Funeral for a Godly Man who Loved the Lost
Sermon by Rick Crandall for Steve Silmon
Graveside Service - March 28, 2014
*Steve picked out the Scripture for his funeral today. It's the passage that sits on top of his casket. And it's a testimony to Steve's saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Speaking to all Christians in Romans 5, the Apostle Paul said:
1. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2. through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
*Romans 13:7 tells us to give honor to whom honor is due, and Steve Silmon certainly deserves our honor today. Steve deserves honor for loving his country. He was a die-hard patriot, who loved the history of our country, especially when it came to the Civil War. One of his favorite motorcycle trips was the long ride he made up to Gettysburg with some of his friends.
*Steve loved our country. But he also deserves honor, because he loved his family. As we talked yesterday, there was no doubt about his love for you, and your love for him.
*Becky said that Steve was a good and hard-working man, and Steve did his best to be a good husband and father. You all mentioned happy memories of Steve, like the camping trip in Arkansas when Steve entertained the whole campground by pulling a dead limb from the top of a tree for firewood. It sounded like an engineering marvel to me.
*Becky remembered how Steve always showed up for the children. He helped coach Walt's teams. And Walt said that his father was the reason he started playing the guitar. That is a huge thing, especially since Walt is now using that gift to help other people worship the Lord.
*Yesterday, Rachel remembered how her dad liked to work crossword puzzles, and she liked to help him finish. Rachel also mentioned a trip down to Gulfport. In non-stop, pouring rain, Steve rode his motorcycle in front of their car, all the way down to Gulfport, because he wanted to make sure those girls got there safely.
*Steve showed his love for you in countless other ways, and he deserves honor for loving his family. Steve also deserves great honor for loving his Savior Jesus Christ, and for loving the lost. That's one of the reasons why Steve treasured his service with the Christian Motorcyclists Association and the Bill Glass prison ministry.
*When I visited Steve a couple of weeks ago, he was having a really good day. And Steve was at peace, enjoying the simple pleasures of life. But he knew his time was short, and he wanted to talk a little about his funeral.
*Steve took me into his office and showed me a couple of his most cherished mementoes. One was the cross you see here resting on the top of his casket. It looks like it was made out of stainless steel. And the thing that made this cross so important to Steve is that it was made out of an old prison bar. It was given to Steve for his faithful service with the Bill Glass prison ministry.
*Steve always had a place in his heart for the hard cases, the down-and-outers, the people most everybody else had given up on. Those convicts were considered to be hopeless, but Steve knew that they could find hope through the cross of Jesus Christ! I think that's why Steve chose such a hopeful passage of Scripture for his funeral.
1. So today, think about the peace we can have from God.
*In Romans 5:1, Paul said this to Christians: "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
 Peace with God. -- Call it eternal peace.
*This is the most important peace anyone can ever have. With it you will spend eternity in Heaven with God. Without it, you will spend eternity in hell. Steve surely had this peace with God. And you can have it too. This eternal peace comes by receiving Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of our souls.
 God can give us this eternal peace. -- But He can also give us internal peace.
*This is the hope-filled peace Paul talked about in the next verses of Romans 5. There, Paul went on to say that through Jesus:
2. . . we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
4. and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
5. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
*Steve Silmon surely had this internal, hope-filled peace. That's why he was able to die in such a courageous way. And that's why God was able to bring blessings even out of Steve's sickness. Becky said that "dying made him see (more than ever before) that he was loved by his family and friends." Steve "felt loved and secure. He was at peace, and he was not afraid to die."
*The same God who gave His peace to Steve will give it to you. Nothing in life hurts worse that saying good-bye to someone we love. But over time God will give you His peace that passes understanding. And as Christians, we know that we will see Steve again!
*This is the peace that we can have from God.
2. But also think about the people who can be saved by God.
*In Romans 5:6, Paul went on to say this to Christians: "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."
*Christ died for the UNGODLY! So Steve cared for those down-and-outers, because Jesus cares for the down-and-outers. And let me tell you this: We are all down-and-outers without Jesus! The best person who ever lived is as lost as can be without Jesus Christ.
*We're all sinners. -- And of course that includes Steve. He was a "free spirit". That is a good thing in my opinion. But it sure can get you into trouble. And it got Steve into trouble too.
*How can we be saved? In 1 Timothy 1:15, Paul said: "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief."
*But we have to believe in Jesus, and that takes us back to Steve's chosen verse, Romans 5:1: "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
*These are the people who can be saved by God.
3. But we also must think about the price that was paid by God.
*Again, starting in Romans 5:6, Paul went on to say:
6. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
8. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
*Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for our salvation. God the Son humbled Himself to become a man. He lived a perfect life. Then He died on the cross for our sins. But Jesus rose from the dead!
*So starting in Romans 5:9, Paul said:
9. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
10. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
*That is an indestructible, double guarantee of the salvation we can have in Jesus Christ! No wonder Steve was able to die with great courage. And he has never been better!
*Always remember that Steve is not here in this grave. Right now, Steve is resting and rejoicing in the glories of in Heaven. We know this is true, because in 2 Corinthians 5:8, the Apostle Paul tells believers: "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord."
*Right now Steve Silmon is present with the Lord in Heaven. Keep holding on to that truth. And trust the Lord to help you go forward, knowing that by God's grace we will see Steve again.
Hymn: Amazing Grace