Summary: Study the life of Able and discover principles for building a Godly legacy.
Introduction: Last week we began a series entitled “Stretching our Faith.” All of us need help in stretching and strengthening our faith. I read about a little boy who was riding a bus home from Sunday school. He was very proud of a card he had received, which had a picture and a caption that read: “Have Faith in God.” Then to his dismay the card slipped from his hand and fluttered out the window. “Stop the bus!” he cried. “I’ve lost my ‘faith in God!’” The driver pulled the bus to a stop, and as the lad climbed out and went to retrieve his card, one of the adult riders smiled and made a comment about the innocence of youth. A more perceptive adult observed, “All of us would be better off if we were that concerned about our faith." (Contributed to Sermon Central by John Beehler)
I hope you are concerned about your faith.
Last Sunday we began looking at Hebrews 11. We looked at Hebrews 11:1-3. Today I want you to look with me at verse 4. The man described in this verse is Abel. Abel was one of the heroes of faith. His example should stretch our faith. In what way can Abel stretch our faith? Abel stretches my faith because he causes me to think about my legacy. The last part of verse 4 says “He being dead still speaks.” That is an important topic. Everyone, from time to time, thinks about their life legacy.
I remember something that occurred when Bill Clinton was president. President Clinton had signed a bill protecting thousands of acres of land for national parks. I was listening to a television report about his actions. One reporter commented on the fact that President Clinton was in the last days of his presidency. He said “President Clinton is concerned about his legacy.” That was true for President Clinton. However, it should also be true for us. What will be our legacy?
Adults, what will be your legacy in the work place?
Young people, what will be your legacy at school?
Parents, what will be your legacy at home?
What can we learn from Abel? Look at the verse. “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.”
I. In building a legacy focus your life on what is eternally important! The bottom line in studying Abel’s life is found in the last phrase of verse 4, “he being dead still speaks.” Abel left behind a legacy. We need to be reminded of what is important.
Illustration: A young university graduate crossed a large river on a barge. An elderly, worn, gentleman was driving the barge. The university student asked the old man three questions: 1) “Do you know anything about physics?” “Nope”, replied the old man.
“Then 1/3 of your life has been wasted!” 2) “Do you know anything about philosophy?”
“Nope”, replied the old man. “Then another 1/3 of your life has been wasted!” 3) “Do you know anything about social sciences?” “Nope”, replied the old man. “Then another 1/3 of your life has been wasted!” Suddenly, the barge hit a large object, took on water rapidly, and overturned. Both men were thrown into the water. The old man cried out to the young student, “Do you know anything about swimming?” The young man replied “No.” “Then your whole life is wasted!” replied the old man. We may have a tremendous amount of knowledge, but without a knowledge of Jesus Christ, we are nothing .
(Contributed to Sermon Central by Martin Scarce)
There is an old gospel song that states “only what’s done for Christ will last.” That should be our vision.
A man by the name of Stephen Covey has written a book entitled “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. One of the principles in that book states, “Plan your life from the end backward”. In other words, if you want your life to end a certain way, start at the end and plan backwards.
My dad died a few weeks ago. We are in the process of clearing up his estate. We gave away his clothes. My mother is selling a lot of his equipment. This has caused me to do a lot of thinking. I have realized, more than ever, that the things we do for God and for other people are the important things.
II. In building a legacy move beyond the past! Think about Abel. What do you think he would have said if you asked him to identify the greatest barrier in living a Godly life. Keep in mind, he was the second son of Adam and Eve. He might have said, “My daddy and momma had a sin problem. They got kicked out of paradise.” He could have blamed his parents. He could have said “I would live for God but my daddy and momma did not set a good example.”