Summary: Funeral Sermon for one who has died in the Lord
John 3:16 16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
"It’s Not Just Faith, but Faith in Christ Jesus"
He was born. He lived for a while. Then he died. Those three sort sentences sum up a common experience of all people. As surely as we all enter this world through birth, so surely will we leave this world through death. As your loved one has now passed through this veil of tears so also, shall all of us present today, leave this world.
When, in a Christian funeral, the obituary of a departed brother or sister is read, we not only hear that he or she was born, lived and died. We are told some other information, important and comforting information. In the obituary of your loved one that we will read following this sermon we will hear that he was baptized. His baptism was a very important event in his life. At that time, he was reborn in Christ Jesus. He became a child of God and an heir of eternal life. Now by the grace of God he is enjoying his inheritance. He is now in heaven enjoying eternal life.
I can make that statement and be absolutely sure of it because I had the opportunity to know Art and what he believed. Art believed that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
That is without a doubt one of the most memorized Bible passages there is and it was Art’s confirmation verse. Art was given this verse when he was confirmed in the faith and that faith was not just any faith, it was faith in Christ Jesus.
Faith in Jesus is important because it is the only way we can receive our inheritance of eternal life. It is the only way we can face death with out fear of God’s judgment.
Death comes upon us all because of our sinful condition— our sins of commission and omission which place our selves first and God last. Sin is just that: self-absorption and self-centeredness. Sin is ignoring God and planning our lives as if he did not exist. It is having a meager prayer life or no prayer life at all. It is having little to do with Christ’s church on earth. Sin is ignoring our Baptism, by which we were forgiven our sins by the gracious redemptive power of God’s Holy Spirit. Sin is staying away from Holy Communion, where we receive Christ’s body and blood for the forgiveness of our sin. In short sin is living one’s life independent from God and ignoring His will for our lives.
We are all sinful and because of our sin we are all under God’s wrath. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23a). Now if I were to stop right now then it would seem that God doesn’t love the world very much as St John said, but God does love the world. He loved the world so much that he gave the world His greatest treasure – He gave the world His one and only Son.
God sent Jesus to this world to live for us. Where we are so self-centered ignoring God’s will for our lives, Jesus was just the opposite. He came to this earth to carry out God’s plan of Salvation, to live the perfect life which God demanded when he said “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Jesus came to pay the wages of sin by dying on the cross in our place. He came to die and then to rise again on Easter morning to show us that God approved of his sacrifice for us and because Jesus lives the gates of heaven are open for all who believe in Him.
This is the faith that Art Schmidt was given at his baptism, the faith that was nurtured in Sunday school and confirmation. This is the faith that was strengthened by the body and blood of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper. This is the faith that he was called to his eternal rest with. And that faith was not just any faith; it was faith in Christ Jesus.
Art believed in Jesus and because he believed in Jesus and what He has done for us he shall not perish but have eternal life.
This is God’s promise to all the faithful. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." (John 11:25-26)
But I can hear your response – “What do you mean we will never die? Just look in front of you. Can’t you see the lifeless body? Can’t you see the casket right in front of you?” And my answer would be “YES”. The mortal body of Art is lying right in front of me and in a short time from now we will lay this mortal body to rest in St John’s cemetery. But the Art’s soul is in heaven with the Lord and he lives.