Summary: This is a funeral sermon taken from Psalm 116:15, used upon the death of a quadraplegic named Robert. The sermon is short, but of standard length for funerals like this.
Precious in the Sight of the Lord
It is sad but true that earth-bound perspectives shackle us all. We have enough experience of things on this earth to know about how things work in daily life, but we can’t see through the Lord’s eyes and get His perspective unless of course he chooses to reveal to us how he sees things.
In Psalm 116:15 he has revealed something to us through the psalmist. We get a revelation of how God looks at those saints who have died, and it is a very comforting and encouraging revelation indeed. We read, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”
Naturally, we want to know why the death of one of God’s saints is precious in His sight. I think we could find numerous reasons. However, in this moment I would like to remember the words of Jesus just before his own death, “It is finished,” and think of the death of saints in that regard.
1. The death of a saint can be witness to the world that the Christian life can be brought to successful conclusion.
We know that Jesus, in saying “It is finished,” was announcing the completion of all he came to earth to do. Before he breathed his last, he gave the triumphal cry, which in Greek is “tetelestai” “Paid in full!” All the atoning work of the cross was completed. Jesus did not need to linger for another moment of agony, for all the sins of the world had been covered. He was free to leave behind his earthly ministry and begin his heavenly ministry.
To a lesser extent the same thing can be said of the death of the Christian. We are released from earthly bonds when our mission is completed. I remember Bill Gothard saying many years ago. “Until your work on earth is complete, God sees to it that you are invincible. Then he takes you to be with him when your earthly work is done.”
God could have taken Robert home to heaven 5 years ago when he was in the terrible wreck that took away the use of his legs and other parts of his body. But God had a reason to keep him here an extra 5 years. And although we don’t have perfect insight into God’s reasoning, we can trust that God had a plan and it was a good one.
I know on my part it has been good to see the way God has worked in Roberts life to grow him and develop godly attributes within him. I have seen the changes in his life and am glad for that extra five years he was given.
When we think of Jesus’ words “Be faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life,” we sometimes wonder if that isn’t a tall order. After all it sounds hard to think of doing anything for the rest of your life. But we know from experience that when we take things one day at a time, it can be done. I believe that here is one who can say – it is finished – for he has remained faithful unto death.
It is common in the world to look for others to fall. Many biographies abound of people who gained wealth, fame, or power only to lose everything in the end because of some fatal character flaw. But how precious it is in the eyes of the Lord to witness a believer who believes in God all his earthly days. It bears out the words of our Savior who said, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” That is precisely how we remain faithful unto death; by keeping our faith rested in the “greater one that is in you.”
We all have days when we are up and days when we are down; days when we are strong and days when we are weak; days when we feel victorious and days when we feel like utter failures. But no matter where we may be, still, Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.
The testimony of a successful completion to life is not so much a feather in the cap of the believer as much as it is a witness of the greater strength of the rock of our salvation. He is the foundation upon which we build so that our house can withstand any storm.
2. This death is precious because it gives a witness to those of us who are still running the race with patience.
A Christian who has completed their course through many years gives courage to many of us who are still running the race, and perhaps sometimes stumbling along. If they made it we can make it too. In fact, we know that those who have gone before us are the great cloud of witnesses we read about in Hebrews 12:1-2. We can visualize the Bible heroes of the faith and our loved ones who have gone before us cheering us on. Giving us courage to keep going and not give up. Robert has run his race. It is finished, and he is now part of that great cloud of witnesses cheering us on. How precious in the eyes of God it must be to see Robert’s homecoming and allow him to take his place with the others who have finished their races.