Ever since Dave Phillips went to be with Christ, I have been feeling more like an alien here in this life. The reason for this has a lot to do with the knowledge that Dave has gone home, his true home, to be with the Lord forever in glory. That’s my home, this earth is not. What matters then? Christ. “To live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Everything is temporal here, but everything is eternal and perfected there where Christ is. Dave loved the things in this life that the Lord blessed him with, but He loved Christ more and desired to be with him more, because Christ is everything; He is truly lovely and He is life, and knowing Him is eternal life (John 17:3). Not knowing Him is dreadful and terrifying, because there is no good apart from Him. There is no life apart from Christ, there is only wrath and fury against you. Dave has been glorified in the Lord, something I cannot even begin to fathom. He’s been made perfect because of Christ’s death and resurrection. I’ve been thinking a lot more about heaven and being perfected in Christ, about no longer having a struggle with sin, but being freed from it! How wonderful. What an awesome thing to look forward to! The past week and a half or so, I have just been longing for my true home more. What a glorious day it shall be when I see Christ face to face, no longer living by faith but by sight! Dave has been finally conformed to Christ, and oh how I long for that day! Christ is my Savior, King, Lord, God, Stronghold, Strength, Deliverer, Righteousness, Rock, Fortress, Shield, Protector, my everything (Psalm 18:2). I have nothing apart from Him, even if I possess the whole world (Mark 8:36-37). I have found so much joy in knowing that Christ will rule one day forever and that I will go to be with Him because of His glorious work in my life through the cross. On the cross, He took my punishment on Himself, having become a curse for me, He then died, rose from the grave, ascended into heaven, and then at His pre-appointed time, applied the work of the cross in my heart by the Holy Spirit, that I would be regenerated from my dead, wretched, sinful soul that wanted nothing to do with Him, given the eyes to see and ears to hear the wonderous work and call of the Gospel, and He then gave me the gift of faith (provided through the cross) that I would apprehend Him and love Him (Acts 16:14). It is this truth that has set me free and given me life. God saved me, it is all His work, I was only a dead recipient, made alive by the Gospel. There is nothing I desire more than Christ. And it is this truth that Christ will ultimately conform me to Himself in glory that has given me so much hope in all my trials throughout my whole life. Dave is there in glory and perfected, no longer entangled in this mess of sin and corruption. And though I will miss him for a time, how wonderful is it that He sees the glory of Christ, right now!? The Dave we loved, talked with, interacted with, is now with the Lord. How I long to be conformed to Christ! This event has just driven me closer to Christ and desiring to be like Him, loving the things He loves, and hating the things He hates, and sharing the Gospel with others. Man I want to be there with Christ. He is my all and my wonderous God and King. He is so faithful and glorious. And it is through the cross that this has been made actual for Dave and will be made actual for me when I die and can be made actual for any of you who do not know the Lord, who do not know Him savingly. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave, that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). Then with this truth, do not be conformed to this sinful world any longer, but walk in the renewal of your mind (Romans 12:1-2), casting off sin by the work of the cross and look forward to the hope of the complete redemption of your soul at death, and the resurrection of your body on the Day of the Lord. O Lord, come soon, we love You and need You. Send Your Spirit in power that we may live lives pleasing to You. O Lord, teach us to love the things You love and hate the things You hate. Teach us and work in us, Father, to love and exalt Christ more than anything in this world. O Lord we are weak and frail sinners, corrupted by our wickedness and the vile that remains in our hearts. Cleanse us with Your blood, remove our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh (Ezekial 36:26) that we may live our lives in submission to Your sovereignty and rule over our lives, giving You glory in any and every circumstance (Philippians 4:12-13). O Lord, we are aliens in this life, and we should live as such, preaching Your cross and the redemption You have provided through it (Romans 10:14-15). Lord, as the song It Is Well with My Soul states, “Haste the day when my faith shall be sight.” Let us always consider that our dwelling is not here, where moth and rust destroy, but where the great God of glory lives, where the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world lives! You are holy and glorious! There is none like You.
“…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24
“The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” – Job 1:21
“Frequently it is when we are crushed and devastated that the cross speaks most powerfully to us. The wounds of Christ then become Christ’s credentials. The world mocks, but we are assured of God’s love by Christ’s wounds.” – D.A. Carson.
For all of you who have not heard, David Phillips, the Life Stage 1 pastor over the student ministries @ Christ Chapel Bible Church, passed away this morning in a car wreck on his way to preach at the main services. This has been quite a shock for everyone, but Jesus is Lord, and nothing happens apart from His will. That, in addition to many other things (the death and resurrection of the Son of God being the main thing), is our comfort in the midst of this trial. This is a part of His perfect plan that we cannot fathom. Romans 5, Romans 8, James 1, all of Job, and the Psalms come alive even more so during times like this. This is for the Lord’s glory and the ultimate good of those who love Him. For me personally, as with many others, David Phillips played a huge role in my developmental process. As God’s instrument, he was one of the main influences Christ used in bringing me to Himself after having turned my back on Him in anger for the things He ordained to happen to my family. In addition, Dave was one of the main influences on my theology. When Dave first came on board @ CCBC, one of the biggest things he brought in his teaching was Justification and all that entails. Though I didn’t know that at the time (as far as the formal doctrine), his teaching of this essential piece of the Gospel, was one of the biggest reasons for my change, to trust in and fall on Christ and His perfect righteousness on my behalf, having taken my sin and it’s punishment on Himself and having imputed His righteousness to me through the cross. In addition to all of the doctrines he taught that are so essential to the Christian faith (5 Solas, Doctrines of Grace, Reformed theology), the one thing He brought that revolutionized my walk with Christ was his teaching on loving Him first and foremost above all other things, in all the facets of my life. Eating, reading, talking, thinking, in everything, do all things to the glory of God. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone). I was changed because I saw the practical, applicational nature of this in Dave. All of the theology undergirded that one thing, that one command even. He didn’t just talk about theology in some stoic, academic sense alone, but lived it out, applied it in his life, and as a result, many lives (including mine) have been transformed by the Gospel of Christ, under David Phillips teaching. I thank Jesus immensely that He sovereignly brought Dave Phillips into my life as God’s instrument of grace that I may live my life in love for Christ and pointing others toward Him. And Dave wasn’t only my spiritual father in leading me back to Christ, but he then became an amazing friend of mine. Praise God for Dave’s life, and praise God in his passing. I will miss him immensely, along with so many others, and I am deeply sorrowful for this loss. But what we mean for (or understand as) evil, God means for (designs for) good (Genesis 50:20).
Please pray for Dave’s wife, Jen, as well as both sides of their families as they mourn this great loss. And please pray for the student ministries at Christ Chapel as students process this information. Pray that many unbelieving students would come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior, and pray that those who do know Christ would persevere and endure in their faith, to the praise of the glory of the grace of Christ.
The Viewing will be held at Greenwood Funeral Home, Tuesday, Feb. 21 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The Funeral will be held at McKinney Memorial Bible Church Wednesday, Feb. 22 @ 4 p.m. with a reception following the service at the “Bubble” at Christ Chapel Bible Church.
Amazing. On Friday, Dave posted the sermon he was going to give (it is amazing because he had never posted his sermon notes online before and wow did it speak to the exact situation that occurred) …
Dave’s MySpace Sermon Entry
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
– Philippians 3:20-21