Jesus Belongs To Me; He Is My Savior In Life And Death

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

Text: John 15:1-9, 15-16 

In the name of Jesus:  Amen.

The Bible calls us to abide. That is most certainly true; we are called to endure and never to let go. We are called to stand and remain – to abide. 

But abide with whom?  And never let go of what?  Where are we called to stand and where are we to remain? 

Dear friends, we are called to remain with the Lord.  That is to say; we are called to endure in Jesus and never to let go of Him.  We are called to abide in Jesus Christ our Lord. 

You see, abiding with Jesus is nothing more than having faith in Jesus.  Faith must have an object.  Faith must be ‘in’ something and connected to someone.  For Audrey, her faith clung to Jesus.  Her faith gripped ahold of Christ.       

But what happens at death, though? What happens when we no longer have the strength to stand and endure?  What do we make of Audrey who gave way to the shadow of death?

Well, to abide with Jesus is to have faith in Christ.  And as already stated, faith clings to Jesus.  However, faith does not leave Jesus off in the corner as if he were off in the distance or off to the side as some detached Savior.  Faith does not wish for a Savior, but instead, faith possesses the Savior, saying,

"He is my beloved, and I am His.” 

Yes, faith, which is created in us at baptism, cements us to Jesus.  Faith cements us to Jesus and Jesus to us.  Faith is like a superglue that will not come apart.  Faith cannot be fragmented but remains attached to Jesus, together, forever.  By faith, we can declare,

“Jesus belongs to me; He is my Savior in life and death.” 

And in turn, Christ says:

“My Baptized Saints are attached to me so that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor death, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate them from me and me from them.”[1]

What this means is that Audrey not only abided in Christ in her earthly life, but Jesus abided with her.  And right now in the midst of death, Audrey still abides with the Lord, and the Lord still abides with her.  Make no doubt about it, she is not cut off.  She is not alone.  She is not some dead branch cast off to the side, but instead, she remains with Jesus in spite of death.  Christ is with her as she is with Christ in paradise, awaiting the great resurrection of her body.      

You see, the Lord chose Audrey to be His own.  The Holy Spirit through the Word and Sacraments placed Audrey in Jesus.  Like a dead and helpless branch, Audrey was grafted into Jesus and given faith – given life.  More specifically, though, in the waters of baptism, the Lord connected Audrey to Himself.  And by baptizing Audrey, the Lord baptized her into His death.[2]  Yes, the Lord applied all that He did at Mt. Calvary to Audrey in baptism.  He forgave her of her sins and clothed her with His radiant righteousness. 

And so, in this abiding, Audrey held nothing back from the Lord, and the Lord held nothing back from her.  Her sin became Jesus’ sin, and Jesus’ innocence became her innocence.  It was a great exchange! 

And so this day, we can say that Audrey’s sins lie on Jesus and Jesus’ righteousness and blessedness belong to Audrey.  The sting of Audrey’s death was felt by Jesus, and Jesus’ resurrection is promised to Audrey.      

Dear friends, the same is true for you in Christ Jesus, as well.  By your baptisms, you were snatched from the devil, given faith, and joined to Christ. Indeed, the Lord continually builds His kingdom, fills heaven with saints like you, robs hell, hinders death, sustains us by His Word and Sacraments, and gives us the hope of the resurrection. 

And so, by this faith that He gave you in your baptisms and sustains in you and me daily, we can say,

"Our sins are now not ours but Christ's, and Christ's righteousness is not Christ's but ours."[3]

Indeed, with Audrey, we confess this day that we all abide with Jesus, and Jesus abides with us. 

So, whether we lie in dust and ashes or stand with life, we confess that the Lord has chosen not to leave you, me, and Audrey in our sins and death, but staked His life to rescue us. Yes, the Lord delivers us His purity, holiness, death, resurrection, and Himself, so that He can abide with us and so that we can abide with Him, now and forevermore.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

[1] Paraphrase of Romans 8:38.
[2] See Romans 6.
[3] Martin Luther, (Explanation of the Ninety-five Theses, 1518).  

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