By: Sir Godfrey Gregg D. Div
To Die Is Gain – Funeral sermon
Philippians 1:21 – “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
When I read this verse I can’t help but think of Sister Francilia Stowe aka May-May.
When the Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church at Phillipi, the circumstances of his life weren’t exactly ideal.
He was in prison –
Under house arrest in Rome –
Chained to a Roman soldier as his guard.
Paul was a prisoner and yet this entire letter shouts with triumph. It is filled with the words “joy” and “rejoicing”.
Right Christian experience is the outworking of the life and mind of Christ in our lives whatever our circumstances might be.
Sister Francilia Stowe aka May-May lived the last years of her life a prisoner in a body that was filled with sickness – yet she never complained. She seemed to show joy and to rejoice in her affliction.
To those who do not believe in God – Life on earth is the best there is. For the non-Christian, it is only natural to strive for the world’s values. Money – Popularity – Power – Prestige.
For the Christian it is different. – “To die is gain”
What do we gain? This is a question we ask ourselves daily. What is there to gain in this life?
1. We Gain a better body – a glorified, immortalized, resurrected body.
In this present body of clay, we are subject to all the sorrows and tears that life is heir to. Age, sickness, and finally death are the inevitable end of this house made of the dust of the earth. But in death and the resurrection, we gain a better body, one that can never grow old, no disease, suffering of pain, and can never die. We gain a better body.
2. We Gain a better home.
However the beauty and the embellishments of any house we may possess in this world, it is nothing compared with our mansion in the beautiful city of God. Look at the promise of our Lord in John 14:1-3.
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
The longing of the Apostle Paul for his home in heaven is expressed in Philippians 1:23
“For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:”
3. We Gain a better inheritance.
Our final reward is not here – it is in Heaven.
4. We Gain a better fellowship.
All of us live in this world of a dissolving family circle. Mother is gone – Father is gone, or a child is gone, or our beloved grandparents are gone, or a close friend is gone. But the circle is unbroken in Heaven forever and ever. There is no death there, no sorrow or crying or pain, for these former things is passed away.
Jesus is there.
- If “for me to live is Christ,” then to die is gain.
- If for me to live is money – then to die is a loss.
- If for me to live is self – then to die is a loss.
- If for me to live is ambition – then to die is a loss.
- If for me to live in sin – then to die is a loss.
- But if for me to live is Christ – to die is gain.
I will leave these words of John in the Book of Revelation 21:1 thru 22:5, with particular emphasis on verse 4 of Chapter 21 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”.
To the surviving family, her husband Brother Wesley Stowe and son Micah Nehemiah Stowe I am encouraging you to stay strong and thank God for His saving grace. He knew what was best for our dear sister to be absent from this body and to be present with the Lord.
May the saving grace of Almighty God keep the family together especially your sisters, nieces, nephews and your father that cannot travel to pay their last respect because of closed borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To all the family in Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines stay strong and remember God loves us.