Cliff Ellison

"Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands."  II Corinthians 5:1

Since I've been at Sunrise Church, I've been involved in many Memorial/Funeral services.  The most frequently asked question is, "Why?  Why did God take my loved one?"  This is sometimes a tough question to answer even for a mature Christian.  I often use the metaphor of Paul when he says that our bodies are like a tent.  In II Corinthians 5:1, the Bible says that tents are made from material that will eventually wear out after much use, just like our bodies.  Also, a tent can be easily damaged from an unforseen catastrophic event that will rip a tent to shreds.  No matter if the tent is new or old, it is subject to be destroyed, just like our bodies.  The tent and our bodies are temporary, so we must live by faith and not by sight.

God can heal physically and spiritually; all according to His good purpose.

In Hebrews 11:13, the Bible gives the names of people of great faith.  All of these people were still living by faith when they died.  They did not receive the things promised, they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, and they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.  People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.  If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.  Instead, they were longing for a better country, a heavenly one.  Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

It is our faith that gives us the hope of eternal life that is promised to all who die in Christ.  Death is not a penalty, it is not destruction, and it is not even a loss.  The theologian Charles Spurgeon once said, "Death cures:  it is the best medicine, for they who die are not only well, but healed forever."

  • Whenever you are asked the question "Why", answer it with love and compassion.
  • Let the family and loved ones grieve.  Never equate a loss you may have had with their loss, like saying, "I know how you feel".
  • If the deceased was a Christian, remind them of the gift of salvation.  If not, share the gospel.

My Faith Looks Up to Thee

My faith looks up to Thee, Thou Lamb of Calvary, Savior Divine

Now hear me while I pray, take all my guilt away

Oh, let me from this day be wholly Thine

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