Song (as Family Enters -- Mansions Over the Hilltop
Song -- Old Rugged Cross
2 Timothy 4.6-8
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Blessed indeed," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!"
Song -- Blessed Assurance
Virginia Battles was "Sweet; Kind; Loving; and Serving." She preferred hugs to handshakes and genuinely cared about people around her.
I. She was a "Servant"
Mark 9.35 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all."
1 Corinthians 9.19 19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.
A. This is the "Great One" in the Eyes of God
1. This is the number one description that her family gave of her -- she took care of them
2. Fred Craddock:
"To give my life for Christ appears glorious," he said. "To pour myself out for others...to pay the ultimate price of martyrdom-I'll do it. I'm ready, Lord, to go out in a blaze of glory.
"We think giving our all to the Lord is like taking a $1,000 bill and laying it on the table-'Here's my life, Lord. I'm giving it all.' "But the reality for most of us is that he sends us to the bank and has us cash in the $1,000 for quarters. We go through life putting out 25 cents here and 50 cents there. Listen to the neighbor kid's troubles instead of saying, 'Get lost.' Go to a committee meeting. Give a cup of water to a shaky old man in a nursing home. "Usually giving our life to Christ isn't glorious. It's done in all those little acts of love, 25 cents at a time. It would be easy to go out in a flash of glory; it's harder to live the Christian life little by little over the long haul."
B. There is a difference between "Self-Righteous Service" and True Service.
* Self-Righteous Service is by human effort; it expends time and energy devising ways to serve
* True Service comes from a relationship with God; it is an imitation of him and works almost as a second nature
* Self-Righteous Service Wants external rewards; needs to be seen
* True Service cares nothing for acclaim, only to make a difference for someone
* Self-Righteous Service is concerned about results; including how the served respond to service
* True Service only cares to serve and allows God to work the results
* Self-Righteous Service chooses whom it will serve based on potential results
* True Service serves anyone with a need
* Self-Righteous Service is temporary; it turns on and off
* True Service is a lifestyle; a gift
C. Serving is a Challenge
Leonard Bernstein, the great conductor was once asked, "What's is the hardest instrument to play?" Without a twinge of hesitation, he replied, "second fiddle. I can always get plenty of violinists. But to find one who play second fiddle with as much enthusiasm, or second French horn, or second flute now that's a problem. AND yet if no plays second fiddle, we have no harmony..."
D. Serving is Being Christ-Like (the Goal of Virginia Battles)
1. Follow the Example of Jesus; He did not come in the Disguise of a Servant
2. He Came to Reveal the Serving Nature/Character of God -- Philippians 2.3-11
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
II. She Was "Saved"
A. The Way of the Cross DOES Lead Home
1. In her bible, she had written two things -- the Plan of Salvation; verses with the Unfaithful Servant
2. Jesus came to take us home -- John 10.10; 14.6; Matthew 26.39 (let this cup pass)
Officer Peter O'Hanlon was patrolling one night duty in northern England some years ago when he heard a quivering sob. Turning in the direction from which it came, he saw in the shadows a little boy sitting on a doorstep. With tears rolling down his cheeks, the child whimpered, "I'm lost. Take me home." The policeman began naming street after street, trying to help him remember where he lived. When that failed, he repeated the names of the shops and hotels in the area, but all without success. The little boy kept sobbing and pleading, "Please, mister, take me home!"
Officer O'Hanlon remembered that in the center of the city was a well-known church building with a LARGE white cross towering high above the surrounding landscape. He pointed to it and said, "Do you live anywhere near that?" The boy's face immediately brightened. "Yes, take me to the CROSS...I can find my way home from there!"
B. Obedient Faith Embraces God's Gracious Gift of Salvation
1. [The family smiled at Virginia's departure from this life -- because they knew where she was going
2. [Some Christians fear death -- not the fear of the unknown, but a lack of assurance -- "I hope I make it to heaven. . . "
3. Virginia KNEW so -- 2 Timothy 1.12
But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.
1. Not Home Yet
There is an old story about an elderly missionary returning to the United States to retire. He & his wife had spent over 40 years serving in Africa. But now he was alone. His wife and two children had long since found their final resting place in the soil of Africa. As he got off the plane he saw a great crowd of people waiting at the gate. Some were holding signs, others were waving banners, and he could even hear sounds of music above the shouting voices. For a few seconds he thought, "Can it be? After more than 40 years of service, all of these people have actually come out to welcome me home?"
But no, that was not the case. On his plane was a politician returning from a visit to Africa. During his visit he had been catered to and waited upon and all his needs had been met. And now he was being welcomed back with all the ceremony his nation could provide. As he waited and waited at the airport, the contrast was almost more than the old missionary could bear. For a moment he began feeling sorry for himself, and he started to pray. "Father in Heaven, why? I've served You faithfully and for so long, and yet, look. I don't expect much. But is it wrong to desire that there be some kind of a welcome home?" Then, almost as if God had spoken out loud, the old missionary heard Him say, "But my son, you're not home yet."
2. Virginia was ready to go "HOME"
3. Four Results of True Service
* Joy -- Acts 20.35
* A Positive Environment -- Acts 2 (All disciples serving 100%)
* Presenting a Positive Image to Others -- people admire servants -- Nobel Prizes for service to humanity -- Peace, etc.
* Developing Humility -- Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5.3); Meek, inherit the earth (5.5)
Song -- I'll Fly Away
Cemetery -- John 5.24-27