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72B. Your Funeral Service (II Corinthians 5)

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  speaker icon   1. What a Day That Will Be   (3:55)
  speaker icon   2. Sometime!   (3:03)
  speaker icon   3. Your Funeral Service   (35:38)
  speaker icon   4. There’s a Great Day Coming, verses 1 and 2   (1:21)
  speaker icon   5. A Glorious Church   (1:19)

Selected Verses:

II Corinthians 5:8.  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

Psalm 116:15.  Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

I Corinthians 15:42-44.  So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.


Introduction: The following talk was inspired by someone’s asking Pastor Hans Waldvogel to preach their funeral service.

Well, others have said that.  I said, “Dear child, I’m afraid you won’t be there.”  You may come to my funeral some day and I won’t be there.  “To be absent from the body” is a wonderful, wonderful experience for a child of God—very wonderful.  That’s why God says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord…”  In your sight, it’s a corpse; it’s dust; “earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”

And they have a custom in Europe among ungodly people.  In Yugoslavia, when somebody’s dead, then the relatives have to stand around the casket, and I’ve seen them squeeze tears.  It was a show.  They were so glad he was dead because now they could inherit, but it was a custom that they had to squeeze out tears, and they wouldn’t come.

But, you know, it’s perfectly natural for us to sorrow over those that have left us: the sorrow of departure and of being absent from one another.  But in the sight of God, there is no death for a child of God.  In the sight of God, it is entirely different: it’s the victory of Calvary: “It is sown in weakness, and it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, and it’s raised a spiritual body; it’s sown in corruption, and it’s raised in incorruption.”  Here, a little candlelight is put out, and there, a blazing sun that’s never been there begins to shine on the sky of eternity for the glory of God—known in the sight of God—“precious.”

So when this woman said to me, “I wish you would preach my funeral service,” I made up my mind that I would preach to the people while they’re alive.  I want to preach yours tonight.

Selected Quotes:

speaker icon Death comes suddenly and unexpectedly, and it grips you and doesn’t ask permission at all.  It pulls you out of your present condition and commands you to go with him into the land of darkness. Whether you like it or whether you don’t, you’ll have to stand before your Judge.

speaker icon God says, “Examine yourselves and see whether ye be in the faith.”  And what is this faith?  Oh, this is the faith that gives me a King, a Lord, a Master, a Savior, a Bridegroom, an indwelling fountain that bursts forth like fountains of living water.

speaker icon The Apostle Paul says, “They all run, but one receiveth the prize.  So run that ye may obtain.”  And the Lord Jesus Christ tells us about the end and the goal that’s set before us, “which goal we have as an anchor of the soul.”  And He talks about that wonderful day when “we shall all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,” and He tells about foolish virgins that did not take oil in their vessels, and they find themselves before a door that is locked, and they hear the voice of the Bridegroom they expected to receive, saying, “I never knew you,”—or rather, “I know you not.

speaker iconWe consider that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that He died for all, that they which live”—they which live in this tabernacle—“should henceforth not live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them, and rose again.”  Lord Jesus, tell me, what did You die for?  Just to get me into heaven?  Just to give me a comfortable Christian life here on earth?  No!  He tells us that He is gone “to prepare a place.”

speaker icon Do you think Jesus Christ will be satisfied with you and with me if we fail to follow all the way until we’re there in the mansions that He’s gone to prepare?

speaker icon Oh, beloved, that’s the call that comes to every human heart when you hear the Gospel.  It’s the call of the Bridegroom: “Will you go with this man?”

speaker icon I marvel at the people of God.  They expect that Jesus Christ will raise them out of the grave from the dead.  They expect that to happen.  You better take a bottle of aspirin tablets with you—just in case, you know.  We can’t trust the Lord for a nickel, for a four-cent stamp here.

speaker icon You’re wasting your time.  You’re wasting your strength.  You’re losing your crown.  God has “saved us and called us with a holy calling.”  And it’s high time for the saints of God to strip themselves of every human entanglement, of everything that smells of this world and the flesh and the devil, and to be ready for the call—the trumpet sound.  Praise God!  He says, “In an hour when you think not, the Son of man cometh.”  But He’s coming.  He’s coming for His bride.  He’s coming for those virgins who have taken oil in their vessels, who’ve prepared themselves, who’ve cleansed themselves “even as He is pure.”


The gravedigger’s courtship letter.    (from 2:15)

The story of Eulenspiegel.  “How long is it that you knew you had to take this trip?”    (from 6:20)

The sudden death of a mocker of the Gospel.    (from 9:17)

The illustration of the eaglet.  “It’s a picture of this little eaglet spreading his wings and breaking the eggshell. What do you do with the eggshell?  You don’t use it anymore; you don’t need it anymore.  Now this eaglet becomes the monarch of the sky.”    (from 22:52)

Comments on life insurance.    (from 27:08)

The story of Pegasus.  This story is also told in recording 29A around 9:41, and in recording 71A around 13:56.    (from 29:31)

German at 10:03:

First, a quote from a Hymn by Martin Luther.  The full German text and English translation can be found here.


Mitten wir im Leben sind
Mit dem Tod umfangen.

In the midst of earthly life
Snares of death surround us.

Next, a modified quote from the play Wilhelm Tell by Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805).


Rasch tritt der Tod den Menschen an,
Es ist ihm keine Frist gegeben,
Er stürzt ihn mitten von der Bahn,
Er reißt ihn fort vom vollen Leben,
Bereitet oder nicht, zu gehen,
Er muß vor seinen Richter stehen!

Rapidly death comes to a man:
No amount of time is given to him;
It plunges him right out of his course;
It snatches him out of full life.
Whether prepared to go or not,
He has to appear before his judge!

German at 10:50:

Psalm 90:12.  Lehre uns bedenken, daß wir sterben müssen, auf daß wir klug werden.  “Teach us to consider that we must die; on that point, make us wise.”  The King James Version reads, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

German at 25:10:

A quote from II Corinthians 5:1. “…so unser irdisch Haus dieser Hütte zerbrochen wird…” — “…our earthly house of this hut is broken…”  The King James Version reads, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved…”

German at 25:28:

Another modified quote from Wilhelm Tell by Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805):


In den Reich der Lüfte
König ist der Weih.

In the realm of the skies
the hawk is king.


The World is Grown Old, a hymn by Reginald Heber, 1783-1826

The world is grown old, and her pleasures are past,
The world is grown old, and her form may not last;
The world is grown old, and trembles for fear;
For sorrows abound and judgment is near.

The sun in the heaven is languid and pale;
And feeble and few are the fruits of the vale;
The hearts of the nations fail them for fear,
For the world is grown old, and judgment is near.

The king on his throne, the bride in her bower,
The children of pleasure all feel the sad hour;
The roses are faded, and tasteless the cheer,
For the world is grown old, and judgment is near.

The world is grown old,—but should we complain,
Who have tried her and know that her promise is vain?
Our heart is in heaven, our home is not here,
And we look for our crown when judgment is near.

Date: “When you read and you heard a while ago that Superman committed suicide…”  Actor George Reeves died on June 16, 1959.  “We can’t trust the Lord… for a 4 cent stamp.”   Postage stamps cost 4 cents between August 1, 1958 and January 7, 1963.

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