Summary: A sermon on the importance of repentance for Christians.

How Can I Keep From Backsliding? To repent means to do a 180 degree turn.

- Revelation 2:5; Revelation 2:16; Revelation 2:21-22; Revelation 3:3, Revelation 3:19.

We all know that that repentance is a part of becoming a Christian.

- Revelation 2:21-22.

- At least, I hope we do.

- Fernando Aranda: in prison/mother came to visit and broke down/ “O God, if you get me out of this hole, I promise I’ll serve you the rest of my life.”/ surprised a year later when paroled early/ went back to bad friends/ did drugs and out looking for more, when came across Drug Task Force/back to jail if drugs in system/ran and noticed crowd of people in park/seeking cover/big guy came to him and questioned him about the promise/it was the voice of God and he genuinely repented, got into one of that church’s homes to be discipled.

- In some places repentance is put aside even as part of the salvation experience.

What Does Repentance Have To Do With Me After I’m A Christian? Wrong paths require u-turns.

- Sometimes we act like repentance is just a one-time thing for people becoming Christians.

- Georgetown U. 2005 study: confessional booths/only 2% say they go regularly.

- The Christian walk is often three steps forward, two steps back.

- We’re going to make mistakes, go down wrong roads, and backtracking is going to be necessary.

- Why don’t we repent? We hope the consequences won’t come.

- Craig Brian Larson: winter of 2009/heavy snowfalls in Chicago/foot thick glacier of ice on edge of two-story roof/four cars in driveway, getting permission to park on street from police/put it off/next day, move car to side of driveway/next morning, don’t have to mess with it, but wife did/went in to take care of some food that was cooking/$250 out-of-pocket for windshield.

Some examples:

1. Being motivated by duty and obligation in our faith.

- Revelation 2:5.

- All the good stuff they’d done in vv. 2-3.

- Lose our first love.

- Going through the motions.

- This church had done some great things in their walk of faith (vv. 2-3), but they had forsaken their first love.

- What’s that look like? A lot of times we’ll get in the habit of doing “Christian stuff” and just start doing it out of habit or obligation or ritual. We’re to do all that we do for Christ out of the love that we have toward Him.

- Here’s a church that by all outward standards would seem to have it all together, but Christ knows the heart.

2. Becoming compromised in our beliefs.

- Revelation 2:16.

- Sometimes we get into bad teaching or beliefs and that requires repentance also.

a. This may be bad theological beliefs.

- In this case, they had accommodated to bad teaching (vv. 14-15).

- How can bad teaching be that big a deal?

- A few examples: Thinking of the church as a building and not people; believing that God wants to make us rich; telling people that they just need to believe in Jesus and not have to follow Him.

b. This may be stuff we hear in our culture.

- We hear so many lies in our culture. It’s easy to be sucked in, even just by accident.

- A few examples: The importance of stuff; “I’ve got to go and find myself” v. the one who loses his life will gain it; “I want to be entertained” v. working hard to be useful to God.

3. Being satisfied with the approval of other people.

- Revelation 3:3.

- See vv. 1-2.

- People’s opinions of us are what matters.

- He’s not looking at our reputation, but at our heart.

4. Becoming content with worldly success.

- Revelation 3:19.

- See vv. 17-18.

A Closing Question: When’s the last time you confessed a specific sin?

- General confession v. specific confession.

- Whether we’ve just started walking with Christ or we’ve been at this for fifty years, we need to be constantly open to where He wants us to grow, to where we may have gotten off track, to where we’ve haven’t been listening.

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