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.
David spoke of this in the psalms: Ps 32:1-4
"Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer."
But then David says: (vs 5) "Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"-- and you forgave the guilt of my sin."
The Apostle John (led by the Holy Spirit) agreed: "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." I John 1:8-9
SO, if repentance is necessary even for the Christian... why does the writer of Hebrews say you and I must mature beyond this "elementary truth?"
I suspect it is that he is saying we need to get to different motivation for our repentance.
II. I have found what I believe are three types of repentance:
There is "Worldly Repentance:"
Judas’s repentance after receiving the 30 pcs. of silver is biblical example of this type of repentance.
ILLUS: When my boy was 2 years old, my wife would ask him if he had done such and such a "bad deed" and he would be reading his book saying "no."