April 10, 2009 § Leave a comment
Today I went to a memorial service for a brother and sister in Christ. I knew the brother, Tony, from our local church and the sister, Laura, from Bible college. The funeral was very well done and gospel centered. I found myself thinking during the service what the God ordained purpose of funerals is, so here are a few thoughts I came up with.
Funerals are for…
- Preaching the gospel. I am more convinced of this today than ever before. Many don’t look to the end of their life and consider want will truly happen to them. Funerals, like few other events, bring the realities of life and death right to our face. We are quickly and harshly presented with our own frail and momentary lives. There is other hope to give people than the hope of God in Christ.
- Exhorting believers. I found myself wanting to not waste my life. I wanted to love my wife better, love my kids better, love my neighbors better, to preach the gospel more, to forsake riches, to seek after the kingdom, to be faithful, and to press on until I see my master, and all these desires came will sitting in a funeral.
- Bring hope to families. Funerals are not for those that have died. As D.L. Moody said before, “Someday, you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody of East Northfield is dead. Don’t believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now!” Tony and Laura have seen their maker face to face and funerals remind us and give us surety of this fact.
- Making us want to go be with God. When the above point number 3 is successful, we should desire also to be with Christ, for it is far better to leave the body and to be with Christ. The primary reason that we should want to die and go to heaven is because God is there.
- Praising God for his gracious, merciful, and loving kindness towards sinners. Death is not the victor. Death has no power over the people of God. Rather God will deal with us people upon the merits of Christ alone.
To quote D.L. Moody again, on his dying bed he said this to his family, “I’m not discouraged. I want to live as long as I am useful, but when my work is done I want to be up and off.”