Theme Scripture: Psalm 145:4 - One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.
1:30 VIDEO - S1E01 - 1:28-2:27 - Opening title sequence
Welcome to our final week of TGIF! We've spent the last three weeks looking at some of the different classic 1990s Friday night sitcoms and what kinds of things these modern day parables can teach us about God. We've looked at Perfect Strangers, Family Matters, Full House, and now my personal favorite: Boy Meets World.
Boy Meets World follows the life of Cory Matthews and over its seven seasons, we see Cory grow from a middle schooler into an adult. Along the way, Cory, his best friend Shawn and his girlfriend and eventual wife Topanga, get into all kinds of predicaments as they navigate high school, college and the "real world". Boy Meets World always dealt with issues head on, covering some hard hitting topics like underage drinking, sex outside of marriage, divorce and broken families, class differences, cults and witches, and what it means to be an adult. These issues came up and the show talked about the hard reality that they presented. They always seemed to be able to wrap them up in an episode or two, but they didn't shy away from them.
The voice of wisdom and guidance on the show was Mr. George Feeny, who is both Cory's teacher in school and his next door neighbor. Mr. Feeny begins the show as Cory's 6th grade teacher and follows him along in his educational career as he grows up, moving to principal at his high school, to professor at his college, and finally the dean. That doesn't make much sense, but hey: it's a sitcom, plot holes are just a way of life.
But Mr. Feeny is in the business of dispensing advice and wisdom to Cory and Shawn and Topanga, whether that is in the classroom or across the backyard fence. But I want to highlight one lesson that Mr. Feeny teaches Cory about the role of education and family in our lives after Cory's dad gets him up out of bed late on a school night to watch a no-hitter, causing Cory to sleep through a test in Mr. Feeny's class.
2:00 VIDEO - S1 E03 - 17:44 "Anyway, I prayed every night…" - 19:49 "Precisely why I do know"
Mr. Feeny is talking about education in a secular sense, but I think that his point speaks to the world of faith as well. Faith is not about memorizing facts or little test scores, about making sure that we have all of the right answers. It is about being formed and shaped over years and years into the people that God wants us to be, into followers of Jesus.
It is about the absorption of concepts and ideas about who God is and what He has done for us. The whole process is so grand and all encompassing that it can't be threatened by simple bumps in the road in our walk with God. It is important that each and every one of us spend time with our Father, so that we might know and feel His love for us, rather than just intellectually agree with it.
That is why we gather here in this place on Sunday mornings. Not because we need a refresher course on the facts and dates of the Bible, but because we need to be refreshed with the love and forgiveness of our Father. It is important.
Now, when I was sitting down to watch Boy Meets World as research for this sermon, this was episode 3 or the first season. I thought "Boom. Got my point. This sermon is just going to write itself." But I kept watching and I'm glad I did, because I got to watch and rewatch Mr. Feeny live out over 7 seasons the thing that he told Cory in episode 3. I got to watch Mr. Feeny educate Cory and his friends and family on so many things, not just in the things he said, but in the things he did as well.
2:15 VIDEO S3E5 18:19 "Ah Mr. Matthews" - 19:09 "easy thing to do." // S7E5 18:56 "I've lived in this world…" - 19:26 "his good heart" // S4E17 18:13 "Even though this isn't…" - 19:04 "that I could teach you"
Mr. Feeny taught something to everyone that he met and in doing that, he changed their lives. His example, his witness that he gave to everyone he met was something that had an impact on them. As his students grew up, they were able to reflect those very same things to the people around them as well; and when they realized the effect Mr. Feeny had on them, they knew he had rubbed off on them.
2 Corinthians 3:18 - So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord--who is the Spirit--makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. (NLT)
And like Mr. Feeny rubs off on his students, God rubs off on us as well. As we spend more and more time with our Father, this process of being made like God, this process of faith, it makes us into His people.
The point we hear in Boy Meets World time and time again is the importance of family and those who matter the most to you. We watch these characters grow up and get to watch them put these lessons that have rubbed off on them into practice. We get to see them reflect the lessons they have learned to the people around them. And we get to see the profound influence that has on their lives in the show's last episode.
2:30 VIDEO S7E23
Mr. Feeny has taught his students everything he knows and everything he has. His love for them is shown in the way that he shows them exactly what it looks like to be everything that he is saying. This is what he teaches them. And this is what Jesus has taught us as well.
1 John 3:16 - This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
In Christ, we have a perfect example of love: sacrificial love that cares for others more than it cares for itself. That is willing to do anything for them, no matter what the cost. That is willing to teach us what it means to be a good father, what it means to never give up on us, what it means to be a good person, and what it means to always be with us, as long as we live. Yes, these are the lessons we learn from Mr. Feeny, but this is the character of God. This is His love shown in the example of laying down your life for others. And that example will have an impact in the lives of our brothers and sisters.
Now, one of the reasons that I wanted to do a sermon on this show was that it was my favorite. But the other reason I wanted to do it is because Boy Meets World has a spinoff: Girl Meets World. And in this show, we get to watch Riley Matthews, daughter of Cory and Topanga, get into her own shenanigans and predicaments with her best friend Maya. Now, I know that this might just be the nostalgia talking, but I think it's a good show. And I especially like it because we get to watch the lessons that Cory and Topanga learned from Mr. Feeny get passed on to another generation.
1:15 VIDEO - Girl Meets World S1E01 - 0:16 "Why do we have to…" - 1:30 (cut to new scene)
Watching Cory and Topanga pass on the lessons of love that they have learned is the real payoff in this show. It's most of the reason that I love watching it: to see them step into the role of the wisdom giver as they parent their children and reflect those lessons they've learned to their kids.
Because that's the whole point: passing it on. Telling the next generation about the incredible things that God has done for us. To show them what the love of God looks like by laying down our lives for them, by making sacrifices for them. Now, this is probably pulling on the heartstrings of the parents in the room, which is great, but not everyone in this room is a parent. That's okay. The generations that I'm talking about aren't biological generations, but generations of faith. Everyone in here, parent or not, has someone that they can influence with their love. Everyone in this room has someone that they make sacrifices for, that they can reflect the glory of God to. Everyone in here has someone that they can pass their faith along to. What an incredible thing! Because that faith has the power to impact generation after generation, like the faith of one of the Apostle Paul's companions, a man named Timothy, Paul wrote this to him:
2 Timothy 1:5 - I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. (NLT)
Paul writes this to encourage Timothy to know that his faith relies on the faith of those who came before us. That the example set before him now guides him as he seeks to reflect the love of God to the people in his life now. That those examples can be an inspiration to us as we seek to do the same thing.
0:30 VIDEO - Girl Meets World S1E1 21:58 - 22:28 (cut before credits)
Our legacy is what we leave behind. The people who loved us, the people who gave us an example, the people who sacrificed for us so that we might know the love of God have given us a base upon which to stand. You are not alone in your faith. Now go out there and reflect the love of God to those people in your life to whom you can pass along your faith, so that one spiritual generation might tell of God's mighty works to another. Let's stand.