Levi Lusko - Secondhand Sins
All right, so if you have your Bible, if you have your pen, if you have your notebook, Genesis chapter 25 and 26 is where we're going to be today as we continue on in this amazing journey. I hated shopping at Goodwill as a kid. My mom would take us there. She would drag us there almost kicking and screaming. She had all the reasons why it was a good idea. Of course, economically, buying clothes, they're cheaper when you buy them after someone else has had them for a while and then donated them, and when you get them, you're spending less money. And so there was five of us. It made sense on a practical, economical level. Then she, of course, said, trying to do mind jujitsu, as only a mom can, they're technically new because they're new to you. This never worked.
I was always like, no, but they're still not. And then of course, the third was she thought it was more efficient to have less waste if you buy clothes that are perfectly good clothes to someone grown out of or no longer is wearing. You can get great stuff, like you would at the store, only now there's less waste because you're not buying the same thing over and over and over again and filling up landfills. And of course, as a kid, working through all my insecurities and all of these where do I stack up in the world, and so much that I wrongly thought came by way of my value of what I thought walking into a room wearing said about my worth. And with all of this confusion I just remember there being such opposition to the idea of somehow feeling second class or somehow feeling not good enough as my friends, who presumably, their parents had all the money in the world to purchase whatever brands and whatever they wanted to be wearing.
And so I remember this being just a constant battle. I hated this idea of I couldn't wear what I thought would make me be enough in other people's eyes. Interestingly enough, when I met Jennie, one of the first things that I remember loving about her was she just had her own sense of style. She never looked like she had stepped off of a mannequin display window with the exact outfit that someone in some marketing department said is this look or is now the thing that you have to wear in order to be enough. And it just attracted me to her that she had her own sense of style. And as I got to know her, I realized that she never went to the mall when she was shopping. She always went thrifty. She would always go to Savers. She would always go to these stores where you would buy secondhand clothes.
Only for her, it was just this beautiful way of treasure hunting, of finding things that would pull together the outfit that was cool in her eyes, not cool because it was what was in that season's catalog and kneading with the planned obsolescence of the fashion cycle to be now something totally different and new so they can sell you something different who bought everything commercially last year. And so it was so funny to me, of course, and she was blazing this trail, and my mom was, too, before Macklemore made it cool and before there was a Poshmark or before there was a website to go to do this, or eBay, which is really, honestly, the world's biggest garage sale, honestly. Or even Instagram accounts, where people could sell the clothes that they're no longer wearing, which is, of course, nowadays how this is all done, when you're not mailing bags of stuff to Buffalo Exchange to hopefully get some money for it all. But what's so interesting to me is that in one season, what I detested was in the next season the very same thing that attracted me.
And so what I didn't like in my mom, I found myself liking in my wife. I'll save you the counseling bill. There's a lot to work through there. But today I want to talk to you about the subject of secondhand sins. Secondhand sins. When we think about something being secondhand, we often think about smoke. We realize that our lungs don't know the difference whether we're a smoker or not. They just know whether we're inhaling smoke. We think about stories. We think about the hurtful way gossip can come second or even thirdhand. It's not that you heard it from the person. It's now you're hearing and telling and retelling something that you don't know even for sure to be true, whether it's true or not. You didn't hear firsthand. It's now secondhand. Things that are secondhand can become hurtful, if they're true or if they're a lie. Of course, we do think about shopping. We think about clothes that are purchased and given a second life.
I want talk to you about secondhand sins. And here's the big idea for this message. I want to talk to you about how to let go of recycled family flaws so you can break free from generational patterns that are sinful and holding you back. How do we spot and let go of our recycled family flaws so that we can break free from generational sins that are holding us back? Here's Genesis chapter 25. Since we jumped in last, well, Isaac got married to this wonderful girl. They both lifted their eyes up. They saw each other. They now have kids. We'll talk a little bit more about that next week, their struggles with infertility that eventually led to the blessing of two boys in their home. And now they face grief and they face hardship and they face death because Abraham has died. And Genesis 25 verse 5 tells us, "And Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac". Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac.
Now that's true economically. He gave him camels. He gave him servants. He gave him treasures. He gave him landholdings. Everything that he owned, he passed on to his son Isaac. But I want to show you that that is not all he had to give. Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. It's been said that one man's trash is another man's treasure, but tragically, we can end up treasuring things that belong in the trash and missing out and undervaluing things that are actually an incredible treasure. Genesis 26 continues the story. We see this in action. In verse 1, there was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham.
"And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines in Gerar. Gerar. Then the Lord appeared to him and said, do not go down to Egypt. Live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I give all these lands. And I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father, and I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven. I will give to your descendants all these lands. In your seed, all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statues, My laws. So Isaac dwelt in Gerar. And the men of the place asked about his wife. And he said, she's my sister, for he was afraid to say, she is my wife, because he thought less the men of the place will kill me for Rebekah. She is beautiful to behold. Now it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked through a window and saw, and there was Isaac".
And the New King James version is really, really tame when it chooses the next two words, showing endearment. Other translation use the word caress. Another one uses the word fondle. OK, so what Abimelech saw was these two making out like mad. Showing endearment to Rebekah his wife. "Then Abimelech called Isaac and said, quite obviously she is your wife". Because what he saw happening in that room would be straight up deranged if she was his sister. "So how could you say, she is my sister? Isaac said to, him because I said lest I die on account of her. And Abimelech said, what is this you have done to us? One of the people might soon have lain with your wife and you would have brought guilt on us. So Abimelech charged all his, people saying, he who touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death".
It's tragic when people far from God know better how the people of God should follow God. Breaking this down is the subject of secondhand sins, I want to attack it from four different perspectives, starting with, how is it received, the reception of secondhand sins? One of the questions that my counselor asked me often when I'm telling him, this happened and this is how it made me feel and this just frustrated me and I didn't end up doing, that's how I talk to my counselor. This is unbelievable. How did it go? Like within a moment of the meeting starting, I think we both can tell how things are going. And this is what they said and this is how I felt and this is what I did afterwards and this is a little voice in my head saying proceed with caution or abandon course or parachute deploy. And one of the things he'll often say to me is he'll ask, how old does this feel? Your reaction to this issue, how old does this, when you feel that flaring up, does that feel fresh and raw? Is that a brand new wound? Or does it feel old? Does it feel like someone's poking a really old, how old does this feel?
What he's saying is, does this feel, he's asking me to ask this question to myself. Does this feel like it's dredging up or bringing up things that are patterns or recurring things in your life or something that has its roots long, long ago? And the reality is the notion or idea of something coming from somewhere else resonates with us, and it resonates with the idea of Scripture. And in fact, here what we're seeing in Isaac's life, we're seeing something pop up. When stress, something pop up. When there is a crisis, and the text uses the word famine, but you could use the word pandemic. You could use the phrase out of work. Or you could use the phrase having difficulty with a relationship or not feeling like you're enough, any of the number of things that can provoke a reaction. And what happens? The moment there's stress, Isaac's been pretty smooth sailing. Isaac's pretty chill, everything about Issac. Dude's just meditating in the fields, trusting God. Isaac's a go with the flow machine, but everything's been smooth sailing. This is the first substantial storm we've really seen. And we have the death of his dad. We see all the normal grief. He's already faced the death of his wife.
So we now see him, all of this coming to a head. And there's such a unique connection with a son and his father, and so now he's having to wrestle with his place in the world. Who he always looked to and could count on for guidance and direction is now gone and now he owns all those things, and now a famine has come. He's the patriarch of his family. He's the one everything is looking to. And so his reaction to the stress is really old. In fact, what he did is a carbon copy. It's why the text at the beginning says, besides the famine that happened during the time of Abraham, it's saying this is the exact same thing that happened to his father before him. If you look back at Genesis 12, it says, "Now there was a famine in the land, and Abraham went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land".
Now, Egypt, if you understand Scripture, is a picture of the world. It's a picture of what we've been called out of. It's a picture of our old lifestyle of sin. It's a picture of what we all were like before we followed Jesus. So any time someone goes to Egypt, goes back to Egypt, or gets called to come out from Egypt, it's always this picture of a backsliding. It's always this picture of a mistake, or what we were supposed to be called out of that we're returning to or reverting to. And what did Abraham do there, verse 12? "Therefore, he said it will happen that the Egyptians will say", this is his wife, speaking of Sarah, "and they will kill me, but they will let you live, Sarah. So please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake and that I may live because of you".
Here's what I need you to understand. Stressful times don't change you, they reveal you. So when you say, no, it's not me. It's just a bad day. No, no, it's actually the real you showing up. There's real things inside of you that only come out when there's heat. Heat-activated, stress-activated, crisis-activated, difficulty-activated. We find out what's really in you in an argument. We find out what's really in you when things are not going your way. Who you really are on the inside, this comes out when the cup is bumped. We find out what's inside of the cup. And so in Abraham and Isaac, we both see patterns of fear. We both see responses to difficulty that makes them not want to trust God, but to take matters into their own hands. You see that Egypt was fertile. Egypt had more water. And so it didn't make sense to stay somewhere where there was desert. Didn't make sense to stay somewhere where they would have to trust in God and depend on Him.
And so the instinct in Abraham was to go to Egypt. And then once he took that step of fear, then everything looks through a lens of fear. Well, they're going to want to take my wife. Now he's just writing this whole story in his head. They're going to want to take my wife and steal her and have her. So we got to do, we got to tell everybody you're not my wife. You're my sister, and this whole thing. And Abraham went through all that. The story was that was not the right move. And so the moment Isaac's at the helm and all of a sudden there's a storm, how interesting his first instinct, start to head to Egypt. God's like, hey, man. Hey, man. No. Hey, hey, that's not how we roll. It didn't go good. And OK, we're going to stay here, but Rebekah, you're too beautiful. And what do we learn from this? We learn this, and this is so important, you got to jot this down, it's easier to copy your family sins than it is to make up your own. It is always going to be easier to recycle our sins, to live second life to a secondhand sin. And all of us have been shaped.
All of us, whether we like it or not, whether we acknowledge it or not, whether we even realize it's happening or not, have things in our lives, have things in our hearts, have things that we are going to deal with. And the reason we're going to deal with those things is because they're generational. And God is a generational God, and he has set this world out to be a world where these things function, sowing and reaping down through the ages. Now, let me just show you two quick examples to show you that this is not just true in the Old Testament sense of the word, because that's the immediate reaction to most Christians. Oh, no, no. That's just how it used to be. The cross canceled all that. Now we're completely set free. And let me just show you that, actually, salvation is a mechanism that taps into the generational power, but does not for or replace it, for God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So in the book of Romans, we're told the whole sin nature thing to begin with, the fact that we're all like father, like son, this comes from verse 12, Romans 5. "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because all have sinned".
So we are, all of us, to some degree, the byproduct of the apple not landing too far from the tree, or I guess the metaphor breaks down because what we're really talking about is the fact that Adam took the apple from the tree. And this whole thing is what has brought about, so the generational result and impact of what we call the curse is what still today is very much at play in every single one of us. And salvation taps into that same ability of God to work through the generations, for Romans chapter 5 verse 18 says, "Therefore through one man's offense, Adam, judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation. Even so, through one man's righteous act, Jesus, the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life".
So God is a generational God, and both sin and salvation, when they flow to us, they flow through generations to get to us. And that was the lineage established by Abraham, to the degree that the Book of Galatians chapter 4 says, "Anybody today who is saved and a believer, we then as a brethren, or part of the body of Christ, are as Isaac was, children of promise". So salvation literally taps us into the generational blessing using the same riverbed that brought the sin nature to our hearts. So we were separated from God, both as the result of the fall of what Adam did, and that cascaded or tipped over the dominoes that led to all of us, but we all have, as well, chosen to sin. And when we trust in Christ, we are stitched into, tapped into, the generational power. Why do you think both Matthew's gospel and all throughout the Old Testament we find all of these genealogies, these listings of generation by generation?
So we can have firm confidence that Jesus Christ is in the proper family line to be able, on his mother's side and his father's side, to find His way all the way back to David, all the way back to Abraham, and all the way back to Adam. So that God, who is a generational God, who has set up sowing and reaping, can flow to us straight from Jesus something that is actually life-saving because of what has flowed to us through our great, great grandfather Adam. God is a generational God. Both sin and salvation were generationally. Exodus 20 tells us this is part and parcel of who God is. In the Ten Commandments and in the passage in Exodus 34, when God tells Moses his name, we're told this. We're told that "God is, the Lord our God, a jealous God, punishing the children", notice, "for the sins of the fathers to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandment".
God is a generational God. This is a part of how He works. This is a part of how He operates. It's a part of how He works in the earth. To know Him is to operate, standing on the faith of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. And sin taps into those same things that God wants to use to send good to our lives, which is why when David sinned, having adultery, violating his marriage, violating his oath to follow God, everything he was supposed to do as king, which all the way back in the Old Testament Pentateuch, when God said, if you ever do have a king, even though I don't intend for you to have a king because I want to be your king, but if you ever choose to disobey and have a king, that king always has to handwrite his own copy of God's word, to remind the king that even the king is under God's authority. Even the king is meant to do what God's called him to do, so your heart's not lifted up, so you don't think you're above the people, so that you lead humbly and sweetly with the right spirit and the right heart.
David, of course, he violated those things. He violated his oath. He ended up sleeping with this woman Bathsheba. And as a result of the consequences of the aftermath, you could say of the ripple effects and shockwaves moving forward, the prophet Nathan said, the sword is not going to depart from your home. He was saying, you're going to watch this continue. Yes, you're forgiven. Yes, I'm even going to restore you, David. But you're going to watch there be consequences generationally. And when you look into David's family and the sexual decisions and the decisions with impulse control and his kids and his grandkids, what do you see? You see exactly what God said was going to happen coming to pass, because God's generational, and the things that we do, they have ripple effects that will continue to be a force and a factor long after we are gone.
Now, of course, you would say to me, no, no, no, no, Levi. That's not at all the case. Yes, my parents were hyper messed up, but I would never do that. In fact, Levi, every single thing I've done is so that I don't end up like my mom. And I would say, congratulations. You probably became exactly like the person who created your mom, or the person who created your grandmother. You see what we end up doing is we end up responding to the sins of people in our lives who chose those sins as a result of other sins. Remember, third and fourth generation. So as God looks at generations and where sin has its consequences, we can't simply look to our absent father. We have to look to our great, great grandfather and what was set in motion there that impacted the one that he was supposed to be loving and serving and the one that he wasn't there to tell and the way that our great aunt handled conflict. And you see what happens is there's ripple effects. There's shock waves.
And whether we're mimicking our dad's alcoholism or his pornography abuse or the way he handled conflict, or we're doing everything instead of that to get the approval we didn't get from that person, we're ending up fulfillment of prophecy third and four generations back. You see, who we become and the sins that we tend to gravitate towards are both nature, DNA, and their nurture, environment. And I would add a spiritual component as well. They're also as a result of long, neglected strongholds that can become powerful, just like they do in a city, in a family and in a lineage going forward. So we have to look at them from all three of those aspects. They've proven and found that anxiety can be passed on. They've proven that predispositions to a heart condition can be passed on. If you have cancer, we know there is heredity.
Some sins are going to be passed on merely as a function of our biology, our predisposition to some of them, and of course the financial circumstances and the job that our parents had or didn't have, or whether we had two parents or one, and all of those things are going to shape, and to some degree, influence which sins are our go-to sins of choice. But there are also going to be factors at play, like the enemy worked in this great way in our family going back and we didn't even understand that. But then along we come, and we think we just are out there doing our thing. What we're really doing is popping some tags in the family thrift store and/or grabbing something that is not new under the sun. It's just being recycled, because the enemy found it effective in our family two, three generations back. These ripple effects, we could use the word baggages to describe. We could use the word trauma that we face. But they have essentially become patterns. And you see them not only received, you also, second point, see them transmitted.
Let's talk about the transmission now of secondhand sins. Because here's the problem with a message like this. We, many of us, hear this as children. And we hear this and go, yeah. Yeah. Exactly what I thought, my parents suck. Or we think, I always knew there was a problem going back a couple of generations. But now can we pivot for a second and listen to this message with our I'm also potentially either a parent now or I'm going to be a parent? What are you now transmitting? How are you screwing your kids up is the question. What are you doing today that 20, 30 years from now, your kids are going to be in therapy about? Or what are you not doing that is eventually setting into a motion two to three generations what your great grandchildren are going to have to be working through and dealing with? We are not only the receivers of what has been handed to us. We also now are choosing to hand things to our children, to hand things to our sons, to hand things to our daughters. And imagine how hard it would be, and maybe some of you know exactly what this feels like, to deal with alimony.
Now you're trying to build this marriage and deal with this new family, but you're also having to pay out from this previous thing. No matter what you're receiving, it's not the same because a part of it's already gone. And if there's garnished wages, it's like you never even see it. You don't have a choice. It doesn't even exist. And so what are you trying to do? You're trying to basically swim with a hand tied behind your back. It's the same thing going off to start your career but being saddled with the enormous weight, and so many have experienced this, of a student loan. And so no matter what your wage is, you're paying off so much to just pay something that may or may not be even helping you in the career that you are now in. Many of us are essentially saddling our kids and grandkids with the generational sins that we are unwilling to deal with.
And so the dysfunction that we won't face is now becoming the future generation's problem. It's like that meme floating around during the pandemic that was both referencing the Kari Job song that came out, Elevation Worship, and also the craziness of all these trillion dollar bailouts. Who's going to pay for these bailouts, these trillions? Just like Oprah. Here, you get $2,000. Our children and our children and our children, that's who's going to be paying. So it's wonderful to just hand out money when it's not our problem, when the actual bill comes. So we have to ask ourselves, how are we playing a part in the transmission of these things? Because here's the other thing I haven't told you yet. Not only do we need to look three or four generations to see the full playing out of how this works, but what tends to happen is that the seed that's sown tends to escalate, amplify, and exaggerate with each passing new generation. That is to say, as Hosea put it, those who sow to the wind reap the whirlwind. One seed going into the ground can ultimately, given enough time, pull enough wood out of the ground to frame 100 houses.
You think about how forests grow. A single acorn can lead to an enormous forest downriver. And so what do we see in the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph? Abraham, white lie. Isaac, bold-faced lie. Jacob, his name is Liar, who tells lies everywhere he goes. Third generation. And then what happens to Jacob's kids? They tell lies, just like their dad. In fact, their lives just get worse and scarier. 10 of his sons conspire on a lie to take a jacket and use it to convince their father that their brother is dead, and they stand there pretending to dab their eyes at the funeral. Now, where did they get the idea of a jacket to deceive about a brother? Oh, that's right. Jacob wore skins on his arms to deceive Isaac into making him think he was Esau in order to steal something that God wanted to give him all along. Didn't want to shop at Goodwill, but ended up wanting the thing that God wanted to give him.
So what do we see? We see this small concession, this little foothold of I'm not dealing with this one little thing that God wants me to deal with. It just gets bigger. It just gets bigger. It just gets bigger. It just gets more out of control. Proverbs 22:6 says point your kids in the right direction. When they're old, they won't be lost. Of course, sadly, the converse of that is also true. If we don't point our kids in the right direction, when they grow up they will be lost. And as this plays out, what we need to understand and what we need to take heart is the fact that it's not merely a function of what you say, for much, much, much more is caught than is ever taught. It's like, no, no. I tell my kids the truth. No, you're living lies that are overwhelming whatever it is that you might be telling them. And this will continue on in your family line until there is a disruption.
Third point, a little hope here. No matter what you've been handed, good news. You have a choice about what you're going to hand on. And I really feel this, and I really want you to register this, because for a lot of us, the first part of the message makes so much sense in a culture crazed on the notion that is helpful, that is therapy. And so many of us have spent so much time looking at what we've done and being able to say, but this is because of this. And this is because of this. And a downside of that is an unwillingness to call sin sin, and to be willing to say, regardless of what happened to me that led to this, and I can understand by connecting these dots, and yes, how old does this feel? And all of those questions are good questions, but if we don't end up at a place of responsibility, where we still say, hey, no matter what happened, I chose to do this. No matter what was handed to me, this is how I chose to think about the thing that happened to me.
Here's what I chose to do as a response to this thing that happened to me. Then we will always end up as victims, and victims never change the world and victims never walk in peace and victims never are able to inspire. What happens is we have to choose to have the mentality of a victor, and the victor mentality is no matter what was handed to me, no matter how wrong it was, no matter how bad it was, I get to choose right here what comes from me going forward. I get to choose what I'm going to do about the hard things, the bad things, the terrible things that have happened to me. So here's some good news. The whole idea of what my dad did and what my grandpa did and what my great aunt Susie did now becoming a part of me is not automatic. In Jesus' name, it is a choice that we make to repeat the sins of our fathers, the sins of our forefathers. We all have responsibility. Ezekiel 18. There was this proverb that broke out, a misunderstanding of God's nature, since He visits the consequences of sin on the third and the fourth generation. The saying broke out that if your teeth are set on edge, it must be because your father ate sour grapes.
And that was a way of saying, if I'm living bad, don't blame me. It was my dad. Don't blame me, it was my uncle. That's what the people were saying. If I have teeth set on edge, it's just because my father. And I think our generation, we're living in that, because coddled. It's all around us. Don't blame me. Don't judge me. You don't understand what happened to me. That is where we live. And God said, "As I live", verse 3, "says the Lord God. You shall no longer use this proverb in Israel". He said that's not what I meant by it. He said, in fact, here's how it actually works. Behold, all souls are mine, the soul of the father, as well as the soul of the son is mine. The soul who sins shall surely die. He said everybody has to understand this. You all ultimately have a choice. And even though it's going to be a lot easier for you to choose a family sin, it's going to be a lot more natural. It'll happen without you even thinking about it. You still ultimately have the choice, the choice to disrupt this evil pattern, the choice to disrupt these dominoes.
At any point you want, you can put your hand down and block what handed to you from going out of you. How does it happen? He said, as I live. He was hinting at the power of Jesus, because of the resurrection. Because He said, what I am going to do through my Son Christ is going to bring power inside of you, power inside of you that can overcome these things that through DNA, through environment, and through spiritual warfare are handed to you. You can choose to buck from it. You can choose to break free from it. How does this work? This power of family origin is strong, but you know what's even more powerful? The power of adoption and being brought into a new family through the blood of Jesus Christ and through His willingness to accept you into His family. You become a child of promise, like Isaac. You're a part of a whole brand new family, where you get to essentially have a spiritual CRISPR and you get to pick what's going in the new DNA sequence.
And I get to walk in Hebrews 11, go shopping through the faith of Samson. I get to choose the passion of David. I get to choose the trust of Abraham. I get to believe with a boldness like Esther. Jesus taps me into a whole new family. And in this rebirth, in this opportunity, what are we accessing? Mercy. Mercy. And that is what the difference is between three to four and thousands. Mercy. Back in Exodus chapter 20, let's look at it again, just in verse 5. "Yes, I punish the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but", verse 6, "I show love to a thousand generations". You realize that God is essentially putting a limiter on how far sin can travel? He's essentially putting a governor. Otherwise, it would just run unchecked and roughshod. What he's saying is my actual desire is to show mercy, My mercy, which unleashed at the cross in its ultimate form. My mercy that is unleashed on the world through My promise to send someone to adopt you, save you, heal you, fix you, bring you into a new family, give you a new choice, give you a new future, give you a new home, give you a new calling, give you new gifts, new birthright.
All of that that I've given you, it's My mercy, and that will run unchecked to a thousand generations. But I've chosen to not let sin travel further. And it's interesting when you watch the effects of an evil life. God does seem to have a way of saying, enough and no further than three to four generations. And so you have Abraham's deceit. You have Isaac's deceit. You have Jacob being a deceiver. You have his 10 sons conspiring together and they do harm to the son, Joseph, Joseph a part of that fourth generation. And what does Joseph do with all that was handed to him? Deceit, betrayal, hatred, all of these evil things handed to Joseph. Joseph chose to write a new story. Joseph chose to tap into a new birthright, handed to him not through his earthly parents, but through his Heavenly Father, when he chose to forgive, when he chose to not harbor evil. He never said what they did was good, but he chose to believe my God is doing something good in what was done to me and what was taken from me.
Joseph was handed the script, the same old, same old script. Get mad, do this. Get mad, shut up. Get mad, be passive aggressive. Get mad, eye for an eye. He was handed the same script that his previous forefathers had. When they handed it, they just said the part that was on the page. And a lot of us, that's the problem. We just do exactly what we feel. We just do in our marriage exactly what our mom did to our dad in marriage, or the exact opposite, essentially becoming like great grandma. We just get handed that same script through our DNA and through the spiritual warfare and how the enemy wants it to go, and we just do it exactly. We play our part exactly as we feel it. But Joseph tore up that old script and chose to say, I see a different script. I see a different part for myself. I'm not a victim. I'm a victor. Yes, what you did was wrong. I'm acknowledging it was wrong, and that put me here. But guess what? God had something bigger He was doing. My spirit's bigger than just to become jealous and to become angry and to be possessed by it and look for a chance to get even with you.
Instead, I choose to walk in mercy, and I'm going to unleash something that's going to go a thousand generations. And in Jesus' name, here we are still today talking about the spirit of Joseph, who tapped not into the power of a family of origin, but he recognized those things were a play. He recognized and saw those things are part of my story. We're not talking about just pretending those things aren't there. Because as Carl Jung so well put it, "until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life". So had Joseph just said, I wasn't kidnapped. I don't know what you're talking about. My life's been great. No, this is bad. What you did was bad, but I forgive you. What you did was wrong, but I see God has a plan in the midst of what's wrong. And so now what is he doing? Not ignoring it. He's positioning himself to be a blessing by having wounds that have been healed. And that's what Jesus did after the Resurrection. He still had the wounds to the cross. They were just healed, and He was willing to show them to each other.
And to the extent that we allow God to heal the father wound and to heal the mother wound, and to heal I was raised in a single father, single parent home. And to heal the wounds of I didn't get the opportunities and privileges that other people were afforded, and there was racism handed down to me. When we allow God to heal those wounds, then we don't have to hide our wounds, because then they will just drive and harm our lives and set the next generation up for failure. But when we have healed wounds, we can stand with peace, showing those healed wounds like Joseph, showing those healed wounds like Jesus. And there will be power in them because they no longer have any power over us, and God can begin to do a work of healing that will flow through the generations. And that's our final point. God wants to use all these same forces for a godly chain reaction.
If you will allow the name of Jesus to cancel the curses and to break the chains that bind you, you can then be postured to be a part of a godly chain reaction through a godly heritage that God will never put a limiter on. And He will let that sucker flow a thousand generations after you've been with Jesus in heaven. Never underestimate, I'm saying. Never underestimate the power of a godly example in the home. And we see this in Isaac's life, too. Everywhere Abraham his father went, he did three things. He pitched a tent, he built an altar, he called on God's name. Look through Abraham's journey. Every new place he gets to, first order of business, pitch my tent. Does not build a house. He pitched a tent, keeping his heart set on heaven, thus obedience. Everywhere he went, he built an altar, a place, a symbol of the promise to worship God that we see fulfilled in our relationship with Jesus in now being a part of the local church.
So every time we come to that first day of the week, what are we doing? We're building an altar. We're worshipping God again. Every time a new day begins, what are we doing? We're building an altar, worshipping God. Every time we get paid, what are we doing? We're tithing. We're building an altar. In our resources, in our life, in our finances, we're not only living lives of obedience, but lives of worship. And then thirdly, he would call on the name of the Lord. That's a picture of dependence. I need you. I'm not doing this in my own name. I'm not able to break curses in the name of Levi. But I can break every curse and tear every chain apart in the name of Jesus. It's the name that's given us above every single name. And when you live a life building altars, pitching tents, and calling on God's name, that will carry on.
So Isaac, Genesis 26:24, the Lord appeared to him in the night. So what did he do? He built an altar, he called on the name of the Lord, and he pitched his tent there. So we see in Abraham's life this flowing through. And today, as we worship God, obey God, and trust in God, are becoming Isaac's little brothers, Isaac's little sisters. That's a part of the promise, a part of this godly chain reaction that God wants to do through us. Proverbs 13:22 says, "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous". I think a lot of us think about what we're going to leave to our kids financially, but this is not just talking about resources. It includes resources. And if you don't have a retirement, if you don't have, even starting small. If you're 20 years old, you put $5 a week, $5 a paycheck aside for retirement, thinking through these things, life insurance, estate planning. For me, the day I breathe my last and die to be one of the most powerful things God ever does for His church.
And so I think in estate planning, just considering what you can put into motion in your will and testament that will allow the church to be prioritized in the estate as it's being dispersed, to think about that. You're never too young to be making those kind of wise, godly decisions, both for your children, but also the spiritual children that, as they hear the gospel preached through equipment purchased with resources that was handed over the day you die, just think about how you'll be rejoicing in heaven. But also, I think about the righteous example and legacy and patterns. Just as you can hand on a bad reaction to conflict, a way of shutting down and running away the moment something's not easy, you can also hand on steadfastness and steadiness and sweetness in spirit. I just want you to have a bigger vision of what God can do, not for three to four generations, but a thousand generations, a chain reaction, as you rise up to do and to be all that God's called you to be.
We're living in a day when our country is quickly coming to a place where many of these things that we're talking about, honoring God and trusting God and picking up our cross and following Him, they're being discarded to the left and to the right. Who needs church? Do we need to trust God's Word? Why would I worship? I don't need to confess sin. I just need to work things out in my own little journey. These things are being set aside. But what we also need to see is just as it's possible to treasure what is actually trash, so we also can find our lives taking on whole new levels of significance when we choose to treasure what the world says is trash. I think about how in Asheville, North Carolina there was someone who stood at the checkout stand of a Goodwill, and they had a pile of clothes they were going to buy. And it was $0.58 a pound. That's how they rang it up. They just put everything you got on the scale, and it's $0.58 a pound. And included in this woman's possessions she was going to purchase that day at the Goodwill was this jersey here that you can see on the screen. It says West Point.
It seemed kind of vintage and cool and so she grabbed it, not having any idea that it once belonged to Vince Lombardi and was worth $58,000, which is what she ended up selling it for. It was the same realization of another person in South Carolina at a Goodwill, who found this painting. It was oil on a canvas, $3. And purchased it, thinking I'll tear off the painting and just keep the frame to put something else in it. Not knowing it was done by a Flemish master and was worth $190,000. And my personal favorite, and I've told you this story before, Michael Sparks went to Music City Thrift Store in Nashville, Tennessee and found what he thought and assumed was a replica of the "Declaration of Independence". Turns out he was an authorized copy, issued by John Quincy Adams. It was a part of 200 to be printed and sent through the entire country in the year 1820, and was worth half a million dollars. He was pretty pleased he bought it for $3, or not even $3, $2.48. So the point is what someone can say is no longer to be valued. I'm telling you, let's pick up these old-time things, like trusting in Jesus and following God and believing God for Him to make the difference. Yeah, there are secondhand sins, church, but there are also secondhand blessings, and I'm believing that for your life and for mine.
So Father, would you take these words that have been spoken, some that are hard to hear, because they force us to think of things that we would rather forget. And I believe that the name of Jesus can break chains. And as we wrestle through and look at things that we've tried to ignore and forget, pain, harm, abuse, abandonment, despair, great suffering, great wickedness, I pray you would give us compassion for those who have harmed us. It doesn't excuse what they've done or how they've harmed us, but it would explain, perhaps, what they've been through that led to them coming to that place, that they didn't have the tools, perhaps, to deal with what they needed to. And I pray, God, that you would help us to see that by your Spirit, we have a choice, no matter what we were handed, to hand something different on to the next generation. And I sense your Spirit. I sense hope rising in this place. I see that you're willing to help us take the broken pieces of our lives, and not try and tape them together, but to watch you build something brand new out of them.
If you're listening to this message and you would say, Levi, I realized that there are some things I need to let go of, some of the flaws of my family that have been holding me back, some of the generational patterns I see that I'm fulfilling these things three and four generations. And I want to walk in something new. I want to walk in the power of my birthright as a citizen of heaven. Could I just ask you to raise up a hand, allowing Jesus' blood to set you free, allowing His Spirit to fill you and overcome you and give you power? You are not stuck. You are not held hostage. You are not a victim anymore. And the shame is melting off of you, and the power of the Holy Spirit is causing you to be aware of and assured by and confident in the fact that you are a child of the King of Kings.
And from this moment and going forward, God wants to ripple through the generations His blessing and favor and power and kindness, His goodness, His love, His patience and self-control. We're tapping into your power, God. You can put your hands down. I want to give a moment for anybody who needs to receive salvation. Romans 5 tells us we can either be children of Adam or children of Jesus. And if you're here today and you would say, I don't want my apple to be disconnected to that tree. I want to trust Jesus and be saved and be set free and be born again. I want to be adopted into the family of God. God will not force you to be saved against your will. You have the choice. And today's the day and now's the time, and that's why God has brought you to this moment. So if you're ready to trust Jesus for salvation, I want you to pray with me. Say this. Church family, pray with us.
Dear God, I know I'm a sinner. I can't fix myself, but I believe you can. Please come into my heart. Make me new. I give myself to you, in Jesus' name.
Still praying, heads bowed, eyes closed, every single person watching on Facebook and YouTube and church online and at your friend's home and one of our locations, if you just prayed that prayer to trust Jesus, I want to give you space to raise your hand up. I'm going to count to three. I want you to act on this, raising up an expression of your faith. When I get to three, shoot your hand up. God will see you in the back of the room, every part of our church you're watching. God is with you in your living room. He's with you in your car. When I get to three, respond to Him right now. He sees you. 1, 2, 3. Put your hands up. Put your hands up. We're excited for you. We're celebrating with you. We're so excited to see God work in your life. And if you would, grab your phone and send a text message to the number 97000 so we could encourage you, pray for you, and just communicate with you as to what the next steps are walking forward in your relationship with Jesus.
Remember, look, Jesus is in your heart, Pete Scazzero said it this way, but Grandpa is in your bones. And you need the people of God around you to help you walk through and make sense of the reality of navigating our new family, our new heritage, but also still being connected to so much sin and these shameful patterns that can hold us back. So God bless every single one of you making that decision. And before we close, I just wanted to read a blessing over you, and I wanted you to read it over yourselves, too.
In America, those of you around the country, we talk about St. Patrick's Day, and it sadly can devolve into this Lucky Charms Day and pinch you if you get green. But those who are watching from Ireland, and we have people logging on every single week from the nation of Ireland, an amazing country, they know full well the power of everything we've been talking about that was lived out in the life of St. Patrick. At 16, he was kidnapped by pirates. Imagine that. He was taken to Ireland from Great Britain, where he lived. He lived, for six years, a life of pain and abuse, until he managed to escape and get back home. And he was so convicted by the Holy Spirit of God that he needed to return to the place where all these things had happened to him. Only now, he needed to come back with wounds that had been healed. No longer defined by his pain, he now had something to offer to those who had taken much from him.
So he went back to Ireland and he preached and he became the patron saint of Ireland, leading the revival all across the country. Christianity flourished and broke out. The love of the Word of God, the Book of Kells, and all the story and heritage of St. Patrick is powerful. And he only left a couple of writings, but what he wrote was so beautiful. And I wanted to put on the screen something I would ask for you to speak over your life and to bless yourself and to bless your family and to bless your home, and let the sound of this blessing ring out for all who hear as we pray this together over ourselves, a prayer of St. Patrick. "May the strength of God pilot me. May the power of God preserve me. May the wisdom of God instruct me. May the hand of God protect me. May the way of God direct me. May the shield of God defend me. Amen". God bless you, church. Love you. May God bless you in great ways.