Written and preached by David P. Nolte


There is a man named Freddie Gage. Among his criminal cohorts he was better known as "The Cat!"  Born in a charity ward in Houston, Texas, he was raised by his grandparents.  He began smoking pot in the ninth grade and had graduated to mainlining heroin at 16. Not counting numerous narcotic offenses, Freddie was arrested 17 times for stealing cars and other crimes. When he was 17, he was sentenced by a Houston court to the Reformatory in Gatesville, Texas but was paroled to his father. Also at 17 he married Barbara, a 15 year old bride. She left him when he made their apartment the headquarters for his gang. Somehow, Freddie's father became a Christian and convinced the estranged couple to come to a preaching meeting. They went and heard a sermon on judgment. They were moved by the sermon. When the invitation was offered, Barbara Gage whispered to Freddie, "Let's go together. God can save our marriage." They both made a commitment to Jesus Christ, were immersed and were reconciled to one another and to God. Freddie destroyed his stock of narcotics, broke with his gang and began a new life. That is what we are all called to do: come to Christ and begin a new life. What does that entail?

    1. Apparently the Roman church labored under a terrible misconception: They reasoned, "Where there was much sin, God gave much grace! So, the way to have much grace is to sin much!" That thinking is about as sensible as this:
      1. "I'm gonna bang my head against this wall really hard because it feels so good when I stop!"
      2. "Since God made the world 75% water and 25% land, He must want me to fish ¾ of the time!"
      3. "Since God is so good, I will just go ahead and sin, and then later ask for forgiveness. It's sort of 'sin now, pray later!'"
      4. "The only way I ever get any attention is when I'm in trouble, so I guess I'll just get in trouble to have attention!"
    2. Paul responds to the Roman logic saying, "Forget it! God forbid! No way! Get a life!"
    3. Our response must be the same! When we are tempted to go on sinning, indulging it, excusing it, hiding it and pandering to it, remember:
      1. "My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent." Proverbs 1:10 (NASB).
      2. "Do not envy a man of violence, and do not choose any of his ways." Proverbs 3:31 (NASB).
      3. "Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it; turn away from it and pass on." Proverbs 4:14-15 (NASB).
      4. "Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man, lest you learn his ways, and find a snare for yourself." Proverbs 22:24-25 (NASB).
      5. And concerning an immoral woman: "Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your vigor to others, and your years to the cruel one;" Proverbs 5:8-9 (NASB).
    4. There is no room for tolerance here; no room for moderation; no room for kidding ourselves; no room for self-indulgence; we must absolutely give up willing sin! "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God." Hebrews 10:26-27 (NIV).
Freddie absolutely refused to continue in sin and gladly gave up the old life. He went to Bible College and became a preacher. Leaving the pulpit after 14 years, Freddie opened a rescue mission and called his ministry "Teen Liberators." During the first 33 days alone over 50 troubled youth showed up seeking help. Freddie was motivated in his ministry by the memory of 43 of his friends who had died violent deaths. He believed that something had to be done and he was going to do it. That something became "Teen Liberators" and he devoted his life to helping others cast off the old and put on the new life in Jesus Christ. We, too, are called to walk in newness of life. Consider further what that means:
    1. It would be only half a job to turn from practicing sin. The other half is to begin practicing righteousness. We might not do active wrong any further but the test is: "Do we actively do right?"
    2. You see, it is one thing to plow a field and make it devoid of weeds and rocks, to level and smooth it. It is altogether another thing to plow it, plant it, irrigate it, cultivate it and grow a crop. Our lives are not only to be denuded of sin, but need to be productive of right behavior.
    3. Look at the Colossian text for some suggested attitudes and behaviors to put on which are consistent with our new life:
      1. 3:12: put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
      2. 3:13: put on a forbearing, forgiving spirit.
      3. 3:14: put on love which is the perfect bond of unity.
      4. 3:15: put on a spirit of gratitude.
    4. And whatever we do in all these ways, do it in the name of Jesus Christ. Remembering all the while that mere behaviorism is not the essence of the Christian faith, but without godly behavior faith is a farce.
Freddie began to walk in newness of life; he turned from his life of sin and crime; he put on a new behavior, dedicating his life to helping others do the same. The ministry of "Teen Liberators" has helped reclaim countless young lives from the wrecks of narcotic addiction. For years, former acquaintances came to seek his help in starting a new life. He is still ministering to those in need because he walks in newness of life. And that means that less and less like "The Cat," Freddie is more and more like Jesus. That's another ramification of walking in newness of life.
    1. When we come out of the water of baptism we are born again, raised to newness of life; we are but infants, imperfect, immature and still carry some of the old baggage from our old life.
    2. But as we always wish for, and try to help, infants go grow into adulthood, so we must seek to grow into Christian adulthood. That equates to being like Jesus Christ.
      1. "For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers." Romans 8:29 (NIV).
      2. "And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the Man from heaven." 1 Corinthians 15:49 (NIV).
      3. "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever - increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV).
    3. Let it be our aim, our goal, our desire to become like Christ. He never sinned; He always did right; He always did the Father's will, spoke the Father's word, and went the Father's way. So may we. Then we will walk like, talk like, live like and become like Jesus Christ.
    4. A little boy was selling apples at a train depot. A hurried passenger bumped him and knocked the basket of apples out of his grip, sending apples all over the floor. He grumbled at the boy for being in his way and hurried off. Another passenger stopped to help the boy retrieve his apples, bought one and gave a generous tip. As he walked away, the boy said, "Say, Mister! Are you Jesus?" The man said, "No son, just one of His helpers!" But the boy saw Jesus in one who wanted to be like Him.
Perhaps we all have an image or impression of the ideal man or woman. We all envision what we would be if we could be. Awhile ago there was a series of commercials where kids said, "I wanna be like Mike!" in reference to Michael Jordan. But there is, and can be, no higher model, no greater example of manhood, no better example of nobility, integrity, strength, honor, and goodness than Jesus Christ. He Who shows us what God is, also shows us what we ought to be. Those who realize their sinfulness, hate it and turn from it may be baptized into Christ. That brings forgiveness of sin; that brings the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; that brings a rebirth; that brings a resurrection to a new life. Whoever you are, whatever you have done, wherever you have failed, Jesus said, "I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10 (NASB).   He came to give us life that lasts for eternity. To walk in that abundant, eternal, new life, requires a decision on your part: to commit yourself to Jesus; to let Him have His way; to let Him mold and form and shape you into His likeness. Will you make that commitment today? Will you walk in newness of life? Will you refuse to continue in sin; will your put off the old and put on the new; will you be like Jesus?  Ask Him to change you; to mold you, to shape you, to transform you.  Ask Him to make you like Jesus.  Let's do that together as we stand to sing: "Change My Heart, O God!"
Story from unknown source but some data from internet sites related to Freddie Gage

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