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Helen Knop Funeral

July 5, 2016

Tuesday of Pentecost 7 (Proper 9)              Trinity Lutheran Church

5 July 2016                                                       Murdock, NE

Click here to listen to this sermon.

+Jesu Juva +

1 Timothy 1:15

 

“This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”

 

Well, well, well! Leave it to a Lutheran parochial school teacher to choose a text like this for her funeral. I am really … quite … thankful and relieved. No doubt you are too! After all, you wouldn’t want Kuhlman to pick a text. He’d make a hash of it and you’d be left shaking your heads and wondering who let this guy ever be a pastor. Helen wanted none of that. She knew what needed to be said at her funeral and at every funeral for that matter. And that’s 1 Timothy 1:15.

 

So here we are. One minute Helen is making plans for her continued life on this earth – helping those she loved and cared for in her community, family and congregation. And then as quick as you can say, “Bob is your uncle” she doesn’t feel so well. Then the deadly diagnosis of malignant tumors. Then the plans for her funeral and then the eager desire for the resurrection of the body as Jesus promises.

 

No wonder then she told me on one of my visits: “It’s OK pastor.” And she was absolutely right. School teachers especially the Lutheran variety usually are you know!

 

“It Ok” because Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. In addition, Helen believed the two truths from the text. Both are no-brainers. At least they should be. But we live in chaotic and confusing Alice in Wonderland days. Everything and I mean everything that used to be a no brainers is turned on its head. Consequently, since both of these 1 Timothy 1:15 no brainer truths are brazenly ignored or denied these days Helen prepared.

 

With the choice of this text she made sure she’d give you all one more lesson. The most important lecture you could ever hear in your life. Welcome to the Helen Knop seminar of truth – the biblical truth. A tutorial of something salvationly “trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance” by her and by all of you!

 

And what’s that? Listen. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”

 

Note. Who is the star of the salvation show? Who does the saving? Yes, that’s right Jesus. He gets all the salvation street cred. You heard it from Isaiah the prophet earlier. Remember? “God is my salvation. Shout and sing for joy … for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” And lo and behold the Holy One of Israel – God IS MY SALVATION JESUS – shows up at the grave of His friend Lazarus to preach and promise. He categorically preaches and promises to sinners like Mary and Martha and to you this day: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

 

Martha and Mary did! Hung on every promise Jesus made. So did Helen. Because she knew, when push came to every salvationly shove — she was nothing — but Jesus was everything! She was the sinner. The foremost like St. Paul. But that Jesus was the savior of sinners. The only one! For her. And FOR YOU!

 

Where did we hear that? Oh yes, that’s the text for today! The one Helen thankfully picked out. Better hear it again. After all, every school teacher knows that repetition is the mother of all learning: “This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”

 

Jesus suffered and died for Helen, FOR YOU, and for all. Jesus Himself declared: “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost,” (Luke 19:10). “The Son of Man came not to be served BUT TO SERVE and to give his life as a ransom for many,” (Matthew 20:28).

 

His Good Friday forgiveness is yours. He gave it to you and Helen in your baptism. He give it ever anew in the good news of the gospel preached and spoken in the sermon, the absolution and the Lord’s Supper. His body and blood offered on the cross to win your salvation is then “given and shed FOR YOU for the forgiveness of sins,” in the Supper. He promises. His words give and do what they say.

 

Savior Of Sinners Jesus rose from the dead. He is the firstfruits of those that sleep. I’m hear to tell you that on the Last Day the forgiven sinner named Helen Knop will be “changed.” Resurrected. Bodily. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable and we shall be changed,” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

 

The resurrection of the body on the Last is the fruit of Christ’s Good Friday forgiveness! The body God the Father created, the body that God the Son redeemed with His own Good Friday blood, the body that the Holy Spirit sanctified by the gospel, will be the very body raised when Jesus reveals Himself in glory to judge the living and the dead.

 

Isaiah was right! Very fitting and appropriate when Jesus is preached as the Savior of sinners. Let’s hear that one more time too. Here goes. “Give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously.” Indeed. He has done gloriously. A glorious Good Friday and Easter Sunday FOR YOU! “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”

 

That’s absolutely magnificent!

 

In the Name of Jesus.

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