Boldly the preacher stepped in front of the congregation and proclaimed
the Word of God, "Hallelujah! Glory to the Lamb of God! Isn't that good news?
Here, let me read it again. You may not've heard me the first time."
Quickly he went back to his notes, and his Bible. He raised up one hand
as he read, while clutching a microphone in his other hand.
"For I am persuaded! Are you persuaded? Do you believe what Paul is
saying here? Do you REALLY believe it? I am persuaded ---hmmmm Praise God!--
read it with me -- that neither death, nor life, nor angels,
nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to
separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
(Romans 8:38-39 KJV)
The preacher walked out and stood in front of the congregation as they read
together. "I'll say it again--Hallelujah! Glory to the Lamb of God! Isn't that good news?"
This time the congregation responded with a louder "Amen! and "Hallelujah!"
"But," the preacher went on in a normal speaking voice, wiping his forehead and face
with a handkerchief,"I know that there are some of you here who are
NOT persuaded that NOTHING can separate you from the love of God which is
in Christ Jesus our Lord... and I'm going to illustrate it to you. Is it okay if I
take this jacket off? Is that all right?"
The preacher walked up to a man in the congregation, looked at him and said,
"Brother, would you help me this morning? Is that okay?" The man agreed.
"Please come up to the front, and stand right there--" The preacher motioned to the front,
left side of the church, from the congregation's point-of-view.
The preacher stood next to the man, and put his arm around his shoulders as he gently spoke.
"This brother represents something that happened in the past. Back then--
sometimes WAY back then--I sinned against my brother, and therefore I sinned against my God. He was hurt by something I did and said. And, like a good Christian, I repented of my sin: I went to my brother asked him to forgive me, and he did. I went to prayer and asked Jesus to forgive me, and He did. My sin was forgiven that day, and forgotten by God. It was washed away in our tears and later by baptism. Are you getting this? Praise God!" He motioned to the man, "Please wait right here."
The preacher walked and sat down in the middle of the church in a pew five rows back.
"I will represent us now in the present time. You hear the preacher and
the Word of God telling you that NOTHING can separate us from the love of God,
and you probably believe it--you want to believe it--but you feel SO GUILTY of
some sin you committed in the past. The devil is a slippery slimy serpent, but
he's sneaky and he constantly accuses you of that sin you did back then, and
tells you 'See? God has not forgiven you and He doesn't love you!' and that
guilt builds and builds inside and you find yourself trapped--yes trapped--
trapped in the past. You don't want to serve God any more, and you find
yourself separated from your church family."
He stood up he walked to the center in front of the congregation.
"Please look at your Bible again, and read Romans 8:38 and 39 to yourself.
Did you know that there is one major thing missing on Paul's list?
Check it out:
He mentions 'nor things present, nor things to come' but he left out THE PAST!
Do you see it? Our problem is that while God forgets, we remember.
We remember and feel guilty about something that's not there any more
in God's eyes!"
The preacher invited the congregation to come forward to pray at the altar.
Tell the devil 'I am not going to listen to your lies any more.
My brother--or my sister-- and Jesus forgave me of that sin back then
and it's forgotten!' It's forgotten! It's forgotten! Praise the Lord!
Hallelujah! Thank You Jesus!"
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