O Lord, you who are the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort; look with compassion, we pray, upon all gathered here now, that our minds and hearts shall be at your command. Grant that this service of comfort, which we now hold in your name, may bring to all a sense of heavenly nearness and great trust in you. And may the peace of Christ, even the peace that passes all understanding, abide with us and rest upon all these dear ones. We pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
1. The family would have me to thank all of you for the beautiful flowers, food, the warm handshakes and sympathetic statements of the last few days.
2. The love ones are thankful for the close family and friends.
3. Purpose of funeral:
I. PAY TRIBUTE OF RESPECT FOR LOVED ONE.
A. In reality no one can preach our funeral; we preach our own funerals while we live.
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. (KJV)
B. Our departed loved one will always be a part of those lives, which he touched.
For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. (KJV)
1. You are a different person as a result of this loved one's life.
2. His life will continue to speak meaningful things to those he touched as long as they live.
3. This loved one has become a part of each of you; he will always live on in your memories. It's like watching an instant replay on video.
4. I know that there are many things that you haven't even thought of in the last few days that will eventually come to mind and will become a living memorial to this loved one as long as you live.
C. This loved one will always be a part of those lives, which he/she touched. We actually respond to people different than we think. People become a part of us. Two things influence men more than anything else, the books we read and the people we meet.
II. COMFORT FAMILY.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (KJV)
A. Regardless of how deep our personal faith in God and His providence, the death of a loved one makes each one of us feel keenly the personal loss.
There is a sense of an aching void as we think of one that we loved who is gone. We miss the companionship of our loved ones and our grief is deeply personal.
B. The comfort of friends and loved ones.
1. In times of loneliness and sorrow the presence of friends and loved ones can be so meaningful. Certain strength comes by the close, personal presence of those who are dear to us.
2. Support and sympathy of friends are a wonderful source of strength. Because we all belong to the great fellowship of Jesus Christ we are able to encourage and strengthen one another.
3. There is something very beautiful at the time of our personal grief about the many expressions of sympathy, and the many small acts of kindness which those who are friends, relatives, and brethren in Christ do for us and thereby show they care.
4. This family today can sense in the many expressions of kindness and thoughtfulness such care and sympathy being displayed and they are grateful.
C. Time a great comforter.
1. God has mercifully provided that the deep wound we initially feel when our loved ones leave us can be somewhat healed through the passing of the days, the months, and the years. This is not to say that our grief is not genuine and deep.
2. Time can help us to recover from the shock and to try to face our own task in life with the spirit and devotion that God would approve.
3. Instead of filling our todays with longing looks to yesterdays God wants us to move eagerly forward toward new tomorrows.
4. Time can heal a broken heart
D. God our Supreme comforter.
1. Whatever friends and loved ones may do or time may bring, God is our supreme source of comfort. To those who are cast down He comes to lift up our drooping spirits. He calls upon us to find refuge in Him.
Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise; (KJV)
2. Through Jesus Christ God has expressed to us in this Christian age His great strength.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (KJV)
E. God also gives us an avenue of comfort in allowing us to draw confidently near to the throne of His grace to receive mercy and grace to sustain us in our present need.
1. Prayer is an open door into the presence of the Almighty.
2. We find ourselves so often drawn there when we have needs to express to a Father who cares for us and who has shown how much He cares.
III. DEATH IS A REMINDER.
A. Value of mourning. The Bible teaches that we must have sober thoughts about life and death.
A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth. (NIV)
It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. (NIV)
Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. (NIV)
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure. (NIV)
It is better to heed a wise man's rebuke than to listen to the song of fools. (NIV)
A fable is told of a Bagdad merchant who sent his servant to the market to pick up some goods for him. While the servant was making the purchases in the market place he found himself face to face with Death! In great fear he returned to his master and told him that Death had given him a menacing look and that he must have a horse so he could escape to Samara, a city some distance away. The master quickly gave his servant a horse, then went to the market place to find Death. When he found him he asked, "Why did you give my servant a menacing look?" Death replied, "I wasn't looking at him menacingly, I was merely surprised to see him here in Bagdad; for, you see, I have an appointment with him tonight in samara."
B. Funerals remind us that death is very near to all of us. David said in the long ago:
1 Samuel 20:3
Yet as surely as the LORD lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death." (NIV)
It is a step that all must take.
C. Funerals force us to reflect on life's true value.
"Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.
Born without consent
Life full of trouble
Dies against his will.
Life is certain and death is for sure.
D. Four facts we hate to face:
1. We are growing old
2. We reap what we sow
3. We must die
4. There is a judgement
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, NIV)
1 Corinthians 4:3-4
I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. my conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. (NIV)
E. Physical death should impress us with the finality of eternal death.
1. Death will one day be destroyed.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (NIV)
1 Corinthians 15:26
The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (NIV)
For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. (NIV)
John Milton "Death is the golden key that opens the palace of eternity.
1 Corinthians 15:21-22
For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (NIV)
Dear God we ask you to heal the broken in heart and bind up their wounds; Mercifully look upon those who are at this time bereaved. Be near them in their sorrow, and let their sorrow draw them nearer unto you. Now that earthly joys and comfort fail, may the things unseen and eternal grow more real, more present, more full of meaning and power. Let your strength sustain their weakness; and your peace fill their minds with perfect trust in you; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
At Grave Side
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah (NIV)
"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out-- those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (NIV)
Dear God, as we stand beside this open grave, in this silent city of the dead, we commit this body to the ground, and we commit the spirit, together with every sacred interest of our hearts, into your keeping, praying that you will deal graciously and mercifully with each of us, until we too shall come to our final resting place, through the riches of grace in Jesus our Lord. Amen