The following is the manuscript of my farewell sermonette given to the First Baptist Church family. Please continue to pray for us as we transition to Oklahoma.
I want my final time of addressing you as your pastor to be focused on Jesus Christ. Of all that I could say to you, Jesus is the sweetest, greatest, and best.
He is the central point of all the Bible (Luke 24:44-49). All the Scriptures speak of Him (John 5:39). He is the Head of the Church; He is our Leader and our Life (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18). He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). He is the Living Word of God and the Word of Life (John 1:1-14; 1 John 1:1). He is God with us, the Savior of the world (Matthew 1:21-23; John 4:42).
So, I want my final words to this flock to be about Jesus Christ. The application for this evening is to listen, absorb this description of Jesus, and adore Jesus.
Please turn to Colossians 1:15-23 with me, and I want to read to you this beautiful description of the Lord.
Consider this description of our Lord with me.
JESUS – He is the visible, exact representation of the Father whom we cannot see. No one has seen God at any time, but the only-begotten God has come and made Him known to us (John 1:18).
JESUS – He is the first over all creation, because He is the One through whom the world was formed. Without Him nothing was made that has been made. All things, whether in earth or in heaven, the visible and invisible – angelic and human and all else has been made by Jesus AND for Jesus.
JESUS – He is before all things. He has the place of priority and preeminence and honor above all others and all else.
JESUS – Not only has He created all things but He holds everything together as well. Nothing can exist without His continual care. Nothing can breathe or move or exist without Jesus Christ.
JESUS – He is the Head of the Church (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18). He is our Leader. We follow Him by His Word and the Spirit. He is our Life. United to Him we are dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6:1-11).
JESUS – He is the beginning of the Church. He is the first and most important One to rise from the dead. In His coming back to life we are made alive to God and someday we will be raised from the dead.
JESUS – As the firstborn from the dead He has the preeminence, the first place. He has the highest place of importance. He has the focus of worship. He is the One who is lifted up. He is the object of our faith. He is the One we rest in and worship and love and adore.
JESUS – He is the One in whom all the fullness of the Godhead was pleased to dwell. He is not only a man, but He is God and man. He is not only a good teacher, but He is God the Son who reveals God to us. He is God who came and shared in our humanity, so He could die for our sins (Hebrews 2:14-15). He came to die. He died to reconcile all things to Himself, making peace by His death on the cross.
JESUS – He is the One who has brought believers into a right relationship with God through His body being nailed on the cross. There He suffered and died for our sins. He has brought an end to the war we once had with God, because all of God’s wrath and judgement against our sin was poured out on Him. He died for us, so that He can present us to Himself and the Father as a people set apart for God’s purposes. He died to present us as people who are without any blame.
This is not by our works, but by the work of Jesus Christ alone!
JESUS – He is the One in whom we have confidence, because He alone deserves our confidence. He never fails or disappoints. His Good News has been proclaimed in all the earth, and we stand steadfast in Him.
JESUS – Do you know Him? Is your confidence in Him alone? Are you certain that all your sins are forgiven, NOT BECAUSE OF YOUR WORKS BUT ALL BECAUSE OF JESUS? If not, are you ready to depend upon Him to have your sins forgiven and be made right with God, forever? He invites you to believe on Him. Trust in the Lord Jesus alone, because He has died for your sins and has risen again!
If your trust is in Jesus alone for rescue from sin, then you know, dear sibling in Jesus, that He really is our life, our hope, our confidence, our joy. He is our God. He is Head of the Church, who alone has the place of priority and alone deserves worship.
I leave you with these words – JESUS ALONE IS WORTHY of our trust, of our allegiance, of our worship, of our praise, of our confidence. He is the Good Shepherd of the sheep – keep on looking to Him and loving Him.
Don’t make your primary pursuit the search for a pastor. Don’t make your primary pursuit the care of this building. Don’t make your primary pursuit First Baptist Church, this town, or even the salvation of souls. Make Jesus your primary pursuit, for He alone is worthy.
I pray, as you consider these past years I have been with you that you will not think – Bill was a nice pastor. I pray you don’t primarily remember sermons, services, weddings, funerals, hospital visits, or anything else other than Jesus. I pray when you remember me that your first thought is – Bill loves Jesus. Bill pointed me to Jesus. Bill spoke about Jesus all the time. Bill preached Christ and Him crucified. Bill preached of eternal life through faith in Jesus alone. Bill walked with Jesus and taught me to do the same.
I pray the memory of me fades and only Jesus’ name, person, and work is remembered.
I pray you say, Bill always sang the same tune – JESUS CHRIST! If not, I have failed you and the Lord,severely, and may I be remembered as a failure. I pray this is not the case!
May Jesus Christ alone have preeminence in my life, my family, and in First Baptist Church NOW, ALWAYS, and FOREVER.
In the years ahead, if our paths meet again on this earth, may we find each other still singing the same tune – JESUS CHRIST. When we meet someday in heaven, I guarantee that we will definitely be singing that tune of praise forever – Amen!
Hebrews 13:20-21 will be our closing blessing and praise:
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.