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Effective Repentance

 

As I have discussed in my previous two sermons ďPreparing for TrumpetsĒ and ďThe Days of Awe,Ē we are in the days of Teshuvah or repentance. Thursday, September 5th, we enter the Days of Awe. Both Teshuvah and the Days of Awe are intended to provide people an opportunity to repent.

In my view, there seems to be another rationalization between the Saints having until the Feast of Trumpets to repent, the day I anticipate they will join Christ in his return, and others having longer to repent - until the Day of Atonement, after Christís return.

Today, I want to talk to you about effective repentance.

The book of Revelation, a book which certainly describes conditions under which people ought to be inclined to repent, describes several types of conditions under which God hopes people will repent. Let's look at them:

To those who believe that chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation do not describe church eras, please disregard my use of the word era. Whether you believe in church eras or not, Revelation 2:5 encourages people of the Apostolic church and any true church to return to their first love. Let's read it:

(Rev 2:5 NASB) 'Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place-- unless you repent.

Verse 16 states that people in the church in Pergamos, possibly the Paulitians, are infected with the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, whom some suspect supported licentious beliefs in Balaam (verse 14), and God demands that they repent.

Verse 16 'Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

In verses 21 & 22, God addresses the church of Thyratira, possibly during the era of the Waldenses, to separate themselves from the influences of a fallen church:

Verse 21 "And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. {22} "Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.

In Rev 3:3, God criticizes the Sardis church because its faith and zeal are dead:

(Rev 3:3 NASB) 'Remember therefore what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. If therefore you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you.

In Rev 3:19, God strongly implies that if the Laodicean church will repent of their lukewarmness and be zealous, He will not have to rebuke and chasten them.

(NKJV) "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

Rev 9:20-21 describe how people who have survived the 6th trump still will not repent of their idolatry, immorality, witchcraft or thievery. Sounds like the practices of our day, doesn't it?

(NKJV) But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. {21} And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Todayís sins of abortion, witchcraft, homosexual practices and marriages, trial marriages, and cheating on income tax can all be found in verse 21's list of sins.

Rev 16:9-11 describes how people will not repent even during the seven last plagues of the seventh trump.

(NKJV) And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory. {10} Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. {11} They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.

Repentance is a change of mind and attitude; a turning around and going the other way. God's Spirit can only dwell in a repentant mind. It is obvious that mankind does not find repentance an easy thing to do, even when disaster and pain and terror are all about us.

Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

So, we can't just be baptized. We must repent too. Let me give you seven requirements for effective repentance.

 

1. Effective repentance requires Godly sorrow.

(2 Cor 7:8-10 NKJV) For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. {9} 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. {10} For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

What is Paul talking about here? Two things: Worldly sorrow, as described in verse 8, and Godly sorrow as described in verses 9 and 10. What's the difference between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow?

Worldly sorrow is selfish sorrow. Let's look at 1 Sam 15. Remember that Saul had been told to destroy all the Amalekites, along with their animals, but then had allowed his men to spare their animals (allegedly for sacrifices) and their king. In verses 10 through 21 Saul makes excuses to Samuel but beginning in verse 22 Samuel redresses Saulís excuses:

(Verses 22-25 NASB) And Samuel said, "Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. {23} "For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king." {24} Then Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice. {25} "Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me, that I may worship the LORD."

Saul was embarrassed before Samuel because his sin had been discovered and his image tarnished. He wanted the penalty of his sin to be removed. He had worldly sorrow. But he did not have Godly sorrow because HE WAS NOT SORRY TO GOD THAT HE HAD WATERED DOWN AND BROKEN GOD'S COMMANDMENT.

So herein lies the difference: Worldly sorrow is embarrassment. We have done something wrong that others know about. We may even have to pay a worldly price for the wrong. Godly sorrow is sorrow because of the impact on God. We let God down. See the difference? Davidís prayer of repentance is a good example of Godly sorrow.

(Psa 51:4 NKJV) 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.

We will read the rest of David's Prayer of Repentance later.

Now, letís continue on in 2 Cor 7. Verse 11 will be the foundation scripture of this sermon. We'll keep coming back to it, so you might want to hold its place:

(2 Cor 7:11 NASB) [here are the fruits of Godly Sorrow] For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

Paul is commending the Corinthians for their Godly sorrow and pointing out the benefits of Godly sorrow over the worldly sorrow he referred to in verse 10. He is further pointing out that they have a responsibility to God to maintain a diligence as to what to do.

(2 Pet 1:4 NASB) For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

Verse 8 For if these qualities are yours [the qualities of verses 5-7 -faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and love] and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here in 2 Peter, Peter is telling us that we must be alert to our spiritual (not just worldly) life.

 

2. Effective repentance requires seeking a good reputation.

Let's read 2 Cor 7:11 again:

(2 Cor 7:11 NASB) [here are the fruits of Godly Sorrow] For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

Notice the good reputation of the Thessalonian church:

(1 Th 1:3 NASB) constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,

verse 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.

verse 8 For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.

The Thessalonian church had a good reputation...Do we?

 

3. Effective repentance requires hating the wrong or the sin.

Let's continue in 2 Cor 7:11:

(2 Cor 7:11 NASB) [here are the fruits of Godly Sorrow] For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

(1 Cor 5:1-2 NKJV) It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles; that a man has his father's wife! {2} And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.

The people did not mourn the wrong or its consequences. (But I wonder how many gossiped about it). Obviously, many were going around proudly or self righteously saying that THEY wouldn't do anything like that.

Rom 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

 

4. Effective repentance requires fearing to do wrong .

(2 Cor 7:11 NASB) [here are the fruits of Godly Sorrow] For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

(Heb 4:1 NKJV) Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.

We will only be the First Fruits of God if we qualify. 'Close' only counts in horseshoes.

Verse 12 (NASB) For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

 

5. Effective repentance requires wanting to change.

(2 Cor 7:11 NASB) [here are the fruits of Godly Sorrow] For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

(Mat 5:6 NKJV) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.

Are we really hungering to do what's right? Or do we justify our physical desires?

(1 Pet 2:2 NASB) like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,

We must crave the food of the Word. We are a small group and really don't have many teens visiting us, but how many of us know teens or others who won't do what they have been told they should do and cop out by saying "Well, I'm not baptized anyway, so I'm free to do what my peers do" (i.e. whatever I want to do)?

(Psa 51:1-17 NKJV) Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. {2} Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. {3} For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. {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. {5} Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. {6} Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. {7} Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. {8} Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. {9} Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. {10} Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. {11} Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. {12} Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. {13} Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. {14} Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. {15} O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. {16} For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. {17} The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart; These, O God, You will not despise.

David had the right attitude toward change.

How many of us are not FILLED with God's Spirit?

 

6. To have effective repentance, we must have zeal.

(2 Cor 7:11 NASB) [here are the fruits of Godly Sorrow] For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

(Rev 3:19 NKJV) "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

Get motivated toward repentance. Stay awake toward our fate.

(Gal 6:9 NASB) And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.

We must work at it. Our reward will come. We must persevere.

 

7. Effective repentance requires wanting to do the right thing.

(2 Cor 7:11 NASB) [here are the fruits of Godly Sorrow] For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

Now most people interpret this to mean that we must want the wicked punished. But it means much more than that. It does mean the wicked should be punished to help them see the need for repentance. But brethren, remember that we are all guilty of wickedness. And so we should apply this revenge to ourselves and resolve to do what is right.

(Heb 6:1 NASB) Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

Achieving perfection only begins with repentance. But we must all start at the beginning. But have we achieved even one step?

(Luke 13:1-9 NKJV) There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. {2} And Jesus answered and said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? {3} "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. {4} "Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? {5} "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." {6} He also spoke this parable: "A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. {7} "Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, 'Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?' {8} "But he answered and said to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. {9} 'And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.'"

We must bear fruit or die!

 

In conclusion, we all go on living a less than a perfect life, justifying our wrong deeds and copping out with the attitude "God will forgive me" instead of repenting. When we do this we are taking advantage of God's love for us.

(Rom 2:4 NASB) Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

Before God can give us repentance, we must get close to God. Closeness to God is what enabled David to repent. Not being close to God is what keeps most people from ever repenting - even refusing to repent, as we read about earlier in Rev. 9:20-21.

(2 Pet 3:9 NASB) The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

 

Sermon given by Wayne Bedwell

August 31, 2013

 

 

Copyright 2013, Wayne Bedwell


 

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