Summary: A funeral sermon, challenge for those present at the service of a man recently come to know Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.
I first met ……. around 20 months ago when his nephew brought him along to a service here at the Salvation Army. ……. was keen to sort things out with “God” as he felt spiritually distant from him. in the course of time we spent a bit of time in prayer and discussion and I understand that with his nephew showing interest in …….’s life, ……., put things right with God. He made his relationship with God one of trust and understanding of Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.
……. knew that he was facing death, as his body was worn out, in a variety of ways. But he came to trust in God and was a regular attender here at the Corps, sitting down the back just under the windows, he was on a journey of his own revival. The second to last time I saw ……. a bit over a week ago as I visited him in hospital I asked him straight “is it well with your soul?” To which he sang back to me, “it is well, it is well with my soul.” Those being words from a famous Hymn by Horatio Spafford.
In ……. case, knowing that he was not well, not long for the Earth, he was able to reply to me in that way, why?
Well as we journeyed with ……., his nephew and I had discussed his service, this service, and two of the scripture passages he said he would like shared here today were fairly similar.
Joshua 1:9 (NLT) which says “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” and
Philippians 4:6-7 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
The thing is that ……. had come to understand that peace. That peace that transcends, exceeds all understanding as he had entered into this relationship, this new relationship with Jesus. From what he had told me he wasn’t flavour of the month or even year with some people, there had been mistakes, parts of his life that he regretted. Do any of us make it through life truly with no regrets?
Those of us who know Jesus have discovered God’s grace and ……. had. Did he deserve it? Do any of us deserve God’s grace? The answer is a plane outright no! None of us deserve God’s grace, this is something that God provides because of his love and mercy, because he alone is truly good and Holy. Grace is unwarranted favour. It’s a bit like me knowing that you have bills to pay and court fines to sort out, and a prison sentence to be locked up for and saying, all good I’ll pay that stuff, I’ll do your time. The love of Christ for us is like this, unwarranted, undeserved but strangely available to all who accept him as Lord and believe that the Father raised him from the dead.
This is why ……. was able to say “It is well with my soul.” This peace that comes about through grace, this peace we can’t fully understand, that we can’t quite get our heads around is an amazing thing. This is God stuff, Holy Spirit dwelling with and in us stuff. We have a helper, a comforter, guide and friend. Our hearts and minds are guarded because of God’s intervention; it is well with our souls. Does that mean everything will always be bang on, perfect, all tickitty boo? Of course not in …….’s case he didn’t have long to live, but he knew he was forgiven, His body was worn out, he knew the love of Jesus, his physical heart was weak and fading, but his spirit had made peace with God, he knew that awaiting him was eternal life, it is well with his soul.
……. leaves behind a legacy, a legacy, not of money, there is no vast estate, no great physical wealth, but he leaves a legacy of faith, it is well with his soul. ........ legacy comes with a challenge, are you right with God? Can you say like those words of Horatio Spafford?
"When sorrows like sea billows roll, Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul, It is well with my soul!"
Is it well with your soul? I want to read once again, that passage chosen by ……., words spoken by God to the commander of Israel’s army as they entered the promised land, “be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” ……. is now with his saviour Jesus in Heaven, not afraid or discouraged, it is well with his soul. ……. is with his Lord, his God, we all can and will be as long as he is our Lord and God. ……. rejoices in the presence of God. I would like to leave you with this one question, “is it well with your soul?”
Song: Amazing Grace My Chains are Gone