Tony Evans - Patriarchs, The Legacy of Faith
Our particular message today as we work our way through Hebrews 11 on faith talks about the patriarchs and the legacy of faith. Hebrews chapter 11, verses 20 to 22. It says, "By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come. By faith, Jacob, as he was dying blessed each one of the sons of Joseph and worshipped leaning on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph when he was dying made mention of the Exodus of the sons of Israel and gave orders concerning his bones". We're given the patriarchs, the fathers of Israel's faith to teach us about faith and faith as it relates to your legacy.
Judges chapter 2, verse 10 says that the next generation grew up without knowing God's ways, nor his works, and when you read the Book of Judges you see a society in chaos because the children didn't know God. The greatest collapse in America, in our country today, is the collapse of the family, because whoever owns the family, owns the future. The saga of a nation is the saga of its families written large. The greatest cause of poverty, the greatest cause of instability, the greatest cause of dropout rates, the greatest cause of teenage pregnancy, the greatest cause of criminalizing the next generation can all be whittled down to the breakdown of the family.
I don't care who you elect, if you don't get the family straight, the White House is not gonna be able to fix your house. We're living in a day when the breakdown of the family has led to the lack of transference of a spiritual legacy. We live in a day of parental outsourcing. You outsource when you don't feel like you have or are able to get what is necessary to do it in house, and so you put it in the hands of somebody else to do it for you so you don't have to worry about it. We live in a day of parental outsourcing, where we've outsourced our kids to this center, that center, we've outsourced them to the television, we've outsourced them even to the church, and worst of all we've outsourced them to the government. We said, I don't know that I can do this, you take care of this at least for most of the day so that I have limited responsibility. And as a result, we're raising a generation of children with no spiritual heritage.
Your responsibility and mine is to lay forward a spiritual legacy for our children. We are to pass on a spiritual heritage for them to grab hold of. Because I don't care whatever else you pass on, if you miss that one, everything else you did pass on is in trouble. What do I mean by a legacy? A legacy is what you pass on. What do I mean by that spiritually? Well, let's talk about it physically. Everyone in here has or ought to have a will. You want to have an orderly transference of that which has been deposited in your care to be turned over to the wellbeing and to the safety and use by your family and by your offspring.
Well, what you do in a physical will is what God is expecting every parent to do with a spiritual will. The great tragedy is, we have people who make physical wills who have no spiritual wills. Nothing that they're passing forward to the next generation that is a matter of faith. You see over and over again in this passage and in this section, it says, by faith, by faith, by faith. It is passing on what children need to learn to live under the rule of God in their life in a comprehensive way. Adam and Eve passed on a curse to their children. When they rebelled against God, Cain killed Able. They passed on a curse, and so one brother slays another brother because Adam and Eve rebelled against God. He says that by faith there was something generationally passed on, a spiritual will, if you will.
The key question of this passage, you'll see it a little bit clearer in a moment, is what kind of spiritual will, spiritual legacy are you and I passing on to our children? Now, it says that they passed on the promise of God. They passed on the promise of God. God has a will, and the name of his will is called a covenant. A covenant is God's will. God has a will that every believer is to pass on to the next generation, every parent is to pass on to their child, it's called a covenant. God made a covenant with Abraham, passed on to Isaac, passed on to Jacob, passed right down. What is a covenant? A covenant is a spiritually binding relationship that God makes with his people in order to cover them. A covenant is a spiritual covering. We have a generation of children uncovered because their momma and daddy are uncovered. 'Cause guess what? You can only write in a will what you yourself possess, so you can't will somebody else's stuff. And you cannot will to your family somebody else's faith. You got to own it so you can transfer it. So, that means if you have no faith to transfer, they have no assets, spiritually, to receive, unless somebody else adopts them. He says that he passes over a covenant.
I've explained this, it's like an umbrella. A covenant is an umbrella, it's raining outside, and you have an umbrella. You open up the umbrella, and you are covered. The umbrella does not stop it from raining, it just stops it from raining on you 'cause you're under cover. Now, you can have an umbrella but not open it, so you have a covering that you're not using. But if it is raining and you are covered by it, you don't stop the rain, you stop it from raining on you. Our culture is raining down evil, it's raining down secularism, it's raining down commercialism, it's raining down immorality, it is raining down our evil, it is raining down redefinitions of what God has set as his standards, and if your child is not covered, they're going to be soaked by the culture.
But guess what? God has given every mother and father an umbrella, and you're supposed to cover your household like Joshua did in 24:15 when he said, as for me and my house, we under cover. 'Cause he told them folks, he said, now, I don't know what you're all going to do, and I don't know what God you're going to worship, but as for me, this is how we roll up in here, up in here, up in my house. We're under cover, we're under the spiritual covering of God that we are setting up to be a legacy for our family. We have a generation of parents who want their kids to have skyscraper potential on a chicken coop spiritual foundation. We've not invested in their spiritual foundation, their spiritual wellbeing, we've not found out if they're learning anything, if they're growing. We're not even sure that they're saved and somebody else will have to lead them to Christ, because we're not concerned about the foundation, we're just concerned that they become a doctor or lawyer, an engineer, a principal, we want to make sure that they reach the height of the world.
The job of the parent and parents is to give their kids a solid foundation and then trust God for a superstructure high rise life. He's speaking about a legacy here. He's speaking about something that is transferred because, watch this, the covenant involved a blessing. They fought for that thing, that blessing, that blessing, that blessing's up in this passage, we gonna talk about it in a second. They wanted the blessing, the blessing was the passing on of the favor of God related to the covenant. So, that's why there was this big fight between Esau and Jacob over this blessing, over this birthright and over this covenant, because it had to do with passing on the blessing, and that's what covenants are designed to do, Deuteronomy 29:9, that my covenant is to bless you. The covenant is God's favor being passed, what greater thing could we pass on to our children then God's favor? But it dawned on me, that's the problem.
We've a generation of parents who haven't been blessed, so they don't have anything to pass on. That young man, that young lady has never had somebody who is spiritually responsible lay hands on them and say, "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father, I transfer to you the rule of God to operate in your life so that all that God has in store for you will come your way". Whenever they did a blessing in Scripture, they placed their hands on you, and they placed their hands on you and say, "I'm transferring to you through me, through my fingertips God's favor on your life as it has been in my life so that you will have more of his life in you than I had in my life, so that God will take you further than he took me, because I am transferring the blessing".
And it's hard to transfer a blessing you don't know anything about. Chaos, because they're unblessed parents, and did you know it, they won't be able to articulate it to you, your baby is waiting for that blessing. Your baby is waiting for mom and dad to lay their hands on them, and say, "I pronounce God's favor in your life as you follow his way, his will, and his Word". They're begging for it, 'cause if you don't do it, Satan is ready to curse them. If you don't bless them, Satan is ready to curse them, to bring them under his regard and under his regime. He's ready to do that. He says, "By faith, Isaac blessed Jacob. By faith, Jacob blessed his grandsons, and by faith, Joseph said take my bones up from here". Verse 19 says that he considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, for which he also received Isaac back as a type.
Okay, I didn't spend much time there, let me go back to Isaac as a type. Remember, Abraham was told to offer up Isaac, his son whom he loved. So, he took his son, he was about to stab him, God said no, showed him the ram in the bush, and he got back his son. But he got back more than his son, because he got back his son as a type. A type is a physical illustration in the Old Testament designed to make a spiritual point in the New Testament. So, it's something God used in the Old Testament that was visible and physical to bring a reality about in the New Testament, a type of a spiritual point he wants to make. So, in giving back Isaac, he got back the physical, he got back his son, but he got back an oath, you remember last week, and a promise. God swore that I'm going to now use you to be a blessing to the whole world. In other words, I'm gonna use your obedience to do something spiritual that's gonna blow your mind. So, he says, he got back Isaac as a type, he then goes to Isaac and he says, now, Isaac blessed Esau and Jacob. Those are his two sons.
So, let me talk about Isaac now. Isaac had the DNA of his daddy, Abraham. You remember, Abraham had issues. He was a liar, he was afraid, he told the people that my wife is my sister. They almost, you know, he almost took her in, the king, as his wife. Guess what? Isaac did the same thing with Rebecca. He said to the king, this is my sister. He was scared, he was scared. Same thing happened to his daddy, 'cause daddy, you need to know what you pass on is not just your good looks. What you pass on is your sinful potential. So, whatever is wrong for you is in the gene pool too. So, that's why you gotta be right with God, so you don't pass that on. 'Cause Abraham passed on the same gene. Not only that, but Isaac was so into money and so into food, he wanted to give the blessing to the person God had not chosen. God chose Jacob, Isaac loved Esau more, so Isaac wanted to give it to Esau even though God chose Jacob. So, he wanted to do something outside of God's will. God had to allow a trick play to be played on him by Rebecca and Jacob in order to get it to where God wanted it to go. So, he was even working against the will of God.
Let me go to Jacob. Jacob has 12 babies by 4 different women. Jacob is a player, he got baby momma drama. He got 12 kids by 4 different women, he is a deceiver, he is a manipulator, he is a trickster, that's what his name meant before he met God. He was such a bad father that he raised up terrorists in his family, rapists in his family, incestuous boys in his family, and he raised up brothers who would sell his younger son into slavery, 'cause that's the kind of daddy he was, he was a messed up daddy. Yet, he in chapter 11 of Hebrews, that ought to give you a little bit of hope. Because even though they were failed, here it is, watch this then. Isaac, I'm gonna get to Joseph in a minute, Isaac, when God reversed it and didn't let him give the birthright to Esau, his favorite older son, Isaac said, "I give up, God, however you want it is how we gonna do it". Esau came in and said, "Reverse it, dad, reverse it, dad, I'm your son, you love me the most. Reverse it, dad"! Dad said, "I can't do that, that's not God's will".
Okay, watch this, dads, his sons were grown. So, even if you failed at a young age and have to make it up as a grown man, you get that thing right with those kids that you failed so you can begin to live by faith at the position you're in. So, you say, oh, I wish I was a better father when they were two, three, four, and five. Yeah, I wish you were too, they wish you were too, God wishes you were too, now they 35 and 40 years old, what's a man to do? You're to go back and make everything right you can make right, 'cause you want still whatever legacy God can leave to be transferred. Okay, what does it say about Jacob? It says Jacob, Jacob leaned on his staff and worshipped, having blessed his grandsons. So, he leaned on his staff and worshipped. Now, he leaned on his staff 'cause two reasons, he's very old, and God had messed up his hip.
Remember, when he wrestled with the angel of the Lord and he got a dislocated hip, so he's walking with a cane 'cause he's old and he has a dislocated hip. And he blesses his grandsons, Joseph's son, the son who he had initially led to get in trouble by making him the coat of many colors and parading it in front of his brothers. Okay, here's some good news. Once God gives you grandsons or daughters, he just gave you a second chance. He gave you the chance to make up for the failures you made with your children. Some things you can't do with them at 35 and 40 years old, but once you start having grandbabies, he says, okay, we can't do this with them, but you can do this with the grandkids, so I'm giving you another opportunity to lend spiritual influence in your family structure.
So, don't miss the grandkids, even if you missed the kids. That's God's second chance. Then it says Joseph, by faith, Joseph didn't have the problems of his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, his problems were basically related to immaturity. And he had to spend a life of ups and downs, we went through that in our series on Joseph, ups and downs, ins and outs, he went up and down. But he came to the end of his life, you meant it for evil, God meant it for good, he was able to forgive because he saw the hand of God. And then, according to verse 22, he says, "When I die, take my bones up out of here to the place God promised". Take my bones from here when I die to the Promised Land whenever God brings it.
Watch this, Abraham didn't get to own the Promised Land, Isaac didn't get to own the Promised Land, Jacob didn't get to own the Promised Land, all they had was a promise. That's all they had, was a promise. But they said, our confidence with God is so strong that even though he just got us to visit it, and Joseph didn't even get to visit it 'cause he lived all of his life in Egypt, we're going to believe the promise of God, and we're gonna keep telling it to our children one generation after another generation, in spite of the fact that God has done some good things, but we haven't seen the full manifestation yet. Translated, transferred the covenantal promises of God.
And so, you pass it on, and you let God give you down payments along the way. It's like the father who said, okay, I'm going to give you an inheritance of $100.000 when I die, that's what in the will, it's $100.000. But every year I'm going to give you $5.000, 'cause we don't know when you gonna get the $100.000, 'cause you don't know when I'm gonna die. So every year I'm gonna give you $5.000 just to let you know I'm serious about the $100.000 when it is to come. So, while we got a great future, God in eternity has got a lot for us, but he says, if you operate under my covenant, I'm gonna give you a little something here, I'm gonna give you a little something there, I'm gonna give you a little something here, I'm gonna give you a little something there just to let you know I'm good for the big thing later on.
But some of us are missing out on a little something, because we don't believe the big something, and so we don't walk by faith, we walk by sight. And if you walk by sight, you have Isaac, but no type. You have no spiritual reality. Notice, it was Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, it's all men in this section. Why? Because the covenant was passed from the man. In the Bible, the man raises the children, not the woman.
Ephesians chapter 6 says, "Fathers, raise your children". It's the father's job. You say, well, what's the woman supposed to do? Help. It was Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because men were held responsible. That's why God says, "Adam, where are you"? not "Adam, where are y'all"? 'Cause you're responsible, that's why Satan is causing men to desert their homes, to renege on their families, to desert their children, to walk away from their pregnant mothers. He's getting the men out of the home so he can stop the covenant from transferring.
So, praise God for all you mothers who refused to let the devil have his way. Says they passed it. Don't just leave something to your children, leave something in them. Because when you do, you will give the next generation a bungie cord, so that even if they leave God, they're gonna bounce back, 'cause you did attach them to the covenant. And if you're single and you don't have children, whatever the young people are under your influence, nieces, nephews, cousins, or if you're mentoring in one of our public schools the four boys you're mentoring or the four girls you're mentoring, you wanna pass on the spirit. Yes, we want them to get a good degree, we want them to have a good job, we want them to maximize their potential, all of that, but we want them to do it on a solid, deep, spiritual foundation.
You and I are watching the unraveling of a culture. We are watching children who do not seem to be grounded in a clear direction. The breakdown of integrity and morals, the increase of violence and insensitivity is revealing something has gone missing. When parents don't guide their children into the future, when parents don't mentor them for tomorrow, and when there's no one else to step in the gap, to serve in that role, then they find themselves aimless. And the repercussions for a community and a society are devastating. The next generation needs a blessing, that means they need parents or surrogate family to provide it.