Summary: This sermon is dedicated to the memory of the late "Pastor Eugene Turner." It reminds us that we too will expire when our work is finish.
My best friend. My big brother. My confidant. My encourager. My mentor. My listening ear. I’ve come today to bid the servant of God farewell. We often spoke about this day. So providence had decreed that I preach his funeral. He has lived his eulogy. Pastor Turner was a friend of mankind. A gentle giant among preachers. A servant of God. Yet none of this could postpone this day. In times like these, many are confused. It never seems right when our leader dies. But history will remind us that men of every stature died. When we look at Turner today, we’ve witnessed the life of a great man; not because he was well known but because he served well. He was not a man above men. He was a man among men. Like Moses, Abraham, Job, David, Paul and others, he was a mere man whose relationship with God made him more. He was a man with human passions but he was still God’s servant. With Bell Baptist Church, we mourn today and we thank God for giving us a man like Eugene Turner. Luling, Boutte, Killona, Ama, Paradis, Hahnville and all nearby communities are better because Turner pass this way. He was never too busy for the broken hearted. He loved our young people with an untiring love. In fact, he left this world with a vision of building a recreation center for our young people. I see him today amid that great cloud of witnesses urging us to stay the course. Today, we have come to bid the Lord’s servant fare-well. We are reminded today, that death invades the pulpit and the pew. The preacher proclaims life from the book of life, but the same book declares that he too must expire at God’s appointed time. The body is immortal until the work is done. The lease will run out when the service is ended. Earthly service is rent paid on our Heavenly mansion. The preaching is eternal but the preacher is temporary. We ought to follow our leaders but we must depend on our God. Every leader must leave one of these days, but God will never leave nor forsake us. The funeral brings us to grip with the fact that the body has served its purpose. In death the servant pulls down the old tent and catches a taxi-cloud to bright glory. The servant will serve for life but he will rest for eternity. He cannot sleep until night falls and his work finish. The death of a servant leaves the church with less beneath but more above. Even in death, Turner is still God’s servant. Death does not rob him of God’s ownership. When Moses died, God still called him his servant. On this side, we are God’s servant at work but in Heaven, we are God’s servant at worship. Here we are as ships on the docks; at death we are launched into our true element. Death is the fall of curtain not the end of the show. The death of others is proof that we too will die. Every pain, every degree of weariness and weakness, proclaim the imminence of death. Death bargains with no man. The doctor, the lawyer, and the negotiator all must die. Every person will finally end up on death row. In death, the servant moves from a tent to a temple. Not that Heaven has a temple but Heaven is a temple in the highest sense. Earthly temple are for sacrifice. But Heaven is a temple of worship and gratitude without sin and sacrifice. Death is a passage out of a prison into a palace. It is the extinguishing the light. It is the putting out of the lamp because the morning dawn has come. Death comes not by sickness but by Divine appointment. The wages of sin is death but no man can die apart from God’s will. The body bears the spirit, a slow moving chariot. On the other side the spirit will bear the body in the swiftness of motion. On earth we are not truly living, we are dying to see Jesus. I shall not live till I see God and when I have seen Him, I shall never die. The natural effect of death refines and elevates the mind. When our loves ones leaves us, we are driven to look the God; the One that loves us. The funeral awakens our minds to the splendor of Heaven. Heaven is the only city without a cemetary. The servant dies but the Master lives on. The servant will part from the toils of life only to dwell in the presence of the Master. He will sow a serving body but he will reap a praising spirit. He serves God in Egypt’s wilderness. But he dies on top of Mt. Nebo. Death always takes a servant of God upward. Indeed we are pall-bearers but God is a soul bearer. The text says; that when a servant departs this life, He falls asleep. The stakes of the tents are loosen, the cords are broken and unpinned. The parts are taken down and lay aside for a season. The spirit sails to another port. The old tent returns to dust. It is buried in the womb of the earth. It lays in the earth with dust as a blanket. The body of the servant will sleep in the grave until Jesus summons them to die no more. The body will then sleep in undisturbed repose. There is no cogizance of the external world. The decending body has no sense and awareness. The ascending spirit has all the glorious awareness of Heaven. The body will sleep free from all worry and labor under the sun. The body is not the person. It is the house of the soul. At death the body is buried but the spirit is deposited into the Hands of God. Jesus said; "Father into Thy hands, I commend My spirit." All must die. No amount of greatness can exempt us from dying. Great Pastors have passed our way. J.B.Davis, Sidney Davis, Amos Sumler, Solomon Harris, Kinder Henry, James Powell, John Dorsey and others. The most excellent of men are subject to the shadow of death. There is no border country, no neutral territory, no sacred enclosure to secure us from the pursuit of disease and death. Those whom we once knew have joined that silent majority. Their voices have been hushed. The earth has their bodies. Heaven has their spirits. We have only their names and pictures to hold on to. The mortality of great men shows, that all belong to God. The grave-yard is filled with Apostles, Kings, Reformers and Missionaries; they left the work for us to carry on. While we remain, we must serve God until sleep day comes.