A funeral is a sad occasion. It’s meant to be an assembly of the living to mourn and honor a departed loved one. It can be difficult recounting memories, comforting those who knew their loved one best, and saying goodbye. But as Pastor Tim Keller says, “It’s not an ending at all; it’s the beginning of something new.”
John 14:1,6 (NIV) “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” Let us pray: Dear Lord, we praise you for the life of our beloved [name]. We thank you for their love and their joy in serving others. We thank you for the ways they lived out their faith through worship, prayer and study. Let us remember how much they loved this church family and how they were concerned about our spiritual well-being. We pray that we will continue to remember them as we go through this difficult time. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
Short Sermons for Funerals John 14;1,6
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
- God loves you.
- God is in control.
- God is your friend and cares about you. He wants what’s best for you, even when it seems like everything is going wrong or not working out the way that it should.
- Heaven is real and can be yours when you die if you follow God’s word (the Bible) and accept Jesus Christ as your savior before it’s too late! You’ll never have to worry about anything again because God will take care of everything for us! It’s a place of happiness where we will never have sadness or pain again!”
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
- Jesus is the only way to heaven.
- Jesus is the truth.
- Life comes from having faith in Jesus and believing in him for salvation. (John 3:16, Romans 10:9-10)
Jesus does not want any of us to perish, but he wants all of us to come home to heaven with him. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the only name given under heaven by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12). There are many ways people have tried to get around this teaching over time, but none of them can stand up against Scripture because they all contradict one another or ignore parts of Scripture that don’t fit their view at all (like Romans 10).
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.
- 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.
This is the promise that Jesus made to his disciples as he was preparing to ascend into Heaven. He tells them he will return one day with a mansion for each of them, and take them all back with him. This is a beautiful thought – going home with Jesus!
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
After Jesus has said all of this, He tells the disciples that if He goes away, He will be coming back for them. This is a reference to the second coming and the rapture.
At this point in history, most Christians believe that Jesus is going to come back for us at some point in time when we least expect it (just like you did when your spouse came home from work today). We don’t know when it will happen, but we’re ready when it does. This belief is based on Jesus promising His disciples that He would come back again after he rose from the dead.
The reason why most Christians believe this is because they understand what happens between now and then:
- The Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11–15) where all unbelievers will be judged by God and sent to hell forever;
- A thousand years of peace on earth called “the millenium” (Revelation 20:6);
- A new heaven and a new earth where God lives with people who have been saved from sin forever (Revelation 21).
Everyone can go to heaven when they die
Everyone can go to heaven when they die. For example, the thief on the cross and Paul both went to heaven after they died. Going to heaven or hell depends on your relationship with God. You can have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It is not what you do, but who you are that matters in this life (1 John 3). Your relationship with God is personal; it’s between you and him alone. A personal commitment must be made by each individual person before he dies because it’s too late after death for anyone else (Romans 4:4).
short powerful funeral sermons
During every funeral, I remind the audience that funeral sermons are for the living, not the dead. Words spoken in the hour of death can encourage the living to remain faithful to the Lord. After the first martyr gave his life for the Lord, Luke tells us that “devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him” (Acts 8:2).
Acts 9:36 tells us of Dorcas, a woman “full of good works and charitable deeds.” While at Joppa, she grew sick and died. The disciples washed her and placed her in an upper room. When Peter entered the room “all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them” (Acts 9:39). This godly woman was remembered what she left behind. Revelation 14:13 says our works will follow us. When you die, what will you leave behind?
“We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Tim. 6:7). Why do so many people get all wrapped up with “possessions”? Jesus asked, “What is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26).
What would you gain if you had the whole world? Whatever it is, it will not endure after the Judgment is passed (2 Peter 3:10).
What would you give in exchange for your soul? Whatever it may be, this is one transaction you will eternally regret. Judas sold his soul for 30 pieces of silver (Matt. 26:14-16)—some Christians will sell out for far less. Some will sell their soul for a few more minutes sleep on Sunday morning, or another hour of TV on Sunday night. Gospel preachers have been known to exchange their hope of eternal glory for the praise of men (2 Tim. 4:3).
When you die, all that your spouse will have left of you are memories and pictures. Don’t wait till your spouse dies to express your love. Flowers at the graveside might make you feel better, but your spouse could only have enjoyed them in life.
Among the many laws in the Pentateuch, Deuteronomy 24:5 is one of the most quaint. It says, “When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife, whom he has taken.” God intended for the home to be pleasant for both parties.
The Psalmist tells us our “children are a heritage from the Lord” (Psa. 127:3). How are you treating your “gift” from God?
You probably purchased life insurance so your spouse can meet the financial needs of your children in the event of your death—this is to be commended. In 1986 Christa McAuliffe died aboard the space shuttle Challenger. Some of her friends had purchased a $1 million life insurance policy for her children. But that money could not dry a single tear from her children’s eyes.
I am saddened by parents who get all wrapped up in material things so they can give their children “the best of everything.” My sons often drag me outside to play baseball (I hate baseball), but, I know they would rather spend 30 minutes with me than have a new bicycle.
What will your friends think when they read your obituary? Will they be surprised to find out you were a Christian? Will the reputation of the Lord’s church be harmed? Your death will affect them, for “none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself” (Rom. 14:7).
Sermon: Funeral Sermon for a Sudden, Unexpected Death – Mark 4
The Sea of Galilee is a sparkling jewel in the northern part of Israel. It is not large. It’s more like a lake than what we think of as a sea. Only thirteen miles in length, seven and one-half miles at its widest point, surrounded by hills, including the Golan Heights, it was the chief source of revenue for its fishermen, of pleasure, and of beauty for those who lived around its shores. Jesus made his headquarters here. Many of his miracles and much of his ministry took place here. He called the early band of brothers, his disciples, from this area.
Seeking a break from the demand of the excited crowds that had begun to follow him, Jesus took a boat, and with some of his disciples, drifted off for some rest and relaxation. But suddenly their leisure day was disrupted by a violent storm. This was not unusual. The sea is 680 feet below sea level, surrounded by hills that send the cool air from the heights of Mt. Hermon hurtling through their ravines that serve as giant wind tunnels to collide with the warm, moist air flowing east from the Mediterranean Sea. The result can produce a very dramatic storm. In that sudden storm, Jesus did an astounding thing. And in that we learn some things that counsel us in the light of the devastating experience that we seek to navigate through in these days.
I. No guarantee against the sudden
First of all, we are reminded that although the Sovereign of the universe is on the boat, it is no guarantee against the sudden—in this case, a sudden storm (v. 37). It has been the mistaken notion of many that if a person is a faithful follower of Jesus, he or she is protected from the troubles of life. Their children will be successful, sickness will never come their way, their financial ventures will always succeed, and disappointment will never knock at their door.
A quick look at some of the men and women who knew and served God in the Scripture will reveal the falsehood of this belief. Joseph went to prison. Job lost everything but his life. Jeremiah was put in prison. Paul had an affliction that plagued him all his life. All of the original disciples were martyred for their faith in Jesus, except one. And he was an exiled prisoner. Jesus never promised a “rose garden” tour of life. However, he did promise, “I am with you” (Matt. 28:20). It may be tough to be in a storm with Jesus, but imagine being in one without him.
II. It may appear God isn’t doing anything
Second, it may appear that in these sudden experiences of life that grieve us and threaten our sense of God’s nearness and care that God isn’t doing anything (v. 38). These experienced, veteran fishermen were thoroughly frightened. Their lives were on the line, yet Jesus appeared to be sleeping through the situation.
In life, things come at us that we cannot control. Some things come through the actions of other people, and some things in life are never explained. God seems to be silent when we long for a word. One theologian, in facing this dilemma, said that “sometimes the silence of God is God’s highest thought.” (Helmut Thielick, source unknown)
Like these hardy fishermen, we protest the seeming inaction of Jesus when he seems to be asleep at the wheel of our lives.
III. Fear can replace faith
Third, we can respond like Jesus’ disciples. Fear can replace faith. Jesus did hear their cries for help. He sprang into action. He spoke, and the winds ceased and the waves curled up around his feet like submissive tigers under the voice of their trainer. He then asked a penetrating question, “Why are you so afraid?” There are three words for fear in the language of the New Testament. Here Jesus used the one that is always used in a bad sense.
The men were deeply terrified. When fear comes, faith is removed. We live in a world with much to cause fear: the fear of terrorists, of illness, of losing our jobs, of being victimized by brutal criminals or white-collar fraud. Fear can immobilize us as it did Jesus’ companions. When fear knocks, we must send faith to answer the door. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7 KJV).
When the sudden comes in our lives, the Sovereign Savior is looking for us to look at him. They had seen Jesus do mighty things in recent days. They knew he had the power to heal the sick and cast out demons, but their faith trembled at this unexpected turn of events. In the light of his power and faithfulness in the past, Jesus asked, “Do you still have no faith?” (v. 40). Jesus challenges us to look deep within us and remember some things that can turn our pain, our grief, our questions, and our uncertainties into the beginning of healing in the face of this unanticipated event.
IV. Jesus hears our cries
We are to remember that although Jesus did not hear the howling storm, he heard his disciples’ cries. Much as a mother hears the cries of her baby and a shepherd hears the bleat of the sheep, so does Jesus hear our cries. “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear” (Isa. 59:1).
V. Sudden storms serve to turn us to Jesus
Sudden storms also serve to turn us to Jesus (v. 38). We can be so caught up in everything else in life that God is moved into the edges of our existence. It doesn’t happen quickly. But gradually the joy of knowing and serving him evaporates from our lives. Then the sudden storm hits. Before the storm we had forgotten what God looks like and now, in the storm, we turn to see him again.
VI. Storms don’t last forever
This story tells another helpful truth: storms don’t last forever. In certain localities in this country and the world, as on the Sea of Galilee, a storm can brew within a matter of minutes and hurl its fury in torrents of rain, lightning flashes, and thunder. Then it’s over. One minister said his favorite text was, “It shall come to pass” (Acts 2:17 KJV). So, too, will the turbulence through which we presently walk. The pain will linger, but its power will be softened.
VII. God will assist others
The Sovereign of the Sudden does something else in our storms. He will assist others—who see us coming through our assault—to be blessed in the storms they are facing. When Jesus’ boat started across the lake, “there were also other boats with him” (v. 36). They became survivors, too, because Jesus worked in the one and the overflow of protection encircled the others. People watch how we deal with our crises. Is God real in our lives? Is the faith we have practiced, sung about, and shared with others robust enough to take this blow?
A couple had prayed for a baby boy for years. God answered them after several childless years with a girl. A few years later, a boy arrived. But in his preschool years, he became violently ill one afternoon. He was immediately rushed to the hospital. The trauma team did their best. After a couple of hours, a doctor approached the mother with the news that the child’s condition was critical. He would either die, or be physically disabled for life if, by slim chance, he survived. He turned to walk away while family and friends stood in stunned silence.
Suddenly, the mother called the doctor to come back. She said, “Doctor, thank you for what you’ve done. This child belongs to God. We prayed for him. God gave him to us. We gave him back to God. If God takes him, he’s okay. If he leaves him, that’s okay. If he chooses to take him, we’re okay.” And they were. And “other boats” were heartened by their experience.
VIII. The sovereign of the sudden is in control
Finally, storms remind us that the Sovereign of the Sudden is in control (v. 41). The disciples were overwhelmed by what they had seen. They had a new fear: a reverential fear. They had seen Jesus, with a word, rebuke wind and waves. They were reminded that the Sovereign of the Sudden is in control when everything else seems to be totally out of control. That boat could not sink because God’s plan for the world was on it. Someone has said, “No water can swallow the ship where lies, the master of heaven, and earth, and skies.” (Mary A. Baker, “Peace Be Still,” 1941)
God’s plan and purpose for our loved one and for our lives are not subject to whims, accidents, circumstances, illnesses, and evil. God works through these to bring about his will. We stand on the assurance, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isa. 43:1–3).
David Watson was the dynamic pastor of the St. Michael’s Church in York, England. Large crowds filled the sanctuary week after week to hear him call them to faith and fellowship with Jesus. In the prime of his life, Watson was diagnosed with cancer. The people prayed, and he fought it. But, in the end, it ravaged his body and he went home to the Chief Bishop of his soul.
The following Sunday, a cherished friend was asked to lead in the worship and the communion service. When he stood to speak, emotion overcame him as he thought of the absence of his recently deceased friend. He wept, as did the grief-stricken congregation. Then someone thought about a phrase that David often used. Sometimes, even in the middle of a message, Watson would shout, “Our Lord reigns!” Quietly, but strong enough to be heard, he said, “Our Lord reigns.” Another picked it up. Then another joined them. Soon the packed sanctuary was filled with hundreds of voices, chanting together on their feet, “Our Lord reigns!” For minutes, it rocked the cavernous worship hall. Applause and cheering broke out.
Depression gave way to celebration. The Sovereign of the Sudden was, is, and always will be in charge. In our pain and sorrow, we stand on the everlasting truth, “Our Lord reigns!”
encouraging funeral sermons
A service of encouragement and thanksgiving for a life well lived. For a life cut short by illness.
Reading: 1 Peter 1:3-9
Don’t preach alone
….. was a great encourager. She would always have a word of encouragement for Rochelle and I in regards to how a service had gone. When I saw her last Saturday her words were again encouraging hoping that the service went well for us on Sunday. We celebrate her life today and the lesson, this short lesson from Peter’s first letter is intended to be an encouragement, for this is what I believe …. would have wanted.
The passage from Peter’s first letter that we have just heard, begins with praise to God, why?
Because in his great mercy he has given us an opportunity for new birth, a birth that is spiritual. We are reborn, in that we have a new understanding, a new spiritual understanding of this new living hope through the actions of Jesus as we come into faith, as we accept the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and as the Holy Spirit, God’s own Spirit now abides with us. We can now praise God, for he has given us an inheritance that will never perish, an inheritance that won’t fade or spoil – this awaits us in heaven.
This is what ….. knew, as a soldier of the Salvation Army this is knowledge she held fast to.
As Peter the writer of these words tells us. “That for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials”, we aren’t left in this place of suffering. Actually we are refined through trials in the same way Peter says as gold is refined, excepting that our faith is worth more, is of much greater worth than gold. It is through this refining of our faith that we come to understand who Jesus is and can praise him bringing glory and honour to his name.
….. knew that Jesus was her Lord, her Saviour.
As Christians we live in this place of being saved. We as Peter says have not seen Jesus; but we love him, and even though we do not see him now we believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible joy because of this love and knowledge.
Why because we know that we have been saved, we are saved and will be saved. We live in the knowledge of our inheritance as we have been born into a new and living hope. Today we celebrate the life of …… and we celebrate that she has journeyed from life through death to an inheritance that can never perish. Peter tells us this inheritance is kept for us in heaven.
Today while we mourn …..s passing, her Promotion to Glory, we celebrate that ….. is now with her Lord in the place he has prepared for her. For God in his great mercy has through Jesus made a way clear for us to enter into eternal life. Let us join in celebrating this as we sing a great song declaring God’s faithfulness and mercy, “Great is thy faithfulness.”
When Everything Falls ApartLuke 21:5-19
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