Summary: In our text, Paul speaks of the new life that we have in Christ. He looks at it from three different perspectives: past, present and future. 1- A past experience 2- A present enjoyment 3- A future ecstasy
INTRO.- ILL.- I am reminded of the old story about the funeral of the unsavory character who had never been to church in his life. He had led a very questionable life, meaning he’d done about anything and everything a person could think of and it wasn’t good. The service was being conducted by a minister who’d never heard of him.
The preacher got carried away by the occasion, as some preachers do, and started to pour on the praise for the deceased. After 15 minutes of describing the man as a devoted husband, father, all-around good guy, his widow nudged her young son and whispered to him, “Go up there and make sure that’s your daddy he’s talking about.”
All of us have probably attended a funeral similar to that. Everybody knows, of course, that you’re supposed to speak kindly of the deceased regardless of the life they’ve lived.
I’d have a few strange funerals in my time that I wasn’t always exactly sure what to say.
ILL.- I spoke at a funeral for a young girl who had been murdered. I never knew the girl. She was a friend to some people in the church where I served.
Another time the local funeral director called me and wanted to know if I would speak at a funeral for a young single man in his 40’s. I said I would and after going to visit at the funeral home I discovered that the young man had died of AIDS.
What do you say about a person who dies of AIDS? In all funerals I point the living to the Lord. I remind people that a memorial service is for them and I always try to help them by pointing to the Lord who is only one who can help us in life or death.
Another time I had a memorial service for the wife of our local UPS driver. He lived in another town about 30 miles away but made his deliveries in our town. His young wife passed away from cancer. And apparently, since he and his wife didn’t attend church anywhere, he asked me to speak at her memorial service, which was held at the Cedar Lake near Carbondale, IL. I read the 23rd Psalm and spoke from that text about the Lord’s care for us during times of loss, etc.
As soon as I finished, the young husband said, “God d... cancer to hell!” Wow! I was shocked. I think most people were shocked. He was very angry that cancer had taken his wife and the mother of his young children, who were probably 8 to 10 years of age.
What could I say? I said nothing. He was, however, very gracious to me after the service. There was no music and the only prayer was what I offered.
Another time I had the funeral for a young married couple who lost their only son. He was only three and a half years old. They had been taking him to a local doctor who told them he didn’t know what was wrong with him. He advised them to take him to the University Medical Center in Columbia, MO. They did but the little boy died in a day or two. The young father had an uncle in our church who was deacon so they asked me to speak at the boy’s funeral.
I spoke from II Sam. 12:23 when David’s child died. David said to his servants, “But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."