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Tribute to Arthur Crisp

The Best is Yet to Be (Romans 10 v 9)


"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Romans 8 vv 14-18
The above Scripture conveys a wonderful thought, or to use the phrase that Arthur used again and again, especially as he became physically weaker - "The best is yet to be."

What a contrast this is to those who live their lives without any thought of God or their eternal future! For them, life is lived for a handful of years, for a few meagre moments of personal enjoyment. The twilight years come when they say, in the words of Ecclesiastes 12 v 1, "...I have no pleasure in them." All that is left are fleeting recollections of the past and fear of the gloomy grave ahead.

What a contrast, I say, when we consider dear Arthur! Some 70 years ago, he experienced that wonderful transformation in his life when he accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. The past, with its sin, failure and shame, was forgiven. The present became a life of peace and joy in the Lord. He knew his life was in God's hands; he knew where he was going. Whatever the circumstances, the peace and joy of the Lord were there. Everyone who knew Arthur experienced that sweet peace and warmth of joy. When did you ever hear him moan or complain? And, at the end, Arthur could continue looking ahead and say, "The best is yet to be."

Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant

Last Tuesday, Arthur reached the end of his earthly journey. He slipped peacefully into the presence of his Lord. 92 years lived here on earth. His work here is completed. To the last he was faithful in his witness for the Lord. Right up to a couple of years ago, you could see him with us in our Open Air meetings in Pitsea Market. In the hospice and then in Ghyllgrove nursing home, he would still speak of his Lord. But his witness was more than just words; his whole life radiated what the Lord meant to him. He is now present with the Lord - "Well done, my good and faithful servant!"

The Challenge for Us

What do you live for? The Bible speaks in Romans about "joy and peace in believing." For many today, the past is a source of shame and condemnation (nothing to give hope and certainty for the future), the present a time of frustrating pursuit for something that satisfies and the future a fearful prospect. The Bible throws light on the reasons. Our failure and sin are an offence to God and separate us from Him. We are cut off from life and, therefore, from real peace and joy. Death, in the end, threatens to obliterate and ruin everything. But Jesus came to die for our sins. He died in our place. The man Christ Jesus bore the awful wrath of God upon human sin, all our sin, upon the cross of Calvary. He rose again. Sin and death had been defeated. The Bible shows that, if we will repent of our sins and ask God to forgive us our sins, putting our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, that God will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. More than that, He comes into our lives, we are born again of His Spirit and we are made new creations in Christ Jesus. The old nature is gone for good. The past is dealt with and taken care of; the present is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, and the future a glorious prospect. This is the Gospel, the good news that Arthur believed and lived.

Are you going to heaven? Are your sins forgiven? Do you have that "blessed assurance" in your soul? Think on these things today! Arthur not only shared his testimony in what he said; he lived it. It was powerful. Let it speak to you today; know the Saviour that Arthur knew and then you too will be able to look to the future beyond this earthly term and say, "The best is yet to be!"

Graham Jones - as delivered at the Church at Gun Hill on Thursday, 22 April 1999.

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