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OVERCOMING OUR PAST

Winning the Battle  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  28:23
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Joke - If you have ever been to a Saints game, you know there are some bad seats in the Dome. One time a man who had terrible seats… seats that felt like you would fall out of. He was at a game with his binoculars and spotted a seat on the 50 yard line in the Lodge level. He checked it all through the fist half. Finally, when it was empty at the start of the second half, He made his way to the seat. He asked a man sitting in the seat next to the one he had his eye on, Is this seat taken? The man replied that the seat had been his wife’s seat but she had recently passed away. The other man said, “I’m so sorry for your loss… may I ask why you did not give the seat to a family member or friend?” The man replied, “They are ALL at the funeral.
Some people are just too dedicated to football… some of you who dats might come close, but I don’t think any of you are that bad.

What’s Life about for the average American?

To a lot of people, it’s about making money and sports, having a good time, etc. To others, it’s about heading to the lake or beach to get away… to go fishing, skiing, snow skiing, whatever....
Growing up, my dad rented a lot from a really nice man in Lake Weiss where we placed a small 1 BR trailer and built a huge porch onto it. We would go to the lake a lot to fish or water ski. We would go after work or after church or all day on Saturdays… it was great fun. It was defiantly the good life.
To many people, the good life is about a good job, making good money, having a nice house, boat, and plenty of time to enjoy all of the above. You know… a husband or a wife.... 2.6 kids, a dog, a house with white picket fence and the works.
A lot of things though draw us away from the Lord and distract us from obeying the Bible.
Cousin - doesn’t believe in tithing. she believes that you can tithe in any way you want, but the Bible says the tithes is the first 10th of what we earn.
It’s especially easy to be drawn away if we don’t read the Bible regularly. That’s why it’s important for all of us to study the Bible. Don’t let Sunday or Wednesday, or even Connect Group be the only time or times you study the Bible.
I know you are all busy, we all are. but we have to take the time to be in the Word. We should look at the Bible as our Manuel for living. ie: Car guide, user guides...
In the Bible God gives us instructions so we can be successful in life. Today, we are looking at Eph 4:17-32. Follow along as I read.
Ephesians 4:17–32 NLT
With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Listen, is anyone in the room not affected by this portion fo scripture. It hits all of us I’m sure.
We are going to look at 3 areas and 3 ways to overcome our past from these verses.
The First way to over come our past is

1. PUT AWAY OUR FORMER LIFE

Ephesians 4:17–21 NLT
With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him,
Let me ask you.
What was Your life Like BEFORE you met Jesus?
Some of you remember at least parts of it and some parts that you are not proud of. Some of you have memories you hope no one will ever find out about from before you came to know Jesus as Savior.
What did you use that you no longer do? What did you do that you no longer do? What did you say that you no longer say?
Others of you came to faith in Jesus at a young age. You may not remember ever not being a Christian. That’s a blessing if that’s you.
Others may be plagued with the troubles of drinking too much; doing drugs; driving drunk; carousing; shoplifting; ignoring God; fighting; arguing; being a bully; abusing other people; dishonoring your parents or others in authority; and run ins with the legal system.
Did I miss anyone?
Ephesians 4:22 NIV84
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;

It’s Our Deceitful Desires that Lead Us to Trouble

It’s our lust and deception that leads us into trouble… Think about it.

Is there any part of your old life you are hanging onto?

Are you still doing some things that you wish you could stop? to get free from? You know deep down they are strongholds or even addictions, but you just seem to not be able to break free from them. They are like a Ball and Chain.
Maybe there is something you did in the past that you are tempted with today?
Paul Said to “put off your old self.” To put away our past… Sounds great but HOW do we do that?

Only Through Jesus Can We Break Free of the Chains

Only through a relationship with Jesus Christ can we become overcomers… only through His power can we get over our past sins. Only through Jesus can we break those chains.

Breaking Chains = Not Doing that Thing

Breaking Chains = Forgiving Yourself

Those things are in the past. Jesus forgave you of them… it’s time to move on and no longer allow them to hold you back.
Romans 8:12–14 NLT
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
We are are born with a sinful nature, but we must allow the Holy Spirit to help us put to death those misdeeds.

How does the Holy Spirit help us overcome sin past or present?

We first ask God to forgive us, then we immerse ourselves in His Word and praye and attempt to follow Him every moment of the day. To be immersed means to totally cover ourselves or to be ALL IN.
Baptism - When we are baptized, we immerse ourselves in water. We go all the way under the water with nothing sticking out of the water.
Just like baptism, we must we must go all the way under and immerse ourselves in the WOG and Prayer.
The Second Way to overcome out past is

2. Put on Christ

Ephesians 4:23–25 NLT
Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.
We are to put on Christ and that’s done by being ALL IN… by completely immersing ourselves in Jesus, allowing Him to rake control of our lives. When we do that, He will change us.
Ask Jesus to cleanse you from all of your sin and do your best to put on the nature and character of Jesus Christ.
Here are a couple of ways to put on the New Self… the nature and character of Jesus.

Two Ways to Put on the New Self

Imitate Other Christians

Imitate other people who are effectively serving the Lord.
1 Corinthians 11:1 NLT
And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.
Paul says to follow his example. We need to imitate Paul as he follows the example of the Lord. We need to see what he is doing and what he doesn’t do. Many people lead godly lives that we can imitate as we follow how they follow Christ. Often seeing someone else following the Lord inspires us to do the same. Find someone like that and follow them as they follow Jesus.
The second way to out on the new self is...

Imitate Jesus

The second way to put on the nature and character of Jesus is to imitate Jesus himself. You might want to make a list or underline in your bible as you read it so that whenever you see Jesus acting in a certain way you will remember to try to act the same way.
Jesus often went away to pray… and most of the time it was in the morning.
Hebrews 12:1–2 NLT
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

The more we keep our eyes on Jesus as we read the Bible, the more we will become like him.

Then we will be able to put on the New Self.
Acts 4:13 NLT
The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.
Maybe you are here today and you feel ordinary and untrained in the scriptures and the things of God. You may not understand many things in the Bible…
Be Encouraged! There is Hope!
Spend time in the Word and prayer and you will begin to understand the things of God.

It’s important to start now and Grow

Things that grow usually take time. Don’t get frustrated, just grow slowly and steadily.
The Third way to overcome our past is ...

3. Take Authority Over the Devil

Ephesians 4:26–27 NLT
And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
This verse has so much truth in it. It says don’t let the sun go down on your anger. That’s a lot right there.

Anger Festers and Grows

Anger festers and Grows when it’s left alone. It may start small, but it grows and grows into something bigger.

How do We Give the Devil a Foothold?

What is a foothold. A foothold is something we do that gives the devil entry into our lives. drinking / abusing drugs / arguing / porn / smoking / any sin really. It’s something that makes it easier for the dvil to destroy your life.

Helping the Devil Out is Stupid! Don’t Do it.

Don’t give him a foothold.
Here’s an illustration that may help you understand how: The light turned yellow and a driver decides to stop instead of beat it through the intersection. BUT, the tailgating woman behind the man does NOT have the same opinion. She is furious and begins honking her horn and screaming wildly….dropping her cell phone and her makeup…making her even madder. She is still yelling at the man when a police officer knocks on her window. He orders her to exit the car with her hands up. He puts cuffs on her and takes her to the back of his car. She can’t find her identification, so he takes her to the police station. She is searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a holding cell. After a couple of hours, her husband comes with all of her identification items and she is escorted back up to the booking area and given her other personal items back. The officer apologizes to her and tells her why she was brought in. He says to her, “When I pulled up behind you and saw you reacting the way you did…..blowing your horn repeatedly, flipping the guy in front of you off, cussing non stop at him…..I also saw your bumper stickers that read, “What Would Jesus Do?”, and “Follow me to Sunday School”…..and your “Choose Life” license plate holder…….so naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car.”
That’s a story, but what about the people protesting Trump with Love Trumps Hate Signs while they burn someone else property.
Losing our temper and acting in crazy ways will give the devil a foothold in your life. When we don’t use restraint in our lives, we make it easy for him to attack us.
Ephesians 4:28–32 NLT
If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
That’s pretty good list of things we are not supposed to do… stealing; talking in unwholesome ways.. not forgiving others.
Whether you realize it or not, you give the devil a foothold when you react in these ways as well.
To Take Authority over the devil is to, with the Power of the HS, rid ourselves of this bad stuff.

We take Authority over the Devil by Looking to the Lord

James 4:7–8 NIV84
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

The only way we can Take Authority over the Devil is by Submitting to the Lord

We have to submit to Jesus before we resist the devil or he will defeat us every time.
Ephesians 6:11 NLT
Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.
Paul showed us how to stand up to the devil and take authority over him.
Ephesians 6:13–18 NLT
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Conclusion
Do you have a Past you would like to forget? A past that haunts you?
Turn it over the the Lord.
None of us can be overcomers until we PUT AWAY the old life and PUT ON CHRIST and take AUTHORITY OVER the Devil.
Galatians 2:20 NLT
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

True Life in Christ is when we live by faith

True Life in Christ is when we live by faith every day listening to the Spirit’s voice in our lives.
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