Funeral Service Rev. Anthony Lombardi

Call To Attention  — John 11:25-26 — Rev. Bryan Church

Invocation 

* Scripture Reading

Psalm 39:4-8

 II Corinthians 1:3-7 
Psalm 46:1-3 
I Corinthians 15:12-20

Congregational Hymn — To God Be the Glory

Eulogy — Rev. Anthony Lombardi

In the Baptist tradition it is common to have a “time for testimonies.” In my 18 months in attending South Lewiston Baptist this was a characteristic part of the evening service. During Testimony time it was typical to hear from the voices of God’s people how God had shown himself faithful to them in the nitty gritty of their daily lives.

This is Dad’s testimony as to his conversion as he dictated it to Mom a few years ago.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

I came to know Christ as my personal savior between 16 & 17 years of age. I was invited by a friend to Sunday School at 1stBaptist Church on Staten Island. As a result of attending thatSunday School my life was transformed. I had been afraid of death but as a result of John 3:16 being explained to us over four weeks gradually that Scripture found root in my heart in Sunday School and my fear of death went away.

Later I was invited by that same friend who invited me to Church to watch his water baptism by immersion.

During the service we sang the hymn “At the Cross.”

Alas and did my Savior bleed?
And did my Sovereign Die
Would he devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I

Well might the sun in darkness hide
and shut his glories in
When Christ the mighty maker died
For man the creature’s sin

At the cross
At the cross
When I first saw the light
And the burden of my heart fell away
It was there by faith
I received my sight
And now I am happy all the day”

That service impressed me so that I wanted to be baptized also.

I met with the Pastor expressing my desire for Baptism.

The Pastor asked me why I wanted to be baptized

I replied, “Because I have put my faith in Jesus Christ”

After this meeting, I then met with the Church deacons and again I was asked

“Why do you want to be baptized.”

And again I answered

“Because I have put my faith in Jesus Christ”

But actually I was hiding behind the fact that I saw my friend baptized and I wanted to follow his example.

They approved of me as a candidate for baptism.

Over a period of time, I found my life was transformed.

My language was cleaned up without awareness.
There was peace and joy in my heart that I never knew before
I found that I no longer feared death
They hymn “at the cross” became a reality, I found myself singing it constantly.

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree
Amazing pity, Grace unknown
And love beyond degree

But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe
Here Lord, I give myself away
Tis all that I can do

At the cross
At the cross
When I first saw the light
And the burden of my heart fell away
It was there by faith
I received my sight
And now I am happy all the day”

That was Dad’s testimony.

As a minister speaking at a minister’s funeral allow me to make a few observations.

Rev. Lombardi was given by God the talent of being a people person. Not all ministers have that talent. Dad had the ability to strike up a conversation with a wooden statue and in his conversations, he would soon be challenging his conversation partner about whether or not he or she had trusted Christ.

Dad’s way with people was convincing because it was genuine. He liked people. And people liked him. One time when taking him to some kind of appointment in Brunswick we were sitting at a light. Suddenly I noticed a driver in the car sitting on my side waving frantically. I rolled down the window only to find that the chap just wanted to say hello to Rev. Lombardi and have a bit of a chat there at the busy intersection.

Dad had a desire for missions that went at least as far back as his time at Houghton College. While going through his old yearbooks I find people mentioning his vision for missions in their written comments in the yearbooks.

Rev. Lombardi’s Gospel was simple but a simple Gospel should not be confused with a Gospel that is simplistic. The Gospel, it is said, should be shallow enough for a child to play in and yet deep enough that an elephant can swim in. Dad’s strength was setting forth the Gospel in a way that people could grasp.

And in that Dad was faithful to what God had called him. He was a faithful servant to God’s people in the various churches he served. He was a faithful servant to the residents at the Nursing home. And now, because of Christ’s faithfulness to His promises Dad has heard the “Well done thou good and faithful servant. Enter now into your Master’s rest.”

Much more might be said in the way of eulogy but my challenge would be for you to look around at the people seated next to you. You and His work here and this place at South Lewiston Baptist are and ever will be Rev. Lombardi’s eulogy.

St. Paul could write something similar to what I am trying to get at. St. Paul wrote to the small Corinthian Church,

2You yourselves are our letter,inscribed on our hearts, known and read by everyone.3It is clear that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.…

People of God you are Rev. Lombardi’s eulogy, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.

I can think of no words that would surpass that eulogy.

Congregational Hymn — At The Cross

Homily — Rev. Anthony Lombardi

As many here are already familiar, Rev. Lombardi’s had a passion for making Jesus Christ known. This was seen not only in his personal evangelism habits but also in his leadership in the Church in terms of an unstinting support of Gospel Missions and Christian Missionaries.

And so it seems proper to round of this gathering to speak once more of the Gospel that so animated the life of Rev. Lombardi … of Dad. It is both proper and consistent with his wishes.

The Christian Gospel is a good news announcement of the tidings of salvation. In understanding that salvation announced is the understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So, as we consider salvation let us spend just a few minutes unpacking this idea of salvation.

When the Christian faith speaks of salvation it assumes that there is a peril from which man needs to be saved. So we ask,

What is that peril … that danger from which man needs to be saved?

A few answers might be offered but if we are going to speak of the primary danger from which man needs to be saved the Christian faith offers the answer … God.

We know this because it stands written,

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness.”

And

“God is angry with the wicked all the time”

And

“Fear only Him who can cast body and soul into Hell.”

And again,

Be wise O ye Kings, kiss the Son, lest he be angry and ye perish in the way

And again,

God will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.

So when Christians speak of the Gospel — this salvation — we are committed to the fact, because of God’s revelation, that what man needs to be primarily saved from is the fulsome and unrelenting opposition of God. This just opposition of God is explained by man’s sinful, errant and twisted nature and desire to de-god God and en-God Himself as God.  Man is a hopelessly self-centered and self-aggrandizing being who forever wants to center around which all others orbit.

This opposition of God is explained by God’s perfect moral perfection as that Holiness is opposed to man’s total imperfection which issues in this self-orientation.

It is true that we also have need to be saved from our sin, saved from ourselves, and saved from the devil, but the primary reality we need to be saved from is God Himself. When man is saved from God all his other needs of salvation are met at the same time.

So, we are saved from God but then the question arises….

Who is it that saves us from God’s determined opposition?

And the answer to that is it is God who saves us from God.

We know this because it stands written,

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…”

And again,

“God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself”

And again,

“God sent His son … to be the reconciliation for our sins.”

Here we begin the wonder of the Christian message. A Holy and Righteous God having a just and legal case against self-centered and guilty man determines that as man can never save himself from God’s prescribed death penalty for sin God Himself will take upon Himself in the 2nd person of the Trinity the penalty for sin. Jesus Christ the eternal God-Man bears God’s wrath in His crucifixion so that those called by God are delivered from God’s studied and certain opposition.

As it stands written,

“He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

And again,

“For Christ also hath suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.”

And again,

“For Christ, when we were of no strength, died for the ungodly.”

You see those who are saved are saved from God by God.

In Christ God, Himself by Himself answers our greatest need of finding a way to relieve our guilt, forgive our sin, and extinguish our misery. God, out of great compassion and love has done all the saving and now He commands all men everywhere to repent. He speaks to men today, “Now is the appointed time of salvation.”

In being saved from God to God, God in Christ by paying the legal penalty against sin turns away the Father’s just wrath and God is satisfied so that men knowing the just anger of God against they and their sin can legally sue for peace.

Well, we have answered the questions of “Whom are we saved from,” and “Whom are we saved by.” Now we go on to answer who are we saved to and who are we saved for.

And the pattern continues. Just as we are saved from God and by God so we are saved to God.

It stands written,

“He hath delivered from the power of Darkness and hath translated us to the Kingdom of His dear Son.”

And again,

“We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

And again it stands written,

“You were … without Christ … and were strangers from the covenants of promise, and had no hope and were without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, ye which were once far off, are made near by the blood of Christ.”

This salvation is to God. Because of Christ standing in our place to be the one who bears our penalty we are restored to God. God’s favor is upon us and His face is always turned towards us in acceptance. God who was only a judge to those who opposed Him is now a Father to those who sue for peace offering as their plea Christ’s finished work on the Cross in their place. We have been saved so that no one can bring a charge against God’s elect. We have been saved so that now nothing can separate us from the love of God. We have been saved so that we are more than conquerors. We who have been saved know both the smile and the applause of Heaven because we have, due to God as the sole cause, sheltered ourselves in the safety of Christ and His work in our stead.

Finally, in terms of this Gospel we note that as we are saved from God, by God, to God, we are also saved for God.

We know this because it stands written,

“You are not your own, you were bought with a price.”

And again,

“Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.”

The chief end of man is to glorify God and fully enjoy Him forever.

God saves us for His own glory and the passion of our lives is to live for Him as He instructs us in His Word. We have been saved for God and so it is to God’s speech that we turn to know answer the question, “How shall we then live.”

In God’s Law-Word we find a guide to life. God’s authoritative law-word teaches us how to live for Him…. indeed, living for Him is the very reason why we have been saved.

So, because we have been saved for Him, and because we know what it is that pleases Him because it is revealed in His word we are a people who champion His cause as consistent with the Scripture.

My earliest memory of Rev. Lombardi ties into this point. Jane received a newspaper clipping in the mail. There with it was a photo of Rev. Lombardi and a group of Christians picketing a movie theater which was featuring a film that was blasphemous of Christ. Because He was saved for God to champion his glory he knew he was duty bound to protest a piece of art that dishonored God.

Those who are saved for God are intent of championing His cause and His authoritative Law-Word in every avenue of life. God’s saved people understand that there is no area where Christ does not point to and say…. “MINE.” God’s saved people, being saved for God are intent on teaching the nations to observe all things that Christ has commanded with the purpose of seeing that the nations of this world become the nations of our God. Being saved for God then means that the Gospel is a conquering word that opposes the wickedness found in a fallen world while all the time inviting those who oppose Christ to come and taste and see that it is better to be a friend of Christ than His enemy.

There you have the Gospel of salvation. It is an announcement that we have been saved from God, by God, to God, for God. The Gospel centers on God providing a substitute in Jesus Christ who as the God-Man in His death on the Cross pays the legal penalty that we owe and so heals the wound that man inflicted on himself and on the Cosmos. The Gospel makes all things new so that its effect, where it blossoms, is to bring the recreation of God so that where there was once conflict of interests between men there now resides a harmony of interests. The Gospel ensures that this present wicked age is being and will be rolled back by the heavenly age to come, so that the Dominion of God rules over the affairs of men. The Gospel builds the Kingdom so that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.

It all sounds very strange to the ears of Modern man in a postmodern age.

The blood of God spilled to pay the legal penalty justly pronounced upon guilty and so condemned man and mankind?

So many find this good news … this Gospel to be either too fanciful or to objectionable. Yet despite those objections, it is this Gospel of salvation which has built the greatest civilization which has ever existed. It is this Gospel which once knitted generations of beautiful Christian families together over the centuries so that they shared a common Christian faith and a common Christian ethic. It is this Gospel that built Churches that were as glorious as the Gospel it proclaimed so that God’s people could be an engine for God’s dominion.

And it is this Gospel that took an Italian immigrant’s son who like us all bore Adam’s blemishes and shaped him and crafted him to be God’s minister unto his family and God’s minister unto his people in Lewiston Maine.

To God be the Glory.

Congregational Hymn — At The Cross

Closing Prayer / Lord’s Prayer

Doxology — Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow 

Benediction / Dismissal – Jude 24-25  — Rev. Bryan Church

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Kinist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture . Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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