Someone once said, "Live your life in such a way that when you die you will be missed." Paul Belardino is greatly missed. I know that God's work for Paul here was finished . . . but there is a void left when a beloved saint goes home. A real friend, a real Christian brother, one who faithfully loves and prays for you is a rare and precious thing in this fallen world. Some of you reading this know what I mean.
The following are some of my comments from the funeral of our brother, Paul Belardino:
I first met Paul four years ago when my family and I moved to this area to pastor SHPC in Destin. Paul was a member of
The last time I spoke with Paul 3 Sundays ago I asked him what Scripture had been speaking to his heart during this time. He told me Isaiah 40. I want to share some of this Scripture with you this morning.
Isaiah 40:28-31 (http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=Is.+40:28-31)
I wish I could read it with Paul’s same booming voice. As I read this Scripture it reminds of two things about Paul:
Paul was a man of prayer. If you asked me to say one thing about Paul it would be this, he was a man of prayer. Paul stood so tall for Jesus because he spent so much time on his knees. He knew what it meant to be tired and weary and he sought strength for Himself and others from the living God in prayer. Many of you here have probably enjoyed prayer with Paul at some time. Paul led our prayer in worship each Sunday. I loved to hear him pray because his prayers seemed to usher me into the presence of a holy and loving God. Paul prayed . . . and He prayed to a Big God
And that is the second thing I want to say--Paul had a huge vision of the greatness of God like Isaiah. “Have you not kno
wn? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God. The creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary and His wisdom—no can fathom.” God made everything. He is everlasting without end. He is all-powerful. His wisdom is infinite and He is and exhaustable fountain of love and goodness to the needy. Paul had a God-given, God-centered, God intoxicated, God-entranced vision of all things. To Paul God didn’t just touch each area of life—God was central to every area of life. He loved and enjoyed God so much because He saw the glory and grandeur of God so clearly—especially in His Word. And now He sees Him face to face.
Many of you know that Paul’s view of God’s glory was strongly influenced by the great American preacher Jonathan Edwards. Several years ago Paul memorized much of Edwards famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and had the opportunity to repreach this great and sobering sermon. I was mentioning this to my wife Susan the other day and she said, “Paul is probably talking with Edwards right now.” And he is. Talking with Edwards and worshipping with Edwards. Having their breath taken away by the glory of God!
I want to share a quote from Edwards that I am sure Paul knew on the joy of heaven that Paul is enjoying right now:
"The enjoyment of [God] is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams. But God is the ocean."
Paul is with His heavenly Father and He is with his Savior Jesus Christ. I think Paul would not be happy with me if I did not end by pointing each of us to Jesus. Paul was who he was, a man of love and prayer, a man with huge vision of God because Jesus rescued him. Paul was one of those sinners who needed to be saved from the anger of God by the Son of God. Paul loved Jesus and He is now with Him. To end one more word from another giant of the faith whom Paul loved--Charles Spurgeon.
“There will be little else we shall want of heaven besides Jesus Christ. He will be our bread, our food, our beauty, and our glorious dress. The atmosphere of heaven will be Christ; everything in heaven will be Christ-like: yes, Christ is the heaven of His people.”