SermonLook Forward Not Back
An all-creatures Bible Message

Look Forward Not Back
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
7 April 2019
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Psalm 126:1-6
Isaiah 43:16-21
John 12:1-8

We are to look forward not back.
When we are born again, our past sins have been forgiven, and what counts in the sight of the Lord is how we live our lives in the present time and in the future.
If we dwell in the past, we are probably destined to make the same mistakes all over again, but as peacemaking children of God, we keep looking for ways to make things better in the future than they were in the past; this is what it means to look forward not back.
Jesus always looked forward and taught us to do the same.
We are always to strive to make tomorrow better than today, and to keep doing this every day of our lives until the Lord calls us home.
Think about these things as we look at Psalm 126:1-6…

1. When the LORD brought back the captive ones of Zion,
We were like those who dream.

What happened was so unbelievable that the people felt that it was like a dream, but it was for real.
The people went into captivity because they disobeyed the Lord; then people had the opportunity or second chance to live in the heavenly will of God and help free creation from its present corruption, just as we do today.
However, if people crave any of the things in their past lives, they are destined to fall back into the very lifestyles that sent them into captivity, but if they look to the future, they will hopefully keep making the world around them better and better every day, just as we should be doing.

2. Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
And our tongue with joyful shouting;
Then they said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
3. The LORD has done great things for us;
We are glad.

If we are truly thankful for what the Lord does for us, then we will serve Him, and do everything in our power to help free creation from its present corruption that continues to cause millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year.

4. Restore our captivity, O LORD,
As the streams in the South.

This verse may sound a little confusing the way it is worded, but it really means to restore us from our former captivity to the way the Lord wants us to be, and the question that each of us has to ask ourselves, is this what I really want, and do I really want to in the heavenly will of God?
If we look around the world today with all its violence and disobedience, most of the people in the past had rejected the Lord, but we don’t have to do the same thing, we can live for the Lord in everything we do.

5. Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
6. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

All too many people seem content to live in the misery of this corrupt and evil world instead of living as the Lord desires us to live.
We need to remember that Jesus taught us that we are to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect, and we pray that we are willing to do it, or at least to sincerely try.
We do not have to live as the world lives.
We do not have to live in the past.
We need to look forward not back.
Let’s continue our Biblical excursion about “look forward not back” in Isaiah 43:16-21…

16. Thus says the LORD,
Who makes a way through the sea
And a path through the mighty waters,
17. Who brings forth the chariot and the horse,
The army and the mighty man
 (They will lie down together and not rise again;
They have been quenched and extinguished like a wick):

This is looking back to understand the mighty power of the Lord as He led the Israelites out of Egypt and into the promised land, and this is the same power that can guide our lives today and for all our tomorrows.
The only times we should look back is to learn something from the past that will help us live better and more Godly lives in the future; however, we are not to live in the past; look forward not back.

18. "Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.

Isn’t this what we have been saying?

19. "Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.

God is talking about looking forward and anticipating all the marvelous things the Lord will do for us and the whole of His creation if we live in His heavenly will.

20. "The beasts of the field will glorify Me;
The jackals and the ostriches;
Because I have given waters in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert,
To give drink to My chosen people.

This shows us that God truly cares about every living being upon this earth, just as we should be doing instead of exploiting them for our pleasure by eating or wearing their body parts or otherwise using them against their will.
God gave the animals the right to live and enjoy His creation just as much as He gave these things to us.

21. "The people whom I formed for Myself,
Will declare My praise.

Because of all the things the Lord has done for us and His creation, we should be praising Him, but not just with our words, because our true praise comes from our willingly living in the heavenly will of God all the days of our lives.
Let’s conclude our message for today by looking at John 12:1-8…

1. Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.

Some scholars have questioned whether Jesus actually raised Lazarus from the dead since he had already been dead for 4 days, and because it is not confirmed in any of the other gospels.
But instead of concentrating on these past events, let’s think about how the Lord raises us and other true believers from our death to sin into everlasting life with Him in heaven; this is all a part of how and why we are to look forward not back.

2. So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him.

Lazarus was apparently soaking up everything he could learn from Jesus, just as all of us should be doing, and church history tells us that Lazarus became a bishop in the church and was later martyred, but from all we know about him, he is now in heaven with the Lord.

3. Mary therefore took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Mary obviously knows that Jesus is going to be killed and desperately wanted to do something to show her love for the Lord; but today we can all show this kind of love and perhaps even more by being the peacemaking children of God who live in His heavenly will here on earth as it is in heaven where there is no pain or suffering or death.
However, note the reaction of Judas…

4. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said,
5. "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii, and given to poor people?"
6. Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.

Judas was living in the corrupt and evil ways of the world, which we are not to do, nor are we to covet the things of this world.

7. Jesus therefore said, "Let her alone, in order that she may keep it for the day of My burial.
8. "For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have Me."

Jesus is telling Judas and us that we are to look forward and not back.
Judas was outwardly looking back, but Mary was looking to the future, which we should be doing.
If we put this in terms of our vegan and animal rights movement, most of us ate meat and contributed to killing and exploiting animals before we became vegan, and we no longer have to live in that past; we are to look forward to presenting ourselves as vegans and encourage others to end the exploitation that causes billions of animals to suffer and die every year.
We need to look forward not back.

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