“A Citizenship Even Bigger than Texas” (Hebrews 11:13-16; John 14:1-6; Philippians 3:20-21)

Funeral Service
Saturday, October 13, 2018

“A Citizenship Even Bigger than Texas” (Hebrews 11:13-16; John 14:1-6; Philippians 3:20-21)

His name was “Emerick,” but everybody called him “Tex.” That was our brother Emerick “Tex” Labus. He went by “Tex” for as long as I’ve known him, and that’s been over ten years. Even though he lived here in Missouri for I don’t know how long, people still called him Tex. I guess you can take the boy out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the boy.

I’ve observed over the years that people from Texas are very proud of being from Texas. And they’ll let you know it. Maybe you’ve noticed that too. They’ll talk about how Texas once was its own country, before it joined the United States. They’ll tell you about how Texas is #1 in this or #1 in that. About how everything is bigger in Texas.

And, well, maybe Texas does have a lot to be proud of, I don’t know. But we do know that for our brother Emerick, he was happy to be called “Tex.” He was always a Texan, even while he lived here in Missouri.

But today I want to tell you about another identity Tex had. Another citizenship. Another homeland. One far greater and better than even being from Texas. And now after Missouri, this will be his next stop. His eternal homeland. Because Tex had “A Citizenship Even Bigger than Texas.”

You see, this world is not a Christian’s true home. We heard it in Hebrews. We Christians are “strangers and exiles on the earth.” We are “seeking a homeland.” We “desire a better country.” Because, frankly, life in this world can often be not so great. We feel the pain of losing a loved one. Tex himself outlived two wives, and now his family and friends are mourning his loss. Truly this world is a vale of tears. We feel the trepidation and anxiety of facing our own mortality. We accumulate a growing list of aches and pains as we get older. Disease and death all around us. Disease and death having their way within us. It’s not good.

On top of that, there are all the emotional pains we bear. Strained relationships within families. Friends having a falling-out. Conflict and discord. Anxieties over finances. Worries over our children and grandchildren.

But on top of all that, there is the realization that something is not right inside us. The Bible calls it sin. We do things we shouldn’t do, things against God’s will. We fail to do the things God wants us to do, which is to love him with our whole heart and to love our neighbors as ourselves. All of us fall short. All of us are guilty. It’s no use pointing fingers at others. There’s something wrong with us.

So I ask you: Is this any way to spend eternity? I think not. This is why Christians are looking for a better country, because we know this is not the way it’s supposed to be.

Tex knew this too. He knew we needed a Savior. He knew he needed a Savior. And, thank God, he knew who that Savior is. Tex would quote this verse to me: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” And he was right! For Jesus Christ came to be exactly the Savior we need to rescue us from sin and death. To save us from this vale of tears, and to bring us into his eternal kingdom of peace and bliss and joy. This is God’s promise and plan.

Jesus is the way into God’s kingdom, the only way. He says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” No other way! But Christ is the way, the way God has provided for all men everywhere.

The way would lead through a cross. For by going to the cross, for our sake, for our sins, Christ the Son of God paid the price that sets us free. His shed blood cleanses us from all our sins. His glorious resurrection shows us that Christ has conquered death. And he shares that victory and that eternal life with all who trust in him.

By the gift of faith, Tex had his robe washed clean and made white in the blood of the Lamb. In Holy Baptism, Tex was given this gift of faith, and the Holy Spirit kept him in the one true faith until the day he died. When Tex was still able to make it to St. Matthew’s, he would kneel at the altar and receive Christ’s holy body and blood for the forgiveness of his sins. And when Tex could no longer make it to church, I would bring church to him, sharing God’s word with him and giving him the blessed Sacrament there in his room, as we did just last month.

So I have no worries about Tex. God always keeps his promises, and so his promise to Tex of eternal life in Christ is a sure thing. Jesus promised, “I go and prepare a place for you, and I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” Our Lord made that promise to his disciples, he made that promise to Tex, and he makes that promise to you.

What will happen when our Lord comes again? He will raise us up bodily, whole and perfectly restored, to live with him forever. As we heard in Philippians, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body.” This body that we lay in the ground today will be raised up, glorious, no longer subject to death and decay. No more sin, no more sorrow. Alive and living forever in a new and restored creation. Perfect peace and fellowship will prevail for eternity. This is the Christian’s great hope. And this is what Tex will receive on the day when Christ returns. Even now, Tex is resting in his Savior’s arms.

Emerick Labus. We knew him as “Tex,” even here in Missouri. But Tex has his true citizenship in a place far greater than either the Lone Star State or the Show-Me State. His citizenship, our citizenship, is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Published in: on October 13, 2018 at 8:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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