Summary: We are all called to repentance; we are called to change. The call has been the same since John came preaching in the wilderness of Judea: Repent!
Change You Must Believe In
Reading: Revelation 19:7-9
Change is in the wind, or at least in the airwaves of radio and television. If you observed either major political party’s convention you heard the word change. With apologies to Senator Obama I’ve titled this lesson “Change You Must Believe In.” Everyone it seems is talking about change but there is nothing new in the call for change.
I.The Message Of Change
A.The call for change is not a new message
1.More than two thousand years ago a voice was heard in the wilderness of Judea:
a.Matthew 3:1 - 2 (NASB) “Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
b.The Greek verb translated repent indicates a change of attitude, the basic idea is a change of direction, a reversal of thinking which changes one’s life.
c.John the Baptist was not a lone voice, he himself said he was paving the way for one who was greater.
2.It is recorded that after John was taken captive by Herod
Matthew 4:17 (NASB) “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.””
a.Jesus sent out His apostles in pairs, giving them power and authority:
Mark 6:12 (NASB) They went out and preached that men should repent.
b.Before His ascension He met with the apostles:
Luke 24:45 - 47 (NASB) Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
c.We have recorded in the book of Acts that beginning when Peter preached on the day of Pentecost:
Acts 2:38a (NASB) Peter said to them, “Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…”
3.And while it was Peter’s task to preach to the Jewish people, it fell primarily to Paul to carry the gospel call for change to the gentiles. Read Acts 17:22-30
a.At the end of this passage Paul gives us the catalyst for the change that is to take place. Read Acts 17:31
II.The Change Agent
A.This change is a personal change
1.The change preached by John, and Jesus, and Peter, and Paul is a personal call to every individual.
a.We all receive the call to change differently.
b.Peter took years to fully understand the call to change; Paul was changed in an instant while travelling on the road to Damascus.
c.But for all of us the change begins within.
B.This is first an internal change
1.It begins with what we know.
a.(Luke 24:45) Jesus gave the Apostles an understanding of the Scriptures and that is where it begins for each of us today.
b.Romans 10:17 (NASB) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
c.Repentance begins with hearing the word of Christ, understanding the Word of God, coming to know the Father and His will for all mankind.
d.This knowledge changes our thought process; it changes how we view ourselves when we come to understand that we are the creation of an all mighty God. And we come to understand the nature of the sin that separates us from our Creator.
e.And that knowledge moves from our minds to our hearts.
2.Romans 10:10a (NASB) for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness…
a.The knowledge of God and of sin will lead to a change of heart.
b.We are led to Godly sorrow for the lives we lead separated from God. We regret and turn away, change direction towards God in our hearts.
c.Proverbs 3:5 - 6 (NASB) Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
d.A change of heart leads to change in action.
C.The internal change leads to an external change
1.We no longer think the way we thought, we no longer feel the way we felt, we no longer do the things we did.
a.1 Corinthians 6:9 - 11 (NASB) Or 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 effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
b.Such were some of you: past tense, no longer true.