A Sermon By: Pastor Henry T. Anderson Windsor Avenue Bible Church,
Oceanside, NY. www.windsoravenuebiblechurch.org
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,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul had a good thought here about not looking back and as we close out another year.
You know, a lot of People, a lot Christians today live in the past…
Especially the older you get, the more you dwell on what used to be… I think like that sometimes…
Perhaps on what you used to do… How things used to be…
Oh, how The Church used to be, and how God used to move…
And I’ve heard some comments here like: I remember when our Church was like this….. and for 40 years We’ve done this…
And the Singing was like this…
And the People did that…
And there used to be a little life in the Church…
-And what happens is when you dwell on what The Church used to be,
I believe you cease to try on what The Church needs to be!
And I believe God was good to us this year, Amen!
A lot of new people, nice Fellowship, some Godly Special Services…
And in Philippians 3:13-14 we read:
13Brethren, 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,
So looking back could be good and at the same time it could be bad.
There may be some you here in Church that don’t wanna look back, to some; 2019 might be the worst year you ever had…
- Some of you got some bad medical reports and other medical problems.
- Some of you went through some hard family trials…
- Some of you buried some love ones and some of your good friends past away…
- The economy, politics, the World’s crisis put you on edge…
And on the other hand, for some of You, this was a good year…
-This was the best year you’ve had in a while…
- You’re healthy; you’ve had good medical reports!
- The family doing great!
- God has Blessed You and has answered your prayers!
- You got a good job; you got a good business!
- For Me… It was a tough Year, I worked longer hours both in My Business and in The Church, I’m getting older, Middle Age Sticks! But, I had a lot of Good Things Happen and to quote James Brown: “I feel good!”
Amen, And hey it’s good to hear your good news and God’s Blessings from God’s people, Amen!
It’s not all dome and gloom!
So what I’d like to preach to you-all today is the thought of: “Looking Back-Living Forward.”
Paul’s not saying that we can’t look back, but that we shouldn’t dwell or live in the past, why? Because we got to Live Forward!
We can learn from the past. The Bible is a Book that was written in the Past so that we may Live Forward! It was Paul who said in:
4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
1 Corinthians 10:11
11 Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
You remember Lot’s wife, she looked back at the old sinful life and maybe wanting to return to it, and what happened? She turned into a Pillar of Salt… Now sometimes looking back isn’t a good thing…
When you’re driving a car, it’s good to look back mirror every once in a while.
When you’re walking around town late at night or when you’re walking in a park or walking towards your car, looking back and paying attention is good.
Jonah said in chap 2:4
“yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.”
And that’s he said when he ended up in trouble with The Lord, and he was cast out into the sea and inside the belly of a whale. He said I will look again, and that’s a good thing!
And Paul looked back every once in a while, I think at least 5 times did he not give his testimony, and how God had saved him?
I think it helps you to look back every once in a while, on how God saved you and how God’s worked in your life! And that’s a good thing!
But you can’t sit here this morning and totally dwell on what used to be, good or the bad… it’s in the past,
President GEORGE W. BUSH once said:
“I think we all agree, the past is over.”
President BARACK OBAMA said:
“Whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners to it.”
President Trump said:
“The future belongs to the dreamers, not to the critics. The future belongs to the people who follow their heart, no matter what the critics say, because they truly believe in their vision.”
And I’d like to show you some things this morning that you don’t need to be looking back at.
1. The first thing we don’t need to look back at is our sins, our past sins.
- You say why? Because it causes discouragement, it causes hurt and cause pain.
- You see what happens is if You dwell on what you done last year, how you messed up last year, what kind of sin you got yourself into, and
If you’re not careful it will discourage you, and get you to think that you can’t do no better this year, Amen! It will…
- It’ll make you lose hope in your own self…
- It’ll make you lose hope in the Blood of The Lord Jesus Christ, and the grace of God and the mercy of God, the long suffering of God,
A lot of people are living today in defeat, why? Because they never get over on what happened…
Sin, not only will it discourage you, it’ll depress you, you’ll start hosting pity parties for yourself, then you’ll become:
- No good for God,
- No good for your family,
- No good for your boss,
- No good for your Church, why? All because you’re dwelling on is past sins!
And if you keep dwelling on your past sins, those past sins will defeat you!
- You’ll throw in the towel,
- You’ll quit the things of God,
- And you might start up some of those old sins again,
Your Life shouldn’t be that of a Roller Coaster. Paul said in our Opening Text: “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.”
John wrote in 1 John 5:13
13These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
We have the Prize, we know the ending, we have a high calling, we have Jesus!
And when you accepted Christ as Saviour that Blood washed them sins away, and it’ll keep washing those sins everyday to cleanse you from the sin in your life, Amen!
That’s why it’s good to confess your sins and pray every day to God, I believe you should confess right away to God after you’ve sinned, and remember: sin is sin.
God wants you to confess the big and the little sins.
You might not have killed anyone today, but I’m sure you’ve had some bad thoughts today, and that’s sin…
It’s good to keep yourself clean before God,
Why do you take a shower every day, in fact some of us might need to take more than one shower a day, if you know what I mean…
Hey, if we paid as much attention to the Spiritual man as we do the inward man… we’d be in a whole lot of better shape this morning.
Hey, if you dressed the inward man up like you do the outward man up, you’d be in a lot better relationship with Christ, Amen!
1 John 1:9 says:
9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
That what The Bible says, and if you study the context here, John’s writing to saved people here.
You notice in verse 9 “If we” ok, he’s writing to believers.
Psalm 32:1 says:
1Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Why should we carry that burden of sin with us, when we can simply ask God to forgive us of it?
And it’s sad if you’ve got a bunch of sins; a whole years worth hanging on your back, discouraging you and depressing you and defeating you…
The Bible says we’re to confess them to God who is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Amen!
And what do you do afterwards? You forsake ‘em, you, you forget ‘em, you don’t “Look Back” on ‘em. Then you’ll get some victory, Amen!
You ask God to forgive them and He does and then we should forget about them and Look Forward and Live Forward!
2. Then the next thing you don’t need to look back to is “The Good Old Days”
What do we sing every New Year at Midnight? Auld Lang Syne! " Auld Lang Syne means: days gone by" or "old times."
When you’re constantly looking back at the “Good Old Days”, just maybe you don’t want to seek to make these Days: The Good Old Days,
I talk to my old friends in The NYPD about the “Good Old Days”, like getting shot at, spit on, cursed at, 60 hours of no sleep and bad bosses, a two hour commute, and you what? A lot of Days weren’t so good!
I’ll take the pension and retirement and my new job here over “The Good Old Days” Amen!
And we do it here at The Church as well…
- We used to have 150 people here at Church…
- We used to have 90 kids on Friday nights…
- We used to do it that way in the Good Old Days…
And what happens is that it will cause us to become critical to what’s happening on now…
If you want 150 people here in Church like the Good Old Days, then guess who’s gonna have to do something about it?
If you want this Church to be fruitful and be a Lighthouse to the people of Long Island, then guess who’s gonna have to do something about it?
I think some of us have to stop dwelling on the way things used to be, and how things used to be done, and how it was built, and how much money we put in the Church and, What we used to do, where we used to go,
And if you want it the way it used to be the Good Old Days,
Then stop dwelling on the past,
Get involved in the present,
And you’ll see God do something’s again, Amen!
** We have a new generation of young people here, so we can see what you old folks have done, Amen!
I want to see you old folks being involved and teaching the young people, don’t just invest your money, but invest your time, your brain, your skills, it’s your Church and someday it’s gonna be theirs, Amen!
It’s not the Money that built this Church; it’s the Memories, Amen!
It’s the memories, it’s the joys and pleasures that built this Church!
Money’s got nothing to do with it; some of wealthiest people in the World are the most miserable,
I want to see Windsor Avenue Bible Church grow,
I want to see new families experience the good memories and joys and pleasures and God’s blessings, as you old folks have experienced, Amen!
Thank God for the past, but we gotta Look forward and Live Forward!
One of the ways we grew was that I Looked at the Past here at WABC.
They asked Einstein what the definition of insanity was and he said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”.
It was January 2018, in my parents’ house at 1am, I’m reviewing what we had done in the past and realized that we weren’t growing, we’re stagnate, we’re doing the same thing and I’m going insane… True…
It was then that I decided that we’re gonna try a new Outreach through Facebook Advertising, Google and improving our Website, our Facebook Page, our Instagram Page and our Youtube Page, and you know what?
God Blessed the work! I worked hard, I learnt a lot of things, I met a lot of new people and the Church is growing, the Church is active, the Church is alive!!!!! The Church is Living Forward!
I wanna work harder in 2020 then I did in 2019,
I’m not a quitter,
Do you get tired Pastor Hank? Yes, Do you get worn out, do you get discouraged, I sure do…
But I’m not gonna dwell on the past and on the good old days though…
The wisest man that ever lived said this in: Ecclesiastes 7:10
10Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? (Did you ever consider that question?)
Why is the former better than what’s going on now?
You know why young people leave Church?
Answer- Old people talking about the way it used to be, that’s right!
** You know what young people want? Answer- They want what you had.
The want the excitements you once had, they want the meetings and the trips you once had.
They want to make some “Good Old Days” for themselves!
They want God to show up, like He did for you… back in the good old days…
We need that next generation, Amen!
Wouldn’t it be nice that one day when your Old and you can tell the younglings: “Boy let me tell you something… God moved here back in 2020”
“And Church grew that year,” “New people showed up”,
“We had some family members and new people getting saved that year,”
“We had some good meetings,”
“The touch of God was on us in 2020”
3. Then, Thirdly, don’t look back at the old conflicts. Or The Bad Old Days!
Why is that? Because it causes us to stay bitter…
You know there’s just some folks that just like to argue, that like to complain, that like to criticize, that like to debate.
When I came here there was one here that said: “You’re not gonna tell me what to do! This is a fighting Church!”
And you know what also?
There’s some folks here that like to see all the arguments and conflict.
They’re Spectators and Commentators rather than peace makers…
Instead of Praying and stirring up The Holy Spirit, they’re stirring the pot of trouble here in the Church, and acting like a bunch of old wash women…
He said, She said, He did this, She did that…
Well I know they apologized, but I don’t believe ‘em…
Hey I’m not just talking about The Church, what about those conflicts in your homes?
I can’t prove this, and this may come out wrong, but it’s been my experience through the years that women struggle with past conflicts and forgetting them more than men… think about that ladies…
But you gotta forget about those Old Conflicts, you gotta forget about The Bad Old Days…
And as the old saying goes: The more you pick at a scare, the bigger the wound will be…
And what some of you will do with old Family conflicts, old Church conflicts,
You’ll keep picking at that thing, and when that wound is just about healed, you’ll start picking at it again… Why?
Because you like that… it brings attention to little old you… you don’t feel that the Conflict wasn’t resolved your way, OR… maybe you haven’t truly forgiven that Brother or Sister?
Here’s some advice: Just forget about those Old Conflicts…Forget The Bad Old Days!
Just like Paul said in our opening verse in: Philippians 3:13
“forgetting those things which are behind,”
Don’t keep dwelling on who hurt you, or what so and so did to you, or that family member you loaned a hundred bucks too, you know they’re not paying you back, you gotta get rid that pride,
Get rid of those things, and Get over 2019 and Live Forward into 2020, Amen!
2 Corinthians 5:17 says:
“old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Church, I’m a simple man, I’m a simple Preacher, and this was a simple message,
What I just taught you this morning ought to help every person (myself included) in here.
But if this message just goes in one ear and out the other ear and you won’t apply one bit of what was taught, and next December, you’ll be sitting here again,
And you’ll be in the same old stubborn miserable shape,
And you’ll still be fighting those same old battles, you’ll still won’t have any victory in your life, and you won’t be doing anything for: God, or your family or His Church…
What’s the Answer? Answer- Don’t look back on your:
Past Sins, Don’t look back at the Good Old Days, and don’t look back at the Old Conflicts and The Bad Old Days…
2020 is a coming and we’re getting a clean slate and let’s do right…
Why? And as Paul said in Philippians 3:14
14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
We’re Looking Forward for Jesus, and not Look Back towards Self…
Looking Back-Living Forward! Let’s Pray…
Preached on Sunday, December 29, 2019