Last week I had the opportunity to hear my favorite sermon preached yet again. It has been preached by many men in many places. It has utilized various texts over the years and has reached into the hearts of millions as it has been proclaimed. You see, my favorite sermon is not one from a particular text or on a specific topic, it is the sermon that is preached at the funeral of a righteous Christian.
All of us face death at some point in our lives. We certainly will face our own death if time persists, but we also have to face the death of those that we know and love as the years progress. The funeral sermon is one that all have heard to one degree or another, but the funeral sermon for the righteous man or woman is different.
The funeral sermon for the unrighteous is riddled with regret, sadness, and warning. While some try to preach the unrighteous into Heaven to console the family, God’s preacher has no such option. Therefore, it has often been said (and correctly so) that the most difficult sermon for most preachers is the sermon at the funeral of a lost individual. It torments the heart and saddens the soul.
On the other hand, the sermon for the righteous is one filled with joy, thanksgiving, praise, and honor. It is an opportunity to remember a life filled with godliness and positive influence. It is an opportunity to praise the Creator of all men for the blessings bestowed and the promises given. It is an opportunity to give thanks for the blessing the righteous soul had been to the lives of those they touched. It is an opportunity to share in the joy of the knowledge of the release from pain, sorrow, and trial upon this earth.
It is because of these wonderful blessings that such a sermon is my favorite. John wrote, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord… that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them” (Rev. 14:13); and the Psalmist recorded: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psa. 116:15). Such an occasion is truly a time when both Heaven and Earth can equally rejoice for the same reason.
So, now that you know what my favorite sermon is and why, let me ask you to think on a very important question. If you were to die today, would I get to hear my favorite sermon at your funeral?