Despina's Funeral

Despina’s Funeral – July 27, 2000

Scripture reading:

    2 Corinth 5:1-8

    2 Tim 4:6-8

    1 Cor 15:51-57

For those who do not know Christ as Savior, death is a tragedy. What will it profit a man, etc. We are like water, etc.

For the believer in Christ, it is a triumph, a promotion to glory. Read 2 Corinth 5:8.

In the Scriptures we have read we can see Paul’s confidence and hope as he considers the end of the temporal and the beginning of the eternal.

Paul, the greatest of all teachers, believed strongly in a future life in heaven. Believers only.

“We know that if our earthly house were dissolved, we have a building of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Ch 5:1

Jesus said in John 14 “let not your heart”

Job said: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, etc. And after my body has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.”

Death for the believer is not the end, it is the beginning of a new and eternal life. Exodus

Death for the child of God is victory, not defeat. Death is the portal through which we pass into the realms of glory.

“Thanks be unto God who gives us the victory after death, hell, and the grave, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

On the other hand, death for the unbeliever, is to exit the world through the door of death and plunge into eternal darkness, where the fire is not quenched. Read Luke 16.

Paul’s confidence in eternal life never wavered during the course of his life.

“For I know whom I have believed”, etc.

As his death approached, he was ready to leave the temporary and embrace the eternal.

“I am now ready to be offered up” etc.

He had no fear of death he wrote:

“At home in the body… absent from the Lord. Absent from the body … at home with the Lord.”

To the Philippian church he wrote:

“I am in a dilemma, it is needful that I stay with you; but I have a burning and yearning desire to be free of the shackles of this world, and to be with Christ which is far better. Rev 21 and 22. “Eye hath not seen or ear heard”, etc.

Last Saturday evening at approximately 8:30 p.m. something precious took place.

Our beloved sister in Christ was welcomed by the Lord into His glorious presence.

Despite the mourning, sorrow, and tears on earth, as the Lord stooped down and plucked that beautiful flower from His earthly garden and transplanted it in His heavenly garden, it was a precious moment for Him.

“Precious in His sight is the death of His saints.” Heaven is the richer – earth the poorer.

If we could ask Dispina if she would like to return to earth, despite her tender ties here, I’m sure her answer would be an emphatic NO! For her it is far better – she is at home with the Lord.

As a young girl Despina took Christ as her Savior. With her husband, Ed, was raising a large family. During the last months she was with us it was obvious that she was walking close to the Lord.

Then tragedy struck, but despite the intensive therapy over a prolonged period, which called on all her natural and spiritual resources.

She displayed unusual courage and fortitude and despite overwhelming odds she fought a good fight and kept the faith.

By her own confession she was closer to the Lord than at any time in her life.

When the news came that the cancer was cured, we rejoiced with her, believing that God has answered our prayers.

Unfortunately, the euphoria was short lived.

The cancer had returned.

Her debilitated body could not tolerate further treatment and last Saturday evening with her hand clasped in the hand of her dear husband, Ed, and surrounded by her family, she passed peacefully into the presence of her Savior.

Thomas Kelly contemplating such an occasion wrote:

“He makes the coward spirit brave,

And nerves the feeble arm for fight;

He takes its terror from the grave,

And guild’s the bed of death with light.”

Story of the young missionary in China

Smiling … “I’m going to meet Jesus.”

As the Lord’s servant, I ask each of you,

Are you prepared to die?

Have you made adequate preparation to meet God?

Have you ever accepted Christ as your Savior?

Death sometimes comes as a thief in the night

No warning – no time to prepare.

I urge you to accept Christ now as your Savior and be prepared when He calls.

To you, brother Ed, and your dear family, with Dad and Mom, brothers and sisters, we extend our deepest sympathy.

Be assured that you will be supported by our continued prayers.

Your loved one will be sorely missed, her chair will be empty … the voice will be silent.

May it comfort you to know that as you pass through the deep waters, that the Lord has promised to be with you; and as you walk through the dark, sunless valley of the shadow of death, the Great Shepherd of the sheep will take your hand and lead you through.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come nor height nor depth nor any other creation shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

“The grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Amen.