You are on page 1of 4



Axiom: Experience is _________________, but not _________________

How has the church tended to deal with the issues of the past?

1. The past is _____________ -- You are the result of your experience

2. The past is _____________ -- Never pay attention to it

We want to avoid these two extremes

"Four Facts about the Past"

I. The Past is ____________________

Everyone has a past

Everyone carries their past with them (to some degree)

The problem is not our pastThe problem is what we do with it

II. Memories of the Past are __________________

People are _________________--*You give shape and meaning to your own

history (Num 11:4ff)

We bring "today" to our history--i.e., Your present desires and goals shape
your interpretation of your past

Material adapted from Dr. Stuart Scott notes & Steve Viars, Putting Your Past in its Place. 1
III. The Past is a __________________ Challenge

The past is God's story...not just yours alone

He is not just Lord of the present...He is also Lord of your past (Ps 46:1, 11;
Acts 17:27; Exod 3)

Where was God when this happened (Gen 37; Pss 22; 42; 73; Esth; Job)?


God has been at work in your past for your good (if in Christ) and for His
glory! (Rom 8:28-29; cf. Gen 50:20)

The crucial doctrine...the sovereignty of God PLUS __________________

The world is not chaos, accident, or fate (Dan 4:35; Ps 34:8; cf. Exod 4:11;
Deut 32:39)

So biblically...a person's history is the story of a sovereign God who is

perfectly good.

God will put aside your temporary happiness to do something grander

to conform you to Christ.

IV. The Past is Correctly Handled by __________ __________ & __________

Start with God and understand the past from what Scripture says of Him

Learn to ask __________ _____________ of the past with the RIGHT HEART
attitude (one of humility not contention with God, e.g. Job)

WRONG ATTITUDE -- "God, ANSWER ME on why you didnt do anything for

me back then to stop the wrongdoing?
Material adapted from Dr. Stuart Scott notes & Steve Viars, Putting Your Past in its Place. 2
Gods children (humble and contrite of heart) ask the RIGHT questions even in
their troubled state: "What was God doing? How was/is he using what
happened to make me more like Christ?"

See the Past as a ___________________

a. Teaches about the deceitfulness and danger of __________ (1 Cor 10:6;

Prov 26:11; 22:3; 27:12)

b. Teaches us about Gods __________ (various elements of the Gospel)

God wants you to remember the past so that you will live for Him today.
1) In the past I see the themes of my sin and I am warned
2) In the past I see the themes of His grace and I am encouraged

c. Teaches me that this is a __________ __________ in which people sin and

suffer. The significant thing is not that I have suffered or have been sinned
against. This is the universal experience of people living in a fallen world.

d. Teaches that any __________ always takes place in the present

We must believe that God has given us everything needed to deal with the
past, the present, and the future (2 Pet 1:3-9)

People who see themselves as total victims are victims waiting to happen in
every situation. A victim (for life) is only a victim if they choose to be one

In the backdrop of our past (often not good) the truths of the Gospel of Jesus shine!

Material adapted from Dr. Stuart Scott notes & Steve Viars, Putting Your Past in its Place. 3
1. We believe that the past is important and influential, but not determinative. The
past has helped develop your manner of life, but you are not a helpless victim.

2. Human beings are interpreters, and we never give an objective description of the
past. We are always interpreting and giving meaning to our past.

3. We must say that the past is from God, and that it exists for His glory.

4. Due to the deceitfulness of sin, we are not always aware of habits, assumptions,
and values which shape our behavior and lifestyle.

5. The past may explain lifestyle, but it doesnt excuse it. Explanation of past may
be valuable in revealing a persons lifestyle, but that explanation is not always
needed for lasting biblical change.

6. We must say that any change always takes place in the present. We dont
encourage reliving of the past or releasing of stored up emotions. And we
dont speak of healing memories. Rather, we speak of biblical remembering and
biblical thinking about the present.

7. We believe God is our hope. He is sovereign over every event of our lives. He is
at work in the believer to make him more like Christ. This is the power of the
Gospel of Jesus Christ to both save and sanctify.

God was present in your past...You don't need your memories healed; You just
need them shaped by Scripture. Learn the lessons from your past which God
intends for you to learn.

8. We must believe that every believer has all he needs to live a godly life in the
situation God has placed him, and reject the cultural view of neediness as an
explanation for behavior.

1 Corinthians 10:13 -- You have not been given more than you can bear -- Hope!
Ephesians 2:10 -- You are Gods workmanship, not a victim
Romans 12:18ff -- You must learn to pursue peace and return good for evil

Material adapted from Dr. Stuart Scott notes & Steve Viars, Putting Your Past in its Place. 4