Faithlife
Faithlife

Father's day 2008

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Legacy: What kind of legacy will you leave?

 

This message today is for everyone: not just fathers.  You see not everyone here today is a father.  Some of you didn’t have the chance to be a father, and some of you may some day be a father.  The one thing we all have in common here (including women) is that “we all have had an earthly father, and we all have a heavenly father.”  Amen? 

Possibly some of you here today never had a chance to meet your earthly father?  Some of you possibly didn’t have relationship with your father.  We as a church can’t just sit around and silk about not having our father in our life.  We have God who is our heavenly father who loves us and desires for us to have a relationship with him.  We have to do our part to teach and train the next generation of people to be a Godly, Holy generation. 

I want you to think back to when you were a child or teenager.  Dig deep into your memory and find your childhood hero or someone who left an impression on you.  For me, it was Michael Jordan.  I knew him for his titles such as: His “Airness” and “I want to be like Mike.”  Basketball is in my blood, and I dreamed of being like Mike.  Well, as you can see, I am no Michael Jordan.  The thing about Michael Jordan is that he did leave a legacy.

1.     According to God’s Word, we too are required to leave a legacy or inheritance.

Proverbs 13:22 says, A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.

Peter gives a great example of this in 1 Peter 5:1-4.

1 Peter 5:1-4 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

When you and I die, what kind of legacy will we have left for those behind?  Will we have left a legacy of money, hatred, lust, greed, selfishness?  Or, will we leave a legacy or inheritance that was Godly, kind, loving, compassionate, honest, pure, unselfish?  Will we have left a way for people to build their life on a solid foundation of Christ and God’s Word?

 

“The Will of Henry Heinz”

When the will of Henry J. Heinz, wealthy distributor of the famous “57 Varieties” line, was read it was found to contain the following confession:

“Looking forward to the time when my earthly career will end, I desire to set forth at the very beginning of this will, as the most important item in it, a confession of my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I also desire to bear witness to the fact that throughout my life, in which there were unusual joys and sorrows, I have been wonderfully sustained by my faith in God through Jesus Christ. This legacy was left me by my consecrated mother, a woman of strong faith, and to it I attribute any success I have attained.”

We all know this world is full of broken homes, mixed families, kids that have twelve different sets of grandparents due to divorce, etc.  To me, one of the most influential fathers in the Bible is Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father.  Joseph was in a mixed family himself.  Here his soon to be wife is pregnant, and it is not his child.  Joseph could have chosen not to accept Jesus as his son, but he didn’t.  Joseph did everything he could to protect his family.  He moved his family from place to place as God directed in order to protect Jesus from Pharaoh.  Joseph not only accepted Jesus as his son, but he taught him everything he knew.  Joseph set the example and left a legacy because Matthew and Mark tell us that people recognized Jesus as “the carpenter’s son.”

One of the greatest examples we have is Jesus.  We know He was a teacher because John 3:2 tells us that Nicodemus came to Jesus and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God.”  Jesus took 12 men and devoted his time to them.  Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he was constantly teaching/mentoring the disciples.  He taught them, trained them, rebuked them, loved them, and explained to them about God’s kingdom.  Not only did he do this, but He actually set the example for them and for us.  Jesus left an “INHERITENCE” for us.  He died on the cross and rose from the grave; therefore, giving us the chance to live eternally in Heaven.  Not only did he leave us an inheritance, but He left a “LEGACY.”  We too are required to leave an inheritance, but what kind will we leave?

On June 17, 1912, in a speech at the Progressive Party Convention in Chicago, Theodore Roosevelt said:

Just beyond man’s narrow daily vision stand the immortals. “And Jehovah opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots about Elisha.” At the front of this culture’s way ride the strong guards of our own past, their authority immortalized by faithfulness. In the hour of decision we see them; their grave eyes watch us, the keepers of our standards, and the builders of our civilization. They came from God to do his bidding and returned. The future we cannot see; nor what the next imperious task; nor who its strong executant. But for this generation, in a time charged with disintegrating forces, the challenge is clear: to uphold our legacy with faith, valor, and truth. …

Now to you men who in your turn have come together to spend and be spent in the endless crusade against wrong, to you who gird yourselves for this great fight in the never-ending warfare for the good of mankind, I say in closing, “We stand at Armageddon and we battle for the Lord.”

2.     Leaving a good legacy is tough: it’s not easy

a.     Matthew 15:1-20 is the parable of the unclean heart.

Jesus had a run in with some Pharisees and teachers of the law.  This story is basically about the “TRADITION” of washing your hands before you eat.  The Pharisees and those teachers wanted to know why Jesus’ disciples did not wash their hands before they ate.  In the end Jesus explained it is not what goes into the mouth but what comes out.  Verses 15 & 16 are very interesting to me.  I discovered that Jesus got upset with his disciples.  Jesus had just got done with speaking the parable and then this happened. 

15Peter said “Explain the parable to us.”

16“Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them.

I just wonder how mad Jesus really was.  I mean think about it.  For Jesus to ask his disciples are you still so dull, suggests to me he was honked; therefore, it lets us know that this is not easy and it can be frustrating.  Even though it is frustrating we must press on to towards leaving a Godly legacy.

You may be wondering “how is this possible?”

3.     By setting the example and through encouragement, this can be done.

Titus 2:6-8 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

Personally, I was given a Godly mentor at the age of 13 or 14.  His name was John Cleveland.  Each week he would pick me up, take me to dinner and we would study God’s Word.  I believe if God had not placed John in my life, I would not have actively sought after God.  I remember how hungry for God I was at that age.  I needed something or in the case, someone to teach me and guide me through the inspired Word of God. 

I want to show you an illustration.  It is called “The Lost Generation.”

Ø Grandma Burns, Rick, Heather, and then Sophie.

I am here today to say that we as a church CAN NOT just sit back and say “Well, someone else can teach them, or it’s too uncomfortable, or I just don’t want to.”  Hog wash.  It is our responsibility to teach, train, and mentor the up and coming generations.  If we do what God requires, the end result is a legacy worth leaving.

My question to you today is “What kind of legacy will you leave?”  Are you going leave a legacy of money, greed, immorality, hatred, and selfishness?  Or, are you going to not leave a legacy at all? 

When I am dead and gone, I want people to see that I left a legacy that contained encouragement, love, respect, and that taught people to have an intimate relationship with the Father.  I am doing what it takes to see that my legacy is being fulfilled.  I want to see young people be filled with the Holy Spirit and operate through the Holy Spirit.  I want to see God move through people like never before.  I want to see a mighty revival sweep across the land.

Will you please stand with me?

Two fold prayer: 1) God will mend the broken relationships 2) Godly Leaders

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