Saturday, October 15, 2011

What Do You Want On Your Marker? 

I remember watching the funerals in Washington D.C. & in California of former President Reagan in June of 2004. I was reminded of legacy: Crowds, well-wishers, mourners, world leaders, celebrities, children, grandchildren, etc.

How many of you have grandchildren?
What memories do you have of your grandparents while growing up?
What will your grandchildren think of in fifty years when they think of you?
If your family could write the one thing they remember most about you on your marker, what would it say?
Some peoples might say, “He made a lot of money” Or maybe, “She knew how to have a good time,” Or someone else’s, “He had the best-kept yard in the neighborhood.” What will yours say? For what will you be remembered?
Grave marker inscriptions can be quite insightful and leave us wanting more information at times:

1. “Here lies Anne Mann. Who lived an old maid, but died an old Mann.”
2. “Beneath this sod, a lump of clay lays Arabella Young; who on the 21st of May began to hold her tongue.”
3. “The children of Israel wanted bread, the Lord sent them Manna. Old Clark Wallace wanted a wife, the devil sent him Anna.”
4. Here lies Johnny Yeast- ‘Forgive me for not rising.’
5. “Here lies Butch, we planted him raw. He was quick on the trigger but slow on the draw.”
6. “Under the sod and under the trees, lies the body of Jonathan Peas. He’s not there, there’s only the pod. Peas shelled out and went to God.”

These are all rather humorous but when we think about it seriously, what will your tombstone say? Let's look at a man who might have had the greatest inscription of them all. Who am I talking about? Turn in your Bibles to:

Gen. 5:21-24
21Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. 22After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. 23So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

Enoch didn’t die, but if he had, his inscription would have been: He walked with God then he was no more. That is a legacy! When his children and grandchildren thought of him they remembered him as someone who walked with God! How did he do this? How did he obtain such a legacy? We are given two clues. The first one is found in
Heb. 11:5-6
 5By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God6But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

He Pleased God

He was commended as one who pleased God. You may be thinking, “Well, but I please God!” How? I have found at least two ways people are TRYING to do this:

1. Chores
This is probably the most common form of trying to please Him. People think, “If I can just do a little bit more, if I can give a little more God will be pleased with me.” What does God say pleases Him?
Read 1 Jn. 3:21-24. 21Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. 22And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
24Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
Do you see it? It is not about chores! He gives us two ingredients: Belief & Love. Chores are the fruit growing from the rich soil of a loving heart. If you first love your neighbor, you will then want to demonstrate that love by helping him/her get to a heaven you really believe is there.

2. Church
Some of you are thinking, “Okay, I can see the chores thing but I think you might be going to far with this one. I mean God wants us to come to “church”, Right?” Let me explain. First read Mt. 15:8-9.
 8    ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
    And honor Me with their lips,
    But their heart is far from Me.
9    And in vain they worship Me,
    Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
 What is going on here? Some Pharisees are talking to Jesus about the ceremonial hand washing and the fact that His disciples are not doing it. Jesus then turns and starts telling them about their vain worship and traditions. He says, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain…” Worship Him in vain? How do you do that? Listen. How many times have we been in “church” (one of my least favorite words) and you are standing and mouthing the words to the song while you wonder where everyone is going for lunch today? Why don’t you just sit down? I mean what is the difference? Do you think God appreciates the fact that, “Well, I’m so glad he is standing up at least. At least he has enough reverence to do that.” What? God doesn’t ask us to stand up for him! In fact in most cases you see people taking a knee or falling flat on their faces! God wants us to WORSHIP Him! Some folks think everything in life is worship. Hogwash! A good part of what a person does everyday is done without giving God a nod at all. God wants us to consciously & conspicuously love Him with all of our hearts and all of our minds and all of our strength! Nothing less will do! How do we do this? Practically, I think it starts with finding out who He is. When you see God like Isaiah saw Him, filling the temple with the train of His robe, in all His majestic glory you will have no choice but to worship Him. Read your Bible. Spend time in prayer. Write down what God does and watch for His handiwork in your life. Then you will see the reasons to praise Him.

Enoch knew these things and therefore pleased God. What else did he do to gain this “walking with God legacy”?

He Presented God's Word

Okay, first I want you to notice that his legacy was built on his faith in God and then by what he did through his deeds, worship, and religion. But notice it was also built on what he said.
Jude: 14f Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

What is this? He presented Gods word to people of his day. Some of you might be thinking, “But I can’t do that. I’m to shy.” That’s not what I’m talking about! How many of you said you have grandchildren? How many of you work with someone who doesn’t know Jesus? How many of you have a friend who is lost? Teach them right from wrong! Tell them what Gods word is!

Challenge Yourself

I want you to apply this word to your heart. Don’t let this be just another sermon. Let it be the word of God spoken to you and let it change you. Live it so that when you are gone, your grandchildren will say, “He sure did walk with God. “I don’t remember much about her, but she sure did love Jesus.” That’s the legacy you want! What if you don’t have grandchildren? What about your children and friends? What about those at the church and in our community? What will they say about you when you are gone? What are some things you can do now to ensure a “walking with God legacy” in the hearts of those around you? Invest in people. It will make all the difference here and in heaven.
I know I’m speaking to a group of people who should all know Jesus, but anytime I am given the chance to preach I am going to do this: If you don’t know Jesus, your legacy will be something else. In all of eternity nothing else will ever matter. It will not matter how big your boat is, how fast you car goes, or how many rooms your house has. No one will care what position you held or what church you went to. There will only be one thing on everyone’s mind concerning you: What did you do with Jesus?

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