Summary: The greatest thing we can leave our offspring is a godly legacy. This sermon speaks of 3 things necessary to leave godly legacy and features a powerful personal testimony by a young man impacted by the legacy of his godly grandfather.
June 16, 2013
NOTE: A PowerPoint presentation of this sermon is available upon request by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The basic skeleton is borrowed from Gerald Flurry’s sermon, “Leaving a Lasting Legacy” found on Sermoncetral.com; the meat on the skeleton is all my fault.
TEXT: Proverbs 13:22 – “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.”
What will you leave your children when you die? Our text deals with leaving an inheritance to our children, which is a good thing. But if all you leave your kids is a MATERIAL inheritance without leaving them a SPIRITUAL legacy, they will be impoverished, no matter how large the inheritance.
Illus. – One day in 1954, my older brother was electrocuted to death. This horrific tragedy led to a dark, dark time for my parents, but eventually was what drove them to seek the Lord in their lives.
I was just two years old when both my Mom and Dad put their faith in Jesus Christ. When Dad and Mom turned to the Lord, they never looked back.
I shared with you on Mother’s Day how my mother, who went to be with the Lord in 2003, was such a wonderful example for my siblings and me to follow. Dad was an equally wonderful mentor and guide. I saw in him a man who was totally committed to Christ; who was faithful in all things; who would not compromise on his beliefs; who had godly convictions; who loved his wife and his kids.
Dad has Alzheimer’s now and I don’t know how many more years he has on earth. When he passes away, he won’t leave my siblings and me much in the way of a material inheritance, but he will leave us something that money can’t buy—a godly legacy.
A legacy is defined as something passed down to the generations that follow us. Men, you should seek to leave a lasting legacy of godliness for those who follow you. How can you leave a godly legacy to your children? As I pondered that question, I thought of three things:
I. FIRST, LIVE A LIFE OF GODLY CHARACTER AND CONDUCT,
Proverbs 22:1 – “A good name (literally “character”) is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.”
We live in an age of moral decline, so it seems like character hardly counts anymore. You can cheat on your taxes, cheat on your spouse, smoke dope, cheat on your taxes, and hardly anyone cares anymore. Live and let live; let it all hang out; do your own thing.
Sadly, this general lack of character and proper behavior has crept into Christianity. The character and behavior of believers is often hardly distinguishable from that of people in the world today. That’s a blight on the testimony of our Lord.
Peter teaches us to have character in 2 Peter 1:5 – “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue (which means moral excellence or character)…”
In Ephesians 4:1, Paul says, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.”
Our character and conduct should be so exemplary that Paul says, “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”
Illus. – Men, your character and your conduct will impact generations to come, as is shown by a study done by A.E. Winship in 1900 of two men who lived and died in the 18th century.
• The first, Max Juke, was an athiest and married a girl of the same opinion. From this union came 1,026 descendants. A study of this man’s descendants 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, which was an astronomical figure in 1900!
• Another man, the great preacher Jonathan Edwards, believed in God and married a girl of like character. From that union 729 descendants were studied. 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.
One man left a tragedy; the other left a legacy!
Which will you leave when you die? Will you be like Max Juke, or will you be like David who left a legacy to his son, Jehoshaphat to follow, as we read about in 2 Chronicles 17:3-6a – “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 his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD…” Jehoshephat walked in the ways of God because of the path tread first by his dad.