Category Archives: Repentance

Repent, Return and Be Refreshed

In every case of conversion, a change occurred, but in some cases the change was more apparent. Since change is what God expects in us (Rom 8:28-30; 12:1-2), what must we do to change? And, how can we help to change others too?

I.        CHARACTERS (Acts 3:1-3)

  • Victory: Peter and John (Acts 2:14-47 — Joel 2:28-32; Isa 2:1-4; Dan 2:44-45)
  • Defeat: Lame beggar (Luke 16:19-31; Mark 10:46-52)

II.        A CASE OF CHANGE

  • Focus: Name of Jesus Christ (Acts 3:4–6; — 2 Tim 2:14; 1 Cor 2:1-2)
  • Rely: Power of Jesus Christ (Acts 3:7–11)
  • Trust: Gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 3:12-26 — Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:21)

III.        HOW TO CHANGE

  • Yourself: Stay alert to your greatest need (salvation, focus, rely, trust)
  • Others: Stay alert to their needs (body and spirit)

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

“Therefore, repent and return [be converted], so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

Crying Tears for God

Something is seriously wrong with our values and priorities when we feel a greater grief for a sinner than for God who has been sinned against. It is equivalent to the concern often shown for a criminal’s rights while ignoring the violation of the victim’s rights. A case of misplaced tears.

This attitude is reflected in people who find it hard to believe in hell. They say they do so because they find it hard to reconcile a God of love, mercy and compassion with a place of eternal pain, suffering and agony. It is a case of misplaced tears; a greater grief for sinners than for God who has been sinned against!

I am convinced that only when we begin to understand how awful sin is to God; only when we come to possess “God’s feelings” about sin – how serious and repulsive all sin (not just certain sin) is to God; only then will we understand the justice of a suffering, agonizing hell. Excuses for sin are abundant, but they fade into insignificance when compared to how horrific any sin is to God.

Various Bible events illustrate this…

Nadab and Abihu quickly felt God’s righteous anger toward sin as fire from the Lord devoured them (Leviticus 10:1-2). Read Numbers 16 where God tells Moses, “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment” (v. 21). God’s people had rebelled against God’s chosen leadership. And then there is Jesus’ righteous anger and behavior when He found God’s temple polluted with commercial merchandising (John 2:13-17).

In each of these cases it would be easy for us to get emotional about what happened to these people, what God did to these people, but when we remember they were sinning against God our emotional focus must change. David’s focus was right when he said, “Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, for they have rebelled against You” (Psalm 5:10). While we earnestly long for the salvation of all people (Romans 2:2-11), we must understand it is a righteous thing to desire God’s punishment of the ungodly and impenitent!

It is time for us to get emotional for God, to shed tears, because people disregard His words. This is true whether I find sin in my life, the life of my earthly family, the life of my brethren, the life of my friends, or the life of society as a while. Do not be harassed into quiet submission because some would think or say you are intolerant. Do not be diverted from the awfulness of the sin because the sinner is a likable, pleasant, sincere person. “Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep Your law” (Psalm 119:136).

Finally, it is especially irritating and offensive when someone who knows better violates God’s words and then claims innocence. “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment” (2 Peter 2:21). Let’s think about these things. — By Ronny E. Hinds

Godly Sorrow

Are you overweight? As in my case, the answer may depend on when you ask. I know just what to do to get my weight where it ought to be, and sometimes I succeed. You know the secret as well as me. Don’t eat “junk” food. Eat the right food moderately. Good eating habits combined with even minimal exercise will, for most people, maintain a reasonable degree of fitness. Two things are in my favor. I enjoy exercise and I like good food. A meal of peas, greens and carrots, with a little cornbread to “sop it up,” appeals to me. Most any kind of fruit is delicious and refreshing. Yet, alas, a major fault besets me. I also like the bad stuff hamburgers, French fries, candy bars and cake!

Now I can truthfully say that I enjoy eating those good healthy things more than the junk. If only I could somehow learn to detest hamburgers, develop a revulsion for ice cream and completely lose my appetite for cookies, chips and chocolate, the battle of the bulge could he won easily. The same applies to the much more serious matter of sin. Genuine repentance from sin involves more than just wanting to do what is right. We must also learn to hate the wrong!

One of the dangers of the current popularity of emphasizing the “positive” and toning down the “negative” in our preaching is that we may be persuaded to try embracing the good without learning to let go of the worldly. Most can appreciate the attributes of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. This is good fruit, the fruit of the Spirit There is, after all, no law against these (Gal 5:22-23). Oh, yes, I like good things. The hard part is learning to hate, detest and disdain evil. The devil will be very content with our love of the good as long as we retain an appetite for evil. In fact, we might even prefer that which is good, and Satan will be happy as long as we keep a little sin in, just for dessert.

Such a spiritual diet will not please God. For repentance to take effect, there must be a remorse, a grief over sin. When he agonized over sin, the Psalmist offered the “sacrifices” of “a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart” (Psalm 51:17). In 2 Corinthians 7:10, Paul wrote, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of.” He went on to note the effect that their godly grief for sin had had among the Corinthians: “For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what avenging!” (7:11). Godly sorrow over sin arises from the hatred of sin – hatred of its source, hatred of its end results. When we develop a true revolution for sin, there will be wrought within us sorrow for our transgressions which will compel us to repent. HOW DO WE LEARN TO HATE SIN?

We need information. Just as proper nutrition is not determined by our personal tastes, neither is right and wrong determined by our feelings and opinions. We must learn the will of God. David said: “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). Those who diligently study the word of God will “have their senses exercised to discern both and evil” (Heb 5:12-14).

The Bible not only defines sin, but is replete with information about its serious consequences. From the sin of Adam and Eve to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Bible teaches us that every injustice, every slight, all suffering and all death can be traced directly or indirectly to sin. Sin breaks up families, ends friendships, extinguishes the bright promise of youth, reduces the old to hopeless cynicism. Sin damns souls for eternity. The only escape from sin was the price which had to be paid by the sinless Son of God. Surely, any serious contemplation of the cost of sin must make us hate every sinful act with desperation.

We need transformation. Romans 12:1-2 concisely states the whole process we are discussing. Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Repentance is a turn-around, a change of heart. There must be, not mere reformation of action, but transformation of mind. When, out of that transformed mind, we learn to hate sin for what it is and what it does, we will come to recoil in penitent grief at its slightest touch. “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good” (Rom 12:9). — By Tom Moody

The Three Crosses

The scene at Calvary is one that can produce a lot of emotion. As Christians, we tend to focus on the cross of Christ. However, there are lessons that we can learn from each cross at Golgotha that day.

A Cross of Rebellion

Hanging on the first cross is a rebellious sinner being justly punished for his sins (Lk. 23:40-41). This man represents most humanity. Mankind chooses to live their lives in sin and will be justly persecuted for their rebellion (Rom. 3:23; 6:26). Proudly and arrogantly, this man on the cross next to Jesus railed and blasphemed the Lord. Luke 23:39 says, “One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, ‘Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!’” This crucified man symbolizes humanity in general. His attitude is one of rebellion until the very end. The only words this criminal is willing to speak is blasphemy toward the Lord. He is not interested in salvation, obedience, or humbling himself before the Lord. This criminal does not view Christ as his savior. He is only thinking of a way to save his neck.

A Cross of Repentance

Hanging on another cross, we see yet another rebellious sinner being justly punished for his sins. What makes this thief on the cross different from the other criminal is his attitude. As the thief is faced with his own mortality, he confesses that he has sinned, and seeks repentance. Luke 23:40-42 says, “But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong. And he said, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’” The difference between this thief and the other criminal is their attitude toward Christ. While the first criminal was rebellious and blasphemous toward God, this thief rebukes him for his attitude. Not only does the thief rebuke the other criminal, but he recognizes that he is no better than the other thief. They are both facing just punishment for the crimes that they have committed. The thief on the cross is not looking for some “quick fix” solution. He is not trying to justify or make excuses for any of the crimes that he has committed. The thief accepts the responsibility of his sin. Then, he humbly asks Jesus for mercy, and to remember him when He comes into His kingdom.

A Cross of Redemption

Finally, on the middle cross (Matt. 27:38; Mk. 15:27; Lk. 23:33; Jn. 19:18), we see Jesus. This is the sinless Son of God sent here to suffer and die for our sins (Isa. 53:5). At this cross, we see the mercy that is offered to us (Rom. 3:26). This is the cross that offers each of us redemption if we choose to obey Christ. We are all doomed to face death because that is the consequence of our sins (Rom. 5:12; Prov. 11:19). Jesus offers us redemption. We could be like the first criminal who, rather than humbling himself before God, chooses to mock Him. There will be no pleasant end to that attitude of rebellion. Wouldn’t you rather have the attitude of the second thief, and humble yourself before the Lord and do as He says to gain redemption through Christ (Acts 17:30; Rom. 10:10; 1 Pet. 3:21)? Have you turned in repentance to the cross of Christ or are you standing in open rebellion? — Joel Raulerson

Do You Have What It Takes To Trust In The Lord?

Luke 18:31-19:27

On a road outside Jericho, Jesus showed what it takes to trust in Him.  He was surrounded by a crowd anxious onlookers.  But the Lord was looking for two special people to set the stage for an enlightening parable about trust.

To Trust in The Lord — It Takes Faith (Luke 18:35-43)

  1. It takes faith to accept your true condition (Rom 3:11-12)
  2. It takes faith to search for a true cure (Rom 10:8-13; 1:16; Acts 2:37-38)
  3. It takes faith to accept the true Savior (Luke 7:22; Acts 4:11-12)

To Trust in the Lord — It Takes Repentance (Luke 19:1-10)

  1. It takes repentance from pride
  2. It takes repentance from greed

To Trust in the Lord — It Takes Obedience (Luke 19:11-27)

  1. It takes obedience to His commands
  2. It means to be entrusted with the gospel
  3. It means to go to work with His word

Are you ready to do His business until He comes back?