Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn
February 7, 2010
Cut loose from the past we can
enjoy being forgiven
backward look can be helpful or it can be depressing. It depends on how you
view the past. You can recall that in the “good old days” life was lived at a
slower pace. People were seldom stressed out from living in “the fast lane.” How
nice life was back then.
danger is that we tend to romanticize the past and paint too rosy a picture of
the days of yore. Was life really better in the days of our parents? In many
ways life was worse not better for past generations. Some of our parents, for
example, used an “outhouse” because there was no toilet in their home. Many of
our relatives did not even know a family that had an indoor toilet.
it comes to our mistakes, a look at our past sometimes can be paralyzing. Some
of us feel much guilt about wrong things we did when we were younger. We are
ashamed to admit how foolish we once were. A just God will surely not forgive
us. What we did was too bad for God to forgive.
think like this puts us in bondage to the past. This bondage binds us to our
mistakes or what the church calls our “sin.” So we are not free to enjoy life
today. Guilt blocks us from inhaling the pure joy of knowing that we are alive
by the pleasure of the God who not only made us but also loves us.
have the unique privilege of helping people find forgiveness for
the past. Forgiveness frees us from the past and helps us overcome guilt. It
puts a song in our hearts and when we start singing we begin to soar, like a
kite free to enjoy the wind.
church calls this forgiveness “good news.” It is indeed good news to discover
that your sins are forgiven whether by God or by another person with whom you
have been estranged. “I forgive you” are three of the sweetest words any of us
can ever hear.
is the message the church has for the world: God forgives you. Such news is not
only good news; it is the best news the human mind can ever embrace. It is so
wonderful that people often find it impossible to believe that God has forgiven
them. So it helps to hear the amazing words, “Your sins are forgiven,” spoken
by a caring friend who has personally experienced this forgiveness. Then
hearing and believing that good news can become a liberating moment for the
person who accepts it.
may be wondering how the Bible fits into all this. Well, the Bible in one sense
is the “good news” Book. From Genesis to Revelation there are people much like
us who are warning people to stop doing wrong and turn to God. Why? Because God loves them and has forgiven them. The world
says, “What is the proof that this is true?” The Bible says, “The proof is
God’s gift of his son to die on the cross for our sins.”
people in the Bible were ordinary people God used in extraordinary ways. Today
he wants to use ordinary people like us to help guilt-ridden people understand
they are forgiven. We have good news for people in bondage. If they believe
they are forgiven, they can be cut loose from the past and enjoy the sheer
thrill of being loved and forgiven.
will bet my last dollar that you know some troubled person who needs to hear
this good news. And it might make your day if they heard it from your lips.
Sharing it could be like offering a cook drink of water to someone dying of
all, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Zechariah – all those guys are gone. They had their
turn. Now you and I are up to bat. + + +