The book of Job ends with these words: “After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days.”
Dad saw three generations after him, and he lived a long, full and good life.
Many memories of Dad will make us chuckle – for he had a sense of humor and liked to kid around.
But his life was shaped by, and characterized, mostly by his faith. And that is what I want to speak about now.
Dad preached a lot of sermons and taught a lot of Bible classes during his life.
But his faith was also woven through his life.
Deut 6:6-7 says “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
I remember the times when Dad and Mom would invite our families together for Thanksgiving dinner and Dad would typically read from Deuteronomy – reminding us of the blessings of obedience and the cursings for disobedience; he would remind us from that passage, that when we ARE blessed, “Beware lest you forget God!”
When you asked Dad “What’s new?” – he often replied “There’s nothing new under the sun”. Sometimes we may not have known how to respond. But I think he enjoyed seeing how we WOULD respond – and he would smile if you were quick enough to think of something like “in Christ, all things become new”.
If you were in almost ANY situation where you asked Dad “What should I do” – his answer would very often be “REPENT – that’s always a good thing to do”. These were simple reminders of important Bible truth, such as:
Acts 3:19 “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…”
2 Peter 3:9 that the Lord is … “longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance”.
Among Jesus’ final words to His disciples we read in Luke 24:47 “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations….”
Dad’s life had a message. It is a message that outlasts the man! In these next few moments I hope to share what I believe he would share with you today. I won’t be able to share it just like he would have shared it, but I think his message could be summarized this way:
Jesus saves and keeps and satisfies.
I haven’t any doubt that Dad would want each of you to know those three things today.
Dad knew for himself and knew that everyone needs to know that
“all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), and that
“the wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23).
Just as Dad’s physical death separated his body from his spirit, so sin separates man from God.
Dad knew and believed the Scripture in Hebrews which tells us that
“it is appointed unto man once to die and after that comes the judgment”. There are other Bible verses which teach this same truth. By themselves these verses could bring a person to the point of despair.
But, as Dad found out, there was good news! Dad heard the joyful sound, that Jesus saves! The facts of that good news we read in 1 Cor. 15: “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time…”
Those are the facts – but part of the MEANING and truth of the Gospel message is this:
2 Cor 5:18-20 “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
And another part of the MEANING of the Gospel message is found in Romans 8:1-2 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
The apostle John wrote it this way: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”
John 5:24 says “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”
and, while the wages of sin IS death, the rest of that verse tells us that “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Dad knew that the life Christ came to give, could only be given because the condemnation of sin had been removed, having been paid by Jesus on the cross, taking our place!
Dad believed that:
All need to be saved!
All CAN be saved!, but
NOT ALL WILL be saved!
Jesus told His disciples “I am come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.” But we read in
John 5:39-40 “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”
John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Acts 4:12 makes plain that there is no “salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
This is not popular, but Dad was not ashamed of this Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to them that believe! (Romans 1:16)
Dad understood that he wasn’t able to be saved by having good deeds that outweighed bad deeds, not by church attendance, not by saying a certain prayer, not by partaking of sacraments, nor by simply believing certain things about God to be true.
The Bible says that the just shall live by faith, and, without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God.
Dad believed God, believed that Jesus died, paying for Dad’s sin, and therefore He (Jesus) is to be worshipped, honored, obeyed, served and loved.
And that the Christian life was not just about keeping laws, but about receiving the life from above that makes a person a new creation.
The importance of Walking with God, studying God’s Word, and declaring God’s message are all part of Dad’s legacy.
If you have any doubts about your eternal destiny, Dad would urge you to settle that today.
God doesn’t JUST save, (as if that isn’t enough ), but He also keeps.
Eph 1:13-14 “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.”
Romans 8:38-39 ”For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
And one of my favorite verses, which I know Dad had confidence in:
2 Tim 1:12 “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”
If you have any doubts that Jesus wants to, and is able to, keep you, Dad would want you to settle that today.
Jesus DOES save, Jesus DOES keep, but Jesus also SATISFIES
Jer. 31:14 “my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the LORD."
Psalm 90:14 “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Psalm 91:14-16 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation."
Psalm 107:9 “For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.”
John 4:10-14 "Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
Jesus satisfied Dad, and Dad was satisfied with, and by, Jesus.
You can be too!
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Dad desired to be with Jesus, and we have every confidence that Jesus has satisfied that desire. God can do the same for you.
Psalm 17:15 “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.”
I believe Dad is satisfied at this very moment with the likeness of Jesus – God having completed the process of conforming Dad into the image of His own Son.
If you have any doubts that Jesus wants to and CAN satisfy your need – in this life and the one that’s just around the corner, Dad would urge you to settle that today.
There IS victory (even over death) in Jesus, and we are more than conquerors thru our risen Lord (Rom. 8:37)
How Dad felt about what God had done for him was captured by Charles Wesley in a hymn that became one of Dad's most favorite hymns – it is entitled “And Can It Be?”
I believe Dad would state with confidence, like Paul, in 2Tim.4:7-8:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
And, regarding his Lord’s appearing, Dad loved these verses from 1 Thes. 4:13 thru 1 Thes. 5:11 (which he could recite from memory):
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 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 by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”
We would do well to remember Dad.
We would do even better to not forget God.
Go in His grace and live for Him!
And all of God’s people said….. “Amen”
BONUS - a poem written by our daughter
A Cause to Rejoice
The tent, his earthly home, destroyed
Now vacant, it lies void,
Asleep, awaiting Christ.
A home from God, not built by hands,
Is his to claim in that better, distant land,
Eternal, in the heavens.
Ran, but not grown weary; walked, but not grown faint.
Precious in God’s eyes is the death of His saint.
Resting, completely at last.
Finished the race, his fight well-fought
As those without hope we need suffer not.
Rejoicing, we take hope.
Waited on God and on eagle’s wings soared,
Absent from the body, he’s present with the Lord.
Now, his appointed time.
When perfect comes, the partial fades away.
For we see dimly, but he face to face will say,
“Hallelujah, praise be to God.”
In loving memory of my grandfather,
March 31, 2009