Faithlife Sermons

Funeral Service for a Christian Acquaintance

Notes & Transcripts

Funeral Service for a Christian Acquaintance

Riser/Welcome Home Cemetery - December 9th, 2014

2 Cor 1:2-4; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14; 2 Cor 5:1 & 6-8

Song 1: "Somewhere My Love"

Welcome & Thanks to friends


*We are gathered together today in loving memory of Mrs. Martha Lord Wright. Mrs. Martha was born on February 22, 1927, at Baskin, Louisiana. And she went home to be with the Lord early last Saturday morning, at the age of 87.

*Mrs. Martha was a wonderful wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. She was loved by everyone who knew her. Her personality was one of love and devotion to her family. Everyone who knew her truly loved her, and she will never be forgotten.

*Martha was preceded in death by her husband James Edward McDowell, her nephew Stanley Gebbia, and by three brothers: Raymond, Lindy and Mike Lord.

*Left to cherish a lifetime of memories her son: Mitchell McDowell and wife Irina of Metarie, LA, her sister: Lovie L. Gebbia and husband Charles of Oak Ridge, Louisiana, and her granddaughter: Karina Mambetova of Metarie.

Scripture: The Word of God is our best source for comfort in times like this, and this morning I would like to read the 23rd Psalm, because it is the Scripture that meant the most to me when my mother passed away.

Psalm 23:1-6

1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.

3. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.

4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.

6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.


Song 2: "The Old Rugged Cross"


*Mitch wrote an excellent tribute about his mother, and he began by saying that she was "strong willed, but compassionate and considerate to others. Mom always had an open door to her home and heart; generous, charitable 'to a fault' with any and all, placing others' feelings before and over her own.

*She was firm, committed to her faith and trust in the Lord, never wavering in her belief that 'all is well and under control,' because Jesus paid the price for transgressions.

*I do not say these words lightly or for the sake of promoting my mom for 'sainthood,' or simply because she is no longer with us. I certainly do not say this because she is my mother. I say without prejudice these considerably short points as it would take volumes to express her kindness, selflessness, devotion, faith, and greater love of God and fellow man.

*She regarded others as friends whether they reciprocated or not, giving without expectations or thought for self. Most folks who had contact with her have only positive thoughts. Many have cherished thoughts of her. Those who REALLY knew her had a great love for her.

*She always professed that "GOD IS LOVE". She loved unconditionally.

*We all have lost a wonderful mother, sister, relative, and true friend in this life. I know she is in Heaven; no doubt. We will miss her here; pray that we join her there.

*So many folks have said such compliments about mom: The hospital staff of West Monroe and Rayville, the caring staff at Colonial Manor Rehab, and the people of the communities. Almost all related the words, 'What a sweet lady,' even after having known her for brief times, under unfathomable health circumstances."

*I want to add a few more good words about your mom. I only got to meet her a couple of times. When I first walked into her room she was asleep, but they said it was okay to wake her up. And when I spoke to Mrs. Martha, she opened her eyes with a big smile on her face. That surprised me, coming from someone as sick as she was, but Mrs. Martha had God's peace that passes understanding, and the radiant joy of Jesus Christ.

*She welcomed me into her room as a gracious host would welcome someone into their home. And though we were strangers, she treated me like a long-time friend. She strongly affirmed her faith in Jesus Christ, and we had prayer together. I walked away from that hospital visit greatly encouraged by Martha.

*Family, our thoughts and prayers are with you today. It is very hard to lose our sister, mother and grandmother, especially someone like Martha Wright. But I urge you to take your hurt to Jesus. In 1 Peter 5:7, the Bible tells us to cast all our cares on God, because He cares for us. God really does love us.

1. So put your trust in the Lord, and keep trusting in Jesus Christ, because He wants to give us His help.

*In 2 Corinthians 1:2-4, Paul said this to Christians:

2. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

4. who comforts us in all our tribulation. . .

*We need the help of God's comfort, especially at times like this. Grief is the natural result of losing someone we love.

*Very devout Christians grieved in the Bible. One of the best examples is in Acts 7&8, when Stephen died. He was a very devoted believer, who was killed for his faith in Jesus. Before he died, Stephen saw Jesus standing in Heaven to welcome him home. There was no question that Stephen went to Heaven. But when his Christian friends went to bury him, the Bible tells us that there was great sadness and weeping.

*One lady expressed it best to me years ago, after her dad had died. She said: "I know he's gone to Heaven, but he's gone." That's what hurts. So it's okay to grieve and cry, but know that God will help you. He is the God of all comfort. Jesus called His Holy Spirit the Comforter. And He will comfort you.

*I remember going to the funeral for a 40-year-old man who was killed in a plane crash in Vicksburg. The preacher closed his funeral with these words of comfort from Peter Marshall: "Those we love are with the Lord, and He is here with us. If those we love are with the Lord, and He is here with us, then those that we love cannot be far away."

*Grief is hard, but God will comfort you. He gave His comfort to Mrs. Martha, and over time, God will also give it to you. Keep trusting in Jesus Christ, because He wants to give you His help.

2. Jesus also wants to give you His hope.

*In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul was talking to believers about their Christian loved ones who had died, and Paul said:

13. . . I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.

14. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

*It always hurts to lose someone we love, but Christians have hope. We have a hope that the world cannot understand, and we have this hope because we have Jesus! As the old song says: "Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness." As Christians, we believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. But we also know that Jesus conquered death forever when He rose again. So we have hope.

*Mrs. Martha surely had this hope, and you can have it too by receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Put your trust in Jesus Christ, and keep trusting in Jesus, because He wants to give you hope.

3. Jesus also wants to give you a home in heaven.

*In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul put it this way:

1. We know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens

6. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.

7. For we walk by faith, not by sight.

8. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

*In Philippians 1:21, Paul also said: "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Just think of all that Mrs. Martha has gained! I heard Paul Brooks talk about some of the things we gain in death.

[1] If Jesus is our Lord and Savior, we gain freedom.

*Martha is free!

-Free from sickness and pain.

-Free from sorrow and suffering.

-Free from sin.

-Free from worry.

[2] In heaven, we gain freedom. We also gain fellowship.

*Mrs. Martha has been reunited with all believers who have gone on before: Family members and friends she knew down here, plus many new friends she will make in Heaven.

*Some people have gotten close enough to the edge of death that they have seen the other side, and then have come back to tell us about it. One of those people I know was a sweet Christian lady named Cubie Biggs. Miss Cubie was pronounced clinically dead at the hospital. And when she was revived, she told about getting to the very edge of heaven before being sent back.

*Mrs. Cubie said, "You know, I always thought that it would be my mother who came to greet me when I got to heaven, but it was my daddy. I could see him reaching his arms out to me."

*Mrs. Cubie is with her daddy today. And your mom is there too. They are in Heaven with all the believers who went on before. But best of all, they are with Jesus!

*What joy to live with the King! And that's what He wants for all of us. Jesus even died on the cross to make Heaven possible for us. He took all of the punishment for our sins, so that we could be forgiven. He took our death, so that we could have His eternal life. And we will, if we trust in Him.


*Put your trust in Jesus Christ, and keep trusting in Jesus. He wants to give you His help, He wants to give you hope, and Jesus Christ wants to give you a home in Heaven forever.

Closing Prayer

Song 3: "The King Is Coming"

Graveside Service:

*Family: The most important thing I want to stress while we are here at the cemetery is that Miss Martha is not here. Because of her faith in Jesus Christ, Martha is surely in Heaven right now. We know this, because again in 2 Corinthians 5:8, the Apostle Paul tells believers: "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord."

*Martha Wright is present with the Lord right now, and what a wonderful place Heaven will be for all who trust in Jesus Christ. Revelation 21:4 says: "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.''

*Mrs. Martha is not here; she is there. One of our longtime friends in Monroe is a dear Christian lady named Ann Smith. Ann shares this testimony about her parents from 1969:

*"My Dad went home to be with the Lord (while he was) in the hospital on the same floor as my Mom, who was in a room just around the corner. (Mom was) in a coma as she had been for several days. We were not able to tell her about Dad until some days after the funeral, when she regained consciousness. And when we told her, she looked at us with the most serene, peaceful look and replied, 'Yes, I saw him take his flight.'" And Ann added: "I never doubted for a moment that she did. She never shed a tear."

*You could not see it, but last Saturday morning, a little after one, your mom took her flight. She is not here. She is with the Lord.

*And we are here to lay her body to rest, partly because our bodies were created in the image of God. They are a gift from God for us to use in our time down here. But we also lay this body to rest because this is not the end of the story for Martha's body. When the Lord comes back, she is coming with Him. And this body will be raised from the dead. It will be transformed into a perfect body, just like the Lord's resurrected body. Then Martha will move back into her resurrected body to live in it forever.

*Paul explained all of this to us 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, where he said this to all Christians:

13. . . I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.

14. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

15. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.

16. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

17. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

18. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Closing Prayer

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