Bruce Bryant’s funeral was Thursday. Bruce’s body died on Sunday, but Bruce is alive. His family grieves his passing from this life, yet at the same time celebrates that his days of pain are over.
On Tuesday evening, some of us gathered to pray for Barb. We prayed for God to comfort and sustain her through the difficult days ahead. He is, and He will. She also asked us to pray for those who would attend the visitation and funeral: For believers to be comforted and unbelievers to hear, believe, and receive God’s word of salvation.
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” – Romans 10:14-17 NIV
Everyone at Bruce’s funeral heard God’s word about Christ.
Some at the funeral will be challenged by what they heard. God’s word will sound comforting, and they may even want to believe it, but they will stop short of commitment because they aren’t sure salvation is that easy. Or they will think they are too unworthy. We prayed that the seeds of truth that were sown will take root. We prayed that the hearers will understand that grace means you can’t earn salvation; you receive it from God’s hand.
“It is by grace you have been saved.” – Ephesians 2:8 NIV
And, some who were there will be comforted by God’s word. They were reminded that though death seems final it isn’t. Death has been defeated. Death is the doorway into the presence of God. God’s word will comfort those who mourn.
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25 – NIV
Dying and death are real. Every “body” will die, but not every person will. Those who don’t die, are those who have responded to God’s word and accepted the gracious gift of salvation that God offers through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is free to us. It cost the life of God’s one and only Son.
To reject God’s word is to choose to take upon your own shoulders the responsibility for the errors, omissions, failures, guilt, shame, and heartache you have caused throughout your entire life. To reject God’s word is to stand condemned to eternal death. No one has to do that. It is a choice
“I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.” – John 8:24 NIV
Some of those alive at Bruce’s funeral will experience death for all of eternity. Some will live forever with Jesus. Where will you spend eternity? How do you know? Upon whose word are you relying?