Purpose Driven Life (part 9)

PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE (Part  9)

CONFRONTING OUR PAST, KEY TO OUR FUTURE

(Pastor Lee Jackson – FFWC)

I)     INTRODUCTIONNEW YEARS IS A TIME IN, WHICH MANY MAKE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS.  UNFORTUNATELY MOST OF THESE RESOLUTIONS ARE BROKEN WITHIN A FEW DAYS OR A FEW WEEKS.  MOST OF US WANT TO CHANGE THINGS ABOUT OUR LIFE.   TODAY WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT AN EPISODE IN THE LIFE OF JACOB TO SEE HOW HE WAS ABLE TO CHANGE WITH GOD’S HELP. HOW BY CONFRONTING HIS PAST, HE WAS ABLE TO CHANGE HIS FUTURE, TO BE COME THE PERSON GOD INTENDED FOR HIM TO BE AND TO RECEIVE GOD’S PROMISES AND GOD’S BLESSING.

A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON JACOB IS IN ORDER.  THE STORY OF JACOB IS GIVEN 11 CHAPTERS IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS.  (GENESIS ONLY HAS 50 CHAPTERS.)  THIS WOULD SEEM TO INDICATE THE IMPORTANCE THAT GOD HAS PLACED ON US BEING FAMILIAR WITH THE LIFE OF JACOB AND THE SPIRITUAL LESSONS HE HAS FOR US.  (RELATE HIGHLIGHTS OF STORY OF JACOB & ESAU.)

TEXT: GENESIS 32:22 – 31.

II)    MOST OF US CANNOT CONFRONT OUR PAST AND OUR FAILURES UNTIL WE ARE FORCED TO BY CIRCUMSTANCES.

A)   CIRCUMSTANCES ARE THE TOOLS GOD USES TO ENCOURAGE US TO CHANGE.

B)   SOMEONE SAID, “WE WILL NOT CHANGE UNTIL THE PAIN OF REMAINING THE SAME EXCEEDS THE PAIN OF CHANGING.”

C)   JACOB HEARD THAT ESAU WAS COMING WITH 400 MEN.  THE LAST TIME HE SAW ESAU, ESAU HATED HIM, FOR GOOD REASON, IF THERE EVER IS A REASON TO HATE.

D)   JACOB HAD CHEATED ESAU OUT OF HIS BIRTHRIGHT AND THEN THE BLESSING OF THE FIRST BORN.

E)   JACOB HAD SENT HIS FAMILY AND HERDS ON AHEAD ACROSS THE STREAM CALLED “JABBOK” WHICH MEANS “EMPTYING”.  JABBOK BECAME THE PLACE IN, WHICH GOD EMPTIED JACOB OF HIMSELF, THAT HE MIGHT RECEIVE GOD’S  BLESSINGS AND THE FULFILLMENT OF GOD’S PROMISES.

III)   MOST OF US CANNOT CONFRONT OUR PAST AND OUR FAILURES WITHOUT GOD’S HELP, AND GOD IS MORE THAN WILLING TO HELP US.

A)   MOST OF US CANNOT CONFRONT OUR PAST BECAUSE WE ARE IN DENIAL, BUT GOD SEES EVERYTHING AND WANTS TO HELP US TO CHANGE.   WHEN WE DENY OUR PAST AND OUR FAILURES, WE ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT THEM.

B)   WHEN WE SIN, EITHER SINS OF COMMISSION OR OMISSION, AGAINST OUR FELLOW MAN OR MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH, WE FIRST AND FOREMOST SIN AGAINST GOD.

C)    AFTER DAVID WAS CONFRONTED WITH HIS SIN BY NATHAN THE PROPHET, HE EXCLAIMED, “AGAINST THEE AND THEE ONLY HAVE I SINNED” IN PSALM 51:4.

IV)  GOD INITIATES THE WRESTLING MATCH WITH US TO FORCE US TO CONFRONT OUR PAST SO THAT HE CAN BLESS OUR FUTURE.

A)    WE DO NOT WANT TAKE RESPONCIBILITY FOR OUR ACTIONS.  WE HAVE TO BLAME SOMEONE: GOD, OUR SPOUSE, OUR PARENTS, OUR CHILDREN, ANYONE.

B)   WE TELL GOD HOW UNFAIR HE IS OR HOW WE HAVE BEEN MISTREATED, HOW THAT LIFE IS NOT FAIR.   ONLY GOD CAN PIN US TO THE MAT AND FORCE US TO ACKNOWLEDGE:  I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS ME – THAT OLD CARNAL NATURE.

C)   BUT IT IS A GOOD THING TO WRESTLE WITH GOD; GOD WELCOMES A GOOD WRESTLING MATCH – GOD ALWAYS WINS BUT WE WIN TOO IF WE DON’T GIVE UP.

D)   A WRESTLING MATCH WITH GOD CAN BE THE BEGINNING OF A NEW, HONEST RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND EVERYONE ELSE.

E)   JACOB WAS A WEALTHY MAN IN HIS DAY; HE HAD A LARGE FAMILY – TWO WIVES, SERVANTS, AND A LARGE HERD OF GOATS, CATTLE AND DONKEYS.

F)    JACOB HAD SPENT 20 YEARS SERVING HIS UNCLE LABAN.  THEY HAD BEEN A HARD 20 YEARS.  (7 YEARS FOR EACH WIFE AND 6 YEARS FOR HIS HERDS, AND GOD HAD BLESSED HIM MATERIALLY.)

G)    JACOB HAD COME TO REALIZE THAT BLESSING IS NOT JUST MEASURED IN MATERIAL POSSESSIONS, BUT RESTORED RELATIONSHIPS, BEGINNING WITH OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.

H)   JACOB HAD PRAYED TO GOD AND REMINDED GOD OF WHAT GOD HAD PROMISED HIM AT BETHEL, WHEN HE WAS FLEEING FROM ESAU.  THIS PRAYER IS FOUND IN GENSIS 32:9 – 12. 

I)     GOD HEARD JACOB’S PRAYER BUT WOULD NOT BLESS JACOB WITHOUT JACOB ACKNOWLEDGING WHO HE WAS AND WHAT HE HAD BECOME: THE NAME JACOB MEANT “HEEL GRABBER” AND “DECEIVER”.  WHEN JACOB CONFESSED THAT HE WAS THE “HEEL GRABBER” THE “DECEIVER”, ONE WHO HAD DECEIVED HIS FATHER AND CHEATED HIS BROTHER, THEN GOD COULD DO SOMETHING FOR HIM.

J)    UPON JACOB’S CONFESSION OF WHO HE WAS GOD CHANGED HIS NAME TO ISRAEL, “ONE WHO STRUGGLES WITH GOD AND MAN AND OVERCOMES”.

K)   GOD DOES NOT WANT US TO PASSIVELY SEEK HIM, BUT TO EARNESTLY SEEK HIM.  MATT. 11:12:  “THE KINGDOM OF GOD SUFFERS VIOLENCE, AND THE VIOLENT TAKE IT BY FORCE.”

L)    WE WORK OUT OUR SALVATION FEAR AND TREMBLING – WE DO NOT CHANGE EASILY, BUT WE MUST CHANGE.  WE ARE ON THE POTTER’S WHEEL, BEING CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF CHRIST, TAKING ON HIS SPIRITUAL FEATURES.

V)   WHEN WE ALLOW GOD TO HELP US TO HONESTLY CONFRONT OUR PAST; GOD CHANGES US AND HE CHANGES OUR FUTURE.

A)   OUR CIRCUMSTANCES DON’T CHANGE UNTIL WE CHANGE!  WE MUST HUMBLE OURSELVES BEFORE GOD AND MEN.  GOD’S WORD IS TRUE AND HIS WAYS ARE RIGHT AND JUST.  HE IS LOOKING OUT FOR OUR GOOD.

B)   JACOB RECEIVED A WOUND IN HIS FLESH IN HIS STRUGGLE WITH GOD, A DISLOCATED HIP THAT CAUSED HIM TO WALK WITH A LIMP.    HIS FLESH WAS WOUNDED AND LAME BUT HIS SPIRIT WAS LEAPING FOR JOY, THIS IS OFTEN THE CASE WHEN WE WRESTLE WITH GOD.

C)   JACOB CALLED THE PLACE WHERE HE WRESTLED WITH GOD “PENIEL” WHICH MEANS “FACE OF GOD”.  THIS WAS THE PLACE WHERE JACOB CAME FACE TO FACE WITH GOD.

D)   GOD BEGAN TO WORK IN JACOB’S BEHALF.  GOD BEGAN TO CHANGE THE HEART OF ESAU.   ESAU TREATED JACOB KINDLY AND SOUGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM.

E)     Pro 16:7  When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

F)     IF YOU READ ON IN THE STORY OF JACOB, HIS LADDER END WAS FAR GREATER THAN HIS FORMER.   HE BECAME THAT SPIRITUAL LEADER OF HIS FAMILY WHEN THEY HAD FALLEN INTO SIN AND IDOLATRY.

G)   IN GENESIS 35,  HE LED HIS FAMILY BACK TO BETHEL, WHERE HE HAD HIS FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH GOD. BETHEL MEANS “HOUSE OF GOD”.  HIS SONS BECAME THE SPIRITUAL HEADS OF THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL, THROUGH THE FAITHFULNESS OF JACOB AND THE GRACE OF GOD.

VI)  CONCLUSION – THERE ARE SOME HERE THAT ONCE HAD THAT LIKE JACOB HAVE HAD “BETHEL” EXPERIENCE WITH GOD, WHERE GOD GRACIOUSLY MET WITH YOU AND MADE GAVE SOME PROMISES THAT YOU HAVE NOT SEEN FULFILLED AND YOU HAVE BECOME SOMEWHAT DISOLUSIONED.  THE YEARS HAVE GONE BY AND YOU HAVE THOUGHT THAT YOU WERE WAITING ON GOD, BUT PERHAPS GOD IS WAITING ON YOU.

HIS PROMISES ARE CONTINGENT UPON OUR FAITHFULNESS AND OBEDIENCE.  WHEN THE PAIN OF REMAINING THE SAME EXCEEDS THE PAIN OF CHANGING GOD CAN BEGIN TO WORK IN YOU.   HIS BLESSINGS COME AND HIS PROMISES BEGIN TO BE FULFILLED WHEN WE CONFRONT OUR PAST WITH HIS HELP AND FORGIVENESS.

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