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Delton Bolles Funeral

September 20, 2016


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Tuesday of Pentecost 18                      Trinity Lutheran Church

20 September 2016                              Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


John 11:25

Funeral of Delton Wayne Bolles


Humanly speaking – if you judge things only by what you see, well, then death and the grave win.  They rule. Reign. Dominate. Reign. And that’s precisely what they, as well as their BFF Satan, want you to believe. They want you to despair. To give up. To trust a lie. And the lie is this: Jesus cannot be trusted, your sin still belongs to you, life is meaningless and that death and the grave are all there is. That they have the last word. That they have the say-so.


And they have their followers. Their hangers on. Those that have no use of Jesus and mock Him by saying: “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept Lazarus [or Delton for that matter] from dying?” Are you like those that ridicule, belittle and blow Jesus off like that? I sure hope not. If you are you’re in deep spiritual trouble. And it may just end hellaciously for you. So don’t be spiritual fellow travelers with Satan’s comrades death and the grave.


Now, I’m here to tell you something different. It’s called the truth. The Lord Jesus has sent me to preach a better Word than the lies of death and the grave. It’s called the good news of the gospel. And the good news is this: name the sin; name the sinner; Jesus offered Himself on the cross as the only atoning sacrifice that answers for all sin and every sinner – including you, Delton, the world. Your sin doesn’t belong to you anymore. It all belongs to Jesus. And He answered for it. Bore all its damnation in His body that stained the earth red with His divine blood. Your salvation, Delton’s salvation, the world’s salvation depends on Jesus taking all sin and burying it in the black hole of His tomb – leaving it all there on the Third Day of His resurrection. Yes, this is the gospel – “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes,” (Rom 1:16).


So let’s get real, shall we? I’ll be blunt. I’m not going to pull no punches. This is no time to pussyfoot around. You need a sure Word from the Lord. Something that is salvationly serious. Salvationly sure.   This is what you get when you ask Kuhlman to preach for a funeral. So here goes. Death and the grave are pretenders! Phonies! Fakes! Liars! Jesus, however, He is the real deal. He is the “Redeemer” as Job confessed.   “I know that my Redeemer lives,” Job declared. “And that in the end he will stand upon the earth [and raise me from the dead].


And sure enough Redeemer Jesus shows up! We heard about it in John 11. Redeemer Jesus stands on the earth – outside of Bethany Cemetery — doing end time / last day stuff. He preaches what no preacher ever preached. He makes promises that only God Himself would make. And it goes like this: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” With such promises He shows that He is in charge. He is the Lord. Even over death and the grave. To prove this He does the unthinkable. What no one would ever expect. EXCEPT THOSE THAT BELIEVE IN HIM!


Check it out. His good friend Lazarus was deathly ill. Jesus purposely stays away. Lazarus dies. His body is wrapped up and put into a tomb. Four days later, when the dead body begins to really decompose and begin to stink to high heaven, Jesus finally shows up. The sisters Martha and Mary both scold Jesus. They’re not too pleased: “We put out the 911 pastoral emergency call. Where were you Jesus? If you had been here my brother would not have died.”


Can you trust Jesus even in the face of death and the grave? Martha and Mary were struggling with that. So were many others. In fact, there were those there that did not believe. I think that’s precisely why Jesus weeps in this text. He’s shocked to tears that some people won’t trust Him. Won’t have good use of Him for salvation.


Jesus wants everyone and you to believe in Him. So, again, I remind you. He categorically proclaims: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” And then comes the biggie: “Do you believe this?”


Well, do you? Do you believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life? Do you believe that even though you die you will live? That death and the grave are not your lord but that Jesus is? If you do, you have what He promises even when you die. If you don’t, well, then you don’t have what He promises.   “Do you believe this?” This is the most important question Jesus ever asks in the New Testament. And Martha’s answer is faith’s answer. It is exactly how faith talks. “Yes, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”


You too? Do you believe this just like Martha? Excellent! Good! So He’s off to the gravesite. Busts the dead, rotting and stenchy Lazarus out of the tomb. How? By His Word.
“Lazarus, come out.”   His Word does what it says. Jesus truly is the resurrection and the life. You have His Word on it. You have His promise.


Jesus is the Lord. He has put death to death in His Good Friday death and His Easter resurrection. He has the say-so. He gets the last word. Today. Tomorrow. Every day. And on the Last Day. “On that day,” St. Paul says, “we [all believers] will be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable and we will all be changed.”   Yes, when Redeemer-Resurrection-And-The-Life-Jesus stands at Delton’s grave and your graves on the Last Day, just like He did at Lazarus’ tomb, He will say: “Time to get up! Arise!” And you will. For believer it will be the resurrection for eternal life.


In the meantime Jesus remains the resurrection and the life for those who believe in Him. He lords His victory over His believers. Baptizes them into His Good Friday death. In Baptism He gives the Holy Spirit to raise spiritual dead sinners like you, me and Delton to new life – to live as a new creation spelled F-A-I-T-H. He nourishes His believers with the medicine of immortality: His divine Body and Blood with the bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper. And there He promises: “Your sins truly are forgiven.” And where there is forgiveness of sins there is also life and salvation!


Death and the grave could not hold Jesus. They took their best shot at Him. But He rose as the Conqueror and now reigns as Lord of lords and King of kings. Consequently, death and the grave cannot hold Delton, you or any of those who believe in Redeemer-Resurrection-And-The-Life-Jesus and who are baptized in His Name. Believe and get baptized and you are saved. Jesus promises. He says so. That’s Mark 16:16!


Jesus is Lord. He keeps His promises. Believe only in Him. He’ll see you through everything. And I mean everything. Jesus will have the final say. In fact, He already has with these words: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”


Those promissory words will bear final fruit on the Last Day when Jesus proclaims: “It’s Resurrection Day my little believers! Wake up! I’m here to raise you from your graves and give you an imperishable and immortal body.” Job knew that. Let’s finish with Job’s confession of Jesus and what He will do: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.” He means Resurrection and the Life Jesus! Lord Jesus! Thanks be to God who gives us the victory over death and the grave through Him!


In the Name of Jesus.


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