Summary: Legacies are rare and special gifts, from one person to another, from one generation to the next. As Christians we should seek to leave a lasting legacy of godliness for those who come behind us.
LEAVING A LASTING LEGACY
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.
INTRODUCTION: A legacy is defined as (1) money or property bequeathed to another by will or (2) something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past. Legacies are rare and special gifts, from one person to another, from one generation to the next. As Christians we should seek to leave a lasting legacy of godliness for those who come behind us.
Three conditions for leaving a lasting legacy are:
I. Maintaining Godly Character and Conduct
A. Proverbs 22:1 A good name (literally "character") is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
B. In our day we live in an age of moral vacuum. It seems like character doesn’t count. To put it candidly, you can sleep around and still be a good brain surgeon. You can cheat on your mate and have little trouble continuing to practice law. Apparently, it is no problem to stay in politics and plagiarize. You can be a successful salesperson and cheat on your income tax. Seeing this we have allowed this attitude to permeate throughout Christianity. The perception is that you can do these things and still be a good Christian. But the reality is you cannot do those things as a Christian and continue enjoying the Lord’s blessing. – (adapted from C. Swindoll)
C. 2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue (moral excellence or character)…
D. 1 Peter 1:15-16 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (conduct); Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
E. We put a great amount of value on reputation but there is a vast difference between Character and Reputation.
• Reputation is what you are supposed to be; Character is what you are.
• Reputation is what you have when you come to a new community; Character is what you have when you go away.
• Reputation is made in a moment; Character is built in a lifetime.
• Reputation grows like a mushroom; Character grows like an oak.
• Your reputation is learned in an hour; Your character is does not come to light for a year.
• A single newspaper report gives your reputation; a life of toil gives you your character.
• Reputation makes you rich or makes you poor; Character makes you happy or makes you miserable.
• Reputation is what men say about you on your tombstone; Character is what angels say about you before the throne of God.
• Your reputation is what men think you are. Your character is what God knows you to be. (copied - William Hershey Davis)
F. Your Character will impact generations to come.
1. One man, Max Jukes, did not believe in religion and married a girl of the same opinion. From this union came 1,026 descendants. Studies showed that 300 died prematurely; 100 were sent to the penitentiary; 190 sold themselves to vice; 100 were drunkards,; and the family cost the state of New York $1,100,00.00!
2. Another man, Jonathan Edwards, believed in God and in his Christian training and married a girl of like character. From that union 729 descendants were studied and they discovered that 300 were preachers, 65 were college professors, 13 were university presidents; 6 authors; 3 U.S. Congressmen and 1 was vice president of the United States
G. A good father will leave his imprint on his daughter for the rest of her life. - James C. Dobson (1936- )
H. 2 Chronicles 17:3-6 And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel. Therefore the LORD established the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honor in abundance. And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.
II. Holding Godly Convictions
A. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And you shall teach them diligently unto thy children, and shall talk of them when you sit in thine house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.
B. A new study by Christian researcher George Barna shows that barely half of the nation’s senior pastors hold to a biblical worldview. The poll of 601 randomly selected senior pastors, representing some 50 denominations and conducted in November and December, showed that only 51 percent of the nation’s pastors held to a biblical worldview. Southern Baptists had the highest percentage (71 percent), while United Methodist pastors had the lowest (27 percent). In fact, only 28 percent of pastors from mainline denominations held to a biblical worldview. "Worldview" is a term used to describe the belief system by which a person understands or makes decisions about the world. For the Barna poll, the requirements for holding to a biblical worldview were minimal. Those holding to such a view had to embrace the accuracy of biblical teaching, the sinless nature of Jesus, the literal existence of Satan, the omnipotence and omniscience of God, salvation by grace alone and the personal responsibility to evangelize. In December, Barna released another poll showing that only 9 percent of people categorized as "born-again" held to a biblical worldview. (WWW.BPNEWS.NET, January 15, 2004 Copyright (c) 2001 - 2004 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press)