A Funeral Sermon

Some words shared on December 16th during Rick McBay’s funeral.

1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

Isaiah 11: 1-5

Rick would say, that our primary purpose as members of Christ’s church was to “tell the story of Jesus,” so we are going to do that.

In Isaiah 11 we see what would appear to be a hopeless situation. The family of Jesse, the family of King David is compared to a stump. A tree is full of wonder and potential, but a tree cut down is a monument to unfulfilled dreams.

Isaiah lifts up our eyes to see that out of the stump a shoot has sprung. New life from where old life should have existed. This new life was Jesus. He is one on whom the Spirit rests, with wisdom, and understanding, knowledge, counsel and strength.

In verse 3 Isaiah says that our Lord sees things differently than we do.

For now we see only through the mirror darkly (1 Cor 13: 12). Our imaginations are dominated by the things that are temporary, things we can see and touch. We can barely imagine the sights and sounds that lay in store for us eternally for our senses are deceived at times. We hold tightly to things we cannot keep and neglect that which we cannot lose.

Our enemy says, “You shall not surely die.” (Gen. 3: 4)

Our LORD says you will die, to separate you from the curse of Adam which you have known your whole waking existence. Then you will be raised up new and indestructible.

“Behold I make all things new!” (Rev. 21: 5)

Sandy, you asked me last Saturday what I thought Rick was seeing now. I don’t know for, ‘no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind has imagined the things God has prepared for those who love him’ (1 Cor 2: 9)

But I know what he heard: Trumpets, and the voice of the LORD himself. (1 Thess. 4: 16) calling him and saying, “Well done good and faithful servant. Come and share in your master’s happiness” (Matt 25: 21)

I would like to say something to Rick’s students, past and present, who are gathered here today:

Mr. McBay would be very disappointed if any of you got the impression that heaven was his new postal code because he was such a good man (I need you to listen very carefully to what I am going to say). Mr. McBay was not just a good man. Mr. McBay was a man who completely trusted a good God.

You don’t get to heaven by being good. No one is good (except Jesus.) You can only get to heaven by completely trusting in Jesus. That is the only way.

Jesus doesn’t make bad people good, He makes dead people alive.

He would use his big Robert Land Academy voice and say, “Don’t ever think you can make it here without the help of Jesus.”

And in his teacher voice he would say, “Don’t ever think that you can’t be here because you’re not good enough. That is not an valid excuse. The enemy said that, and he is a liar. You can sing, you can sing here.”

Rick completely trusted his Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Is our Lord, mistaken? NO. For His ways are beyond our ways, His thoughts beyond our thoughts (Is 55: 8).

Does our LORD deceive us? NO! Let God be found true, though every man be a liar. (Rom 3: 4). Our LORD does not just speak the truth; He IS the truth. (John 14: 6)

If Rick could speak at his own funeral what would he say? Here’s what I think He would say, “It’s better! It’s better than I could ever have imagined.”


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