Summary: What kind of a gift are you leaving for your children and for those who are around you. What kind of words will speak from beyond the grave when you are no longer able to speak.
I want to talk to you today about my father. I dedicate this message and the remainder of this service to the “Bishop”.
Dad, I probably haven’t told you enough times and made you aware enough how much I love you and how much I appreciate the things you have added to my life. So Dad – I love you.
The writer of Hebrews in our scripture text said that by faith Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain did. Because of that sacrifice he obtained a name or a witness that he was righteous. It says that God himself testified of Abel’s gifts. Then verse 4 of Hebrews 11 ends with a curious phrase. It says that Abel, although he was dead, still spoke.
Now I don’t know about you but the last time I checked dead people couldn’t talk. In fact, in preparation for this message, I walked through a cemetery and didn’t hear a thing coming from the graves. I didn’t see anyone coming up from the grave to order a pepperoni pizza or to carry on a conversation.
So the scripture must be referring to something else. What the scripture is talking about is influence. And what the scripture is talking about is example.
The scripture says that Abel lived such a pleasing life for God that even though he is dead he is still speaking today from the grave. His influence and his example was so powerful that even death could not limit or stop it.
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
7 In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
So moms and dads how you and I live our lives and how we conduct ourselves may or may not leave an example and influence for our children to follow.
The Bible says that it is appointed unto every man once to die and after that the judgement. We will all take the graveyard route, one day, if the Lord tarries in his return. After that, only what we have done in this present life will make a difference and carry on. There is a possibility that though being dead we could still speak from the grave.
This is a powerful concept and one that we must master while we still have time in this life.
If my father passes from this life to the next before the rapture of the church I don’t think it will embarrass him for me to tell you that he doesn’t have a great estate to leave his children. He won’t be able to leave me a large sum of money for me to invest and live from for the rest of my life. There are no pieces of property that have been in the family that will one day be mine for me to manage and maintain. But what he will leave me will last long after the money is gone and long after buildings and houses have been torn down. What he will leave me is influence and example. He will leave me with words that will speak to me beyond the grave and beyond death.
My dad began leaving me a gift the day I was born. I was born on my father’s birthday, December 28th. I was brought into this world to a Christian home. I arrived into a family that loved Jesus and loved going to church and loved one another. That very day my father began to wrap a gift for me that will last beyond death and will still speak to me beyond the grave.
One of the first things that he put into that gift was that he was a man of faith.
When my father was voted in as Pastor of this church we traveled every service from Manchester where we lived at the time. He began to look for a house that would be suitable for our needs and still be in our budget. He told the real estate lady what we needed and how much we could pay. The lady laughed at him and told him it would be impossible. He told her to go ahead and check anyway. Why??? Because he was a man of faith. He could have given up and thrown the towel in but he knew that God could meet any need. He knew that he was called to preach the gospel in the city of Waterbury.
The lady called back and said that surprisingly, she had found something for us. That was the house that I grew up in. That was the house we used for a church for a while. Bro. & Sis. Pietrorazio do you remember the great services we had in the basement of that old house.