Monday, April 30, 2018

A Spiritual Legacy

The apostle Paul is known as the spiritual father of Timothy. Paul wasn’t content with only being a spiritual father though:
You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. 2 Timothy 2:2 (NLT)
It was approximately 63 A.D. when Paul wrote his final letter. It was addressed to his dear son, in the faith, Timothy (2 Timothy 1:2a). Paul had been imprisoned before but this time he sensed the imminent fate awaiting him from that cold jail cell. Paul rarely wasted a moment of time, so from that dark cell he wrote another letter to Timothy. I wonder if as he penned the letter he thought about the words of Christ calling His disciples to go and make more disciples. Did he think about all the lives he had seen change over the last twenty plus years he followed Jesus? Paul wanted to leave Timothy with parting words that would encourage him to press on.

You’ve probably heard it said, “That having grandchildren is your reward for not killing your kids.” People love to joke about. If you’ve been around parents you will hear them regularly share their struggles with parenting, feelings of inadequacy and regret. Paul was looking for spiritual great grandchildren in the Lord.

Paul would most likely never meet those great grandchildren on this side of eternity, but he longed for the gospel message to outlive his earthly life. Paul wanted a spiritual legacy who would carry the gospel to the next generation.

Paul knew he needed to build Timothy up to see this accomplished (read 2 Timothy 1:6-14). Isn’t it usually the other way around? Normally its the person on the outside encouraging the person in jail to be courageous. But this isn’t the case with Paul. He wants Timothy to remain strong in his faith.

Next, Paul lists out three things in verses 9 and 10: He saved us, He called us with a holy calling, and He abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. The Gospel is all about salvation. That’s why it’s good news. But the gospel is about more than just forgiveness. The God who saved us has also called us to a holy life. God is holy and when God calls a person He calls him to live a holy life, and he begins to mold him for that purpose.

But that’s not all, look at verse 10. The gospel is also about “life and immortality.” To make that a reality for us God destroyed death. Jesus Christ is a destroyer of death. He didn’t eliminate death, He put it out of commission; He rendered it powerless and ineffective over us. Spiritually, we’re no longer dead but alive. Physically, though we may die, we’re immediately ushered into immortality.

Paul gave Timothy two commands here (verses 13-14). Did you see them? Timothy is to keep and guard. First Timothy is to keep the pattern of sound teaching. Paul stresses the need to have correct teaching. But it’s not only sound teaching. The teaching must be accompanied by faith and love. We can have wonderfully sound teaching but if we have no faith how would we take action on what we’re commanded to do? We can have perfectly sound teaching but if we share the gospel mechanically and without love people won’t respond. These must remain together. A true Christ follower will hold to sound teaching with faith and love in Jesus Christ. Not only will they hold it to, they long for it!

Paul intentionally invested in Timothy’s life. He provided encouragement to this young man. Do you have someone you are investing your life in? If you are a Christ follower, will you have spiritual great grandchildren in heaven?

God has given us each the same amount of time to invest in others. Investing in others is is a Biblical command. Listen to what John Hagee once said, “If your investments are limited to this earth, you are the world’s worst investor.” Let me make a quick observation about spiritual legacy, people who have a spiritual legacy take their spiritual life seriously. Paul took it serious. This isn’t meant to be a condemnation but an encouragement to focus on your spiritual legacy.

Let me give an illustration of what spiritual investors do—they live as spiritual owners. Coastline is looking to develop more spiritual owners, people who leave a spiritual legacy like Paul wanted. These are people who live their life like a manager and not a consumer. Mangers solve problems, while customers think it’s all about them. Managers look for solutions while customers look to be served. Believers should long to serve people at their church and long to help everyone be a spiritual investor.

Since coming to Coastline ten months ago I’ve heard wonderful stories of people who are investing in others. Our church has a rich heritage of this. Some of you are here today because a person in this church took interest in investing in your life. The best gift you can give that person is to invest in others. Take the things they taught you and pass them on to others who will pass them on to others. If you have never had someone invest in you spiritually, go ask someone. Find someone who you respect, trust and would like to be more like. See if they will invest in you as you grow to be more like Jesus.

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