Summary: The motivating factors behind repentance determines whether one is forgiven or not.
Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567
We started off this series by talking sin and the character of God. When we sin, we become distant from God because He is pure light and there is no darkness in Him at all. We learned that repentance is the mechanism that God has given us to be forgiven and have our relationship restored with Him. Since we are ambassadors and royal priests who have the gift of the Holy Spirit, then why are we not able to continually repent and thus maintain our close relationship with God? To begin to answer this question, last week we explored seven myths concerning repentance. It is a myth that motivations such as sorrow, preservation, penance, reformation, self-deception, selective and no consequence; lead to repentance. This week’s sermon will explain ten of the most common impediments to repentance and then finish off by describing seven key motivating factors of a truly repentant heart.
PART 3: MOTIVATION TO REPENT
IMPEDIMENTS TO REPENTANCE
Before I describe seven Godly motivators that lead to repentance I first want to describe some of the reasons as to why we do not repent. In his book The Doctrine of Repentance, Thomas Watson lists ten impediments of repentance.
1. Blessings = no Need to Repent
17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. Revelation 3:19, NIV
When Christians are blessed they often foolishly assume that there must be no sin in their lives and therefore no need to repent. For example, Jesus told the church of Laodicea that their blessings did not excuse the fact that they were wretched, poor, blind and naked and in need of repentance. Like the people of Laodicea, when we are lukewarm in our attitude towards sin, God will spit us out of His mouth (3:16).
2. Repentance is Easy
Many Christians believe repentance is easy, just bow your head and give God a quick prayer of confession. Repenting and having sin removed from one’s life is far from easy! When sins become habits, they tend to become part of our character. These strongholds of sin are not easily torn down!
3. God’s Mercy = no Need to Repent
16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:16, NIV
Even though Paul was the “chief of all sinners,” God chose to show him mercy. Likewise, God often shows us mercy as well but that does not mean that we are to roll like pigs in the muck of our sin! Do not forget, God also knows how to discipline those He loves (Hebrews 12:6)!
4. Too Lazy to Change
Often Christians do not repent because they are lazy. While it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that one can truly repent and change, God still wants us to put daily effort into having our minds transformed (Romans 12:2).
5. Sin is Pleasurable
James says that we are tempted by the evil desires in our hearts (1:14). “The sinner thinks there is danger in sin, but there is delight, and danger doth not so terrify him, as the delight bewitcheth him.” How can one repent when one does not grieve but rejoice in one’s sin?
6. Repentance will Remove One’s Joy
This is the belief that following God’s commands leads to stifling the joy out of one’s life. Since God demands a contrite heart for repentance to occur (Isaiah 57:15), we often think this means there will be no joy living a repentant life. Repentance takes away the joy of sin yes, but also replaces it with unspeakable joy of being closer to God!
7. Sins are too Evil to be Forgiven
Often, we believe that our sins are so evil that God would never forgive us! Like Judah, we often feel like our sin is so evil that we cannot be forgiven and therefore cannot escape God’s wrath. Do not forget that God’s anger is not so hot that His mercy cannot cool it, nor is there any sin that the blood of Christ cannot cleanse!
8. There is no Punishment
To the other extreme, we often think that God’s mercy is always given and His discipline always forgotten. While God often gives us space and time to repent, do not take His mercy and compassion for granite. “The longer God’s arrow is drawing, the deeper it wounds.”
9. Fear of Reproach
This is the belief that if I repent then others might notice my sin and call me a hypocrite. Since we do not belong to this world, Jesus told Christians to be ready to be persecuted for righteousness sake (John 15:18-19). Nothing invites the scorn of this world quicker than a repentance person clarifying their sin. Instead of seeing worldly persecution as a bad thing, Jesus tells us to view ourselves as blessed for having gotten on the right track (Matthew 5:10).