Summary: This sermon serves to comfort the bereaved family and encourages them to move on with life when the period of mourning is over.
FUNERAL MEDITATION: LESSONS FROM THE DEATH OF SARAH
This message was delivered on 15th December 2001 at the funeral of Madam Hoe Goay Ee (Aunty Lim)
Date of Birth: 27 July 1923
Date Departed: 14 December 2001
Text: Genesis 23:1-4.
I. WE NEED TO MOURN FOR THE DEAD.
Abraham mourned when Sarah died.
2 She died at Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep over her. NIV
Mary mourned for Lazarus – John 11:31
Jesus pronounced a blessing on those who mourn.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. NIV
The followers of Jesus are asked to share in the feelings of those who mourn.
5Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. NIV
What is the meaning of mourning? - To grieve, a painful feeling
When do we mourn?
We mourn when a loved one is taken away from us
15 Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. NIV
It’s OK to cry, to be sad when a loved one is taken away. Naturally, we are sad. We can no longer visit that person; or to hear their voice or to receive thier wise counsel. But as believers, we believe in the Word of God, the Bible that tells us that as a believer who has given her life to Jesus, Aunty Lim has passed on from this life to be in the presence of Jesus. She has not gone to purgatory or some other place where there is uncertainty.
2 Cor 5:8-9
8We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. NIV
At this very moment, Aunty Lim is in the presence of Jesus, just like her beloved and departed husband. They are now together in heaven. Today, she is smiling at us. If we were to ask her whether she would like to come back, she will say no. She is very happy where she is now, with the Lord Jesus and with all the saints who have finished their race here on earth.
So the mourning of the followers of Jesus is mourning for one who has left temporarily. It is not a mourning of sadness as if we will never see her again. The Bible says that when we put our trust in Jesus, we shall meet again on that beautiful shore. Those who put their trust in the Lord Jesus will be together with Him.
Of course we are sad. Saying goodbye is always a sad thing. But remember, this need not be goodbye as if we will never meet again.
How do we know that Aunty Lim is with the Lord Jesus? Well this is what the Bible says. How do we know that the Bible is true? Many people throughout history have tried to discredit the Bible. Well the Bible has outlived all of them. It has outlived the Soviet Union which tried to destroy the Bible. It has outlived the Roman Empire which tried to kill off all the followers of Jesus. The Bible is a prophetic book and 1/3 of all its content was predictive. All the events of world history have only confirmed the reliability of the Bible. Incidentally, the Guinness Book of World Records lists the Bible as the World’s All time BestSeller.
We can place our trust in the Bible’s reliability. The Bible says that Aunty Lim is in Heaven because Jesus Christ died for her sins, was resurrected on the third day, proving that God has accepted His death as an offering for the sins of Aunty Lim and for the sins of men and women everywhere. When Jesus died on the cross, he said these words, “It is finished.” This means that the debt for our sins has been settled.
The benefits of the death and resurrection of Jesus is available to all who will repent of their sins, and turn to Christ for forgiveness and accept Him as Saviour and Lord of their lives.
Since Aunty Lim has repented of her sins, has asked Jesus Christ for forgiveness of her sins and has received Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour, on the basis of the Bible and its reliability, I know that she is in heaven right now with Jesus. That’s the Word of Jesus,
24 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. NIV
If Aunty Lim is not in heaven, then Jesus is a liar. And she will bear testimony for eternity that Jesus has lied and the Word of God cannot be relied upon. But that will not happen, because God is totally and unreservedly faithful to His Word.