Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Sermon -- Funeral for Adolfine Janecke (September 16, 2020)

The Funeral of Adolfine Janecke was conducted at Estes-Leadly Funeral Home in Holt, Michigan

ROMANS 8:31-39


In the name + of Jesus.

      Death produces a separation that no one likes or wants.  Most obviously, death separates us from our loved ones.  Memories you will always have—overnight adventures in her living room and badly kicked soccer balls.  But you no longer get to enjoy her personality, hugs, and conversations.  The bonds of love have been severed.  You still love your loved one, but you no longer have her reciprocating it.

     Death produces another separation.  It separates the soul from the body.  As King Solomon wrote, “the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7)  Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust for the body, but the soul goes to God for judgment.

     Death comes as a result of a separation, too.  As soon as Adam and Eve sinned, they were separated from God.  They were terrified of God, covered in shame and guilt.  They knew that they deserved God's judgment and God's wrath because of their disobedience.  Sadly, we share the same guilt.  All have sinned and continue to fall short of the glory of God.  No matter how nice you are, you are still a sinner.  You still bear guilt.  You and I deserve God's judgment.  Sin has separated us from God.  

     It is a common opinion that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell.  But the question is this: How good is good enough?  Rather than leave us guessing, God answers the question.  “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?  And who shall stand in his holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart...” (Psalm 24:3-4)  Only that which is holy can stand in the presence of a holy God.  It is not enough to be nice; God demands holiness.  But since no one is holy, not even one, where does our help come from?  Our help comes from the Lord, through Jesus Christ.

     This was Adolfine's confession and faith.  She knew that she was not holy.  But better than that, she knew she had a Savior who supplies the holiness needed to enter eternal life.  Jesus came to address everything that separates us from God.  Jesus took from us all our guilt and shame, and then suffered what sinners deserve.  Jesus loved Adolfine Janecke and rescued her from her sinful condition.  Through holy baptism, Jesus arrayed her in a robe of righteousness.  In Christ, she is not merely nice, sweet, and meek; she is declared holy.  She is a child of God—not, she was a child of God, but she IS a child of God—and nothing separates her from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.  She dwells in God's presence, and will forevermore.

     This was the confidence that Adolfine had in her life.  It is the confidence that is had by all who are in Christ.  St. Paul asks: “If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?  Who shall bring any charge against God's elect?  It is God who justifies.  Who is to condemn?  Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” (Romans 8:31-34)  Jesus Christ not only died as the payment for our sins, Jesus Christ not only conquered death by his resurrection, Jesus Christ has also been entrusted with the judgment of all people.  Who is the one who condemns?  Well, that would be Jesus.  But here is the comfort we have: Jesus Christ is on our side.  He has already rendered his verdict.  He is our Advocate and intercedes for us—those who are united to him in faith are justified, forgiven, and saved.  This is why sin no longer separated Adolfine from Christ; it was taken away.  This is why death no longer separates Adolfine from Christ; death has been killed off by Christ.  Jesus lives, and since Adolfine is connected to Jesus, so does she.  Nothing separates us from Christ.

     Jesus never forsook Adolfine, not even in life's harshest times.  When she was forced to flee Nazi Germany and separated from her homeland, she was not separated from Christ.  When she felt out of place in a new land with a strange language, she was not separated from Christ.  When death separated her from Martin in 1988, she was not separated from Christ.  Jesus never forsook her no matter how difficult her days were, not even on the day she died.  He is ever faithful and ever present.

     Nothing separates us from Christ who will restore all things.  Even the separation of the soul from the body will be remedied by Christ.  Jesus did not merely cleanse our souls.  He even redeemed our bodies.  For, Jesus is a flesh and blood, body and soul man.  Jesus rose from the dead with his body, and in the same way he will raise up Adolfine on the Last Day.  Adolfine's body will be summoned from her grave, reunited with her soul, and will live in perfect glory.  She will be raised imperishable, incorruptible, and holy.  She will never know hardship or heartache again.  For Christ, who delivered her from every evil, will keep her free from every evil forever.  And nothing will ever separate her from Christ.

     Death produces a separation from our loved ones, but Jesus even fixes that.  Thanks to Jesus, the grave must give back the dead in them.  Jesus will raise up all his redeemed to receive eternal life.  All who believe in Jesus will dwell together, forever in God's presence.  It does not matter if you end up facing “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword.” (Romans 8:35)  Those cannot separate you from Christ.  In Christ, you will have an end to pain, sorrow, and evil.  In Christ, you have peace and everlasting life.  Jesus makes you conquerors over sin, over the devil, and over death itself.  And since Jesus lives and reigns over all things, nothing can separate us from him.  Therefore, Adolfine Janecke lives.  Her soul is with the Lord.  Her body awaits the resurrection.  It will not be separated from his promises.  And neither, dear Christians, shall you.  For nothing in “all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

The obituary for Adolfine can be found here:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Due to recurring spam, all comments will now be moderated. Please be patient.