Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sermon: Funeral of Whitney S. "Buddy" Trosclair

16 October 2007 at Mothe’s Funeral Home, Harvey, LA
Text: John 14:1-6

In the name of + Jesus. Amen.

Dear Christian brothers and sisters. When death claims a loved one, we are tempted to take comfort in the wrong things. We may even be tempted to take comfort in death itself.

We live in a culture of death. Death is often viewed more as a friend than as the ultimate enemy. We treat death like it is natural, rather than unnatural. We convince ourselves that it is peaceful instead of violent. We believe the unchristian myth that death is just part of some circle of life, rather than the wages of sin and the result of mankind’s rebellion against God.

Our culture of death treats death like an old friend who comes to relieve us from our suffering. Death is treated as a solution to a problem, rather than the result of the problem of sin itself. If the problem is unwanted pregnancy, the answer is abortion. If the problem is expensive medical care, the answer is euthanasia. If the problem is many years of suffering with illnesses, the answer is the release of death.

However, death is not a release – it is the end result of suffering. Death is not a natural part of the life cycle, it is the unnatural consequence of our alienation from God. Death is not a sweet friend, but a bitter enemy.

The Christian life is a life of war against death, against Satan, and against sin. There is nothing good about death in the least. There is a reason why you all are mourning. What would be more natural than to feel grief at the loss of your husband, your brother, your friend, or your grandfather? Death hits us hard. Death shows us no mercy. Death is a vile foe and relentless opponent.

And though it may seem to all the world like death got the final say over Buddy Trosclair, it did not. Death did not defeat Buddy, but rather Buddy defeated death. We Christians understand that Jesus, in dying on the cross for our sins and in rising from the dead on Easter, used death to destroy death. And those who are in Christ share in that victory. Death is no friend. Death is a vile and evil enemy. But this most reprehensible foe is also a defeated foe.

Because of the sacrificial death of our blessed Lord, and because we Christians have been baptized into His death, and because Christ was raised from the dead - we too shall be raised. Death, which seems so final, so irreversible, will be overturned in the blink of an eye. In the Creed we confess with Scripture that we believe in the “resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”

In that moment, our momentary sorrow will be transformed into eternal joy. When the Lord recreates all things new, our frail bodies will be made perfect, incorruptible, without ache or pain, and death will be no more. Those who have died will be raised. Those who have been baptized, those who bear the name of Christ, those who believe, trust, and call upon His name – will be saved.

Buddy suffered much in his body. He no longer suffers – not because death is a friend, but in spite of this most vicious attack of the enemy. Buddy no longer suffers for the same reason that death has no claim on him. Buddy’s suffering is over because Jesus suffered in his place. The sin we all bear that leads to all of our deaths has been atoned for. Death has lost its sting because death has been shown to be the paper tiger it is after having been defeated by Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, our Champion and Savior.

For we Christians can confess with Job, and with Buddy, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth, and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.”

Dear Christian friends, let us comfort one another not with false hope that death is a friend, or that Buddy’s goodness has brought him peace. For we have the promise of the only One to ever defeat death by walking out of His own grave under His own power, who says: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. I go and prepare a place for you. I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also…. I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

We take comfort not merely that Buddy no longer suffers, but that he reigns triumphant. We put our trust not in anyone’s righteousness, save that of Christ alone – into whom Buddy was baptized. God’s Word assures us that Buddy has conquered death, and we will see him again in the flesh and in eternity. Death is a mighty enemy, but Jesus is a mightier champion. Amen.

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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