Summary: Asked to preach a "born again" message for the benefit of her family and others, I have done my best to honor her desire. She took every opportunity to give testimony to the truth of God's Plan of Salvation and her funeral was to be both joyous and a tes
Joan often spoke to me of her desire that I speak truthfully and forthrightly on this day about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Today I will do my best to find words to honor that request. In honoring her request, perhaps the words I speak are something of a last testament of her faith. Here desire is that each you be offered the Gospel again and again. For that to happen someone must witness to the truth of the Gospel. She is no longer able to do that, but I can today on her behalf.
Its difficult for a third person, in this case myself, to give testimony of another’s faith. Faith is always based upon a combination of having heard the Word of God rightly explained, and then various experiences pointing to the truth of that Word fitted together in our understanding by the influence of the Holy Spirit. In this sense faith is very much a gift of God. True faith is also very much experiential in nature. No one comes to faith intellectually. No one can be argued into truly believing a religious doctrine. But the heart can be strangely warmed through the influence of the Holy Spirit, and it is this experience which is the true fountainhead of the type of faith to which Joan so urgently testified at each and every opportunity. She did so because it was real. As with all faith, it was real and convincing to her because it was based on experience interpreted through the kindly light we know as the Holy Spirit. Those experiences were gifts of God interpreted through the regenerative power of the Holy Spirit. I know this to be true because I share the same faith.
I’ve not experienced everything that Joan experienced. And she has not experienced everything that I have experienced. But we both have experienced enough so that we appreciated the faith of the other. There are many spiritual gifts, each providing a type of experience that leads to convincing faith. I have been told that some drive out demons, really and truly, so that often those cleansed from evil addictions believe and become members of the Church. I have been told that some have foreknowledge of the future, visions and prophetic utterances. I have been told that some speak in tongues of mercy interpreted through the influence of the Holy Spirit. I have been told there are many more such gifts. I have been told that in fact, it is impossible to enumerate the gifts which throughout the world the Church has received from God and in the name of Jesus Christ, and which the Holy Spirit every day puts to effectual use for the benefit of the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What I have experienced is somewhat limited in comparison and stretches over a period of many years. I have experienced healing and being healed. I have experienced the Holy Spirit quicken my heart when words from the Lord meant for me are spoken by others. And as a child before hearing the Word yet alone understanding it, I have looked up at the stars and felt inexplicable awe because of what I lie before me. No, I have not experienced it all, but I have been given a few such experiences, experiences sufficient to establish with in me a convincing faith.