Building Grace Beyond Ourselves Week 1: Legacy
Well, good morning to everybody and good morning, also, to those who watch via the mobile app and the internet. You know, every weekend I come in here — and I hope that you all realize this. And, if you don’t, I want to publicly say it. I come in here every weekend and I try to do my best to do what I feel like my particular role is in the church and the body of Christ and as a follower of Jesus. I feel like that, as a pastor and teacher, when I read Ephesians 4, my role is to equip saints so that they can work the ministry.
And so, it’s a big deal to me when I come in here to make sure that I give you something that you can take and chew on and think about and pray about and put it in your toolbox. And that you’re equipped to walk out of here and be all that God wants you to be. I also take a moment to realize that there’s going to be new visitors here and there’s going to be people that come in and they don’t know a whole lot about what we’re doing here, and maybe they don’t know what they believe exactly about the Lord or where they’re at. And we just want them, also, to know that they can pick up at their pace. Nobody’s going to push them. Nobody’s going to drag them. But what we do here is we really do want to help you all become all that God wants you to be.
So, every time I come in here on the weekend, I come in here thinking this is going to be the greatest weekend ever and we’re going to learn some really great stuff. And I try really hard to make sure that I put together something that challenges you, that makes you think. I hope every once in a while I irritate you a little bit, only so that you have to struggle with your relationship with God. Not necessarily because you have to see it my way, but that’s just part of coming to a local church and trying to grow in our relationship with God.
And, as you know — many of you know this — we’re in a building campaign. You know, we’ve really outgrown our facility here and we’re looking to buy a piece of property in Lakewood Ranch and build a building, and we just want God’s best. And so, if, for some reason, you’ve joined up here today or you’ve just come and you’re like, “Oh, this is a building campaign. Whatever,” let me tell you it’s a really good time to be here. Because this series that I’m getting ready to do, I feel, in all sincerity, I could make the case that the next four weeks, for our church, is probably the most important four weeks in the history of our church because we really need to know what God wants.
And, if you’re new, or you’re new to the church, let me tell you that this is going to be a good time to be here as well, because we’re going to talk a lot about who we are and things that we’re going to talk about will matter to you. I believe that with all of my heart. So, that being said, as I thought about us potentially moving to a new facility, I thought about all the times in my life that I’ve moved.
I don’t know if you all have moved a lot in your life, but I have moved a lot in my life. And when you’re a kid, if you move, you remember the meeting that your mom and dad would have? You know, it might be in the living room, it might be in the kitchen, it might be at a table where they go, “Hey, your mom and I have decided that we’re going to be moving, and you’re going to be moving with us.”
And they did their best sales job on why that was a better move. Did anybody get that speech when they were — okay, good. A few of you all did. But, it’s a lot different when you’re the parent. You’ve got to explain to the kids why you’re moving, you know? And, listen, not all the reasons that we move you have to sell. There’s good reasons to move. I mean, and who doesn’t want to move to Sarasota. Right? I mean, this is a great place to live. But, as I thought about that, I also thought about it’s great when I’ve got to — and I’ve been fortunate and blessed enough to go back and see some of the places where I grew up.
What I realized in going back and looking at those places is I didn’t miss the house. I didn’t miss the building. I didn’t miss the land. It wasn’t about the house or the land or the building. It was about the memories that were there, about the things that mattered. You know? I grew up on 111 Charlotte Drive in Cynthiana, Kentucky, which that’s an important fact for you all to know because that’s where God’s basketball team is located in Kentucky. They play 32 miles from Cynthiana.
But, I went back, and I remembered, man, I went down this slide. And that’s when I went down the slide and, for whatever reason, I went down head first. And I hit the hose, you know, and chipped my tooth. I remember that. I remember jumping off — we were building the house and we had this porch that you could jump off. It was about 10 feet, you know, and we’d jump off and try to roll. It wasn’t very smart and, you know, sprained ankles and all that stuff.
I also remembered when I was about probably eight years old, somebody gave me and my buddy a pack of cigarettes. And so, we decided we would go down under this bridge and smoke every one of them. And man, we got into it. I mean, I was so sick. I was throwing up. I got saved, sanctified and filled with the Marlboro man that day. I mean, I got it all. You know? And you look back at those times and you remember all the things. And we’ve all done that. You know? You get to go back and see where you grew up and different places that you’ve lived.
And those memories and those things that are significant, I’ve really been processing through that stuff a lot. Many of you all know this, but my mom — it’s a year in just a few days. It just was right at the end of last month that my mom passed away. And my mom was such an important part to our family, to our kids. I mean, she just was really, really, really an important figure. And when my mom passed away, it wasn’t long after she passed away, I started thinking about eternity more than I had ever thought about it. About the fact that I’m going to be 48 in May and I’m going, “Man, I’ve probably lived over half of my life, because, I mean, I smoked that whole pack of cigarettes. I’m sure that took...”
And so, I start thinking about things that, like, what’s important? You know? And I’m like a driven guy. And so, what for me was like, “What’s going to go on next week? What can we push? What can we do?” I started to back up for a minute and started saying, “Man, what is really important in life and what are the things that really matter?”
And when you do that, and you talk about things like that, you’re talking about legacy. And, you know, what type of legacy I’m going to leave or are we going to leave or is this church going to leave? When we talk about legacy, when you stop for a moment, you go, “Wow, you know what? That’s true. This is not all that there is.”
Sometimes just in the daily grind you sort of lose sight of, “What’s going to happen when I’m gone?”
You stop for a moment like this, and all of us have that moment of like, “Yeah, you know. There’s truth. What type of legacy? I’m going to leave a legacy. It may be good. It may be bad, but I’m going to leave a legacy.”
And when we think about legacy, we usually think of two things, I think, as a general rule. We think of what people remember about you when you’re gone. You know? Were you the guy that was really cool in the neighborhood that cooked hotdogs for everybody? Or were you a great dentist? Were you a great doctor? Were you a great mechanic? You could work really well with this? Or do people know you for being a preacher or for being a Christian?
But we all have something that people will remember us for, and it might not always be good. It could be a bad thing. But I think when we think of legacy, the first thing we think of is, man, what are people going to think about me when I am gone? Or we think of it as what would we leave to or for others after we’re gone? A lot of people, especially believers, they want to try to leave something to the next generation. They want to make sure that the next generation hears the Gospel.
Many people want to leave stuff to their children and make sure that their children have some stuff. And, you know, they try to plan for those things. I think all of that, when we think of a legacy, we think of that. And I don’t think that there’s anything intrinsically wrong here with any of these things. I think this is part of the process of thinking through this. But I would like to push back a little bit about that, because, as Christians, we don’t believe that everything that matters goes on here on the earth.
When you think about, “What are people going to think about me, and what am I going to leave to others?” there’s a very earthly thinking that goes on when we think that way. And I think Jesus teaches us to think a little bit differently. I think He teaches us to talk about legacy in terms of eternal things. And this is what He says in the Sermon on the Mount.
He says, “Don’t lay up for yourself treasures on the earth, where moths and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”
This is not like — if we build a building it’s going to be great, and maybe it goes on for a few generations. But that building’s not going to be there forever. It’s eventually not going to stand the test of time. But maybe the things that go on in that building, maybe the things that go on on that piece of property where people come to know Jesus, where marriages are restored, where things go on and people are baptized.
He says, “Don’t lay up things here on the earth. What you should do is lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moths nor rust destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
And so, what I’d like to do this weekend is a little bit different than what I normally do. You all know I normally take a passage of Scripture and work through that, and many of you all like coming here because you know I’m a professor as well, and so you like studying the Bible. So, I’m going to change that up a little bit today. I just want to teach. I just want to do a little teaching here that’s going to require you to take a little bit of notes and to think about some things. I’ve had both services, people have come out and said, “Man, that really made me think.”
And I’m hoping that it makes you think. I’m hoping that those who are watching via the internet and the mobile app, it will make you think as well. What I want to talk about this weekend is this: What are the characteristics of people that forward a godly or eternal legacy? What would it look like for us to be people? What are those characteristics of people that really carry forward an eternal legacy, something that stands the test of time, that stands the test of eternity?
And so, if you have some notepads or whatever, or you’ve got your phone, you’d like to put some notes in, you’ve got an iPad or an Android — I’m sure nobody has a Blackberry anymore. If you do, praise God. But, you know. You’re like, “Man. Blackberry? That was a long time ago.”
It’s back when I was smoking cigarettes in Cynthiana, Kentucky. But the deal is I’m really hoping that you’ll take these notes, because I think that everybody in here, no matter where you’re at in life, would go, “Yeah, you know what? If all things being equal, I would rather have a better legacy than a bad legacy.”
So, this applies to everybody. It applies to all of us. What are the characteristics of people that have an eternal legacy? Let’s write these down. Let’s talk about them. Let’s dialogue a little bit. I think this will help us out.
First of all, anybody who really carries forward an eternal legacy realizes that God has a race for them to run. You may not be like me, but this is the way I’ve been for, you know, a good portion of my life. I know where I’m going, and I know what I want to do, and I know what I want to accomplish. And God, if You could just come get on my track here and get with me, we could do a lot together because I know where I’m going, and I know what I want to do. Don’t impede me where I want to go.
I know probably none of you all ever think that way or pray that way. I guarantee you the 11:30 service does, but I know you all are Christians. Okay? But the reality is — and this is so important to understand — serving God is not about God getting on my race or getting on my timetable. And it’s so easy to want to make God do that, especially in America. We like that genie God that helps us do the things that we want to do.
The reality is this: God has a race, it’s His race, that He has for all of us. Every single one of us in here, whether you know you do or not, you have a race that God has for you. It has a starting line and it has a finish line. And it has what that race is all about. And every single person has a race to run. It’s not your race. It’s God’s race. It becomes your race as you enter into God’s race, but it’s God’s race for your life.
And if you don’t know that you’ve got a race to run for God, there’s no way in the world you’re going to leave an eternal legacy, because you’re going to be on the wrong race. Everybody who leaves an eternal legacy knows that God has a race for them to run. Paul, as he’s talking to Ephesians elders as he knows he’s going to be arrested when he goes to Jerusalem, and he knows he’s going to end up in Rome, and he knows that life is going to be required of him, here’s what he says to the Ephesians elders in Acts 20.
He says, “I don’t account my life of any value, nor as precious to myself.”
That doesn’t mean Paul doesn’t enjoy his life. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t think that God created him special and unique. What he’s saying is, “I’ve learned. When I was doing my life, I was a Pharisee. I was good at it. I knew the Scriptures really well. I was persecuting the church. I was doing my thing. I was living my life, doing my thing, and I was hoping that God was on my life.”
He says, “But when Jesus arrested my attention on the Damascus road, things changed. And I realized that it really wasn’t about me anymore. It was about serving Him.”
He goes, “I don’t account my life of value, nor as precious to myself; if only I may finish my course.”
“I have race to run and I want to make sure that I finish that race for God. And the ministry that I receive from the Lord Jesus to testify to the Gospel of the grace of God.”
He realized in his life what his life was about was a race that God had given to him, and people who genuinely are going to leave a godly legacy are going to realize that they have a race to run. The writer to the Hebrews says it this way.
He says, “Therefore, since we’re surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,” — and that’s all the saints that have died and departed. When you look back at all those great people. “Since we have such a great cloud of witnesses,” — “let us lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely. And let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
With endurance. Not like giving up, quitting in the middle of the road, but staying focused on the race; that God has a race for you and me. So, anybody who’s going to really carry a legacy into eternity. Not just leaving something here for the earth that people remember you about, but something that really stands the test of time and eternity, you’re going to have to realize, at some level, there is a race. And it’s not our race. It’s God’s race. It’s getting on the race that God has for you and me.
Now, if you know that you’re in a race, that’s great. But if you don’t understand what the race is about, there’s going to be a little bit of an issue. So, if I show up a Nathan Benderson Park and people are out running and jogging, and I just throw on a little bib and start running, that’ll never happen. If you see me running, it’s from my problems, folks. If you find me dead on a jogging trail, somebody drug me there. Not like my wife. She likes to run, but, you know, I’m like, “Man, I like Fritos. Can I...”
Amen? Are y’all like me? You start off every year and you go, “I’m going to lose 15 pounds,” I’ve only got 30 to go. So, anyway, you’re in a race. If I show up at Nathan Benderson Park and just start running, that race is not going to be as significant and meaningful as if I know that I’m running for kids that are deprived or restoring marriages or whatever when the race has purpose. Which is why the second thing people who really carry a godly legacy into the future, they realize they’re in a race, but they realize that their value and worth in that race comes from understanding its purpose. That’s a purpose for why we’re running that race.
See, everybody’s looking for value and significance. Everybody is. I mean, everybody’s looking for value and significance. There’s no question. I mean, there’s like 100,000 self-help books. You’d think if somebody wrote the self-help book that would cure all of our problems, we’d know what that book is. Nobody’s written that book. And we keep trying to look for different things. We’re grabbing at different things.
“If I could just get this. If I could just get that. If I could just have that, I’m going to be...”
No, no. The significance and value that all of us are looking for is to understand that God has a race for you and me and there is a purpose for that race. It’s finding that purpose that God uniquely designed you for. Nobody else can run your race the way you can run your race. And it’s understanding that that all of a sudden you start having value and significance.
See, it says for David, “After he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, he fell asleep.”
I’m going to challenge you a little bit here, but I’m going to ask you the question: In your life, are you really serving the purpose of God in your life? Or are you serving some things of God?
I worked for Land Rover for 18 years. I had a very successful job. I was a general manager. I had some ownership in the store. You know, I did well working with Land Rover and having that type of high-end brand, I got to travel a lot. I was on different boards for the franchise. We’d always stay at really, really, really nice hotels. I remember one time I walked into a hotel room. It was pretty awesome. I walked in and I had this lounge room with this huge TV and chairs and a table and then some other seating area. And then French doors that opened up into this bedroom, and then this bathroom.
And the bathroom had this huge mirror. I mean, it was huge. And, right in the middle of the mirror, it was like it was behind it, there was a TV. I was like, “Wow, that’s pretty cool.”
And it was on. They were impressing you when you walked in. You know? I’m like, “I need to meet Ritz and Carlton.”
You know what I’m talking about? And so, they got this TV in the mirror. And I’m not a TV watcher. I mean, the only time I watch TV, you should know why I’m watching TV. Yeah. To watch basketball. Y’all are learning. You all are getting equipped to do the work of the ministry.
But, anyway, I found the controller and I clicked it off. And I thought about that. I thought what if this would’ve been like National Championship night, and Kentucky was in the National Championship, and I had maybe spilt something on me and needed to clean up. So, I jump in the shower real quick. I’d have probably cut on that TV and watched the thing.
But, I can tell you this: While I’m getting ready, if it was like the last part of the game or it was getting close, I’d have gone out into the big room where the big TV was, because I’d want to be. Okay. I think, in our lives, a lot of times we’re in the bathroom, distracted, looking a little bit at the TV rather than really being focused on what we should be focused on. Are we really serving the purpose of God in our lives?
And I think that’s a question we have to ask. Because we have a race to run. Are we running that race and understanding the purpose, and are we focused? Because, let me give you an example of how value and worth comes from purpose. If you live in Florida, you know about sand. Can I get an amen on sand? Okay. If you don’t know about sand, come to my house. I’m serious. Come to my house and let me open up my wife’s Honda Odyssey minivan. Okay? When my kids go to the beach and they get sand in there, I can run it through the car wash 15 times and there’s still sand everywhere. It is, I mean, just everywhere. It’s on my shoe. It’s out there in the asphalt. I don’t know about you all, but I’m not the biggest beach guy because I have two colors: Really white and really red.
So, when I go to the beach and try to be the dad trying to do really good things, like, two or three weeks later, I’m in the shower and I’m finding sand under my armpit. I’m like, “How is this? It’s like three weeks ago we went there.”
You know? I wake up at night in like two weeks and I’m like — I don’t know about y’all, but that’s when you do this on the side of the bed. Right? But it’s like it’s just everywhere. And so, we know good, regular, old sand, it doesn’t have any value. It’s like, you know, you drop your bologna sandwich out there at the beach and you just kick the sand over the top of it, and then some poor schmuck comes a little bit later and steps in the bologna sandwich. That’s terrible, isn’t it? Anybody ever have a bologna sandwich? That was manna in Kentucky, having a bologna sandwich. I mean, that’s mystery meat, but let me tell you something. My mom would cut that up and fry it up and we’d have fried bologna sandwich on Wonder Bread.
Man, I’ll tell you what. But, anyway, regular, old sand. It doesn’t — that’s why I’m going to die early, too. I smoked too much and had too much bologna. So, anyway, regular old sand don’t have any value. Okay? But when it all of a sudden gets a purpose, it has a value.
See, I can take that regular old sand and I can put it in some bags, put a rope around that bag and I can put all those bags out front. And when a hurricane comes, you guys pay me $25 for that bag. That’s regular old sand. It has no value, but, all of a sudden, it has a purpose now. And guess what? Its value goes up. Its worth goes up.
Let’s explore that a little bit more. How about sandpaper? You get some paper and put some glue on it and put some sand on it, and you start selling sheets of sandpaper. There’s companies that are worth millions of dollars that sell sandpaper. Why? Because regular old sand doesn’t have any value, but when it’s got a purpose, its value and its worth, all of a sudden, is seen.
So, you’ve got a race to run. And if we don’t understand the purpose of that race, we’re not going to have the worth and value that we’re looking for. Everybody’s looking for that worth and value. They’re looking for significance, and the only time we’re going to find that significance in our life is when we realize God has a race for you and me, and we’ve got to figure out the purpose of that race for you and me.
How about this? Did you know that sand with high quartz content is used to make computer chips? That’s some real value. They’ve got the right name, too. Chips. I like that. But see how that works? Bottom line is that people who really carry a godly legacy forward, or an eternal legacy forward, realize they’re in a race. They realize that there’s a purpose for that race.
Third, and this is huge: If you’re going to carry a godly legacy in to the future, you’re going to have to do something. And this is where people who truly understand godly legacies understand that spiritual maturity is about application. I don’t know where we went wrong in the church, but we’ve convinced our self that spiritual maturity is what we know. You find people that are like, “I’m mature in Christ. Let me tell you all the things you need to know. Let me tell you what you need to know.”
Let me tell you something. The Pharisees knew. Knowledge, Paul says, puffs up. It’s not about what you know. It’s about what you apply. I’ve always said this: The average Christian in America is thousands of verses overweight. Because there’s so many of them that they don’t do. “We’re going to get together. Let’s have another Bible study.”
“Why? So, we can learn some more verses that we don’t plan applying to our lives? That we don’t plan on putting into our life?”
I’m convinced that most churches in America, I could read this next slide and tell you this is what John 13:17 says, and most people would go, “Amen. That’s right.”
It’s not what it says, but I think most people would think this is what — they would think this is the Scripture. I think I could go to most churches in America and say this and move on and nobody would think anything about it. So, here. I’m going to read it to you.
“If you know these things, and you know them well, then you’re blessed. Knowing my truth and being able to tell others my truth is what being mature is all about.”
I think if I read that in most churches, most people would say, “Amen. That’s right.”
That’s not what Jesus said. He said, “If you know these things, you’re blessed if you do them.”
If you do them. See, it says here about David, “After he had served the purpose of God in his own generation...”
He made an impact in his generation. And, listen. I know. I know that a lot of times people go, “Well, you know, but if you tell everybody they’ve got to do something, they might confuse the fact that what they’re doing is earning their salvation.”
Listen: We’ve said it here so many times I don’t think anybody — we just sang it. You can’t earn it. You don’t deserve it. God gave you your salvation for free. It wasn’t free. Jesus died on a cross for you and me, but we can’t do anything to get our salvation. That’s something that God gives to us by grace, but that does not mean that once we have been arrested by the power of God in our lives that we don’t have the ability to start implementing in our lives the thing that God wants for us to do. Otherwise, you’re really selling the Holy Spirit short that lives within you, saying, “Well, I can’t do it.”
No. You can’t. But you ain’t doing it anymore. You’ve got the Spirit of God inside of you that’s freed you up and opened up your eyes to go, “Hey, I need to start living like this. I need to start looking like Jesus.”
And so, the bottom line is David had an impact in his generation. I don’t know if you saw in the plug, but the young adults are going to be doing bowling. Now, if you go bowling with me, it won’t take you too long to realize that there ain’t no bowling going on at all. There might be some pizza eating going on, but there ain’t no bowling going on. I mean, it’s just ugly.
But I’ve watched people come in and they’ve got the bowling shirt on. And I don’t know. Like, I’m not a bowler. Okay? And if you’re a bowler, I’m not being negative about your sport. I just want you to know that the sport that God enjoys is Kentucky Basketball. And I’m just kidding.
So, you’ve got the shirt on. I’m looking at some of these bowling shirts. They’ve got to cost a hundred bucks. I mean, they’re pretty nice. I mean, and then you’ve got the pants and I know they’ve got to cost something. Those shoes? I mean, they look like they’re leather. Maybe they’re pleather, but they look like they’re leather. They’ve got to be half expensive. And then a bowling ball? I’ve never priced a bowling ball. I have no intention to price a bowling ball. I can’t even imagine. You know? I mean, if somebody slipped drugs into my drink, I wouldn’t go price a bowling ball.
So, nothing against those of you all who bowl, but I know those bowling balls. I just look at them and I’m going, “That can’t be cheap.”
I’m sure it’s a couple hundred bucks to buy a good bowling ball, and it may be a lot more. I don’t know. And they’ve got the ones now with all the stuff on them and everything. And then there’s the bowling bag. Now, I mean, I have a bunch of girls and they buy bags, and their bags are not cheap. Okay? So, I can imagine a bowling bag.
So, somebody shows up at the bowling alley. They’ve got the shirt, the pants, the shoes, the ball. Everything. I’d be like, “Man, that person — that’s a bowler right there. They’re a bowler.”
Okay. But if they don’t take that ball and roll it down that lane and knock over pins, they’re not a bowler. They may look like a bowler, but if the ball goes in the gutter, it’s a gutter ball. Now, I’m going to get onto you here, and y’all are going to have a moment here. There’s a lot of people, probably in this church — there’s a lot of people in America that have all the cars and all the houses and all the stuff and all the shoes and all the stuff, but in their life, they’re rolling gutter balls. They’re rolling gutter balls because they’re not serving the purpose of God in their generation.
And if we’re going to be people that carry a legacy into eternity, we’re going to have to realize that spiritual maturity is about application and making an impact in the life that God has given to you and me.
Fourth: People who really carry a legacy into eternity understand they’re to be faithful with what they have been given. We live in a generation that wants everything now. In fact, I’ve seen articles where people are mad at Amazon for not getting something to them the day they ordered it. I mean, that’s just the society we live in. Okay. Being faithful with what God has given you, then God’s going to give you more if you’re faithful with what He’s given you.
But I’m going to show you a passage of Scripture here about faithfulness that I don’t think many Christians even know exists in the Bible. Jesus said it. If you’ve not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? See, we have a hard time serving somebody else. We have a hard time honoring somebody else. We have a hard time submitting to someone else because we’re looking at them rather than going, “You know what? I wouldn’t be here if God didn’t have me here. I’m going to honor them because I’m going to honor God.”
See, David did that with Saul. Well, what if when Saul said to David, “I want you to come play the harp for me every once in a while,” what if David would’ve gone, “I don’t do part-time? I’m anointed of God? I’m called of God? I don’t do part-time at all?”
What if he’d have done that? See, but he didn’t and because he was faithful in the other man’s work, God gave him something that was himself. And I’m going to give you a great example here. I’ve told some of you this, but I want you to hear it again. I went to Westmore Church of God when I was at Lee College. Matt Willits, he was a godly man, died at 33 years old of leukemia, but he was my youth pastor. Matt asked me, “Would you be my associate?”
Now, when I heard that, I heard that I’m going to be up in front of everybody in the lights with the TVs and everything. He meant, “You’re going to work.”
So, what I had to do to be the associate was I had to put chairs out every Wednesday night for the youth group. One Wednesday night, I probably had a headache and wasn’t having a good day. I’m putting those chairs out and I’m going, “I can’t believe I’m putting these chairs out. Nobody knows I put these chairs out. I put these chairs out. I’ve prayed over these chairs more than Matt’s prayed over these chairs. When Matt puts his sermons together, he talks to me and I tell him what passages to use. They don’t understand what’s going on. But God, I can’t believe I’m doing this. I should be up front. Associate? I can’t believe that I’m an associate. I’m putting out these things.”
And I haven’t had God speak to me like [clap] many times in my life, but that evening I got the word and it was, “Son, if you don’t put out those chairs, you’re never going to have chairs of your own.”
And, of course, I did what anybody would do: “God, I was just joking. I mean, I was just seeing if You were listening. I have a glad and joyous heart putting out these chairs.”
I mean, I’m just like, “Matt is the man and I love Matt.”
I got a rebuke. You know, I never thought about that day until maybe a day or so afterwards, but July 31st of 2010, the day before we started Grace Community Church down off of Ashton and Swift, I was putting out some chairs in the sanctuary and God spoke to me again. He was like, “I told you if you would put out those chairs, I would give you chairs of your own.”
See, it’s being faithful in someone else’s work. Being faithful with what God has given you, not looking forward to what you want, or not needing to be heard or needing to be [understood]. Just be faithful with what God has given you, and He will give you more.
The next thing is people who carry a legacy into eternity, they pour into others. They’ve gotten past self and now they pour into others. This is what Paul told Timothy. He said, “What you’ve heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
Look at the generations here. Paul to Timothy to faithful men to others. You want to really know when you’ve done ministry? It’s when you can go, “I know I poured into this person, and now I know this person poured in there, and this person poured in here. I’ve got three generations down line of stuff I poured into somebody that poured into somebody else that poured into somebody else. That’s when you’re really doing ministry. You realize you need to pour into others. Because, honestly, when eternity hits, you know why the two things are that are going to matter? Who did we help in their life conform their life more to what Jesus looks like, and who did we help get into eternity by introducing them to Jesus? Those are the things that really matter. Those are the eternal legacies.
And the last one for people who really carry that legacy forward is that pre-season and season are simply a warm-up for post-season. See, it says in the passage here, “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, he fell asleep.”
He died. Everybody in here’s going to die unless Jesus comes back. We’re all going to die. And do you know what? What’s interesting is — and I heard a preacher say this. I thought this was pretty neat. If you’re 33 years old right now and you’re going to die at 35, because you don’t know, you’re an old man. If you’re 70 and you’re not going to die until 95, you’re still a young man.
See, we don’t know when we’re going to die, but we’re going to die. And see, when we live our lives, it should be all focused on the post-season. I don’t know if you all remember the name Reggie Jackson. Reggie Jackson had a nickname. His name was Mr. October because, for some reason, every time October came around, he just absolutely lit it up. I mean, the guy hit home run, home run, home run in one game. I mean, he was called Mr. October because when post-season play came around, I mean, he showed up.
One day he was asked the question, “Reggie, why are you so good in October?”
He said, “Well, that’s an easy answer. In February and March, I’m thinking about October.”
Are you thinking about the fact that one day you’re going to fall asleep and you’re going to stand in front of your creator? And let me tell you something. I’m a professor, so the one thing my kids like is they like it when I give them the questions before the exam. They love that. I always told everybody when I was growing up I was an E student. Everybody’s like, “E? Like, A, B, C, D, F? How are you an E student?”
E. All of the above on multiple choice. Right? E. So, a lot of times I’ll give the kids the questions. There’s only two questions you have to plan for in the post-season. Just two. I’m going to give them to you right now. The first one, you’re going to get asked a question. What did you do with Jesus? That’s going to be your question. You’re going to get that question. I know that’s going to be the question because that’s exactly what Scripture says. You’re going to get that question. Who is Jesus?
And if you go, “Well, I thought He was a pretty good guy. I sort of thought that maybe I’d...”
That’s not the right answer.
“I didn’t really study that much. I’m not even sure He existed. You know, I’m not quite sure.”
That’s not the right answer.
“He was Your Son, God. He came to this earth. He was God in the flesh. He died on a cross. He rose again on the third day. He’s going to come back one day.”
God’s going to go, “That is the right answer.”
You don’t get asked the second question if you don’t pass the first one. The second question is real simple: “What did you do with the knowledge of question one? What did you do with that knowledge? What did you do? Now that you knew who my Son was, and you got that right, what did you do? Did you realize that you had a race? Did you realize that there was a purpose for that race? Did you realize that spiritual maturity was about application? Did you realized that you’re to pour into others? Did you realize to be faithful to things that I gave you? Did you realize that you were always planning for post-season?”
Those are the things that are going to matter, and we talked about, as individuals and as a church, are we going to really take forward a godly legacy? The question we have to ask is, “Who’s Jesus and what am I doing with that knowledge?”
Because that matters. And I suspect, when it’s all said and done — and when it’s all said and done, usually more was said than done. Can I get an amen on that one? Right? When all is said and done, I suspect that the people that we poured into and the people that we helped to introduce to Jesus are going to be the things that really stand the test of eternity.
Now, I’m going to ask you one question here and then I’m going to close. You all know that a handful of men who believed in the wrong god, and who had a wrong conception of who that god was, got into planes and flew into buildings and they changed their generation. You and I’s lives are changed forever because of what they did. There’s no question about it. So, I’m going to ask you a question here and I’m going to get deep, deep, deep into your soul.
Why in the world can we, as the people who serve the right God, who understand who that God is, why oh why are we not changing our generation? Because we can, and we should be. But we can’t get distracted. We can’t be in the bathroom looking a little bit at the TV while we’re doing everything else. We’ve got to get focused and we’ve got to realize there’s a race to run and there’s a purpose for that race and it’s all about getting after it for Jesus.
And I’m going to tell you this: There’s nothing more, as your pastor, that I want. It’s not about a piece of land. It’s not about a building. It’s about knowing that when we all hang up those cleats for the last time, when we all leave the locker room for the last time, that we know that we know that we know that we pour Jesus into people’s lives, and that we saw many, many, many people transition from being in the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. Amen?
And that’s a legacy, and we need to be people of legacy. Let’s bow our heads.
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You so much for the opportunity to get to do what I do; my race and my purpose. But, Lord, everybody else in here has a race and a purpose, too. Lord, I believe there’s people in here today that have answered question one, but question two resonated today. I believe there’s people in here today that aren’t quite sure where they are with even question one.
So, Lord, what I’d do is I just pray that You’d speak to them. I’m not the one that saves anybody, and I’m not going to make anybody, by the words that I say, know You or not know You, Lord. That’s something that You do. We preach the Gospel, and that’s the work You do.
So, Lord, if there’s somebody here today that’s not quite sure where they’re at with You, I pray that they would make that right today, that they’d answer that question right. And then, for all of us here at Grace, Lord, even though we’re thinking about a building and a piece of land, I pray, Lord, that we would realize it’s not about a building and a piece of land. It’s about the legacy that those things give us opportunity to think about.
I hope, in eternity one day, when we look back at the buildings that we were in or the lands that we worshiped on, Lord, I pray that there would be memories of the things that happened — that baptisms, the marriages that were restored, the people that were sick that we laid hands on and they recovered, the fact that people were brought into the Kingdom of God out of the kingdom of darkness. Lord, let us be people this week and forever forward realize that legacy matters and that it needs to be a forward and eternal legacy for the Kingdom of God.
So, Lord, I pray that as we walk out of here today, I pray that You would continue to lead, guide and direct all of us, I pray that You’d bring us back safely to when we meet again, and I pray, Lord, that You would continue to help us stay focused on what You’ve called us to do. And, Lord, that is to reach the unchurched by being intentional neighbors that reflect Christ.
So, Lord, we love You, we praise You and we honor You. In Jesus’ name, and everybody said, “Amen.”
Give the Lord a big hand clap and tell Him you love Him. God bless everybody. See you soon.