This sermon – The Call To Repentance – was originally preached 2013.03.03 by Leon Yoder.
Passages used: Mathew 3:1-12, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10, Ezekiel, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Hebrews 11, Romans 13, Ephesians 4:24.
A lot of people came to hear John and Jesus talk, there was a deep desire in their hearts for something that would fill them. There were those who responded with repentance and a change of heart and life, but there were also those who did not accept the call to repentance.
Repentance is a fairly big idea that has a number of pieces under it.
Conviction is one of the pieces of repentance, it is the realization that something is wrong. There are several ways that this can come to a person, but it must come from source of truth, the Bible, a message, a friend, etc.
It is only once a person comes to a place of realizing that they are a sinner and that they are in the wrong. Then and only then can they find change and true repentance.
Contrition or sorrow is another part of repentance. We are sorry. We grieve. There is disappointment that we have sinned.
There are two kinds of sorrow, Judas Iscariot realized that he had done wrong, he tried to make things right by giving the money back but the rulers wouldn’t take it back. He tried to correct things on his own terms and when that didn’t work he ended up hanging himself. Satan is quite content with people who are convicted yet try to fix things on their own and in their own way. This is the result of a worldliness sorrow. It is ruled by the flesh and hasn’t been surrendered to God.
There is also a Godly sorrow. This kind of sorrow is a deep realization that we are not fit to be called God’s children, we are not good enough on our own to be Holy.
Confession is another part of repentance. Confession is agreeing with God, surrendering to God’s truth and acknowledging that we are wrong and God is right. “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.”
There is a change of heart and mind that is part of repentance as well. There is a change of purpose. It is a change of belief – a new understanding of what is good and right. It means surrendering our lives to God and Godliness and walking in a new direction with our lives. Paul, on the road to Damascus, continued on the road after he was blinded, but his heart had made a complete turnaround.
There needs to be a complete and clear cut forsaking of the old. The repentant person will bring forth fruits that are worthy of and evidence of repentance. This includes not wistfully looking back. The children of Israel complained to Moses after they forgot how bad things had been in Egypt, we don’t want to forget the badness of our old life and return to that kind of thing, we must walk forward with God.
There should not be any kind of boasting or glorying in the past evil that we have done.
Make no provision for the flesh. This means being willing to do whatever it takes to cut things out. Sometimes this means radical cutting of things out, getting rid of things that cause us to stumble. A lot of times this doesn’t make sense to those around us, but it is important to do whatever it takes.
The second part of this idea is also that we embrace Jesus as Lord and master. We must submit to Jesus.
Restitution is also a part of repentance, if there are offenses and wrongs against others we need to make them right. Jesus tells us that if we have something between ourselves and a brother we need to take care of that before we can come before and worship God. We cannot just leave these things, we must confess to God and make things right with the other party that we have wronged.
All these things are parts of repentance and part of becoming a Christian, but repentance is also something that we must do from time to time after we become Christians.
Repentance brings joy to the heart of the Father, whether it is the first time repentance of a new Christian or a repentance down the road of a Christian.
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