Summary: The writer of Hebrews tells us we must mature in Christ to the point where we go beyond the "elementary truth" of things like repentance. But how can we do that?
OPENING: A fellow named Louie, deep in debt, was thinking of ending it all.
"That’s ridiculous," says his neighbor, who was a chemist. "Look, I can give you a pill that will put you in a state of suspended animation. I’ll say you died - but then I’ll ship your body to another state, where you can be revived and start a new life."
Louie agreed, and the next day he was laid out in the funeral parlor with everyone lined up to pay their last respects. The 1st creditor goes up to the coffin and says, "Louie, why did you do it! So you owed me $15,000. What’s $15,000 between friends?
Then the 2nd creditor goes up and says, "Louie, all you had to do was ask. I would have extended the $50,000 you owed me indefinitely."
Now a 3rd creditor goes up to the coffin. "Louie, you dirty rat! You borrowed $200,000 from me and now I’ve lost my house and business. Well, you may be dead but I’m going to get my vengeance. I’m going to take this 8 inch butcher knife, stick in your heart and twist it once for every dollar you borrowed from me."
With this, Louie opens one eye and ever so slightly, lifts his index finger and says "You - I’ll pay."
APPLICATION: Salvation starts when we find ourselves dead in our sins, to the point where it suddenly becomes apparent that this is an unhealthy way to conduct our lives.
Read a dictionary definition of "repentance." What you’ll usually find is a definition which usually includes big words like "contrition," "remorsefulness," etc. As you read the definition, note how flowery and impressive the definition is and how it so impresses you that you’re tempted to look up the words they use in the definition...
But Greek word for "repentance was more basic and less flowery. The Greek word for repentance meant: TURN AROUND. You’re going the wrong way. You’re following the wrong road, the wrong leader. TURN AROUND.
Ephesians 2:1-41 (read) tells us that at one time we were following the ways of this world, following the ruler of the kingdom of the air, gratifying the cravings and desires that were destroying us. We were going the wrong way - we needed to repent. To turn around.
ILLUS: Repentance is like seeing the sign "Dead End" up ahead. It means we can’t get where we’re going on that road.
* Repentance was at the heart of the Apostles’ message: Acts 3:19 "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord."
I. But if Repentance is so important, why does the writer of Hebrews say we must get beyond it?
How many of you believe that Christians get to the point where they don’t have to repent? (Nobody raised their hands).
I agree. Throughout Scripture we find that not only pagans, but also Christians and even Churches are called upon to repent.
ILLUS: I don’t know how it is with you, but I say, I think, and I do things that bring me shame at one time or another in my life. Such shame can bring me to the point where I even have difficulty praying. It’s as if a barrier is erected between myself and God.