Summary: A funeral message - Jesus tells of the peace he offers, the place he prepares, and the path to take.
As I talked with Glenda and Janice about their mother, Madge, one theme came up over and over – Madge’s love for people, most especially her family, and her hospitality brought people together. I heard of family gatherings at her house, her cooking, and her unshakeable positive outlook on life and people. She reminds me of Jesus with his disciples at the last supper. He loved his disciples, even Judas who would betray him. Jesus shared meals with people he loved, especially his disciples. It was in the face of his own death that Jesus gave us some of the most comforting words to which we can cling when faced with our own death or that of a loved one.
I. Jesus provides peace (John 14:1)
A. The opposite of a troubled heart is a peaceful heart.
1. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
2. Luke 1:76-79 (NIV) And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace ."
B. Our hearts are often troubled
1. We fear for our future.
2. We can’t control the present
3. We miss those who are very dear to us.
C. When a loved one is in Christ they are not far from other Christians.
1. Paul Powell once said, “We are told that to be absent from the body is to be present with Christ. If Christ also dwells within us then that person cannot be far away.
2. Since Madge was in Christ, those of you who today profess Jesus as your Lord and Savior are not far from her.
II. Jesus prepares a place (John 14:2-3)
A. The place he prepares is in the presence of God Almighty.
1. Some say a mansion.
2. The NIV says a room – this shows how close God wants us to be with him.
3. Those who have a relationship with God are his adopted children. Eph 1:4ff-5 In love he predestined us to be adopted as his children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will
B. There is no greater comfort to a child than the arms of his father
1. On stormy nights I would sneak into my parents’ room and crawl into bed. My father would put his arm around me and it seems like the storm just blew away.
2. As a child I often suffered from earaches and my father would lay down with me and tell me to put my ear on his arm. He told me he was drawing the pain out of my ear and putting it into his arm.
3. When we are with God in heaven there will be no fears nor will there be any pain because we will be constantly in his arms.
III. The path Jesus prescribes (John 14:4-6)
A. You know the path to heaven.
1. It is only through Jesus.
2. I am the way the truth and the life – nobody comes to the father except through me.
3. There are many things that don’t work
a. Hard work
b. Clean living
e. Any other Religion that does not make Jesus the one mediator between man and God
B. Madge most certainly knew Jesus
1. She was a dedicated reader of the Bible
2. She was a faithful church member
3. The love of Christ emanated from her and others were drawn to him through her
4. Just hours before she died, as I read from the 23rd Psalm, she told me, with what seemed to be a smile on her face, “I’m going home.”
C. If you are sitting here today you are either on the path or off the path.
1. Madge has already traveled the path and is safely at home in the arms of Jesus.
2. If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ then you are on that path too.
3. If you do not know Jesus in a personal way, you are not on the path to heaven but are on the highway to hell.
IV. If you want to travel the path that Madge has traveled you can.
A. Acknowledge that you have not lived up to God’s standards.
B. Believe that the penalty for that sin is death and that Jesus paid your penalty on the cross.