Irene Frese Funeral (1 Thess 4:13–18)

July 27, 2016
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!



Well, you can try an avoid days like today all you want. You try not to think about them. You try and live in the moment and think that tomorrow will be a better day, an easier day. You struggle and strive to keep it from happening, but it’s inevitable. Death is inevitable. Herb(ert), John, Markus, Miriam, Sharon, and Jean your lives are going to be radically different now. It’s not just the late nights caring for your mom and sister, it’s not just the sudden trips back to Marysville or even to the Hospital or her home. No, it’s the good things too. You may have the recipes…or not, but no matter how closely you follow those directions it’s never quite the way she would’ve made it, is it? Even you grandchildren, great-grandchildren it’s the passing of an era, a generation. Your mom, your sister, your grandmother, great-grandmother has died, and, from the time the Lord Jesus formed Adam from the dust of the ground and Eve from his side, it was never supposed to be this way. But the eating of that forbidden fruit, no matter how good it looked, no matter how delicious it may been, brought us to today. Death is horrible. It’s the opposite of what Jesus intended for Adam and Eve, it’s contrary to what He designed for Irene, and it’s not what he wanted for you either. He intended, He designed, He wanted life!

((2. We grieve when our loved ones die.))

But there’s death. Because of sin death affects all of us. Every sickness, every disease, every cough, sneeze, and sniffle tells you the same thing: death is coming. It’s truly sad when death takes those we love, especially someone we’ve known our whole life. It shouldn’t have happened. It shouldn’t have! Death is the most unnatural thing that happens to a person! We grieve. We mourn. Jesus did. Jesus loved Lazarus. He knew Lazarus from the foundation of the world. During His life on earth, Jesus came to know Lazarus as friend. Jesus knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, but listen to what happens: “Therefore, when Jesus saw [Mary] weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.” Jesus hates death. [pause] “Some of them said, ‘Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?’” We think that too. Just like Mary and Martha: Lord, if you had been here my mother wouldn’t have died. If you had answered my prayers, if you had done X, Y, and Z, she wouldn’t have died. We think our hope and our trust is misplaced. We’d rather be God, but it sounds something like this: we’ve put our trust in Jesus and so He better be about being God the way we want and like.

((1. We still have hope in Jesus.))

But your hope and trust isn’t misplaced. We grieve, but in hope, as Paul says. Our hope isn’t whether we’re going to live 84 years, 1 month, 11 days or 86 years, 5 months, and 2 days. Our hope is in Jesus. Only Jesus! He says, “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.” What you have is what Irene has. What you have is what Christ gives you. And what He gives you He’s given, gives, and will give to Irene. What’s that? ”I am the resurrection and the life,” He says. Of course He is! He’s the one who died and rose. He died for Irene. He died for each of you. In the pain of His crucifixion, in His war against sin and death, though it was hard from Him to breathe, He said loudly, “It is finished!” Sin paid for! Death undone! Want proof? He came back to life! He rose for Irene, for each of you! Jesus is alive right now! He’s baptized you into that death and resurrection, fed you with His crucified and risen body and blood. He will raise you up on the Last Day. But until then, it’s as Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4: “God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.” Those who die, rest with Christ. They are with Him. He’s clothed them with Himself, fed them with His body and blood, how can He leave them once they’ve died? Well, He can’t! He doesn’t! They’re with Him now, and He will raise them up on the Last Day to live with Him forever soul…and body!


That was Irene’s hope and comfort. It’s yours too! All we wait for is the Last Day. On that day “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” On that Day those graves will burst open, and you, me, Irene, and all the blessed dead will rise victorious—just like Jesus did—to live forever with Him. Death doesn’t win. It can’t. It won’t. Jesus proves it.

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!



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