Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

08/19/2018 A.M.

 

REPENTANCE

It’s About A Changed Heart & Lifestyle

 

2 Chronicles 7.14   Joel 2.12-14   2 Peter 3.9

 

Our Sunday Morning Study has been… Things crucial to our salvation…Those things that God demands before we can be pleasing to Him.

 

We’ve talked about faith…

The Hebrews’ writer says… Without Faith it is impossible to please God.

Jesus said… He came so that we might believe and have eternal life.

Paul tells us that… Like Abraham… We are children of God by Faith.


We’ve addressed the subject of baptism…

 

• Peter tells us in Acts 2.38 that baptism has two purposes… The forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

• Romans 8.15-17 says that unless we have received this Gift of the Spirit… We are not…Children…Sons and daughters…  Of God…And Peter says we receive the Spirit at baptism.

 

• Galatians 3.26 & 27 says we are children of god by faith and baptism.

 

• Jesus said… Unless we are born again of Water and Spirit… We cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.

 

• Then in Romans six… Paul indicates that baptism is a reenactment of the… Death…Burial… And Resurrection of Jesus… And that from this New Birth… We are raised to walk in a new life… Kingdom life… In Kingdom righteousness.

 

Folk… Can I say this and you not become upset with me… Why do we try to explain our way around Biblical baptism for the remission of sin and the Gift of the Spirit?

 

We easily accept the fact that we must have faith to be saved…That we must confess Jesus… That we must repent… Become changed people… Why?...Why do we fight the concept of being born again in New Testament Baptism when it is plain in Scripture that it is a part of our conversion?

 

Let me challenge you to take this Worship Bulletin home… Read these Scriptures again… And then ask yourself… Why am I resisting God?…  Why am I not just Accepting the plain teaching of Scripture and Submit to the New Birth requested by Jesus and the New Testament Writers?... Indeed!... Why resist God?

 

Then last Sunday… We addressed the subject of Confession… Noting that we must…confess…Acknowledge… The Deity of Jesus… Acknowledge the fact that the historical Jesus of Nazareth was and is God in the flesh… Come to die for our sins.

 

We noted that… In Biblical confession…

We are promising to live the life of Kingdom righteousness…

• Promising to place Jesus and His commandments first and foremost in our life…  

• Promising to conform to His image in our… thoughts…disposition… and behavior.

 

This Morning… We examine repentance…

 

It’s interesting to note that 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.... 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 repentance

is seen in the number of times it is mentioned in the NewTestament

 

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...Repentand be baptized for the remission of your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit... In 3.19… It was Repent and 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 confirm 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 acknowledgement of our sins and  repentance... Both at our conversion and in our daily walk.

 

Now that we’ve determined that repentance is necessary…

Let's define it...

 

Perhaps the best Biblical definition 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.

 

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 aliGns our heart with God’s heart… His will.

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Godly sorrow is contrition motivated by a love for God… And a desire to be right with Him.

 

Listen…Contrition is important… But Biblical Repentance is not about how many tears we shed… But it’s about how many sins we forsake.

 

Joel says return to 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.

 

Isaiah 55.7 speaks of repentance saying... 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.

 

So… Here is the Biblical Definition of Repentance… According to Joel…

  1. It’s a heartfelt sorrow for sin…

  2. It includes a confessing… And acknowledging it…

  3. Renouncing it…

  4. With a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ.

 

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

 

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 church as... 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 with 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?

 

Indeed…We live in a culture that says… It’s not my fault… Repentance is rising above such… It’s acknowledging our sin fault… Admitting our guilt.

 

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.... To be 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… It is not enough to stop doing evil… We must turn to doing good.

 

For instance…

• 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 trouble making… 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.

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

Repentance means leaving sin… Returning to the Father's house… Coming home to God.

 

Something we do not want to miss…

In Repentance… Motive is everything!!

What moves us toward repentance?

 

What are proper motives?...

  1. Guilt… Shame… Godly sorrow…for our sinful behavior…

  2. Wanting to be right with God.

    Second Corinthians 7.10 & 11 says... Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret.

     

    Here it is folk… The real motive for repentance is that we want to be right with god!!

 

Then there is the 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.

 

There’s the goodness... The kindness... Of God.

• 2 Peter 3.9 says… The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with us, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

 

• Romans 2.4 asks…Will you show contempt for the riches of His kindness… His tolerance and patience… Not realizing that God's kindness leads us towards 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 future reward is another motive for changing our life.

• John10.10 has Jesus saying… 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.

 

There are some wrong motives for repentance…

• Because our parents want us to…

• To please some aunt or grandparent… So we can be included in their will…

• So our fiancée will marry us…

• To join some church…

Are wrong motives… are not God-pleasing Motives.

 

Can I speak to some of you here this morning?… There are those who wrongly think that forgiveness and Salvation are a gift of God and demand nothing… NOTHING on our part… Those who believe that forgiveness & salvation have nothing to do with our heart or behavior.

 

TRUE!... The gift of forgiveness & salvation is from God… It’s called grace.

 

But this gift demands a response… And that response includes some serious work on our part.

 

Make no mistake… God’s command to repent demands a response.

 

Repentance is a work… If you think it’s not…

• Talk to those who are caught up in the sin of… Alcoholism… Drugs… Pornography… and are trying to quit… repent!

Repentance… Turning from such addictions is hard work.

 

• Talk to those who must forsake family and friendships to confess Jesus… This is a real work.

 

• Talk to those who have to forgive… A parent… Relative… Friend… Of abuse… Verbal… Emotional… Sexual… Etc.

 

• Talk to those who are striving daily to live in the image in the likeness of Jesus Christ.

 

Are we listening?... Repentance is A work… A lifelong work…It is our becoming… changed… different… People… Those who belong to God by their becoming Holy ones.

 

Paul speaks of this work in Titus 2.11-12… For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age as we wait upoon the coming of the Lord.

 

No wonder Paul is heard saying to the Philippian church and to us…Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

 

One more thing quickly…

 

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.

 

Every day… 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.

 

Are we thinking that some of the things we’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 you… But we come to God this morning as… Forgiven…totally… Forgiven people… Why?

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

• Placing all our sin under His atoning blood.

 

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

 

Listen…Do you want to know what the lack of Repentance does to us physically…Emotionally… Spiritually… ?

 

Listen to David as he compares the two conditions in Psalms 32… Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”… And You forgave the guilt of my sin.

 

If you’re here this morning… And you are not a child of God… You too can enjoy the forgiveness of your sin… 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…

• 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...

 

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