. However, when I read this verse couldn’t help but think that it fit perfectly for Bro. Fritz and his situation.
I. Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.
1) Blessed means to be happy---Our happiness is affected a great deal by our circumstances. Bro. Fritz had reason to be unhappy with his circumstances many times. Although he was surrounded by the people and animals he loved, his days upon this earth were wearisome. ALL THAT HAS CHANGED.
2) 18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18
3) This is only true for those that die IN THE LORD. In the Lord means that a person has trusted Christ as their personal savior. 77 times the term IN CHRIST is used in the new testament.
I believe I can honestly say that Bro. Fritz was IN CHRIST and CHRIST WAS IN HIM.
TESTIMONY OF SALVATION:
II. That they may rest from their labors
1) Heb 4:3-5 The “Sabbath Rest” as it is called in Scripture is a perfect rest. A rest that is eternal. It is a state of completion.
2) “Labors” in this verse means “sorrow, weariness—Literally “a beating on the chest because of sorrow and weariness.”
3) Bro Fritz’s last few months were filled with this emotion. Over six weeks ago he told me he wanted the Lord to take him home. That is not being suicidal. That is being homesick.
III. And their works do follow them.
1) Here is what being homesick is about. 6For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. II Tim 4:5
2) Sis. Annabelle told me that he married her when she was 16. Her parents wanted her to finish school. She did. Bro. Fritz encouraged and even pushed her to finish when she would get down. He did a good work as a dad and husband.
3) Bro. Fritz loved the Lord and His house. Every time I would visit him he would say “I wish I could be in church.” Just before this last hospital visit, Bro. Fritz was in church two Sundays in a row for the first time in a long time. Bro. Fritz did a good work in service to the Lord.
4) Bro. Fritz was a man that understood the scriptural admonition that if we want to have friends we must be friendly to others. He and Mrs. Annabelle have gone out of their way to make my wife and I feel accepted and at home in Potosi. He has done the good work of being a friend. Mrs. Dora Jenkins was a great friend of Bro. Fritz and Mrs. Annabelle. She too went to be with the Lord this week. Mrs. Annabelle said she could just see Mrs. Dora tapping Fritzie on the arm and saying “Ha, I beat you here by just a little bit.”
5) But his greatest accomplishment in life was not an accomplishment of his deeds at all. His greatest accomplishment was simply receiving Christ as his savior. Because that moment, he made sure his eternal home.
Many of you know of Tony Campolo, one of the most entertaining and thought-provoking speakers in America today. Many of you know about his love for his home church, Mount Carmel Baptist Church in West Philadelphia, which happens to be a predominantly black church. Tony Campolo tells about the first funeral he attended at Mount Carmel when he was twenty years old.
Clarence, a college friend of his, had been killed in a subway-train accident. At the beginning of the service, says Tony Campolo, the pastor brilliantly expounded upon what the Bible says about the promise of the resurrection and the joys of being with Christ. Then he came down from the platform and went over to the right side of the sanctuary, where the family of Tony’s dead friend was seated in the first three rows. There, he spoke special words of comfort for them.
Then the pastor did a most unusual thing. He went over to the open casket and spoke as though to the corpse. He said, "Clarence! Clarence! There were a lot of things we should have said to you when you were alive that we never got around to saying to you. And I want to say them now."