ADDING LIFE TO YOUR FUNERALS
One thing that I feel we don’t do enough is celebrate homegoings. All of us as pastors deal with the reality of death. But those occasions that involve the homegoing of saints ought to be times of celebration. The Psalmist tells us in 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” So often we fail to teach our people about the wonderful heaven that awaits them!
Dr. Adrian Rogers used to say, “Heaven is the most wonderful place that the all-knowing mind of God could conceive and the all-powerful hand of God could create.” John, the writer of the Revelation 21:18 says,
“…and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.”
But more than that, heaven will be wonderful beyond description because of Who will be there. Verses three and four of that same great chapter tell us, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And 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.” What a wonderful Person awaits us there … Men, that glorious thought alone should put you on shoutin’ ground!
If God’s Word so richly describes heaven, shouldn’t we? Should not we remind our people of those “streets of gold” at every opportunity? Should we not present heaven as the majestic, awe-inspiring, eternal home of God and all the saints that it is? Matthew Henry wrote, “He whose head is in heaven need not fear to put his feet into the grave.” Martin Luther said, “I would not give one moment of heaven for all the joy and riches of this world, even if it lasted for thousands and thousands of years.” My preacher friend, do you believe that?
Then let’s teach our people that going to heaven is indeed a precious thing! Tell the church that as Christians we come together to “celebrate” the homegoing of His saint. I assure you, it will add life to your funerals. Dr. David Jeremiah reminds us of the words to the anonymous old hymn,
“What wonderful visions of beauty, what glorious scenes shall unfold:
And what dazzling splendors surround me, when I walk up streets of gold.”
(adapted from David Jeremiah, Turning Points, June 2017, p.31)