Summary: Repentance is the hard truth that sets us free to enjoy God forever through worship.
A Hard Truth, Luke 13:1-9
“Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them--do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?' "'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” (Luke 13:1-9 NIV)
A fisherman had planned a special fishing trip for several months. He made out a list of essentials and scratched each item off as he packed. He had his car checked and serviced. All of his appointments were under control. Everything was ready. He even made sure to leave his wife and family well stocked with whatever they might need. The long awaited time finally arrived and he eagerly bid them goodbye, hopped in his car and left.
He arrived at his fishing cabin that evening, got things tidied up and his food in order, set the alarm for 4 am, and then went to sleep dreaming of the fish he would catch on the morrow. He arose hurriedly at the first sound of the alarm, quickly ate eggs and bacon, almost gulping the food down in his anxiety to get out on the lake. Just as he was getting into his boat, he made a startling discovery: he had not brought along any bait—the bait box was empty!
Many people prepare to meet God in a similar way; they have checked all the right religious boxes, attended all the right religious services, yet they have failed in that most primary of task which is required of all who would hear the saviors call and answer in sincere earnestness; they have failed in the innermost parts to turn from self, the world, humble themselves, and repent.
“In every building the first stone must be laid and the first blow must be struck. The ark was 120 years in building; yet there was a day when Noah laid his axe at the first tree he cut down to form it. The temple of Solomon was a glorious building; but there was a day when the first huge stone was laid at the foot of Mount Moriah. When does the building of the Spirit really begin to appear in a man’s heart? It begins, so far as we can judge, when he first pours out his heart to God in prayer.” – Bishop J. C. Ryle
Thesis: We cannot have the peace of God, His empowerment for this life, until we have peace with God. We will never have peace with God until we repent and until we learn to purely, passionately, completely worship Him.
If we are to break out of the mediocrity of having religion and into the wonder of having Christ, we must learn to come to God in His terms.
My aim is simple. I will define repentance and give further definite to why it is so important to God. I will then move to the second chief stone of the “with God life” to define worship; then to define why it is so important to God. Along the way, I will point out why both are so desperately important to us.
The best starting place for any discussion about repentance is not necessarily human sinfulness. Our sin is real. It is a constant reality in our lives. Full definition of the problem of sin, however is only available when it is juxtaposed, compared to, the holiness of God.
The sin problem of humanity, of me and you, is illuminated under the light of the holiness of God. God’s holiness is attacked by our sinfulness. But what is holiness and what it sin. In the modern pluralistic, relativistic world, these terms are simply not a part of our everyday experience and conversation.
Holiness is a punch line more often than it is a part of our life. Sin has been almost completely removed from the psyche of the culture. Where the notion of sin exists it is only to increase the lure of some pleasure.