Summary: Leaving behind what Jesus left behind
Living the Simple Legacy
Legacy: the word has almost become undesirable because we most often hear it used to describe something that politicians and especially get obsessed about. Most of us assume that there will never be a biography written about us so we don’t worry too much about our legacy.
What will your legacy be?
We have looked at what it means to live like Jesus lived and love like Jesus loved. We discovered that Jesus modeled God-following for His disciples and we discovered that He promised to empower them to live like He lived. We believe that living like He lived is a 24/7 event. We also learned that loving like Jesus loves is 360 degrees. Our love should be vertical and horizontal reaching up toward God and out to those around us. We learned that love is motivating and will cause us to be faithful, forgiving and free in sharing Christ love with others.
Today we are seeking to understand what Jesus left behind so that we might prioritize and position our lives to leave a legacy of faith and value to those we leave behind.
What did Jesus leave behind?
Philip Yancey writes in the book The Jesus I Never Knew these words: “On the day Jesus ascended, the disciples stood around dumbfounded, like children who have lost their parent. Two angels sent to calm them ask the obvious question, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky?” The sky was blank, empty. Still they stood and gazed, not knowing how to go on or what to do next.”
Yancey continues, “Jesus left no traces of himself on earth. He wrote no books or even pamphlets. A wanderer, he left no home or even belongings that could be enshrined in a museum. He did not marry, settle down, and begin a dynasty. We would in fact know nothing about Him except for the traces He left in human beings.”
Augustine wrote, “You ascended from before our eyes, and we turned back grieving, only to find you in our hearts.”
From the day Christ returned to heaven until now He has been searching for bodies in which to begin again the life He lived while on earth. The church serves as an extension of the Incarnation. Christ came to this world as flesh and blood and now we are to be that representation for Him on earth.
The writer of Romans surely had this in his mind when he wrote these now classic words:
1And so, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? 2Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is. Romans 12:1-2
God lives on this earth through the church. Jesus gave to a few, healing, grace, the good news message of God’s love and now the church can bring it to everyone. It’s the commission that He left for us to do.
Are you passionate about the mission Christ left for the church to do?
Actually, I need to say it another way, “Are you passionate about the mission Christ left for all Christ followers to do?”
Everyone of us who takes on Christ name should be a reflection of what He was when He was on this earth. Have you thought about that lately?
What was He when He was on this earth?
Do you and I honestly strive to be those things? Are we passionate about it?
“I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result or our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long in vain.” C.S. Lewis
I am going to be really honest about something here today. The church in America is failing miserably to be Jesus in a culture that desperately needs the message of Good News. Unfortunately, this problem has been in existence since the first disciples got around to being called Christians.
“The word “disciple” occurs 269 times in the New Testament. “Christian” is found three times and was first introduced to refer precisely to disciples of Jesus. . .”