The funeral of an authentic Christian is just different… the grieving is different!

At a funeralI’ve been to a lot of funerals in my years as a pastor and I’ve seen a lot of different expressions of grief!  They run the gambit – There are those who are almost beside themselves in expressions of hopeless sorrow and grief; there are others who evidence resignation (“Well there is another one who has died!  It happens to us all!); then there are those who cling to whatever comforting words they can grasp that give some chance of a benevolent afterlife for their departed…

And then there is the sorrow of hope filled Christians – who exhibit “hope” by the Bible’s description of the term – a rock-solid, unshakable confidence in God’s promises regarding those who have died, but are “in Christ!”  Here’s how Apostle Paul described it…

“We want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.  We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet Him ahead of those who have already died.  For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God.  First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves.  Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. THEN WE WILL BE WITH THE LORD FOREVER!  So encourage each other with these words!” (From 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 NLT)

That is what I believe!  I’m confident of it!  And believe me, it makes all the difference in the world at a funeral of a loved one who knew the Lord and was “in Christ!”  Listen, it pays to be a Christian – someone who knows Christ personally and follows Him!

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