Summary: Our faith should not be for our generation alone, but, like those in the hall of faith, we must have something strong we can pass along.
Passing On Your Faith
Griffith Baptist Church – 12/07/08
Text: Hebrews 11:20-21
Key verse: Romans 1:17 - For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith.
Premise: Our faith should not be for our generation alone, but, like those in the hall of faith, we must have something strong we can pass along.
The Smith’s were proud of their family tradition. Their ancestors had come to America on the Mayflower. Their line had included Senators, Pastors, & Wall Street wizards. Now they decided to compile a family history, a legacy for the children. They hired a well known author. Only one problem arose: how to handle that great-uncle George who was executed in the electric chair. But the author said not to worry, he could handle that section of history tactfully. When the book appeared, the family turned to the section on Uncle George. There, they read "George Smith occupied a chair of applied electronics at an important government institution, was attached to his position by the strongest of ties, & his death came as a real shock."
We have been talking about faith but have talked little about the legacy of faith.
What are you leaving as a legacy to those you leave behind?
What will they carry on spiritually after you and I have left this earth?
Several years ago, I read about James Lewis Pettigru. His life was so exemplary that after his death the community erected a tombstone inscribed with these words: UNAWED BY OPINION, UNSEDUCED BY FLATTERY, UNDISMAYED BY DISASTER, HE CONFRONTED LIFE WITH COURAGE, AND DEATH WITH CHRISTIAN HOPE. Our Daily Bread, May 29, 1995
In order to pass along a sound faith, we need to build our faith on three principles:
1. Personalize My Faith
A. I Must Have a Strong Faith Myself
B. It is Christ-focused - Hebrews 12:2 – Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
C. It is developing
D. It is sacrificial - Galatians 2:20 – I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
2. Practice My Faith
A. To give yourself the best possible chance of playing to your potential, you must prepare for every eventuality. That means practice. Now I know that very often you “just don’t have the time.” In spite of that, if you really want to improve, you will have to make the decision, and then the commitment. There are no shortcuts. You must lay the proper foundation. Seve Ballesteros, Spanish golfer, quoted in Bits & Pieces, January 5, 1995, pp. 10-11
B. I Must Let Others See My Faith While I Am Alive
i. It is not wrong to look to others to encourage us in our faith
a. We should always follow the example of Christ first
b. God puts people in our path that are faithful, the Word of God being the criteria of behavior and faith.
c. The word “followers” is often translated “imitators”.
d. Paul - 1 Corinthians 4:16 – Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
e. Paul - 1 Corinthians 11:1 – Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
f. Paul - 2 Thessalonians 3:7 – For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
g. Pastors - Hebrews 13:7 – Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
ii. It’s not a matter of pride but a matter of practice
iii. It is putting into motion that which you profess to believe
C. As I imitate others of faith I also want a faith worthy of imitation - Hebrews 6:12 – That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
i. In my service to God
ii. In my daily activities
iii. Before the world as a testimony
3. Prioritize My Faith
A. ALL TRULY SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE IN LIFE HAVE BEEN THOSE WHO PRIORITIZED. Furthermore, they had their priorities in order. A businessman, referring to a friend who was devoting most of his time and energy in pursuit of an insignificant matter, said, “He reminds me of a bulldog chasing a train: what’s he going to do with it if he catches it?”