Lessons I’m Learning Through My Father’s Death

Lessons I’m Learning Through My Father’s Death


I had the privilege a few years ago to preach my father’s funeral.  This is the outline for the sermon that I gave at the services.  I believe this article may be appropriate for our community given the recent tragedies we’ve experienced.  Because we live in a world plagued by sin and death, no doubt more are coming.


Since my father’s death, I’ve had a couple of Scripture verses running through my head. I started thinking about these two verses immediately after Dad died and they have been kept fresh by the questions many of you have asked.  No matter how they were worded the basic question was: Why did my dad die?   I feel a little like Job who had a lot of questions about death and calamity as well.  After death’s initial shock, the questions begin to surface.  Sometimes we get the answers we’re looking for from God’s Word and then other times we receive answers as our loving God walks with us through calamity and then others, we have to wait until heaven. 


1.  The first lesson I’m learning is that God is all-powerful, sovereign, and in control of all things, working them out according to His plan even those things that seem to us as accidental or absurd.

Ephes. 1:11 (KJV) 

    In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Notice carefully that in this passage and many others like it, God is working all things after the counsel of His own will.  In other words, everything that happens in time has been eternally decreed and is coming to pass exactly according to God’s gracious purpose.  Because it is God’s own will we realize that there is no external force making God do anything but it is simply His eternal purpose.

Acts 15:18 (KJV) 

    Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.


2.  The second lesson I’m learning is that God is always good in everything He does concerning His children even in tragedies.

Romans 8:28 (KJV) 

    And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Those who do not know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord probably can’t understand how it is that God can be all loving as He works all things for good to His children and be all powerful working all things according to the counsel of His will, and still have what we see as tragedy happen.


In God’s gracious and loving purpose He had appointed a time for my dad to die.  He had been working out all things to get our family prepared.  In God’s economy and in His good purpose He translated my dad from this world to the next.  In a matter of hours my dad went from enjoying this world and all of the Lord’s blessings to enjoying the riches of heaven.


3.  The third lesson I’m learning is that my dad’s death Friday morning at 2:30 was the most loving way God could accomplish His eternal will for His glory.  What looked accidental to us had been planned before the foundation of the world.


Jesus was once questioned about tragedy and death.

Luke 13:1-5 (ESV) 

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.  [2] And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?  [3] No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.  [4] Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?  [5] No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Jesus tells us all that when tragedy happens we should be reminded of the fact that life is short and that we must repent of our sins.  Especially at times like these, we are ushered into an eternal mindset.  The importance of a right relationship with God is vivid in our minds.


Dad was a loving husband and a good father who loved his Lord and his family.  There is nothing more I could ask for in a father than what God gave me in my father.  However, as good as Dad was, he wasn’t perfect.  In fact, according to God’s standards Dad, like everyone else, fell infinitely short of God’s perfect standards.  My father was a sinner who needed a Savior.  God was merciful enough to provide Christ for my Dad’s deepest need.  Because he loved people so much, if he were to say anything to those he knew and loved, I believe this is what he would want us to know. He might say, Brian, tell them about Christ and how they must be right with God before they die.


God’s Plan of Salvation

1 John 5:11-12 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. The one who has the Son has this eternal life; the one who does not have the Son of God does not have this eternal life.

Man’s Problem: He is alienated from God

Isaiah 59:2 But your sinful acts have alienated you from your God; your sins have caused him to reject you and not listen to your prayers.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


The Futility of Our Works

Scripture also teaches that no amount of human goodness, human works, human morality, or religious activity can gain acceptance with God or get anyone into heaven. The moral man, the religious man, and the immoral and non-religious are all in the same boat. They all fall short of God’s perfect righteousness.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 it is not of works, so that no one can boast.

God’s Solution

God is not only perfect holiness (whose holy character we can never attain to on our own or by our works of righteousness) but He is also perfect love and full of grace and mercy. Because of His love and grace, He has not left us without hope and a solution.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made the one who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.

How Do We Receive God’s Son?

Because of what Jesus Christ accomplished for us on the cross, the Bible states “He that has the Son has life.” We can receive the Son, Jesus Christ, as our Savior by personal faith, by trusting in the person of Christ and His death for our sins.

John 1:12 But to all who have received him–those who believe in his name–he has given the right to become God’s children

This means we must each come to God the same way: (1) as a sinner who recognizes his sinfulness, (2) realizes no human works can result in salvation, and (3) relies totally on Christ alone by faith alone for our salvation.

I pray today that you would consider the claims of the Bible.  I pray you would see your sin and then very quickly see the Savior.

I am Pastor Brian of Grace Community Church.  Come visit us on Sunday morning at 11:00 to learn more about our Savior, Jesus Christ.



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