You Asked For It Series Sermon #1

You Asked For It Series Sermon #1
~ Forgiveness ~
Tyson Graber, Herscher Christian Church 
January 9, 2011

Today, we start this new sermon series that I am really excited about, and I hope many of you are as well.  It’s simply entitled, “You Asked For It”.  It will be different than most sermon series we have ever been through because it’s not tied together by a book, a common word or even a main idea.  It is tied together only by the idea that “You Asked For It”.  That’s right, over the past few weeks I have been taking your requests about what you would like to hear preached about.

We received about thirty different requests, so we will not be able to get to all of them, but I have enjoyed just finding out what you are thinking, and what we may need to study.  At the same time, I believe we will find out together over the next few weeks that it can be dangerous to “Ask for Some things.”

How many of you have ever had one of those moments in your life when all of the sudden you realize you should not have asked for it.

[Story of Declan]

Earlier this week, I got up early one day.  I had some things to do, and decided to get an early start.  So I quietly got up, and started getting ready for the day with a shave and a shower, when Declan opened the bathroom door, and asked, “Dad, can I take a shower with you?”  Declan is only 4, so that’s pretty much the way he takes his shower…. We can’t just leave him to do it alone.  So I said, “Yeah, come on in.” 

So he took his pajamas off and came into the shower, I soaped him up, then I got out and let him stay in to play while I dried off.  When he got out and dried off, I told him, “Declan, put your pajamas back on, now and go get back in bed until everyone else gets up.”

Declan said, “But, Dad, my pajamas are all wet.”

I said, “Declan, your clothes are on the other side of the room, they couldn’t have gotten wet, so put them on.”

“But, Da-ad, they’re we-et, I can’t put them back on!”

I said, “Declan, they can’t be wet.  Bring them here, and I’ll help you.

So Declan obediently went and got them and put them in my hand… He was right, they were wet, but it wasn’t from the shower.  We don’t often have such accidents, so I wasn’t prepared for thinking about that.  I looked at Declan who was standing there, looking at me with that face that said, “But, Dad …, you asked for it.”

Of all the “You asked for it” requests, there was only one that was asked for by more than one person, and that was for the concept of ‘forgiveness”.  How can I have forgiveness in my life?  How can we just start over? How do you get past the past?

Some are easier than others.  But in one way or another we all have a story to go with our past.
We all need to understand that we must get beyond our own story.

That was one of the greatest things I learned from John Walker and George Ross at ‘The Blessing Ranch’ in Colorado a few years back.

Don’t pretend it didn’t happen  in the past, but begin to believe what God wants to happen in the future.

How?  John Walker says, “You’ve got to understand the difference between ‘your truth’ (lower case t) and ‘God’s Truth’ (upper case T).  Then we have to allow God’s Truth to trump our own truth.

Now, the EUCHER players in the house know exactly what I am talking about here.  In the game of Euchre you have to determine what’s going to be trump, what suit has dominance over all others.  You have to get that all set or the game goes nowhere.

That’s what we have to do in life when we are dealing with forgiveness and fresh starts.  We have to establish that God’s Truth will always trump what we think or feel is truth.

In other words, what God would say to us is that His reality, what He has declared in His Word, will always have to trump our felt experience.  Sometimes it means saying, “God, I thought this …, or I felt that …, but I see your Truth, and I admit I was wrong.”  We have to let God’s Word and God’s Spirit be our guides and change our lives.

Isaiah 55:8-9

The faster we realize that and put  it into practice, the sooner we will be able to truly put the past behind us, and live for Him now and forever.  When we allow His truth to trump our truth, our past will be in the past.  Our past will be sealed, our present will make sense, and our future will be secure. But that only happens when we surrender our lives to God in faith and accept His son, Jesus Christ, as our savior

We all deal with this issue in our own ways.  Some ways are healthy, and some flawed.  So this morning, I would like to look at three stories from the Bible, each about someone different, who was dealing with trying to put the past in the past.  Each of the stories show a different way of thinking, different kinds of logic, when it comes to dealing with the past.  These are:

POOL-side  logic 
COURT-side logic
SEA-side logic

The first is POOL-side Logic

Read John 5:1-15

The Bible tells us POOL-Side Logic will keep you comfortable with your past.  This man had 38 years of comfort with his past.  He never tried to address it.

You can change your appearance, where you live, who you hang out with, you can even change your physical capability.  But unless you change spiritually, and give your heart to God, your past will continue to be your present and your future.

COURT-side logic

The second story we are going to look at comes from COURT-side logic.  This logic came from King David of the Old Testament.

2 Samuel 11:1-27

Turn with me and we find a very embarrassing time for King David.   It all started with a very poor choice in 2 Samuel 11:1. That was his first mistake, staying home when he should have been out to war, While he was home, I guess he got a little board just hanging out in his royal court in Jerusalem. Do  you remember where he found himself?  Up on the roof.

So, here is the King, who should be off somewhere else leading his men in battle, but he decides ‘That’s not for me today.  No, I am going to watch another channel tonight.’

And, in his down time he sees a lady named Bathsheba ..., and she is so pretty ..., and, we really don’t know for sure, but, maybe ... all his other marriages weren’t going that well …, or what may have been the problem, but for some reason David could not look away.

So, if you know the story,  you know he calls for her and she comes over

Read 2 Samuel 11: 4-5

And here is the Court-side Logic for you.  Here is his strategy for this mess of sin that he made.
After making a big mistake, instead of humbly confessing to everyone involved, including God, and asking for forgiveness, David begins to develop a plan to fool those involved.

Doesn’t that sound familiar?  Instead of dealing with the mess early, why do we often try and cover things up?  But, that’s what David decided to do.

So, he calls for Bathsheba’s husband, who is off at war.  He has Uriah go to his home and to his wife in hope that Uriah would have relations with his wife and thereby deceive everyone to believe the baby was his.  But Uriah refused the comforts of home while his men were in battle.

David tried again, getting Uriah drunk this time, but Uriah refused again.

Now David doesn’t know what to do.  How did I get in such a mess and how do I get out of it?  You see David’s heart was already troubled.   He knew that he had done wrong, but Courtside logic will lead you, time and time again, to take it to the next worse step of sin in order to try and cover things up when what you really need is to seek forgiveness.

And David took that  next step.  He wrote a letter to Uriah's commander,  Joab, with orders seeking the death of his friend and faithful solider, Uriah.

Read 2 Samuel 11:14-17

Joab then writes a message for David to let him know the deed is done and Uriah is dead.

Read 2 Samuel 11:26-27

When forgiveness is needed Court-side Logic will lead you to lie, steal, and even murder in hopes that the mess will go away, but did you notice how the chapter ends?

27This thing that David had done displeased the Lord.

You don’t see that side of David and his relationship with God, but when you try and cover up your sin nothing good comes out of it. 

Then the Lord comes to David through the voice of the prophet Nathan.

2 Samuel 12:1-14

Company comes and the rich man instead of killing one of his own lambs the rich man steals the poor man’s lamb to feed his company.
Nathan didn’t even have a chance to finish and ask David a question before David showed his anger towards such a man, and David began to tell Nathan ‘that man deserves death.’
Nathan then says to David, “You are the man!”
Nathan goes on to remind David that he used the sword to cover up his sin, and because of that, the sword will never depart from your house.

Read 2 Samuel 12:11-13

That’s Court-side Logic when you try and cover your sin up.   Even though you will live, even though what you wanted  was to be private, even though God forgives you, there are high consequences. 
Not long after this, his son dies, and God promises the sword will never depart from his home.

And there it begins in 2 Samuel 13 … we see there is incestuous rape in David’s own family, then Absalom, David own son, steals his wives and has sex with some of them in broad daylight, but maybe worse of all for David, is that this son Absalom is then killed by the sword by David’s own men to protect David, and David’s heart is torn as he morns and considers how this entire mess is connected to his own desire to sin and try and cover it up.

You can’t really read the story of David without your heart breaking because of all the consequences he faced …, because of his own sin.  Court-side Logic will lead you to try and cover up the mess, but it will cost you dearly.

Pool-side Logic will keep you comfortable in the past.

Courtside logic will make you pay heavily in the future.

Seaside logic

John 21:1-19

This is during the time after Jesus as been crucified and raised from the dead He had already appeared to the disciples twice and this is the third time that he appears.  The disciples didn’t really know what to do so they went back to the only thing that many of them really knew; they went back to fishing.

All of the sudden they are along the beach as someone yells out from the seashore.  It was Jesus but they didn’t really recognize it was Him.  They probably were very tired, they had been fishing for a long time and had not caught a thing when Jesus yelled out to them.

“HEY, DID YOU CATCH ANYTHING?”  Pretty common thing to ask a bunch of people fishing.

They responded, “NO NOTHING!”

So, Jesus said, “Throw the net on the right side.”  Not the most welcome advice they wanted to hear, but they did as they were advised.

And when they did, the Bible says, their nets became so full they could not even haul the net in!  It’s about at that moment, they realize this man on the shore must be Jesus.

They ran to Him and began to share in the great catch with Jesus around the fire that He had built. 
It was around this same time of night  just days before, beside a similar fire,  that Peter had told others three times that He did not know who this Jesus was.  Three times, Peter had denied Jesus.   How could he move on?  How could he ever start over with Jesus?

So, while they were sharing around this fire and eating, Jesus began a special conversation with Peter.
“Peter, do you love me?”  (Agape) 

“Oh, yes,” Peter replied, 

“Then feed my sheep.”

“Do you love me?”  Same word for love. 

"Oh, yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” 

“Then feed my sheep.”

Then a third time Jesus did the same thing again but with a twist. 

“Do you love me?” but He used the Greek word Philo which basically meant, “ARE WE EVEN FRIENDS?”

The Bible says that hurt Peter.

Peter says, “Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you.”

“Then feed my sheep.”

And they talked for a little while longer, and by the end, Peter had begun to believe that he could be used again. You see, Peter’s Sea-side Logic had told him that they had done some amazing things with Jesus, but then that he made too many mistakes, and now he was done. 

Jesus showed him otherwise.

Summary Capsule

We’ve heard 3 Stories from Today

3 different People
Disabled Man – King David – Peter
3  different Questions
Do you want to get well? --  How would you rule? --  Do you love me?
Given 3  conflicts
Difficulty of health  -  Authority   -  Opportunity to serve
3 Problems
Excuses  -  Exemption  - Embarrassment
3 Situations
I’m without it  - I’m Above it  -  I’m Beneath it
3 Responses
Back to sinning – Back to ruling  -- Back to Fishing
Gave up
Hope  - Integrity – Keys to the Kingdom
No response – I have Sinned  - I love you
Warning – Forgiveness with consequence  - Challenge

What God wants us to know today is that no matter what you have done, it is in the past. Through Jesus, He can put it in your past, and He wants to use us again.

He wants to, and will, use again those whose hearts are holy and His again.

So, what do we do to put our past in the past and be blessed by forgiveness?

1.  James 4:8 -  Come near to God and He will come near to you.
God wants you to come to Him, and if you take that first step back towards Him, He will immediately be right there for you.  There are some of you that think that He is miles away from you today, but I promise, as soon as you do that about face and choose to turn away from your sin, and turn towards Him, He will be right there.
Don’t wait until you feel like everything is all better and He is running after you to turn to Him … Turn to Him now, and He will be there for you.

2.  James 5:13-19 says confess and pray for healing

3.  Philippians 3:13-14  Put the past in the Past

4. Matthew 4:19-20  Follow Jesus

Today, some of us need to put the past behind us, lay our nets down and begin to follow Him, and allow Him to give us a new hope through the forgiveness of the Cross through the Lord Jesus Christ.