No One Will Snatch Gordon Out Of Jesus' Hand - No One!

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

Text: John 10:27-30

In the name of Jesus: Amen.

As all of you know, we have many dangers and threats in this life. 

For starters, all of us have bodily threats.  We all experience the dangers of things like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, infections, kidney disease, and so forth.  Our bodies are constantly under attack from bacteria, viruses, and infections. 

But it does not stop with the body.  We also experience ideological attacks of the mind.  Yes, indeed, there are all sorts of lies and false philosophical ways of thinking that can poison our mind with bad and toxic ideas.  I am not talking about bad advice, but the kind of ideas and poisonous ways of thinking that turn a person’s mind sour and plunge the mind into bitterness. 

And if that isn’t bad enough, we also experience attacks in the spiritual realm. The devil and his cohorts, desire nothing more than to kill, steal, and destroy our faith.  They long to drop us into the pits of hell where there will be gnashing of teeth. 

Wow, this is heavy stuff to consider.  Is it not? 

But we have not addressed the biggest threat to mankind yet.  We have not considered the greatest enemy that we face in this life. 

So what is that threat?  What is that enemy?

Is it cancer?

Is it the devil?

Is it a toxic idea?

No, it is not.  It is none of these.

Dear friends, the biggest threat that we experience is death.  Yes, death.

Unlike diseases and infections, death is often untraceable.  Death can pounce on anyone at any time without any notice.  And unlike toxic ideas that can be fought against by proclaiming the truth, death will have its way, regardless of how much of fight we put up.  Thousands of dollars of modern medicine stand no chance against death.  And while the devil is a powerful foe, death is even more powerful. 

Yes, death comes at any time it wants to whoever it wants, and it does it without consulting anyone.  Death reigns.  And last time I checked, no one can reverse or overcome death.  All die.  Death is undefeated. 

So, with that said, what on earth do we do this day?  How are we to move on with the death of our brother Gordon?  Yes, death has bit into our brother Gordon and here are in grief and loss. 

And death?  If you listen carefully, death is laughing.  It has won again. 

Or has it won again?  Has death snatched Gordon into its claws?  Has death grabbed hold of another victim? 

No, it has not, my friends.

Consider our Gospel reading from this day.  We read the words of Jesus, where Jesus said,

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” 

Now, these words of Jesus are showing us two things.  First, Jesus is indeed admitting that there are dangers for us Christians.  Yes, there are physical dangers, spiritual dangers, ideological dangers, and the danger of death itself.  Jesus is indeed showing us that the devil will grab at the soul and that death will sting our bodies, but Jesus also says something more.  Yes, He says that no one – nothing – will snatch His sheep out of His hand. 

Dear friends, what this means is that no power, no depth, no height, no creature, no idea, no infection, no disease, and not even death, will be able to separate His sheep from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Christ Jesus protects His sheep against these enemies.  And yes, that means that He protects Gordon, right now. 

But you may be thinking to yourself; it sure looks like death has snatched Gordon out of Jesus’ hands, for Gordon has died. 

Dear friends, do not let the circumstances before your eyes deceive you.  Christ, our Lord has promised us that even though we die, we shall live.  You see, death has struck Gordon.  However, Gordon’s soul is with Jesus.  His soul was not snatched out of the hands of Jesus.  The reason why?  Gordon was baptized into Christ.  And in Christ by faith, no one can be snatched. 

Lean forward.  Open your ears.  Hear this: no one in Christ can be snatch from His hands.  Not one.  Nothing.  No power, no force, no idea, no infection, no enemy, nothing whatsoever can snatch Gordon from the hands of Jesus.  Jesus is stronger than death.  The Lord baptized Gordon.  Jesus claimed Gordon as His own.  The Lord put His name upon Gordon.

But what about Gordon’s body?  If the Lord has Gordon’s soul, did death snatch his body? 

Here again we hear good news. Jesus promises to abolish all the forces of evil that oppose His work of grace, no matter how firmly fixed their rule, no matter how extensive their authority, no matter how great their power seems to be at present and this includes death itself.  And we can believe Jesus about this because Jesus rose from the grave Himself.  Jesus lives as the victor.  And since Jesus rose from the grave, we know that Jesus will stand upon the grave of Gordon someday to raise Him out of the grave to newness of life as well.  This is not some half-baked reincarnation, where Gordon’s soul will come back in an animal or Gordon’s soul will come back in a different body.  No, that kind of stuff is complete nonsense.   What we are talking about is a full and complete and whole resurrection of this body before us in the casket.  It will be a complete resurrection of Gordon as we have known and seen him, except without the effects of sin and death. 

Mark this, Gordon has not been forever snatched by death into dust and ashes but will be raised from the grave imperishable.  Indeed, we can know and expect that Jesus will raise Gordon and us to life once again because death has not forever snatched us. We belong to Jesus.  No one will snatch us out of His hands.

And so, today we gather here in this church to hear the bold promises that Gordon has not been snatched away from Jesus.  But rather, we gather together to hear and know that Jesus forever holds Gordon in His hands.  We gather here in this church to hear the valiant promise that Jesus will raise Gordon from the grave someday.  We gather together here in this church with grief in our one hand while simultaneously clinging to the promises of God in the other hand.  We gather here to hold to the Lord’s promises, against all appearances, that even though Gordon’s body will be commended to the grave, he will be raised on the Last Day because Jesus holds him.

In the name of Jesus: Amen.

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