Funeral Revelation 3_7-13 A permanent home
A permanent home
An inheritance safeguarded by the King of all kings
When I saw Him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then He placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (Revelation 1:17-18)
Grace and peace to you from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. (Revelation 1:4-5)
Hymn “Because He lives”
Scripture Reading 1Thessalonians 4:13-5:11
St Andrews Remember Elder Hal Bubb
Hymn “Be still my soul”
Scripture Reading Revelation 3:7-13
My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
Wouldn’t it be an absolute wonder to have absolute security! But as someone once said: “The only security we know about while living on this side of the grave, is the security that nothing is secure!”
For those who truly believe in Jesus Christ as their Saviour, those who by grace have accepted the Gospel call to expect nothing of themselves and everything from their Saviour, may live now having something that stands secure into all eternity: eternal life purchased in the blood of the Lamb of God. That is the Gospel we proclaim today. And that is the Gospel we know Victor Jackson lived out by the grace freely bestowed upon him.
Douglas Macarthur declared: “There is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity.” He had it right, but only in part. Indeed the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins as an opportunity to be saved, but it also does lead to absolute security.
Jesus Christ a King greater than David
Let’s read verse 7 again:
These are the words of Him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open. (Revelation 3:7)
The words are holy and true in itself, because they the words of the holy and true God. What more security do we need when we hear a proclamation from the mouth of God!
It is so different from the little asterix we see on almost every so-called warranty written on boxes and newspaper adds. It promises the world, but there are always so many conditions! The asterix almost nullify the warranty.
We see no asterix attached to this verse. Why not? Because all the conditions for salvation were fulfilled in Him who is speaking to us! He paid the price to meet God’s righteousness. The Word declares:
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 1:20)
This Jesus Christ is the true David who holds the keys to the Kingdom. He has the authority, but immensely more authority than David ever had. For this reason He can declare:
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open. (Revelation 3:7)
The church in Philadelphia was put before a test. They had little strength, yet they kept God’s word (his promises) and did not deny the Name of the Saviour. And because they endured and remained faithful, there was another promise from God:
Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (Revelation 3:10)
This is what kept them going in the hour of trail. And God kept his promise. Although there is no church in Philadelphia at the moment, those who were members of that church have long ago entered into the glory of the Father.
A permanent home
I am intrigued by pictures of old monasteries built more than 1,200 years ago in a certain part of England. What were left of this ruin were the pillars; the walls were gone. Also think of the Parthenon in Greece. The pillars remained standing. It is a sign of permanence.
God says: Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it (verse 12).
Victor was known to us as an over-comer. Not only did he lean only upon his Saviour in the days of his walk before God as elder of this church, but more so since November last year he held fast to the promises of God. He had his own measure of tests and trials. By God’s grace he did not waver, even when at times he could not speak full sentences, a word of praise would be stuttered to the honour of God. He forgot many things and in times the mind wandered, but he never forgot the promises of God!
And God now has given him a permanent home. Spiritually he serves in the heavenly realms in the same way as a pillar served in the earthy temple. Because he believed in Jesus Christ, God has now given him as place of permanence in his heaven. It stands firm. The pillars of the Parthenon will come down one day, but Victor’s place in the Kingdom of God stands firm into all eternity. Listen: “Never will he leave it!”
Belonging to God
The pillars in our text may allude to the custom of honoring a magistrate by setting up a pillar in one of the temples of Philadelphia in his name. But the writing of the name of God on those who are “victorious” identifies the believer as God’s own possession, not because of a meritorious life, but because of a living faith in the living God.
He his a triple warranty and proclamation of security:
1. God wrote his name on him. God does not write names without reason. It is a statement of ownership.
2. He has the name of the city. This means he has citizenship of that permanent dwelling. And note the origin of the city: it is from God, out of heaven. I am (or was) South African. My birth certificate says so. Now I am Australian; my citizenship certificate says so; my name is on it and the minister of Migration by authority of the Law signed it. I am an Aussie. Believers are New Jerusalemites. They are members of that eternal Kingdom.
3. What gives believers the right to membership of heaven? Because they have the Name of the Saviour on them! He who died for their sake to save them.
This is the triple warranty: owned by God; citizenship of the New Jerusalem, and bought and purchased in the blood of Christ.
In the Name of Christ, and based on the promises of the Word, and witnessed by many in the life and conduct of Victor Jackson, we rejoice today knowing that he entered into his eternal home – forever! We praise and thank God for the life of Victor Jackson. But above all we thank Him for the Saviour Jesus Christ who is our Security.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 1773 declared: “…he alone is great and happy who requires neither to command nor to obey in order to secure his being of some importance in the world.” What exactly the context of these words was I don’t know, but there is something of the truth in it for the believer. When we pass into life eternal we don’t answer to the sorrowful demands of this world; neither do we obey its slavery and dominance of vain importance over us when we die. But after this I think Goethe had it wrong: he who dies in Christ absolutely delights in the freedom of obeying God and worshipping Him. That’s freedom; that’s security!
Just a final word, look carefully at verse 12 again. The tense of the verb is present tense: “he who overcomes”. We do not need to wait to receive this security only one day. You know, as Victor knew all along, and as many children of God know, if you are not a Christian yet you can know today if you have that security that will last into all eternity. Just yield to the Gospel call and give your live to Christ. He makes you his personal own child. Trust Him! Don’t live with uncertainty about your future. There’s no need to do so.
May accomplish his purpose in the death of Victor Jackson as He accomplished it in his life: we pray that you will receive this sure knowledge that you belong to God.
Hymn: “I know not why God’s wondrous grace”
2. Apostle’s Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy universal church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen.