Last Saturday my wife and I were at a wedding Today we are at a funeral. Nothing bring families together like weddings and funerals At a wedding we celebrate the decision of two individuals to die to their single, selfish, existence and become a couple At a Christian funeral we gather because the physical body of a person has died And this has to happen in order for them to receive a spiritual everlasting body And if we know the promises of God we can celebrate Because the Bible teaches that Christ is the Bridegroom and the Church – those who believe in him are the bride. When they meet in heaven there is a marriage feast.
My Dad was looking forward to that marriage feast. It is called the marriage banquet of the lamb. And I believe he is celebrating it now. That is why Christian weddings and funerals are both times of celebration
UNBELIEF AND THE STING OF DEATH
We are not like those who do not have a hope
We are not like those people who think this life is all there is
If this life is all that exists, then how miserable and tragic death is
But if this life is only a preparation for somthing more wonderful and beautiful
Then we can indeed take comfort and rejoice that a dear husband, father and friend is now receiving the reward he worked so hard for.
In 1 Cor 15, it talks of the sting of death being sin
And in John 16, Jesus said sin is not to believe in him.
So the sting of death comes because we do not believe the words and promises of Jesus.
But if we believe him then death has lost it sting.
The unbeliever can only enjoy what they see and feel
The only comfort in life for a humanist is human touch
So death is devastating
COMFORT AND GRATITUDE
But the Bible says, surely he (Christ) has born our griefs and carried our sorrows
Dad loved that verse. It comforted him and it comforts us.
Certainly, as a pioneer, restoring truth to the church he knew rejection and he also knew the pain of loss. But he believed that Christ took our pain so that we don’t have to hold onto it. And he helped many people to grasp that message and experience it’s power. We are thankful and honor him for that.
And before I share what I think my Father would want you to know today on this occassion, I want to two invite two friends, brothers, sons to share how Dad helped them.
One of them, Alex stands for the many people in different countries that Dad invested into as a counsellor and friend.
The second person Donay, stands for the voices of people who had just a brief but all the more significant encounter with Albert.
Testimonies of ALEX and DONAY below
THROUGH A GLASS DIMLY
Thank you so much guys, I said weddings and funerals bring families together and at weddings we often read Corinthians Ch 13
Love is patient and kind, it is not envious or proud, and so on …
It is actually a passage about spiritual gifts in the church, things that Albert believed in and practiced, like speaking in tongues or healing
And that passage concludes by saying that this life is like looking through a very bad pair of glasses, The image is not clear, it is dim or out of focus,
But the point of the passage is that one day after this life ends,
we will see God face to face.
So at this funeral today we are celebrating the fact that Dad, Albert now sees God face to face, without the need for glasses.
When my Dad was born, there were no vari-focal lenses or contact lenses
There were no computers, faxes, email or digital cameras. Technology has changed so much about how we communicate and share knowledge. For some people Google has replaced god. Goggle is everywhere and knows everything.
But is still, just a bad pair of glasses.
o matter how far we go with technology
No matter how much information we have.
It will all come to an end.
JUDGEMENT – 2 QUESTIONS
One day we will see God and see him clearly.
What happens then?
The Bible clearly indicates that after death we face judgement.
The first question will be, did we believe in Christ
and receive his forgiveness.
That will determine WHERE we spend eternity.
There is a heaven and a hell – and you can choose where to go
If you choose Christ – you can be in heaven with him forever
If you reject Christ, you will be rejected by his Father
and hell is the place of eternal rejection
You cannot enter the loving presence of God because you think are a good person
The smallest sin, the smallest amount of rebellion or pride is enough to pollute your life and make your spirit and soul unacceptable to God
That is why you have to use the days you are given in this life to
respond to the love of God, to accept his forgiveness
And learn to walk in relationship with him.
That is the only way that you can be accepted into heaven
The second question will be HOW you spend eternity?
Jesus said do not store your treasure on earth
But store your treasure in Heaven
In the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats we see that we will also be judged according to what we did for the poor and needy family of God.
Did we invest just in ourselves, in jewellry, hobbies, clothes, holidays?
Or did we invest in the poor?
Did we clothe the naked, feed the hungry and visit those in prison?
Finally we will be judged on our faithfulness with the gifts and talents we have been given and that will determine what levels of responsibility we will have to rule and reign with Christ in the new heaven and new earth, which God will one day create.
Albert was always keen to explain the offer of salvation and of eternal life.
He was always humble in his own spending so he could be generous with others
And he was faithful in using the gifts he was given to lead people out of bondage.
Albert was not perfect
He knew that he needed the forgiveness of Christ
He was certain of the foundations of his faith
But as Donay shared he was always hungry to learn
And he never tired of serving
In this he was an example to us all.
What about you?
Do you know for certain that your sins are forgiven?
Have you chosen to die to yourself and live now for Christ?
Do you desire to know God in this life
and do long to see him when your time comes?
My father is now at the marriage of the lamb
You can be confident of being at that marriage feast
And it is very simple
We can talk to Jesus … and offer him our sins and accept his forgiveness today.
Forgiveness exercise and prayers