• Mabana Chapel

Peter Ridge's Celebration of Life

Updated: Mar 18




Sermon by David Ridge

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.


We do not grieve as those who have no hope.

My family is not unused to death. In the past 15-20 years we have lost more people than I really want to think about. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends and so on. Two years ago, my dad passes away. And on November 21, 2021, Peter.


Of all of those we’ve lost, for me, losing Peter has been the hardest. My brother Peter was one of my best friends. I cannot find the words here and now to describe my relationship with my brother, and I cannot convey to you the level of my sadness. The only way I’ve even been able to function lately is to put it completely out of my mind.


But despite this, there is still hope. I am not one who has no hope.


Peter died of a disease. One that we’re all aware of and that has been a subject of controversy lately. But I am not going to talk about that here. There’s another disease, which is the real reason for Peter’s death, and all death really. This disease is known as sin.


Sin is far more infectious than any common disease. Every person is born with it. And every person who has been born on this earth will ultimately die because of it.


Many people think sin is the bad things people do, but those are the just the symptoms. Sin corrupts and twists the heart and soul of people. It brings corruption, suffering, misery, and emptiness to us and we in turn bring these things to each other. If you don’t believe me, just take a world history course.


Genesis 6:5-6, 6:11-12

5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.


11 Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.


Romans 3:23

23 for all  have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,


Romans 3:10-18

10 as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; 11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; 12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.” 13 “THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE, WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,” “THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS”; 14 “WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS”; 15 “THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD, 16 DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS, 17 AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN.” 18 “THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.”


I say these things not to berate anyone. None of us can help ourselves. We are all born with sin in our hearts.


The news about sin only seems to get worse. Sin ultimately brings death.


Genesis 3:17-19

17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. 18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; 19 By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”


God made men mortal to keep sin from spreading. He knew that if we were to live forever in sin, we would be utterly wretched. We would bring nothing but violence and misery to each other.


Romans 6:23

23 For the wages of sin is death,


This is not merely a physical death only, but death of the spirit and soul away from the presence of God.


God is the embodiment of perfection and all that is good and right. To be separated from Him and His promises of life and peace is truly the ultimate form of death.


Sin puts us in opposition to God and His perfection. As the creator of everything, he has ownership and rule over all things. Our sin puts us at odds with his will and his rules of what is right. This puts us in in a position of debt to God. And there is a payment that needs to be made. One that we can’t afford. When our bodies die, our soul is forfeit.


The Hope we have

This message has been a pretty much a big downer so far. But now we turn a corner.


God was not and is not willing to leave us without hope. He gave us His son to save us from sin.


Romans 6:23

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Psalms 103:8-14

8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. 9 He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. 14 For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.


God has never abandoned us to sin but worked out a way to cure to the disease. That cure is Jesus Christ. God sent his Son, Jesus, in the form of a human being, to die for our sin, so that we don’t have to.


Jesus lived a sinless life, the only innocent life, and was executed by crucifixion on false charges. This was so that He could take all the sin of the world on Himself, as a truly innocent sinless person, in order to pay the debt we owe to God. Jesus gave up His life and died in our place. And because he was truly sinless, he rose from the dead to a new life. And he offers that same new life to each person who accepts Him as their savior, the one who pays their debt.


John 3:16-21

16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.


This is the hope we have. That not just Peter but all those who have died having believed in Jesus will awaken someday to a new life. An eternal life with God. A life free from the corruption of sin. A life in the very presence of God, filled with beaty and peace, love and joy, and all the good things that God has to offer us.


1 Corinthians 15:50-57

50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. 55 O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


My sadness will fade with time, but my hope remains forever. I know that Peter has a new life and when it is my time to pass out of this world, I will see him and all the others who have believed. We will be in that new life together forever.


1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.


To those hearing this

The hardest part for many of us is being willing to admit that we need help, that we can’t escape the grasp of sin on our own and we can’t pay the debt ourselves. We need a savior. Beyond that, the second hardest thing is to realize that we need to escape sin in the first place. We like sin and often don’t feel the need to escape it.


Going back to John 3:16, most people have at least heard this verse. But not many read on after verse 16.


John 3:16-21

16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His  only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”


This is my plea to everyone who has not believed in Jesus. If you were to die, you would be without hope. There is a great and wonderful hope that is gained in Jesus.


The times we live in are getting more uncertain, less secure. We don’t know what could happen to us. None of us expected to lose Peter.


I know most of the people in this room already have their hope secure in Christ. But maybe if you’re hearing this on the recording, and you haven’t have not allowed Jesus to pay your debt, don’t let your time run out. He gives salvation freely to any who will accept it. We all want you to share in our hope.


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