Faithlife Sermons

2020-05-31 Dr. Ralph Webber

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Philippians 1:21–26 CSB
21 For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. 23 I am torn between the two. I long to depart and be with Christ—which is far better— 24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. 25 Since I am persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that, because of my coming to you again, your boasting in Christ Jesus may abound.

I. Dr. Webber lived for Christ.

Philippians 1:21 CSB
21 For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

A. Dr. Webber's life was given for the service of Jesus Christ and his bride, the church.

Philippians 1:23–26 CSB
23 I am torn between the two. I long to depart and be with Christ—which is far better— 24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. 25 Since I am persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that, because of my coming to you again, your boasting in Christ Jesus may abound.
Illus: the calling of a pastor is never to simply work as a pastor.
It is not a 8-5 job where you clock in and clock out.
When you embrace God’s call of being a pastor it becomes who you are.
The calling of a pastor is to pursue Christ with all that you are, and serve his church.
Dr. Webber in one of the most godly men I have ever known.
The bible says that the fruit of God’s Spirit in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.
That about sums up who Dr. Webber was. Take any one of those fruits and your could describe him. It is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that Dr. Ralph Webber so knew God that his life mirrored the fruit of the spirit.
He was more than just a good man. He was a pastor. I use the word pastor purposely.
As a pastor he cared about other people far more than himself.
Truthfully, I don’t know if I was Dr. Webber’s pastor as much as he was mine.
I truly treasured the moments where he stopped into my office, never expecting anything from me, but just to ask about my life, and pray with me.
It was in these moments I saw the humility and gentleness of this man.
On countless occasions he mad the deal to do funeral services for his friends, “as long as he didn’t die first”. His love for me was so great that he would come in apologizing for doing the service and asking permission at the same moment.
He truly was a man who loved others far more than himself. If I could say anything about Dr. Webber, it was that he was my partner in ministry.
Philippians 1:3–6 CSB
3 I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, 4 always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

B. Ministry was never about the job for Dr. Webber. Even in retirement, he served Jesus.

Illus: You can tell alot about a person by how they finish their life.
Dr. Webber never stopped being a pastor. He never stopped.
He continued to preach up until the day that he could not healthwise.
That did not stop Dr. Webber from ministry. He continued to serve his church through making hospital visits, teaching when asked, and serving as an encourager in any way he could.
Of course, it must be said, it was always with Ms. Ann by his side.
I cannot count the number of hospital visits I have made where the Webbers were there serving our church and ministering to the family.
Ministry for Dr. Ralph Webber was never a job to do, but instead the life he lived.
Philippians 2:1–4 CSB
1 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. 4 Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

II. Dr. Webber gained the glory of Christ.

Philippians 1:21 CSB
21 For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:23 CSB
23 I am torn between the two. I long to depart and be with Christ—which is far better—

A. Dr. Ralph Webber gained the longing of his life.

Illus: To die is gain.
There is a distinct paradox at a funeral service. On our side, we feel the sting of death and the sting of loss. We mourn and are broken over loosing a husband, a father, a pastor, and a friend.
On Dr. Webber’s side of eternity, he does not lack in any way. As every day of his life was lived for Christ, so the great reward of his life was what he lived for.
Heaven is truly paradise for Dr. Ralph Webber because the true treasure of his heart, Jesus Christ, is the prize he gained.
I love the way scripture says that the troubles of this present world are not worth comparing to the glory that awaits us.
Dr. Webber is experiencing that right now. He knows that.
Dr. Webber is fulfilled in a way that we can’t even imagine on this side of eternity.
John 14:1–4 CSB
1 “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also. 4 You know the way to where I am going.”

B. Even though we feel the sing of death today, Dr. Webber has gained what is far better.

Illus: One of Dr. Webber’s favorite books to teach was the book of Revelation.
In fact he taught it last year for his Sunday School class at church.
The book describes the glorious future of believers. It describes god’s endgamer where he restores and remakes the broken world we live in.
While on this earth we do experience the pain of living in a world of death. There is not more clear than when we say goodbye to those we love.
There is a rightful part of us which should scream, this is just nor right.
This world, though is temporary. While we still feel the sting of death, Dr. Webber does not.
Look ahead to what he gained.
Revelation 21:1–7 CSB
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 I also saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. 3 Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and will be their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away. 5 Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” 6 Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give to the thirsty from the spring of the water of life. 7 The one who conquers will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be my son.

III. Dr. Webber finished his race.

2 Timothy 4:7–8 CSB
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 There is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved his appearing.

A. Dr. Webber lived every day until his last for the glory of Christ. He finished his race. He finished well. He now has his prize.

Illus: I gladly say that Dr. Webber is the pastor I aspire to be.
I think it is appropriate at a faithful pastor’s funeral to issue a challenge to you today.
Dr. Webber was a man who so loved Jesus Christ that his life was transformed by that gospel. Today, I want to ask you if you know Jesus Christ in that way.
If you don’t there would be nothing that would honor Dr. Webber more than giving your life to him today.
Today if you have trusted Chrsit, but look and say, my life does not look like the fruit of the spirit, would you make the decision to follow Jesus today.
The last line of Dr. Webber’s obituary is Dr. Webber’s statement, “The longer I serve him, the sweeter he grows.”
I can’t even imagine how sweet it is today.
Philippians 1:21–26 CSB
21 For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. 23 I am torn between the two. I long to depart and be with Christ—which is far better— 24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. 25 Since I am persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that, because of my coming to you again, your boasting in Christ Jesus may abound.
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