Investing in the Future Sermon
Message: “Investing in the Future” Sermon for 10/13/19 at Harbor Church.
Inheritance. When we think of this, it is usually in human terms, such as those spelled out in a will. It is the disposition of property and assets of parents who pass them onto their children. When a trust is established for children and dependents and descendants it is usually spelled out with something very clear in mind.
By contrast the Trust which The Lord has given us is spiritual in nature, so what are God’s intentions for our spiritual inheritance?
The Believer’s Inheritance. In the OT we find the concept of inheritance transferred from the purely physical to the spiritual. When referring to the people of God, We read phrases like “the Lord is their inheritance” and that they would receive a more beautiful heritage, the Lord himself, in whose presence is fullness of joy and everlasting pleasures
Throughout the scriptures we also read statements about inheriting the age to come, the kingdom of God, and eternal life. This inheritance, however, belongs to those who are sanctified by Christ through living a life of belief and trust in the promises of God’s Word. God’s inheritance is. In short, our heritage is nothing less than full salvation and the eternal life which God promises to all who trust in him by faith.
A significant feature of this theme found in the NT is its emphasis that, as a result of the work of Christ, his people begin even now to receive the promised inheritance. The Gospel of John frequently stresses the present reality of eternal life. The apostle Paul also presents a vigorous case that the patriarch Abraham’s true children are all those who believe, whether Jew or Gentile They become heirs of God’s promise for they receive the Spirit (Gal 3:14). The principle of inheritance is promise, not the Law Those who believe are brought into union with Christ and God has determined to send the Spirit of his Son to believers so that they too may call God Father and enter into the blessings of God’s spiritual inheritance . This is the essence of the spiritual inheritance that God promises to the entire family of God.
For the church, the question becomes ‘what can I do to experience and enjoy the blessing of this inheritance here and now, and also what can I do to preserve this legacy to our children and our children’s children. One of our most important responsibilities as the children of God is to invest in the kingdom of God here on earth, and so ensure that the blessings will continue to the generations that follow. With so much of the universal church in decline around the world and in our nation, it falls to us to ensure that the life and vitality of the church continues so that we can pass the essentials of our faith to our children and all those who follow us.
Investments. Most of us spend time and energy planning for the future, managing our stock portfolios and our pension plans to provide for our fiscal and physical security. It is a responsible and reasonable way to live. Now compare this with the type of spiritual investments that the scripture speaks of. What are we doing to give the same attention and care to our spiritual pension, and how are we managing our spiritual wealth. Paul says that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing imaginable in Christ. This brings us to the idea of investing not only in our own future, but also in the future of the church, of ‘paying it forward’ so that those who come after us will also enjoy the rich blessings of God that we ourselves have experienced.
At Movie and a Meal on Friday night we watched a documentary called Happy – It was an exploration of the science of Happiness in which sociologists tried to draw conclusions about what really makes people genuinely happy in this life. The conclusions were that internal factors were much more important than external ones. In other words, Life circumstances like wealth, security, power, influence and status don’t necessarily produce felicity. Conversely, adversity in life such as suffering, trials, hardships, and depravation don’t keep happy people ‘down’ for very long. Lasting happiness in life is an inside job. Our perspective, our commitments, and our motivations are what ultimately yield genuine gladness, joy and contentment in life. At the end of this insightful study into happiness, a man was interviewed and his words stayed with me. He had left a life that was enormously successful by an external standards to pursue a life of intrinsic, internal rewards. He worked in a hospital providing physical care for terminally ill men. He said, “My life is like a loan, given by God, that I want to pay back with interest. His life and words were an inspiring example of a life that was thoroughly invested in the people he served.
As we conclude our fall Stewardship drive this fall, I would simply ask you to consider what you believe God would have you do in terms of investing in the future of the church of Jesus Christ. As members of Harbor Church, it makes sense that we contribute our dollars and cents to her ministries (pun intended). But let’s remember that investing in the kingdom of God also includes volunteering to do the work that keeps the church vital and strong. A rule of thumb in most of the churches in America is that 10 % of the membership does 90% of the work of her ministries. Let’s throw out that rule at Harbor Church because we don’t live by law or by rules but by grace, the grace of God which has been freely and abundantly poured out in our lives. The more each one of us does to serve God and his people, the greater will be our investment not only in the health of the church today, but also in the riches and wealth of the inheritance we will leave for those who follow us. And whenever the Lord Jesus Christ chooses to return and call us to our eternal inheritance, may God find us investing in tomorrow by diligently engaging in the works of ministry today, amen.