Nick Memorial Service.
Restore by Bob Benson.
When life caves in, you do not need reasons, you need comfort. You do not need some answers; you need someone. And Jesus does not come to us with an explanation; he comes to us with his presence. We are seeking the reason. We want to know why. Like Job, we finally want God to tell us just what is going on…
But God does not reveal his plan, he reveals himself. He comes as warmth when we are cold, fellowship when we are alone, strength when we are weak, peace when we are troubled, courage when we are afraid, songs when we are sad, and bread when we are hungry.
He is with us on our journeys. He is there when we are at home. He sits with us at our table. He knows about funerals and weddings and commencements and hospitals and jails and unemployment and labour and laughter and rest and tears. He knows because he is with us. He comes to us again and again.
Different perspectives on death.
Mans perspective on death.
So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labour under the sun. For a person may labour with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune.
All share a common destiny the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not.
As it is with the good, so with the sinful; as it is with those who take oaths, so with those who are afraid to take them.
This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead. Anyone who is among the living has hope even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!
God’s perspective on death.
Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful servants.
Paul’s perspective on death.
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.
2 Corinthians 5:1-9.
For 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. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
Poem by Elizabeth Kubler Ross.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D.
a Swiss American psychiatrist, a pioneer in near-death studies and the author of the groundbreaking book On Death and Dying, where she first discussed her theory of the five stages of grief. (Wikipedia)
“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”
Christians should not be afraid of death.
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of 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.
In fact the Christian walk starts with a burial.
Having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
Galatians 2:20. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
John 11:17-26 (Jesus wept)
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. Lord, Martha said to Jesus, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask. Jesus said to her, Your brother will rise again. Martha answered, I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?
Then the Jews said, See how he loved him! But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying? Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. Take away the stone, he said. But, Lord, said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days.
Then Jesus said, Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God? So they took away the stone.
Then Jesus looked up and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me. When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out! The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, Take off the grave clothes and let him go.
Why did Jesus weep?
I have heard different ministers speak on this passage and I know we can extract different truths from the same passage, but my persuasion is that Jesus wept not because Lazarus died (He was going to raise him to life and had purposely delayed coming until he had been dead for 3 days)
I believe that Jesus wept because they did not see beyond the grave.
Although we grieve at the death of a child of God, we do not grieve like the rest of men who have no hope.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
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 we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 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. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Been “Born Again”
There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do except God is with him.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”
Born of water.
Contrary to what some teach, born of water is not a reference to “Water Baptism,” Jesus in this context was answering Nicodemus regarding natural birth from a mother’s womb, where the unborn child is surrounded by water, and when the water breaks the chid is born.
1 Peter 1:23.
Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the Word of God which lives and abides forever.
The righteous perish,
and no one takes it to heart;
the devout are taken away,
and no one understands
that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly
enter into peace;
they find rest as they lie in death.
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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:
New American Standard Bible®,
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