Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 15, 1966

A Sad Funeral

Brent Lewis

And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy" (Eccl. 8:10).

The Grim Reaper, death, is indeed a busy worker, and funerals are by no means an uncommon sight. Yet, some funerals are different than others. I know of no gospel preacher who relishes the thought of preaching any funeral, but there is no doubt that some funerals are not as difficult as others.

The best situation is that in which the person who has passed away has been a firm and faithful child of God. This provides both hope for the deceased and comfort for those who love him. Next in difficulty would probably be the funeral of a person who has never become a Christian. What can you say? There are no words of hope, no true words of comfort to be offered.

But, without doubt, the most difficult, discouraging, saddening, and futile circumstance of all is to try to preach the funeral of one who is an erring child of God, who has made shipwreck of the faith. Yes, some funerals are infinitely more sorrowful than others because of the character of the life that has been lived. "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord" and, yea, cursed are they who die apart from Him.

In the verse above (in our text) there is a burial contemplated. There is always something mournful about a burial, whether the body is that of a prince or a pauper. But the writer says, "I saw the wicked buried. "It seems that there are some these days who never see the wicked buried they always seem to be turned into saints, either immediately before or after death (I haven't figured out which yet!). This reminds me of the little girl who was walking through the cemetery with her mother, and after seeing the epitaphs, said, "Mother, where are all the bad people buried?" From man's common attempt to eulogize every person who dies, one might get the idea that there are no bad people that die. But one has merely to turn to this passage, or to the sixteenth chapter of Luke to find the funeral of such a one.

The wise man issues a solemn warning to us in this verse, for he says about this wicked one who was buried that he "had come and gone from the place of the holy." That is, he had seen him coming and going from the temple, the house of prayer, in the same way as the just and righteous and holy.

He came and he went, and he went as he came, none the better for it and he was buried as a wicked person. This is no uncommon sight today. We sadly see the wicked buried who have come and gone from the communion table, from singing songs of praise to God, from praying long prayers. Many in the Lord's church "come and go," and go as they come from the meeting of the saints -- never truly worshipping but thinking that their coming and going is all that is needed or required.

And it may well be that many churches are largely responsible for some that are buried as wicked -because the wicked have come and gone and failed to hear the true gospel preached in its power, purity and simplicity. Some come and go through force of habit, having been trained to do so from, childhood. Others do so because it helps their respectability in the eyes of men; others to make a display of themselves, But a few do it because they both love and fear Jehovah God, Brethren, unless our coming brings us to Jesus Christ, and our going takes us out of this life into His eternal service what shall it profit?

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