Monday, January 29, 2018

“More Glorious and Wonderful"

"More Glorious and Wonderful"

    I conducted a funeral service yesterday for a man whom I'd never met, but who I will nevertheless miss.  Steve was a friend of friends, one of whom served as his devoted caregiver for many years.  She asked me to perform Steve's homegoing ceremony, and after hearing about him, I was overjoyed to participate.  "Mr. Steve loved Jesus!" declared one of the friends he left behind,  leaving also in the wake of his life a beautiful legacy of God's grace and truth in Christ.  I heard many other wonderful things about Steve, all doubtless the fruit of His walk with our blessed Savior.

   "I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus" (Philemon 1:4-5).

    At the end of the day, and of our earthly lifetime, one thing will matter most, indeed, the thing that matters most in this day.  Do we know, remember, and affirm the love of God with such spiritual and moral impact that we love Him in devoted response?  "We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:19).  Steve loved in response to being loved - and knowing it.  No human being born of Adam's fallen race loves the Lord Jesus apart from a mighty work of the Holy Spirit in both birthing and growth.  We come to Christ in response to the Spirit's convincing, convicting, and converting operation within our hearts.  We continue with Christ according to the same application of grace and truth.  "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (Ephesians 2:10).  We freely respond, of course, and our faith and subsequent love comprise participatory rather than programmed devotion to God.  The legacy of Steve's life thus involves God loving him, and Steve loving God in a blessed fellowship wherein the Lord Jesus receives all the glory for a path well walked, and Steve being received into glory to the pleasure of his Heavenly Father.  "Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord" (Matthew 25:21).

    I raised the question as I began yesterday's message, "What would Steve tell us if he could speak to us now?"  I suggested a number of possible answers, the first and most  important being that our departed brother would testify that the Lord Jesus is more glorious and wonderful than can be imagined.  Every Heavenly saint would tell us the same, confirming the Apostle Paul's declaration that "the love of Christ… passeth knowledge" (Ephesians 3:19).  Indeed, an eternity awaits us into which we will forever sail upon a shoreless ocean that beckons us to come further into a Heart so sublimely unselfish that it changes the traveler into the same image (II Corinthians 3:18).  It changed Steve, and it will forever do so as he continues the eternal voyage.  It was a privilege and honor to participate in a homegoing ceremony for a brother who launched upon his journey in this lifetime by receiving the saving love and grace of God in the Lord Jesus.  And again, if he could speak to us now… "More glorious and wonderful than can be imagined!"

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of his grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."
(Ephesians 2:4-7)

Weekly Memory Verse
   See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
(Ephesians 5:15-16)



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