This Is The Day That The Lord Has Made

Bible Book: Psalms  118 : 24
Subject: Death, Christian; Funeral; Thankfulness
[Editor's Note: This is a funeral message and is designed for a Christian who leaves behind a positive testimony of faith in Christ. It is offered in general terms rather than specifics so that it may serve as inspiration for the busy pastor when the need arises.]

 

Introduction

When I thought about our departed Christian friend, the text found in Psalm 118:24 came to mind:

“This is the day the Lord has made;

We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

We often think of the greatest days of our lives as those God has especially established for us. Coming through a surgery successfully, passing an important final exam in college, our wedding day, a big promotion and salary increase at work – these are surely days that the Lord has made for us. But, we need to understand that the Lord is in everyday – the ones we count as good and the ones that don’t seem so good. Even today, at a time when one we love had departed to be home with the Lord, is a day the Lord has made.

The great reformation leader Martin Luther called this his favorite Psalm. Moreover, this Psalm was used in Hebrew worship and was sung at the end of the Passover each and every year among the Jewish people. This is the Psalm that Jesus almost assuredly sang with His disciples at the conclusion of the Last Supper in the upper room as He went out to face arrest and crucifixion. Since it was comforting to our Lord at a time like that, surely it can be comforting to us today as we celebrate the home-going of this one whom the Lord loved and this one who loved the Lord.

A poet took the words found in Psalm 118:24 and penned them in the following manner:

"This is the day the Lord hath made,

He calls the hours His own;

Let heaven rejoice, let earth be glad,

And praise surround the throne."

Certainly praise surrounds the throne today as this dear Christian has arrived at home with the Lord and enjoys the fellowship of departed saints in the place Jesus has prepared.

(Share at this point the story of the life, conversion, and service of the departed. Interesting facts, including humorous events, can be helpful to the family and friends at the service.)

Now, let’s take a moment and see why this passage is fitting for this service.

I. It Speaks of Lordship

The Lord made the day and the day belongs to the Lord. He owns the day and we are to give Him our best in it. As the sun rises to bring a new day to the world, our Lord has risen to be the Dayspring from on high for us. After all, if he is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all.

Our departed fellow believer, no doubt, saw Him as Lord of all by dedicating each day to Him. Even a day like this belongs to the Lord and we honor Jesus in it!

Death does not defeat the Lord, for at the end of the day He is still Lord of the day! Where Jesus is, that is exactly where our departed friend is at this very moment. Though we are sad, there is everlasting joy in the presence of the Lord. Jesus said He was going to prepare a place for us and He had a plan to come and take us to be where He is (John 14:1-6). We must remember on this day, especially on this day, that Jesus is Lord over the grave. He is Lord over death.

I have often been asked, "Pastor, where do you think heaven is?" My consistent answer through the years has been, "Wherever Jesus is, that is where heaven is!" He promised us to take us to be where he is - and that is what our dear departed friend is experiencing today. This is the day that the Lord has made!

II. It Speaks of Love

The Lord has made a day for us to enjoy. He loves us and numbers our days according to His plan for us, and His plan is always best! Even the home-going of our departed friend did not catch God by surprise, for in essence this day, while sad for us, brings joy in heaven.

The Psalm I'm speaking to you about today centers on the deliverance of God’s people. It speaks of the day God made as a day in which we are to be delivered. That is why it was sung at the end of the Passover. The Passover, you will recall, began in Egypt when God used the blood of a lamb to free the people from bondage. Thus, the Passover speaks of being set free from sin through the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. The ultimate goal at Passover was not merely to get the people out of Egypt but was essentially about getting them into the Promised Land. God didn’t just want to get them out, He had plans to bring them in. The Lord saved our departed friend by removing sin from his life, but His plan also included getting him into heaven – the ultimate Promised Land. Why does God do this for poor creatures like us? It is all because of His love!

God’s love delivers us from our sins through the sacrifice of His Son at Calvary. God’s love delivers us home to heaven through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. How wonderful today that we have the love of God to assure us that He keeps His promises. He promised to gather those who belong to Him to a home He has prepared and that is exactly what has occurred for our departed friend.

How is it possible that a human being can live with God in heaven? It is possible because “God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son…” The one who has passed from us to God, is not with God because of living a perfect life; rather, he (or she) received the perfect life of Jesus through love – God’s great love.

III. It Speaks of Laughter

Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not making light of death by mentioning laughter today. The separation from our loved ones is so overwhelming that tears flow automatically. You will find yourselves weeping in the days to come – and the tears will come without warning – at any place or time. When I speak of laughter, I speak of the joy the Lord given to us down below those tears - way down deep in our souls. Even as we cry, we know joy comes in the morning!

The Lord gives joy in the place of mourning and laughter in the place of tears. Think of the joy our departed friend is experiencing today. Oh, if only the curtain could be pulled back and that we might see the release God has given the one we loved and still love. If we could see the Lord embracing our departed loved one, we would not lose all our tears, but I feel that we would burst into praise and joy.

Let me tell something, the devil can make you laugh and the devil can make you cry, but only Jesus can make you laugh and cry at the same time! We can have laughter through our tears, for heaven is the home of the redeemed.

Sin did not win.

Satan did not win.

Suffering did not win.

The Savior won and gave that victory to our departed friend.

Jesus has given that victory to the one we honor in this service today. “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

So, let us rejoice at the home-going, even if we must do so through a human sorrow that cannot be denied.

For all of us who are saved, there is a day of the Lord prepared for us. One day we will go home to be with our Savior. Furthermore, we shall be with those who have gone on before us. What a day that will be!