Summary: This funeral message had more of an evangelism focus.
This message was written with evangelism in mind. The deceased had an uncertain connection with Jesus. Our church does not put the focus on the deceased but instead upon God’s promises, please keep that in mind as you read this message. God Bless.
Funeral Message: Jerry -------------
Date: September 25th, 2002
Text: 1st Corinithians 15:55-58
Dear family and friends. I would like to begin this message to you this afternoon with these words of victory. Death is sin’s last triumph! You may have heard these words before, maybe you have not but no one can escape the power of those words. Sometimes we find it hard to hear that word “LAST” when a loved one leaves us behind. What is easier to remember are the words Death and triumph! When death comes, it certainly can feel as if those who remain have been stung. It is difficult enough to endure the death of someone when we have been prepared for that person to die, but it is harder still to endure the death of someone who was healthy and happy only one day before his death.
No one was prepared for Jerry to leave this world. His death was indeed a shock and a sting to his wife, mother and family. Only days before his death he was cheering on the Cowboys, and taking care of his regular outdoor chores. And then came the sting: The reminder that sin is real and ever present.
In today’s reading Paul says, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law”. With these words, he reminds us of two points. The first is that we are all born into sin and the second point is that sin will remain apart of us until the day we die. There can be no escape, no matter how nice we are, or how many good works we can perform, sin in the end will rear its ugly head in death. To the world, there is no hope on this issue. But for those who are in Christ, there is indeed hope.
There are also two possibilities on how we can endure this terrible combination of sin and death. The first possibility is to ignore it. We can put aside the truth that sin corrupts us, by not thinking about it. We can avoid thinking about Church and we can avoid spending regular time in God’s Word for the purpose of growing in our faith. The result is to go about our daily routine and lean on our own understanding. The second possibility is to think about our sinful nature, recognize its power over us, and then run, not walk to Jesus on a daily basis with a fervent zeal of the Holy Spirit to be released from sin’s bondage. It is this second possibility that offers us the hope we seek today.
We are gathered here today so that we can be reminded that Jesus Christ has released us all from the power of sin. It is His blood that covers us and it is His sacrifice upon the Cross-, which won for us the promise of salvation. And instead of putting that promise aside as if it means nothing, we are hear to ask that the promise remain upon our heart and upon our thoughts from now until the day we die. We are here to be encouraged that as we remain in Christ, so shall he remain with us.
John 7:37 says, “Whoever is thirsty MUST come to me to drink!” There is no doubt that we are thirsty for Christ and His comfort. Today we have a thirst that cannot be comforted by the world, nor by any liquid. Our thirst is a spiritual thirst, a thirst of the soul.
Jesus is indeed with us here today to quench our spiritual thirst. Our thirst is quenched as His love reminds us that we do have hope even unto death for all those who die in Christ. Our thirst continues to be quenched when we trust and remember the promise through Jesus’ words, “Given and shed for you for the remission of all sins.” Our thirst which grow each and every day, is quenched each and everyday by way of Jesus’ gifts to us. Our thirst is especially quenched when death looms before us.
Thus, when St. Paul asks, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death is your sting? What he is really saying is that he has so much hope and comfort in Christ, that the sting of death leaves behind no doubt. The thirst of doubt, of uncertainty and anxiety has all been quenched. Doubt can come to those who remain apart from Jesus, but there is no doubt for those who lean not on their own understanding but instead on Jesus Christ. This is why Paul also exhorts us to, “Stand firm” and “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord”. Paul knew that when Christ Jesus and His love for us permeates our life, and when the Holy Spirit prompts us daily to be in His Word, we would truly have no fear of death and thus truly feel no sting, whenever someone dies in Christ.