NON DISPOSABLE Andy Hollifield 11-8-17
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Luke 8:35 Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
Jeremiah 18:4 And the vessel that he made out of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
All things are become new. Aren’t you glad for that? Sometimes when I sit down to write I just look at verses and think “that is just too easy; there is no need to write on that.” It seems at times that some verses just seem so simple that they need no explanation. I know I touched on this a little yesterday but I just couldn’t get away from it. There are a lot of people running around defeated in their Christian life because they have never forgiven themselves for things that God forgave them of long ago. When you are defeated, you are not useable in that condition but once you have the victory, God can use the time when you were defeated to be an encouragement to others.
I want to go back and look at these scriptures just for a minute before we get too far along. The first scripture I used makes probably the greatest statement about God other than John 3:16. The phrase I am talking about is “not willing that any should perish.” Isn’t it good to know that regardless of where you have been and what you have done that God is still not willing for you to perish. I began to think of some people in the bible that most folks would have written off as a lost cause. First, I thought about the apostle Paul. He was a very religious person that thought he was doing the will of God by persecuting the church. In Acts 8:1 the bible says that Saul was consenting unto his death, speaking of Stephen being stoned in chapter 7. In 8:3 the scripture tells us, “As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.” Saul was a man in authority that had the power to execute judgment on whoever he seen fit. We know the story of Saul’s conversion on the Damascus Road and his name being changed, but after hearing of that, the other apostles were leery of him because of all the harm he had brought to believers. No doubt he carried that guilt with him the rest of his life. Do you realize that Paul may have even spent time in prison with some of the same people he had put there? I hadn’t thought about that but can you imagine what that must have been like? Paul had to spend the remainder of his life knowing all that he had done and those that he had either killed or had killed. The important thing to remember about Paul is that he didn’t let his past defeat him. He used the events of his life as a testimony to the grace of God when he stood before paupers and kings alike. God didn’t just toss Paul away as a lost cause but rather used his past to motivate him to do all he could for the Lord.
If you think Paul was bad, how would you feel about someone who had sworn to be your friend, turning their back and denying that they even knew you when you needed them the most? That is exactly what Peter done as he denied knowing Christ not once but three times. As I mentioned recently, not only did Christ forgive Peter but used Peter to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. Also, he singled Peter out when he told Mary to go tell his disciples and Peter that he had risen. We’re talking about a man who after realizing what he had done and remembering Christ had told him that he would do it, went out and wept bitterly. My personal opinion is that Christ said it that way so that Peter would know that all was forgiven.
I also mentioned David, Abraham, and others recently. Can you imagine how David must have felt when Nathan told him the story of the man with a lamb that someone stole from him? He went into a rage pronouncing judgment upon whoever this was until Nathan told him that infamous line, “thou art the man.” Moses is another good example. He had been a prince of Egypt, grandson of Pharoah, a murderer, a fugitive from justice and yet God appeared to him and gave him the task of bringing his people Israel out of bondage in Egypt. You would have never expected him to be the one that God would use for that. That proves again that God isn’t willing to throw us away just because we have messed up.
Look back in Luke 8 at the story of the demoniac of the Gadarenes. They found him sitting and clothed and in his right mind. Did you catch that? After knowing all that this man had done, Jesus not only cast out his devils but also restored his right mind to him. That tells me that if you are out of your right mind before you are saved, then after you’re saved you will be in your right mind.
The next verse I used was in Jeremiah 18, and told us that if the potter had a blemish in his pot, he would simply work the clay again into something he liked better. The one thing he didn’t do was throw away the clay. That ought to be a comforting thought for us. Regardless of what kind of vessel you used to be, God can make you over into a vessel of honor that even you won’t be able to recognize.
I think that of all these verses, maybe the one in 2 Corinthians 5:17 just might be the most encouraging. If you are in Christ, you are a new creature. The old things in your life have now passed away. That means that the only place those things can come up again is in your mind. God has already chosen to forget them. Psalms 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Removed. That means they have been taken away. Isn’t that a joyful thought that all of our past has been taken away. Isaiah 38:17 says “Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.” ALL my sins behind his back. He didn’t dispose of me but keeps molding me into what he wants to use.
I don’t know what kind of past anybody has had but I do know that we have a God that sees all and knows all. Nothing is hid from him but he never brings our sins up to beat us up with our past. He can’t remember our sins once he has forgiven them. You may have just been a marred up piece of clay but God is working on making something beautiful and useful out of you. He didn’t dispose of you. You are valuable to him, he let his Son die for you. Don’t let the sins of your past keep you from serving him in the present. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!