Title: Loved, Forgiven, Forever!
Theme: CHRIST CONQUERED SIN AND DEATH, SO THAT THROUGH HIM WE ARE FORGIVEN - FOREVER!
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
"For your sake we are being killed all the daylong;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Dear family, friends and loved ones of our beloved Al,
It is a time of mourning and grief for us all as we remember our dear father, grandfather, father-n-law, uncle and friend Albert Tkac. I've had the blessing to be Al’s son for 58 years and for my sister, Bonnie and my brother’s Ron and Tom I want to thank you for honoring our dad with your presence here today.
Al had the blessing of a very healthy and active life for much of his 87 years. Unfortunately, over these last few months he spent quite a bit of time dealing with the illness that would ultimately call him home. And if you know my dad … being in and out of the hospital and rehab centers wasn't his idea of fun and certainly not where he wanted to be. And though he never complained about his situation ... getting him home to his house was a priority for our family and a great comfort and joy for our dad.
Sadly, he was only able to enjoy his house for a few days. But, my dad was blessed to have spent time with family and friends, and finding joy even in the midst of his suffering. So it is with that in mind that during our time of grieving … as we say our goodbyes … that there is also a time of hope … for what lies ahead.
And, as we think about the loss of our beloved Al today we can have the utmost confidence as he did that:
CHRIST CONQUERED SIN AND DEATH, SO THAT THROUGH HIM WE ARE FORGIVEN - FOREVER!
The Roman’s text chosen for the sermon text today speaks of trial and comfort. These believers in Rome were being persecuted for their faith and the Apostle offers assurance to them that no matter the trial whether, tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? (Rom. 8:35) that they and we can be certain that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8-28)
The world, our sinful flesh and the Devil continued to bring these believers in Rome to doubt that their salvation was secure. Paul comforts them with the assurance that no matter whether trial, persecution in this life or even death … that God has redeemed them and bought them with the precious blood of His only begotten Son and that they cannot be separated from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:39)
My dad knew this …
If you knew Al, he gave himself completely in everything he did, whether in his service to our country, playing baseball at Penn State, golfing, ping pong, you name it. It there was a competition he would figure out a way to win. He was the classic example of the joke of two guys confronted with the bear. When the one guy says, “I don’t think we can out run a bear?” Dad would have thought, “I don’t need to out run the bear … I just need to out run you!”
He was a devoted family man and a loving husband and father.
Now dad also was the one who would meet our discipline as the need arose. He understood as a father he was to:
6 Train up a child in the way he should go; and
even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Prov. 22:6)
So when he would come home from work on a typical night he might say to our mom, “Line them up and tell me which one I need to hit!” Now my dad could whip his belt off, fold it in half and have it in the ready to strike position faster than you could say Indiana Jones.
But, the truth is I never remember getting the “Strap” as it was called. There was a fear and a healthy respect for him and his “Strap” but little pain. “Go to your room and wait for me!” we would hear … except for Bonnie … because dad really loved her and she was his little girl. But, the boys, well dad knew he needed to mold us. Even when Ron and Tom, thinking they were being extremely helpful by washing dad’s car with Brillo Pads … the “strap” remained holstered. You see, dad knew the Law of right and wrong but he also knew forgiveness and he forgave us much because he too knew that he had been forgiven.
Death brings about a separation from our loved ones … for a time ... for we who believe. It is a consequence of sin and a corruption of this perfect creation of our loving God. We all see the evidence in our lives. At times, it is wonderful to grow older, to look forward to getting your driver’s license or graduating from High School … going to college, falling in love, getting married … starting a family … and all the while you’re thinking very little of your sinful condition, in a corrupted world … and time that is slipping away.
Before long, the kids are grown and out of the house … or … as in my case, they’re out but much of their stuff is still in the house … because in this life, the corruption caused by sin, can throw a wrench into the plans you've made for your life, that unfortunately - all too often - is cut short.
Some of the pain of sin in this life we cause and bring upon ourselves; some is thrust upon us by the sinfulness of others; and some, might have been avoided had we only been just a little bit more loving.
But death, none the less, makes us all look at the reality that at some point we all will breathe our last. For some sooner and for some, like Dad, at 87 years young … even though he had plans to 92 … the sin of Adam and Eve that we are all born into comes knocking and as much as we try, we all, like dad, will eventually answer that door and breathe our last.
So, what is God’s purpose and hope for you and for me? Well, we learn again from our epistle to the Romans that:
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
God foreknew – or knew beforehand - these believers in Rome before the foundations of the world. He predestined – which is to determine or decree – that they would bear the image of His son; that they would be covered by the righteous, royal robes of the God/man Himself, Jesus Christ. He called them by name to believe the Good News of the Gospel and He justified them through saving faith in the blessed Gospel that they too, like the Son, would be glorified, forgiven in Christ and would be with Him forever in heaven.
God called our beloved father by name too, because Dad knew his savior and his call to faith. Last Sunday as I was teaching my confirmation class I received a call from my brother Ron telling me dad wasn't doing too well. Ron has been the one consistent care giver for our father over these many years. Always taking him to doctor visits and dad knew this well. Every time I would help and take him to a visit when Ron was unable I would tell dad, “If you need anything just call me.” He would always respond, “I’ll call Ron.”
Well, though we are all saddened by Al’s passing last Monday morning. And the tears that fall from our eyes are real because we all truly loved him. Ron and I had a great blessing as we kissed Dad on the forehead and told him we loved him. He said he loved us too. Usually, I would hear “same here,” because dad wasn't the mushy type but he truly loved his children and grandchildren and was so proud of them all.
But, how quickly it is that even one day can change our whole lives?
Unfortunately, even though the hospital was equipped, had all the talents of the Surgeons, Doctors and Nurses at its disposal, and the advances in medical science and techniques available to them, Dad was called away from his loved ones, friends and this life that he loved.
Despite our grief though the apostle Paul still can comfort us all:
Because 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Rom. 8:32)
My brothers and sister and I had many wonderful years with our father who loved life, his wife, his children sons and daughter-n-laws and grandchildren and took time especially to remember all their birthdays and anniversaries.
And though Dad had a lot of health issues over the last few years he looked lovingly at the blessings of his life, family, friends, golfing buddies, and spending time at the American legion. He would always tell me about Jack, and Freddy and Mikey and Nick and Phil and Jimmy, I thought, "who is hanging out with, the Little Rascals?”
One of the blessings we have in this life is our friends and dad was blessed greatly by knowing all of you. He was also blessed to be baptized and brought to faith in Christ and the salvation that Jesus won for him at the cross. The price of dad’s salvation was the very life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of, not just Al’s sins, but the sins of the whole world. It is the price that we could never pay but was given to Albert Raymond Tkac and to each of us who by faith trust in Christ’s finished work.
Today we honor his life, as we say our goodbyes. But, the grief that fills us all with loss and sorrow who knew him as father, grandfather, dear relative and friend, will one day be replaced with our blessed reunion in heaven for all who believe. Our loving God in Christ Jesus will wipe away every tear of sadness that we have today and in that day replace them with tears of joy, as we together rejoice in Heaven with our resurrected Lord who has come to conquer sin, death and the power of the Devil not only for Dad but for you and for me as well.
In Christ, death is not the end for we who cling to the blessed hope of reunion in Heaven one day. But, it is only a time of parting … for a while.
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:38-39)
Earlier I said, “How quickly it is that even one day can change our whole lives.”
24 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. (Luke 24: 1-3)
… one day can change our whole lives …
“Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen!” (Luke 24:5b)
Heaven is now our dad’s home and Jesus has prepared a place for him.
You too, who trust in Christ, have this home waiting for you. That blessed Good News assures you that Jesus died for your sins and it is the wonderful Gospel message you can trust. God has forgiven your sin in Christ and has called you to faith by that same Gospel message through the power of the Holy Spirit, and has given you faith to believe in Christ’s saving work. There is a place that has been prepared for Al … that he has now taken possession of and there is a place waiting for you and for all who believe by faith in Christ.
Dear friends, you are:
Loved, Forgiven, Forever!
CHRIST CONQUERED SIN AND DEATH, SO THAT THROUGH HIM YOU ARE FORGIVEN AND WILL LIVE WITH HIM FOREVER!
May our Lord comfort you with this precious Good News now and forever.
In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.