THERE’S A BLESSED FUTURE FOR THOSE WHO ARE SAVED, AND WE NEED TO REACH OUT TO IT. MANY THINGS DONE HERE ARE DESIGNED TO GET US READY FOR HEAVEN.
- CHURCH IS ONE INSTRUMENT GOD USES TO GET YOU READY !
- MARRIAGE IS ANOTHER WAY.
- HAVING KIDS IS ANOTHER !
- HAVING OBLIGATIONS, BILLS, IS ANOTHER !
- OUR PAST CAN BE A GREAT TEACHER. OR, IT CAN BECOME A BALL AND CHAIN.
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
1. HOW DO YOU LOOK AT THE LIFE YOU HAD BEFORE YOU WERE SAVED ?
DO YOU DIVORCE IT, REMOVE IT AS NON-PRODUCTIVE ?
Colossians 3:5-7 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
A. NOT IN FOND MEMORIES AND GOOD TIMES, BUT IN SHAME.
Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
Paul saw his past as dung.
Philippians 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
B. NOT IN MEMORIES OF FUN AND GOOD TIMES, BUT IN FAILURE AND LACK OF POWER.
1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
2. DO YOU ACTIVELY CONDEMN YOUR PAST, OR JUSTIFY IT ?.
GOD IS NOT PLEASED WITH OUR PAST.
Ephesians 4:1-3 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
OUR PAST DID NOT ACCOMPLISH GOOD THINGS FOR US. GOOD THINGS WILL LAST FOR ETERNITY.
A. NOT “WELL, I TURNED OUT OK.” BUT, “IF IT WASN’T FOR THE GRACE OF GOD PULLING ME FROM MY SINS…”
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
*(NOT—train up a child in stories of how YOU made a mess of things, and then got straightened out). **Man now 85 years old. Didn’t get saved and start serving the Lord until about 50. By that time, his children were raised and on their own. He used to brag about how he’d do some pretty stupid and wild things, and laugh about them. His kids got the idea that they could, too. To date, none of them have received the Lord. He watches the obituaries in his home town every day, and sees more and more of his old friends who have died. He buries his face in the paper so his wife won’t see him cry. He is a living testimony that just because you were stupid when young, but got right with God, that everyone else will—including your own kids. MOST OF THE TIME, UNLESS YOU POINT OUT THE TRAGEDY OF YOUR OLD DIRECTIONS, THEY WILL DO THE SAME. AFTER ALL, YOU PASSED ONTO THEM YOUR DNA.
B. NOT “WELL, I WAS GOING ALONG WITH EVERYONE ELSE.” YOU HAD A CHOICE AND DID THE WRONG THINGS ACCORDING TO THAT DELIBERATE CHOICE.
OUR PAST SHOULD HAVE MADE US REALIZE HOW MUCH WE NEED GOD. God changes our lives from darkness to light.
Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
C. RECOGNIZE THE GREAT MIRACLE GOD DID IN GIVING YOU NEW LIFE.
*(Not everyone who did those things gets saved. Don’t expect your kids to get saved when you justify your behavior, or talk about it as if it is OK for a while, but later you can change. The reason you changed is because God reached down, and you responded. Not all you friends did—and if you present the same to your kids—not all them will likely do it, either).
3. DO YOU THINK YOU COULD HAVE MADE IT TO HEAVEN WITH YOUR OLD LIFE ?.
A. DON’T PLAY INTO REVISIONIST HISTORY AND RE-WRITE YOUR PAST. AND MAKE IT APPEAR THAT IT WAS ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR.
That would make the work of Christ useless, and appear to be unnecessary.
Psalms 79:8 O remember not against us former iniquities: let Thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low.
***It is likely that there were many things in your past that you thought were ok, but later are shown by God that they were awful and not only hurt God, but others.
B. THOSE WHO NEED FORGIVENESS CAN HAVE THE PAST WASHED AWAY THROUGH GOD’S POWER—THE BLOOD OF CHRIST.
Isaiah 65:16 That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.
”Past And In Place”
A Bible Study with Dr. Ed J. MacWilliams