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Sermon #2283                                                               Miscellaneous Sermons

     

      Title:                                 Life, Death, and Eternity

 

      Text:                                  Job 14:1-22

      Subject:               Job’s Questions About

                                                            Life, Death, and Eternity

      Date:                                Monday Evening — August 8, 2016

                                                            Funeral Service for Bob Duff

      Reading: Job 14:1-22

 

(Job 14:1-22) “Man [that is] born of a woman [is] of few days, and full of trouble. 2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. 3 And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee? 4 Who can bring a clean [thing] out of an unclean? Not one. {Is there one?} 5 Seeing his days [are] determined, the number of his months [are] with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass; 6 Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day.”

 

7 ¶ For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. 8 Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; 9 [Yet] through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. 10 But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where [is] he? 11 [As] the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: 12 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens [be] no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. 13 O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14 If a man die, shall he live [again]? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. 15 Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.”

 

16 ¶ For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin? 17 My transgression [is] sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity. 18 And surely the mountain falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place. 19 The waters wear the stones: thou washest away the things which grow [out] of the dust of the earth; and thou destroyest the hope of man. 20 Thou prevailest forever against him, and he passeth: thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away. 21 His sons come to honour, and he knoweth [it] not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth [it] not of them. 22 But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.”

 

Introduction

 

This is a very special hour for us, for this grieving family, for you who knew and have now lost a dear friend, for you who were once pupils of this devoted teacher, and for the members of this congregation. We have come here to honor the memory of and to say a temporary “Farewell” to a man who has touched our lives, our brother, Bob Duff.[1] And we have come here to do something else. — We’ve come here tonight to worship the Lord Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, to preach the Gospel by which God was pleased to save this sinful man, whose memory we cherish, the Gospel of his free and sovereign grace in Christ. — This is what our Brother requested. Bob wanted you, his family and his friends to hear the Gospel. He wanted you to know the Lord Jesus Christ, and God’s great, saving grace in him.

 

As God the Holy Spirit will enable me, I want to talk to you for a few minutes about — Life, Death, and Eternity. You will find my text in the 14th chapter of the Book of Job. People don’t much like to talk about death. The trend in funerals everywhere is to call a funeral service “a celebration of life.” Rather than face the reality of death, judgment, and eternity people pretend to celebrate the life of one whose cold, dead body lies in a dark coffin in their midst. What folly!

  • Soon you and I must die.
  • Soon we must meet God in judgment.
  • Soon we will enter upon eternity, either eternal life with Christ in heavenly glory or eternal ruin, darkness, damnation, and torment in that horrible pit called “Hell.”

 

I ask you to lay to heart these facts which constantly stare us in the face:life, death, and eternity. Serious people are thoughtful. Serious people take serious things seriously. They ask serious questions. They contemplate weighty matters. God’s servant Job was such a man. His experiences in life caused him to ask some very serious, thoughtful questions about life, death, and eternity. I want us to look at the questions he asked in this chapter.

 

We do not really know who wrote the book of Job; but it was probably written by Job himself. The book of Job is one of the oldest books in the Bible, if not the oldest. It describes the life experiences of a man who walked with God in those earliest days, when very few people knew and worshipped the Lord God. Some suggest that Job probably lived in the days of Abraham. Others suggest that he lived in the days of Enoch, or perhaps in the days of Noah, after the flood. No one can say for certain. But we do know that Job walked with, worshipped, and served the Lord God when very few did. God said, there was “none like him in the earth,” and described him as a perfect and upright man who feared God and eschewed evil (1:8).

 

Divisions: Here in Job 14 this wise and faithful man, Job, asked six weighty questions, questions about life, death, and eternity. I want (by the grace and power of God the Holy Spirit) to show you the answers He has given in the Book of God to these six questions. — These are all questions that everyone of you are asking. You may pretend that you never consider such things, but I know better and you do too.

1.    “Dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one?” (v.3)

2.    “Bringest (thou) me into judgment with thee?” (v.3)

3.    “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?” (v.4)

4.    “Man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?” (v. 10)

5.    “If a man die, shall he live again?” (v.14)

6.    “Dost thou not watch over my sin?” (v.16)

 

Proposition: If we are wise, we will give thoughtful consideration to these questions about the most serious of matters: life, death, and eternity.

 

I. Dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one?” (vv. 1-3).

 

(Job 14:1) “Man [that is] born of a woman [is] of few days, and full of trouble.”

 

What havoc the fall of our father Adam has brought upon humanity! What trouble springs from sin! — “Man [that is] born of a woman [is] of few days.” And those few days are “full of trouble!

 

(Job 14:2-3) “He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. 3 And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee?”

 

This question arose from Job’s consideration of the frailty, brevity, and utter insignificance of man. We all like to think that we are somebody, that our lives count, that some part of this world depends upon us. In a natural sense, of course, certain things do depend upon us, because God has so ordered it. Even in spiritual matters, it can be said that certain things depend upon us, again, because God has so ordered it. But once a man starts to look beyond his nose and sees that the first cause of all things is God (12:14-16; Romans 8:28; 11:36; 2 Corinthians 5:18), once he sees that “all things are of God,” he realizes that before God he is utterly insignificant.

 

Man that is born of woman is of few days (v. 1). — The longer I live, the more thankful I am that life in this world is but a very brief part of my existence. I am truly thankful that since the days of the flood the life span of the human race has been shortened. Wouldn’t you hate to live in this world, in its present condition, for 969 years, like Methuselah did? I much prefer the expectation of threescore years and ten to 969!

 

Yet, we ought to learn to recognize the brevity of this life and learn to apply our hearts unto wisdom To Christ! None of us is guaranteed seventy years in this world, or even another moment. But if we should live to be the age of 80, 90 or even 100 years that is just a speck when you think of eternity. And those few days will pass by quicker than a weaver’s shuttle (Psalm 90:12).

 

The few days we have upon this earth, because we are sinners in a world full of sin and sorrow, are full of trouble. The word “trouble” here is one of those words with many shades of meaning.

Š      It might be translated trouble because sin and trouble always go hand in hand. Where there is sin, trouble is sure to follow.

Š      It might be translated commotion because the lives of men in this world are, like the troubled sea, restless. Fallen man is in a constant state of uneasiness.

Š      The word might also be translated trembling. The reason for man’s restlessness is, to a very great extent, the trembling of his soul in the prospect of death, judgment, and eternity.

 

Troubled man, whose life is but a momentary thing in this world, is as insignificant as withered flowers after the first winter freeze. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not (v.2).

 

In the light of these facts, Job was simply overwhelmed with the knowledge that the holy, infinite, eternal, omnipotent God should take notice of him. “And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one?”

 

(Psalms 8:4) “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”

 

(Psalms 144:3-4) “LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! Or the son of man, that thou makest account of him! 4 Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.”

 

Think of it. What a wondrous thing this is. — That God almighty should look our way, that He should cast His glance upon us! Job was simply overwhelmed by the thought of it. Aren’t you?

 

And can it be that I should gain

An interest in the Savior’s blood?

Died He for me, who caused His pain,

For me, who Him to death pursued?

Amazing love! How can it be

That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

 

Does God almighty open His eye upon such useless, sinful wretches as we are? Indeed, He has, He does, and He will!

Š      In Electing Love!

Š      In Redeeming Grace!

Š      In Providential Goodness!

Š      In Saving Mercy!

Š      In the Exercise of His Preserving Power!

 

II. And bringest thou me into judgment with thee?” (v.3).

 

What a horrible realization this is for a sinful man to come to. Sooner or later you and I must face up to the fact of Divine justice and judgment.

Š      The Word of God teaches it.

Š      History illustrates it.

Š      Your conscience bears witness to it.

Š      Calvary declares it!

 

When Job thought of God exercising the rigor of His strict justice, it was no laughing matter. He knew that the standard of judgment in that great day would not be the opinions of men, but God himself. He does not say, “Bringest Thou me into judgment before Thee?” That would be bad enough. But his question is, “Bringest Thou me into judgment with Thee?” Here are two facts that I hope will get your heart’s attention and cause your soul trouble, two facts from which you can find no escape until you flee away into the arms of Christ.

 

  1. There is a day appointed by God when we must appear before His august, Great, White Throne to be judged by Him (2 Corinthians 5:10-11; Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 20:11-15).

 

(2 Corinthians 5:10-11) “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (11) Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”

 

(Hebrews 9:27) “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

 

(Revelation 20:11-15) “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (14) And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

 

  1. In that great and terrible day, the standard of judgment will be God Himself.

 

God will bring us into judgment with Himself. Someone once asked, “How good does a person have to be to get to heaven?” The answer is you have to be as good as God. God almighty will not and cannot accept anything less than perfection (Leviticus 22:21; Revelation 21:27).

 

(Leviticus 22:21) “And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein.”

 

(Revelation 21:27) “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

 

III. Understanding both the brevity of life and the certainty of divine judgment, Job asked this next question: — Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?” (v.4-6).

 

(Job 14:4-6) “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one. 5 Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass; 6 Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day.”

 

Our translation reads, in response to this question, “not one.” A better translation might continue the question to the end of the fourth verse. “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean, is there one?” —— Realizing that man who is altogether unclean, by imputation, by nature, by birth, and by practice, must stand in judgment with the holy Lord God, this question is one for which every sensible soul must seek an answer.

Š      The number of our days in this world was determined by God’s decree before ever we were born.

Š      God Himself has appointed the boundaries of every man’s existence in this world, beyond which none can pass.

 

“As the time of a man’s birth, so the time of his death is according to the purpose of God; and all the intervening moments and articles of time, and all things that befall a man throughout the whole course of his life, all fall under the appointment of God, and are according to His determinate will; and when God requires of a man his soul no one has power over his spirit to retain it one moment.”                                                                  — John Gill

 

If man has no power over his own life and death, or even his own health, it is certain that no man has the power to bring a clean thing out of an unclean.No mortal can give himself spiritual life. No man can give himself faith, regenerate himself, justify himself, make himself righteous, holy, and good, save himself, or even put himself into a savable condition (Job 9:20; Romans 3:9-19).

 

(Job 9:20) “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.”

 

(Romans 3:9-19) “What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; (10) As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (11) There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. (12) They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (13) Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: (14) Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: (15) Their feet are swift to shed blood: (16) Destruction and misery are in their ways: (17) And the way of peace have they not known: (18) There is no fear of God before their eyes. (19) Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”

 

But, blessed be the name of our God forever, there is One who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean! —— The Lord God our Savior can bring a clean thing out of an unclean! He does so by three marvelous works of grace.

  • Redemption (Romans 3:24-26)
  • Regeneration (John 3:5)
  • Resurrection (Phil. 3:21) — “Salvation is of the Lord” (Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 1:9-10).

 

IV. Here is Job’s fourth big question (vv. 7-13). I am reading verse seven, — Job 14:7-13.

 

(Job 14:7-13) “For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. (8) Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; (9) Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. (10) But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? (11) As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: (12) So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. (13) O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!

 

Man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?”When the wicked die in their sins, though their bodies are in the grave, they are in hell.

 

Illustration: The Rich Man (Luke 16)

 

If you die without Christ, as soon as you close your eyes in death, you will lift up your eyes in hell, tormented in the flames of the damned, forever imprisoned in darkness with Satan, the fallen angels, and in company with all the wicked who have lived and died in rebellion against God before you. There, in eternal misery, forever banished from God, goodness, light, and righteousness, you shall suffer the wrath of God forever and forever.

 

But when the righteous die in faith, though their bodies are in the grave, awaiting the resurrection, they are with Christ in heaven.

 

Š      2 Corinthians 5:1 (Read and explain the intermediate body.)

 

(2 Corinthians 5:1) “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

 

As soon as the righteous close their eyes in death in this world they open their eyes in glory, in heaven, in the paradise of God, in Abraham’s bosom. There we shall forever be in the presence of Christ, the holy angels, God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, the spirits of just men made perfect, free of sin and perfectly righteous, serving Christ in that house not made with hands until the resurrection of our bodies.

 

This blessed state of death (life) is for the believer a matter of hope and expectation, not dread and fear. — Job prayed for the Lord to graciously take him out of this vale of tears and keep him, hiding his body in the grave and his soul in heaven until the days of God’s wrath and judgment against men is over (v.13).

 

(Job 14:13) “O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!”

 

(Isaiah 26:19-21) “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. 20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. 21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”

 

(Isaiah 57:1-2) “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. 2 He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.”

 

Illustration: When God takes one of His elect out of this world He graciously takes them away from sorrow and trouble.

 

V. If a man die shall he live again?” (v.14).

 

Read verses 14 and 15, and you will understand that Job had absolutely no question about the blessed hope of the resurrection of the body.

 

(Job 14:14-15) “If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. 15 Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.”

 

(Job 19:25-27) “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.”

 

(1 Corinthians 15:51-58) “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

 

(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

 

Illustrations: The Robin’s Eggs

                                                                                                                                    Winston Churchill’s Funeral

 

Winston Churchill planned his own funeral. And he did so with the hope of the resurrection and eternal life. He instructed after the benediction that a bugler positioned high in the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral would play Taps, the universal signal that says the day is over.

 

But then came a very dramatic moment, as Churchill had instructed. Another bugler was placed on the other side of the massive dome, and who played Reveille, the universal signal that a new day has dawned and it is time to arise. That was Churchill’s testimony that at the end of history, the last note will not be Taps, but Reveille. There is hope beyond the grave because Jesus Christ has opened the door to heaven for us by his representative life, sin-atoning death, and resurrection.

 

VI. Now, here is a sixth question, the answer to it is so delightful, I cannot send you home without it. — Dost thou not watch over my sin?

 

(Job 14:16-17) “For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin? (17) My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity.”

 

  • Our great God numbers our steps in this world. As He has numbered the hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30), so He has ordained every step we take in this world, no matter where they lead.

 

  • He watches over our sin. Does God look upon our sin? Bless His name, He does not behold sin in His people (Psalm 130:3-4). The word translated “sin” is the very same word that is  translated “sin-offering” throughout the Old Testament. — The Triune Jehovah, the holy Lord God watches over Christ our Sin-offering, upon the mercy-seat with relentless satisfaction!

 

A Bag, A Book, A Bottle

 

Let me show you three things that I hope you will take home in your heart, for the comfort of your soul. The Word of God describes a bag, a book, and a bottle, which ought to console our hearts throughout the days of this earthly pilgrimage.

 

1.    God has given us a bag for our sins. — “My transgression [is] sealed up in a bag, and Thou sewest up mine iniquity (Job 14:17). Like men buried at sea are sewn and sealed in a weighted bag and cast into the depths of the sea, so the Lord God has cast the sins of His people into the depth of the sea of His infinite forgiveness.

 

2.    The Lord has written a book for our names (Psalm 139:16; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 13:8). Take heart, child of God, all is well for those whose names are written in the book of God!

 

3.    The Lord God keeps a bottle for our tears (Psalm 56:8-9). It was customary in ancient times for mourners at funerals to catch their tears in small bottle to be placed in the tomb with the dead, symbolizing the care the mourners had for the one who died. Even so, the Lord God cares for us.

 

Can anything be more comforting? In this world of sin, sorrow, and death, the Lord our God has put our sins in a bag and buried them, our names in a book to remember them, and our tears into a bottle to show His tender care for us.

 

This great salvation by God’s great grace has taken Bob Duff to heaven. I am confident of that fact because Bro. Bob trusted the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30). I can almost see him now, beaming with joy, as he beholds the Lord Jesus face to face! Soon, my brother, soon, we will meet again. — Soon!

 

How will it be for you when you die? — Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and all this great salvation is yours, freely, by the grace of God through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Trust Christ, and soon, we’ll meet again at Jesus’ feet. God help you to trust His Son!

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[1] A Tribute to a Faithful Man

Robert A. (Bob) Duff

June 24, 1940 — August 5, 2016

 

Late one Saturday afternoon in the middle of August, sixteen years ago, I received a call from a man completely unknown to me. When I answered the telephone, he said, “Bro. Fortner, this is Bob Duff. I live in Junction City. You don’t know me; but for the past six weeks I’ve been flat on my back, unable to do anything but read and watch television. I’ve been watching you on the television every Sunday morning. Bro. Fortner, I’ve taught Sunday School in these religious organization in this area for twenty-five years. Listening to you, God has shown me that I don’t know the Gospel. I wanted to know if it would be alright for me to come listen to you; and maybe the Lord will teach me the Gospel.”

I cannot say that is an exact quote from my friend; but it’s pretty close. The next morning, one of the first people to arrive for our worship service was Bro. Bob Duff. He introduced himself and took a seat on the third row, to the right of my pulpit, almost directly in front of me. He has occupied that seat every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Tuesday night since, except when sick. — God graciously taught him the Gospel of his free, sovereign, saving grace in Christ; and I had the privilege of baptizing him on September 17, 2000.

         Bob and his wife, Mary Lou, have been close, cherished friends for these sixteen years, the kind of people you are blessed to have in your life. Bro. Duff was always anxious to do whatever he could to assist his pastor, whatever he could to help others, and whatever he could for the furtherance of the Gospel. Until his health began to fail, knowing from his own experience the value of such a ministry, he along with two other of our men, went to the local cable vision office and played recordings of my messages every Sunday morning, and Wednesday and Friday night.

         Bob was never presumptuous, overbearing, or opinionated. He never pushed himself into the light, or into the center of a conversation. I never knew him to speak in even the slightest negative way about others. That does not mean he was not a man of strong conviction, but just the opposite. — His firm convictions regarding the Gospel of God, the work of God, and the sweet union of God’s elect with the Lord Jesus Christ caused him to highly esteem God’s elect and to always speak well of them.

         In the sixteen years of pilgrimage together Bob and I never had a cross word. He was always an encouragement to his pastor. In every work we undertook as a congregation, Bob was ready to do anything asked of him. I do not recall ever preaching a message to him to which he did not have a meaningful and encouraging comment.

         Though he was not a wealthy man, I happen to know of some very significant decisions he and his wife made shortly after coming into the fellowship of our assembly that were costly to them, but were things they wanted to do so that they could be more generous in supporting the cause of Christ.

My friend, Bob Duff, was truly a remarkable man. The grace of God made him a remarkable man. He has been sick for so long that I have already missed him for a long time. The last time we were able to talk together, he picked up one of our bulletins and said, “I read every word, and pray for you. Brother, I love you, and I’m praying for you.” As I write this tribute to this faithful man, I can almost see him now, beaming with joy, as he beholds the Lord Jesus face to face! Soon, my brother, soon, we will meet again. — Soon!