Home   Complete Index    2009-2010 Sermons   2004-2008 Sermons      2002-2003 Sermons      2000-2001 Sermons     1998-1999 Sermons 

Series    Topical     Short Articles

 

Email

 

565  Sermons Available

 

What Is Repentance? (114)

James R. Davis

Introduction

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: (KJV)

A. "What should our attitude and posture be as we approach God--repentance or celebration? Jeremiah tells us that those who come into God's presence will do so with tambourines and dancing (31:4), but notice what Jeremiah says next: They shall come up to Zion with weeping and supplication (31:9). The fact is, as we approach God's awesome presence, we need a great capacity to do both: to leap with unspeakable joy, and to weep in agonizing prayers of supplication and repentance." --Gerrit Gustafson (in Worship Today, Sep/Oct 1993)

1. J. W. McGarvey, said that if God were giving special miraculous gifts today, he would not ask for the gift of healing, or prophecy, or tongues. Rather, he said, he would ask for the power, above everything else, to cause men to repent. The difficulty is to induce men to repent. If we had the power to induce men to repent, it would be the greatest power than any man could want.

Mt 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (KJV)

2. When Jesus was bidding farewell, or about to bid farewell, to Galilee, where the most of His might works were done, he upbraided the cities whose people had heard Him most, it was not because they did not believe; it was not because they refused to be baptized by John; but it was because they did not repent. With all the tremendous efforts that He had put forth to bring them to repentance, He had failed.

Mt 11:20-24
20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: 21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. (KJV)

B. Without repentance there is no salvation. It is important to know all about repentance. We need to know what repentance is so that we may not be mistaken. It is important to know what repentance is so that it might be brought about in our own lives. Repentance is one thing that man does which affects heaven.

Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. (KJV)

1. Repentance should be preached.

Luke 24:46-49
46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And ye are witnesses of these things. 49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. (KJV)

2. Repentance is a universal command. All must turn from a life of sin to a life of righteousness if they wish to be saved.  Apostles preached repentance.

Acts 17:30-31
30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (KJV)

Acts 2:37-38
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 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. (KJV)

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; (KJV)

C. Repentance not only for alien sinners. "The sermon is the thunderbolt hurled from heaven to blast unrepentant sinners but more so righteous saints." --Martin Luther (quoted in Leadership, Wint 1994)

Acts 8:21-22
21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. (KJV)

Luke 13:3-5
3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (KJV)

I. What is Repentance.

A. What repentance is not? There is allot of misunderstanding concerning repentance. Some religious groups require self-privation and torture themselves as they do penance. Some require groanings and tears and outcries -- Mourners bench.

1. Repentance is not just being sorry for sin.

a. To boys who broke windshield of a fellow's car. They were very arrogant about what they had done. The fellow told them that he was going to call the sheriff. They changed their attitude. They were very sorry. Sorrow of the world involved but there was no repentance.

b. Judas was sorrowful, but he never genuinely repented.

Mt 27:3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. (NIV)

2. Repentance not merely a conviction of sin.

Luke 15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! (KJV)

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? (KJV)

Acts 2:37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" (NIV)

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. (NIV)

3. I have seen people visibly shaken, ashamed of their sinful life, convicted! But they never become a Christian.

a. Saul's conviction.

1 Sam 15:22-26
22 But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king." 24 Then Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned. I violated the LORD's command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them. 25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD." 26 But Samuel said to him, "I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you as king over Israel!" (NIV)

b. David

2 Sam 12:13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. (KJV)

Psa 51:1-10
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (NIV)

4. Repentance is not just being afraid.

a. Fear is important.

Ecc 12:13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole of man. (NIV)

Rom 3:18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes." (NIV)

b. Felix trembled but never repented.

Acts 24:25 As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, "That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you." (NIV)

5. Repentance is not reformation.

a. Men stop drinking because of a liver disease.  Stop stealing -- law clamping down. Stop immorality - fear of disease.

b. One may stop stealing but keep lying. This is not repentance. Many times we think since we have broken off one sin, then we have repented. It is not a piece meal proposition. It will do no good to cut off a limb on a tree when the whole tree needs to be cut down. We must lay the ax at the root.

Matt 3:6-10
6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. (NIV)

c. Reformation is not repentance; instead it is a fruit of repentance.

Mt 3:8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. (NIV)

Repentance is not just "turning away from," it is "turning to" that which is right. The word can mean, "to fetch back home." It can be translated "to convert" or "to exchange." Some substitutes for repentance: "Poor me," "whoops," "what about my time on probation?" "learned lots." "Repentance is not something we try for a while to see if it works. In repentance, we voluntarily give up our right to have other options." "Repentance" by Daniel A Brown. Charisma & Christian Life, Nov 1988. Pages 60-65.

6. Repentance is not just the covering up of sin. You might have a house with termites and you may fix the damage but you don't remove the termites. Sin is only covered up when it is forgiven.

Num 32:23 "But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the LORD; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out. (NIV)

Psa 32:2 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. (NIV)

7. Repentance is not merely confession.

B. What is repentance?

1. Behavioral scientists talk about the "theory of dissonance" which says that what one thinks and what one does must agree, otherwise dissonance or disharmony results. For most, that dissonance manifests itself as a feeling of uneasiness, a lack of peace. The human response to dissonance is to get rid of it. One way or another, peace must be restored. That may mean getting our actions to jibe with our thinking, or it may mean revising our thinking to fit our actions. This is how Christians backslide. Thinking slips to agree with action or action slips to agree with an error of mind. For this reason, it is dangerous to rely heavily on inner peace as a guide to right or wrong. There is only one reliable guide for moral decisions, and that is the Word of God. In Rev. 2, the church at Ephesus is praised for its good deeds, hard work, and persistence and recognized for fighting wickedness and apostasy. Somewhere along the line, however, this church lost its "first love." Perhaps it was so busy fighting the bad guys that it neglected loving the good guys. Perhaps it even neglected loving God. The solution offered was to "repent [change your thinking] and do the things you did at first." "For me to know right but to do wrong will result in either repentance or backsliding." One way or another, I will find peace. It may come through compromise and a decision to live with sin. It may come through adjusting either my thinking or behavior to bring it in line with God's Word. Two routes to inner peace; two very different results. "Is inner peace a reliable guide to right and wrong?" by Marlin Howe. Pulpit Helps, May 1994(Vol 19, No 5). Page 10.

2. J. W. McGarvey said: "Repentance is something that stands in between sorrow for sin and the change of life in which sins are abandoned and a better course of conduct begins.... When a man is so thoroughly filled with sorrow and mourning and self-reproach on account of his sins that his will is subdued to the will of God, and he says, I will sin no more, I will hereafter submit to the will of God, this results in a change of life, and it is repentance, a change of will in regard to sin."

3. Repentance is a change of will. We know that repentance has taken place when one begins to act like a Christian.

Mt 4:17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

4. Repentance has to do with Godly sorrow.

2 Cor 7:10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. (NIV)

Mt 5:1ff

1 Cor 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them-- yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. (NIV)

4. Repentance means to forsake your sin.

Rom 6:1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? (NIV)

James 2:26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (NIV)

II. Motivation to repent.

How does one come to a point that one says, "Oh, Lord, not my will, but thine be done."?

A. The Lord pointed to the judgement.

Luke 10:10-16
10 But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, 11 Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. 12 But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. 13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. 15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. 16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me. (KJV)

Luke 3:7 John the Baptist.

Jonah 3:4-10
Jonah 3:4-10 4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. 5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. 6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? 10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. (KJV)

B. Judge the world in righteousness, therefore all unrighteousness will be condemned. Have you as a sinner ever sat down and thoughtfully considered the consequences of sin.

Acts 17:30-31 3
30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (KJV)

Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (KJV)

B. The goodness of God. Has anyone who is a sinner ever truly reflected upon the judgment and goodness of God? Many shut their Bible when they begin to read of these verses.

Rom 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (KJV)

2 Pet 3:9

Rom 5:8 While we were yet sinners.

D. How is repentance brought about?

Jonah 3:4-10

Jonah preached
They believed (judgment)
They turned from evil. Christ said they repented at the preaching of Jonah. (Mt. 12:41.)
Believed preaching of Jonah -- poor in spirit.
Sorrow for rebellious life -- mourning over sin
Change of will respecting their conduct -- meekness
Reformed their lives -- hunger and thirst after righteousness

E. Godly sorrow.

2 Cor 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (KJV)

Conclusion:

 

Home   Complete Index    2009 Sermons 2004-2008 Sermons      2002-2003 Sermons      2000-2001 Sermons     1998-1999 Sermons 

Series    Topical     Short Articles

Email