This is the audio from the June 2, 2019 sermon, “Building On the Past!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the North Wayne Mennonite Church.
Text: Ephesians 2:11-22
“. . . built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.”
We tend to approach the past in one of two ways.
One, we try to ignore it and thus learn nothing from it. In this mode, we tend to remove/replace/destroy anything that we feel doesn’t have meaning regardless of the history and/or functionality to someone else.
Two, we worship the past and still learn nothing from it. In this approach, our “rose-colored glasses” keeps us from seeing things as they really were. We hang on to things that represent who we once were regardless of whether we, or anyone else, are still being served by those things.
God’s approach in scripture seems to be that we would learn from the past so that we can be built up into the body He desires.
Here are the main points from the sermon:
As we look back, we must make plans to build on . . .
- Building on promises requires that we are people of our word. When we build on the promises of God, we find a foundation that will never crumble, no matter how much it is shaken, because God always keeps His promises.
- Building on actions requires that we acknowledge work that has already been done. We are where we are because of the work done by those who have gone before us. As Christians, we not only build on the work of the people in our immediate history, we build our life on the work done by God since the beginning of creation.
- Building on sacrifices requires that we acknowledge and honor those who have given up things of value to them so that we can be where we are today. There is no greater sacrifice that we can build our life upon than the sacrifice of Jesus to pay the penalty for our sin.
- Building on triumphs may sound like the best part, yet many of us struggle to “rejoice with those who rejoice.” When we build on the victories we have experienced, we celebrate what has been accomplished while keeping our gaze fixed ahead on what is yet to be done. Building a life that endures will require that we build it around the triumph that Jesus claimed over death.
Building on the PAST is how we are able to celebrate the work of God without becoming complacent to the extent that we no longer expect Him to work. God wants us to take all of the lessons He will teach and use them to help others desire, seek, and have a relationship with His Son, Jesus.