There is Life and Salvation
March 2, 2019 Funeral Service, Nicole Frei
1 John 5:6-12
6 This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. 10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
In the Name of Jesus.
As we gather here for the funeral service for our sister in the faith Nicole Frei, the Church tomorrow hears the readings for the Transfiguration of our Lord.
On the mount, Jesus stood as a testimony of life. Next to him stood Moses and Elijah. They lived, one of them, about 900 years previous, the other about 1,500 years previous. Yet, here they stood with their Lord, in living bodies, conversing.
Moses and Elijah belonged not to the death of this sinful world and our sinful flesh, but to the life given by Jesus, the Lord of life.
The Mount of Transfiguration shows him to be Moses’s Lord, Elijah’s Lord, and the Lord for Peter and James and John. So they all belonged to life, even when standing on this Earth given over to death.
He is their Lord. They belong to life.
He is Nicole’s Lord, too. She belongs to life. Our Lord gave that to her by baptizing her into his Name—a promise and testament from the Lord of life which is not abrogated. He gave his Name in the water and Word of Holy Baptism, and as Scripture says, this water bears witness on Earth that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. [1 John 5:8]
Nicole belongs to life. Our Lord gave that to her also in the blood. The blood by which Jesus Christ atoned for her life, our lives, and the lives of every sinner, the blood which, having shed it upon the cross, he then brought it to Nicole in his Sacrament, bestowing it with his words, “Take and drink, this is my blood of the New Testament for the forgiveness of sins,” [Matthew 26:28, 1 Corinthians 11:25]—this is the blood by which the Lord has given Nicole eternal life.
Bryan and Noah, and all the families and loved ones of Nicole, all her brothers and sisters in Christ, Nicole belongs to life.
Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, gave her that testimony, even as he testifies it to us:
This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood …
And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.[1 John 5:6 and 11]
And Noah, now let me make a note about your name. For your mother and father gave you a solid name from Scripture, and your name testifies to the comfort our Lord gave to your mom and which he now gives to us.
Your name in the Hebrew means, rest. [ נֹ֖ח יְנַחֲמֵ֤נוּ] But this is not simply the rest of a nap or a good night’s sleep. It is the rest of being comforted by God, the rest of hearing the Lord’s word that your sins are forgiven, that your conscience, by the word of Gospel, by the promise of Baptism, is daily cleansed, and that your life belongs not to the death of this world, but to life at the face of God.
28 Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and had a son. 29 And he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed.”
Your parents, Noah, gave you a strong name, and especially so when we contemplate our grief at the time of death as we live in this sinful world which our Lord has cursed, and we look for the rest and comfort our Lord graciously gives in his Gospel of the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.
Rest and comfort.
We commend our sister Nicole to that promise and gift from the Lord.
Rest from all her affliction and sickness. Rest from all travails and conflicts of this world.
Comfort from all guilt for sin. Comfort from God of hearing his Word which justifies the sinner and cleanses the conscience. Comfort of living at the face of God not in fear or despair, but in the joy of being redeemed by him and receiving every good gift from him.
He is good to his Word. His promise is sure and certain. He delivers his promise to us, as he says, in the testimony of the water and the Word. In this promise he testifies that he, God, gives us eternal life and this life is in his Son, and by this testimony he overcomes our fears and doubts.
We commend Nicole to that promise and gift from the Lord.
We will have joy in thinking of her smile and wit, in telling the stories we remember, in contemplating how she was such a gift from the Lord to us—a gift to you, Bryan, of a wife, to you, Noah, of a mother, of daughter and daughter-in-law, of friend and sister in the faith, we will remember also the great trial she was given of her bodily suffering, but in all this, our rejoicing is in the Lord who gave her his testimony of the water and the blood of which the Apostle John told us.
In this testimony of the Gospel, this promise of the forgiveness of all sins, there reconciliation and peace, there is healing and being made whole, all bitterness and fear is chased away, there is life and salvation.
In the Name of Jesus.