Summary: Sermon explores why repentance is essential to bibilcal faith, salvation, and revival.
Is Repentance a Dirty Word? Part 2
Richard Tow 7/31/16
When I say the word “repent” what thoughts come to your mind? Does the word bring up pleasant feelings or unpleasant feelings? Does it sound like an attack or an invitation? Do you associate “repentance” with “opportunity for something better”?
I am dealing with the subject of repentance because the Devil has convinced many people that there is something hyper religious and bad about the word. Yet the Bible speaks of repentance as the gateway to something better for you and me. The opportunity and the capacity to repent is one of the greatest gifts we can receive from God. And it is an essential element in the Kingdom of God.
Week before last, we saw how (1) Repentance is essential to our message of the gospel. Before His ascension, Jesus appeared to His disciples and told them what He wanted them to preach. Luke 24:45-47, “And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”1 Remission is synonym of forgiveness. So, what is to be preached in His name? “repentance and remission of sins.” We explored the link between repentance and forgiveness and found that they are two sides of the same coin. The message is repentance and forgiveness; not just forgiveness with no repentance. Repentance is the response to God’s grace that opens the heart to receive forgiveness. If the heart is hard and unresponsive to God’s grace, then there can be no forgiveness of sin. So we preach forgiveness through the cross of Jesus Christ; but that forgiveness comes in conjunction with a turning to God and a turning from sin.
Think about the Lord’s Prayer. In it we ask God to “Forgive us our debts (sins)….” But there are two other requests that tie repentance with that request for forgiveness. One is “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” That is saying to God, “I don’t want sin; I don’t even want to be tempted with it.” The other petition is “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done….” The prayer Jesus taught includes not only a request for forgiveness, but a commitment to the will of God, as well. And we have revelation of His will in the Bible. I’m hoping you see from Scripture the error of assuming forgiveness of sin when there is no repentance from that sin.
So Repentance is essential to forgiveness.
Today I want to share three more facts about repentance that we did not have time to address in the last message.
I. Repentance is essential to salvation.
Of all the things we want to be sure about, salvation is at the top of the list. You don’t want to gamble on your eternal destiny. You want to search the Scriptures and know exactly what God has said about salvation. Eternity is a very long time.2
What must I do to be saved? On the Day of Pentecost that question was asked. A crowd gathered when they heard the 120 speaking in tongues. Peter used that opportunity to preach Christ. Listen to the conclusion of his message in Acts 2:36. "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." Think about how confrontational Peter’s words were to those people, “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Verse 37 “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’" We’re guilty before God. What shall we do? Peter’s response is in verse 38 “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins….” If they were to be saved, what would they need to do? First they would need to turn from their old ways; they must repent. Then make a public confession of Christ via water baptism. In that context they would receive forgiveness of sins. Notice again the link between repentance and forgiveness of sins. The two go hand-in-hand.