7/26 Part 5 – What’s Your Story? Summer series – today’s title “How to Begin a New Chapter in Your Life” John 8: 8-11
The focus of the Bible passage from John 8:11 is “…And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more’”
First of all we are relieved to know that Jesus doesn’t condemn us for our sins. What he wants from us is to go, go on with life. And as we do, he tells us, from now on sin no more. That is a new start. Like a new chapter in your life! We start a new chapter with excitement, anticipation of leaving that sin behind, and pressing on to what lies ahead. A new chapter that will draw us deeper into the story, not to toss the story aside, but to grab hold of it with a new desire, with a purpose, to something we hold claim to.
Pastor George gave these points during his message. He said it is that what lies within us, is most important. #1. Claim forgiveness from the past. #2 Forget what lies behind. #3 Now, what lies ahead, press forward, the good that lies ahead is our new focus. The new chapter begins with joy in our footsteps inviting the Holy Spirit to help. We claim hold to the grace that is greater than all our sins. To quote from the song My Story; “Oh to tell you my story – is to tell of Him.” You would hear victory, freedom, a life overcome from sin, justice served, the kindness of Jesus, mercy wins, that’s what draws me in.
Just like a roller coaster, life will continue its highs and lows. We all have sinned, missed the mark and fallen short of the glory of God. We all make mistakes. As Vince Miller stated in the RNM series on Defeating Repetitive Sin, sin baits us in, hooks us, we get caught in its repetitive nature. Vince goes on to say that we rationalize it, getting our minds to make those bad choices which leads to shame by hiding it, and to blame by pointing to others and ultimately to God. God takes care of that for us just as he took care of it for Adam and Eve. In Genesis 3:21 we read “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skin and clothed them.” Vince says that, just as God made garments of skin and clothed them, this covers over the sin and shame of the first man and woman, Jesus came, shed blood, to cover our sin and shame because He loves us just as God loved Adam and Eve. He loves us all the same. He also stated that there is a loving God walking with us. God sees our sin as an opportunity to love you and me.
In Defeating Repetitive Sin, we learned that it is a war within, between the flesh and the mindset. Vince Miller gave 4 statements regarding our sin nature. To summarize all that he said: 1. We construct belief systems - we make judgements, develop concepts, a cluster of things in our minds. 2. We are controlled by our belief system – we allow those beliefs to control us in the most unfortunate way. 3. We have corrupt belief system – every intention of the heart is only evil intentionality, a repetitive belief system that becomes comfortable for us. 4. God must reveal the belief system – it requires a leap of faith to thinking differently, aligned with truth, a grace-based living. It’s unraveling things in our lives to put us back together to become a person of God. Vince goes on to say that it’s The Remaking of the Mind as quoted from a French philosopher named Pierre Chardin ‘We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.’ C.S. Lewis stated that ‘How we think about ourselves is how we live our lives’. In Romans 12: 1-3 it says be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Who we are and who God is. Renewing our mindset, grounded in God’s Word. Minds are powerful tools, always renew this mindset of what God says in His Word, says Vince. Desires of the flesh…against the spirit = the war within. We learned in this series that God values accountability. At the end of time he will hold everyone accountable for what they’ve done. We must accept the fact that we make mistakes, change it, and make it right. It’s about willingness to accept accountability. Accountability drives results in life – embrace it says Vince.
What then about our spirit being having a human experience? In More to Your Story by Max Lucado, he says that our story indwells God’s story. From the mind of God, according to His plan, our story comes. Your life is a narrative written by God. God’s Story turns our story into a preface, says Lucado. Our story tells of sin, shame, blame, repentance, back to sin, shame, blame, the cycle continues in our human nature, it’s living in the darkness of this world that works hard to keep hold on us. Max shared that Jesus sighs with us here on Earth. A sign of sadness with a heavenly glance that it won’t be this way for long. See your challenges in the scope of God’s story. Our struggles in life will be lost in the splendor of Heaven. No more curse, no more sin, no longer at war with our flesh, we will be brand new. In More to Your Story we learned that God’s Story redeems our story. God’s story tells of the Word becoming flesh, he dwelt among us. He didn’t separate himself from his creation, no he came to live within it, for it, to redeem it back to himself. Max shared just as Jesus asked Peter, ‘Who do you say that I am?’, he asks of us. To this personal question from God, who do you say that I am? what have you witnessed?, how have you experienced this God on Earth?, how would you answer within your story? Max says we never travel alone, we have the commanders voice to guide us. No one can see God; God is here in love. He chooses to love you and me. We and others experience God in the love we both give and receive. It’s part of our story, it’s part of His-Story.
It’s living in and telling God’s Story within your story, that’s how to begin a new chapter in your life. Max asks the question of why we dress ourselves in our mistakes, don the robe of poor choices, our regrets and rebellion. Instead, he says, focus on Jesus and what he did on the cross. As Pastor George said, the Bible tells us how God’s Story redeems our story, what Christ has done for us. Jesus died a sinner’s death in our place, the sacrifice of Christ, laid on him was the iniquity of us all. Our righteousness is in the goodness of Christ, lose your old robe/vest, you’ll look better wearing His, say Lucado and Pastor George. Begin that new chapter, continue telling of your days here on earth, but now we stand with Paul on the promise of eternity, we add that to our story. As we too sigh of the struggles we go through, we can but quickly change our mindset, our glance towards the splendor of heaven, to begin a new chapter.
Larry and Darlene
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