Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Last Time

        Moving Beyond our Failures
                Breaking the Foolish Cycles of Life

Key Scripture: Proverbs 26:11 As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly.

Matthew 3 NKJV
1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,
2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"

Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Mark 6:12 So they (the disciples) went out and preached that people should repent.

John the Baptist preached repentance; Jesus preached repentance; and
Jesus sent His disciples to preach repentance …

We can easily conclude from these, and from the more than 100 verses in the Bible which directly mention repentance, that repentance is a timeless foundational doctrine of the Gospel of Christ. Before the Law came through Moses people did not always know what God wanted them to do.

Acts 17:30 "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.”

Acts 3:19 "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

What is repentance? A turnaround … In the sense of the scriptures, to repent means to turn from your ways and turn from the ways of this world and to turn from your sin and turn towards God. It means to change!

Nothing changes unless something changes.

This morning we will use King David as our example of how to repent and recover from sin and move beyond our failures. The passage in Psalms 51 will show us how to break those foolish cycles of life.

How did David break free? He repented! What did that look like?

First David acknowledged his sin before God
·        Psalms 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me.
·        Turn to God with your sin
·        Not only did David turn to God and acknowledge his sin but …
Next David confessed his sin
·        Psalms 51:4  Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight …
·        A confession is an offering of our sins to God
·        David said, “forgive me”, not “excuse me” …
·        1 John 1:9 encourages us to confess our sin
Then David forsook his sin
·        Psalms 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
·        We must not only offer our sins to God but also offer ourselves as well.
·        God not only forgives but He will also cleanse our hearts and minds.
·        Proverbs 28:13 says confess and forsake and mercy will follow
Finally David shared his victory over sin as a testimony to help others
·        Psalms 51:13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.
·        It is important that our tests become testimonies and that we be willing to help others along the way.
·        The sharing of our testimony keeps us mindful of the grace, mercy, and forgiveness of God. This helps us stay strong so as not to easily or mindlessly repeat that sin.
·        If we continue to repeat our folly we will be no different than a dog who returns to his own vomit.

Psalms 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart — These, O God, You will not despise.

David made certain that the last time was the last time.

This time is not the last time. The last time was the last time, this time is the next time after the last time and if you imagine you can do it just one more time and this time will be the last time, there will never be a last time and you can rest assured there will always be a next time.

If the last time was not the last time there will never be a last time.

If just one more time is going to be the last time then there will always be a next time. Just one more time is not going to fix it. Repent today!

Romans 6:11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What can we do to help others break free from those same foolish cycles?

2 Timothy 2
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.  

·        Become an encouragement to others with a meek and humble spirit.
·        One of the first signposts on the road to defeat reads, “It cannot happen to me.” – Be humble, be truthful, and be willing to change.

Let the last time be the last time ~ 1 Peter 4:3ff We have spent enough of our past life doing the things we should not do … it’s time to get serious!