You know, one of the hardest lessons to learn is patience; especially when it comes to savings. At this point in my son’s life, he loves building Lego structures. Recently for Christmas, his grandparents bought him a large firehouse Lego set. In the box were advertisements for other Lego products, and one of those advertisements had a volcano set. He decided that it was what he wanted.
So we found it online and told him, it cost about $155. Then we told him that if he did his chores, saved his money, and then waited until after his birthday, and added any money he got then to his total, that he would most likely be able to buy the set himself. So far, he has earned about $4. It’s been about 4 weeks since he made it known he wanted to buy the set; so at this rate, he’ll be done, in about 2 years. Then this past week, he broke something that wasn’t his, and had to pay for it with the money he has saved, and extra chores. If he doesn’t get some much needed help from his grandparents, I foresee a bleak future for him, where there is no volcano Lego set.
Why? Because he likes to spend money. Every time we go anywhere and he has money in his pocket, it’s time to spend it. Candy, $1 toys, whatever it is, if it’s shinning and new, his attention is drawn away from what he intends to buy, and zeros in on what he can get at that moment. And when he doesn’t have money, he begs and bargains his sisters for their money. Like he did yesterday at the QIA POW WOW.
I can’t really fault him for it. There have been many times in my life where I’ve succumbed to the same thing. Why wait for what I could get, even though it might be wonderful, when I can get something now for a temporary indulgence?
At that’s where we come to our second week in our Legacy series, a place where our legacy can either be short sighted, or eternally focused.
So if you have your Bibles, we’re going to be in the book of Hebrews chapter 11, starting in verse 8.
And as we get into Hebrews 11:8. Let’s catch ourselves up to speed at where we’re at from last week.
Last week we started talking about the Legacy we are leaving behind. We talked about how we tend to think about our legacy when we see the end of our lives approaching. We saw this in the life of Paul. The two letters he wrote to his protege Timothy, were very different in their focus. The first letter was focused on the here and now of running a church. With all of it’s need to have good leaders, strong stances on teaching, and how to keep going in adversity.
Paul’s second letter on the other hand, was one that focused on eternal things. The relationship we have with God, and how to strengthen it. Paul’s charge to Timothy to continue was to run the race well, just Paul had done.
And so, these two letters showed us how biblical legacy is focused on things that are of eternal worth, rather than on temporal wealth.
As we ended last week, we also said, that we were going to go more in-depth about what are some key components of eternal worth legacy.
We’re going to begin here in Hebrews 11:8, where we pick up in the text, another well known chapter of the Bible. This chapter is usually referred to as the faith Hall of Fame. The whole history of the Israelite people is summed up in 40 verses. Covering people like Abel a son of Adam, to Noah the Ark builder, to the prophets that finish off the Old Testament writings.
And it’s in between all of this that we find our first component of eternal worth legacy.
Let’s begin reading…
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Here is our first component of eternal worth legacy, visible trust in the promise of God that will pass onto the next generation..
Abraham was a man in the land of Ur, he followed his father to the land of Haran. There God called Abraham to the land of Canaan. God told Abraham that he would make him into a great nation. God told him that he would make his name great. God told him that all peoples on earth would be blessed through him (Genesis 12:2-3).
But all that Abraham had at the end of his life, was a son of the promise, a daughter in-law, some servants, some cattle, some respect of the people around him, and one gravesite. A great nation this was not. At the end of Abraham’s life, the promise of God had not been fulfilled.
Yet, through it all, Abraham trusted in the promise of God. That God would make him a great nation. And, that promise was fulfilled through Joshua, as he came into the land of Canaan and conquered it. That promise was fulfilled in Solomon, who governed over a united Israel. And that promise was fulfilled through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, who because of him, we gather together.
We are a result of the promise that God gave to Abraham. And the Hebrew writer knows it. And brings out the fact that each one was still looking for the next part of the promise to be fulfilled.
“13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.”
God’s promise was not fulfilled in Abraham’s lifetime, but he trusted, and his trust was carried on by his son, and then by his son, and it continued, until the first cries of Jesus. And as Jesus was presented in the temple, a man named Simeon took the baby in his hands and said, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel (Luke 2:29-32).”
Abraham, though he never saw this moment, trusted God until his dying breath.
The story of this denomination is a simple one. The founder of it, was a man named A.B. Simpson. He was a very good preacher and pastor. He was from Canada, but due to health concerns he was instructed to move to a different climate. He eventually moved to Louisville, Kentucky and then to New York city. In New York, Simpson took the position of pastor at the Thirteenth Street Presbyterian Church. It was an upper middle-class church with some very influential people, making, at the time, $5,000 a year. That’s a salary of $120,000 by today’s standards. Simpson was at the top of his field, and in a wealthy church.
As he pastored the church, he would go down to the docks and preach to the Irish and immigrants coming off the boats. He eventually wanted them to be brought into the church. But that wasn’t okay with the current congregation. Without fanfare, Simpson left his very well off pastorate, and with the help of several other ministers, started the Gospel Tabernacle. A place that reached out to the poor of the city.
As Simpson pastored this new church, God turned his heart towards the unreached people’s around the world. A new calling was put on his life, get the Gospel out to those people. Simpson called on his poor church congregation to train and send out missionaries to these unreached people. What little they had, a watch here, a wedding ring there, was put into the ministry, and eventually the first set of missionaries were trained and sent out.
These missionaries were sent out with all their worldly belongings in a 6ft by 2ft wooden box. That they understood would double as their coffin, because once out there, they were almost guaranteed to not coming back.
From these beginnings, the Christian and Missionary Alliance began. Churches were raised here at home, to send missionaries to unreached people groups. And though, even today, the Alliance is not the biggest, it is one of the leaders in missions. Establishing churches in countries, building up the national people to run them, and then moving on to the next unreached people. Matthew 24:14 says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
This verse has given the Alliance the mantra of “Bring Back the King!” Meaning, let us preached the Gospel to all nations, so that we may see the return of Jesus our King.
A.B. Simpson died in 1919. The world was still dealing with the aftermath of the first world war. He had sent many a young missionary to far off places, who never returned. Today the Alliance is in over 60 countries. We have 22 other countries where the national churches are strong enough to send out their own missionaries. In 2017, over 26,000 people came to Christ through the work fo the Alliance.
I share this with you, not to make the Alliance look good, there are a lot of denominations that do great work. I share this with you, because it doesn’t matter if your a shepherd being called by God to be the father of a great nation, or a pastor called to send out missionaries, or someone who lives their life, day by day; what matters is that we trust the call of God, even though that call may not be completed in our life time.
This is the first component to eternal worth legacy, visible trust in the promise of God that will pass onto the next generation. The question we need to ask ourselves is, am I living the promise of God out so strongly in my life, that I am passing on that trust to the next generation? Abraham trusted so much that he was willing to sacrifice God’s promised son Issac. Simpson trusted so much that he left $120,000 job. Because of Abraham’s trust, God fulfilled his promise by bringing Jesus into the world. And when Jesus returns, God will have fulfilled his promise again when he said that the, “gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
The question that we must ask ourselves, isn’t, “Do I trust in Jesus?” The question should be, “Is my trust in Jesus so life altering and clear, that it will pass on to the next generation?”
Abraham to Isaac. Isaac to Jacob. Jacob to Moses. Moses to David. David to Jesus. Simpson to Jeremiah. Jeremiah to whom?
Who will follow our trust in Jesus?
The eleventh chapter of Hebrews ends with these words, “35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
“39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”
Are we willing to live these types of lives, to leave the legacy that says, I trust God above all else?
All the wealth of the ages has and will past, but trust in God stands the test of time. It is passed from generation to generation by men and women who are brave enough to pass it. The question is, are we those type are men and women?
My challenge to you this week is to ask someone that you would like to leave a legacy with, has your trust in God shown to them? And if so, are they following in that trust?
I pray that God will be seen in our lives this week, that he would be glorified, and that others would trust him, through our lives. Amen.