Getting Past Your Past
Sermon shared by Mike Leiter
Summary: Sermon 3 of 4 in a series on Jonah. Theme: How to get over your past.
Audience: General adults
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GETTING PAST YOUR PAST
Two weeks ago I began teaching you out of the book of Jonah. On that Sunday, if you recall, I talked with you about the alarms that life gives us when we begin to stray from God’s will. There are alarms in our surroundings, alarms inside of us, alarms that we see in our actions, all indicators that we are going the wrong way. If you remember, I used the example of a football player named Roy Reigels and how he picked up a fumble, ran the wrong way and nearly scored a touchdown for the opposing team. I told you that at half-time Reigels was down and defeated until his coach said, “Get back on the field – the game is only half over!”
Last week I talked to you about how to return to God after a time of falling away. We looked at chapter 2 and learned four truths about returning to God:
1. We are to return to God with honest prayer.
Jonah 2:2 says, “In my distress I called to the Lord.”
If you recall, I said that it is difficult to return to God when it
is God who you have offended. I gave you the example of Jacob and
Esau and how after years of running, Jacob finally returned to his
brother and found a welcome with open arms. That is a perfect
picture of how God works.
2. We are to return to God with heartfelt penitence.
We learned the road back to God must we a road traveled on our
knees in humility and surrender.
3. We are to return to God with humble persistence.
We are to hang on with the road gets bumpy and rough. If you
recall, I used a cute little poem about two frogs that fell into a
can of cream and how the persistent frog survived.
4. We are to return with holy praise. We learned that if we are going
to re-commit to God, we need to become people of praise and
Today I want you to join me in Jonah chapter 3 and I want to talk to you on the subject, “Getting Past Your Past”.
Let’s look at Jonah 3 together.
Look again at the first verse here with me: “Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.” The two words at the end of that verse are the only clue you and I have that Jonah ever fell away. That tells us something special about God’s attitude toward those who have fallen away and come back to Christ.
It reminds me of Cyrus Curtis, who once owned the Saturday Evening Post. He had a sign hanging in his office that announced, “Yesterday ended last night.” It was a powerful reminder that every day is a new day and a new beginning. #22559
That idea also resonates with Lamentations 3:23 which in the Contemporary English Version reads, “The LORD can always be trusted to show mercy each morning.”
We learn three things about God here. Are you ready? Here we go:
I. In spite of your past, God doesn’t give up on you.
A. God is amazing. After Jonah ran from God, began to associate
with pagans, and then attempted suicide, God still wanted to
use him. God never gave up on His plans for Jonah.
B. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,"
declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
C. The manager of an IBM project that lost $10 million before
it was scrapped
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