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LIVE FOR TOMORROW – YESTERDAY IS GONE FOREVER
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT THE HIGH HILL UNITED
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
5 APRIL 1992
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
Preparation Verse: (Matthew 6:34)
"Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Our life in Jesus Christ is probably one of the most misunderstood and least appreciated events in the history of human beings.
Our Lord and Savior died to free us from the death sting of our sins.
He paid the price so that we wouldn't have to pay it ourselves.
He doesn't even ask for our thanks in words; but He does require a positive response, as He told the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:10-11).
10. And straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?"
11. And she said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more."
This woman can never reverse the sin she committed. It is locked in time, and she can never go back and change the events, any more than any of us could.
But what Jesus says is what is done is done. From now on let's live a life that will not lead to those previous sins. Live for tomorrow – yesterday is gone forever.
This doesn't mean that we forget that we have sinned, but that we recognize our sin and the errors of our ways, and are sorry for what we did, and resolve in our heart and soul never to do it again.
Jesus Christ gives us a new start.
Stop worrying about the past, but learn from it.
This is nothing new. We've been told this for a long, long time.
The Lord told us this through the prophet Isaiah in 43:18-21.
18. "Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
19. "Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert."
We have to learn to leave room for God.
What might look hopeless to us is hardly a challenge for our Lord.
The worst things in our lives can be straightened out by our compassionate and loving God, if we will let Him; and while He is doing this, He will refresh us with His living waters.
All we have to do is pass this same love and compassion on to every other living being.
And all creation will benefit.
20. "The beasts of the field will glorify Me;
The jackals and the ostriches;
Because I have given waters in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert,
To give drink to My chosen people.
21. "The people whom I formed for Myself,
Will declare My praise."
This is not worrying about the past.
This is enjoying today.
This is living for tomorrow.
In John 12:1-8, we are told of an event which took place in the home of Lazarus; and in a very special and personal way, we see the difference between living for the future and being concerned about past things.
1. Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
2. So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him.
3. Mary therefore took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4. But Judas Iscariot, one of the disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said,
5. "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii, and given to poor people?"
6. Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.
Let's take a moment and look at where the hearts and minds of these people are set.
Martha is concerned with the here and now, and doesn't look very far into the future, even though she knows Jesus is her Messiah.
Lazarus, on the other hand, wants to be filled with all he can receive from Jesus, so that His wisdom would carry him into the future. He is starting with this moment and going forward.
And Mary is a very emotional woman, and she recognizes the sins in her own life. But above all, she trusts in the Lord for her future; and she doesn't care about the value of her possessions, or about seemingly making a fool of herself by her demonstration of her faith; so she anoints His feet with the most valuable thing she has, for she knows Jesus won't be with her on the earth much longer, and this is her way of letting Him know how she feels.
Judas lives only for the present. He doesn't care about the Lord, or any person. He is totally self-centered.
And Jesus, understanding what is taking place, counters the words of Judas, so that others would not lose their forward vision.
7. Jesus therefore said, "Let her alone, in order that she may keep it for the day of My burial.
8. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have Me."
The future for the Judases of this world is cut off with their death; for if we do not repent of our sinful ways and accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are cut off.
But if we have Jesus in our hearts and minds, we will be able to accomplish all things in His name, including taking care of the poor, the exploited humans and animals, and ourselves.
Living for tomorrow requires faith and trusting in the Lord.
In Paul's letter to the Philippians (3:7f), he expresses in words his own feelings about his relationship with Christ – feelings that Mary could only express by her actions.
Let's listen to what he is saying to us:
7. But whatever things were gain to me, those, things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
8. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ,
9. and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,
10. that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;
11. in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Judas was concerned about possessions, and he died without them or Christ.
Mary and Paul are not concerned about possessions.
They enjoy what they have for as long as they have it; but when the time comes to let it go, they easily let it go for the sake of Christ.
They use what they have for the benefit of others and for their faith in Christ, so that their life and actions would reflect their faith.
As an example: Mary and I can afford to buy any food or clothing we desire, but because those things coming from animals cause horrible suffering, we no longer contribute to their exploitation.
We no longer eat, wear, or use anything that comes from animals, or uses them for our pleasure; we now only seek to bring the peace of Christ to the whole of creation.
This is part of our faith.
Faith is a word for tomorrow.
For faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
Simply live for the joy of what is to come, and only build upon past things, but never at the expense of any other living being.
If what has taken place is good, continue to build upon it; but if it is not, begin to build anew.
Live for tomorrow – yesterday is gone forever.
Your Comments are welcome
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