Summary: A person is converted when he turns from the darkness of sin to Christ who is the light of the world.
SCRIPTURE: Acts 26:18 "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."
INTRODUCTION: Repentance and faith are fundamental to salvation, over and over in the scripture we read the word "repent" because "the kingdom of heaven is at hand", the scripture teaches that "God commandeth all men everywhere to repent" and Jesus warned us that "except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish" sin is as natural to the posterity of Adam as wallowing in the mud is natural to swine, so the word repentance is not a beloved thought for those who have beloved sins, but "without holiness no man shall see the lord."
PROPOSITION: to use this text and others to show what true repentance is, and also to show that anything short of true repentance is a broad road that leads to eternal destruction, misery and ruin.
1. What is true repentance?
A.) In true repentance there is a knowledge and an acknowledgement of sin.The scripture says "to open their eyes", sinners live in a "strong delusion" before their eyes are opened, inspite of all their lying, stealing, blasphemy, covetousness they "proclaim their own goodness" but when they look into the mirror of Gods law in truth they see all of their moral disfigurations, they see that they are stained with the mire, and mud they have wallowed in, they feel the weight of their sin and the power of God's indignation.
B. In true repentance there is a godly sorrow for sin because they understand that they have "sinned against heaven". 2 Corinthians 7:9 "... ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner..." Gods Spirit makes us aware that our sins are the ruin of our soul and that without a substitutionary sacrifice our case will be eternally miserable.
C. In true repentance there is a turning from sin to Christ. "To turn them FROM darkness TO light" darkness is a discription of that which is evil, and Christ is the light of the world" John 8:12 "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
A person cannot turn from darkness in the natural realm, unless they turn to light, and this is also true in the spiritual realm. "Darkness has blinded his (our) eyes" and unless we have turned to Christ who is "the Light of the world," we have not repented, any sinner who is trusting in his supposed purity, religiosity, or piety has never repented, ONLY those who are trusting Christ ALONE for salvation have repented, they have turned "FROM darkness TO light"
2.) What are some of the results of true repentance?
A. No longer are we the children "of the night," through "repentance unto life" we have become "children of the day."
1 Thessalonians 5:5 "Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness."
B. We are no longer apart of Satan's kingdom, those who have repented have gone from being held by "the power of Satan unto God" we have been born anew, and made holy. "Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness"
C. We have "received forgiveness of sins." Isaiah 44:22 "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins..."
D. We have received "an inheritance among them which are sanctified" Romans 8:17 "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ..."
CONCLUSION: in true repentance there is an enlightenment, as to our wretched condition, a sinner under conviction feels the weight of his sin, he feels God's frown and has a sence of his miserable condition, he now understands the atonement, because his eyes have been opened. Now the sins that clinged to his soul he wants to shed as an elk sheds his antlers, but the sheding of sin can only be accomplished through Christ, when the sinner "turns FROM darkness (sin) TO light (Christ)"