Funeral Service for Older Saint
Funeral Service - PG by Gary Regazzoli
2 Timothy 4:7-4:8
Funeral Service – Perce Gust
Lorna would like to thank you all for coming to pay your last respects to Perce and to show your love for her at this time
• If I had to choose one word to describe Perce, it would be “gentleman”
• We have lost a true gentleman, someone who has enriched all of our lives as a result of our knowing him
• God’s word tells us in Psalms 116:15 that,"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints."
• One of God’s saints died last Thursday night
• we grieved, and God shared in our grief
• but in another way as this verse says, the death of one of his saints is precious in God’s eyes
• Why is that? Because one of his saints has finished his race, he has arrived safely home
• Perce’s human race is complete. He like Paul can now confidently say,
2 Timothy 4: 7-8 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
• Perce too has fought a good fight, he has finished his course, he has kept the faith
• And he too now can say,
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
• Normally we humans fear death, we don’t understand it, we avoid talking about it
• But surprisingly, the apostle Paul here looks past his physical death with anticipation and with a sense of hope
• Why is that?
• Paul understood that this human existence is only part of the story and our physical death is not the end of the story
• Death is not the end for those who have committed their lives to Jesus Christ
• it is simply the start of a new chapter in our relationship with our Lord and our God
Paul gives us a brief insight into this life after death in the kingdom of heaven
• Paul speaks about “a crown of righteousness”
• Crowns are usually given to very special people – Kings, princes, rulers
• So these people are held in very high regard by Jesus Christ
• Notice too who presents the crowns?
• Jesus Himself will personally present these crowns to each of his saints
• So we see this wonderful picture of Jesus giving crowns to those whom he loves
• Paul also speaks about a time of reunion, not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing
What makes this time so special?
• It is a time of reunion, loved ones separated by death will be reunited with each other
• No doubt there will be a few tears shed, but they won’t be tears of sorrow, but tears of joy, lot of catching up to do
• Second, we will be given a new glorified body which will never suffer pain, sorrow or death ever again
• 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
• The last few years have not been easy for Perce and Lorna
• Because of failing health, they have had to spend time apart and this has been very difficult for both of them
• But a time is coming when they will be reunited not with frail human bodies but glorified spiritual bodies and they will never have to he apart again
• This is why God Word tells us that the death of one of his saints is precious in God’s eyes
• He’s anticipating this joyous time of reunion
But there is another aspect to the death of one of God’s saints that makes it precious
• Christians realise our lives don’t belong to us, they ultimately belong to God
• He makes final claim to those that are his
• 1 Corinthians 6:20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
• You see Perce
• was more than a loving and faithful husband to Lorna
• He was more than just a good friend
• He was more than a hard working man who provided for his family
• He was more than all of these things
• The most important thing about Perce is that God loved him so much he brought him back from sin with the precious blood of Jesus Christ
• And as such He is a child of the Most High God
• Some may think in this age of independence that this is a bad thing – to be owned by someone else
• But this is an ownership that we enter into voluntarily
• The gift of God’s grace is held out to all sinful mankind, but we choose whether or not we accept it
• Perce voluntarily chose to accept sonship in the family of God with all the accompaning benefits
Do you know what it means to be called a son of God
• It means our sins have been forgiven
• It means we will receive that crown of righteousness
• It means we enjoy a special relationship with the most high God
• But it also means we will live again in the resurrection
• The death of a loved one is a sad time for those who survive, but on the other hand we also understand our loved one has been taken home to be with his God who has ultimate claim on our lives
Why is it so hard to let go?
The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.
"Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please?" Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl’s upturned face.
"A dollar ninety-five. That’s almost $2.00. If you really want them, I’ll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday’s only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma."
As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents.
On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.
Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere – Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.
Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story.
One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?" "Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you." "Then give me your pearls." "Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess - the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She’s my favorite." "That’s okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.
About a week later, after the story time, Jenny’s daddy asked again, "Do you love me?" "Daddy, you know I love you." "Then give me your pearls." "Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper." "That’s okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you" And
as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.
A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek. "What is it, Jenny? What’s the matter?" Jenny didn’t say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, "Here, Daddy. It’s for you." With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny’s kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny. He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure.
So as it is with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful treasure.
• This physical life is a cheap imitation of what lies beyond the veil of death
• By committing his life to Jesus Christ, Perce chose the real life over the cheap imitation
There is also a message of encouragement in this simple story for those who survive Perce
• The little girl didn’t know what was in the father’s coat pocket until he put his hand in and pulled out - the genuine pearls
• Sometimes it’s hard for us to see what’s in God’s other hand, but we need to believe this one undeniable truth..................God will never take away something without giving us something better to take its place.
• Death at times can seem so final, but God holds something far more precious in his other hand
• Perce has just discovered what’s in that other hand
• He has just started a new chapter in his walk with Jesus Christ
• We too will experience this new chapter if we trust the Lord Jesus Christ
In closing I would like to say a few words to the family
• Please accept our heartfelt sympathy at this time
• Your own faith in Jesus Christ will see you through the tough days ahead
• Remember, regardless of which side of death we are on, the same God Almighty rules – he rules this world and the world to come
• We are all in his very capable hands
• And never forget, God still loves you and we do too
• Let’s pray