by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Colossians 3:1-11

 

I.         In Charles Dickens’ story “A Christmas Story,” Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his partner who is wear chains of cash boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds and heavy purses. When asked what the chains meant, “I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?”

            A.        It is just a story, but Dickens had a point he wanted to get across that was actually biblically based.

            B.        The desire to become rich becomes a trap - I Timothy 6:9-10

            C.        It isn’t the only trap. Anger can snare us - Proverbs 22:24-25

            D.        We teach to free people from the bondage of sin - II Timothy 2:24-26

II.        But there are many warnings not to return to sin

            A.        Matthew 13:22 - Worry and the lies of wealth choke out some in the parable of the sower

            B.        Luke 9:62 - We can’t look back at what we left

                        1.         Like the Israelites - Numbers 11:5-6

            C.        Should we continue in sin? NO! - Romans 6:1-2

            D.        Sin makes us slaves - John 8:34-36

            E.        Yet too many wear the chains of sin. Worse, some see their sins as badges of honor

III.       Change means removing the chains

            A.        Lay aside the sins that can entangle us - Hebrews 12:1-2

            B.        Lay aside our former manner of life - Ephesians 4:22

            C.        Recall that our old man of sin was crucified - Romans 6:6-7

            D.        Therefore, we consider ourselves dead to the old life - Colossians 3:5-9

IV.      Some get trapped in the past through doubts

            A.        Often it is triggered by sin. If I sinned so badly, then perhaps I was never really saved.

            B.        They constantly go back to the past.

                        1.         Was my baptism done right?

                        2.         Did I really make a promise to do (or not do) ...?

                        3.         Every flaw is sought out or imagined. The memory of the past is changed to match the concern, but they never can be certain

            C.        Now consider - Hebrews 6:1-3

                        1.         There is no growth because the person is locked in the past.

                        2.         They constantly relay the foundations, such as repeatedly being baptized again.

V.        Focus on where we are going, not where we have been

            A.        No longer living for what I want - Galatians 2:20

            B.        Forgetting the past, we must focus on where we are going - Philippians 3:13-14

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