Friday, December 29, 2006


Psalm 23 For Funerals

this is by far and large my favourite funeral sermon.

PSALM 23 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they
These words were ritten by David the king of Israel 3000 years ago and have been a source of comfort and strength to untold millions. The Lord Jesus took these words and applied them to Himself when He said " I am the good shepherd. the good shepherd lays down His life for His sheep.
These words (Psalm 23:4) remind us of two things

1. There Is An Appointment WE ALL MUST FACE

“The valley of the shadow of death”
Eccles 3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
Centrelink Notice "Your payments will be stopped effective May 1992 because we have received notice that you have passed away. If your circumstances change you may reapply at any time.
Woody Allen : Death doesn't scare me I just don't want to be there at the time.
Roy Rogers: The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop at late or early hour,
Careless soul , heed the warning for your life will soon be gone,
Oh how sad to face the judgement unprepared to meet thy God

Or in the UK “Pause now as you pass by, As you are now, so once was I, As I am now so you shall be, therefore prepare to follow me.” “To follow you I’m not content Until I know which way you went.”2.

2. There Is An Assurance WE ALL CAN FIND
The Good Shepherd Sympathises with us.
The Good Shepherd Slain for us. John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
The Good Shepherd Seeking us 14“I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me, 15 as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 But I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock, one shepherd.
Matthew 18: “See that you don’t look down on one of these little ones, because I tell you that in heaven their angels continually view the face of My Father in heaven. [11 For the • Son of Man has come to save the lost.] 12 What do you think? If a man has 100 sheep, and one of them goes astray, won’t he leave the 99 on the hillside and go and search for the stray? 13 And if he finds it, I assure you: He rejoices over that sheep more than over the 99 that did not go astray. 14 In the same way, it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones perish.
Matthew 11:28 Jesus said Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.

There is An Assurance We All May Find. The Assurance of Grace!
Several years ago, Wembley Stadium in London hosted a rock concert for 12 hours, much like Woodstock. Groups like, Guns’ ‘N Roses whipped up the crowd with their music. The last scheduled act for the concert was an opera singer named, Jessye Norman. When the time came for her to sing, she strolled onto the stage with no back-up band, no musical instruments, just a powerful voice. The crowd grew restless and began to stir. Some began to shout for more Gun’s ‘N Roses. The scene started to get ugly. But slowly, she began to sing,
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now I’m found – was blind but now I see. “ A remarkable thing happened that night. 70,000 raucous fans grew silent as she sang. By the time she reached the second verse... “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved...” she had the crowd in her hands. When she reached the third verse... “’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home...” ... thousands were singing along, digging for memories they had learned years before. Finally, the whole stadium erupted singing, “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun.” Jessye Norman later admitted she had no idea what came over the stadium that night. I think I know. It was grace. And the world thirsts for grace.
John 3:16 John 3:17, “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” “Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is the glue!”
1. The Assurance That God Is Doing Something For us We Could Not Do For Ourselves.

2. The Assurance That God Can Make A Way For Us To Heaven.

Greta NSW AUSTRALIA graveyard:
Richard Grose May 1882 79 years
Weep not for me my children dear,
Because I doe and leave you here
My end you know my grace you see
Prepare yourselves to follow me
Someone wrote at funeral of grandson in same grave and on same gravestone:
To follow you I’m not content
Until I know which way you went.
G. Campbell Morgan, The Gospel According to Matthew
“You are to remember with the passion burning within you that you are not the child of today. You are not of the Earth, you are more than dust; you are the child of tomorrow, you are of the eternities, you are the offspring of Deity.
“The measurement of your lives cannot be circumscribed by the point where blue sky kisses green earth. All the facts of your life cannot be encompassed in the one small sphere upon which you live. You belong to the infinite.
If you only make your fortune on the Earth—poor, sorry, silly soul—you have made a fortune, and stored it in a place where you cannot hold it. Make your fortune, but store it where it will greet you in the dawning of the new morning.”2
Autobiography of John Todd. In October 1800 John Todd was born in Rutland, Vermont. Soon afterward his parents moved to Killingworth, Connecticut. When John was six years old, both his parents died. A kind-hearted aunt in North Killingworth agreed to take John and give him a home. He was brought up by her and lived in her home until he left to study for the ministry. In middle life his aunt became seriously ill and feared she would die. In great distress she wrote John Todd a pitiful letter in which she asked what death would be like. Would it mean the end of everything, or is there beyond death a chance to continue living, loving and growing? Here is the letter John Todd sent his aunt in reply:
It is now thirty-five years since I as a little boy of six was left quite alone in the world. You sent me word that you would give me a home and be a kind mother to me. I will never forget the day when I made the long journey of ten miles to your house in North Killingworth. I can still remember my disappointment when instead of coming for me yourself, you sent Caesar to fetch me.
I well remember my tears and anxiety as perched high on your horse and clinging tight to Caesar I rode off to my new home. Night fell before we finished the journey, and as it grew dark, I became lonely and afraid. “Do you think she’ll go to bed before we get there?” I asked Caesar anxiously. “Oh, no,” he said reassuringly. “She’ll stay up for you. When we get out of this here woods, you’ll see her candle shinin’ in the window.”
Presently we did ride out into the clearing, and there, sure enough, was your candle. I remember you were waiting at the door, that you put your arms close about me and that you lifted me--a tired and bewildered little boy--down from the horse. You had a fire burning on the hearth, a hot supper waiting on the stove. After supper you took me to my room, heard me say my prayers, and then sat beside me till I fell asleep.
You probably realize why I am recalling all of this to your memory. Someday soon God will send for you to take you to a new home. Don’t fear the summons, the strange journey or the dark messenger of death.
God can be trusted to do as much for you as you were kind enough to do for me so many years ago. At the end of the road you will find love and a welcome awaiting and you will be safe in God’s care. I shall watch you and pray for you till you are out of sight and then wait for the day when I shall make the journey myself and find my Savior and you waiting at the end of the road to greet me1.
“Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15,
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
We think nothing of tracking packages, but God says:
I have sealed you with My Spirit;
I have written My Name upon your heart;
I have addressed your soul with the very address of Heaven.
When the time comes for you to go home—I am sending My Son to come and pick you up and bring you safely home.
Also, I’m tracking everything you’ve done on earth, and the part that is eternal is going to follow you—it’s going to arrive with you in heaven.”
My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine; For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou; If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me, And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow; If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death, And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say, when the death dew lies cold on my brow; If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now. William R. Featherston,

Committal : Forasmuch as it has pleased Almighty God to take out of the world the soul of our dear friend etc…….We therefore commit his body to (the ground) (be cremated) earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, remembering the grace and mercy of our Heavenly Father demonstrated to us in our Lord Jesus Christ.

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