Summary: This is a sermon about Death, Dying and Funerals. It's from my personal experience from conducting over 100 funerals.
These are my sermon notes from a sermon I preached on the 18th March 2012 at Nowra City Church titled:- Let’s Talk about Death
During the course of the last 12 years of being Senior Pastor of Nowra City Church, I have conducted about 100 funerals in my time.
I have buried – hero’s of the faith
I have buried people who died too young
Others who died at the right time
I have buried people who died from sickness, people who have been murdered, people who took their own life.
I have buried Christians and I have buried atheists.
So I have done 100 Funerals and attend probably another hundred. I think we should be talking about death as the latest statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics says that 10 out of 10 people die. But often death is not spoken of as we think that if we talk about it, death might hear us and somehow be attracted to us.
So I want to talk about death by looking at some observations that I have made through the funerals that I have either officiated at or have attended.
We need to understand that Death changes our perspective on things. A great example of this is the song by Nickleback – If today was your last day.
There are approximately 2 deaths per second around the world. Some deaths go unnoticed, unmourned with people unmoved by the death of someone else. An example is the death of an elderly woman who died in Sydney about 8 months ago and there was outcry when no one noticed for months.
So here are my observations about death from Funerals.
1. People always rave about the dead person – at their funeral – encourage them to speak out while the person is still alive
They say such nice things about people at their funerals that it makes me sad that I’m going to miss mine by just a few days.”
At a funeral, people get up and talk about how wonderful the dead person was and how much they meant to them. My observation is this. – Don’t wait to the funeral to tell people what you think of them. The funeral is too late. Tell them today. Tell people you love them. Thank people for their input into your life.
2. Talk about the person who is now gone
When a person dies, the fact that they existed isn’t erased from people’s memory. So don’t stop talking about the person
I had a friend from Wollongong down a few weeks ago and it was the first anniversary of when her husband had a massive heart attack and died. So we were talking about Steve, and she made the comment – it’s so good to hear you say Steve’s name because so many people don’t talk about him, don’t mention him and act like her never existed.
So talk about the person who has died, to the family
3. When someone does die and you want to ring the family, but you don’t know what to say and you don’t want to say the wrong thing – ring anyway
Presence yourself in their time of grief. Just being there with a person is very powerful.
Look at Job’s three friends. He looses his family. He is in deep grief and for 7 days his friends just presence themselves with Job – they don’t even say a word. Your presence is very powerful.
Jesus – about to face death – needed the presence of people. But His disciples fell asleep.
Romans 12:15 Weep with those who weep – great advice from the word of God.
4. Every family at the funeral wants to believe that their loved one went to heaven.
In other words – the majority of people like to think that their loved one and themselves are Christians at a funeral – yet they walk away and don’t change to an active faith.
Ever noticed that overwhelmingly – everyone goes to heaven at a funeral
I kind of have a problem with preachers who indicate that at a funeral.
I personally refuse to say that they went to heaven unless i know or I can ascertain that they had a faith in Jesus Christ. I do however tell people at a funeral that death reminds us to think soberly about our own mortality and that we need to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
5. Death causes us to have sober thoughts about God.
Regina Spektor has a great song that sums up my thoughts here – particularly the first section of the song. I have also noticed that no laughs at God at a funeral.
6. In the natural Prepare now
In other words – have a will. I have sat with too families and the loved one I am doing the funeral for – didn’t have a will. This leaves a mess for the family as death and money bring out the worst in people