John Porterfield - Nelson G. Printz Funeral - July 21, 1993 (taped by the Funeral Home)

I am very grateful for the privilege of being here this morning.  Not that I have anything to offer, it is not that at all, but it’s because of what God does for me on occasions like this.  And as our brother, Walter Pollock, has already quoted to us that verse that “it’s better for us to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting,” then this is one of the better days of life.  We are glad for the better days in life that brings us close to our Maker and that we see things in a different light than we often see it.  We recognize that God has been very merciful to us, and we would like to in turn to be merciful to him.  He won’t make his entrance into your life nor mine until we invite him.  We would be the ones that would make that advance and come to Him and wish that He would be our God.

 

I feel grateful for this privilege of speaking at Nelson’s service.  He was with me this first year in the Work and I will always remember that year that we had together.  But I am sure of this, that if Nelson was here today, he’d be saying something more like this, “Don’t speak about anything good that I have been doing or otherwise, but just bring them a message from God to their…to our own hearts.”  And that’s what I would like to do, is just to bring you a message from the heart of God to your heart and mine.  In Hebrews we have recorded a little, I’ll just like to read a little bit of the first verse, the first chapter.  Beginning the first verse, it says, “God who in sundry times and divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the world; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesties on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by an inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.  For which of the angels said He at any time, 'Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee.  And again I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son.'"

 

God appreciated His Son; He trusted Him with the kingdom of God and He was never disappointed.  He opened heaven on at least two occasions and He spoke these words, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."  And the last time He said that, He adds these words, “Hear ye Him.”  That’s what we have gathered here for, is to hear ye Him.  We want to hear Christ; we want to hear Him.  And if we hear Christ, it’s going to be the best day of our life here, if we respond to His dealings with us.  I like how it says that “God who at sundry times (that word sundry means various times), and it says divers (that means different manners, different occasions)."  Why, he spoke in times past to the fathers, by the prophets.  Back in the Old Testament, as well as before the Old Testament, God had His prophets.  They were from the beginning, as the Scriptures tells us.  And He sent those prophets from Himself with a message to give to His people.  A prophet is one that brings a message from God to His people.  A priest is one that takes a message from the people to God.  And there were those in the Bible that were both a prophet and a priest.  Jesus was a prophet and a priest.  He brought a message to us from God and He’s taken a message back to God from us.  And He is interceding at God’s right hand for us and I hope that we’ll be conscious of this great effort that He is putting forth.  All the efforts of God Himself, from the beginning of time to this our time today, has been spent for you and for me.  Sometimes we think that God isn’t…He’s just up there waiting 'til He can pounce on us sometime.  No, that isn’t the case.  No, He is working continually, yes, not just every day, but every day and night his efforts is for you and for me.  He would like for us on occasions like this to be able to draw near to Him so He can really speak unto us.  And we can take a message from this place that will be eternal; that will profit us every day in the future of our life and fit us to dwell eternally with God.  He’s wanting to have that privilege of changing the picture for us.

 

Jesus, whenever He came, He came not to do His will.  He had a will.  But, no, He put His own will to death.  Just the same as you and I; we have a will, when we come to this world with our own will.  But we have the privilege of putting this will that we have of our own to death in order that God and His Son can work a work of redemption in our lives that will fit us to dwell eternally with Him.

 

And so this is the message, this is the reason that we are here.  It’s that we will allow God who at sundry times and divers manners spoke in times past, by the prophets, to the people, we will allow that God to speak a message to you and to me.  I am grateful for the few times in life that God has been able to reach my heart; change my course in life and set my feet on a sure foundation and that foundation is Christ.  And He came as He said, “The words that I speak they are not My words, but they are the words of Him that sent Me.”  There was a restraining power in His life that restrained Him from speaking anything of self.  And then there was the constraining power that constrained Him to speak only the words that His Father had given Him.  So you and I can be sure whenever we read of those words that Jesus spoke that, "This is a message from God…this is a message from God."  I think of those words that He spoke in John’s gospel the last night of His life.  He says, “If a man will love Me, he’ll keep My words, My commandments, and My Father will love him and We will come and take up our abode with him.”  Whenever we hear the words of Christ, we are very conscious this is God speaking.  This is a message from Him.  And, if we will keep those truths that Jesus brought us, we have the promise of Christ and God coming and dwelling within us, and enable us to do what we cannot do; enable us to be reconciled to God so that He can do this work of redemption in our lives the rest of our life.  No, the work of redemption doesn’t begin when we first hear the voice of God to our hearts.  It does begin, I should put it that way.  But that’s not the end of it.  That’s just the beginning of it.  Every day He is seeking to continue this work of redemption in our lives and it comes in that very simple way of us hearing the words of Jesus and keeping them in our lives and then that power of God being within us to enable us to finish with honor this work that he has begun.  It’s not a work that we have begun, it’s a work that we have allowed God to work in us.  And then the work will be completed in a way that it needs to be completed.

 

He said here of Jesus, “Who was the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins He sat down at the right hand of the majesty of God."  He was the express image of God.  Sometimes we hear this expression.   There might be a little girl in the home, and she looks like her Mother and we think of her being the express image of her Mother.  We think of a boy, and he looks like his father and we think of him being the express image of his father.  But we wouldn’t make the mistake to think that little girl was her Mother.  No we wouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that little boy was his father.  No…two separate individuals.  But Christ was the express image of God.  He was the express image of God.  He wasn’t God.  He didn’t claim to be Him.

 

He was in this sense the same as what you and I are.  The Scripture tells us, “Ye are gods.”  There are some things about us that is that way.  The fact that we live forever, whether it is in a saved eternity or a lost eternity, it’ll go on forever.  But nevertheless, we recognize that God is the one that is the Father.  He’s our Father.  Jesus taught us to pray and He says you pray, “Our Father which art in heaven, our Father which is in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy will be done on earth just like it’s done in heaven."  Jesus when He came here, He knew how God’s will was done in heaven and all His time was spent in showing to you and me how we can live God’s way for us here upon this earth like it’s done in heaven.  God has a mighty work to do and He’s willing to do it and He’s willing to complete it so that we can come to the end of the journey and He can speak, "Thy will be done…Thy will be done," and we can speak, "God’s will be done in our lives."  We’ll just want a place to serve, not a place for others to serve us, but just a place to serve.  Jesus in His lifetime, He just sought a place to serve.  He gave and gave until He had given all on the cross of Calvary.  He didn’t shun in this way of giving.  He couldn’t have given more and He never gave less.  But God is wanting to work a work in your life and mine so that we might become His sons and daughters.  And we just have a lot of work to do, that is, we’ve got to let the Lord work within us.  We cannot do it ourselves, there is no way…no way we can do this ourselves.  But, what the Bible tells us is, “Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling, for it’s God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasures.”  All that we have to do is just let God work, don’t make any resistance within our own lives to His advances to us.  No, our life is His and whatever He chooses, that’s the way of obedience.  Like Job, you remember when all was taken away from him, he says, "The Lord has given; the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord."  No, he wasn’t disappointed in his calling.  He wasn’t disappointed.  No, he was glad for what God was seeking to do.  And his life turned out a blessing.  So I hope that as a result of our little time here, that our time here won’t be in vain.  But God will be able to speak a message to us, that will enable Him to continue this work of redemption in our lives, which is so necessary and then we won’t have anything to regret at the end of time.