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Sermon No: 117484-Funeral service - Valerie Heggie



Gavin-Paynter/Funeral-service-Valerie-Heggie.jpg

SERMON TOPIC: Funeral service - Valerie Heggie

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 15 October 2021

Topic Groups: FUNERAL, DEATH, SALVATION

Sermon synopsis: People generally don’t like to think about death, so funerals also give us a chance to reflect on our own mortality. Benjamin Franklin famously said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Now while some might have managed to evade the taxman, statistically one out of every one of us dies. There is nothing more certain than death, nothing more uncertain than the time of dying. You must therefore be prepared at all times for that which may come at any time.
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In loving memory of Valerie Heggie

(27 March 1937 – 7 October 2021)

THE CERTAINTY OF DEATH

People generally don’t like to think about death, so funerals also give us a chance to reflect on our own mortality.

Benjamin Franklin famously said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” 1

Now while some might have managed to evade the taxman, statistically one out of every one of us dies.

There is nothing more certain than death, nothing more uncertain than the time of dying. You must therefore be prepared at all times for that which may come at any time.

1 Re-printed in The Works of Benjamin Franklin, 1817

THE CERTAINTY OF DEATH

Every day over 146,000 people will take their final breath and slip into eternity, either into heaven or into hell. Although most of their lives may never have made headlines, the reality of death happens every day.

Current death rate in the world:

8 deaths per 1,000 population per year

53.4 million people die each year

146,357 people die each day

6098 people die each hour

102 people die each minute

almost 2 people die each second 1

1 wholesomewords.org/missions/greatc.html

REMEMBER MAN, AS YOU WALK BY AS YOU ARE NOW, SO ONCE WAS I, AS I AM NOW, SO YOU SHALL BE, REMEMBER THIS AND FOLLOW ME.

TO FOLLOW YOU I’LL NOT CONSENT, UNTIL I KNOW WHICH WAY YOU WENT.

THE CERTAINTY OF DEATH

Inscribed on a tombstone in a cemetery in England were the words:

To which someone replied by writing on the tombstone:

AN APPOINTMENT

Heb 9:27 (NIV) Just as man is destined to die once…

(NKJV) And as it is appointed for men to die once…

THE CERTAINTY OF DEATH

Death is not part of what God intended for mankind – it is the judgement of God on sin.

Gen 3:19 (NIV) By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.

THE BIBLE SPEAKS OF OUR BODY AS BEING A TENT

2 Cor 5:1 (NIV) Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

2 Pet 1:13-14 (NIV) I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.

Now a tent is just a temporary living place – not a permanent home!

CERTAINTY OF JUDGMENT

Not only is death a certainty, but so is God’s judgment:

Heb 9:27 (NIV) Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.

ARE YOU PREPARED?

People make all sorts of preparations when they go on a journey.

But there is a final journey we are all destined to take and many people fail to prepare for that journey.

Luke 12:19-20 (NIV) And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

Cesare Borgia (1476-1507) was the illegitimate son of the notorious Pope Alexander VI and his mistress. He was feared by his own father and murdered those who stood in his way. He is believed by some to have murdered his brother. One of his enemies, Astorre III Manfredi was drowned in the Tiber river by Cesare’s order.

Killed in battle at age 31, Cesare’s dying words were: “I have taken care of everything in the course of my life, only not for death, and now I have to die completely unprepared.” 1

1 www. thewordteaches.com

ARE YOU PREPARED FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH?

It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our last day. Christians must live their lives packed up and ready to go.

Jesus spoke of a PREPARED PLACE for a PREPARED PEOPLE:

John 14:1-2 (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.”

But he also spoke of a PREPARED PLACE for an UNPREPARED PEOPLE:

Matt 25:41 (NIV) “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’”

ARE YOU PREPARED FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH?

The story is told of a man who happened to find Aladdin’s magic lamp. On rubbing the lamp, a genie appeared and granted him one wish.

So he asked for a newspaper exactly a year into the future. Upon receiving the newspaper, he turned to the section listing stock prices. His plan was to buy stocks that would gain value and thereby become a millionaire.

Browsing through the paper, he was very pleased about his sudden turn of luck.

READING YOUR OBITUARY

However, he was soon shocked to find his name in the death notices of the newspaper’s obituary. Suddenly he was no longer interested in the share prices.

People make so many plans, while being unaware of their approaching date with death.

James 4:13-14 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

READING YOUR OBITUARY

Toward the end of the 19th century, there was an obituary in a newspaper for the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel (1801-1872): “Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, who died yesterday, devised a way for more people to be killed in a war than ever before, and he died a very rich man.”

There was only one problem, Alfred Nobel had not died! 

READING YOUR OBITUARY

 Actually, it was his older brother who had died, but a newspaper reporter had somehow gotten it wrong. And so Alfred Nobel was one of the few people who got to read his own obituary. This incident had a profound effect on him and he decided he wanted to be known for something other than developing the means to kill people efficiently and for amassing a fortune in the process. So he initiated the Nobel Peace Prize, the award for scientists and writers who foster peace.

Nobel said, “Every man ought to have the chance to correct his epitaph in midstream and write a new one.” 1

Live in such a way that when death comes the mourners will outnumber the cheering section.

1 www.churchchrist.net/Sermons/Death.htm

WHAT’S IMPORTANT

So while funerals aren’t something we enjoy, they do give us a chance to reflect on what is really important in life.

And as Alfred Nobel learnt, simply accumulating wealth and possessions is not what is important.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal… (Matt 6:19-20 NASB)

WHAT’S IMPORTANT

I’ve seen many a hearse - never one with a trailer behind it.

Job said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.” (Job 1:21, NIV)

1 Tim 6:7 (NIV) For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

ONE OF THE WORLD’S RICHEST MEN

One of the world’s richest men in the world is Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation. His current net worth is $131 billion (almost R2 trillion).

If he worked 16 hours a day, every day of the year, Bill would make almost R135 million per hour. That’s more than most people make in their life. He earns about R2.2 million per minute, which is almost R38k a second. He makes more in a second than most people do in a month.

But all the wealth of Bill Gates is less than the value of your soul.

In fact, all the wealth in the world is not worth the price of your soul!

Matt 16:26 (NIV) What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

THE VALUE OF A SOUL

Your soul is the most valuable possession you have.

More valuable than the body – because it is eternal.

Matt 10:28 (NIV) Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.

It is more valuable than the whole world (Matt 16:26).

The value of your soul is measured by Satan’s interest in it. He is after your soul.

The value of your soul can be measured by God’s concern for saving your soul. God is “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Pet 3:9).

WHERE IS YOUR STING?

As a result of God’s judgement on sin “all their lives” those who don’t know the Lord are “held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Heb 2:15)

In 1 Cor 15:26 the Bible speaks of death as “the last enemy”. And it says that death has a sting – but the sting is only for those who die in their sin:

1 Cor 15:56 The sting of death is sin…

WHERE IS YOUR STING?

For the child of God death loses its sting:

1 Cor 15:54-55 (NIV) When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

WHERE IS YOUR STING?

The agnostic, Colonel Robert Green Ingersoll (1833–1899) , when standing at the grave of his brother, said “Life is a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the height. We cry aloud, and the only answer is the echo of our wailing cry. From the voiceless lips of the unreplying dead there comes no word.”

On his deathbed Ingersoll is reputed to have cried, “Oh God, if there be a God, save my soul if I have a soul.” 1

1 www.bibleweb.com

Contrast that with Ingersoll’s contemporary, the famous 19th century evangelist, D.L. Moody, who said, “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.”

WHERE IS YOUR STING?

WHERE IS YOUR STING?

No Christian has ever been known to recant on his deathbed.

The apostle Paul said of death: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain”. (Phil 1:21)

So death has no sting for the child of God.

But not all are children of God!

How can I become a child of God? By being born into his family.

John 1:12 (NIV) Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--

Then we can face death like the Apostle Paul, who said:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Tim 4:6-8, NIV)

WHERE IS YOUR STING?

Death is not something for the child of God to fear:

Heb 2:14-15 (NIV) Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death - that is, the devil - and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

1 Thess 4:13,16 (NIV) Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope…For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

WHERE IS YOUR STING?

A NEW BEGINNING

Henry Scott Holland:

“I am standing on the seashore. A ship spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean. I stand watching her until she fades on the horizon, and someone at my side says, ‘She is gone.’ Gone where?

“The loss of sight is in me, not in her. Just at the moment when someone says, ‘She is gone,’ there are others who are watching her coming. Other voices take up the glad shout, ‘Here she comes,’ and that is dying.”

ETERNAL LIFE

Those who put their faith in Jesus have been promised eternal life!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

ETERNAL LIFE

Our hope of eternal life is based on the authority of the Son of God, who raised people from the dead – and who himself came back from the dead. Just before he raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus said:

I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die… [John 11:25-26]

ETERNAL LIFE

The following is a quotation from the words of Dr. W. B. Hinson, speaking from the pulpit a year after the commencement of the illness from which he ultimately died:

“I remember a year ago when a doctor in this city said, ‘You are going to die, Walt.’ I walked out to where I live, five miles out of this city, and I looked across at that mountain that I love, and I looked at the river in which I rejoice, and I looked at the stately trees that are always God’s own poetry to my soul.

ETERNAL LIFE

 “Then in the evening I looked up into the great sky where God was lighting his lamps, and I said: ‘I may not see you many more times, but, Mountain, I shall be alive when you are gone; and, River, I shall be alive when you cease running toward the sea; and, Stars, I shall be alive when you have fallen from your sockets in the great down-pulling of the material universe!’”

This is the confidence of one who knew Jesus. Is it yours?

COMMITTAL

It has pleased Almighty God to take from this world the soul of Valerie Heggie. We now commit her body to the grave; ashes to ashes, dust to dust in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life for all who trust in Christ, who will change our frail and mortal bodies to be like his glorious resurrection body, according to his mighty power by which he is able to transform all things.

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they will rest from their labour. (Rev 14:13) ------- AMEN!

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. ( Lockman.org)

Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV: Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




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