The Funeral Sermon for Irene B. Cole "The Comfort of Christ's Unbreakable Promise!" Isaiah 54:10

July 14, 2021
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

Obituary Irene B. Cole, 94 was called to her Heavenly home on July 5, 2021. She was born on March 1, 1927 in Evanston, Indiana to the late Louise (Polster) & Herman Mulzer. She was the youngest of seven children who all preceded her in death: Arnold Mulzer, Roland Mulzer, Edgar Mulzer, Irma Kirsch, Mary Dixon & Jeanette Stofft. Also preceding her in death was a son-in-law, Kenneth Roberts. Irene married the late William Cole on September 21, 1947. They were married 41 years when Bill passed on February 14, 1989. Irene was Baptized and Confirmed into the Christian Faith at St. John’s Lutheran Church. She was a Charter member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church where she has continued to be an active member. Irene graduated from Chrisney High School in 1945. She worked at General Electric and Lincoln Trail Motel Restaurant where she baked and served her famous pies. Irene and Bill started their own business in 1962 and she continued to work in the office until 2017. Irene was an avid gardener and enjoyed working with her flowers. Her greatest accomplishment was being a Loving and Wonderful Mother, Grammy and Great-Grammy. She is survived by her three children; Michael Cole, Carolyn Roberts and Randall Cole (Lisa) all of Tell City. Eight Grand Children; Kaycee Harris (Ryan), Arianne Holley, Nicole Petulla, Jennifer Farmer (Jason), William Roberts (Ruth), Natalie Cole (Jared), Alex Cole (Kelsey) & Matthew Cole (Carolyn). Six great grandchildren; Calissa, Remira & Kamra Harris, Justin Appell, Madison & Kenley Farmer. She is also survived by many nieces & nephews.

Episode Notes

The Funeral Sermon For Irene B. Cole                                 9-July-2021
Sermon Text: Isaiah 54:10 “For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed," Says the LORD, who has mercy on you.”
Sermon Theme: “The Comfort of Christ’s Unbreakable Promise!”

I.N.R.I. “Php 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” St. Paul wrote from his final imprisonment in Rome to his congregation at Philippi. Paul had a desire to depart and be with the Lord, but was willing to remain to serve others if that was God the Father’s good and gracious will. Irene had a desire to depart and be with Christ Jesus, but knew that her life was in His nail scarred hands.
          Early Monday morning, the Lord Jesus called her from this valley of sorrow to come Home with Him. She fell asleep in Jesus. She died. Death hurts it isn’t natural. Death destroys life. Death tears us apart from those we love. Death wasn’t part of God’s perfect creation when He declared it “very good” at the end of the sixth 24 hour day of the existence of all matter.   Death is the result of sin. Rebellion against our Creator God and His Life sustaining Word. Satan lied. Our first parents listened. They trusted in their own feelings and wisdom above their loving Father’s Word. They ate - we died. God the Holy Spirit sums it up teaching, “Rom 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—” Death is the last enemy Christians face in this world. It breaks our heart when it devours those whom we love. Irene, a beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister in Christ has died. We grieve, yet not alone and not without hope. Christ Jesus draws near to weep with us, as He wept at with Mary and Martha at Lazarus’ tomb in Bethany. He comforts us with the word of death’s defeat and the triumph of life. “Joh 11:25-26 "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. (26) And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
Where death had seemed to triumph, mourning Martha answered, “Joh 11:27 "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."
        Christ centered Word breathed Holy Spirit given faith triumphed over the grief and tears of death. Our Lord Jesus speaks a promise shattering death’s teeth robbing it of its sting. Learn this afternoon from Irene’s confirmation verse: “The Comfort of Christ’s Unbreakable Promise!”
          “ Ecc 3:1-2 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: (2) A time to be born, And a time to die; .....” The despondent son of David, the preacher who thinks all of life is meaningless, preaches in Ecclesiastes. All man’s pursuits of wisdom, pleasure, and treasure prove to be worthless. God’s promise and work stands. We are called to remember our Creator in the days of our youth. To fear God and keep His commandments.
        There is a time to be born, a time to die, and a time to be born again. Irene’s parents knew Christ’s unbreakable promise. Their daughter was born on March 1st, 1927 a daughter of Adam dead in trespasses and sins. They brought her to Jesus a month later at St. John’s, Evanston. On April 9th, 1927 she died with Christ and was raised to new life eternal in Him in Holy Baptism. It wasn’t her work or choice - it was God’s gift to her - for He had chosen her in Christ from eternity to be His own beloved daughter. He sealed His Name upon her. He gave her the Holy Spirit that He could gift her with faith in Jesus her Savior through the Gospel.
        Her parents didn’t only bring her to Jesus once in baptism, but every Sunday within His House, and every day in their home in Scripture reading and prayer. She grew in her baptismal grace and faith in Christ Jesus. “For the mountains shall depart and hills be removed.” this is a frightening scene painted by the Lord through Isaiah. Imagine the world convulsing and collapsing around you. Where would you turn for help? For comfort? For a future and a hope? Growing up in a world at war. It may have felt to many in Irene’s childhood days that the world was ending.
          Where is comfort found? “For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, “ Christ Jesus promises that His kindness shall not depart. He has called you by your name in Holy Baptism. He will not break His Promise. The Promise He accomplished by becoming our Brother to take our place under God’s Law. He fulfilled it perfectly for sinners like me, like you, like Irene. He took the hell we deserved drinking the full cup of God’s wrath once and for all for you. That He could invite you to His table to drink the sweet cup of His living blood and feast on His living body to wash away your sin and fill you with His life. Two weeks ago, Irene though hospitalized had recovered enough to feast with Jesus. Receiving Christ’s promise upon her lips in bread and wine, she could pray with Simeon - Lord, now let your servant die in peace - I have seen Your salvation - Jesus!
            May 25th, 1944 Irene had breathed back the promise the Lord Jesus spoke to her in holy baptism. She confessed His Word and teaching and was invited to feast at His Table. Jesus promised, Rev 2:10b ..... Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Peace in a world at war was only to be found in Jesus and His unbreakable promise.

        Christ Jesus invites us to believe by the Holy Spirit that God is our dear Father with tender words of invitation - “Our Father, who art in Heaven.” Irene learned to pray with Jesus from childhood. The Lord answered her prayer for “daily bread” and blessed her with a pious and faithful Christian husband. The Lord called them to serve Him as husband and wife on September 21st, 1947. The Lord blessed their marriage with three children and the years to see and rejoice in their children’s children.  
        Seasons may change, and mountains may fall - but God’s kindness to us in Christ Jesus will never fail. Isaiah 54:10 “For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed," A Christian can look back on life and thank God the Father for giving them all they needed to support this body and life, but that isn’t their greatest treasure. Bill and Irene’s greatest treasure was Christ, His Word, and His Church. When Isaac Newton, the renowned English astronomer, lay upon his death bed, His life-work was don, and he occupied himself more fully with the future. “I have learned two great facts,” he confessed. “One is that I am a great sinner, and the other, that Jesus Christ is an even greater Savior.” Charter members of Emmanuel - Bill and Irene knew these two great facts also and rejoiced that within Christ’s Church God the Holy Spirit daily and richly forgave them all their sins and the sins of all believers.
        God’s covenant of peace is won and delivered to us sinners in the crucified and risen flesh and blood of Jesus. “Peace” He says, “your sins are washed away in My blood, the devil and death are drown, and life eternal floods upon you.’ He promises you in your baptism. The pall covering Irene’s casket reminds us that her death is swallowed up by Christ’s resurrection. “Peace” He says every Sunday, “be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven - forever forgotten by your loving God.” “Peace” He speaks to you, “My living flesh and blood nourish you with immortal food - death has lost - you are My own.”
      God’s covenant of peace in Christ Jesus was reflected in a mother’s love for her children. Paul reminded young pastor Timothy, 2Ti 1:5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.” The greatest inheritance you have from your Mom, Grammy, Great-Grammy is Christ Jesus and His unbreakable Word of promise. Cling to Him in His Word. “For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed," Says the LORD, who has mercy on you.”

      “Says the Lord who has mercy on you.” Irene’s comfort and hope was found in Christ’s unbreakable promise. She knew the grief, loss, and loneliness that death brings. The Lord called her beloved husband home to Himself. She felt the heart break of a mother for her daughter’s and granddaughter’s sudden loss of their husbands. Christ Jesus drew near to comfort her through His Word.  
          These past weeks in the hospital the Lord Jesus was with her in His Word. He comforted her with His forgiveness. He mercifully prolonged her life so she could celebrate one more birthday with her oldest boy - Mike. He strengthened her to visit and feast on her favorite food chocolate ice cream. Early Monday morning, Jesus said, “Irene, come Home join the feast at My House.” Falling asleep in Jesus His holy angels carried her safely Home.
            Irene loved gardening. A good gardener knows that the bulb you plant in the fall, pales in comparison to the beautiful flower that shall spring up from its grave in the spring. Today we plant the bulb of Irene’s body into God’s garden. We have Christ’s unbreakable promise - Joh 5:28-29 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice (29) and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
On that day this corruptible body will be raised incorruptible, this mortal body will be raised immortal. Then we shall see her and all who have fallen asleep trusting in Christ’s unbreakable promise. Amen.

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