Sunday service, Erlo Stegen, 22 May 2016
(Also the funeral of John Powys)
15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
There was a very beautiful, gifted girl. She was her parents favorite child. At university she also excelled and was eventually chosen as the beauty queen of the university. She contacted her parents and told them and they were very proud of her and got her the best dress for the evening when she would be crowned. The evening went very well and eventually her parents left for home while she still carried on with the party. They were barely home when the telephone rang from the hospital to tell them that their daughter were in a terrible accident on her way home. When they arrived at the hospital she was on the verge of death. She told her mother, “mother you taught me how to dress, how to pour a glass of wine, how to light a cigarette, but you never taught me how to die”. Her mother was speechless. And shortly thereafter she passed away, while her mother stood by but couldn’t help her.
Death is wonderful to those who are right with God, but terrible to those who are not right with God.
John had said that he wanted his funeral to be like a wedding celebration.
Death for a child of the Lord is not fatal, it is not final. Those who die in Christ are not dead, they are more alive than we are now.
When Lazarus died Jesus spoke to Martha in John 11:25-27, “25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.””
Example of DL Moody. He said to his friend, “Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now; I shall have gone up higher, that is all, out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal- a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body.
I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever.” He lived expecting the return of the Lord at any moment. When he preached, he always reminded himself that Jesus might return before he ended the service.
On his deathbed he said, “Earth recedes. Heaven opens before me. If this is death, it is sweet! There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go. This is my triumph; this is my coronation day! It is glorious!”. He died 22 December 1899 in victory.
It would be good if each one of us check our lives in the light of eternity. Are you ready to die even if death should come unexpectedly. Will death be gain to you? Has everything in your past been put in order, and no stone left unturned? Let’s not leave without being sure of this. No one can afford not to be right with God. He can come to anyone at anytime.
Death is something everyone has to reckon with. It says that it’s appointed for man once to die and afterwards the judgement (Heb 9:27). God had appointed a day for you to die. You might think it’s still far away and then it could be today.
Do you know what it means to meet with Jesus? He will tell you everything you had ever done, like He did with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:29). And when He reveals your life to you, make sure that you confess and forsake everything that He shows to you that is not right in His eyes.
Death to a Christian is gain because Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life.
KwaSizabantu Choir: KUHLUKUPHILA
KwaSizabantu Choir: O Heer U goedheid