Proverbs 13:22-“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.”A legacy is defined as (1) money or property bequeathed to another by will or (2) something handed down for an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past. Legacies are rare and special gifts, from one person to another, from one generation to the next. As Christians we should seek to leave a lasting legacy of godliness for those who come behind us.
Three conditions for leaving a lasting legacy are:1. We must maintain 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.
In our day we live in an age of moral vacuum. It seems like character doesn’t count. To put it candidly, you can cheat on your spouse and still be a good surgeon. Apparently, it is no problem to stay in politics and plagiarize. You can be a successful salesperson and cheat on your income tax. Seeing this we have allowed this attitude to permeate throughout Christianity. The perception is that you can do these things and still be a good Christian. But the reality is you cannot do those things as a Christian and continue enjoying the Lord’s blessing.
We put a great amount of value on reputation but there is a vast difference between Character and Reputation. I found a wonderful example by William Hershey Davis and I want to share a few of them with you.
*Reputation is what you are supposed to be; Character is what you are.
*Reputation is what you have when you come to a new community; Character is what you have when you go away.
*Reputation is made in a moment; Character is built in a lifetime.
*Reputation grows like a mushroom; Character grows like a mighty oak.
*Reputation is what men say about you on your tombstone; Character is what angels say about you before the throne of God.
*Your reputation is what men think you are. Your character is what God knows you to be.
*Your character will impact generations to come.
Our second condition is:
II. We must Hold Godly Convictions-
Deuteronomy 6:6-7-“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And you shall teach them diligently unto thy children, and shall talk of them when you sit in thine house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
2Timothy 1:5 – “When I call to remembrance(take recollection) the unfeigned faith tha is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and they mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”
There is a difference between Conviction and Preference = according to the U.S. Supreme Court, a preference is a very strong belief, held with great strength. You can give your entire life in a full-time way to the service of the of the preference, and you can give your entire material wealth in the name of the belief. You can also want to teach this belief to your children, and the Supreme Court may still rule that it is a preference. A preference is a strong belief, but a belief that you will change under the right circumstances such as: 1) peer pressure; 2) family pressure; 3) lawsuits; 4) jail; 5) threat of death; would you die for your beliefs? A conviction is a belief that you will not change. Why? A man believes that his God requires it of him. Preferences aren’t protected by the constitution. Convictions are. A conviction is not something that you discover it is something that you purpose in your heart. Convictions on the inside will always show up on the outside, in a person’s lifestyle.
2 Timothy 1:12-14 – “I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Hold fast the form of sound words, which you hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto you keep by the Hold Ghost which dwells in us.
Daddy had a little boy; his soul was white as show. He never went to Sunday School cause daddy wouldn’t go. He never heard the Word of God that thrills the childish mind, while other children went to class, this child was left behind. As he grew from babe to youth, dad saw to his dismay, a soul that once was snowy white, became a dingy grey. Realizing that his son was lost, dad tried to win him back. But now the soul that once was white had turned an ugly black. Dad even started back to church, and Bible study to; He begged the preacher, “Isn’t there a thing you can do?” The preacher tried, failed, and said “We’re just too far behind; I tried to tell you years ago, but you paid me no mind.” And so another soul was lost, that once was white as snow; Sunday School would have helped, but daddy wouldn’t go. (from Pulpit Helps)
The third and final condition is
III. We are called to demonstrate Godly Compassion
Colossians 3:21 – “Father’s, do not provoke your children, lest they be discouraged.”
Ephesians 6:4 – “And fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
We need parents that demonstrate love. I am going to take it a step farther….we need church members to mentor and demonstrate love.
Titus 2:4 – “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children.”
As I close today I want you to think about Godly people in your lives who made a difference….who made an impact….who helped you become who you are today. Then….I want you to put on the characteristics of that person….and strive to maintain Godly character and conduct, hold Godly convictions, and demonstrate Godly compassion and leave a lasting legacy for those who are here now and are yet to come.