Summary: Message focuses on how Satan uses ou past sins to keep us from helping others come out of theirs.
Serving Despite Our Past
In my previous message from my series “A Slave for Christ” I shared with you more on the life of Paul and how he chose to sell out to Christ after his conversion. I shared with you that some Christians did not immediately accept him because of his past. In Bible study we have been talking about how the Holy Spirit interacts with us and how sin can grieve the Holy Spirit and hinder His work through us. This morning I want to encourage you to move beyond your past. I have titled this message “Serving Despite Our Past” and we will look at a very familiar story in the Old Testament that demonstrates how this can be done. But before we go there, let me give you some background information so that we are all on the same page.
A couple of years ago I was having a conversation with one of my family members and we were discussing how some of our family members were living their lives. During this conversation I asked the family member I was talking to why they did not say something to our family members who was not living for Christ and they told me that they did not feel that they could. This was based on how they had made similar mistakes in their past. While I understood exactly what this person said, it saddened me that they had believed one of the greatest lies that Satan has ever laid upon the Church. That lie is this: “You cannot talk someone about their sins when you have sinned, especially if you “did” the same thing you’re trying to tell them not to do.” This lie is based on the truth of what Jesus said in Matthew 7:3; 5 which says, “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?....You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Jesus was talking about judging someone else; He was not talking about trying to help someone come out of sin. Satan uses what Jesus said about judging to whip us into silence so that sin might run free. If nobody is talking about sin because we are all doing it; then we are all guilty and there is no accountability.
This lie, if believed, keeps us in the shadow of our sins and we never move beyond it to help other come out of where we were. If and when we come to the point where we have dealt with our past we will be able help others without the fear of our past being thrown up in our face. If we remain ashamed of the mistakes that we have made and allow Satan to keep us silent about them, we will never muster up the courage to correct someone who is living wrong. We cannot continue to walk in the lie that says because I have sinned I cannot correct someone else; especially if I have done the same sin that they are doing. It is our learning from and understanding of where they are that enables us to talk with them on a personal level. I have heard this from some of my family members and friends who know me and some of the things I have done. I have been questioned about why I take a stance against something that I did myself. But here is what some do not understand, you will never be judged against Rodney’s standard as Rodney can send no one to hell. What I may have done cannot ever justify anyone doing the same thing. My nephew remarked recently when he found out some things that I had done as a teenager and young adult that it was “it nice to know that you used to be human – I always thought you were like you are now!” That was an interesting perspective that he had of me. This morning I want to encourage you to move beyond your failures and use that experience to help someone else move beyond theirs. Always remember that God can use the mistakes we make to help someone else if we stop allowing Satan to beat us over the head with them. Turn with me to Psalm 51.
I. David’s Request Forgiveness
In today’s world the importance of sin as a concept is eroding at a fast pace. Being aware of a sin against an unseen God is something that is old fashion. Living according to the acceptable standard of the world is more important to many today. Some actually dismiss any belief in sin as something of an era that is long gone and not applicable to life today. This is not just a belief of non-Christians; this belief has found its way into the Church. If you’re one of those who accepts this belief, then you will not accept this message. If you believe sin is free and carries no consequences because “God knows my heart” then you will not receive what I will share with you this morning. However, for those of you who still believe that sinning against God is a terrible thing; and you’re constantly faced with the sins of your past; then you’re in the right place this morning because God wants you to be free. King David understood that there was only one way to deal with sin: face it; confess it; and be forgiven. However, for him it did not stop there and that is what I want to focus on this morning.