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James Hickman Funeral Service

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We gather together today to mourn the loss of a brother, a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, an uncle, and a friend, but we do not mourn as others do because most importantly the one whose loss we mourn this afternoon was a Christian.
1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 ESV
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Hope is a good a theme for us to center our thoughts this afternoon.
I don’t think it was any coincidence that James and Judy and Jimmy came our way. When they started visiting with us at Northeast you could tell James was sincerely seeking to be right with God. He carried around a lot of guilt from which he so desperately wanted to be free. He made the decision to put on Christ in baptism, having his sins washed away and it was like a weight was lifted off his shoulders, his guilt was gone. He often expressed his joy and thankfulness for what God had done for him. James had hope.
He loved to be at church in the presence of God with the people of God. Anytime I saw him after his surgery, what he always said, if he said anything was how much he missed coming to church and being with his church family and that he was going to come back as soon as he was able. Unfortunately for us he never joined us again, but fortunately for him he got his wish in a way he may not have expected. Because of his faith, his hope was realized, I believe he is now in the presence of God with the people of God.
Immediately he loved his brethren
He always talked about going on a fishing trip
1 Peter 1:3–5 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Pet. 1.3
Titus 3:4–7 ESV
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Language of cleansing and rebirth.
Hebrews 10:19–23 ESV
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
Heb. 10.19-
Hebrews 9:11–14 ESV
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
I want to talk about this hope in slightly different terms. James, at least in the time that I knew him, was not in great health. He was feeble, he was frail, he was… He hoped to regain his health. I believe James’s prayers were answered.
2 Corinthians 4:16–18 ESV
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Cor. 4.16-18
The Apostle Paul then goes on to describe how God will give us a new body in heaven that will be much better than the earthly body that we have now. He describes our earthly body as a tent, that is wasting away and will be destroyed. But our heavenly body will be a house build by God himself.
2 Corinthians 5:1–5 ESV
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
Paul goes on to say that he has hope, he is of good courage because he knows that God will give him this body and that he will be at home with God one day. It is because of that hope that Paul says he makes every effort to please God knowing that we will be judged for what we do in the body.
2 Corinthians 5:6–10 ESV
So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
2 Corinthians 5:6–11 ESV
So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.
How can we have that same hope?
2 Corinthians 5:1–11 ESV
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.
Heb.
2 Corinthians 5:11 ESV
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.
2 Cor. 5.11
2 Corinthians 5:14–6:2 ESV
14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
,
Now is the favorable time, now is the day of salvation. God in His grace, has made it possible to be reconciled to Him through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He has called us not to receive the grace of God in vain but to be new creatures who live for Him who died for us. In this He has given each one of us hope of a new body, a new home with him in eternity.
Heb
May we all live with the hope that James had in his final months and because of that hope, that love and the grace that was out poured on our behalf let us endeavor to live each moment not for our own sake but for the sake of the one who died on our behalf.
Will you bow with me?
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