Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Funeral Service June 9th 2009.

James 4.14 “…For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

The Bible asks us a very serious question – “what is your life” – and answers it in an equally serious way – “it is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away.”
One may be rich or poor, good or villainous, popular or unknown, successful or failed, live a long life or never live beyond the warmth of the cradle, but regardless of the stature of any life – it will soon vanish and pass away. The richest and longest life, when compared to the scope and weight of eternity, is only a vapor. The Bible in no uncertain terms teaches us that our lives are fleeting and the most important thing is to be prepared to face God. When we leave this life and enter into the realm of eternity – the most pressing question will be, “are you prepared to face and be judged by God.” The vastness of eternity will dwarf the fullest life; and you can fill this life with all of the pleasures and pursuits that a person could, yet, in the end, this life will fade away and eternity will stare each of us in the face.
Knowing the brevity of life as we do so keenly today I want to share with you the most important truth in all of this life and the next to come.
In the beginning of time God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the beautiful paradise of God here on this earth. Every good thing was provided for their pleasure and fellowship with God. God commanded only one thing: “don’t eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” All of God’s love and blessings were at hand and God only commanded one rule to be kept. To break this rule meant death. Yet, despite the goodness and severity of God, Adam & Eve sinned against God and ate of the fruit of the forbidden tree. That very moment something happened to mankind: man became sinful. Because of Adam’s sin every man and woman since Adam has been born into this world stained and corrupted in their souls by sin. Mankind sins in actions, attitude and aptitude. Mankind is corrupted and desperately wicked. And let us be careful not to be ambiguous when we say – mankind. You and I here today are sinners before a holy God. We are unable to keep God’s law and we are unable to measure up to God’s demands. Therefore we are separated from God and condemned to the judgment of God in the Lake of Fire. You may be here this morning and be religious, good, kind, charitable and an all around good person – but in the sight of God – our best is as filthy and corrupted rags. We are sinners; and the penalty for sin is death. It is death physically and death spiritually. Lost and undone mankind finds he is groping through life, rebellious and an enemy to the one that loves him.
But in the midst of this condemnation and curse of sin God gave a promise of redemption to Adam & Eve – and consequently humanity. God hung two coats of animal skins on Adam and Eve signifying that only through a blood sacrifice could sinful man have fellowship and forgiveness with Holy God. Throughout all the Old Testament countless thousands of animal sacrifices were given, all pointing to the day when the one perfect sacrifice would come to take away the sin of the world. That perfect sacrifice is Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Christ came to seek and to save the lost. Many of you here are familiar with the story how that Jesus was arrested, accused and wrongly sentenced to death. Christ was whipped without mercy, beaten, stripped naked and nailed to the cross. The physical suffering was unimaginable, yet that paled in comparison to the spiritual suffering Christ endured. There on Calvary Jesus Christ bore in his body the wrath of God against sin. All of the crushing weight, all of the terror of an angry God and the entire just penalty for sin due unto us – Jesus took into his soul: “…thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin.” There on Calvary Christ paid for the sins of the people and yielded his life as the only and complete sacrifice for sin. If our story ended there I would have nothing to preach and nothing to believe, but the story does not end there. Three days later Jesus Christ arose from the dead a living loving Savior able to save any that come to him. Christ ascended back into Heaven and for 2000 years the gospel has been proclaimed to all: “….come and take of the water of life freely.” Forgiveness of sins, escape from the wrath of God, peace and hope and fellowship with the Lord is through faith in the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
That is the Gospel! But please hear me very closely. Knowing the Gospel is not the same as being Saved. One may know the Gospel completely and entirely and yet die and be lost in hell forever. Allow me to illustrate what I mean. Suppose with me that I am in the Gulf of Mexico drowning. I could know a great deal about life vests. I could know how they are made, what they are made of, what their purpose it – in fact I could strongly support the cause of life vests and even have given my allegiance to life vests, go to meetings about life vests and even sing songs about life vests. None of that, however, is going to save me. Only having the life vest on will save me.
My dear friends gathered here today in such sorrowful times. Because of our sins we are drowning and lost on the sea. It is having Christ as your Savior alone that will save you from the overwhelming waves and billows of God’s wrath. Do you have Christ: “he that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son hath not life.” Is Christ your Savior, your Lord and your all? Without a saving experience in Jesus Christ you are forever lost regardless of how much you know about Jesus. If God were to unfurl the realm of eternity before our eyes we would hear one constant plea: “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.” From the sinister depths of hell to the glorious heights of heaven, men and angels alike would echo in our ears pleading with us to flee to Christ, to repent and to trust in Jesus Christ and his blood alone for forgiveness. Today, if Mr. - - could speak he would likewise tell you eternity is real, heaven and hell are real, life is a vapor quickly passing away. Seek Christ as your Savior and cross the great divide with peace and joy.
I stand today as a messenger of God. Christ Jesus loves you; Christ Jesus has died for you and has made a way of hope and forgiveness. Flee to the one who loves you enough to die for you. Flee to him in your heart and plead to Christ: “….be merciful to me a sinner.” I can assure you on the very Word of God that there is a loving Savior who will come to you, heal your sins, forgive you and give you peace with God. For Mr. - - his choices have been made and his soul’s destiny has been sealed. He stands now in the hands of God. Yours, however, has not. Today is the day of salvation; today is the day of Christ’s love made open for you. Let us pray.