Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Ed Young » Dr. Ed Young - Leaving a Legacy

Dr. Ed Young - Leaving a Legacy

  • Watch
  • Audio
  • Donate
  • Go to Store
    Dr. Ed Young - Leaving a Legacy
TOPICS: Legacy, Generations

What will be your legacy, Dad? What will be your legacy? Everybody has a legacy. So, the question is, Dad, what will be your legacy? Imagine, for a moment, that you're attending a funeral service and you're seated in the back, and the casket is down front. It is open, and you watch people as they file by and look in the casket. And some weep, and they move on. Some just stand there and look at the remains and they walk by. Until finally, they're seated and then the pastor comes to the pulpit. He asks everyone to stand, and the family walks in. And to your amazement, that family is your family. There's your wife. There's your children. And you're stunned.

And then it dawns on you that you are attending your own funeral. Oh, all of a sudden, everything is increased to a high level of anticipation. What is going to happen? What is going to be said? The pastor stands up and he reads your eulogy. He makes some flattering remarks. Then he has some very nice, generic comments. He reads a Scripture. And then he asks your children to come forward and say a word about their dad. Whew, now you are really interested, and you are listening with both ears to everything because you know what your children say, Dad, is your legacy. It's frightening to think about a legacy. We all have one. And as we look at God's man, Elijah, we see what a legacy he had, and we have to understand.

You say, "That's far out of range for me". Not so, because James has already told us, "Elijah was human like everybody else". We looked at Elijah as he came out of the cave on Sinai. He was trying to get a word from the Lord, and he thought, "Surely, God would be in the wind". God didn't say a word in the wind. "Surely, God would be in the earthquake. I mean, if God doesn't speak in an earthquake, when is he going to speak? Or surely, God would be in fire". Elijah had seen that time and time again in his life, but God did not speak through those supernatural events. He spoke in a still, small voice. He whispered. It's almost like God was saying to Elijah, "Sometimes I speak in the dramatic, but most of the time I speak quietly in your heart, in your mind, in your perception".

And what did God say to Elijah? He said, "I'm not finished with you yet. Get up, Elijah. You thought this was the end. You went through despair and despondency and depression, but get up Elijah". And he sent Elijah to the wilderness of Damascus, where he commissioned some individuals who would become king. But primarily, he sent him to set aside, to call a man by the name of Elisha, and he found Elisha plowing some oxen in a field, and Elijah went over to him and took off his mantle, his cloak, and put it on young Elisha, sweating there in the fields. And Elisha looked at the mantle, understood that was the call of God to be Elijah's protégé, successor, son, and he went and slaughtered some of the oxen as a sacrifice.

And for the next ten years, Elijah and Elisha were like father, like son in all of the ministry. And now we come to the last 24 hours in the life of Elijah, and it's interesting how he spent his time. Evidently, he was vibrant. He was healthy. And look what he did. 2 Kings chapter 2: "And it came about when the Lord was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal". And then look at verse 3. They go to Bethel. Look at verse 4. They go to Jericho. And then look over in verse 6. They go to the Jordan. What is that all about? I call it, "Elijah's legacy tour". He's got 24 hours to live. These are four areas that are right down at the bottom of the Jordan River.

If you can see a map of Israel, you see the Dead Sea right down at the bottom of the Jordan, close to where Jesus was baptized, incidentally, and you have these little communities. You have Gilgal. There was a school of prophets there, perhaps established by Samuel, but sorta rekindled by Elijah. And so, first of all, they went to Gilgal. And in Gilgal, we can imagine, Elijah spoke to those young men who were there, who would be learning about the things of God. And in the process there, he says, "God has called me to leave Gilgal and go on to Bethel".

Now, Gilgal, why do you think he went there? If you know your Bible, Gilgal pops in your mind, that was the place of beginning. When the Israelites came out of the wilderness and they crossed the Jordan, they were at Gilgal. That's where the men were circumcised as a reinstitution of the covenant with God. That's where Joshua took the troops and developed them, and perhaps that was the essential headquarters of the army of Israel for about four years. And they went out from Gilgal, and they conquered Canaan. It was there they prayed. It was there they prepared. It's for there they had strategy. It was the place of beginning.

Why would Elijah go to Gilgal? To speak to the school of the prophets, to be sure, but also to remind Elisha of the first steps of his people, to say, "Remember the history of God's people and how God has worked in your life and in my life". And then they went from Gilgal, they went to Bethel. Second stop, Bethel. "Bethel" means "house of God". What happened at Bethel? That's where Abraham built an altar. By the way, study Abraham and Lot, you'll notice that Abraham built an altar and pitched his tent. Lot built his tent and just pitched his altar. By the way, is that what you do? "Boy, I'm building my tent, my business my life, my house, my stuff, my things. I just pitch my altar".

Look what happened to Lot. Look what happened to Abraham. You need to build your altar and just pitch your tent. And so he took him there and I imagine he explained to him, he said, "Elisha, you know, I've built an altar there at Cherith". Remember the bubbling brook, remember? "And I built a altar there, and I learned how to depend on God". And he said, "I built an altar at Zarephath, and I learned how to be obedient to God, and saw miracles take place". He built an altar. He was reminding Elisha to build an altar every step of the way. And then he went to Jericho.

What is Jericho? That's the place of battle. I imagine he said, "You know, I've known some battles, Elisha". He was reminding him, recalling, working through his mind. He said, "I had a battle on Mount Carmel with all those pagan priests". He said, "I had a bigger battle in my own heart and life in Beersheba when I went through the valley of deep, deep depression. I understand conflict. And he took him there to Jericho, reminding of the victory of God's people when the walls came down". There will be battles in your life. There'll be battles there. Then he took him to Jordan. That's where he was going to be taken up into heaven. He was saying, "You're going to learn to die to yourself".

There has to be a self-death before you're ready to live. The calling of God isn't, "Boy, what can I do? What can I get out of it? How can I be important? What will happen to me"? But a selfless kind of service. That was the call that he was laying on him. Now, this was a little heritage tour. You see it? "This was where we started, first steps. This is, you learn how to talk to God. Bethel, to pray. You're gonna have battles in your life, Elisha. And certainly, there's gonna be a time of death in your life so you can truly serve and be free to serve and live for the Lord".

Now, interesting thing here. In this little heritage tour, you have Elijah saying something to Elisha three different times. Listen to this. "Elijah said to Elisha," verse 2, "'Stay here please, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.' But Elisha said, 'As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.' So they went down to Bethel". That happened every time. They were at Gilgal. They were at Bethel. They were at Jericho. Every time, Elijah said, "You don't have to go any further than this, Elisha. You stay right here". Elisha said, "Let me tell you something. I'm gonna stick with you".

You see the wide receivers in football, you know, sometimes they don't catch a pass, and the announcer'll point out, and he said, "That defensive back, he's been inside his jersey this whole game. He couldn't get away from him". That's the way it was with Elisha. Elijah said, "You don't have to go any further". What was he doing? He was testing Elisha. He said, "Elisha, you can stop here at Gilgal, take the first steps of faith, remember, that's all you need. Take care of this school of prophets". He said, "No, I'm going with you". "Well, you can go to Bethel, learn how to pray". "Oh, no, I'm goin' on". "Well, we're goin' to Jericho. There's gonna be a battle". "Oh, no, I'm goin' on". "You're going with me all the way across Jordan"? "Yes, I'm going the full way with you".

You see, Elisha was picking up upon his heritage, upon that which was his. Then we have the wonderful picture of crossing Jordan, a powerful, powerful story. Listen to it, verse 7: "Now fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood opposite them at a distance, while the two of them stood by Jordan. And Elijah took his mantle, folded together, struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. And when they crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, 'Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.' And Elisha said, 'Please give me a double portion of your spirit upon me.'"

Now, I want you to see this. They're crossing Jordan. He takes his mantle off. Bang, pops the water. They walk through on the other side out of God's land. This is the picture we get, by the way, of death. We talk about crossing Jordan, that's it. Crossing Jordan, and they walk over on the other side. And when they're there, Elijah looks at Elisha and says, "What can I do for ya? I'm about to be taken up to heaven. What can I do for you"? And Elisha, I think, shocks Elijah. He said, "I want twice of the power of God that you've had in your life. I want to be a double-portion guy". You know what that would be like? Here's a 24-year-old kid that's been following Dr. Billy Graham around, and Graham's in the fourth quarter of his life. He says, "Son, what can I do for you"? He said, "Mr. Graham, I wanna have twice as much of the influence and the power of God in my life as you've had".

Does that sound a little presumptuous to anybody? Here's Billy Graham, who's spoken to more people in the flesh than anybody who's ever lived, anybody, anybody, more people in the flesh, anybody who's ever lived. And here's this little kid sayin', "Well, I wanna just be doubled up on what you've done". Let me tell you somethin'. I like Elisha's request. I like that, as this young protégé, he knew that his God was a big God. I want you to see the answer to this, the response to this. It's interesting, Elijah said, "You have asked a hard thing". Elijah's had a pretty dramatic career, has he not? "He said, 'You've asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.'"

In other words, Elijah's saying, "Elisha, I can't give you this double portion of everything I've had. That's not mine to give. God can do it. But I'll tell you what, if you see me when I'm taken up into heaven, then you gonna be a double-portion man". Now, I want you to listen to the Scripture now when this happens because they're on the other side of the Jordan, and I love the little phrase here. It says, verse 11: "And they were going along and talking". Just walking, Elijah and Elisha. "Behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven". Verse 12: "Elijah saw it and cried out, 'My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!' And he saw Elijah no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces".

What was happening? They were walking along, and Elisha did see Elijah when the chariots of fire and the horses of fire took him all the way up into heaven in that whirlwind. Wonderful dramatic moment. You thought Carmel was dramatic. What about this moment? And Elisha is tearing his clothes and saying, "My father, my father," and he's grieving the graduation of Elijah. Let me tell you something. When a man or woman of God leaves this earth, nothing of God is lost. Nothing of God is lost. There are those in the wings. There are those ready. There are those prepared to stand up and be there. How important it is we understand that. I'm privileged to have some Elijahs in my life, Jim Baloche and others.

I'm privileged to have Elishas in my life. We all need an Elijah. We all need Elishas who will stand with us and encourage us and speak the truth to us in love and be with us at those moments. And now we know that Elisha was there for Elijah, and he's grieving the graduation. But then we see a dramatic thing happen. We see the heritage, the inheritance of what Elijah leaves Elisha. What was Elisha's inheritance from Elijah? We see it in the following verses. Look at it, verse 13: "He also took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and returned and stood by the bank of the Jordan. He took the mantle of Elijah that fell form him and struck the waters and said, 'Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?' And when he had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha crossed over". Verse 15: "Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho opposite him saw him, they said, 'The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.'"

What happened here? It is the legacy. It is what Elijah leaves Elisha. What is it? He leaves him his mantle. Whoo, whirlwind, Elijah's caught up, fire, horses, chariots, he's gone, and everything is blowing around. And Elisha is mourning the graduation of Elijah. But he looks over there in a bush. He says, "What is that? What is that? Well, that's his mantle, his mantle, the mantle that he put over me when I was called there ten years ago". The mantle of his office indicated that he was a prophet. Now, Elisha had a choice. He could have looked at the mantle and said, "Tut, man, that old thing. I don't want any of that".

He could have gone over and got the mantle, the cloak out of the bush, and looked at it, and says, "You know, I'm gonna be my own man. I'm not gonna just be what Elijah was. I'm my own man". But he didn't. He got that mantle. He picked it up, and he put it on. In other words, he understood what Elijah was telling him. He had the call of God upon him. Parents, fathers, we need to make sure our kids understand that God has a plan for their life.

He has a design for their life. He has a purpose for their life, and they need to hear that from us all the time as they are growing up in our homes. God has something special for you because you are special to God. See, that's that mantle. That's that call that's upon all of our children. And we see the mantle was picked up and put on the back of Elisha. And he went over to the river and he struck the river, and the river divided. He said, "Where is the God of Elijah"? And all the prophets were looking at him and said, "He's right there with Elisha".

The power is not in the mantle. It's the God that Elijah worshiped is the God that Elisha will serve and follow. What did he leave him? He left him his mantle and he left him his God. And he built that relationship with him. Now, what did Elisha ask for? A double portion. Study the life of Elisha, and you know what you'll find out? He served the Lord twice the amount of years that Elijah served him. Did you know that? How many miracles did Elijah perform? Eight, eight miracles. How many miracles do you think Elisha performed? Anybody wanna guess? Sixteen. And you study Elisha, you see that he had more compassion than Elijah. His miracles were compassionate miracles, not dramatic so much like Elijah.

You see he had more wisdom than Elijah. You study Elisha's life. He's not as famous and well-known as Elijah in biblical circles, but he was a double-portion man, doubly blessed, doubly used by God. Amazing, isn't it? The legacy that he was left, how important it is. Today, people tryin' to enhance, build, change their legacy. But, Dad, the time to start is now. You say, "Well, it's too late". No, it's not. Start where you are now and say, "I'm gonna be a man of God. I want my kids, my grandkids to know they have the call of God on their life. And I want them to know the Lord as I am seeking now to know and serve the Lord". What will your legacy be, Dad? You say, "Well, I'm going to leave some money. I'm gonna give this to my kids".

The important thing is not what we give to our kids. It's what we pour into our kids of time, of love, of listening, of encouragement, of being there, of embracing, of mentoring, and modeling. That's your legacy. Not what you give to them, not what you leave to them. It's what you pour into them from yourself and from your heart of hearts.

Some of you will remember a movie that has come and gone, "Mr. Holland's Opus". How many of you remember, have seen it, or heard of it? Lift your hand. Yeah, yeah, happened a long time ago. I don't agree with a lot of stuff that was in the movie. Richard Dreyfus was the star, but the theme was fabulous. You remember that Mr. Holland had in his mind an ability. He wanted to write an opus, a musical. He wanted to write a piece of music as a musician that would be powerful, that would express all the music he felt in his heart and mind and soul.

But he was having trouble getting it down, so he thought, in the interim, he would take a job as a public school music teacher in a little underprivileged section of a city. He said, "I'll just sign up for a year while I'm writing my opus". And he signed up for 1 year, 2 years, and finally, 10, 15, 20 years go by, and they defund the arts and the music in this school. And now Mr. Holland is an old man, and he has to retire. And he goes, he's picking up his stuff in his little classroom, thinking, "My life has been a failure. I wanted to write this wonderful opus, this musical piece that would just go on and on, but, man, I've just taught kids all these years".

And as he's walking out of the door, defeated, broken, feelin' like he'd thrown his life away, the principal comes over and says, "Mr. Holland, would you step into the auditorium with me for a moment"? He said, "Oh, yeah". So, he walks in, and the auditorium is filled, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of his former students, now grown, now with families. And he walks in, and they cheer, and they applaud, and they stand up, and they cry. And the governor of the state, and all kinds of people in different vocations, they stand up and give witness to what Mr. Holland had meant to them in teaching them to love music, appreciate music, to sing, and to know something about music.

It was an emotional time, a fabulous time. What is the thesis? Mr. Holland looked around that packed, packed auditorium and he thought, "Here is my opus. It's all these students. That's my legacy". How powerful, how meaningful, how significant. Dad, look at your kids tonight before you tuck 'em in and pray with 'em and tell 'em a story because I can tell ya, your sons and your daughters and your grandsons and your granddaughters, that is your opus.
Are you Human?:*