What Lasts Forever?

The following 'Funeral Service Sermon' is posted with family permission.  May the Lord give to the family of Marvin Meyer, and all who mourn, comfort in their grief and a sure confidence in the Lord's loving care.

Text: Matthew 28:19-20
In the name of Jesus: Amen.
We have all heard the phrase, “Nothing lasts forever.”  But what does it specifically mean, though?  Well, this phrase means that time consumes everything and time never stops flowing, which means that nothing can outlast time.  Considering this, it is a rather depressing thought, is it not?
As a result of nothing lasting forever, human relationships are temporary – they cannot outlast time.  Sooner or later they come to an end.  Upon graduation, college students, who are dear friends to each other, often weep as college comes to a close. Eventually, precious children leave home, having to say goodbye to their childhood memories. Eventually every marriage comes to an end.  Ultimately, no matter how healthy and no matter how stubborn a person may be, life itself comes to a close. 
Such is the case with our brother Marvin who passed away this past Saturday.  Even though he earned the nickname, by me, as the stubborn German, his stubbornness finally gave way, as the number of his years came to an end.  Time had a way of wearing Marvin down, as it does with everyone.  That is to say; even though Marvin possessed a unique German stubbornness that caused him to raise his fist up like a boxer that one time in the hospital with his half-smile grin, well… time just took its jolly good ol’ time and wore Marvin down. 
That is the thing with time.  It either goes too slow or too fast – we can’t seem to manage it or control it, and in the end, it appears to have the last laugh, as it just rolls past the events of today without seeming to slow down to show any compassion or care. 
Obviously, everything that I have shared up to this point has not given us much comfort, especially when we need it the most right now.  While I wish I could tell you that I have discovered the mystery of time travel or ways to control time, I cannot.  The truth of the matter, we cannot control time, we cannot tame it, and we certainly cannot outlast it.  And that is why the words from our Gospel come to us as such a surprise.  Indeed, the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew rivet our attention this morning, as they provide not only a profound insight to our dilemma but deep comfort as well.  Jesus said,
“Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age – to the very end of time.” 
Dear friends, let your eyes and your hearts remain fixed on Jesus for He is constantly with you until the end of time when we shall no longer walk by faith, but forever by sight.  In other words, the presence of Jesus is constant and never ending.  He is with us each and every day – all day – until the consummation of the age.  Time cannot and will not bring an end to His care, His grace, and His mercy. 
What this means is this.  Even though time has its way of wearing us thin and even though it has a way of bringing all good things to an end, we shall not fear or doubt for Jesus is with us today, tomorrow, and to the end of time.  As Psalm 23 tells us, “Even though we walk through the darkest of valleys, we will not fear, for the Lord is with us; His rod and staff comfort us.”      
But what do we say about our brother Marvin?  The Lord has promised to be with us, to never leave us nor forsake us – He will be with us to the very end of time – but what about Marvin?  Even though death has delivered a blow to Marvin, the promises of Jesus remain faithful.  Marvin has not been abandoned in death.  Even though Marvin did not outlast time, time will never outlast Jesus.  Jesus is the alpha and omega – the beginning and the end.  This means that the Lord cannot be separated from Marvin or you by the effects of time. You and Marvin will never be alone despite life or death and as already stated, notwithstanding the consequences of time.   
Dear friends, the Lord is with you, he will not separate from you.  You are not alone to work with unaided strength in this life.  You are not alone in this life, and you are not alone in death.  Time will not wear Jesus thin; it will not end your relationship with Him. 
In fact, the Lord God has appointed a moment in time, a moment so precise that before you have time to look up and blink your eyes, it will be all over.  What am I talking about?  I am speaking about that appointed time when everything will be changed.  That time when you, me, and Marvin will hear a blast to end all blasts – a blast from a trumpet.  On a signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again.  At the same moment and in the same way, we will all be changed – at that appointed time death will be swallowed by triumphant Life!  Death will not have the last word.  In fact, it could be said that the Lord has appointed a time for the end of death itself. 
Dear friends, as we have heard, time has a way of being cruel to us.  Death certainly stings, but do not lose heart, for in a single victorious stroke and at the proper appointed time, sin, guilt, and death will come to an end, for Jesus is Lord over death, Lord over time, and your Lord who will never leave you nor forsake you.   
Marvin is not alone today.  You are not alone today.  There is no end to the Lord’s steadfast and unending grace and mercy, for the Lord is with you day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.  In fact, he will be with you for eternity with the reality of forgiveness, life, and salvation.      

In the name of Jesus: Amen.    

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