Summary: This sermon is based on the words of Jesus in Mark 1 "repent" and is part of a sermon series based on the "Case For Christ" book. Evidence and message. Some quotes from sermon by Ken Klaas and Keep on Believing
In Jesus Holy Name January 21, 2018
Text: Mark 1:14 Epiphany III Redeemer
Who is Jesus? That is the question that must be answered if you have heard his name. Who is Jesus? That was the question in the first century when he lived. It is still valid today.
Generations ago, most people inherited rather than chose their religious faith. The great majority of people belonged to one of the historic mainline Protestant denominations or Roman Catholic Church. Today many people are opting for a non-religious life, a non-institutional, but personally constructing and creating their own form of spirituality. So our culture is growing both more religious and less religious at the same time. It is a paradox.
This question: Who is Jesus? This is the question that the ordinary man on the street, including the disciples had to answer. The religious Jewish scholars had to answer this question. That is why in the Gospels we read about the Sadducees and Pharisees always watching and listening and questioning Jesus.
What do you do when the Word of God you encounter at church on Sunday morning is not comforting but confusing and even downright confrontational?
The lectionary text from the Gospel of Mark states that the first words of Jesus was “Repent”. That may not make us feel comfortable. No one wants to go to church and hear hard truth from the pulpit, and repentance is the ultimate hard truth. To repent means that I must admit that I have done something bad. And I need to stop.
Even a casual reader of the Bible soon discovers that repentance is a major biblical topic. All the prophets mention it in one way or another. Isaiah called Israel to repent, as did Jeremiah and Ezekiel and Hosea and Micah and Malachi. A survey of the New Testament shows that the words “repent” and “repentance” are used in various forms 55 times. John the Baptist cried out, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 3:2). The entire message of Jesus is summed up in these words: “Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15).
If you want to go to heaven, you must repent of your sins. This is not only God’s desire; it is also God’s command. As all good soldiers know, when a command is given, you don’t discuss it or debate it. You have but one choice—to obey. If you don’t, you are guilty of insubordination.
No one likes to be commanded to do anything. But here is a command from Almighty God that applies to every man, woman, boy and girl born on this planet. God says you must repent. No excuses will be accepted. If you do not obey God’s command, you will someday face a divine court-martial.
Repent means to stop going in one direction and turn around and go back. Stop walking away from God and turn back to God because Jesus has good news.
I love my GPS. Have you ever watched the little Google car traveling you neighbor hood recording streets, dead end streets, addresses. I have yet to decide if I want my “google” GPS voice to have a British accent or American accent from the south. Have you ever wondered by the voice is a woman’s voice and not a man’s voice?
But I can guarantee that if I make a wrong turn I hear the word…. “recalculating”
Sometimes the soft female voice will say..…. “turn around”. Repent means to stop walking away from God and turn back to God because He is patient and desires that all people come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and receive forgiveness and eternal life.
Then Jesus follows immediately with “believe the good news!”
What is the good news? The good news deals with the human problem. When I have broken a commandment of God…. I feel guilty. If I don’t believe in God but have my own rules for living….what happens when I have broken my own rules….Is there forgiveness? How can I make amends? What good deeds can I do? Will the good deeds be enough to erase my failures?
In a Charlie Brown cartoon, little brother Linus, looking very forlorn, asks big sister Lucy, “Why are you always so anxious to criticize me?” Lucy, looking very self-righteous, replies, “I just think I have a knack for seeing other people’s faults.” Linus turns indignant. “What about your own faults?” he asks. “I have a knack for overlooking them,” says Lucy.
It is true that some people think they are Lucy. They overlook their faults. Most of us know that does not work. Broken values. Broken ethical values. Broken commandments can be buried for a time but they will always come back like Acid Reflex after a big meal…..it always leaves a bad taste in your mouth.