Summary: 3 of 3 finding freedom through forgiveness

A Place to Belong / A Place for a New Beginning

Sunday May 22, 2005

Opening Prayer: Father, we come to you because we trust in your goodness and because you are the JOY giver. You are the One who sets us free. Many people here today struggle with guilt and shame. Lord there are those here who feel as though they have failed you. There are those who, if faced with your return today, would hand their heads in shame. Lord touch our hearts and set us free.

Intro: My kid’s school had a golf outing fundraiser, ending with a chance to sink a Million dollar shot.

Have you ever wished for a second chance at a one chance deal?

You have heard it said, “God is the God of the second chance.” I’ve said it and you probably said it too. I understand the message conveyed here. However, when we say “the Second Chance” we are reminded of the original failure. Instead, “God is the God of New Beginnings”

o In finding a place for a new beginning we need to understand that I am not talking about making another attempt at life.

o Not talking about mustering energy for another assault on the issues and struggles in life.

o God clearly offers a different path. If is going to the beginning of something with a fresh start, a new beginning.

o The whole world is trying to “do better” to improve and build their way out of a mess. The Christian life is far more radical than that; far more hopeful and far more promising.

Text: John 3:17 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

I. Exit the Struggle (Surrender to God)

a. Give up on yourself

i. Self-esteem will never do you much.

ii. It’s not in you, so go ahead and stop trying. Stop trying to make it happen.

Romans 7:18 “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”

iii. God clearly explains that we will never measure up unless He supplies the necessary ingredient – Justification (a legal term)

John MacCarthur explains it this way, “Justification is a divine verdict of "not guilty-fully righteous." It is the reversal of God’s attitude toward the sinner. Whereas He formerly condemned, He now vindicates. Although the sinner once lived under God’s wrath, as a believer he or she is now under God’s blessing.

iv. Justification is more than simple pardon; pardon alone would still leave the sinner without merit before God. So when God justifies He imputes divine righteousness to the sinner (Romans 4:22-25).

b. The opposite of “Bad” is NOT “Good.” It is LOVE.

i. The whole goal of the Gospel is connecting to God in relationship through Jesus.

ii. When we go with trying to be a “good” person, guilt and condemnation will certainly follow

Romans 8:1 “…there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

c. Connect to Love, life and Freedom.

Romans 8:15-16 “…You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption”

i. The greatest commandments are about love / relationship

ii. Sin is the main hindrance of these three; therefore we are motivated by them and strengthened by the Spirit of Adoption to refrain from sin.

iii. God truly gives us a new beginning.

iv. Having our guilty consciences cleansed and hearts washed. We find ourselves pulling away from sin because we are drawn to love.

II. Turn to a new way of life

a. The life of repentance

i. What does a repentant person look like

1. Sad, depressed and somber, right?

2. Although we may experience emotion during repentance, it certainly isn’t a function of emotion.

3. We may be saddened because of the damage sin has caused.

4. To repent is to turn “With a different mind-set”

ii. Agreeing with God and therefore turning from error.

b. The Abundant life

i. God clearly explains that real life begins with reconciliation with Him. He is the creator of life and wants us to live and abundant life.

1. Not a life of walking on egg shells.

2. Nor are we adopting a life of guilt.

3. Nor is it walking around feeling condemned all the time.

ii. Instead, we gain God’s help / Hebrews 4:14-16 (Confidence, mercy and grace in times of need)

c. The Holy Life

i. Do you start to feel condemned just from hearing those words?

ii. If so, you may be thinking about measuring up to perfection.

iii. Perfection is something given to us through Christ. What he asks of us is discipleship and that is progressive, it is growing.

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