We are committed to passing on a legacy. We all want to provide something for our children that will propel them beyond where we left off in life, that our ceiling would be their floor. Legacy is something that is inherited. Inheritance is receiving something that someone else worked hard to provide for you. There is physical inheritance like money, property and business and their is influential legacy in a name that can be passed on among other things and those things are beneficial and good, but we want to pass on a Spiritual legacy to the future generations.
I have often heard the prophetic assertion that “Revival will come through the Youth”. Historically, this is often the case. Flashes of Revival have cropped up through the ages of Christendom when spiritually hungry young people began to seek something more from God. These movements have been refreshing points in the church. Paul challenged his protege Timothy in the first letter named for the recipient:
1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
At Berean we want to challenge our young people - “Don’t wait until you are an adult to step up and lead in the church. This is your church. You go after the things of God and it will inspire and encourage others to go after Him too.”
It has often been said that young people are the church of tomorrow, but at Berean we believe that young people like their older counterparts are the church of today. God placed them in the body and wants to activate them in their roles and functions for His purposes. We want to nurture and encourage that.
On the flip side of that same coin the emphasis on youth in our culture can feel like a slight to the aged among us. Resting the advent of revival on a future young generation only can be likened to a Father who repeatedly comments on the beauty of one daughter while ignoring the other. The omission of affirmation to the one actually speaks volumes. Scripture reminds us of the demographic that the world reveres in comparison to the one God himself reveres. The world reveres the young and honors the youth. The popular message is the everyone wants to be young and being young is cool, however favor and honor is always reserved in the scriptures for our elders.
Leviticus 19:32 (AMP)
32 ‘You shall rise before the gray-headed and honor the aged, and you shall fear your God [with profound reverence]; I am the Lord
1 Peter 5:5 (NRSV)
5 In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for
“God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.”
Proverbs 16:31 (NLT)
31 Gray hair is a crown of glory;
it is gained by living a godly life.
Clearly, based on God's word, honor is to be given and even glory is to be displayed in our elders among us. The challenge to the elder though is that glory and honor is based in righteous living. Once again it says here in Proverbs 16 that this honor is gained by living a godly life. It is difficult to honor and obey someone that is not truly honorable or godly. It is hard to follow the advice of someone even if they are speaking the truth when they are disobedient to the truth. Many of us have heard the statement growing up, “Do as I say, not as I do.” This is one of the most hypocritical and self-defeating charges ever. For the most part most of those coming after you will emulate who you are and forget most of what you say. That is why Paul told Timothy -
1 Timothy 4:14-16 (NLT)
14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. 15 Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.
The vision then is that elders use their wisdom and resources to guide and encourage, while the younger generations among us actively lead and step into their roles within the church. Also that the younger generations would show honor and respect for their elders, while also remaining faithful to their calling in the body.
1 Timothy 5:1-3 (NLT)
Never speak harshly to an older man,[a] but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. 2 Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.
3 Take care of[b] any widow who has no one else to care for her.
4 But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God.
Exodus 20:12 (NRSV)
12 Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
Ephesians 6:1-3 (NRSV)
Children, obey your parents in the Lord,[a] for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—this is the first commandment with a promise: 3 “so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
Hebrews 13:17 (NRSV)
17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls and will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with sighing—for that would be harmful to you.
Notice what and how they are “hearing” -your teaching with words - yes, but even more you are teaching by how you are living.
Some level of Honor and respect ought to be shown to all people in regards to their humanity - being made in the image of God, but honoring a person for their merit comes based on their lifestyle. What is required of the elders of the church is taking responsibility for our role in the lives of those coming behind us and walking in our purpose in Christ to live the revival that He is calling us to - to obediently follow Jesus and His word, to fervently pursue all that He has in store for our lives today. This is our calling - to live in such a way that if this next generation were to follow us they would become more and more like Jesus and less and less like the rest of the world.
1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV)
1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
Paul could make this statement because he was living a repentant life - fervently pursuing God alone. In fact he says right before this in chapter 10:33 - “I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.”
An amazing prophetic truth is that God is bringing revival to His people. He is transforming the hearts and lives of His saints from mediocrity and disobedience to a hunger for God and willingness to serve passionately His calling for His church...
Malachi 4:5-6 (NLT)
5 “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives. 6 His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
The church is the Prophet Elijah, in this passage, preaching this good news - and look what is at stake. Generations will be brought together or else their fate is destruction.
The author of Hebrews says that we are being watched by a great cloud of witnesses (spectators) if you will. These witnesses are invested heavily in our story, because we are bringing fruition to their investments of time, sweat and blood...
Hebrews 12:1-2 (TPT)
As for us, we have all of these great witnesses[martyrs] who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race [agona - more like an obstacle course] with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. 2 We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection...
This passage points back to the great “Hall of Faith” chapter which precedes it - pointing to those who. have left a legacy for us...
Hebrews 11: (NIV)
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible... 8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[b] considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. 13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them... 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect
We are living in the blessing of the legacy for which we received through the faith of those who have gone before us, and we must expand that and build upon it and leave a greater legacy for those that come behind us...