Putting the Past in the Past Philippians 3:13,14
Sins—Left in the Past • Leave past sins in the past • “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 3:13,14)
Reacting to the Past • How do I react to past joys and sorrows? • WISE: patient and trusting in God. • FOOL: impatient, angry, cynical; wants to control life’s events. Cannot trust God or men. • Lessons necessary for godly, balanced, productive, fulfilling lives.
Putting the Past in the Past Applies to: • Prosperity and adversity • Family relationships • Seeking and offering forgiveness
Prosperity and Adversity • Trust in God to guide the unfolding of life’s events. • “The end of a thing is better than its beginning; the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools. Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.”(Ecclesiastes 7:8-10)
The End of a Thing Is Better… • Prosperity and adversity. • Trust God to guide the unfolding of life’s events—from bud to bloom. Cattleyea Orchid
From Bud to Bloom: Cranberries bud swell tight bud cabbagehead bud break bud elongation roughneck hook bloom College of Agriculture and Life Sciences & Wisconsin Cranberry Board, Inc.
The End of a Thing Is Better… • Prosperity and adversity. • Trust God to guide the unfolding of life’s events—from worm to butterfly. Caterpillar—Cocoon—Monarch Butterfly
Prosperity and Adversity • “God has appointed the one as well as the other.” • “Consider the work of God; for who can make straight what He has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, so that man can find out nothing that will come after him..”(Ecclesiastes 7:13,14)
Prosperity and Adversity • How do we react to adversity? • Abraham grew tired of waiting. He came up with his own solutions, then faced the consequences. • Genesis 15:2-4—offered Eliezer as heir • Genesis 16:1-3—offered Ishmael as heir • Genesis 21:1-3—God worked His plan in His own time!
Prosperity and Adversity • Moses and Israel waited for God. • “And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever…’” (Exodus 14:13-16)
Prosperity and Adversity • Paul prayed, and God gave him strength to endure his trials. • “… And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me …”(2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
Prosperity and Adversity • How do we react to adversity? • Leave the past and future in God’s hands. • Concern yourself with today. • Matthew 6:34
Prosperity and Adversity • How do we react to prosperity? • James 1:17—rejoice and give thanks to God. • Job 1:21—Use your prosperity in service to God; when it is past, thank Him and move on. • Leave the past and the future in God’s hands.
Family Relationships • Marriage changes relationships.(Genesis 2:24) • Retain love and memories of home, but focus on new home and new duties. • Focus on mate—not old relationships. • Parents, grandparents, and others retain love and memories but recognize relationship changes.
Family Relationships • Children change relationships.(Psalm 127:3) • Treat each child as a treasure; give time, attention, discipline, and affection.(Ephesians 6:4) • Make spiritual training the #1 priority.(Genesis 18:19) • Embrace parental duty as a gift, not a burden; sacrificing for children enhances character.
Family Relationships • Parents are no longer children. • We’re not reliving our childhood; we’re helping them live theirs (find talents and interests, etc.). • Parents cannot train children if they behave like the children (selfish, bad-tempered, impatient, pouty, etc.) • Do not reverse roles; lead and serve.
Family Relationships • Address failures in family life.(Proverbs 28:13) • Admit failures, do not ignore or excuse. God and family will see honesty or hypocrisy. • Apologize; ask for forgiveness. • Change conduct; repair relationships. • You cannot change the past; move forward.
Seeking and Offering Forgiveness • God is ready and willing to forgive all who ask.He has promised to forgive. • “Come now, and let us reason together, says the LORD. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
Seeking and Offering Forgiveness • Christ offers forgiveness. • “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”(Matthew 11:28-30)
Seeking and Offering Forgiveness • New birth for sinners • “Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’”(John 3:5) • “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”(Mark 16:16)
Seeking and Offering Forgiveness • God forgives His children who fall back into sin. • “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.”(Acts 8:22)
Seeking and Offering Forgiveness • Accept God’s gracious forgiveness. • Do not dwell on past sins; release them. • “…forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 3:13,14)
Seeking and Offering Forgiveness • Do not return to past sins! • Don’t be deceived! • “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”(1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
Seeking and Offering Forgiveness • A saint in sin is LOST! • “For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”(Acts 8:23)
Seeking and Offering Forgiveness • Sin hardens the conscience! • “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin..”(Hebrews 3:12,13)
Seeking and Offering Forgiveness • Face consequences of past sins by trusting and believing in God! • David had painful memories, but he focused on God’s mercy and pardon. • He had committed adultery and murder. His son died, his family relationships were devastated, and the nation’s confidence was shaken (2 Samuel 11,12)
Seeking and Offering Forgiveness • “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. • 9 He will not always strive with us; nor will He keep His anger forever. • 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. • 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; • 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. • 13 As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him. • 14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:8-14)
Seeking and Offering Forgiveness • Paul had painful memories, but he focused on God’s mercy and pardon. • He had been an accomplice in Stephen’s murder and imprisoned and scattered saints. • “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.”(1 Timothy 1:15,16)
Seeking and Offering Forgiveness • Seek forgiveness from those you have wronged. • “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”(Matthew 5:23,24)
Seeking and Offering Forgiveness • Resist Satan if memories haunt and temptations return. • “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”(1 Peter 5:8,9)
Seeking and Offering Forgiveness • Seek reconciliation with people who have wronged you. • Be ready to forgive as God forgave you. • Do what you can, then put it to rest. • “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” (Matthew 18:15)
Putting the Past in the Past • Learn to leave past sinsIN THE PAST. • On life’s journey, weCANNOTreturn to the past. Trust God for the present and the future • It’s possible toHINDERwhat you can doin thePRESENTby dwelling too much on the past!