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Freedom from Yesterday

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
March 8, 2021 7:00 am

Freedom from Yesterday

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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March 8, 2021 7:00 am

Dr. Tony Evans says that tomorrow is something we'll just never be able to get to as long as we're stuck in the pastpast hurts, past failures, past regrets, and so on. Join him as he explains how to get free from our "yesterdays" and face the future with confidence.

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Whenever your yesterday looks better than your tomorrow, then that means you're still a slave. Dr. Tony Evans says our past can be a trap, and we need to allow God to set us free. Don't you let yesterday keep you from tomorrow.

I don't care how bad it is, and I don't care how long you've been there. I'm saying don't let it chain you. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans. Author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. Until someone invents a time machine, we can't live anywhere but the present.

But that doesn't stop a lot of Christians from being trapped in the past. Let's join Dr. Evans as he explains how to break free. Freedom is one of those words like the word love. You like it, but you can't quite define it. You know what it feels like when you have it, but if you were pushed to give a precise definition of it, it may get a little difficult.

We've tried to give you one. From a biblical frame of reference, we've defined freedom as release from illegitimate bondage so that you are now able to experience becoming what you were created and redeemed to be. You see, our bondage isn't illegitimate. For the Bible says we are to be bound to Christ. That's legitimate bondage.

The Bible says a wife is bound to her husband. There are bounds that we are to adhere to. Freedom always demands responsibility. People who want to be free but who don't want to be responsible aren't ready to be free. A teenager who says, I want to be free from my mother and father and don't have no job. He's not ready for freedom. Freedom demands responsibility.

But we want you to be free from yesterday. I don't want anybody in here being held to an illegitimate slavery of your past. God had set His people free or He had delivered them from Egypt. Israel was enslaved with Egypt in Egypt for 430 years. They were in the slavery or the bondage of Egypt. And they cried to be free. And God delivered them. He did not only deliver them from Egypt, from their past, He delivered them to their destiny. So there was deliverance from in order that there might be destiny to. That is, from Egypt to Canaan, the place of promise. In order to get from deliverance, Egypt, to destiny, Canaan, they had to go through a process of development, wilderness. Deliverance, Egypt, development, wilderness, destiny, Canaan.

What is true of their progression is true of the progression of every Christian today. When you were saved, you were delivered from the realm of darkness. You were delivered from the authority of Satan. You were delivered from the power of sin in order that you might have a destiny to fulfilling God's purpose and promise for your life.

God has a destiny for every truly born-again Christian that involves fulfilling the purpose and promise of your life. In order to move from deliverance and in order to arrive at destiny, you must go through development. That development is called the wilderness. The wilderness is when God takes you through things in order to reveal to you He is God. You can only discover that God is God when you're going through wilderness situations. Those are the trials, the testings, and the temptations in which you have to depend on God because your own resources are not enough.

You can't make it on your own. The wilderness is dry. The wilderness is barren.

The wilderness has no life. So if you're going to eat and drink in the wilderness, God has got to rain down manna from on high and bring water out of rocks because that's what He did in the wilderness. The purpose of the wilderness is for God to show you He's God.

So there is deliverance in order to reach destiny through a process of development. Now, the reason why the wilderness is very necessary is to help you to forget Egypt. You see, God knew that they had been in Egypt a long time, 430 years, and He wanted Egypt to be left behind them. That was their past because He knew if He didn't get rid of Egypt, they were going to take Egypt into Canaan. God doesn't want Egypt in Canaan. Canaan is a whole different location with a whole different plan and a whole different purpose. He didn't want them dragging Egypt to Canaan, so He brought them through the wilderness.

In fact, the first thing He told them to do in Exodus chapter 19, He says, When I deliver you, wash your clothes. Get the smell of Egypt off you. I don't want you taking Egypt with you, and so I am going to disconnect you from your past.

And I want you to discover Me in your present so that you will trust Me in your destiny. Well, they are on the verge of entering the Promised Land in Numbers chapter 14. They are right there. They're at the Jordan River. You know, we sing our songs about crossing the river. They had crossed the Red Sea. That was in their deliverance, but now they're ready to cross the Jordan River to take them into their destiny. So you need to cross two rivers. You need to get out there. You need to come through the Red Sea.

That's your salvation. But you need to cross the Jordan River because that's where your destiny lies. They're on the precipice of their tomorrow. God tells them to go spy out the land, to go look at the land that He has promised them their future. Go take a look at the land. Spy out the land.

They sent their twelve spies in to spy out the land. The spies come back in chapter 13, and they say in verse 27, it's a good land. And it flows with milk and honey, and here is the fruit. They brought back the fruit that was enormous fruit to show how productive— milk and honey means productive—how productive their future was, how productive the land is.

But then they said, verse 28, nevertheless, now it's productive, but we have a problem. The place is strong. The cities are fortified. The Anak are there, verse 29. The Amalek is there in the Negev. The Hittites are there. The Jebusites are there. The Amorites are in the hill country.

The Canaanites are living by the Sea of Jordan. In other words, it's nice, but it's too many problems. It's too many problems. In order for us to take our future, it's going to be too rough because there are problems out there. The reason God takes you through the wilderness is to cut you off from your past in order that you might discover how great God is so when you see the problems in your future, you won't run from your future because you've seen God in the wilderness having disconnected from your yesterday. See, many of us can't get tomorrow because we're still carrying the baggage of yesterday. We're still so tied up to how we were messed up or jacked up or messed over in our yesterday, we can't take the step to tomorrow because we can't even get through today. And it's hard to get to tomorrow if you can't even make it today. See, a lot of us wish today went in and wish we could get to tomorrow, but if you didn't do anything about what you brought in today from yesterday, you're dragging that bad boy into tomorrow.

And then tomorrow, you'll be wanting the next day to be better. So they said there are problems. So obviously, he's not talking about heaven because when you go to heaven, there are no problems.

There are no Hittites, Jebusites, Canaanites, Amorites. When you get to heaven, you study war no more. There are no problems in heaven. He's talking about your destiny in history.

And that's why you need a sermon on responsibility because when God gives you things, He does not give you things without the responsibility to act on taking care of the business that He gave you. So these folks are right at the precipice of their future. They hear that there are going to be problems moving forward.

There's blessing, but you've got to overcome some problems moving forward to the destiny God has for you. When they hear this—in fact, let me tell you what they said. Verse 33, the Nephilim were there, and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight. It's bad when you make your own self a grasshopper. The folk didn't call them grasshoppers. We called ourselves grasshoppers when we saw how big they were. And when we called ourselves grasshoppers, guess what they called us?

And so we were in their sight. Because if you call yourself a grasshopper, what you think other folk are going to call you? They're going to make you as much of a grasshopper you said you were. So you go around talking about, I'm a nobody. Yep, we agree. I'm never going to be nothing. I heard that.

I'm nothing but a failure. You're right. Show you right. So what they did was they shrunk in the midst of a challenge. And look at what they said. When they heard about the challenges of their future, they grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said, whether we had died in Egypt or we had died in this wilderness, why is the Lord bringing us into this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones had become plunder. Would it not have been better for us to return to Egypt? So they said to one another, let us appoint a leader and let us return to Egypt.

They wanted to go back to yesterday. They wanted to go back to Egypt. They wanted to go back to the place they begged God to get them out of. Because when they were in Egypt, they said, deliver us from here. We want to get out of here. We want to leave here. Now that they're away from there, they run into a little problem and say, let's go back.

Let's go back. In other words, they had left Egypt, but Egypt had not left them. They still had Egypt on their minds. And what does that tell us? That tells us you can be delivered and still be a slave. In other words, you can be set free, but still have yesterday running your mind.

In fact, if you turn to Exodus 13, verse 17, it says, when God led them out of Egypt, he bypassed the land of the Philistines, lest when they saw the Philistines, they would change their mind. Dr. Evans has an example of that mindset that comes straight out of classic TV. He'll share it with us when he comes back in a moment with more of this message from his current series, Freedom Through Forgiveness. It's a look at the connection between release and relief when we experience the mercy of God and pass it along to others. And we'd like to pass along a copy of this six lesson collection to you as our thank you gift when you support Tony's ministry with a contribution. Along with it, we'll include his companion book, 30 Days to Victory Through Forgiveness. It explains how in a single month you can learn to let go of the pain that others have caused you or that you've caused yourself.

Two resources, both designed to help you break the cycle of old hurts that keep causing new hurts. Both yours with our thanks for your contribution. This offer is only available for a few more days, so visit us right away at tonyevans.org or call our 24 hour resource center at 1-800-832-22 for details before time runs out.

I'll have our contact information again for you after part two of today's lesson and this. Do you remember the Beverly Hillbillies? They found some black gold on their property. Now they are multi-millionaires and they moved to Beverly Hills. Now what made the show entertaining was that they are now living large like Hillbillies. In other words, their location changed, but not their mindset. See, they were still thinking Hillbilly thoughts. And see, folk that you hang around who haven't changed their mindset, they don't just decrease their value.

If they're in your vicinity, they decrease your value. Because see, the mindset hasn't changed. See, God not only wanted to deliver them from the location of Egypt, He wanted to deliver them from the mentality of Egypt. But Egypt is still on their mind.

Georgia on my mind. They still thinking about Egypt. Now let me tell you what they were thinking about Egypt.

Back in chapter 11, he says this. We remember, see that ain't going back on us. We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt. The cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic.

But now appetite is gone and there is nothing at all to look at except this manna. They say back in Egypt, we didn't have to deal with all this. Back in Egypt, we didn't have responsibility for all this. We had garlic and leeks and onions and fish and melons back in Egypt.

So guess what they were saying? We would prefer fish, onions, melons and garlic in slavery than milk and honey in freedom. The problem is there was going to be challenges to experiencing freedom. And they would choose slavery. They stood on the precipice of a glorious tomorrow, a glorious future, but because there was going to be a challenge moving forward, they say let's go back.

Let's go back to yesterday. Here's what you need to understand. Deliverance provides you the opportunity for freedom. It is not in itself freedom.

The Bible says clearly it was for freedom we've been set free that is free to experience becoming all we were created and then redeemed to be. Whenever your yesterday looks better than your tomorrow, then that means you're still a slave. So the question is what do you do about yesterday? You use yesterday as a rearview mirror. You glance at it.

You don't live in it. The rearview mirror shows you what's behind you. You need to glance at it and remember this is where I was. This is what God did. But you are moving forward utilizing the windshield because that glass is so much bigger.

Because where you're going is supposed to be much bigger than where you've been. So you want to live your life moving forward with the windshield that is finding out God's perspective on anything, on every subject. You want to know what God thinks about it, how God feels about it, and what He expects from me regarding it so that I can see new movement of God. Moses sent twelve spies in. Two came back and said what God said we can do. Ten came back and said we can't do that.

We can't do that. See the reason why a lot of us will live in the past and not move on to the future is because the folk we hang out with aren't people of faith. They aren't people who trust God. They are people who can see beyond yesterday.

They want to get together and talk about yesterday. Paul put it this way in Philippians 3, 13. He says, forgetting those things which are behind, I press on. He says I had to let yesterday go. And that means the good, the bad, and the ugly.

You got to let it go. You know what Paul had to forget? He had to forget some bad stuff, because he was a murderer. He was over there when they stoned Stephen to death. He was standing right there commissioning the execution. He's a killer. He persecuted the Church of the Living God.

That man is a murderer. Paul says I had to forget the things that are behind, because if every day I thought about the fact that I was a murderer, I could have never become an apostle. I could have never written 13 books in the New Testament. He not only had to forget the bad stuff, he had to forget the good stuff. I couldn't just remember all the good stuff I did. It was good back there. I'm glad I did it, but I'm pressing on.

I got new mountains to conquer and new victories to experience and new enhancements. Some people in the Bible had to forget the ugly. Joseph had to forget the ugly, because his brothers were ugly. Sold them into slavery. That's ugly. Accused to rape falsely. That ain't right.

Forgotten in prison. That ain't right. That's just downright ugly. He could have spent the rest of his life saying you boys did me wrong. You boys shouldn't have sold me into slavery. That was not fair. If y'all hadn't done this, I wouldn't have had to go through all that stuff just because y'all were jealous of me over a cold dream that I had.

That was not fair, and I'm never going to forgive y'all for the rest of my life. I'm going to hold this thing. What goes around comes around, and I ain't going to ever let this go. I ain't going to ever let this go. But you know what Joseph said?

You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. To bring me to this place, you got to let it go. If you're going to be free to move forward, you got to let it go. And not be held hostage to yesterday. In Hebrews chapter 10, he says these words in verse 35. Don't throw away your confidence, which has great reward. Don't throw away your confidence, for you have need of endurance so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what is promised. For yet in a very little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.

But my righteous one shall live by faith. And if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him. Don't go backwards, he says. Don't shrink back, because just like Israel, my soul has no pleasure in him.

Dr. Tony Evans, talking about the importance of pressing forward. He'll come back with a closing illustration to drive that point home in just a moment. But first, he wants to make sure you're able to find your freedom from yesterday. And to do that, you need to receive God's ultimate favor, his free gift of salvation. If you're at all uncertain about your eternal destiny, visit TonyEvans.org and click the link that says Jesus. Dr. Evans has a short video message for you and some free resources to help you be certain about your eternal future.

Don't put it off. Visit TonyEvans.org right away. And while you're there, you can also make arrangements to receive a copy of today's lesson to review on your own or pass along to someone you care about. Just get in touch with us for details on the message titled Freedom from Yesterday. Better yet, you can get it as a part of our current series, a six-lesson collection called Freedom Through Forgiveness, which includes some bonus material we won't have time to present on the air. As I mentioned earlier, you can get this audio collection on CD and digital download, along with the companion book, 30 Days to Victory Through Forgiveness.

It's all yours with our thanks when you make a contribution to help keep Tony's teaching coming to you on this station. Well, as you've heard, the Urban Alternative is celebrating 40 years of ministry this year. So your support is an investment in an organization that's been faithfully carrying the good news to a needy world for many years. Dr. Evans recently spoke about God's early calling on His life. 1968, our little church became part of an evangelistic crusade in Baltimore led by an evangelist named B. Sam Hart.

His organization was the Grand Old Gospel Fellowship. It was a tent crusade, and I was an 18-year-old working on this crusade with our church. And on the first night he preached, he talked about being fully committed to being used of God. And that night is when I sensed God calling me to serve Him. I really then got more involved in the crusade and got to know Sam Hart. And then he sent me to Guyana, South America, to work on his crusade that was going on there, which of course is where I met Lois. So it was that crusade in 68 that started the ministry direction for me. Your support of the Urban Alternative makes possible the important work that continues even today. So again, contact us at 1-800-800-3222, and let us say thanks for your help by sending you this special two-resource package, Freedom Through Forgiveness and Thirty Days to Victory Through Forgiveness.

Again, that's 1-800-800-3222, or make the arrangements online at TonyEvans.org. People often say you can do anything if you have enough faith, but tomorrow Dr. Evans explains that's not true unless you have the right kind of faith. Right now, though, he's back with a final illustration to wrap up today's program. I love when I see guys in a race, and when I see them get to the tape, and they lean.

They lean, because they're pressing forward to get to the tape. Once you turn and go backwards, you are working against where you're trying to get to. Let it go. Yesterday was good, it was bad, and it was ugly. And you know the first thing about it? You can't change none of it. None of it. It's permanently good, permanently bad, or permanently ugly. But you can press on and lean toward the high hope and the calling that is in Christ Jesus. Somebody bless the Lord for the future, for your tomorrow is greater than your yesterday. The alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-17 21:23:43 / 2023-12-17 21:32:49 / 9

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