This was a funeral address I preached for a friend, who’s mother died. My friend and I worked together on the address which I preached to a packed church.
Let us hear the Word of LORD. Ecclesiastes 7:1-4
A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one’s birth; Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
So speaks the writer of Ecclesiastes, the wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon. Believe it or not dear friends, there is deep instruction to be found at a funeral service and we would do well to consider the things we see and hear. We gather together to remember our dear departed loved ones. We meet old friends and enjoy their company once again. We reminisce about the past and chat about old times. But more importantly, a funeral service reminds us that one day we too will surely die. That one day our lives must come to an end. That one day our very souls will be required of us. It should make us think about God and eternity and the life to come. A funeral reminds us that we all have an immortal soul. It reminds us that we must all face an eternal destiny. It reminds us that we have a salvation to gain or a salvation to lose. Everlasting life through our Lord Jesus Christ, or eternal damnation without Him. With death approaching and eternity looming and the great and terrible Judgement of God hastening upon us, the wise man will examine his ways before the Lord and consider his latter end. For it is written: As I live, says the LORD, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. (Romans 14:11-12). A funeral service is an opportunity to hear the good news of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. The great work of atonement on the Cross, bringing redemption and salvation to lost sinners who put their trust in Him.
Let me read some famous words of Scripture from Ecclesiastes chapter 3:
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. The writer of this portion of Scripture points to the cycle of life. The fact that God has appointed a time for events to take place. More importantly, God has appointed a time that each and every one of us will stand before Him to give an account of our lives. The Bible says, itis appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27). Notice how the Bible warns us that death is not the end. After this we stand before the Judgement seat of God. Friends, let us give heed to the Word of the Lord today because It is a fearful thing to fallinto the hand of the living God (Hebrew 10:31). We must be washed, we must be sanctified, we must be justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. We must be made right for Heaven. We must be converted. We must be born again.
The Lord Jesus Christ said, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Doyou believe this? (John 11:25-26). The Saviour of sinners said that if you repent and believe in Him for salvation then you will be forgiven of all sins. So when you stand before God on Judgement Day you will be declared innocent.
This is due to Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. Nearly 2000 years ago Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, shed His blood for sinners. He took the place of guilty sinners and paid the penalty in our stead. Sin is the transgression of the Law of God. If you have ever lied, or stolen, or coveted, or even used God’s name in vain, then you have violated God’s Law. You must be pardoned and forgiven and reconciled to a holy, righteous Judge, through faith in His Son.
The Bible says, For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carrynothing out (1 Timothy 6:7). We can spend our whole lives caring about possessions and money and many other things that we cannot take with us to the grave. Christ said, For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:36-37). The most valuable thing you possess is your soul. Your soul is worth more than gold, more than earthly riches and much more than anything you can earn. Today is the time to have your soul cleansed in Christ. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord. (Job 1:21). God has taken Pam from this world and to the next. Today is not just a day to celebrate her life and the wonderful impact that she made on our lives, but today is a reminder that one day God is going to take us all from this life. Time is running out, dear friends. We do not know the day or the hour that God has appointed.
A searching inscription on an old gravestone says this:
Remember Man, as you pass by,As you are now, so once was I,As I am now, so you shall be,Prepare yourself to follow me.
This inscription reminds us to Prepare to meet thy God. (Amos 4:12). You do not know what will happen tomorrow. You do not know what a day may bring forth. The time of your departure may soon be at hand. It may be closer than you think. For what is your life but a vapour that appears for a little while and then vanishes away a tale that is soon told.
It is time to seek the Lord while He may be found and call upon Him while He is near. It is my express prayer and hope that you can say, like the Apostle Paul, O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thyvictory? (1 Corinthians 15:55).
The Bible continues, The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanksbe to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
You also can have the same victory over sin and death. If you trust in Christ alone for salvation, you will have the victory over sin and death and Hell. Dear friends, let me address you in all affection about your soul. Where do you stand before the Lord today? Are you ready to meet your Maker? Are you prepared to meet your God? Is your iniquity forgiven and your sin pardoned? Are you sure of Heaven? Is your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life?
Pam has sadly left us. She has gone to meet her Maker. She has gone to meet her Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Heaven and earth, the Judge of the living and the dead. But your turn will come. My turn will come. A few more years at most and you will have gone to your long home.
None of us are getting any younger dear friends. Our grey hairs remind us that we are getting near to the end. Our failing faculties remind us that our bodies are fast decaying. That we are but dust and will one day return to dust. For dust you are and to dust you will return, says the Lord. And when we start to lose our friends and contemporaries, we know very well that our time is nearly up. Our lives are drawing to a close.
We need to turn our hearts to God. For without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligentlyseek Him. (Hebrew 11:6).
Some of you here today, stand at the very brink of eternity. You are tottering to the grave and drawing near to the Day of Judgement. You will soon be lying at death’s door, hovering between Heaven and Hell, and then you will be gone. Will you depart and be with Christ which is better by far? Will you be absent from the body and present with the Lord? Will you go to Heaven?
You need to heed the words of Prophet Isaiah to King Hezekiah, Thus says the LORD, Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live. The unbeliever has no hope in his death. The unbeliever has no answer to death.
A man must look to his Maker. There is only one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. There is only one Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. There is only one Saviour, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Only He can forgive your sin and pardon your iniquity. Only He can deliver you from the wrath to come. Only He can save your soul. His name is JESUS, and He will save His people from their sins. Let us all trust in Him today. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
May God bless the reading of His Holy Word. Amen.