Tuesday, June 9, 2010 - The Bible speaks on Repentance The Bible is very clear. Forty six times in the King James New Testament, the passages refer to the subject "repent or repentance." Some examples are:
> Matt. 4:17 - From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
> Mark 6:12 - And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
> Luke 24:47 - And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
> Acts 2:38 - Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
> Acts 3:19 - Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord
> 2 Cor. 7:10 - For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
It has been said that one of the hardest commands to obey is that of repentance; admitting I have sinned against God. Sin causes us to be separated from God. We know all have sinned according to Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” If one dies is this condition, Romans 6:23 tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, the end is eternal punishment."
The necessity of obedience includes not only faith, confession, and baptism, but the subject of our lesson this week, repentance. In the church today there are those who would pervert God’s teaching on repentance in order to make friends, families, maybe even large contributors feel better about their life.
It is time for God’s words to be heard.
The Command for Repentance
1. Repentance has always been a part of God’s teaching 1.1. Jonah 3 – Ninevah, a wicked city of about 600,000 1.1.1. Jonah was sent to preach God’s commands 1.1.2. Ninevah repented and were spared God’s wrath 2. Acts 17:30 - The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent 2.1. There was a "call" to repentance, both for the world and the church 2.2. Repentance is a command, one coming from God Himself 3. So important is repentance that in Luke 13:3 Jesus said, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish.” In verse 5 he repeats himself to emphasize his point 3.1. Repent or perish 4. Day of Pentecost 4.1. Acts 2:38 – Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 4.1.1. All should easily understand the meaning of Peter’s reply to their question. He simply tells these lost believers that they must (1) repent and (2) be baptized so that their sins will be forgiven.They were not saved after they believed! 4.2. Acts 3:19 - Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord 4.3. II Peter 3:9-10 - The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance 4.4. Jesus in Matthew 4:17 - Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 5. Repentance was not a message limited to the alien sinner 5.1. Acts 8 we see Simon obeyed the Gospel, tried to buy miraculous power. In verse 22 he’s told “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray the Lord, if perhaps the thought of thy heart shall be forgiven thee” 5.2. In Revelations 2 and 3 we see five of the seven churches did not meet with God’s approval and were told to repent 6. Repentance is for the erring child of God individually, or a congregation in error, collectively, as well as for alien sinners.
What must Precede Repentance
1. Repentance must be preceded by sin! Infants and children cannot repent because they have committed no sins of which to repent. 1.1. Matthew 18:3 - and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 2. Repentance must be preceded by hearing, learning, and believing the truth 2.1. Romans 10:13-14 - Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? 2.2. Hebrews 11:6 - But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him 2.3. Day of Pentecost – Heard Peter 3. No sinner can truly repent without faith in God and in his son Jesus Christ 3.1. Acts 2:41 – Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls 3.2. Acts 11:21 - But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.
What Repentance is not
1. It is not just regret, as clearly seen in the case of Judas in Matt. 27:3. Here we find remorse or regret, but not genuine repentance. 2. It is not just fear, although the Bible emphasizes the need of godly fear (Eccl. 12:13; Prov. 1:7; Acts 10:34-35; Rom. 3:18). It could be that some are just scared, as is the man in the foxhole, but that is not godly fear. Note also Felix in Acts 24:25. 3. It is not just conviction; for one might be convicted and yet not truly repent. Men must be convicted of sin to be saved (John 16:8; Eph. 6:17), and many today state that they have sinned, but there is no real change in their lives (no real conviction). King Saul said he had sinned, but it did not change his life. 4. It is not just being sorry, as there is a sorrow of the world and also a godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:8-10). I am sure the Pentecostians of Acts 2 were in sorrow about their sins (Acts 2:36), but they were not then forgiven. 4.1. Paul made clear in II Corinthians 7:10 that “the sorrow of the world worketh death” 5. It is not just a reformation of life, as one may quit some sin and then reform his life for some selfish reason and still not obey God (Matt. 3:1; Luke 3:7-8). It is connected with repentance, but it is not repentance. 6. It is not asking for forgiveness through prayer. We might pray so passionately, but that is not repentance. 7. It is not just confession, as sins must not only be confessed, they must also be abandoned. 8. It is not just ceasing to do wrong. One might stop stealing and feel that he can keep the money and be all right, but this is not repentance (Acts 8:20-24; 2:36). 9. It is not suddenly beginning to do good works 10. It is not moving away, and starting over life anew 11. It is not simply going down the aisle and making an “if I’ve sinned” statement. 11.1. It is not an "if" statement. This is not confessing sin, but speaks of an attitude that is not right. This is a long way from what David did in Ps. 51:1-3. Note that he said: "my sin," "my iniquity," and "my transgression." He took ownership.
What the Bible says Repentance consists of
1. There are two words used in the New Testament for repent or repentance and it is important we understand the difference. 1.1. One is the word met-am-el'-lom-ahee , used six times in the New Testament as a verb. It means to have a thought of remorse or regret 1.1.1. Matt. 27:3 - Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, he repented, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders. 184.108.40.206. Judas regretted his sin, but did not genuinely repent 1.1.2. 2 Cor. 7:8 - For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent (regret), though I did repent (regret) for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. 220.127.116.11. Paul doesn’t regret sending them the letter because he knows they needed it sent to them, but he regretted having to send it to them. 1.2. The other word is met-an-o-eh'-o, used some 34 times in the verb form and 24 in the noun form. 1.2.1. This is the word used in the New Testament to note genuine repentance, indicating that the sinner must make "a spiritual change." It is almost always (only one exception, I believe) used in reference to repentance from sin. In this word there is a "change of mind" and it results in a "change of conduct." 1.2.2. Acts 2:38 - Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins 1.2.3. Acts 26:20 - but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. 1.2.4. The word repentance here comes from the word repent in the same verse. This is what Godly repentance demands. 1.3. II Corinthians 7:8-10 - For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it (repent); though I did regret it (repent). For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 1.3.1. What kind of sorrow? Not worldly sorrow, it produces death 18.104.22.168. "Worldly sorrow" is a SELFISH kind of sorrow 22.214.171.124.1. E.g., when one is sorry because HE got caught 126.96.36.199.2. E.g., when one is sorry because what one did made HIM look bad 188.8.131.52. In "worldly sorrow", one is more concerned about SELF! 2. We can know genuine (true) repentance 2.1. Goebel Music said, “If I were to give one single thought, one basic sentence, in my explanation of what repentance is, it would be this: "Repentance is a change of mind, brought about or produced by godly sorrow, that results in a change of life." 2.2. Regret -- the sinner must feel regret, as he now understands his sins have transgressed God's law and he has incurred God's wrath (2 Cor. 7:10). 2.3. Resolve -- from verses such as Matt. 21:29 and Luke 15:18, we know the sinner must change his will. 2.4. Reform -- this change of conduct is seen in the life that he now lives, that is, the fruit thereof is ever so clear (Matt. 3:8; 1 Thess. 1:9; Acts 19:19). 2.5. Restore -- this is most difficult, perhaps at times impossible (the one I have sinned against may be dead), but the desire and effort are absolutes. If I have stolen something, I must return it -- this is the idea herein expressed. 3. Godly sorrow produces repentance 3.1. I.e., one is sorry because their actions are sins against a Holy God….SUGGEST they read Psalms 51 3.1.1. Psalms 51:4 - Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight-That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge 3.2. One is sorry for the price GOD must pay to have our sins removed 3.2.1. What was that price? 3.2.2. Christ death on the cross 3.3. In "godly sorrow", one is more concerned with GOD than self! 3.4. One must come to a point of viewing sin as a disgusting thing to participate in or do. This is how God views sin. 3.5. Remember repent is a change of mind 4. Genuine Repentance leads to a change of conduct or reformation of Life 4.1. Some change of life can come upon someone without repentance. 4.1.1. Murder, thief, liar, cheater etc 4.1.2. This means you cease sinful practices (fornication, drunkenness, lying etc.) 184.108.40.206. Paul, in I Cor. 6:9-11 mentions those who WERE (past tense) living in sin - Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 220.127.116.11. Does anyone seriously believe for one moment that they continued in those sins after baptism with God’s approval? 4.1.3. This means you get out of sinful relationships 18.104.22.168. This means marriages that are NOT authorized by God 22.214.171.124. We can easily see and agree that a person who steals a car, watch or money makes restitution, to the best of their abilities, to truly repent. 126.96.36.199. Why can’t we see that the same applies in unscriptural marriages? 188.8.131.52. Some suggest that baptism washes away their former adulterous relationship and allows them to continue together after baptism 184.108.40.206. Some questions need to be asked of those who feel baptism or prayer (if one is already a Christian) makes an adulterous marriage holy 220.127.116.11.1. Could a polygamist continue with five wives after baptism or prayer with God’s approval 18.104.22.168.2. Could an idolater continue in idolatry after baptism or prayer with God’s approval 22.214.171.124.3. Could homosexuals continue in “marriage” after baptism or prayer with God’s approval? 126.96.36.199. Can anyone honestly suggest that baptism or prayer (if already a Christian) sanctions as holy that which prior to baptism or prayer was unholy? Can anyone name one thing that is sinful before baptism, but which after baptism is not sinful? 188.8.131.52. Baptism or prayer is not some kind of magic that performs marriage ceremonies for adulterers. 4.1.4. Even true repentance requires us to suffer the earthly consequences of our sin, but it brings us back into the right state with God. 184.108.40.206. Jail time, celibacy 220.127.116.11. We still have to abide God’s commands 4.2. We must answer the question “Why are we here? Earthly satisfaction and happiness or to live a Christ centered life so that I can reach heaven.” 4.3. Genuine repentance (as enjoined in the gospel of Christ), when coupled with knowledge of the will of God, always results in the correct reformation of life. 5. Repentance requires restitution. 5.1. People constantly ask if “repentance” results in restitution. Let us observe the following: 5.1.1. In the Old Testament God required that recompense be made to the injured party, and a fifth part added to it, etc. (Note: Leviticus 6:1-7 5.1.2. Christ approved of what Zacchaeus said in Luke 19:3-9 5.2. Restitution, where possible, is certainly involved in the Biblical doctrine of repentance
The command of repentance is aimed directly at the will of man, and herein lies the difficulty. It is hard to get man to give up sin, as "self" is the hardest man in the world to crucify (Matt. 19:16-22; Acts 8:13; 17:32-34). Very few can say with Paul, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me" (Gal. 2:20).
Our Lord Himself taught that we must "deny" self. "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross ..." (Matt. 16:24)
The Lord knows man (John 2:24-25) and knows that we are quick to justify self and avoid guilt. Man must get rid of self. He must crucify self, as "no man can serve two masters" (Matt. 6:24). If self is enthroned, then Christ is dethroned! Indeed, the command to repent, when fully obeyed, dethrones self and enthrones Christ as his ruler. This is a real challenge to self.