Summary: A sermon for death or funeral service. A believer of Jesus should not worry about the reality of death. It can’t rob us of d joy of our eternal fellowship with the believers in d presence of d Lord forever.
Theme: HOPE BEYOND THE GRAVE
Text: 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-17
A. Let me extend my hearfelt sympathy to the bereaqved family. May God give each of you peace and comfort amidst this painful experience that you go through at the moment.
B. There are certain things in life that we never want to happen, and I believe, death gets the top most because of the deep pains and hurts it brings to us. But thank God, He is our ultimate comfort. His Word gives us the assurance that He will never leave us especially at the hour of our hardest trial.
C. Let me read you a passage in the Scriptures this evening that deals particularly with our dead love ones. In it we will find the wonderful hope beyond our individual grave. This passage is 1 Thes. 4: 13-17.
D. In this passage, the Apostle Paul encourages the Christians in Thessalonica to stop worrying over their love ones who have died in Christ. It is also implied here that all who lived in Christ should not worry about their individual death.
T.S. Paul centers his admonition on the three reasons of hope.
1. THE HOPE OF RESURRECTION. (vs. 14, 16)
-v. 14 says, “if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus” (NASB).
-and the last phrase of v. 16 says, “…the dead in Christ will rise first.” (NASB)
-Every human being born in this world is under the power of death and corruption. No one, regardless of worldly rank, wealth or strength, escapes death and corruption. This is, I think, the saddest truth & the most lamentable reality of our physical existence. The moment we are born, death becomes our destiny.
-but the reality of Jesus’ resurrection means that death has been defeated. Jesus conquered death; now He assures His followers that we, too, will share in His victory.
-In the Gospel of the Apostle John, we find the wonderful miracle that Jesus did in Bethany. He raised Lazarus from the grave. But before raising Lazarus, Jesus confronted Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, and told them, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”
-According to Paul in 1 Cor. 15, in the resurrection day, God will change our corruptible body into an incorruptible one. We shall be clothed with a glorious body, a body that is no longer under the power of death and corruption, free from pains and sorrows. We, and our dead love ones will rise to immortality. Indeed, it is the most wonderful hope to those who have given their life to Jesus.
2. THE HOPE OF HEAVENLY REUNION.
-v.17 says, “and we shall be with the Lord forever.”
-death is painful because it causes separation. It leaves a vacant that no other individual can fill. When someone dies, his place is empty. No wonder we really miss out the one who passed away.
-Though death ends any earthly relationship, but the grave is not the end of everything. There is a hope given in the Scriptures that all who believed in Jesus will one day be together again in the presence of the Lord forever. Paul encourages us with this hope. We shall not worry over the reality of death because it can’t rob us the joy of eternal fellowship. We shall be with our love ones who have gone ahead of us.
-And the most wondrous of all is our hope to be with Christ for all eternity. This is the heavenly reunion we are waiting for –an everlasting fellowship of all believers in the glorious presence of the Savior.
3. THE BLESSED HOPE OF THE LORD’S RETURN.
-v. 16 of our passage says, “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven”.
-Jesus will come again to take His people. He Himself made that promise to His disciples. He will come again to take us into His heavenly home.
-in the second advent of Jesus all troubles will end, and every reason for pain will banish.
-today, our world is full of troubles, worries, sorrows and pains. We are, as the poet says, in “a valley of tears.” Paul says, “the whole creation is groaning” indicating the miserable condition we are in. But, thank God, at the coming of the Lord, these things will pass away, and the best thing is very soon to come!
-John saw the new heaven and the new earth. In it there is no death, no mourning, no crying, and no more pain. What a wonderful place we shall be with the Lord forever!
Yes, death of someone we love hurts us. But we don’t have to worry about its reality. Christ conquered death at His resurrection. And it will be completely conquered at the day when God raise us up from our individual grave. Death can’t rob us the joy of eternal fellowship when we are reunited again in the presence of the Lord, and at His glorious coming we shall be with Him in that blissful place of eternity.