Summary: A sermon on Blessed are the Pure in Heart, focusing on guilt. (Taken from John Baker’s Book, Life’s Healing Choices on Choice #4)
Evening Sermon for 3/15/2009
Matthew 5: 8- Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Have you ever tried to outrun your past?
A convention of Arkansas State troopers was asked to submit the best excuse they’d ever heard for someone trying to get out of a speeding ticket. The winning entry was submitted by a trooper who clocked a semi-tractor truck speeding down the interstate. The trooper pulled in behind the truck and turned his lights on, but the truck kept going. The trooper got right up on his bumper, but the truck kept going. The trooper turned on his siren, but the truck went even faster. Finally, the truck ran out of gas and rolled to the side of the highway.
The trooper got out and walked up to the trucker’s window. The driver rolled down his window, and the trooper asked, “Did you see my lights?” “Yes sir, I did,” the trucker responded. “Did you see me following you right on your bumper?” The trucker answered, “Yes sir, I did.” “Did you hear my siren all those miles?” “Yes sir, I did,” the trucker answered. Finally, the trooper said, “Then why didn’t you pull over?”
“Well, to be honest, about 2 years ago my wife ran off with an Arkansas state trooper. I was afraid you were trying to bring her back!”
Wouldn’t it be nice to live our lives in such a way that we could be unafraid of our past catching up with us? Is that even possible?
A. Celebrate Recovery
B. We realize that we have sinned against God and that we have problems that we cannot overcome- Poor in spirit
C. We realize that we need Jesus Christ to overcome our problems and sins- Mourn
D. We have taken the step to salvation. We have let go and now we let God.
Good, it is all over with and we don’t have to do a thing. No, that is not quite the case. Skip down to Matthew 5:8, come to the others later- Also in connection with this is (Heb 12:14 NIV) Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
E. Is it possible to have a pure heart? Of course.
F. Those who are truly pure in heart aren’t afraid of their pasts.
G. We need to come clean. The truth is that we all have regrets. We’ve all done things that we wish we could go back and change. We feel guilty, and we carry that guilt with us. We need to let go of our guilt.
H. A young man called in to one of those call in talk shows hosted by a psychologist and said, “I’m consume with guilt and don’t know what to do with it. How do I get rid of this guilt?” The answer offered by the talk show host was upsetting: “You can’t get rid of guilt. You just have to learn to live with it.
I. The Bible tells us how to get relief from our guilt.
Thesis: Tonight we are going to talk about guilt.
I. What guilt does to us?
1. Guilt destroys our confidence
A. Guilt and confidence cannot exist in the same person. (Isa 32:17 NIV) The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.
B. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, writer of the Sherlock Holmes novels, was quite a prankster. One day he played a prank on 5 of the most prominent men in England. He sent an anonymous note to each man, which simply said, “All is found out. Flee at once.” Within 24 hours, all 5 men had left the country.
C. Skeletons in our closets.
2. Guilt damages our relationships
A. We respond to people in harmful ways. We overreact or explode.
B. Some appease people unwisely. Parents indulging their children.
C. Cause us to avoid commitment. We won’t let people get close to us.
3. Guilt keeps us stuck in the past
A. It’s like driving a car by always looking in the rearview mirror. A rearview mirror is helpful, because it gives us perspective. Looking at our past gives us perspective, too, but if we look only at our past, we never get to see the present or look forward to the future. Some people focus on the past to the extent that their rearview mirror gets bigger than their windshield. With this kind of driving, forward progress is nearly impossible. In fact, a crash is likely.
B. Spiritual growth is the process of expanding that windshield and shrinking the rearview mirror so we can get on with the present.
C. Feeling guilty just makes our today miserable.