It is remarkable that non-Christians, agnostics and staunch secularists turn into weeping and hope-filled theologians at their loved ones' funerals. People that rarely give God a thought or ten minutes of contemplation take up the microphone and tearfully recite their poems about the fishing, feasting and frolicking in "heaven." They speak confidently of their departed friend living at peace and in comfort - enjoying "a better place" forevermore. They reference the eternal gifts of God but hurry to leave the ceremonies and gravesites to live, as the deceased once did, in open defiance of God. They continue to mock God's truth, malign Christ's followers and disdain all the truths that their Creator has inscribed in his word.
All, that is, except the biblical references that speak of eternal pleasures and heaven's rest. Their glaring hypocrisy goes undetected. People gleefully claim the benefits of the One they openly despise. In the first century Paul said that the difference between Christian and non-Christian funerals was that the former was tempered with hope and the latter was not (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Today, with our culture's resolve to defy facts with feelings, to replace logic with wishing, and to selfishly claim all available benefits whether provision has been made for them or not, it should be no surprise that non-Christian funerals brim with overweening hope. Though it is a false hope, one that tragically insulates the ceremony's participants from any urgency to make peace with their Maker. When in the end that is all that matters.
The gravity of death ought to lead the living to humbly reach out to God in repentance. For to have any real hope of the blessings of heaven we must be made right with its King through a life-changing faith in Jesus Christ.
-- Pastor Mike
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