No Final Whistle for Jake…

 

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We can only describe this amazing gentleman in general terms. If his description became too specific, many would know immediately who he was. If he were still here, he would tell you his story in no uncertain words; but, he has gone on to Heaven to be with the Lord.

What he wanted to be said about himself deserves to be heard. That was what he wanted. Equally, his family's privacy should be preserved. That we shall do. What Jake wanted at his funeral was for someone to give the Gospel.  He would have said, "Don't talk about me! Tell them how to go to Heaven. 

The Gospel is believing that Christ died on the Cross to pay for your sins and that when you do that, He will place His righteousness to your account.  That is the reason that Christ went to the Cross...to pay for the sin of the World. You might be a wonderful person; or, just as good as the next guy; but, are you perfect? If you stopped sinning today, what would you do about that long line of sins committed before today? It made perfect sense to Jake to trust Jesus Christ as his Savior and have Him take care of the sin problem; and I hope it makes sense to you!

This is what God's Word says in 2 Corinthians 5:21.

"(For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.) "

If you are paying close attention, you will see that it doesn't say anything about baptism.

Let us go to John 3:16 and see if we can find anything about having to be baptized to go to Heaven.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

It did not say "whosoever believeth and is baptized" did it? No, the key word in the book of John is the verb “believe” (Greek: pisteuo), which appears 98 times.

Ephesians 2:8,9 tells us that there is absolutely nothing we can do to receive eternal life; but...receive it as a gift.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (8)  Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6

Jesus did not say, " I am 'a' way, and there might be other ways." He did not say, I am the way 'but you have to do your part by being baptized, joining a church, giving money, and.....so on...and...on...on... to any act that makes an individual feel good about himself." I believe that the gentleman who refereed his last ball game at age 88, and never made a bad call, would have to call a "personal foul" on that one.

 It is interesting to note that when I read someone else's description of this man he said, “While I was sitting listening to the young pastor talk at the funeral service about Jake, I couldn't help but think that the man he was describing was so unlike the Jake I knew.” The man he knew, from seeing him every day, was a WWII Friend of his father’s.

It is fitting that we think about Jake’s testimony today—on Veteran’s Day.  (2014) We came to know this gentleman through the radio ministry and the time he wrote to ask for a particular sermon, a Memorial Day sermon, of course. He wrote a few times and we began sending him the particular broadcasts he asked for. He read the book that my husband (Dr. Max D. Younce) wrote, “Martin Luther, Master of Deceit.” He wrote often.

 He expressed to Max one day that he thought it was ridiculous to think that a mere man could forgive another man’s sin, and that he was through with the Lutheran Church. He believed that Jesus Christ was the only one who could pay for sin and he was trusting Jesus Christ as the payment for his. When cancer struck and his beloved wife passed away, he had to live with family in another state. He wrote of how he missed her but said he was getting the best of care and deeply appreciated that. He asked that we keep sending the radio broadcasts to him.  Of course, we did that. In one of his last letters he expressed his enjoyment of them and wished that he could come to our church, at least once.

Anyone who knows my husband realizes, if someone needs to hear about our Savior at the time when they are near to meeting Him, he will move “Heaven and earth” to get to them. This was just too far. He called the family where he knew Jake was, thinking he could at least speak to him. They seemed reluctant to even have him contact him.

Never count this gentleman, whom the other person described as a “crusty old character,” out! He made arrangements; perhaps, not how he wanted them; but, they worked. Do you expect anything less from a member of the "Greatest Generation" who observed WWII from the gun turret of a B-17? In a day or two his phone call came.

"Is this where that Pastor Younce lives?"

"Yes, it is."

"Well, this is Jake (_ _ _)."

We were so glad to hear from him! It is very hard to catch my husband at home;but, as if by some Divine appointment, at that moment Max walked in the door and I handed him the phone. Jake explained the situation and that he was having them bring him back to a hospice in his home town. Max said, I’ll be down tomorrow.” He was so glad to be able to visit with Jake; and did so twice, the last being a couple of days before his home going.

During their conversations he related to Max how he had tried to get the Gospel across to his wife; but, she just could not believe it. He said if he had known when they were married, that going to Heaven was by simply believing that Jesus Christ paid the price for sin on Calvary; and that he arose three days and nights later marking the sin debt of mankind "Paid" would give him eternal life, he would not have gotten into the Lutheran Church. He just thought it was as good a church as any. The Jake that Pastor Max Younce knew sat wiping away the tears, as he related that he knew he would never see his wife again; and, according to one of his last letters, he was certainly grieving for her.

Grief is something we, as Christians, experience only on this side of Glory. When we get to Heaven, God will wipe away our tears and we will look at everything from His viewpoint. One of the things Max shared with him was, "With our new body, dwelling in our new eternal home, the Christian will never experience any more tear, death, sorrow, crying, or pain. " Then he read Revelation 21:3,4 to him.

Jake tried to have his family use Max as the officiating pastor; but, they would not. This is not something a minister of the Gospel seeks for themselves. It is unethical to try to force yourself into such a position. A true pastor only wants to help people in whatever way they can, especially when they are facing eternity. 

He said, “They’ll hear about all the things I've done; but, they won’t hear the Gospel. They’ll come in lost and they’ll go out lost, thinking baptism, or some other good work will get them to Heaven. Yes, that “crusty old character” who reduced the membership in his “Last Man’s Club to six,” said that!

During their last time together, as sick as he was, Jake had the nurse get him into a chair. Max sat there with him and simply read passages from the Bible about what Heaven is like aloud to him. JAKE drank it all in. He believed it and was looking forward to it!

Max described to him, as he does to everyone, what leaving this life is like for a Christian. It is “absent from the body and present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8) It is “Good Night” here; and “Good Morning, Lord.” Two days later, that is exactly what happened to Jake. He closed his eyes here; and opened them in Heaven.

When they parted, Max gave him a hug and these words, “I won’t say Good Bye. It’s just, So long, for a while. It won’t be long and I’ll be there, too.”

“For we know that if our earthly house (our body) of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house (a spiritual body) not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (1) For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:” (2 Corinthians 5:1-2)

For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: (20) Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)

(For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.) (2 Corinthians 5:21)

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (8) Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  (3) And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:3-4

Well, Jake, you made the right call this time, too! The "Game" isn't over yet; but, we'll be looking for you up there, right after the "Fourth Quarter." God is our referee now; and, I believe He's just about ready to call it a game.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus...

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