LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE

“If you had a chance to do that over again, would you change anything?”

That’s a powerful question, because we don’t really learn from experience; we only learn from reflecting on experience and drawing lessons from what we observe. This morning we’re going to look at something that is way better than learning from your experiences.

But first, welcome to “Mornings with Bishop Robert,” thanks for joining me. My goal is to introduce people to the Jesus they never knew, and help them get to know Him and His word personally – and better ! So if you learn anything from your experience here this morning, please like, subscribe and share this with a friend.

Experience tells us that following the instructions on a package is usually a good thing. But with so many products being made overseas, often the instructions make no sense. We bought some Christmas lights a few years ago and the instructions on the box said “FOR INDOOR OR OUTDOOR USE ONLY.” Hard to argue with that. Leaving a word out of the instructions can change the meaning completely. The box of a Korean kitchen knife cautions the user by saying, “WARNING – KEEP OUT OF CHILDREN.” Wise counsel; but probably not the original intent of the warning, one would hope. Then you’ve got useless instructions like this one found on the box of a Japanese food processor which said, “NOT TO BE USED FOR THE OTHER USE.” Uhhmmm … OK.

To be valuable, instructions have to provide clear guidance. But if you and I are going to benefit from the value of those clear instructions, we have to follow them. Lots of people tout the value of learning from experience. But that can be a painful way of learning lessons, and sometimes there’s no way to apply what you learn.

Learning from your experience is smart, much smarter than NOT learning from it; but learning from the experience of others is wise. Let’s face it – there are some lessons we do not want to learn personally.

In June of 2008 a teenager riding the Batman roller coaster at the Six Flags Over Georgia amusement park lost his cap while on the ride. Afterwards he ignored multiple signs indicating danger and climbed two separate six-foot fences to enter a restricted area and retrieve his hat. He was decapitated when the roller coaster struck him. There’s no way for him to apply any lessons learned. But we can.

Today’s verse says WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US.

When someone’s choices lead to their death, there are often several lessons that can be learned from the experience. Though it might be painful or uncomfortable to consider these situations, the value is in not having to go through the experience ourselves. There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience and that is NOT learning from experience.

“If you had a chance to do that over again, would you change anything?” It’s a powerful question. It exposes the real value.

The teenager at Six Flags would certainly say the hat wasn’t worth it. When you think you may get into a bit of trouble but get to keep your favorite hat, it minimizes your perception of the risk. But if you knew in advance it would cost your life, no one would climb the fence.

But if you could ask Christ the “would you change anything?” question, His answer would be very different from the Six Flags teen.

Christ would say, “No, I would not change a thing. I did it perfectly the first time, and I knew precisely what it would cost. But YOU were worth the price I paid.” You see, He didn’t just die. It wasn’t a purposeless and arbitrary death. CHRIST DIED FOR US. And He did it WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS. He did it knowing that, even though some would hear about it and never change a thing; many would allow Him to change everything in them.

Yes, when someone’s choices lead to their death, there are often several lessons that can be learned from the experience. While it is wise to learn from your experience, it is much wiser to learn from the experience of others.

What do we learn from Christ’s death?
We learn that sin kills.
We learn that He has paid our price.
We learn that we are worth dying for.
And we learn that He is worth living for.

So the lesson to learn from our time together today is simple — Christ died for sin. Believers die to sin. Unbelievers die in sin.

It’s been said that life is a learning experience – but only if you learn.

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