Posts Tagged ‘death’

Hope and Comfort

August 17, 2016

Before I begin, I would like to make a few comments about these sermon notes.  Sermon notes are the central points of a message that was preached to a particular group of people at a certain place and time.  The central truths are presented, but much of the sermon material that connects to that particular group is not included.  The sermon notes that I am sharing today are from a funeral message for a wonderful Christian man who died at far too young of an age.  I am removing all of the personal references because there is no need for the family (If any of them read this.) to relive the pain of that day. 

I.  Tragedy:  Job 1:20-22

Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.

When I hear of a tragic death, or some other occurrence my thoughts go to Job.  Job lost practically everything in a single day.  His possessions were stolen or destroyed and all of his children died in a single event.  His response has become a classic line for people experiencing loss.

We are not Job.

We may not be at this point just yet.

My thoughts then turn to another famous verse.

II.  All Things  Romans 8:28

 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

It is one thing to be able to acknowledge this intellectually, but our hearts may not accept it just yet.

In the later chapters of Job, Job expresses his frustration and his desire to understand.  God basically tells Job that he is not capable of understanding the workings of God, that there are times when he must simply trust and accept.

This also, does not seem to be particularly helpful today.

My thoughts turned to another well known verse.

III.  Those Who Mourn:  Matthew 5:14

Blessed are those who mourn,
    For they shall be comforted.

This makes more sense.  Today we mourn.  We shall be comforted.  That is the promise of scripture.

Americans sometimes have a tendency to rush the mourning process.  There is no need to rush.  It is appropriate for people who have suffered loss to spend a time in mourning.

How long?

As long as it takes.

The point is, that comfort from God is available throughout the process.

IV.  Joy:  Psalms 30:5

For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.

Mourning will not last forever.  Joy will be restored.  This is a wonderful promise.

A part of our comfort comes from the knowledge of what lies beyond death.  We return to Job for these words.

V.  My Redeemer Lives:  Job 19:25-27

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
27 Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

As far back as Job, there was a hope of a life that goes beyond the grave.  That we shall see God.  For those who believe, this is a wonderful hope.

VI.  Present With The Lord:  II Corinthians 5:4-8

For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

For those who believe in Jesus there is a promise of a life to come.  We leave this life, and go to be with the Lord.

VII.  A Place For You:  John 14:1-6

 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

This is a wonderful promise to those who believe in Jesus.  We remember the words that Jesus said to the thief on the cross. “Today you will be with me in paradise.”  (Luke 23:43)

VIII.  The Race is Finished:  II Timothy 4:7-8

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Hopefully, at the end of our lives we will be able to relate to these words.  I am fully confident that the young man that we are here for today has received his reward.  His race was shorter than we would have liked, but that is not for us to determine.  He has gone to his heavenly reward.

IX.  Well Done:  Matthew 25:21

 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

At the end of our lives this is what we want to hear from God.

“Well done, good and faithful servant.”

I have no doubt that this young man has heard these words from the Lord.

What about us?

x.  Salvation:  Romans 10:9-10

 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

At a time like this it is good to reflect on our own lives.  Are we a follower of Jesus?  Would we hear the words “Well done”?

If it were our funeral today, would our friends and family be comforted with the knowledge that we are with the Lord?

It only takes a moment to receive God’s forgiveness.

Ask God to forgive your sins, place your faith in Jesus and begin the walk with God that He intends for you to have with Him.

These are sermon notes from a funeral message preached in August of 2016.  Any advertisements are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

 

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Syncope

October 18, 2010

I had a new experience the other day.  It is called a syncope episode.  Basically, it means that I blacked out.  My wife and I were out shopping with friends.  I started to feel a little sick to my stomach and sat down on a bench.  Then I passed out.  My head tipped back, my eyes and mouth remained open, my arms and legs went out straight, my face turned gray,  and I was unresponsive for what seemed a long time, but was probably less than a minute.  My wife and friends thought that I had died on the spot.

I didn’t die.  I had a very pleasant dream about a shopping experience with friends.  Then there was an unknown lady yelling in my face.  I sat up, shook my head and the world came back into focus.  I was cold, clammy, and sweating profusely.    911 had been called, the police and EMT checked me out and declared that I was stable enough for personal transport.  I spent the night at the hospital.  My vitals, blood work and EKG’s were all normal so they sent me home, telling me that I could resume normal activities, but that I should follow-up with my personal physician.

Normal will not be quite what it used to be.  Syncope can be caused by a variety of things.   Since they do not know what caused it, how do I know that it is better?

I thank God for today.

This experience has vividly reminded me of how important it is to appreciate what we have in this moment, because in the blink of an eye, this life could be over.

Youth Suicide

October 12, 2010

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among people aged 15-24.  In 2007, (which is the last year that statistics are currently available)  4,140 people aged 15-24 succeeded in committing suicide.   This is a tragedy.

Suicide is an act of hopelessness.  As a country we need to do a better job of offering hope to our young people.  Actually, I would especially call the Christian church to do a better job of presenting its’ message of hope.  God offers us love,healing, wisdom, strength, and other forms of divine assistance.  The church should be a place where people have a support system of people who care for them.  A Christian person should never lose hope.

When a suicide does occur, the family and friends will spend a lifetime dealing with the effects in their own lives.  Here too, God can help.  God understands our pain and is able to offer comfort to those in need.

 

Sudden Death

June 7, 2010

I am not talking about a conclusion to a tied game.  I am talking about actually dieing, quickly and unexpectedly.  This past weekend in our area there was a fatal motorcycle accident.  In the Midwest there were tornados resulting in seven deaths.  I suspect that worldwide, there are many who died suddenly, and unexpectedly.  My heart goes out to the families that must deal with the sudden, tragic, loss of life.

It also makes me think.

Do we live our lives in such a way that we are ready, literally, to meet our maker?

Do we appreciate the time that we have on this earth?

Do we appreciate the time that we have with family and friends?

Are we making good choices?

Are we prepared for life…or death?

Who knows what the future holds?

Sudden death is not a game, but a shocking reality that some people must face.  For most, life goes on…but how will we live that life?

A Long Goodbye

December 30, 2009

A member of my congregation passed away Monday night.  He was a great guy, and will be missed by his friends and family.  He had contracted cancer a few years ago and managed to beat it the first time around.  When it came back, it didn’t turn out so well. 

One thing about his illness and death is that you could see it coming.  Of course, in the beginning, there was hope that he would again succeed in returning to health, but as time went on and the treatments did not seem to help, it became obvious that unless God worked a miracle, that he would be passing on. 

During this time, many, many friends and family members came to see him, wish him well, express their love and appreciation….and to say goodbye.

He lived to share Christmas with his family, and some say that he held on long enough for the Bears to beat the Vikings.  He has gone to be with the Lord now, and he will be greatly missed.

Goodbye

February 10, 2009

I have not posted anything for this past week because my father passed away early Tuesday morning, February 3rd.  I have been back home in Minnesota with family and have not been on-line at all for almost a week.

It is sad when someone dies, but my father has a pretty good story.  He was eighty-two years old, had been happily married for almost fifty-nine years, had four children, six grandchildren and one great-grandson.  He, and his wife,  had done well in operating a  business together.  They had retired to a log cabin on a quiet lake in the north woods.  He had a good life. 

In the spring of 2008, he was diagnosed with a return of lymphoma.  He had overcome this disease five years earlier, but this time the treatments were not enough.  They tried, and tried again, and tried some more, but his body eventually gave out.  He was able to be home and independent through most of the time.  There was hope for recovery, until a final devastating report with a long list of serious problems.  There was not much time left.  His wife and daughters were able to be with him in his final hours.   Mom and my sisters, sang hymns and read scriptures. It was a sacred time.  At the end, my father’s breathing ceased to be labored and he breathed quietly for the last few minutes.  My sisters and my mother gave him a final kiss goodbye as he passed peacefully from this life.

My father was a good Christian man.  His faith was expressed by his life, and I believe that our goodbye is only temporary.  We will see each other again in eternity.  My last, living, visual memory of my father is him looking me in the eye as he waved goodbye. 

Goodbye dad, until we meet again.