Summary: This is the sermon I preached at my cousin’s funeral. There were many there who was living in sin including gang members. It was the first time I’ve ever had to preach a funeral where there was doubt about the person’s salvation.
Eulogy: Your Decision Only
Would everyone please stand up? I want you to look around at the people you see here today. Remember their faces. Thank you, you may be seated. My heart is been heavy today as we come to remember another one of our family members, Keith. Since I heard of his death, I have reflected on what I know of Keith’s life and some of the memories that I personally have of him. There were fourteen of us first cousins on my father’s side of the family. Our birth order sort of grouped us together as playmates at family and church gatherings. The youngest group of first cousins was Keith, Kim, Michael and Andre’. They were the last born of each family and as was expected, could be a little spoiled. They could get away with stuff that the rest of us could not. And they often whined if the older kids were doing things and would not let them join in. Of course when they whined, we got in trouble. But that was 40 years ago. During the last seventeen years I have only seen Keith three times and each time it was due to our family getting together because someone had died. Many times when I was home visiting Keith was away on vacation at the state expense because of some decisions he had made. I last saw Keith last November when we buried my father and the thought never crossed my mind that less than one year later I would be standing over his coffin. Keith was a young man but death does not care about our age, what family we came from or how much we’re worth. That should serve as a warning to all of us. Our lives are as a vapor, one minute we are here and the next we are gone. We do not know the hour of our death and that fact alone should encourage us to take the necessary steps to ensure our eternity, if we want to be with Christ.
I am Keith’s first cousin by blood. How many of you are related to me by blood? How many of you are related to me by marriage? I just need to know because you can say a lot of things to family that you cannot say to strangers. Today I am talking to my family and for those of you not related to me, you’re welcome to listen too. If you get offended with anything that I say today, then that should let you know that there are some things you need to take before God now – before it is too late. But today I am going to have an honest discussion with my family. I am not allowed to white wash the truth and dress up a lie so people can feel good about what they are doing. If you are living in sin, I tell you that you’re living in sin and if you remain, you’re going to hell. My cousin Keith is gone and where he will spend eternity rests with God. But all of you who knew him know how he lived. You know about how he abused his body and had little real time for God. So do not expect me to stand up here and lie to you and tell you that he is in Jesus arms and at peace. He may be, or he may be in hell – that is between hi m and God now and nothing I will say will change that. But this I do know, if you live in sin, regardless of how often you go to Church, you’re going to hell. What matters here today is where you will spend eternity. I do not stand in judgment of Keith, but the truth is the truth and today my heart is heavy as it has been all week.
On Oct 10, 2003, I stood before many of you at Keith mother’s funeral, my Aunt Betty. During that service six years ago, I encouraged those of you who needed to make a change to do so. Since Aunt Betty’s funeral, we have buried several more family members – and yet, many of us remain the same. We sin, we go to Church and fellowship with our other partners in sin, and then we sin some more and go back to Church. We can be overheard talking in the parking lot about the fun we had the night before or making plans to make that special date with the deacon’s wife for later in the week. And what is so bad is that in some Churches the preachers are doing the same thing so they cannot tell you not to do something because they know you know what they are doing. So because you are all sinning together, you become best sin-supporting friends – as only “Christian brothers can be.”