Summary: Our lives are reflective of history because we all have a past, a fulfillment of history in our lives at different times; and also good news to look forward to.
Your Past Is History
Scripture Text: Acts 13:38-39 (13:17-39/Reading)
Introductory Quote: An interesting map is on display in the British Museum in London. It’s an old mariner’s chart, drawn in 1525, outlining the North American coastline and adjacent waters. The cartographer made some intriguing notations on areas of the map that represented regions not yet explored. He wrote: “Here be giants,” “Here be fiery scorpions,” and “Here be dragons.” Eventually, the map came into the possession of Sir John Franklin, a British explorer in the early 1800s. Scratching out the fearful inscriptions, he wrote these words across the map: “HERE IS GOD.”
Propositional Statement: Are we willing to set aside hindrances and trust God as we glorify Him? Forgiveness of sin and eternal life are the things that will free us from all the things in our history. Not only do they free us from the negative things; but also the positive things that we need to forget. We need to let go of our history so that we can move forward. In the passages that we will look at today, we can be helped in our understanding about how to be released from the things that hold us back so that we can be redeemed for future ministry. You may not have recognized it; but our lives are somewhat reflective of Israel’s history as a people. Although they did not live in a modern society; they experienced the same human problems that we do…. and therefore, we can learn from them.
The New Testament explains how history was changed by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. What is the purpose of history? What is the most important consideration in life? Does life have meaning? How would people be reconciled to God? Many of us have these questions, and many more! What about dealing with the history of our lives? Are we apt to forget about the past….both bad and good…. and willing to press on toward a future? What kinds of things hold us back…. or allow us too easy a way? I hope to help us answer some of these questions today.
I. Freedom Has Come (v. 38 & 39) Both verses 38 and 39 emphasize that freedom is ‘in Christ Jesus’ through repetition. It says, “through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you” AND “through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things….” Jesus is the worthy object of your faith; it is through Him that salvation has come, and not in any other; but through Him. (His One and Only Son). (He is the author and perfector of our faith) These passages are reminiscent of Paul’s phrase “in Christ.”
A. Forgiveness is Proclaimed. (v.38) Has forgiveness of sins been proclaimed to you? It appears to me that many people seem to believe that they don’t need forgiveness of sins. In fact, for some people it’s too easy to forsake ‘forgiveness of sins’ by looking the other way. Despite the fact that some choose to ignore the message; it’s not a matter of ‘if’ tough times will come, it’s a matter of ‘when.’ Tribulation, suffering, indecision, and all kinds of difficulties or resistance.
1. Verses 17-18 tell us that the Israelites spent much of their lives in the wilderness. They spent a whole generation dealing with difficulty, complaining along the way; despite the fact that they had been delivered from their enemy.
2. Verses 17-22 tell us how seven nations were destroyed in the land of Canaan (v. 19); how they went through years of worshipping worthless idols; and how the people were misguided that they finally had to ask for a king to rule over them (v.21).
-An interesting thing about the history revealed in these passages is that God always was there to protect and provide for His people. When the Pharaoh in Egypt said, “No, I will not let this people go!” …. God with an uplifted arm led them out from slavery. When the nations were destroyed, He gave them a place to live. When they needed guidance, he gave them judges until the time of the kings. So, have you not been confronted by past examples of God’s deliverance that show His mighty power? Has history not shown you how God has provided for you through His protection and provision?
B. Belief Actually Saves- “freed from all things.” (v.39).
“Karl Menninger, a famed psychiatrist, once said that if he could convince the patients in psychiatric hospitals that their sins were forgiven, 75 percent of them could walk out the next day!” (Today in the Word, March 1989, p. 8.)
While verse 38 of Acts 13 provides for the proclamation of forgiveness; verse 39 provides for the justification of those who believe in Jesus and the forgiveness that He provides. When the Israelites asked for a king to rule over them; it says in verse 21, that “God gave them Saul….” Because the people did not accept that they had no need of any king other than God Himself; he granted that they should be ruled by their choice. In a sense, he gave them over to their desire. And, because Saul was not worthy, ….God removed him. “He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’