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A Fast Funeral

Luke 7:11-17

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The PowerPoint sermon can be downloaded here.

INTRODUCTION

A.	An Atlanta mortician has adopted the drive-in window approach for busy 
	mourners.
	1.	He is having five windows installed in an extension of his funeral 
		home.
	2.	Each window is six feet long and will contain a body in its coffin.
	3.	The mortician says, "So many people want to come by and see the 
		remains of a relative or friend, but they just don't have the time. This 
		way they can drive by and just keep on going." 
B.	We're going to a funeral this morning, & if you want the body, you'd better 
	hope that the funeral director has a drive-in window.
	1.	You see, the funeral isn't going to last all that long, for Jesus is going to 
		show up & put an end to the funeral by raising the corpse.
	2.	It is, as D. L. Moody, a well-known denominational preacher once said, 
		"I was called to preach at a funeral once, and I thought I would try to 
		preach as nearly as I could as Christ used to preach. So I searched the 
		record, but I found that Jesus Christ never preached a funeral sermon; 
		for when he went to a funeral the dead body always arose and lived."
C.	That is precisely what we find in this morning's text.
	1.	READ TEXT.
	2.	A funeral is in progress, Jesus sees the funeral, & he stops it by raising 
		the dead.
	3.	It is truly "A Fast Funeral."
	4.	This morning, we wish to rush to this "Fast Funeral" to see what 
		lessons we can learn.

On our way to this funeral, we quickly discover that it is:

A FORLORN FUNERAL, vv 11-12

A.	"He went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went 
	with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had 
	died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a 
	widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her."
B.	Jesus sees an extremely forlorn situation - a widow has lost her only son.
	1.	In the economic situation of Jesus' day, women generally did not have 
		careers & they relied on their husbands and sons for support.
		a.	You recall that in the Book of Ruth, Ruth followed behind the 
			reapers to gather grain for herself & Naomi.
		b.	In 1 Tim 5:3-4, Paul instructs the church to provide for widows who 
			have no children.
	2.	The widow at Nain has lost her only son - she is going to be totally at 
		the mercy of others. She is in dire straits
C.	Every funeral is "A Forlorn Funeral."
	1.	Perhaps a widow stands beside the casket fearing how she'll make ends 
		meet.
	2.	Maybe parents stand beside the casket fearful of how they'll live 
		without that precious child.
	3.	It may be that a child stands beside the casket wondering how on earth 
		he'll afford college.
D.	Every funeral brings anxiety & grief.

If every funeral is "A Forlorn Funeral," is there any hope? Well, every funeral is also

A FELT FUNERAL, v 13

A.	"And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, 
	'Do not weep.' "
B.	Our Lord sees this woman's suffering & he intensely feels her suffering.
	1.	The Greek term "compassion" means "to be moved in the bowels."
		a.	In antiquity, the bowels were considered the seat of emotions.
			1)	Of course, when you are terribly upset, you often get sick at your 
				stomach.
			2)	Thus, the ancients - with their limited scientific knowledge - 
				thought the emotions came from the gut.
		b.	The point is: Jesus turns this funeral into "A Felt Funeral" - he 
			feels deep emotion for the suffering widow.
	2.	Jesus often demonstrated great compassion to the suffering.
		a.	When Jesus encounters a leper, the leper implores the Lord to heal 
			him, and we read:
			1)	"Moved with pity, [Jesus] stretched out his hand and touched 
				him and said to him, 'I will; be clean' " (Mk 1:41).
			2)	Because of the highly contagious nature of leprosy, you simply 
				do not reach out & touch a leper.
				a)	This wretched soul had likely not felt the touch of another 
					human since he contracted the disease.
				b)	Yet, Jesus, with great compassion restores this man's bond 
					with his fellow man, touches him, & heals him.
		b.	When Jesus is in Bethany following the death of Lazarus, the Lord 
			sees the great outpouring of grief & he weeps (Jn 11:35).
			1)	But, why on earth did Jesus weep? He knew that he was going to 
				raise Lazarus from the dead in mere moments!
			2)	John records that when Jesus saw Mary & those with her 
				weeping, he was greatly troubled (Jn 11:33) - Jesus wept 
				because he hurt deeply for those he loved.
C.	As further evidence of Jesus' emotion at this "Fast Funeral," we read 
	that Jesus touched the brier upon which the corpse lay.
	1.	That act made Jesus ceremonially unclean, for he came into contact 
		with a body.
	2.	Jesus' compassion & his concern for this dear woman overrides any 
		concern he might have had about ritual purity.
D.	I have no doubt whatsoever that every funeral we attend now is "A Felt 
	Funeral" - the Lord is greatly troubled by grief.
	1.	Death is an enemy of the Lord (1 Cor 15:25-26); the Lord hates death & 
		he was raised to destroy death & shall destroy death forever when he 
		comes again!
	2.	Our God cares greatly for us:
		a.	"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  And not one of them 
			is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all 
			numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows" 
			(Lk 12:6-7).
		b.	Frank Graeff asks the question: "Does Jesus care when I've said 
			'goodbye' To the dearest on earth to me, And my sad heart aches till 
			it nearly breaks, Is it aught to Him? Does He see?"
			1)	We don't need that hymn's chorus to tell us he cares!
			2)	I have the Word of God to assure me that in my darkest night 
				God cares!

We'd better hurry if we wish to make that funeral, for Jesus has already arrived & the funeral very quickly turns into 

A FINISHED FUNERAL, vv 14-15

A.	"Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And 
	he said, 'Young man, I say to you, arise.' And the dead man sat up and 
	began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother." 
	1.	Jesus comes up to the brier & turns this funeral into "A Finished 
		Funeral."
	2.	He orders the young man to arise.
		a.	The young man sits up & begins to speak.
		b.	Luke likely records that the young man began to speak to give 
			demonstrable proof that the young man was raised from the dead.
			1)	This was no trick, no sleight of hand.
			2)	The corpse not only arises but he begins to speak.
B.	The funeral is now over.
	1.	It is "A Finished Funeral."
	2.	There is no reason for the procession to continue to the cemetery, for 
		the young man now lives.
C.	Oh, the great power our Lord Jesus Christ has over death!
	1.	From this young man, to Lazarus, to Jairus' daughter.
	2.	Yet, this morning, each of those whom Jesus raised is dead - this 
		widow's son, Lazarus, Jairus' daughter.
		a.	The Lord did not really resurrect them; he only resuscitated them 
			until they would die again.
		b.	However, Jesus himself was raised from the dead never to die 
			again.
			1)	"We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die 
				again; death no longer has dominion over him" (Rom 6:9).
			2)	Therefore, Jesus has power over death: To John, Jesus declares, 
				"I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and 
				behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and 
				Hades" (Rev 1:17-18).
			3)	When the Lord comes again, he shall resurrect to life all those 
				who died in him: "The Lord himself will descend from heaven 
				with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with 
				the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise 
				first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up 
				together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and 
				so we will always be with the Lord" (1 Thess 4:16-17).
			4)	When Jesus comes again, talk about "A Finished Funeral" - 
				there shall never be another funeral, for death shall be 
				vanquished forever!

After the funeral is over, this service becomes

A FAMOUS FUNERAL, vv 16-17

A.	"Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, 'A great prophet has 
	arisen among us!' and 'God has visited his people!' And this report about 
	him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country."
B.	The people present at this "Fast Funeral" quickly realize they have been 
	to a funeral like no other!
	1.	They begin to praise God for what had taken place.
	2.	They realize that Jesus is no ordinary man.
	3.	The people do not keep this a secret, but this funeral becomes very 
		famous - the report spreads throughout "all the surrounding country."
		a.	How could this funeral not become quite famous?
		b.	Put yourself in these folks' shoes for a moment.
			1)	You've been to the funeral home, seen the body in the casket, 
				shed some tears, & hugged the family.
			2)	The next day, the dinner here at the building is all ready & you 
				go to the funeral home. Some guy comes in just before the 
				service & tells the body to get up - he does so & begins to talk.
			3)	Are you not going to tell everyone about the time you were at a 
				funeral & saw a body resurrected?
C.	Each of us has seen the dead raised!
	1.	We have seen individuals dead in sin lowered in baptism & seen them 
		raised a new creature: 
		a.	"We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order 
			that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the 
			Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Rom 6:4).
		b.	Each baptism we have witnessed as been a resurrection from death 
			to life.
	2.	How can we not tell others of the wonderful Savior who can raise the 
		dead?!
		a.	People are dying lost every single day - How can we do nothing?!?!
		b.	The Lord has called us to the task of sharing his message:
			1)	"Go . . . and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the 
				name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  
				teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matt 
				28:19-20).
			2)	Shall we be those who go? Is it the case this morning that you 
				need to come to Jesus who can resurrect you to a new creature?

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Fast funeral
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Preaching Helps: Copyright © Dr. Justin Imel