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From Trespass To Testimony

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Name That Sinner

1. Committed adultery, murdered the husband of the wife he was committing adultery with. Later repented, asked God for forgiveness, and God forgave him of his sin. God went on to use him mightily, to the glory of His name…King David
2. Murdered, harassed, and persecuted Christians in the early church. His former behavior was so abhorrent, that God had to give him a new name! Repented after a dramatic encounter with God and went on to write 2/3’s of the New Testament…Formerly Saul, the Apostle Paul
3. Denied Jesus three times. Rebuked Jesus more than once. Later effectually stated by his actions that Jesus life, death, and resurrection wasn’t good enough, and refused to eat with non-Jews because they weren’t good enough. Was rebuked by Paul for his behavior. Also helped found the church in its infancy and, church history implies, died on a cross just like his Savior, Jesus…Peter.
4. Was a prostitute who is listed in the direct lineage of Jesus…Rahab
5. Prostituted his wife twice out of fear for his own safety. Loses faith in the promises of God and has a child with a woman who is not his wife. When his wife gets angry at the woman and child, he banishes his son and mistress to the desert to die. Was later credited as being saved by his faith…Abraham

Today’s Bible Lesson

1 Timothy 1:12-17
1 Timothy 1:12–17 NRSV
I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost. But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Imperfect Bible Heroes

The Bible is chalk full of imperfect people
David, Paul, Peter, Rahab, Abraham
All of them struggled with imperfection even after conversion!
Peter gives us a great picture of how we continue to be a work in progress after accepting Christ.
Today’s passage reminds us that Paul was a murderer!
And despite these imperfections, we look back at each of the people mentioned as important people in the Bible.
We see their trespass, but we also see tremendous testimony of God’s forgiveness, love, and reconciliation in each one of them.

What About You?

My guess this morning is that there are more than a few of you who are struggling with trespass.
Perhaps it’s sexual lust
Maybe it’s greed
Maybe it’s slander and gossip
Maybe it’s just your arrogance
Whatever your particular trespass, trial, or temptation, God promises us in the Bible that He can make a testimony out of our lives.
Today we will look at three ways to turn our trespasses into testimonies.

Trespass To Testimony 1

We must seek knowledge.
When we know the Word of God, and disobey it, we are acting blindly and, at least in that area of our life with God, we are living in unbelief.
1 Timothy 1:13 NRSV
even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief,
Have you ever had a moment of spiritual, emotional, or mental clarity when something you could not see suddenly became very, very clear?
What’s my blind spot here?
For me, it was an argument with my beautiful bride, Jerianne.
Hosea
Hosea 4:6 NRSV
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
God does not want us to be ignorant of truth.
It is in truth that our ignorance of sin is destroyed, and then we can really work toward a testimony.

Trespass To Testimony 2

We must surrender more and blame less
Galatians 2:20 NRSV
and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
The Bible tells us that once you do see rightly, you must surrender your sense of entitlement.
Have any of you ever noticed the patterns children fall into when they argue>
Maybe one child takes a toy.
The other wants the toy
They fight
One child hits
Then another hits
Parent breaks it up and...
“But he.....”
Genesis 3:11–13 NRSV
He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.”
We have been blaming others, and circumstances, since the fall...
We must take radical, powerful, convicted responsibility for our own attitudes, thoughts, and actions.
To move from trespass to testimony, we must surrender more and blame less

Trespass To Testimony 3

We must trust God’s promise of glory more than our present circumstances
Interesting Fact…A testimony is never a finished product...
We are all in process.
Titus 2:12–14 NRSV
training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
Titus 2:11–14 NRSV
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
What’s your testimony today?
I have good news. If you persevere in Godliness, your testimony on your last day will be so much greater than your testimony even on this day.
What are your blind spots today? What is your selfishness today?

Conclusion

That thing…God’s going to keep knocking at it.
Story of Dad’s testimony
What would it look like for your whole life to be a testimony?
What if you left your ignorance behind and wanted knowledge?
What if you stopped justifying your sinfulness and started surrendering more?
What if you started looking hopefully toward eternity so you could live joyfully today and every day?
God has created your for testimony. What’s yours going to be?
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