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May 8, 2022

LIVING A GODLY LEGACY

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

LIVING A GODLY LEGACY

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Whether we know it or not, we are building our legacy every day.  A legacy is something that we leave behind for others when we are gone. Whether it’s just moving on into another season of life, moving into another job, or even moving to our eternal destination, we are all going to leave a legacy.  While we cannot decide whether to leave a legacy or not, we can decide what kind of legacy we will leave.  As Christians, we are called throughout scripture to leave a Godly legacy, but how do we do that?  Let’s examine a few truths in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 to help us understand how we can live this out.

At the point in history (when Deuteronomy was written) the children of Israel are ready to move into the promised land. The last generation of Israelites were denied this honor because of their disobedience and distrust in God and now a new generation was ready to claim the land after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.  Before they moved into the new land, God wanted to make sure that not only were they spiritually prepared for what was to come in this new land, but He wanted to make sure they were going to leave a spiritual legacy to their children and grandchildren once they got there.

Let’s look at 3 things that God called on the children of Israel to do in order to live out a Godly legacy.

Living a Godly legacy requires a starting point with God. – Deuteronomy 6:4

4 Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.

This verse is called the “Shema Yisrael” or “Listen Israel”.  This was a declaration made by every Jew every morning when they awoke. They practiced proclaiming verse 4 to start their day, and it continues in the Jewish communities even now.  They make a confession, proclaiming that The Lord their God is one.  This confession was given to them to prepare them for the coming temptations of the new land.  Their affections, their loyalty, and their devotion could not be divided once they entered the promised land, but rather their focus had to be on God alone because God is one. The comforts of the “Land of milk and honey” as well as the temptation to follow the foreign gods of the other nations in the land would contend for the attention of the Israelites, but God wanted them reminded every day that God is one and does not share His glory with anyone or anything.

For us, this is the starting point for living out a Godly legacy.  When we see and understand that God is one, that His church should be united as one, and that the members of the church’s devotion should be focused on only one, we start to understand the starting point for living out a Godly legacy.  It’s making God the cornerstone of our lives.  There are a lot of things in our lives that vie for our time and our attention, but we must declare that these things will not be what divides our devotion to Him.  When we start to focus on God and let all else take a back seat people start to notice, and our Godly legacy starts to be built.

Living a Godly legacy requires a life lived for God. – Deuteronomy 6:5

5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.

The Israelites are then told that not only must they have this head knowledge of who God is, but this head knowledge must spur them into action.  Before we get into the heart (pun intended) of this verse, we need to notice something about this commandment (also called the greatest commandment by Jesus). This commandment is a commandment to love.  Now we usually think of love as some odd feeling that we have or don’t have that is very hard to describe, but here we see that love is an action. It’s something that we are called to do, and honestly, sometimes we must make ourselves do it.  This call to love is a call to love with all your heart, soul, and mind. While these things are similar and give the picture of the entirety of yourself, there are distinctions that will help us to carry out this commandment.

To love God with all your heart is to love Him with all your passions in life.  God has wired us differently and as we saw last week the church is called to unity, but it is not called to uniformity when it comes to how we love and serve God.  God has given us all different passions, whether it's for education, fitness, children, animals, music, sports, the list goes on and on, but no matter what your passion is we are called to love God with those passions.  The passions of the individuals that make up the church being lived out for God are what create different ministries inside the church with their uniqueness and effectiveness.  They carry out the great commandment and great commission, but all do them in unique and imaginative ways.

Then we see that we are called to love God with all our souls, this being understood as our personalities.  Again, we church members are all different, some are detail-oriented, some are organizers, some are creative, and some are optimistic. Our personalities can be all over the board, but one thing we are all called to do is love God through our personalities.  How does this work?  Well, Jesus said if you love me, you will keep my commandments, so we can use our personality traits to do just that.  Need to tell someone about the Gospel?  Use your unique personality to be obedient to that call. There is no wrong way to share the Gospel. The only wrong way is by not sharing it at all.

Lastly, we are called to love God with all our strength and the idea here is everything we have - all our capacity. One of the things that fall into this category is our talents.  Now we need to understand that these are different from spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are given once you are saved, but these types of gifts that we are referencing here are things that you are born with, or you have cultivated over time.  Music would be a good example of this. While it’s not a spiritual gift, it is a gift we can use to love and worship God, pointing others to Him. When everything that makes you unique is given and sold out for God people will notice what’s the most important thing in your life.   You are on your way to building and living out your Godly legacy.

Living a Godly legacy requires a life proclaiming God. – Deuteronomy 6:6-9

6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Once you have a starting point with undivided loyalty, and you are selling out all you are for all God is, then you must start telling others.  Your life will be a great testimony, but that can’t be where you stop when it comes to a legacy - you must tell others.  We’ve mentioned before that what you speak about most is what’s most important to you.  For some people it's themselves, for some it’s family, money, or status. To speak of God and the sacrifice Jesus made to give us the way to be made right with God again, shows everyone what’s most important in our lives.

Legacies are important, especially to Christians. It’s what helps us point others toward Christ even after we are gone. It’s what gives our children and grandchildren a compass to know what’s important. It’s what we will be known for when we are gone.  So, if you haven’t, you need to start living and building your legacy today.  There is an old proverb you might have heard that says the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is today.  The same thing goes for your legacy. Yes, it would have been great to start living and building a Godly legacy years and years ago, but today is the next best time to start.  Let’s get to work!

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We are an active and vibrant church in Bloomfield, New Mexico, serving all of San Juan County. While providing a great atmosphere to worship and serve in at our campus, we are always looking for ways to impact our communities.
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