Four Funerals & A Wedding - Funeral #4
NEIL ATWOOD & LUKE TATTERSALL share sermon ideas for funerals and weddings.
Source: Perspective Vo10 No3&4 ©Perspective 2003
Funeral Message—1 Thess 4
There’s no doubt a mixture of emotions that we feel when we face the death of someone we love.
There is thankfulness for having had the pleasure of knowing this person. There is thankfulness among the members of his family for the love and the times that they shared together – thankfulness for love of a mother and grandmother.
But each of those emotions are tinged with grief. There will always be grief when we have to face the death of someone we have known, loved and respected.
But in that Bible passage Paul says that for those who trust in Jesus our grief is different. He says this to his friends:
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who have fallen asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men who have no hope.
Paul is not saying that we shouldn’t grieve at all. Christians should grieve when someone dies. It is a natural and normal thing to do.
We will be saddened by the death of a person if they’ve been close to us or an important part of our life.
What Paul says is that Christians shouldn’t grieve like people who have no hope – because Christians have a wonderful hope.
The hope that Christians have is not just not just a desire about how they would like things to turn out. It isn’t just wishful thinking – it is a certainty, something you can know for sure.
Christians know for certain that when this life ends they’ll go to be with Jesus. Some people think it is arrogant or presumptuous of Christians to say that you know you are going to heaven.
But Jesus wants us to have that confidence – he wants us to have that certainty – because in the end it doesn’t depend on what we have done but on what Jesus has done for us.
And how do you get that confidence? How can you have that hope for yourself?
Paul gives us the answer to that question in this passage:
We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
How do you have that hope? How can you know for certain what lies beyond this life? By being in Jesus – by having your trust firmly placed in him.
Those who trust in Jesus can be sure that they’ll go to be with him when they pass from this life.
As I said earlier today is a day of both sadness and joy. It is a day when we ought to grieve the death of someone who was loved deeply by his family. It is a day when we grieve the death of a delightful person who was a part of this church for many years. But we do not grieve like those who have no hope. Today we can acknowledge the hope that there is in Jesus.
We acknowledge that this person was someone whose hope was in Jesus. We know that she is now in a better place because of that hope in Jesus. Our grief is mixed with joy and thankfulness because they are now with their Lord forever.
Luke Tattersall is minister at the Parramatta City Presbyterian Church, Sydney