As we start this new year 2017 on day one, I felt it was important to ask ourselves what our legacy will be? What should it be and what is it now? Legacy can be defined “as something handed down from one generation to the next.” Usually when thinking about our legacy, most gravitate towards financial security. Yes most are concerned as to what their children will be left as in monetary essentials but we know that you can’t take it with you, so obviously there is a more important legacy to focus on. Notice that many insurance companies have changed their names to assurance such and such. You can only have assurance in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, Luke 12:15 “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” 16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Having understood this, our true focus should be on leaving a spiritual legacy. Whether you intend to or not everyone is leaving a spiritual legacy. For example some will leave a strong faith in God while others will leave a rejection of God but it will be a legacy one way or the other. What we have decided to believe will be handed down and we will be accountable for it. There is a lot at stake here so we had better make sure what we believe is truth. Matthew 18:6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!” Generation after generation, people have been handing down legacies both good and bad. Some focus on work ethic and making money, while others focus on Philanthropy and some combine the two, just to name a couple of examples. But this focus does not lead to eternal life. Matthew 16:26 “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” We read earlier about the rich man wishing he had left a different legacy.
So we have to ask; what will we be known by? Will we be known as people who served the Lord without fear? Yes we will have some who will say yes they followed wholeheartedly and others who will say they were crazy but that really doesn’t matter, as it is only the words well done my good and faithful servant that we need to hear, meaning we were rich towards God. We have read many times about Josiah. Their legacy was going to be one of disobedience, death and destruction because they were not following the word of the Lord. In 2 Kings 18:13 “Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.” We will talk a little about Jeroboam in a moment but along came Josiah in fulfillment of the prophecy against Jeroboam. Josiah did what he was supposed to do. 2 Kings 23:25 “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.” That is a legacy rich towards God. You see the rick man wished, albeit too late, that his legacy was not about wealth but about serving the Lord. Having said that just remember it is not money that put him in such torment. The love of money is the root problem. Remember there were many wealthy God-fearing followers. So our legacy should be one that is about serving the Lord with Jesus at the center of everything we do. We then let the blessings be done by God not ourselves. Just before Jesus talked about gaining the whole world, he said Matthew 16:4 “to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
It is amazing how fast Christmas came and went so I wanted to recap a little of what we talked about during advent. In order for us to have a legacy pleasing to the Lord, we must be doing what God has called us to do. When we find we are not, we must change just like Josiah did. That means complete obedience. From the beginning, life is about obedience to God. To completely obey we must do so according to the word of God. Jesus said, Matthew 28:18 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” If we want Jesus with us, obedience is the key to everything. It appears that no one wants to ask what happens if we don’t obey. From satan and his angels to the garden to the promised land and on to eternity, we must obey. We have all been given a choice as to whether we will obey or not. Even satan chose not to obey along with some angels. He then tried to get Jesus to disobey. Revelation 12:9 “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! 17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.” Just as the devil chose to disobey, Adam and Eve also chose. Moses tells us to choose life and prosperity not death and destruction. Israel chose to disobey and thus chose death or captivity and were then vomited from the land just as they were told they would be upon disobeying. We are told the same thing in Revelation 3:15 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” We cannot be lukewarm and call ourselves Christians.
Yes satan was given the earth as his kingdom but the good news of the gospel is that we were intended to have power over the kingdom of this world. Yes satan was given keys. Revelation 9:1 “The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. Revelation 11:7 the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them.” Truthfully we should be very afraid, repent and turn from our wicked ways because we have no power to face this evil but thanks be to God, Jesus made a way for us. Then Jesus came. Revelation 12:10 “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. 11 They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. 12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them!” Revelation 11:15 “there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.” Jesus then gives us authority over satan. Matthew 16:18 “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Revelation 1:18 “I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”
Why is this important to understand? satan was given power and authority to rule the earth to deceive and destroy. We cannot defeat him without the power of the Holy Spirit. If our legacy is an empty way of life handed down to us from our fathers as Peter said, we are destroyed for lack of knowledge. If the only gospel handed down does not train our fingers for battle, arms us and then has God fighting our battles, we will not be victorious. This weak gospel we now see has been handed down for generations. The gospel is not weak; it is those who do not believe what it says. If this is all about feeling good on Sunday morning, again we are done. This is war. The good news is as we talked about on Christmas Eve is that we can be victorious in the name of Jesus. He is our Saviour who is King of kings and He reigns on David’s throne. One of the issues is that many Christians do not realize the war is still going. The song we sang called Warrior said “He says, "I am with you so don't be afraid, cause I've already won this war." It does not mean it is over. We must stand firm in our faith or we will be devoured. This is why Ephesians 6:10 tell us “ Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.”
The lights at Christmas Eve represented the power that we have to face the darkness and the reign of satan. Jesus said to Paul, Acts 26:18 “I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” God has given His promise to David so that even if the light has dimmed we have great hope once again that the darkness will be pushed back.We are to be strong, bold and courageous and victorious . 1 Corinthians 15:55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” satan is finished. John 12:31 “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.” There is power available to drive out darkness though we cannot drive satan out unless we have the power Jesus intended for us to have. John 16:11 “the prince of this world now stands condemned.” The only way to be victorious is to declare with the apostle Paul the kingdom of God. Paul Acts 28:31 He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!
So I am praying our eyes will continue to be opened to what we are up against. Picture with me the attack on Hezekiah from Sennacherib. As it stood they were done like all the other nations they destroyed. Yet there was hope. The power of God is available to those who call on him. 2 Kings 19:19 “Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.” What has happened is most Christians do not understand the power that satan has in the world. Most don’t even believe in the demonic. Having said that. Some believe more in the power of the devil than they do the power of the Holy Spirit which therefore means very little. These so called scholars and gurus have swayed millions of Christians into to turning away from the truth. They have adopted doctrines of demons as truth and so they have been deceived. We have a choice to follow Jesus and obey his commands. If we do not obey we too will choose death and eternal damnation. Like Josiah we too can turn this around, which is repentance but oddly not even true repentance is being taught. If it was taught, then man would have to turn from what they have held on to their whole lives. You can see why it isn’t because man desperately wants to hang on to what they have built with their hands.
For example if you are born a Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Brethren, Reformed etc. etc. etc. you will probably hold on to those set of doctrines till you die. So then your legacy is based on a set of rules only to find out to late that they were not enough. Matthew 15:7 “Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” Colossians 2:20 “Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” Most do not even concern themselves with it because they have lost touch with the head, Jesus Christ. Colossians 2:19 “They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.”
In order for us to have a true legacy that does not leave us like the rich man calling out to warn his family, we need to be warning now. Not only are we concerned for ourselves but for all will listen. Our true legacy is in Jesus Christ. This is what we in Christ. 1 Kings 14:14 “The Lord will raise up for himself a king over Israel who will cut off the family of Jeroboam. Even now this is beginning to happen.” God will always keep his promise. Here is an example of true legacy but this is also an example of obedience and disobedience. If this legacy is of God, then obedience to Him will be at the centre. These two are connected but lets look at Solomon and Jeroboam. It starts with David and the promise God gave to David, which still applies to us. David was king over the kingdom but God chose Solomon to build the temple. 1 Chronicles 28:6 “He said to me: ‘Solomon your son is the one who will build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. 7 I will establish his kingdom forever if he is unswerving in carrying out my commands and laws, as is being done at this time.” The Spirit had put the plans for the temple into his mind and he gave them to Solomon. 1 Chronicles 28:19 “All this,” David said, “I have in writing as a result of the Lord’s hand on me, and he enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.” 1 Chronicles 22:17 “Then David ordered all the leaders of Israel to help his son Solomon. 18 He said to them, “Is not the Lord your God with you? And has he not granted you rest on every side? For he has given the inhabitants of the land into my hands, and the land is subject to the Lord and to his people. 19 Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the Lord.” It was so important to David that the temple be built but it was important to David that he follow the Lord’s commands. He then said, 1 Chronicles 28:9 “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. 10 Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.” He also said, 1 Chronicles 22:11 “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. 12 May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. 13 Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.
So then Solomon becomes king. He begins to carry out his duties. God appears to him and says 1 Kings 3:8 “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” God then gives him discernment plus wealth and long life. Then God appears a second time. 1 Kings 9:1 “When Solomon had finished building the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had achieved all he had desired to do, 2 the Lord appeared to him a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. 3 The Lord said to him: “I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. 4 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, 5 I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’ 6 “But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 8 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 9 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why the Lord brought all this disaster on them.’” This is our legacy to pass down from generation to generation but as you heard it comes with a warning. So even though this amazing promise was given to David, obedience was still the key to the kingdom. Disobedience causes us to loose the keys to the kingdom we were given. Remember satan also has keys.
But then look what happens. Even though 1 Kings 10:23 “King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. 24 The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart” he was still accountable to obey. 1 Kings 11:9 “The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.” So in spite of the amazing legacy that David was handing down it was suddenly gone to never return until Jesus came.
That subordinate was a man named Jeroboam. 1 Kings 11:28 “Jeroboam was a man of standing, and when Solomon saw how well the young man did his work, he put him in charge of the whole labor force of the tribes of Joseph.” But then Ahijah the prophet met him with a word from the Lord.37 However, as for you, I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel. 38 If you do whatever I command you and walk in obedience to me and do what is right in my eyes by obeying my decrees and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you. 39 I will humble David’s descendants because of this, but not forever.” The kingdom was torn away because 1 Kings 11:33 “they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Molek the god of the Ammonites, and have not walked in obedience to me, nor done what is right in my eyes, nor kept my decrees and laws as David, Solomon’s father, did.” They went from peace to war because of disobedience and again it was never the same until Jesus reigned on the throne of David.
So Jeroboam is given this amazing promise by God yet he disobeys and he even makes two golden calves. “Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” By the way anytime a false doctrine or theology is instituted, the leaders who do this are doing the same thing as Jeroboam did. 1 Kings 13:1 “By the word of the Lord a man of God came from Judah to Bethel, as Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make an offering. 2 By the word of the Lord he cried out against the altar: “Altar, altar! This is what the Lord says: ‘A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David.” And that was the beginning of the end for Jeroboam but his legacy lived on. This was his legacy. 1 Kings 15:25 “Nadab son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. 26 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the ways of his father and committing the same sin his father had caused Israel to commit. Then (Baasha) did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit.” 1 Kings 16:2 “I lifted you up from the dust and appointed you ruler over my people Israel, but you followed the ways of Jeroboam and caused my people Israel to sin and to arouse my anger by their sins. 1 Kings 16:26 “Omri followed completely the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit, so that they aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, by their worthless idols.” 2 Kings 3:3 “Nevertheless Joram son of Ahab clung to the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit; he did not turn away from them.” This was the legacy of Solomon and Jeroboam.
If you look at the Kings of Israel, the legacy was kings that did evil in the yes of the Lord. 2 Kings17:7 “All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods 8 and followed the practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced. 9 The Israelites secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right.”18 So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left, 19 and even Judah did not keep the commands of the Lord their God. Then eventually they fell to the enemy and were cast out of the land. Even though Josiah turned, God did not relent from his anger. Josiah was told 2 Kings 22:20 “Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.’”
Jesus is the only hope we have. The legacy we leave is one where people only see Jesus. This is not about us but making Christ known and we can’t do that on our own. David said to the Lord 1 Chronicles 17:23 “And now, Lord, let the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house be established forever. Do as you promised, 24 so that it will be established and that your name will be great forever. Then people will say, ‘The Lord Almighty, the God over Israel, is Israel’s God!’ And the house of your servant David will be established before you. That is the legacy we want to be part of. That can only him in full surrender to Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:25 Paul said, “I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” 2 Timothy 3:14 “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Ephesians 3:6 “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 3:26 “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Romans 8:14 “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” What a legacy that is. This is what we are to pass on. We must believe, have faith, trust, wait. If we don’t we end up on the curse side of Deuteronomy 28:65 “Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart.” That is not what we want, so we make sure we are obedient. We do not want to be there but because of our own disobedience and those who went before us we need to make hold fast to the choice we made to serve him no matter what.
Deuteronomy 30:11 “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. 15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.