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funeral service for Marvin Armstrong

Revelation 21:1-7

Rev. Andrew Eckert

Saturday after the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity
Our Savior Lutheran Church  
Stevensville, MT

Sat, Oct 23, 2021 

Grace, mercy, and peace to you, especially to the family of Marvin, our brother.  Amen.

Saint John the Evangelist writes, ďI saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.Ē Here we are instantly taken in Johnís vision to the Last Day, when this old universe will cease.  This whole creation that groans under the burden of sin and death will be renewed and made into a place of perfection.  The old world of corruption and decay will be gone and not come to mind or be mentioned again.

John adds, ďThe sea will be no more.Ē It would be odd if that means that the oceans and seas will disappear in the new creation, since even before sin entered the world there were large bodies of water that God declared to be good.  More likely, the sea referred to here is the destructive, chaotic state of separation between God and men.  When the resurrection comes, the division between God and men will be gone.  He will bring all His people, cleansed by His Blood, into the eternal rest He has prepared for them.

Marv will be there.  Although John here does not mention the resurrection, he is talking about that Day.  Just as God will make the earth new and perfect, so He will raise Marv and transform him into deathless incorruptibility.

Instead of talking about the resurrection, John describes the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  The bride of Christ is His Church, whom He loved and for whom He gave Himself, that He might sanctify her.  He cleansed His bride by the washing of water with the Word, so that He might present the Church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle, that she might be holy and without blemish.

So there is Marv, a part of the new Jerusalem.  He was washed in Baptism so that all his imperfections were cleansed by the washing of regeneration and renewal.  Marv has been covered with the beauty of the holiness of his Savior who died for him.

Yet in this life it did not seem so.  Marv was still a sinner.  He did not appear glorious like Christ.  The holiness of the new Jerusalem has been hidden from human eyes.  Only faith knows it is there.

But on the Last Day, all will be revealed as it truly was in this life.  The Church will stand in majesty, revealed as the sons of God, clothed in redemption and salvation.  What a glorious sight that will be!  How wonderful that Marv will be there, shining like a star with the light of Christ his Lord!

Then God will dwell among His people.  John literally says that Godís tent will be with man.  He has been with us in this life, yet not visibly.  When the Son of God became Man, then He dwelled with humanity visibly.  Then He was called Immanuel, God with us, and John said of Him that He was tenting among us.

This is what God has desired since the beginning.  He created mankind to live with Him because He loves us.  He walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the garden, and wanted this kind of relationship for us, His cherished creations.  But sin got in the way.  We have rebelled against Him in many ways, thus creating the division between Him and us.

But through His Son, He has removed the barrier separating us from Him.  Therefore, in the new creation, He will live with us face to face.

Although Marv is already at peace with Christ in Paradise, on that Last Day it will become even more wonderful.  All things will be completed.  All will be done and accomplished so that all glory and peace and happiness will fill Marv and all who have saving faith whom God will call home.  No more sorrow of separation will trouble us in Christ, since our loved ones like Marv will be restored to us.  No more tears or pain, since sin and all its effects will be erased.  No more death, no more loved ones taken from us.  All will be perfect, all will be restored as it should be, nothing lacking or lost or troubling us ever again.

When Marv is raised, the former things will pass away.  His body will never be hurt by sickness or weakness or age.  Age will have no more meaning there.  Marv will be strong and full of life such as we have never seen in anyone before.  And so will all of us who believe in Him, whom the Lord will call home on that Day.

All things will be made new!  Yet that does not mean that we will not recognize our loved ones.  Marv will be Marv, not someone else.  We will know him.  Yet he will be made new in such a way that he will be the way he always should have been.  We will say, ďAh, yes!  That is the real Marv!Ē Although sin and corruption have their way upon our human bodies in this life, then we will all be as we should be, brand new and restored forever.

All this is the doing of the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.  He was the Creator of all life in the beginning, and will be the Recreator of all life in the new heaven and the new earth.  He is the fullness of all good things, since all good gifts are from Him.  He works out all things for good for us who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.  Even more so in the Resurrection, He will make all things new and good.  He will not have to work good things out of bad as He does in this life, since there will be no bad things in the new heaven and earth.

This Lord has been the Author of salvation for mankind.  He appointed a time when He would die for our sins and rise the third day.  He shed His own Blood so that Marv and all who trust in His sacrifice for salvation are forgiven all our sins.  He rose so that we see our resurrection in His, since He promises that we will be as He is.

All this is why the new Jerusalem comes down from heaven.  God is the only Redeemer and Savior of men.  He alone has done all things to create a fitting and holy Bride.  Men contribute nothing to save themselves.  Only God does it.

Therefore I declare to you that Marv has conquered!  He has won the victory through Christ the Lord!  In the image of the eternal Son of God, Marv is a son of God by adoption, and therefore an inheritor of all Godís blessings, now and forever.  The Lord has given Marv to drink of the spring of the water of life.  That spring is Jesus Christ, Marvís Lord and Friend.  What better friend could there be than a Savior who gives eternal life?

What payment did Marv give for his eternal blessings?  Not a thing.  Not a penny, not hard work, not good deeds, nor anything else.  By Godís grace, Marv has received all things, and only awaits the Resurrection for everything to be made perfect.

God grant us also to trust His promises so that we take comfort in the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.  Amen.

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