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Victory In Jesus (Funeral)

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Joe Thomason Funeral Message

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Initial Comments

First, I want to take a moment and say how honored I am to be here today with this lovely family, and on behalf of the family, I want to thank each and every person who has come out to show their love and support during this time.
I remember when I first came to Dowelltown Baptist. I was relieved to see Joe & Brenda there. It is always good to see familiar faces when you go to a new place. It had been years since I had seen them, but in a sense, I grew up with them.
Mom and dad used to own the Cloverleaf Restaurant in Liberty and Joe & Brenda were regulars there. By regulars, I mean they came in almost every day. They would come in with several others around the same time every day and they would sit and drink coffee. I used to think they lived off the stuff.
I remember one day that Joe was picking at me, like he always did, and he got up and went outside to the car. Well I locked him outside. The restaurant had a door on each side, so I ran to other side to lock that one too. When I turned around to come back to other door, he was walking in. I said, “Joe, how did you get in the door? I locked it.” He said I’m magic. He was the first person to show me how to get into a door with a credit card.
Joe was a good man! Any pastor knows that some of the most precious times you have is when you get those moments to set down with people one-on-one and have private conversations. You know, the conversations to where complete honesty is on the table. The conversations to where hearts are shared, tears are shed, and prayers go up. That is the good stuff!!!
I am honored to say that Joe allowed me to do that with him. If you knew Joe, Joe didn’t like sharing his feelings very often, but the last couple of years he started to do that with me, and I considered it an honor each time.
After Joe got sick, it got harder and harder for him to get around and do things for himself. Mrs. Brenda always took good care of him, and didn’t mind doing any of it, but it bothered him nonetheless. He hated having to ask someone to do things for him. That bothered him a lot, and we had several conversations about it, but there was one conversation that stood out above all the rest.
Joe had asked that I come by and pray with him. He said that he had been thinking a lot about where he stood with God, and he wanted to make sure that his heart was right. He said that he wasn’t good at praying, and that he didn’t know what to say. So, he asked if I would lead him in prayer to ask Jesus in his heart. I knelt down by that couch that he was glued too for the last year of his life and we prayed together. He asked forgiveness of sin and gave his heart to Christ that evening.
I believe with all of my heart that Joe is in heaven right now. I believe he is having the best time ever!
Funerals are always hard. It is a time that we mourn because someone is leaving us. We mourn because physically, they are no longer with us. But I want you to see today that is also a time of celebration. For a child of God, it is a time of celebration, because they have claimed the victory over sin, death, and the separation they both cause.
That is what I want speak on tonight. I want us to take a moment and try to see through Joe’s eyes. If we can do that, I believe our tears of sorrow will be turned to tears of joy.

Victory Over Sin and Death(v. 55-56)

1 Corinthians 15:55–56 KJV 1900
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
There is something that plagues all people on this earth, and it is sin. It is something we all struggle with.
Romans 3:23 NKJV
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
There is not a single person who has not sinned before God, and there is not a single person who has not felt the weight of that sin in their life.
We all know full well what it is like to battle sin.
As children of God, the last thing we want to do is sin against our God. God is good to us. God has blessed us. God loves us. We don’t want to sin against Him. We want to please our Heavenly Father. We want Him to be pleased with us.
We try to stay faithful to Him by seeking His face on a regular basis. We read His Word to learn of Him. We talk to Him through prayer so that we might build our relationship with Him. We choose to separate ourselves from sinful things in this life so that we might walk in faith and be close to Him.
Despite our best efforts, we cannot do it perfectly. Though we put much effort into living faithfully, we still fall from time to time. We still fail God and come short of His glory.
God has decreed that the punishment of that sin in our life is death.
Romans 6:23 NKJV
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
That is why we are here tonight. We are here because Joe sinned in his life and the penalty of that sin is death. It is the same reason that we all will face death at some point, for we all have sinned. And at some point, we will all earn the same penalty that he has earned.
But because of a man named Jesus, that is not where the story ends.
Notice that the end of that verse said that the strength of sin is the law. The law of God is God’s standard of living. It is what determines whether something is sinful or not.
The law is God’s rules and regulations for life.
Though not a single person in this room has ever been able to live up to that law, there was one who walked the face of this earth some 2000 years ago that did.
Jesus lived a perfect life. He never sinned against God. Because He was able to do just that, He was also never deserving of death. Even though He did not deserve to die, He decided to go to the cross of Calvary on our behalf anyway. He died in our place.
This is what the scriptures mean when it says that Jesus was the propitiation for our sin. That word propitiation means that Jesus was a substitutionary sacrifice for all of mankind. He hung where we were meant to hang. He suffered the death that we were deserving of. He paid a debt He did not owe, because we owed a debt that we could not pay.
Because of what Christ has done, a new way has been made. Instead of trying to live up to this impossible task of living a perfect life, now we place our faith in the one that did. When we do place our faith in Jesus a process called imputation takes place.
The Bible says in the book of Romans, “Blessed is the man to whom sin is not imputed.”
That word impute means to charge to someone’s account.
In other words, we are blessed when the sin of our life is not charged to our account.
When I place my faith in Jesus, the process of imputation takes place. What this means is that the penalty of my sin is now charged to the account of Christ.
It is like i went to the grocery store and bought $500.00 dollars worth of groceries and when I got to the register, I said, “please charge that to Bro. Bobby’s account.” I just charged my groceries to his account.
When I place my faith in Jesus, my sin is now imputed to Christ.
But that is not all. Imputation is not a one-way street. Not only is my sin imputed to Christ, but His righteousness is imputed to me. That means that His righteousness is placed on my account.
This means that when Joe stood before the throne of God, God did not see his sin, he saw the righteousness of Christ instead. Joe stood spotless before a Holy God, not because he was perfect, but because the one whom he placed his faith in was.
This is why Jesus says:
John 14:6 NKJV
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Jesus was the only one to accomplish the law of God. Jesus is the only one who was able to overcome the sting of sin and stand victorious before the throne of God in His own merit. It is in Jesus and Him alone that we can do the same.
Hebrews 4:16 NKJV
16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
1 Corinthians 15:54 NKJV
54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
We have victory in Jesus! Joe found victory in Jesus!

Victory Over the Separation They Both Cause (v. 50)

Naturally speaking, there is a great gap between man and God.
God is omnipotent, which means that He is all powerful, and mankind is weak.
God is omnipresent, which means He is everywhere at all times, but man is limited to being right here, right now. We can only be in one place at a time.
God is omniscient, which means He knows everything, but man is very limited in knowledge and wisdom. There is so much that we do not know.
Do you see the gap? It is huge. It is too big for us to cross.
This is why in the OT, God spoke to a man. It was a man He chose to be the spokesperson for His people. God would have grace on that individual and allow them to come into His presence, and then he would take the message of God back to the people. It was normally the high priest whom God used to do this.
When Jesus came, He came to bridge the gap between man and God. He made a way to come into the presence of Almighty God for all men.
Hebrews 1:1–4 NKJV
1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
See, there is a natural gap that exists between man and God, but Satan seeks to enlarge that gap as much as possible.
See, sin and death are both tools in Satan’s toolbox. He uses them to cause an even further separation between us and God that already exists naturally.
Sin causes us to pull away from God. It causes a separation between us and God.
Isaiah 59:1–2 NKJV
1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.
It does this, because everything sinful is in direct contradiction to the will of God. Every time we sin, it pulls us away from the spirit of God and towards the world.
In Psalm 51, David said that his sin made him feel dirty, shameful, and distant from God. This is the natural reaction to and Child of God when they realize their sin.
As we have already stated, no Child of God desires to be outside the will of God. We want to please our Heavenly Father and we want Him to be pleased with us. So when we do sin, it causes a spiritual disgust within us that leaves us unhappy with ourselves.
Death is the ultimate tool that the devil uses to cause separation from God. If the devil can kill you before you repent of your sin and turn to God, then you will be eternally condemned.
That is why death is such a tragedy for those who do not know Christ. For those who are lost and undone, death means judgment and complete separation, but for those who do know God, it is simply the transition from life on earth to eternal life in heaven with God.
Every child of God longs to be with Him in eternity.
Psalm 42:2 NKJV
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
Psalm 63:1 NKJV
1 O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.
Every Christian longs for the day when we will be allowed to bow at the feet of Jesus and express our love to Him. It is not something that is dreaded, but rather something that we long for. We are excited for it.
John 6:35 NKJV
35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
Praise be to God!
In this world, we are faced with trials and temptations that constantly pull us away from God. Almost everything in this life causes us to lose focus on eternity. But there is coming a day when there will be no more sin, no more heartache, no more pain, no more suffering, no more diseases, no mores surgeries, and no more death!
Furthermore, we will stand in the presence of God Almighty and be in awe of His glory and majesty. The thing we have longed for our entire lives will finally come to pass.
That is what all of this is about. That is why we fight. That is why we sacrifice. That is why we spend time with God here, so that we might be prepared when put a face to the name in Glory.
When death comes unto us, the culmination of everything that we have worked for, everything we have sacrificed for, everything we have labored for, everything we have suffered for, will all be worth it.
We will stand victorious over sin and death. We stand victorious over the schemes of Satan.
We will stand victorious in Jesus Christ. Joe is standing victorious in Jesus Christ!
1 Corinthians 15:57 NKJV
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Our victory is steadfast and it is sure because our victory is in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!!!
As we come to a close, these words come to my heart this afternoon:
It’ll be worth it after all Child, it’ll be worth it after all!
After all of these trials, we’ll hear Jesus call!
It’ll be worth it after all Child, it’ll be worth after all!
After all of this climbing, it’ll be worth it after all!
You may see death here tonight, but I want you to know that Joe is alive more now than he has ever been.
Let your tears be tears of joy. Be happy for Joe. He is wearing the biggest smile on his face and absolutely nothing can take that away from him.
As you move forward in the weeks to come, dwell on his new life, his new body, and the victory he has in Christ. Let that be an encouragement to you. Let that be the motivation that keeps pushing you forward. Let us pray!
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