Have you ever spilled ketchup on a nice white shirt at dinner? You look around, quickly covering it up. It’s so embarrassing! Then you try to clean it, dipping your napkin in water, doing a little laundry action at the table? Maybe you’ve even rubbed a TideStick all over the stain. These are all temporary fixes; you’re gonna need a whole lot more than that to get the stain out!
Last week, our church sent out an online survey. We asked, “At some point in your life, have you believed you had to get your life together before you can start a relationship with Jesus?”
My heart was completely broken when I saw 77% of the people in our church believed this was true. It is a COMPLETE LIE.
Do we have stains from the past? Yep. We’ve lied, cheated, stolen, hurt loved ones, and we did it over and over again.
STAINS BRING SHAME!
We can never get out from under that condemnation by ourselves. We know we’ve done wrong; there’s nothing we can do to fix it or make it better in God’s eyes.
What about this: How many of us are presently selfish, greedy, envious, not fully surrendered to Jesus, or lust after people or things? We’re burdened by the chains of our circumstances. We want to do the right thing but can’t.
CHAINS PREVENT CHANGE!
We want to move forward for Christ but can’t because we’re wrapped up in our sin. It wraps itself around our necks and suffocates our testimony and the Spirit of God.
Can you clean yourself up? Negative.
Can you free yourself up? Nope.
Jesus met me covered with the stains of my past weighed down by the chains of my circumstances; He changed my life completely. He meets people in their situations.
“The old is gone, the new has come…” is one of my very favorite Bible verses. But here’s a newsflash for you:
YOU CAN’T DO NEW!
BUT JESUS CAN DO NEW IN YOU!
There is nothing we can do to earn salvation – this is so we have nothing to boast about except Jesus Christ! We may live in a “bootstrap” culture, but we can never get ourselves clean enough to take away those stains. We can’t do enough good to outweigh our sins. They bring so much shame. Our circumstances bring so much weight.
Remember when we were kids? We came in from playing outside, grass stains and dirt ground into the knees and elbows of our clothes? You’d strip down and hand them to your mom. We never tried to clean them—we didn’t know HOW. The next day, they were spotless, folded, and sitting on the foot of the bed.
It’s the same with Jesus. He looks us in the eyes and says, “Will you let me take those stained garments off of you? I can make you clean and take away your shame. Those burdens, the weight you’re carrying—I can give you rest.”
When we let Him remove these from us, miracles happen. The shame or condemnation from our past disappears. We are clean and brand new!
See, Jesus meets you right where you are, in middle of the mess and He walks with you JUST AS YOU ARE.
Why? Jesus meets sinners like you and me in our situations in order to bring us salvation.
Let me tell you…I praise God for a Savior like that!
For more posts like this, see Broken&Restored, Untangle, Hold On, and “E”.
To see Clayton preaching the actual sermon, start at 15:49 on the Broadcast…