Funeral Service For Byron: A Faithful Husband, Loving Father and Grandfahter, A Trusted Friend
Today we are confronted with the death of Marcia’s husband, your father, your grandfather, a beloved family member and a dear friend to so many. Up until Byron took his last breath his desire was to be with all of those he loved. He, like Paul, would have said, “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account...for your progress and joy in the faith, so that...you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:23-26)
Byron has gone home to be with His Savior. He is now at perfect peace and he’s been freed from every sin and weight that so easily entangles. Byron is now experiencing what Peter wrote about when he wrote, “After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)
Byron would have loved to be with us today for our progress and joy in the faith. In a little way perhaps he can still do this. He wrote a personal testimony when he become at member of Community Church. Byron wrote, “I know the Holy Spirit is in my heart (Byron drew a heart) and is leading and helping me to grown in grace. JESUS made available to me HIS righteousness and LOVE so that as salt and light people may be touched by CHRIST’S Spirit to come to life. So that they too may know all the blessings which are mine in JESUS. My identity is now and forever a KING’S Kid." (He drew a stick figure rejoicing) This testimony was dated 2/22/2019 and over the last four years we have discovered that everything Byron wrote here was true.
I would like to think that Woodlands Church and Community Church were both used by God to aid in the joy and progress of Byron and Marcia’s faith. One thing for certain, Byron and Marcia have always been a gift from God to all of us.
Byron was bold, confident and joyful about God and His Promises. Byron displayed these things when he was strong and healthy and he also displayed these things when he was sick and dying. From this day forward we would do well to remember Byron’s faith and the exhortation we are given in Hebrews 13:7 which says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”
The boldness and a joy that Byron had in God seems so rare today. When you open up the pages of Scripture you soon discover that many faithful saints have displayed the same boldness, confidence and joy in the promises of God that Byron had.
These virtues and graces (confidence, boldness, joy) were not present because these individuals were naturally disposed to these things. No, Byron was this way because of his faith in God and in His promises.
Like so many of the saints who have gone before Byron ‘did not weaken in faith, when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead...No unbelief made him waiver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in the faith and gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised’. (Romans 5:16-25)
On this occasion we might ask ourselves,
“Is there really victory in death?”
“Has the sting of death really been removed?”
“Has death truly been swallowed up and been defeated?”.
We might ask, “Did the faith and hope that Byron had concerning salvation and eternal life really come to pass?”
I would like to briefly ask and answer two questions with you in our time together.
First, can we confidently and boldly confess that death has been defeated?
Secondly, why can we can be bold and confident that death has been defeated?
Can we be bold and confident that death has been defeated?
The scriptures teach us that Jesus defeated death and the grave and that He offers eternal life to all of those who have faith in Him (John 1:9-13). During Jesus’ ministry He proved that He had power over death when He raised people from the dead. More importantly, Jesus displayed that He was more powerful than death when He took upon Himself our sins and was punished for them by dying on a cross. At that time His disciples thought everything was hopeless, but Jesus’ Father vindicated Him by raising Him from the dead.
Jesus made a bold statement when He says to Martha when her brother had died, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26) After making this bold statement Jesus asks Martha,
On this occasion you and I are also confronted with the question, “Do you believe this?”
Later, the apostle Paul, defended the Christian doctrine of the resurrection from the dead. He knew that if there is no resurrection then everything a Christian believed would not really matter. Paul knew that if there was no resurrection then we would still be trapped in our sins and that we would be the most pitied of all people if we only had hope in this life. (1 Cor. 15:14,19).
The apostle Paul was willing to to suffer greatly, to die daily and to abandon every worldly pleasure hope and dream because he believed in the resurrection from the dead and the judgment that would follow. Paul boldly wrote, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:54-55)
Byron believed these things and confessed it to others. Let us ask ourselves, “Do we believe these things?”
The scriptures teach that spiritual death and physical death has come upon all people when Adam sinned in the Garden. Because of this, all have sinned against God and His Word. We cannot save ourselves so we are in a hopeless situation. (Ephesians 2:12-13).
King David understood that sin and death are enemies that only God can defeat if we are to be saved. He says in Psalm 68, “God shall arise, His enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate Him shall flee before Him!”
David goes on to show us what our response should be when God defeats our enemies. He says, “The righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy!” (Did you notice that one of the things God will do to save sinners is to make them righteous?)
David continues to bless the LORD even more when he says, “Blessed be the LORD, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Our God is a God of salvation, and to God, the LORD, belong deliverance's from death.” (68:1,3,19-20) (So we have seen that God will make sinners righteous and He will save them from death!)
Even on occasions such as this occasion we can confidently say, “Let God has arise, Let His enemies scattered; Let His enemies flee from before Him!...To God belongs deliverance from death.”
We have considered a couple of examples of how a righteous person can be bold, confident and joyful in God and His promises. But we must ask, “How can we have hope that Jesus has defeated death?” To answer this question I’d like to consider Luke 1:67-75.
In this text Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the Word of the Lord saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people.”
The Holy Spirit is speaking about how Jesus was coming into the world to redeem His people. What does it mean to be ‘redeemed’?
Redemption speaks of the fact that God sees a person who is enslaved to sin and death. And even while they are in that state of suffering, finding no goodness in them, He acts in a sovereign and powerful way to redeem them from that hopeless situation.
First, redemption speaks about how the LORD saves someone and sets them free.
Secondly, redemption speaks about how a person is set free so that they can serve Him.
Thirdly, redemption speaks of how the LORD adopts them into His family and they are given a new nature and an eternal inheritance with Him.
This is what has happened to Byron! This is what can happen to each of us!
One of the most important things we could do today is to ask ourselves, “Do we believe this?”
We are told in verse is two that God is going to ‘redeem’ His people by raising up someone who has the authority and power to do this. He says that God ‘has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David.” The Holy Spirit is speaking about Jesus and how the Father is giving Jesus power and authority to deliver His people from sin and death.
Jesus would display this power and authority by saving ‘us from our enemies and from the hand of all of those who hate us’. (71) Every person has three enemies: indwelling sin, sin in the world and Satan. All of these enemies hate us and seek to destroy us. If God does not defeat these enemies we will remain spiritually dead and will physically die without the hope of a resurrection unto life.
Luke 1:72 says that when God does these things it displays His sovereign ‘mercy that had been promised’. Mercy means that God looks upon the suffering of an inferior and He does not leave them in that condition but has compassion, kindness, and benevolence towards them.
In Luke 1:74-75 we read what the result of all of this is “that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.”
Byron served the LORD without fear in holiness and righteousness all his days because he knew what Jesus had done for him. This allowed Byron to serve the LORD as a loved son and as an heir of an eternal inheritance. Through faith in Christ Byron’s sins were forgiven and He was graciously given Christ’s righteousness and holiness.
Do you have this bold confident hope in eternal life?
If your hope lies in anything other than Jesus you should not be confident or joyful in the face of death. But if you have heard and believed these things about Jesus, and if you are trusting in Him alone, you can have great hope in the salvation of God and the gift of eternal life. And one day in the future, just like Byron, you will be able to boldly approach the throne of grace in heaven to be 'restored, confirmed, strengthened, and established' upon the day of your death.
Do you believe these things?
Gravesight Committal Service:
We are gathered here together to celebrate the life and to mourn the death of our loved one and friend- Byron Elder. At times such as these we are comforted by the memories of the one we loved. Though we are sad, we do not grieve as those who have no hope. We know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the LORD.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters .He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousnessfor his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,for you are with me;your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before mein the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
My mother has told me stories about a man that I never remember meeting. She would tell me stories about my great-grandfather and about how she watched his kindness towards the animals on the farm and how he would also treat her with great kindness. My mother has a simple phrase that she uses every time she talks of him. She describes him by saying, “He was one of the good ones.”
I never got to know my great-grandfather but I did get to know Byron. During the time that I got to know him I can sincerely say with all of you, “He was one of the good ones.” Byron loved all people and we discovered in his obituary that as ‘a little child, Byron found his true passion of sharing the Word of God as he preached to the chickens on the family’s farm’. We were also told that ‘Byron spent his life sharing the Gospel and his love for Christ Jesus, Our Lord’ with others.
I like that phrase, ‘He was one of the good ones’. Those seven words tell me a lot about my great-grandfather and about Byron. However, I have something better for you to remember every time you think of Byron. When you think of him think of Proverbs 20:6, “Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find? The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!”
Byron’s faithful life of love for God and for others has put him into a special category of people. When you speak of Byron remember that verse. There are many people who proclaim their own steadfast love but Byron talked the talk and walked the walk. Because he was a faithful man who walked with integrity his wife, his children, his grandchildren and all of us have truly been blessed!
Scripture: Psalm 27: 1,4
The Lord is my light and my salvation;whom shall I fear?The Lord is the stronghold of my life;of whom shall I be afraid? One thing have I asked of the Lord,that will I seek after:that I may dwell in the house of the Lordall the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lordand to inquire in his temple.
We are here to commit to rest the body of our loved one and friend- Byron Elder. Here is the form of one whose memory we will treasure. We have shared through the passing years a wonderful companionship with Byron Elder. Let us cherish the many memories that come to us at this time and let each of us purpose to seek the LORD with all our hearts and respond to the opportunities of the salvation that extend through His Grace.
"Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” (1Corinthians 15:20-26)
The LORD bless you and keep you;the LORD make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24, 26)