Free at Last – funeral sermonBy Staff
The following sermon outline is a portion of a larger sermon by the well known and loved Puritan preacher, Thomas Watson. It is an excerpt out his sermon entitled, The Death of the Righteous.
At death the saints shall be freed from all the troubles and incumbrances to which this life is subject. "Sin is the seed sown—and trouble is the harvest reaped!" Euripides. Life and trouble are married together. There is more in life to trouble us, than to tempt us. Parents divide a portion of sorrow to their children, and yet leave enough for themselves. "Man is born to trouble." Job 5:7. He is heir to it, it is his birth-right. You may as well separate weight from lead, as trouble from the life of man.
King Henry's emblem was a crown hung in a bush of thorns. There is a far greater proportion of bitterness, than pleasure in this life. "I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon." Prov 7:17. For one sweet ingredient there were two bitter; for the sweet cinnamon, there were bitter myrrh and aloes.
A man's grace will not exempt him from troubles. "My years have been few and difficult." Gen 47:9. Thus said a godly patriarch, though he had met with God. "I have seen God face to face!" and yet he had his troubles. There are many things to embitter life and cause trouble—but death frees us from them all!
1. Death frees a believer from CARE.
The mind is full of perplexed thoughts—how to bring about such a design; or how to prevent such an evil. The Greek word for care comes from a primitive in the Greek, which signifies, to cut the heart in pieces. Care torments the mind; wastes the spirits. No such bitter bread, as the bread of carefulness. Ezek 12:19. Care is a spiritual canker, which eats out the comfort of life. Death is its only cure!
2. Death frees a believer from FEAR.
Fear is the epilepsy of the soul, which sets it shaking. "There is torment in fear." Fear is like Prometheus' vulture gnawing the heart. There is a mistrustful fear—a fear of lack; and a distracting fear—a fear of danger; and a discouraging fear—a fear that God does not love us. These fears leave dreadful impressions upon the mind. But at death, a believer is freed from these torturing fears! He is as far from fear—as the damned are from hope. The grave buries a Christian's fear!
3. Death frees a believer from LABOR.
"All things are wearisome, more than one can say." Eccl 1:8. Some labor with their bodies—others with their minds. God has made a law, "In the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread." But death gives a believer a quietus—it takes him off from his hard labor. "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord: they rest from their labors." They no longer need to work—for they have entered upon their reward! They no longer need to fight—for they have the crown set on their head! "They rest from their labors."
4. Death frees a believer from SUFFERING.
Believers are as a lily among thorns; or as the dove among vultures. The wicked have an antipathy against them; and secret hatred will often break forth into open violence. "He who was born after the flesh, persecuted him who was born after the Spirit." The dragon is described with seven heads and ten horns. Rev 12:3. He plots with the seven heads, and pushes with the ten horns. But at death, the godly shall be freed from the molestations of the wicked! They shall never more be pestered with these vermin! "There the wicked cease from troubling." Job 3:17. Death does to a believer, as Joseph of Arimathea did to Christ—it takes him down from the cross. The eagle which flies high, cannot be stung with the serpent. Death gives the soul the wings of an eagle, to fly above all the venomous serpents here below!
5. Death frees a believer from TEMPTATION.
Though Satan is a conquered enemy—yet he is a restless enemy. "Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour." 1 Peter 5:8. He prowls about; he is always going about his diocese. He has his snares and his darts! One he tempts with riches, another with beauty. It is a great trouble to be continually followed with temptations; it is as bad as for a virgin to have her chastity daily assaulted. But death will free a child of God from temptation, so that he shall never again be vexed with the old serpent! After death has shot its dart—the devil will be done shooting his! Grace puts a believer out of the devil's possession—but only death frees him from the devil's temptation!
6. Death frees a believer from SORROW.
A cloud of sorrow often gathers in the heart—and drops into tears. "My life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing." It was part of the curse, "In sorrow you shall bring forth." Gen 3:16. Many things occasion sorrow: sickness, law-suits, treachery of friends, disappointment of hopes, and loss of estate. "Don't call me Naomi (that is, pleasant). Instead, call me Mara (that is, bitter), for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me." Ruth 1:20.
Sorrow is the evil spirit which haunts us. "The people wept loudly. So they named that place Bochim (that is, weeping)." Judges 2:4-5. The world is a Bochim! Rachel wept for her children; some grieve that they have no children, and others grieve that their children are unkind. Thus we spend our years with sighing. The world is a valley of tears! But death is the funeral of all our sorrows! "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes!" Rev 7:17. Then Christ's spouse puts off her mourning garments; for "how can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them?" Matt 9:15. Thus death gives a believer his quietus; it frees him from sin and trouble. "The last enemy to be destroyed is death." 1 Corinthians 15:26. Though the apostle calls death the last enemy—yet it is the best friend! "To me to die is gain!"
See here that which may make a true saint willing to die. Death will set him out of gunshot, and free him from sin and trouble. There is no cause for weeping—to leave a valley of tears—to leave the stage on which sin and misery are acted. Believers are here in a strange country, why then should they not be willing to leave it? Death beats off their fetters of sin, and sets them free! Who goes weeping, when released from a jail?
Besides our own sins, there are the sins of others. The world is a place where Satan's throne is; a place where we see God daily dishonored. Lot, who was a bright star in a dark night, felt his righteous soul tormented with the filthy lives of the wicked. 2 Pet 2:7. To see God's truths adulterated, and his glory eclipsed—wounds a godly heart. It made David cry out, "Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar." Kedar was Arabia, where Ishmael's posterity lived. It was a cut to David's heart to dwell there. O then, be willing to depart out of the tents of Kedar!
As a husband, father, pastor, author, and web developer, Eddie lives an exciting and productive life. He holds earned Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees and is also the owner of Sermon Seedbed.
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