Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

12/03/2017 A.M.

 

REPENTANCE

Turning Our Heart To God

2 Chronicles 7.14 Joel 2.12-14  2 Peter 3.9

 

Do you know what the first command was in the Christian Faith?

When Peter preached the first Gospel Sermon on Pentecost... His Jewish audience was stunned by the fact that they had been guilty of calling for the death of... God’s Son... Messiah.

 

They responded... Men and brethren... What must we do?

 

What was Peter’s reply?... What was the first command?... Repent....Every one of you and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit

 

Repentance was the first command issued on the day the church was born.

 

As the Hebrews’ Writer addresses an active early church...When he gets ready to list what he calls seven important elementary teachings of the Christian System... The first one is... Repentance from works that lead to death... That’s Hebrews 6.1.

 

So... Not only is repentance important in our initial conversion... It’s important in our daily walk... It’s a part of God’s elementary truth for all mankind.

 

It’s something that cannot be… Glossed over... Changed… or ignored.

 

The importance of this essential doctrine is underscored by the fact that

New Testament narratives specifically mention repentance...

 

In preparing the way for the Kingdom of God... John the Baptist was found demanding... repentance... in Matthew 3.2 and Mark 1.4 & 5... Saying... Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.

 

Twice in Luke chapter 13... Jesus is found saying... Unless you repent… You will all perish.

 

In Acts 2.38 & again in 3.19… Peter demanded repentance...Repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit... In 3.19… It was Repentand be converted... Repent and turn to God… So your sins may be wiped out.

 

On Mars Hill… Paul says that God demands repentance... In times past God had overlooked such ignorance… But now commands all people everywhere to Repent.

 

Peter tells us that God is patiently waiting for us to repent in 2 Peter 3.9... The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise… He is patient with us… Not wanting anyone to perish… But everyone to come to repentance.

 

The Word of God closes with a warning to the churches of Asia and to us.  Jesus says… Those I love... I rebuke and discipline... So be earnest… And repent.

 

Each of these Scriptures confirms what God said to Solomon in Second Chronicles 7.14… If My people… Who are called by My name… Will humble themselves and pray and seek My face… REPENT… turn from their wicked ways… Then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

 

There should be no doubt this morning that God demands acknowledgementand repentance... FROM each of us... Both at our conversion and in our daily walk.

 

Now that we’ve determined that repentance is necessary…

Let's define it.... What exactly is repentance?...

 

Webster says repentance is…

•To remember with sorrow… To feel remorse for sin.

•To feel such regret and sorrow that one changes his mind… his heart.

•To feel sorrow and remorse for sin… Enough to change one's ways… one’s behavior.

 

Perhaps the best Biblical definition of repentance is found in Joel 2.12-14.

Let's read it together from your worship bulletin… Even now… Declares the Lord… return to me with all your heart… With fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God… For He is gracious and compassionate… Slow to anger and abounding in love… He relents from sending calamity. Who knows he may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing… Grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God.

 

Repentance is turning to God in... sorrow... Weeping... And mourning.

The Hebrew word for mourning here is used to describe morning for the dead.

Repentance is turning to God with weeping and mourning… Because we are genuinely sorrowful for our sins.

 

Joel says repentance is a change of heart.

He says… Don't rend your garments… But rend your hearts.

Genuine repentance is a heart condition… A change of heart that alligns with God’s will.

 

Church...Is there a burden on our heart because of our sin... Really?... I hope there is!

 

Joel says returnto the Lord and bring Him offerings... Not only are we to change our heart... We’re to change our behavior

• Repentance is turning from sin and doing what God commands.

• It’s a change of heart that results in a change in behavior.

• Repentance is a change in PRINCIPLES... That results in a change in PRACTICE.

 

Now…Let’s examine some Biblical examples of repentance...

And what we can learn from them.

 

Genesis 6.6 says… It repented God that He had made man and He grieved in His heart.

Repentance is brought about by grief... In our case…. Grieving over the sin in our lives.

Notice now… What God did as a result of His repentance... Verse 7… I will destroy that which I created… Man…Beast… Creeping things and birds of the air… For it repenteth Me that I have made them.

 

When God repented… He turned from creating to destroying.

This is what we must do…

• Turn from committing sin

• To forsaking Sin… destroying sin... Dying to Sin.

 

Verse eight… Tells us that the only thing God kept… In Genesis six… Was that which was GOOD…NOAH AND HIS FAMILY.

 

Repentance means that we too must work at destroying all that’s evil... While...keeping... Retainng... onlY that which is good.

 

Look at Jonah.

God told him to go to Nineveh.

Instead he RAN FROM GOD… In the opposite direction... toward Tarshish. After three days in a fish's belly…Jonah repented and headed toward Nineveh…

• Some today run from believing in Jesus...

• Some run from New Testament baptism…

• We run from serving in the Lord’s church as... Bible teachers…. Deacons… Elders... Ministry...

• Some of us run from good works that God places before us...

• Others of us… Like Jonah… Run from being evangelistic.

Like Jonah… God is asking us to repent and change the direction of our lives.

 

There’s David and his sin with Bathsheba.

For David… Repentance meant… a personal admission… Acknowledgement… confession of guilt.

Nathan told David this parable about a rich man killing his neighbor’s only lamb.

David became irate... Saying… This man should die!

Nathan confronted David with his sin saying... Thou art the man.

 

You see... Repentance is agreeing with God about the sin in our life.

• Will we agree with God on what is and is not sin in our life?... Will We?

• Will we take the responsibility for our own… sin thoughts… sin behavior?

• Or will we continue to point our finger at others while... Denying our sins... Our guilt?

 

Repentance is saying… I have sinned... LORD…  I am guilty.

John 1.9 reads… If we confess our sins… He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 

The New Testament tells us about Saul.... Later known as Paul.

Saul the persecuter....Becomes Paul the proclaimer.

The difference in the two was repentance… For Paul… Repentance meant turning from... punishing... Killing… Christians…To making Christians… Making Disciples.

 

Here it is… Biblical repentance is a full 180 degree turn from doing evil to doing good.

• A liar who repents stops his lying… And starts telling the truth.

• A gossip who repents stops his ugly talk.. And begins speaking of the good in others.

• A sower of discord among the brethren stops his troublemaking… And begins working for unity in the fellowship.

• An adulterer who repents stops his adultery… And becomes faithful to his spouse.

• A thief stops his stealing… Begins working to support himself and help others.

 

No!... Repentance does not demand we live perfect lives. But it does mean that we try to be God's people and person in every arena of life.

 

Perhaps the best known illustration of repentance is the prodigal son.

Two things we learn about repentance in this narrative…


1) Scripture tells us that the prodigal came to himself…

Repentance is selfexamination... Seeing ourselves as the sinner we really are… Accepting that and deciding to deal with it God’s way.


2) We must leave the pig pen… Staying away from places where sin abounds.

Repentance meant leaving the pig pen and returning to the Father’s house… Coming home to God.

 

And then there is ZACCHAEUS.

Some today maintain that repentance has nothing to do with restitution.

I believe those who teach this… choose to ignore Luke 19.8.

We hear Zacchaeus say… Lord I am selling all I have and give half to the poor… If I have cheated any man… I will restore four fold.

 

Yes it’s true… There would be some that Zacchaeus could not make restitution to.. Perhaps they had...moved away... Died... Whatever.

 

The attitude of repentance is to make every effort to restore where restitution is possible.

A thief who repents... Returns what he has stolen.

 

Well…What is it that motivates us?

What moves us toward repentance?

What should cause us to repent?... I believe three things.

 

The first is fear of punishment.

Jesus tells us… Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather… Fear the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

 

The Hebrew's writer says… It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

 

There are those who say… We should not do anything religiously out of fear… But this is not what the Bible teaches… Fear is a proper motive for repentance.

 

Secondly… The goodness... The kindness... of God.

• Romans 2.4 asks this question… Will you show contempt for the riches of His kindness… His tolerance and patience… Not realizing that God's kindness leads us toward repentance?

 

• Second Corinthians 5.14 gives us the answer... For Christ’s love compels us... Because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.

 

You see…the love of God... All that He has done... And continues to do for us... Should compel us to repent… To become CHANGED people… Different people.

 

The promise of a future reward is another motive for changing our life.

 

• In John 10.10… Jesus said… I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly. Life at its best is life in Jesus.

 

• Jesus told his disciples and those of us here this morning… In my Father's house are many mansions... I go and prepare a place for you... I will come back and take you to be with Me… So that where I am… There you may be also.

 

Wanting the good life that God can give us… Wanting heaven in eternity… Are proper motives for... Confessing… Acknowledging… Our sins… And turning from them.

 

Allow me to read from a publication from one of our religious neighbors.

I thought it said some things we need to hear… READY…

six steps to genuine Repentance...

 

Step one was Godly sorrow...

Psalm 38.18 has David saying... I am troubled by my sin… I confess my iniquity.

 

Step two... Acknowledgement to God...

If we confess our sins… He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 

Three... Ask forgiveness...

Jesus said... Pray like this... Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

 

Four... Rectify the problem... Restore the loss.

Exodus 22.12 says... If an animal was stolen from the neighbor... Restitution must be made.

 

Step five... Forsake the sin.

Isaiah 55.7 reads... Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

The woman taken in adultery was told to... Go your way... And sin no more.

 

Number six... Be willing toreceive God’s forgiveness.

This is where a lot of us fail isn’t it?  We follow these steps... But hang on to our guilt... God forgives us... But we won’t accept His pardon.

 

Second Corinthians 7.10 & 11 says... Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret... See what this godly sorrow has produced in you?... What earnestness?... What eagerness to clear yourselves?

 

You see… These Corinthian Christians had cleared themselves before God...

• They were innocent...

No guilt.

 

Indeed… Godly sorrow leads us to...

• repentance...

innocence...

• salvation...

Amen?

 

Can I speak to some of you this morning…?

Are you here thinking that some of the things you’ve done in life are…

• Bigger than repentance…

• That they are so bad that God’s grace is not big enough…

• Jesus’ blood is not pure enough…

• The waters of baptism are not deep enough…

To forgive your sin… This is not so.

 

There is no sin… So big… So ugly… That God will not forgive in our repentance.

I’ve done some… Ugly… Evil… Unimaginable… Bad… Things in my life…And so have most of us… But we come to God this morning as… Forgiven…totally… Forgiven people… Why?

   • Because we’ve agreed to confess… Acknowledge our sins in genuine repentance…

   • Placing all our sin under his atoning blood.

 

You can be forgiven… This is what this book is about.

 

Well... We must close-- But one more point...

Repentance must become a part of our daily walk with God...

 

Repentance is not a one-time act at our conversion... It’s an attitude... A heart condition… It’s the way we are to live daily.

 

Daily… We must hear God say… If My people… Who are called by My name… Will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways… Then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

 

If you are here this morning… And you are not a child of God… You too can enjoy the forgiveness of your sins… By faith in God and His son Jesus… By repentance… Confession of Jesus… And baptism… Immersion in water for the forgiveness of sin.

 

Perhaps as a child of God…

• We have sins to acknowledge before God… To repent of.

• Maybe you desire the prayers of the church to help with some sin you’re struggling with.

• Maybe you just haven’t accepted God’s forgiveness...

 

Just do it NOW... As we stand and sing this invitation song together.