Matthew begins his gospel by listing the genealogy of Jesus, and he includes people in that list who did some very evil things. Why would Matthew want to highlight the dirt instead of sweeping it under the rug? Because he wanted us to know that the forgiveness Christ came to bring is available to everyone, regardless of their past. Have you ever brought your past to Jesus, or are you still carrying it all by yourself?
Some people say that if a Christian is not baptized, he will not go to heaven, but is that really what the Bible teaches? Did Christ’s death on the cross provide everything necessary to wash away our sins, or are the waters of baptism necessary to wash away the rest? Today we tackle a controversial verse in 1 Peter and discover that it really isn’t that difficult to understand after all.
As we face the struggles and uncertainties of life that often come our way, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, alone and afraid. In those times, we can find great encouragement by remembering the things that are already true of us in Christ. If you are facing difficult times, let these truths from God’s Word be the encouragement you need to find renewed hope and strength for the future.
If a prisoner served his time and was set free, it would be unthinkable for him to go back and live in his prison cell. Yet many Christians who have been set free by Jesus continue to live as prisoners to their past. Jesus said if we know the truth, it would set us free, and we would be truly free. Are you saved, but still living under a cloud of guilt and fear because of your past sin? Jesus invites you to be set free today!
We all have regrets and wounds in our past. They are a part of life. But if those things are not dealt with in the right way, they can become toxic over time, damaging our relationships, hindering our decisions, and destroying our effectiveness for Christ. The truth is, if we don’t deal with our past, it will dominate our present and dictate our future. We learn from the life of Joseph that if we are willing to surrender our past hurts to God’s control, those chains will be broken, and we will be empowered to live out the mission He has for us.
If someone bought you a new car, paid for it in full, and gave you the title, would you go to the dealership every month to make payments on it? Of course not! And yet that is exactly what we often do as Christians. Our sin debt has been paid in full and our record has been wiped completely clean, but we continue to live as though we’re guilty in God’s eyes. Once you understand the truth about God’s forgiveness, you will see your standing before Him in a whole new light, and you will be free to live your life for Him without being crippled by the guilt of your past!
“If God has forgiven me, why don’t I feel forgiven?” Have you ever asked that question? As Christians, we know that God has forgiven all our sin and He has promised to never remember it again. Why, then, do we so often still feel haunted and condemned by things in our past? If you’ve ever wrestled with this issue, today’s sermon will help you understand why that happens and how you can move beyond your past into the future God has for you! (Audio problems at the beginning will clear up within the first few minutes)