Faithfulness – Living to Leave a Great Legacy!

BELIEVE: Faith that Transforms Our Lives 

Producing the Fruit of the Holy Spirit In Your Life! 

FAITHFULNESS — Living to Leave a Great Legacy

On this Memorial Day weekend – we turn to God to give thanks for the faithfulness of all of the men and women who serve and protect our nation and make our freedom and safety possible.  We also ask God to help all of us to cultivate the Holy Spirit’s fruit of Faithfulness in each of our lives.

Being faithful is not always easy.  Sooner or later – we will all have to pay a price if we are going to follow through and prove to be faithful in following through and fulfilling our commitments.  One new bride learned this lesson in a hurry.  Just a few months earlier she had married a flight engineer with the Air Force.  She was filled with joy over her new marriage – and she was eagerly looking forward to a special weekend getaway they had been planning for weeks.

But on Friday afternoon, his squadron commander called him and told him their team had just received orders to leave the next day for an eight-day mission.His new bride looked at him and was overwhelmed with disappointment.  “Don’t you get weekends off like normal people?” she asked.  He gently explained that as a member of the US Air force he was a soldier on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Then she looked longingly into his eyes and said “But, honey, can’t you just explain to your commander that we made these special plans a month ago?  I’m sure he’d understand.”

Being faithful is not always easy.  Making a commitment to be faithful will challenge all of us sooner or later to decide – if we are willing to put our plans in second place when necessary – in order to follow and fulfill God’s plans for our lives.

On Memorial Day – we take time to remember and honor the dedication and sacrifices of the men and women serving in our Armed Forces.  These brave men and women have made a huge commitment to be faithful to protect you and me, our nation, and our world.  They understand what it means to be faithful by committing themselves to answer the call of duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They understand what it means to be totally committed to be faithful and do their jobs… no matter what the cost.

The women and men serving our nation – are an inspiration and a challenge to each of us to decide if we will join them in growing the fruit of Faithfulness in our lives?  The Bible says that every Believer in Jesus is automatically enrolled in the army of God. The Bible tells us that when we ask Jesus to be our Savior – we are enlisted as Soldiers in Christ’s army.  That we are also called to be on duty for Jesus 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

So on this Memorial Day – we take time to honor the commitment to faithfulness of the women and men who have served our nation’s military.  We commit ourselves to remember – and never take for granted the ultimate sacrifice of the women and men who gave their lives serving our nation – to make our freedom possible.

As remember those who gave their lives to protect us and we honor the commitment to be faithful of all the men and women who serve our nation and the legacy it produces for future generations.   I also want to encourage you to take time to ask yourself – how will I be remembered?  What kind of a legacy will my faithfulness leave in this world?

We want to ask God to help our soldiers to continue to grow the fruit of faithfulness in their lives – and we want to ask God to help each of us grow in faithfulness – so that we can all leave a great legacy from being faithful.  This morning, I want to invite you to join with me in studying Paul’s message of the four commitments that are required to keep growing in faithfulness – so that you can leave a great legacy with your life.

Read 2 Tim 4:7-8 at the end of the notes.

The Apostle Paul gives us great instructions on how to leave a legacy of faithfulness.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NLT)    I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.  And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of His return.  And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to Jesus’ appearing.

  1. Fight the Good Fight of Faith, 2. Finish the Race, 3. Remain Faithful, 4. See the Victory that makes all of the sacrifices worthwhile.

Fight the Good Fight — Remember You Are a Soldier for Christ

On this Memorial Day Sunday, Jesus wants to help us to remember and appreciate the sacrifices that have been made for us.  Jesus challenges us to appreciate the highest level of faithfulness – loving someone else enough to be willing to give your life for them.  We remember Jesus proving His faithfulness by giving His life on the Cross to rescue all humanity from sin and death.  We also remember the love that is represented by soldiers who are willing to lay down their lives and be prepared to die in order to protect you and me and keep our nation free.

John 15:12-13 (NLT)    Jesus said, Love each other in the same way I have loved you.  The greatest love a person can give – is to be willing to lay down one’s life and die for one’s friends. 

As a nation – we have set aside Memorial Day – to make sure that we never forget the sacrifices that have been made for us.  It’s important to be intentional to take time to remember – because it is far too easy to take for granted the sacrifices that soldiers, police, fire fighters and others have made and continue to make every day to protect our freedom and keep us safe.

Seven years ago – Penny and I and our entire family discovered that you don’t take those commitments and sacrifices for granted – when it’s someone you love who is making those sacrifices.  In 2011 through 2012, our oldest son Matthias was deployed to Afghanistan.  He served as the Executive Officer for the First Reserves Forward Surgical Team, and they were assigned to Forward Operating Base Shank in the Logar Province – near the Eastern border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

When someone you love goes into harm’s way – you pay a lot more attention.  God wants to help each of us to pay more attention to the importance of being committed to building faithful lives – because the battles aren’t just being fought over in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Right here in Canandaigua – we have people who are dying from a war with drugs.  We have Teenagers who are being targeted in a war with sex traffickers.  And every one of us is in the battle between the forces of good and evil.  Every day – each of us has to decide – Am I going to let my sinful desires lead my life?  Or am I going to make the Holy Spirit the General of my life – and follow His leadership?

We all appreciate the women and men who are willing to step up and serve as soldiers to protect us.  God is also challenging each of us to decide – Am I willing to step up as a soldier of Christ – to do my part to fight the good fight of faith?

2 Timothy 2:1-4 (NLT)    Timothy, my dear child in the faith, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus.  …Be willing to endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  Soldiers stay focused on pleasing their commanding officer. 

If someone asked you – who is your commanding officer – what would you say?  Can you say that Jesus is my commanding officer – and I am focused on living a life that pleases Him?

Do you want the help and power of the Holy Spirit – to be faithful in fighting the good fight of faith – and to finish the race of life that God has put before you?

Finish the Race

     What causes so many people to drop out and give up?  Jail.  Church.

Being a soldier – wouldn’t be so bad – if you only had to fight one battle.  But it never is just one battle is it?

Some people called WW I the war to end all wars.  Then there was WW II.  Now we are still fighting with Afghanistan in one of the longest wars in the history of our nation.  The reality of our lives in a fallen world – is that the battles will keep on coming.  We can’t stop the battles.  So we need to find the tools and strength that will help us to keep on fighting – and never give up.

The Bible reminds us that we should not try to fight on our own.  Can you imagine a soldier going out to fight without their body armor?  Soldiers know better than to go into battle without first putting their armor on.  God wants to make sure that you know how important it is to put your armor on so that you will be ready for your battles with evil.   

Ephesians 6:10-17 (NCV/MSG)    Be strong in the Lord and in His great power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can win the battle over all of the forces of evil.  …The Belt of Truth, the Flak Vest of God’s righteousness.   The Shoes of Peace… The Shield of Faith…  The Helmet of Salvation… and The Sword of the Spirit — The Word of God!

God wants to help you to put on the full armor of faith – because we our journey through life is a very long race.  A Marathon lasts for 26.2 miles and takes the average person about 4 to 5 hours to finish.  The Good fight of faith is a lot longer than 26.2 miles or 5 hours – it is an entire lifetime.  We are in the battle for 80, 90, 100 years or even more!

We have to decide – like every other soldier – how determined am I to reach the finish line, and leave a good legacy with my life? 

Philippians 3:12-14    I know that I’m not perfect… but I focus on this one thing… pressing on to reach the end of the race in order to receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling all of us.

The Holy Spirit wants to help you to grow in faithfulness – to give you the strength to fight the good fight of faith, to finish the race, and to overcome the temptations and lies that will keep trying to lead you away from God’s path of life to the devil’s path of death and destruction.

Remain Faithful

     Who is counting on you to remain faithful?

We are free today – because soldiers in the past and in the present – who kept choosing to be faithful.  God wants to help you to be aware and to remember that future generations are also depending on you and me to make our choice to remain faithful in order to make God’s abundant life available for them. 

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NLT)   God declares, I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses.  …Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your future generations might live to the fullest!  You can choose life by loving the LORD your God and obeying His commandments.  This is the key to life [for you and your future generations.] 

Memorial Day – offers us a great opportunity to pause and take time to appreciate what has been given to us.  Memorial Day is also a great opportunity to ask – What am I giving to future generations?

The famous theologian, Martin Luther, helps us to think about the importance of committing ourselves to remain faithful – so that we could bless future generations with our legacy.  Martin Luther was asked:  What would you do if you knew that you only had 24 hours left to live?  Some people might say:  I’d get completely drunk or stoned.  Other people might say: I’d have a wild orgy.  Other people might say: I would just sit down and cry.  Martin Luther had an entirely different answer.  Instead of getting drunk, having a wild orgy, or crying, Martin Luther said — I would plant a tree.  He had a vision – of what could I do to bless future generations?  What am I going to leave as my legacy – that will make life better for my children, my grandchildren, for future generations I can’t even imagine?

Proverbs 13:22    Good people leave a good inheritance to their children and their children’s children…

God wants to help you to grow the fruit of Faithfulness in your life.  Make up your mind – I will fight the good fight of faith.  I am a soldier in God’s army.  I will finish the race.  I will remain faithful for the future generations who are counting on me.

The last commitment to growing in faithfulness that I want to invite you to look at – is the commitment to look to the future with courage and confidence – because I know now there is a crown waiting for me.    

Now There is in Store for Me — Crown of Righteousness

            God is more interested in our Character — than our Comfort

            Can you see God presenting you with the crown of life?   

It’s easy to say that I want God’s Crown of Righteousness – the hard part is making the commitment to be faithful every day in order to actually receive the crown?

The Bible is honest – nobody likes discipline.  I can be honest with you – I’m not always excited when the alarm clock goes off at 5:30.  But I am a whole lot more excited when I go in for my annual physical – and the doctor tells me that my stats look really good.  Nobody likes discipline – but we all like the fruit that discipline produces.

Hebrews 12:11 (MSG)    No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening — it is painful!  But later on, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace — for those who are willing to be trained by it. 

This Memorial Day weekend – we take time to Remember and Honor – the women and men who made the commitment to be faithful and then followed through with the discipline required to make the harvest of faithfulness – righteousness and peace possible for them and our nation.

This morning – we remember the price Jesus paid to be faithful – by giving His life on the Cross to set all people free from sin and death.  We remember the price that our soldiers have paid to be faithful in keeping our nation free.  And we ask the Holy Spirit to help each of us to grow in our commitment to be faithful – so that we can join with them in giving future generations a legacy of faithfulness.   

2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NLT)    I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.  And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of His return.  And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to Jesus’ appearing.

Jesus paid the price to be faithful. The apostle Paul paid the price to be faithful.  The men and women serving our nation paid the price to be faithful.  And now God is asking you – are you willing to pay the price to be faithful?  The Holy Spirit is offering each of us the power that we need to grow in being faithful – so that every one of us can receive God’s Crown of Righteousness!

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