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Summary: A lesson honoring the aged.

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Title: Growing Old Gracefully

Text: (Leviticus 19:32) "Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD."

Introduction: Honor is a precious thing. It is something that, in our deepest thoughts, we all desire and would like to have.

--(1 Timothy 5:17) "The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching."

--(Proverbs 29:23) "A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor."

--Paul said in (Romans 12:10) "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves."

**Tonight we are here first to worship our God. That’s what worship is.

--However, tonight we especially emphasize the honor and respect we have for our elders.

--Not the “office” but those of you who serve this church who are older.

--To those of you who have left us with a legacy (a heritage) of faith.

1. Hebrews 12 is a special passage to me.

A. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jepthah, David, Samuel, the Prophets.

--Why mention all of these old names? Why talk about them?

--They brought to the Jews what many of our “elderly” both here today and gone forever, give to us, a heritage of faith.

READ passage (Hebrews 11:33-40) "...Who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, {34} quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. {35} Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. {36} Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. {37} They were stoned ; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated-- {38} the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. {39} These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. {40} God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect."

2. They did Great things for God!!

--”...Conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, {34} quenched the fury of the flames and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.....”

3. They lived through persecution!!

-- {35} “... Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. {36} Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. {37} They were stoned ; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated--

**Now brethren, that was persecution!!

--They were faithful witnesses for God even after they were long since dead!

--Because of the way they lived.

--Because they had FAITH!!

4. The lived in some of the most harsh conditions!!

--”...They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.”

5. The Greatest Compliment!!

--{38} “...The world was not worthy of them...they were commended for their faith.”

6. How I long to be like that when I am gone.

--Remembered by my faith!!

7. We honor you tonight who have left and continue to leave us with a heritage of faith. I leave you with three admonitions

A. Live your days for Jesus. No one can “retire” from the Lord’s work.

--You tell someone about Jesus.

--You guide the young generation in the way they should go.

B. Give us a break.

--We, as younger people, do make mistakes. Duh?!!

--Help us through them.

C. Be joyous. You are closer to heaven. (Lord willing) than I am. That is a blessing.

--I will never forget my grandmother going up to open heart surgery.

--”I am ready to die if that is what the Lord sees fit for me.”

--What a faith!! What a heritage to follow.

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