What Holds You Captive?

July 3, 2020

So many people are stuck in the past.  They’re just stuck and they can’t get on with the future because they can’t let go of the past.  If that describes you, here’s what Jesus is saying to you this morning.  “I was sent to announce freedom to all held captive and forgiveness to all who have been imprisoned.”   (Isaiah 61:1)  He’s not just talking about people in a cold cement prison cell.  He’s talking about the emotional prisons, the emotional prisons that we lock ourselves up in. 

  • Some of you right now, you are in a prison of regret. And you just can’t forgive yourself over that thing that happened in the past.  You can’t let go of it.  You’re in a prison of regret, over things you’ve done.
  • Some of you are in a prison of resentment, over things that have been done to They hurt me and I’m never going to let it go.  I’m never going to let another man get close to me, because he hurt me so bad.  I’m never going to open my heart to that again.  I’m never going to stop being a victim.  And you’re in a prison of resentment. 
  • Some of you are in a prison of envy. How come my husband can’t be like her husband?  How come they have a nice house and I’m stuck in this apartment?
  • Some of you are in a prison of worry. What if I get this virus?  What if my work doesn’t get back to normal?  What do I do with my kids if the schools don’t open in the fall?  You worry constantly and you’re sick and tired.  And you get sick and tired of being sick and tired.
  • Some of you are in a prison of addiction, and secret sins and secret habits. And you think: If we ever knew the real you … If they ever knew what goes on when I’m alone.

I ask you today: What holds you captive?  What’s got you locked up inside?  This morning Jesus holds out His hands to you.  And He says, “I have come to save you and not to judge you.”  (John 12:47)  “I’ve come to help you, not hurt you; love you, not judge you.”  I love Jesus!  I want to be like Jesus.  It’s not my job to judge the world.  It’s my job is to point to the Savior. 

Now, look at me.  Let me be absolutely clear.  There will be a Judgement Day.  The Bible is clear about that.  One day you are going to be required to give an account of your life to God.  And that day is going to be a day of fearful judgment … only if you reject the mercy of God.  God doesn’t want to judge you.  He wants to show you mercy. 

  • For you, it can be a day of celebration, of victory, of incredible eternal reward, of unspeakable joy! Joy – not judgment!
  • For you … Well, you’ll probably be an old man or an old woman when die. For you, it will be a day to get out of that wheelchair and dance! 
  • For you, it will be a day throw aside your walker and jump in the air and click your heals!
  • For you, it will be a day to get the keys to your new home and get fitted for your new crown! Joy – not judgement! 

So just go to God.  Right now.  While I’m still speaking.  Go to God and say, “Lord, I’ve messed up.  I want Your mercy.”  And right now, God is instantly washing you clean.  Right now, you are receiving forgiveness for all the times you messed up and freedom to change your future.  And here’s what the Bible says, “Anyone who asks for mercy from the Lord shall have it and shall be saved.”  (Acts 2:21)

Anyone.  That’s me … that’s you … that’s awesome.

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