Summary: This is a Funeral Sermon.
The Battle Is Over, He Can Shout Now
2. Timothy 4: 7-8
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Introduction: One of the unique things about being a pastor is the fact that rarely do I do funerals for people I don’t know. When I bring a message at a home going service, I know the person for at least a few years. Such is the case this morning. I meet Deacon Whitehead, almost two years ago, and the one thing that stuck in my mind about him was his commitment to the church. Whenever he could, he would be here, sitting on the first or second pew praising God. What I liked about him also was the fact, even in the latter months, even when his health was failing, Deacon Whitehead would praise God with all his might. I believe, he loves the Lord with all his heart. I remember one Sunday he came into the study and said, pastor you know I can’t read and write very well, but I am willing to do whatever I can to help you. You know, that meant more to me then anything he could have ever written. He was determined to serve God anyhow. He did not let his inabilities keep him from serving the God he loved. That’s why upon hearing of his passing, the Lord laid this text on my heart.
To the family and friends, the living example of Deacon Raymond Whitehead will live on , the Godly example of being sold out for God should remain with you and encourage you to fight the good fight.
I. Raymond’s Death
In our text, Paul is sitting in a Roman prison, about to be killed for the cause of Christ. But note this; Paul did not think of himself as going to be executed; he thought of Himself as going to offer his life to God. His life was not being taken from him; he was laying it down. In ver. 6 he said;” For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
That word departure- depart is the picture of a ship hoisting the anchor and loosening the mooring ropes and departing one country for another. Paul knew and your uncle Raymond knew that the time of his departure was at hand.
On September 24, 2006, during his testimony, he said very clearly, that he had seen heaven. He described it very clearly, talking about the gold streets, the white lights and his long white robe. I can still see him standing in front of the church getting filled with the Holy Spirit. I thought he was going to fall so I went to help him, and in that small sweet voice he said “ I’ am alright”. Little did we know, but I believe he knew that in just a few days his departure would be at hand. It good to be able to understand what he came to understand what David said in the 23 Psalm” Ya thou I walk through the valley and the shadow of death I fear no evil, for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff shall comfort me, Yes, Yes the rod and staff of God had comforted Uncle Raymond through the last years of his life. He had been through a great deal of difficulty over the last nine months. Several operations, pain, sickness but you never heard him complain.
Job 19:25 “ I know that my Redeemer Lives and in the end he will stand upon the earth, and after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes, and not another,
Uncle Raymond had been bound by the anchors and ropes of this world. The ropes of sickness, cancer, heartbreak, pain, suffering, all had him tied up to this world.
But on Monday morning, the captain of our Salvation aboard the Old Ship of Zion, gave the last boarding call for departure, Uncle Raymond heard the final call, looked in his heart, pulled out his ticket.
Great God from Zion; It’s was stamped for Glory Land
I can see in my minds eye, Deacon Whitehead, running toward the ship, you see he was just like a Timex watch he takes a licking and keep on ticking. Just like that energizer bunny he just keeps going………. Go is …….
He knew what it meant to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling