Faithlife Sermons

Love Reigns Over Our Past

Jesus Christ demonstrated his love for humanity by sacrificially giving his life on the cross and resurrecting from the dead. Because of this incredible act of love, those who are in Christ have become new creations. All of our past mistakes, sins, and miscues have been covered by the blood of Jesus. Our past no longer has the last word and final say over our lives. We have been given a fresh start. We have been reconciled to God and we, in turn, can give hope to others by making an appeal for God’s forgiving love to them as well.
Think: My past does not define me. I am more than what I have done.
Feel: The heavy burden of my past no longer weighs me down.
Do: Decide to get past our past by believing in the forgiving love of Jesus.
Last week was Easter and we began the series, Love Reigns. We celebrated the miraculous resurrection of Jesus from the grave as proof that he is who he said he was… the King of Kings. Many of you committed your lives to live under the reign of Jesus love so that we can become more and more like him.
Today we will continue the series as we look at how God reigns over our past hurts, hangups, bad decisions, pain and our shame. Because of Jesus death and resurrection, we do not have to be controlled by our past any longer.
For many people, their past is a hinderance to their present and their future, and it can be a heavy burden to bear.
One area you can see this kind of thing is in the area of sports. Almost every sports team has had bad luck in their past. Saints fans… we know that right?
One of the most famous streaks of misfortune came upon the Boston Red Sox when their owner decided to sell Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919. Most Red Sox fans believe that was the beginning of an 86 year drought in World Championships. It was not until 2004 that the drought ended. For 86 years Red Sox fans carried the burden that they could not get past their past.
In 1945 The Cubs made Billy Sanis, the owner of the Billy Goat tavern to take his goat out of the stadium. Fro the next 108 years, they did not win a World Series.
Our past doesn’t just weigh us down in sports, most of us can point to one or two decisions that we have made in the past that we had trouble living down.
While my dad was alive, I had trouble getting past this bad decision. Tell the lifeguard and roofing story.
Some decisions, like that one, are just honest mistakes that don’t have long lasting consequences while others can have long lasting and devastating consequences. While you can’t change your past, you can ensure your past does not control your future.
The Gospels are full of people who got fresh starts because of their interactions with Jesus… The woman who washed Jesus feet… Demon Possessed man in Gadarenes… Woman with the flow of blood… Jairus and his daughter… Peter… Matthew - former tax collector… Zacheus… The woman caught in adultery…

When people placed their trust in Jesus, they were different, they were forgiven, and they were made new!

This is the greatest news ever! We can have all of our guilt and shame nullified by Jesus love.
2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
Paul sets this verse up by bragging on God’s amazing love… a love that would cause him to send Jesus to earth to live with us and die for us so we could have life…
In this verse we see the phrase… this means. It’s because of God’s love that we become new creations in Jesus Christ. The phrase in Christ is used 216 times in Paul’s writings.
I believe that

When we place our trust in Jesus, we experience a transformation that makes us new

Because we are new creations in Christ, we can be set free from our past. There are some things that we have to do in order live it out.
For God to reign over our past,

1. We have to put off the old and put on the new

The love of God removes all of the old sin, shame, guilt, mistakes and failures in our lives. When we all oGod’s love to reign in our lives, it overpowers the hold that the old things used o have on our lives. However, we can’t put on the new until we clean out the old.
Ephesians 4:22–24 NIV84
22 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; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
We have to get rid of the old.
We like to watch Chip and Joana Gaines’ show Fixer upper. They would take an old house that most of us look at and go ugh… Then they would transform it into a beautiful home. However before they could build anything new they had to demolish and remove all of the old that needed to be replaced.
When the Lord comes into our lives, he doesn’t just overlook our sinful past. Instead he forgives it and removes it so that it doesn’t have power over us anymore.

We confess our past to Jesus in order to experience His radical forgiveness

To confess means to agree with God that our old way of living… our sinful ways are sin and wrong.

Confessing to God is agreeing with God about our sin

When we confess to God, we are agreeing to allow God to replace whose old, sinful ways of living with godly ways to live.
We go from telling lies to speaking the truth… from being selfish to being selfless… from being a gossip to offering encouragement… and from burning with anger to being filled with joy.
In remodeling a house, it’s important to remove the old rotten material and replace them with new fresh materials. If you do not take out all of the old, it’s destined to come back and haunt you.
When we try to live like a new creation while holding onto our old habits, we will end up frustrated, and our relationship with God and others will suffer. We have to allow God to remove it all and give us a new heart and a desire to live for him.

After we remove the old, we put on the new

We do this by renewing our minds. We are putting the new when we realize that he has removed our sins.
Psalm 103:12 NLT
12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.
He has taken away your sin. You don’t have to walk around defeated and full of shame anymore. If you are a Christian, you can be confident in the fact that you have been forgiven, and your sin has been removed as fas as the East from the West. You are a new creation and the past does not control your present of your future.
2 Corinthians 5:18–20 NLT
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
Getting past your past is not something you can do on your own. We cannot make up for bad decisions and mistakes by doing good things. God has reconciled us to himself through Jesus. Even though our sin broke our relationship with God, His love reigns over sin and makes us right with him.
God wants to transform us into new people. Here are three things we can do to put on the new.

Get involved in activities that renew your mind.

Philippians 4:8–9 NLT
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Pattern yourself after God, not the world.

Romans 12:2 NLT
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Study and live by God’s Word so that it changes your behavior

2 Timothy 3:15–16 NLT
15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
When we confess our sins to him, and realize that God has removed our sin and reconciled us to him, we are in the process of being made new.
Then, we become conduits of this love for others around us.
For God to reign over our past,

2. Allow God’s love to flow through us to others. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)

2 Corinthians 5:18–20 NLT
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
God wants everyone on this planet to be saved… to be reconciled to himself. He doesn’t want anyone to live a life weighed down by sin, shame and guilt.
God extended GRACE to us at the cross and now he wants you and I to be his ambassadors who implore others to come to him… to repent by confessing their sin and being reconciled to the Lord.
for God’s love to flow through others we have to live it. It’s more caught than taught. People need to and want to see us living out our faith. We can tell people all day long what it’s like to have our past wiped clean, but they need to see us living that out. They need to see joy and freedom in our lives. I believe that when they see that, it will draw them into a relationship with Jesus.

A love for God is contagious.

People want to hear and see that it’s important to you.
If I asked you to tell the person sitting next to you about something you are excited about… a great vacation, something you accomplished, winning a prize, something one of your grand kids accomplished… it would be easy. People would see that… I have seen it in you.
When a person rally loves something or someone, they can’t help but tell others about it. It just oozes out of them. When we really love God and his love is truly reigning in our lives, talking about him becomes second nature. Share your stories… the little ones… the big ones and all the stories in between. Share how it felt when God forgave your past. Share the joy of when God brought you through a difficult time. Share what it was like when he directed you to the right job or sale… Let people know your story.

Let people know who you were before you met Jesus. Let people know how you met Jesus. Let people know how Jesus has changed your life.

Jesus wants to make his appeal to the world through the way you and I live and the things we say.

3. Jesus took our sinfulness and gave us his righteousness

Jesus took our mistakes, our brokenness, our past shame and sin and nailed it to the cross. he even became sin on our behalf, even though he never sinned. It was an act of love for him to die for us while we were sinners.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT
21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
Think about this verse. There is an incredible exchange that takes place at the Cross. Jesus takes our sinful life… our wrong decisions… everything, and give us the righteousness of God. He makes us right with God. It means we have his divine approval.
Some of you need to hear this… all of us need to hear this. When you accept Jesus as your Savior and your LORD, you are united with him, and when God looks at you, he doesn’t see the sin of your past, he looks at you through the blood of Jesus and sees you as forgiven… as righteous… That may seem to be too good to be true, but that’s the Gospel.
There was a company that made cake mixes. They made a mix that you only had to add water too. It was so simple I could do it. But it never sold well. After doing some research they found that people thought it was too simple so it must not be trustworthy of any good. So the company changed the mis to require one egg and sales skyrocketed and the cake mix was very successful.
I have seen so many people think that the truth that God has forgiven their past by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus too good to be true and too simple to trust. Many of us think we have to add to it somehow with penance that is not required or by trying to earn something that cannot be earned. Listen, we are invited to simply receive the love of God and allow it to reign in our lives. Then… only then will we experience joy and the freedom of a new life.

God wants you and I to live a rich and satisfying life.

John 10:10 NLT
10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

He created us to live it in relationship with him. Psalm 139:13-14;

Our sin prevents that from happening. Rom 3:23; 6:23

Because of Jesus death and resurrection we can experience that rich and satisfying life of freedom. John 14:6;

1 Peter 3:18 NLT
18 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 15:3–6 NLT
3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. 5 He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. 6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.

But we have to respond by trusting Jesus as your savior and lord. Eph 2:8-9;

We respond by turning from our way to him.
Acts 3:19 NLT
19 Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.
We invite him into our lives trusting him to forgive us.
We allow God to direct our lives
Prayer - “Dear God, I know my sin has separated me from you. Thank you that Jesus died in my place. I ask Jesus to forgive my sin and to come into my life. In Jesus name, Amen.
Here is what just happened if you prayer to receive Jesus.

God just forgave all of your sins.

Colossians 2:13–14 NLT
13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.

You can know you have eternal life

1 John 5:13 NLT
13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.

God gives you HS to lead you

Galatians 5:25 NLT
25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

We just have to trust him every day.

Colossians 2:6–7 NLT
6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
Prayer for those saved
Prayer for others…
Help us to put off the old and put on the new… to allow your love to flow through us… realize that you exchanged your righteousness for sinfulness.
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