December 4, 2005
All the religions of this world focus on preparing people to live in this world. The gospel of Christ focuses on preparing people to live in the world to come.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Jesse Rice-9th Alexis Mason-10th
NURSERY DUTY THIS WEEK
Today: Jenny Bartley (AM) Shelby Fortner (PM) Tuesday: Debbie Bartley
We the Grave Defy by Faith — Don Fortner
(Tune: #17 — Come thou Fount — 87.87D)
That which is sown in corruption, shall in incorruption rise!
Sorrow, yes, but not as others, who know not our Savior’s grace. —
Our departed sisters, brothers, now see Jesus face to face!
They are in the Savior’s keeping; and His goodness we will trust.
Blessed hope we have in Jesus — They with us shall rise from death!
Though death seize, it cannot hold us. — We the grave defy by faith!
Savior, give the peace that’s wanted, cheerful hope, and godly fear.
When for others we are mourning, and as draws near our own death,
Let us joy to see the dawning of the day that knows no death!
Judy Estes is a cherished and beloved friend. That she was a remarkable lady while she walked on this earth was attested by the hundreds who came to pay their last respects to her on Monday and Tuesday (November 13 and 14). Several people who were present on Monday evening to greet the family said to me, “I never saw that many people come to pay their respects to anyone.” Some who made that statement are in their 70s! It is impossible to say it with certainty, but I am confident that more than 1500 people passed through our church auditorium on Monday evening, and many more throughout the day on Tuesday to say “farewell” to a beloved lady! Our church auditorium was literally packed and overflowing with family and friends for the funeral service on Tuesday evening.
I had the privilege of serving our God and Savior with Judy, as her pastor for more than twenty-five years. In all those years, the one word that best characterizes her remarkable pilgrimage through this world, in my opinion (and in the opinion expressed to me by numerous others) is “faithful.” Judy was a faithful lady. I never knew her to miss a worship service, if she was physically able to attend, though she often did so in her last two years when she was terribly weak because of her sickness.
Judy was our pianist and regularly sang in our worship services, at least once a week, for 25 years. I recall her telling me, many years ago, that when she first started singing, “My daddy told me, ‘If you are going to sing, sing for the glory of God and sing with clarity songs that honor him. If people can’t understand the words you sing, there’s no point in you singing.” Judy obeyed her father’s good counsel. Every song she sang (I heard them all.) exalted God’s sovereign, free, effectual, saving grace in Christ.
But that does not begin to describe my friend’s faithful service to our Redeemer and his people. Though she never knew I knew it, she (and her husband, Bobbie), was generous in supporting the cause of Christ around the world. Every visitor in our worship services was greeted by her with a warm smile and thoughtful comments. She often spent hours cleaning our church building. And she was a constant source of encouragement to her pastor. Her last words to me were, “I thank God for you and Mrs. Fortner. I am so thankful for your preaching of the gospel, and for everything she does for us all and to help you with your work.”
After that, we hugged, kissed one another on the cheek, and said “Goodbye,” with tears burning our cheeks. I think she knew, and I knew, we would not likely speak again until I join her, singing with the millions ‘round the throne, — “Praise the Lord for full salvation. God still reigns upon the throne. And I know the blood still reaches deeper than the stain has gone!”
As believers in the gospel age, we do not esteem one day above another. We observe no holy days, new moons, or sabbath days. To us, every day is alike. Yet, as this season of the year suggest thoughts about the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, we will joyfully remember our blessed Redeemer's birth. Go down to Bethlehem today, and, in company with the wondering shepherds and adoring Magi, let us see him who is born King of kings and Lord of lords. I hope that you can by faith claim an interest in him, and can sing, — “Unto us a child is born; unto us a Son is given” (Isa. 9:6)
Who is this Babe of Bethlehem? Jesus is Jehovah incarnate, our Lord and our God, and yet our brother and friend, Let us adore him. His name is Immanuel, God with us, God in our nature. That one who was carried in Mary's womb for nine months is Mary's God. That one who came forth from Mary's womb is Mary's Creator. It is true that his human body was miraculously conceived in the womb of the virgin by the overshadowing power of God the Holy Spirit. As to his human nature, our Lord was born as the seed of woman. — “Unto us a child is born.” But do not ever think that Mary is the mother of God. That notion of the papists is blasphemy. As to his Divine nature, the prophet does not say that he was born, but rather, — “Unto us a Son is given.” The Lord Jesus Christ is himself, God the eternal Son. In the incarnation, God joined himself to and assumed our nature. He is as truly God as though he were not man, and as truly man as though he were not God. Our Redeemer is the God-man Mediator, Immanuel. The sweetest word in all the English language is that golden name, Immanuel. God has come in human flesh to redeem fallen man!
Why did the Lord Jesus Christ come to this earth? We are expressly told that he came to save his people from their sins, according to the will of God (Matt. 1:21; 1 Tim. 1:15). Immanuel is God come to save. The Son of God assumed human nature at Bethlehem for the express purpose of redeeming his people at Calvary, dying in our place under the wrath of God as our Substitute.
What has the Lord Jesus done? He has done what he came to do. He has redeemed his people. As a real man the Son of God lived in this world for thirty-three years, perfectly fulfilling the righteous requirements of God's holy law. He established a perfect righteousness as the Representative of his people, bringing in an everlasting righteousness, such as God is pleased to accept. Then, at the appointed time he laid down his life as our Substitute at Calvary, satisfying the wrath and justice of God against his people. By his righteous obedience to the law and his sin-atoning sacrifice, the God-man, Immanuel, accomplished his Father's will and redeemed unto himself a people.
Where is Immanuel today? That very Babe who was born at Bethlehem, lived in the regions of Judea for thirty-three years, and died at Calvary to redeem his people, is now seated upon the throne of universal dominion. He is the King of Glory! With sovereign, universal power, he is ruling this world to accomplish the salvation of those very people he has redeemed. God has given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life unto as many as his Father has given him (John 17:2). “O come, let us adore him!” Immanuel, the God-man, is our Savior and our King!
December 4, 2005
GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH of DANVILLE
2734 Old Stanford Road-Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
Telephone (859) 236-8235 - E-Mail email@example.com
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor
10:00 A.M. Bible Classes
10:30 A.M. Morning Worship Service
6:30 P.M. Evening Worship Service
7:30 P.M. Mid-Week Worship Service
Channel 6 - Sunday Morning 8:00 A.M.
Channel 6 - Wednesday Evening 6:00 P.M.
Channel 6 - Friday Evening 7:00 P.M.