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Forgetting the Past - Part 1 of 1

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
The Truth Network Radio
June 4, 2022 8:00 pm

Forgetting the Past - Part 1 of 1

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.

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June 4, 2022 8:00 pm

Forgetting those things which are behind...

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The Baptist Bible Hour now comes to you under the direction of Elder LeSaire Bratley, Jr. O for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise! The praise of my God and King, the triumph of His grace! This is LeSaire Bratley, Jr. inviting you to stay tuned for another message of God's sovereign grace. We're glad to have you with us for the program today, and we pray that the message will be a blessing to you. If it is, we'd like to hear from you. Our mailing address is Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. As we enter the summer months, it's always a time of particular challenge on keeping up with our obligations, so if you can help us now, we'll certainly be thankful. You can also make a donation, if this is more convenient for you, by going to our website at BaptistBibleHour.org.

And when you visit there, there are materials that we trust would be of interest to you as well. Look at Philippians chapter 3 verse 13, Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Here the apostle Paul, a man of unique and remarkable experience, says, I don't claim that I've reached my goal.

I count not myself to have apprehended. I'm still on the journey. I'm still pressing forward. But this one thing I do, now this is key, if we're going to make progress in overcoming the difficulties of the past, we've got to have this goal, this one thing I do. I'm focused on honoring Christ.

I want to reach the goal. That's my most and deepest concern in all of life. How many of us can say that when it comes to the matter of trying to serve God, whether we're talking about overcoming the past, dealing with the challenges of the present, overcoming worry about the future? Can we say this one thing I do? Above everything else, I want to honor and please my Savior Jesus Christ. That's what I focus on. I think about that. I pray about that.

I read God's word so I can be strengthened in my pursuit of serving Him. This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and then reaching forth unto those things which are before. How then do you forget the things that are behind? I can see that there's no magic button you can push or no one verse that you can read and all of a sudden the memory of every past difficulty is removed.

That's not possible. But you can overcome the slavery under which you might labor. When you're constantly fretting over, worrying over things that have happened in the past, have reached the point that resentment and bitterness has set in to such a degree that you're miserable. And the book of Hebrews tells us that bitterness is a root that springs up and defiles many. So if a person is perpetually bitter, it not only affects them, it affects them spiritually. It affects them physically, but it begins to affect everybody else around them.

It defiles many. So how do we deal with that? How do you overcome bitterness? How do you get to the place that you're not thinking about those things all the time? Well, in the very next chapter, chapter four, the book of Philippians, verse eight, Paul says, Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.

What do you think about? Psalm 19, the 14th verse says, Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O God. Is God pleased with your thought life? The things that you give yourself to think about, to meditate on. Now, I acknowledge there can be thoughts come into any of our minds which we are unhappy about. In some cases, thoughts that we detest, thoughts that we cannot imagine. Where did this come from anyway?

I didn't want it there. But the difference is, do we allow it to stay there if it's a lustful thought, and there could be some pleasure in rolling it over in your mind and thinking about what the consummation of that might be, or if it's a depressing thought and you continue to think about it and think about how things should have been, how things ought to be, how you have been treated unfairly, how it's been so difficult for you, and you mull all of that over, and the more you think about it, the worse it gets. What are we instructed to do here? When those evil thoughts come, when those thoughts come that are not to God's glory, then we have to pray for help. Lord, whatsoever things are true is what you've told me to think about. You can think about the truth of God's Word.

You can think about Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life. Often some of the things that drag people down are things that are not true at all. They get a distorted view of the past. As they've carried resentment over the years, things have gotten blown out of proportion. I've counseled in situations where that came to light. Here's a person saying, look what I have suffered, look how I have been treated, look at this, look at that, and then you bring in another party. They say, that's not the way it happened at all, and there finally had to be an acknowledgment.

No, it wasn't that way. So you begin to build the resentment, the self-pity, all of these things that are displeasing to God. He would have you think on that which is true, the things which are honest, the things which are just. Jesus Christ certainly is the true one, the honest one, the just one, the pure one, the lovely one.

He is of good report. So in every category here, you say, well, I can't think of some things in those categories. You can think of Jesus because He qualifies for all of them. Now, there are two categories really that trouble people about the past. One of them is what we've already addressed, concerned about what's happened to me, how people have treated me, mistreated me.

And we'll come back to that in a moment, but there's another facet of this we want to look at as we go along. The other side of it is that which pertains to your own failing, your own sin. That people say to me over and over, I have confessed my sin, but it still bothers me. I've confessed my sin, but I don't feel forgiven.

And it keeps coming up. The more you read God's Word and the more the Spirit applies it to your heart, the more detestable sin becomes. You're made to hate whatever sin you committed last week. You're made to hate whatever sinful attitude has welled up within you. And as you grow in love for God, in a desire for holiness, in progressive sanctification, there may be a memory of something that dates back five years, ten years or more. And all of a sudden you cringe. I can't believe that I said that. I can't believe that I did that. What you may have excused at the time, at the time you may have just prayed, Lord, I have sinned, forgive me, and it was kind of put to the side.

But there was no real, deep, jarring conviction. But as you have grown and sin becomes exceedingly sinful, you're troubled by it. Well, let's look at David's prayer in Psalm 51. His sin was great, as you know.

He took Uriah's wife Bathsheba and then had Uriah go out to the front lines of battle where he was killed. He says, Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness, according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. That's a wonderful way to approach the Lord. Lord, according to the multitude, you have many, many mercies. They are tender mercies.

I'm in desperate need of mercy. I don't want to be dealt with according to what I deserve. I'm not asking for fairness. That's what sometimes people raise.

I just want what's fair. If you see yourself as a sinner, you don't want to be dealt with fairly. That means you're condemned. You're looking for mercy, tender mercies. Blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is ever before me. This sin was so great, had such an impact, when David was finally awakened to how terrible the magnitude of this sin was. There was a period of time that he felt like his tracks were covered.

He died and so nothing was going to become of all of this. But even in those days, he acknowledges in another psalm how deeply troubled he was on the inside. But now he's talking about the fact that this sin is always in front of me. Whatever else I'm trying to do, wherever I go, whatever the time of day, it just won't leave me.

I keep thinking about it. It's ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight, that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest and be clear when thou judge'st. What did he mean against thee, thee only, have I sinned? Obviously, he had sinned against Bathsheba. He had sinned against Uriah. He had sinned against his nation of whom he was the leader. Many people were affected by his sin, but David knew it's not a question of me forgiving myself. And while there are other people to whom I must make acknowledgement and ask for forgiveness, the essential problem here is I have sinned against God.

I have violated his law. I am guilty. And I'm acknowledging that, that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, be clear when thou judge'st. Lord, I'm saying you have a right to judge me. I'm not trying to make any excuses. How many times have you tried to make excuses? You've sinned, but you try to justify it. Yes, I did wrong, but if it hadn't been what he did or she did or what they said or some other circumstance, it wouldn't have happened.

It's not really me. David says, Lord, I acknowledge I've sinned. And when you speak, when you judge, you're in the clear.

I'm not complaining about it. I deserve nothing. Behold, I was shaken in iniquity and in sinned and my mother conceived me, acknowledging that's my nature, my birth, I'm a sinner. Behold, thy desire'st truth in the inward parts and in the hidden part. Thou shalt make me to know wisdom, purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean, wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

Why do you suppose that terminology is used here and elsewhere? That we need cleansing, we need washing because there's something dirty about sin. Sin is black, it's vile.

It's against a holy, righteous God. And so he prays, Lord, I need cleansing. Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean, wash me, I'll be whiter than snow. Isn't that what you desire when you have a deep sense of sin, you're struggling with it? Oh, to be whiter than snow, to have no spot, no plenish. Sometimes you may think about that happy day when ultimately you'll be with the Lord and there'll be no more struggle with sin.

Isn't anything more wonderful than that? Have no sin in my mind, no sin in my heart, no inclination to sin. I won't be sinning, nobody around me will be sinning so there will be no effect of sin.

It'll be a land of perfection because I'm at home with the Lord, whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness that the bones which thou has broken may rejoice. David's sense of guilt and his deep grief over this horrible sin was of such a degree that it felt like his bones were broken. How painful, a broken bone.

And this is how he describes his condition. Hide thy face from my sins, blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Lord, I want to have a clean heart. It's from the heart that sin emanates.

Sometimes people don't seem to comprehend that the problem is down in the heart. So he's praying, Lord, deal with the source of my trouble. Create a clean heart.

Renew a right spirit. Cast me not away from thy presence and take not the Holy Spirit from me. Have you ever been at that point in your journey to thought, I wonder if God's forsaken me.

I've failed so many times. I've come back confessing the same sin. Surely he must be disgusted with me.

Maybe I've never been his to start with. Oh, comes this prayer, Lord, don't cast me away. I must have you. No matter what else I might lose, I can't live without knowing I have a relationship with God. And there's no hope for the future. I think of going out of this life, dying, slipping into eternity, not having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ the Savior. What a dreadful thought. Restore to me the joy of thy salvation and uphold me with thy free spirit. Certainly he had lost his joy. When sin conquers us, when we've been disobedient, rebellious, lustful, full of doubt, fear, whatever the sin that conquers us, the joy of salvation is lost. Lord, restore that to me.

And here's then the result. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Lord, when I've had this experience of being restored, when you have forgiven me, when I feel that I have been cleansed, when I feel that things are right now in my fellowship with you, then I'm going to be telling other people about your grace, your goodness, your mercy. I'm going to teach transgressors thy ways. Sinners are going to be converted unto thee.

And that's indeed the experience of the child of God who has gone through dark, most times, but has found a restoration, has found the spiritual awakening, a revival. So often in counseling, I'm greatly encouraged when we'll reach the point that someone will say, well, do you think that I now could help somebody else that's had this same problem? I know they're well on their way. They're headed where they need to be. They're now concerned about helping somebody else.

I'm always happy to say absolutely you can. You can share with somebody else what God has done for you, delivering you from this sin or from this perpetual review of past experiences that have dragged you down. You can be a help to others. God uses our trials and our experiences in teaching us, teaching us more of our weakness, teaching us more of his greatness, teaching us more of how the word is applied. And you get excited about the Bible.

When you see it, it works. It's not just a book of historical information. It's not just a book of practical suggestions. It's a book that comes alive when the Holy Spirit enlightens our minds, convicts our hearts, blesses us to receive the benefit and reality of it all. So somebody will say, but my sin is so great, I just don't know if God will forgive me. Well, God put this 51st Psalm in the Bible to help people who might struggle with that. So here's a man who had committed adultery and essentially had committed murder. And yet he's crying out to God for help. And God helped him. God forgave him. And God even used him to write this and many others of the Psalms. Yes, no matter how terrible the sin of the past, it can be forgiven.

It can be overcome. So he tells us in First John chapter one, verse nine, if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But he's promising to forgive.

What a wonderful, wonderful blessing. I would spend money, big money, if I could blot out some of my sins of the past. No way money can put them away. Say if I could just go back and relive it, if I could change, if I could do something different. You can't go back and change it. Worrying about it. Worrying never fixed anything. Whether you're worrying about the past, you're worrying about the present, you're worrying about the future. Worry is a sin.

Worry means I'm not trusting. So the good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ died for sinners. And there's hope for us. It doesn't mean that we ask for forgiveness and then return to the same wallowing in the mire. But it means with the grace of God, we genuinely repent and we turn in a new direction and we seek to serve and honor Him. Then what about the other side of this that we've already addressed?

Here's the individual that says, I just can't get over the past. I press toward the mark. Just one thing I do.

This is my focus. I'm forgetting those things that are behind. Paul had a lot to forget. He was a proud Pharisee. The Pharisee of the Pharisees. He was zealous in his religion. So zealous that he thought he was doing God a favor by persecuting the church, having Christians put to death. The Lord spoke to him, Saul, Saul, why persecuteth thou me? And from that day forward, his wife was dramatically changed.

This man, who had been the chief enemy of the church, became its greatest offender. Preaching the gospel. Suffering persecution. Enduring hardship. Establishing churches. Writing the epistles, the greater portion of the New Testament.

What a change. He had to forget those things. Obviously, when the thought crossed his mind that he had persecuted the church, it did still trouble him. Because he said, this is a faithful saying worthy of all the acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief. He recalled that he had actually consented to the death of Christians and that troubled him.

But he's putting that behind. He isn't frozen in place saying, considering how great my sin has been. Considering what a self-righteous hypocrite I was in the Jews religion. Considering how terribly I have failed in much of my life. I think I'm done for.

I can't do anything worthwhile. I've messed up terribly. Oh, he's forgetting those things that are behind.

Even if they crossed his mind, he wasn't going to let them control him. Because this one thing I do, I'm pressing toward the mark. I'm moving forward.

I'm going to serve God. No matter what the past has been, I can't change that. But I can, with the grace of God, overcome it so it doesn't control me. It doesn't depress me. It doesn't change my attitude. I don't go around with a chip on my shoulder. I don't go around feeling sorry for myself. People that fall into that ditch of self-pity are some of the most miserable people going.

And generally they have a way of trying to make everybody around them miserable. When we think about how great is the mercy of God. That left to ourselves, we would have been lost under His wrath, suffering in hell forever. But that He has touched our hearts, convicted us of sin, blessed us to understand the truth of the gospel. That there is hope only in Jesus Christ. Given us the faith, for faith itself is the gift of God whereby then we have believed on Jesus Christ.

And we can say, our Father which art in heaven. And say I look toward that happy day when I ultimately will be with Him. Then we have reason to press forward. Never allowing ourselves to just by the fact of discouragement, the fact that we've had such a difficult time in the past to think I'm justified to do nothing. I can't do anything worthwhile because I have already messed up the past.

Well some people, yes they have messed up the past and then they are destroying the present because all they can think about is the past. Well we need to think about what needs to be done now. The book of Ecclesiastes said what thy hand find to do, do it with all thy might. What needs to be done, we press forward, we do that not because we feel sufficient, not because we are worthy, but by the grace of God knowing that our labor in the Lord is not in vain.

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore as many as be perfect be thus minded. And if anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

Now if an individual then is a believer in Jesus Christ, if that's something that has just occurred or they've been a believer for a long time, in any event we can go back to Ephesians chapter 4 and it takes on a new meaning. Be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Sometimes a person will say I just can't forgive.

I don't even think about it. If you just understood preacher, what I've suffered, what I've endured, you'd have to agree with me that I cannot forgive. No, whatever the offense that someone has committed against you, it is insignificant compared to your sin against God. If God then has forgiven you, it's not impossible for you to forgive others. In fact the forgiven person will find joy to forgive others. We forgive, this is the basis of it.

Somebody says I can't do it. But if you're one of His, you forgive even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. You can forgive others for Christ's sake. May we apply these practical teachings in our lives from day to day. We see the Apostle Paul said that he was forgetting the things that were behind, turning his back on some of the pharisaical religion in which he'd been so deeply involved, and pressing forward, looking unto Jesus Christ.

I hope that this message, forgetting the past, has been a help to you. I hope you will take time to write us, and until next week at this same time may the Lord richly bless you all. Still tis his hand that leadeth me, He leadeth me, he leadeth me, By his own hand he leadeth me. His faithful father I would be, For by his hand he leadeth me. The Baptist Bible Hour has come to you under the direction of Elder LeSaire Bradley, Jr. Address all mail to The Baptist Bible Hour, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. That's The Baptist Bible Hour, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. Lord, I would clap my hand in mine, Forever, ever, glory mine, Content whatever thought I see, Since he's my God that leadeth me, He leadeth me, he leadeth me.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-08 22:55:11 / 2023-04-08 23:05:20 / 10

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