Summary: This sermon originally was prepared for a funeral homily for a person whose commitment to Jesus was uncertain, it could be used in any funeral setting or as a evangelistic message. It clearly outlines Go’s plan of salvation.
Prepare to Meet Your God, a Funeral Homily
In times such as these when we loose a loved one to death we are reminded of our own mortality. Hebrews 9:27 calls upon us to remember the certain fact “. . . it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgment. . . .”
My Mom and Dad, my maternal Aunt, and most of my family on my Dad’s side have lived committed Christian lives. However, my Mom and my Aunt’s two brothers were not known to be Church going people. Their wives were committed Christians, but my uncles did not did not themselves attend Church, and I am uncertain if they made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ before their death or not.
Recently I talked to one of my cousins, the daughter of one of these uncles. I would have to say that I had always felt she was more like my uncle her father than she was he mother, my aunt. I was thrilled to hear her share a testimony that went something like this: “This life is so short. If we are not preparing for our eternal destiny in the life that follows our death, we have totally missed our purpose in life.”
In Amos 4:12, the LORD is speaking and says, “Therefore, this is what I will do to you, Israel, and because I will do this to you, PREPARE TO MEET YOUR GOD, O ISRAEL.” We are all mortal, and if Jesus tarries much longer, we all can be certain that death will come to each one of us. Therefore, the most important thing we can do in this life is “to prepare to meet our God.”
Our funeral services are for the living, not the deceased, and the most urgent message a funeral can share with us is the truth about how we each must “prepare to meet our God.” How do we do that? The Bible explains God’s plan of salvation, the way to eternal life throughout Scripture from Genesis through Revelation. The Romans were excellent engineers in constructing highways throughout the Ancient World. In many places around the Mediterranean Sea portions of their roads are still in use today.
The Apostle Paul, who penned the Letter to the Romans, clearly outlined for the Church at Rome and for us God’s plan of salvation. Many churches and pastors have used over the ages portions of the Book of Romans to explain to people how to “prepare to meet their God.” Oftentimes the use of such verses of Scripture to lead individuals to eternal life, forgiveness of sins, and peace with God has been named “The Roman Road.” Let us walk that Road this morning as we discover the Only Way anyone can “prepare to meet their God.”
Although most of the Scriptures we will soon share come from the Book of Romans, I want to begin with the words of Jesus to Nicodemus in John 3:3: “In reply Jesus declared, I tell you the truth, no-one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” Then Jesus explains further: “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ’You must be born again’” [JOHN 3:7-8].
Jesus spoke these words not to one who was a reprobate, morally depraved, wicked, evil scoundrel but to one of the leading religious leaders of His day. No matter how morally good and upright a citizen and Church member anyone may be, to prepare to meet one’s God every one must experience a second birth, a spiritual birth through the power of the Holy Spirit working in their life.
Romans 3:23 clearly shows us the reason we all must “be born again”: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The Bible furthermore says in Ezekiel 18:4, “The soul who sins is the one who will die.” Such death is more than physical death; it is eternal separation from God. Because we all have sinned, and fallen short of God’s glory, this is the sentence we all deserve.
Paul continues to lead us down the Roman Road in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Wages are the reward we earn for a job we do. We deserve our wages, and because we are all sinners, we all deserve eternal death, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We can not earn our way to heaven. It is a free gift, but we must willingly receive that gift from Jesus. He won’t force it upon us. Paul continues in Romans 5:8 by saying, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The wages of sin, the penalty for our sin, is death. God proved His love for us by having Christ pay the penalty of death for us. He took our sentence of death for us so that we would not have to be eternally separated from God because of our sin. He paid sins penalty for us.