Bernice Dierks Funeral (Revelation 7)
Barb, Karen, Jim, Dale, and everyone who knew and loved Bernice, grace, mercy and peace be yours for your risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
The words to which we look for comfort and solace this morning are the words from St. John I had planned to read with Bernice this past Thursday. But God called her home Wednesday evening. So these were the words I shared with her family moments after she passed from this valley of sorrow into the realms of everlasting joy. These same wonderful words I'd like to share with you this morning.
Bernice, who had spent a large portion of her life with a crippled arm, now stands before God's throne, waving a palm branch with her once-crippled arm. She is one of those "coming out of the great tribulation" (v14). Her robe had been washed white in the blood of the Lamb at her Baptism on October 7, 1922. Her sins were washed away. She was given the new life through Christ. She modeled her Savior's love for her to her husband, her children, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren.
She has the great blessing of being sheltered by the Lamb in Heaven where there is no hunger, no thirst, no pain, no suffering, no tears. Christ has taken them all away. The great tribulations of this life mean little when compared to the great glories that we see revealed about our life in Heaven.
The Lamb, who sacrificed Himself for Bernice and for you, "will guide [you] to springs of living water" (v17). The living water Jesus promised to the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:10). The living water poured over Bernice that forgave all her sin. The living water that sprung forth from Bernice into the lives of everyone she touched. The Lamb freely gives this living water away.
He gives this away so that He can have the "great multitude which no one could number" surrounding His throne (v9). It's not that Jesus is playing a numbers game. Jesus wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth of His death and resurrection for the forgiveness of their sins (1 Timothy 2:4). Jesus wants you in that crowd surrounding His throne. He wants you waving the palm branch and singing praises to God. Through faith, you will one day reach the same home where Bernice now dwells. The heavenly home of mansions fair and bright. By God's amazing grace, you too may join the crowd before the throne. Before God's throne of grace you stand praising Him. Amen.