A Thanksgiving Funeral Address at Sion Baptist Church 31st March 2017
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
(2 Cor 4: 16 – 5: 10)
We don't want to think about death. We would rather avoid the subject. It represents perhaps our greatest fear and mystery.
Most people are not sure what to believe, or what will happen to them or where they will go. But we face all face death and we all know it...
Who or what do we believe in this day and age of "fake news"?
But there is nothing fake about God or his promises.
Doris Riley had a "Blessed Assurance." The story of her life is that Doris knew who and what to believe. This is her legacy to the family...
Doris believed God. She did, I think, what all people of faith do – she kept her eyes fixed on the unseen, the lasting and the eternal. It can be difficult to keep such focus. With God's help Doris did this since her baptism, 77 years before.
And so, as a Christian, Doris looked forward to death – it held few fears for her in the end.
So Doris – her body on earth – her heart, often longing for home...
Her creaking earthly tent (body) has been taken down and folded away and is, by now, replaced by a Resurrection body. Where? In heaven.
This life is just a "foretaste of glory divine."
Death, for the woman of faith, is only the departure of soul and spirit to be with the LORD.
And how did she know this? This Blessed Assurance?
5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
The Spirit lives in Christians and guarantees their future.
There is nothing fake about God or his promises.
Doris faced death as she had faced life – with God and trusting God, with all her joys and sorrows, accomplishments and mistakes...
Because she trusted God in the Saviour, Jesus Christ...
Because she knew she was a sinner saved by grace from (and through) the cross of Christ, Doris will be able to face the final judgment with confidence.
That's "Blessed Assurance!"
It is a judgment – believe it or not – every one of us will have to face.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
He alone will determine where and how we spend eternity. It won't be decided by us, or by our lives or by how good we thought we were...
As her last earthly words showed - "I'm waiting for the LORD to take me – he'll look after me..."
– Doris knew a "Blessed Assurance." The family and her friends can, and should, take great comfort from this.
Her prayer and mine...
That you would know it too, this - "Blessed Assurance."
Address by Reverend M.M.Faris-Robertson