Kyle's Memorial Sermon
Good afternoon. My name is Josh.
On behalf of the family, I am grateful that you’re here, but I’m also sorry that you’re here.
We shouldn't be here, in this place, on this day, doing this thing. But we are.
It’s not a dream or trance or make believe. It’s real. And because it’s real, because this won’t go away if we just open our eyes and roll out of bed, I need to share some really important news with you.
Michelle had two goals for this service.
- That we would worship the Lord and
- That the gospel would be preached and heard, and believed.
Michelle’s hope in having a funeral was that, by Kyle’s death, someone else might get on the path of life.
What is the Gospel?
And so because today is real, I get to give you real news.
And the news is this:
Because God raised Jesus from the dead; literally, physically, and bodily, we can trust all of God’s promises.
- We can trust God’s promise to Eve that the serpent's head, along with Sin and Death, will be crushed.
- We can trust God’s promise to Abraham, that all the peoples of the earth will be freed from the curse of death and receive the blessing of resurrection life.
- We can trust God’s promise to David, that a Son will sit on His throne and rule all the nations in righteousness and they’ll turn their swords into plows in a kingdom that never ends.
- We can trust God’s promise to the prophets, that all those who mourn will be comforted, as as the Lord prepares a feast of rich food and well aged wine, and the Lord Himself serves the meal and wipes every tear from our eyes and all things are made new.
Because God was faithful to His promise to raise Jesus from the dead, we’re confident He’s faithful to come through on every other promise that He made, the promise of the resurrection of the dead and the restoration of all things.
The hope of the gospel is simple:
Now is not always. Things won’t be this way forever.
But right now they are this way.
Right now we’re born, we live, and then go back to the dirt.
This the curse of the present evil age. This is the sting of death that we all acutely feel right now. Things are not yet made right and so we grieve.
Right now we’re mourning the death of a son, husband, father, and friend.
We feel the pain of death right now. We feel its ache. And that is good and that is right.
But even as we feel this loss and this pain we remember with the Psalmist that:
“the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).”
We remember that:
“He keeps count of our tossings, He puts our tears in His bottle (Psalm 56:8).
But as wonderful and as true as those words are, they’re not the gospel.
The gospel is not Jesus saying, “I’m so sorry.”
On the day Jesus wept with Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus died, He didn’t just say, “I’m sorry.” He had a solution, a gospel, for their problem.
And in his own grief, and to the grieving sisters he said,
“Because I am the resurrection and the life, your brother will rise again.”
In other words, Jesus in his own grief and to their grieving said:
Now is not always. Things won't be this way forever.
There is an appointed end to the curse of Sin and Death.
There’s a real day:
- When sadness stops
- When crying stops
- When suffering stops
- when funerals stop
- When cancer wards are empty
- and when the grind of this age finally ends.
There’s a coming day when the Lord returns, destroys sin and death, and restores the heavens, the earth, and everything in them to glory forever.
Now is not always!! Your brother will rise again!
Now is not always! Kyle will rise again!
Now is not always! And you, if you believe what Kyle believed? You too will rise again to everlasting life.
Why I Believe the Gospel
This is what I believe in, and it’s what all followers of Jesus believe in; every tear wiped away and a restoration of all things by the power of God; all things new.
And I believe this for two reasons.
First, because God raised Jesus from the dead.
And the guy who gets raised from the dead gets to tell people like me and you what’s true.
And if Jesus says it’s true that everyone who trusts:
- in His cross for their sins,
- In His tomb for their death
- In His resurrection for their eternal life
- And follows him in repentance until He returns
- will never die, but live forever in His Father’s Kingdom
I believe Him!
That’s the first reason I believe the gospel.
Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so.
But I have a second reason for believing the gospel.
Second, Kyle and Michelle.
Kyle and Michelle are my friends. He knew me before I knew him. My family of 7 moved from the country to Tonkawa and as Kyle tells it, he was introduced to the Reese’s because some of us were playing in the sprinkler in the backyard, buck-naked. In the country you didn’t wear clothes. On Meadow Lane, you should.
Fast forward from those early years and I knew them from church, specifically when the cancer diagnosis came about. If you don’t know that story, they kicked its butt. Glioblastoma gives you 18 months tops.
Kyle wasn’t supposed to live, but he did and when he did, they stood up in church and told us about it and everyone else who would listen how the Lord kept and strengthened them and healed them how they grew nearer to Him through it.
Fast forward a bit more and they’re more involved in our church’s life, Kyle serving as a deacon and Michelle giving leadership to the food pantry (and everywhere else). I started pastoring then.
During this time, Kyle is getting jacked. He was a real life Popeye the Sailor Man. I wanted to get in shape and so I asked him what time the gun show started and he said 5:00am, which was not the answer I wanted to hear.
But this is really when we became friends; when I met near daily with this godly, humble, husband, father, son, churchman, cancer survivor, happy-go-lucky dude, who rolled into the gym at 5:00 and never complained, but instead was always positive and encouraging.
Even when the cancer came back, he wouldn’t complain and neither would Michelle. They just kept believing the gospel.
Fast forward from there just to last year, and we’ve spent the past 60-70 Sundays in a living room together with our house group, eating, singing to the Lord, praying for each other, and discussing the scriptures when the kids volume is low enough.
I say all that to say, these are my friends.
And through this friendship, I’ve been given yet one more reason to believe the gospel.
I can believe it because they believed it and are still believing it.
You want to know the measure of one’s faith? It’s not on display when everything is going well.
It’s easy to say you believe the gospel and you love Jesus :
- when your kids are healthy,
- when you get a raise,
- When things are going well at home.
Anyone can say “We love you Lord!” on the beach.
The measure of a person’s faith, the litmus test for what someone really believes deep down in their guts, is only on display when the wicked powers of this age raise their head.
- When you have a seizure at Thanksgiving
- When you get a diagnosis that says, “You have 6 months.”
- When you have two craniotomies
- When your can’t play with your kids
- And when you hold you hold your husband’s hand as he passes away.
Kyle and Michelle’s faith was tested.
Do they believe the gospel? Do they believe God’s promise that things won’t be this way forever for those who trust in Him?
Well I can tell you that they do.
I watched Kyle run His race faithfully.
And I’m watching Michelle run it right now.
When Kyle passed and went to be with the Lord and to wait for the resurrection, Michelle knelt down at his side, not to cry, not to scream, but to worship and thank God
- for every gift He’s given them,
- for the time they had together,
- for their children,
- and for the gospel that guarantees the day when death, sorrow, and pain, are no more, and when God will wipe away every tear from our eyes (Revelation 21:4).
I believe the gospel because the bible tells so.
But I also believe the gospel because the Owen’s have shown me so.
Kyle will, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye be raised from the dead! (1Thes 4:16),(1 Cor. 15:51-52).
And on that day, when He’s looking again like Popeye we’ll say:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:53-55)
Now is not always.
- Kyle’s story didn’t end with a cancer diagnosis.
- Kyle’s story didn’t end with the first or second craniotomies.
- Kyle’s story didn’t end in a hospital bed in Ponca City.
What I’m telling you this afternoon, and what I’m pleading with you to believe, is that because of Jesus, Kyle’s story doesn’t end.
Because of Jesus, He’s gonna live forever. He’s done with death.
And because that’s true, we can hold on and not lose heart because we know the afflictions we endure in this age are only light and momentary. And they can’t compare to the eternal weight of glory to come.
Now is not always. Things won't be this way forever.
Repent of your sins and believe the gospel and you will see Kyle again.