The joy of sharing a message of salvation

By Stephanie Blackbern

I would like to share with you five verses that were recently shared at a funeral service. The funeral service was my father’s. And the scriptures were those he picked out that he wanted read. It was a joy to share this message of salvation that he selected as his the last word!

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 – I passed on to you as most important what I also received: Christ died for our sins in line with the scriptures, he was buried, and he rose on the third day in line with the scriptures.

Now what does that mean for us? The most important message is Jesus Christ died for us. It was all carried out as planned in all the Old Testament prophecy scriptures. His death, burial, resurrection. Jesus death paid the price for our sins. His resurrection wiped our slate of sins clean, all our sins, past present and future.

1 Peter 3:15 – 15 Instead, regard Christ as holy in your hearts. Whenever anyone asks you to speak of your hope, be ready to defend it.

Because Jesus has given us this great work in forgiveness, we can continue to live in him, and how do we do that? Described here in this text with holy hearts, because of our close relationship to him, we can defend this hope we have in Jesus. So we continue to talk about this hope.

Galatians 2:20 – 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Again we are reminded that Jesus died for us. I want to put this verse in the context of my dad’s life especially now that he has received his reward and keep this in mind that he wants the same for you. Dad was crucified with Jesus and he no longer lives but but Christ lives in him. (yes that began when he first accepted Christ) and his current life is in heaven. He lives in his whole perfect body! This began when he started living by faith. It started when he accepted Jesus, and it continues in fullness when he crossed over and Dad’s heavenly life is all because of Jesus love for him! This is exciting and this is what he wants for you all too!

This new life in Jesus is because the Holy Spirit lives in us and empowers us. The results or fruit of the spirit is manifest in our lives. We can have this kind of life, and I think my dad’s life was full of the fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this.

2: Peter 1:4 – 4 Through his honor and glory he has given us his precious and wonderful promises, that you may share the divine nature and escape from the world’s immorality that sinful craving produces.

My dad held onto God’s promises, Dad lived a life of honor and some glory but he kept giving the credit back to God. He knew there was trouble in this world and he did much to combat it, he helped where he could, he prayed where he could against worldly immorality and he was compassionate toward those who battled sinful cravings. He wanted folks who struggled to come to Jesus and share in the divine nature! He received salvation, the hope of Jesus, and he lives in the fruits of the spirit, with spiritual strength to combat the world! Daddy wants that for you too! I do too!

When I saw the scriptures that he picked out I figured my dad wanted a revival for a funeral! So if you don’t know Jesus yet, he is available to you!

This is a good time for a commercial! There is a revival coming to Greene County in April the week after Easter! It is called Revive Ohio, Green County. Dad and I and our group have been praying for seeds to get planted in the weekly Bible Study at Legacy, and now Dad has a bird’s eye view to watch this revival unfold! (You can look at Revive Ohio:Greene County page on Facebook to learn more).

I did not know about these verses that Dad had selected until after he passed. But I did have the opportunity to share Lectionary passages with him in a small group on his Memory Care Unit every week for two years prior to his death. I am comforted by my memory of moments of clarity that God’s Word and the Holy Spirit provide even in the midst of confusion and dementia. For those who have loved ones where the cognitive connection is thin, try reading, singing or praying, especially praying the Bible verses to make connection to a memory challenged loved one.

The theme that resonated throughout the funeral service for my dad, Robert T. Montgomery, was this: “God wants you to do what you are capable of doing!” So if you do have your wits about you, share some scripture, song, prayer or tidbit of God’s truth with someone you love or someone who needs it! Thanks Dad for your example.

By Stephanie Blackbern

Stephanie Blackbern is the Lay Servant serving in the Xenia Community and active on the Christian Emphasis Committee: Putting the “C” back into the YMCA.

Stephanie Blackbern is the Lay Servant serving in the Xenia Community and active on the Christian Emphasis Committee: Putting the “C” back into the YMCA.