Summary: God has made possible our choice. We may choose for our own sake, or the sake of others, for the sake of Jesus or the promise of Heaven but what ever our motivation, the choice is ours to make.
Repent for Heaven Is At Hand
Change Part One
Text: Matthew 3:1-3
This morning we are going to begin a short series centered on change. You may have noticed quite a bit of talk about change in the media these days. Change is taking place all around us, in every aspect of our lives it seems there is change happening. Politics, economy, climate, we are told that everything is changing and that we must change accordingly (according to whom is the question!)
I am sure that all of us here this morning have seen the prospects of change in our lives, in our jobs, with our family or friends, or perhaps at school.
I know I can’t escape the reality of the changes happening around me but I also know that it is up to me to choose whether to accept the change or not.
Change can be difficult. There are different reasons why I may seek to change or not. I may change for personal reasons, or I may change for the good it will bring to others, or perhaps for the sheer benefits that result from the change. The choice is mine to make and that is true concerning the change that is the subject of our lesson today. The choice that God gives to everyone to make, the change to which we are all called: repentance.
I. Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand
A. This is the message that John the Baptist brought to the Jews.
Matthew 3:1 - 2 (NASB) Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
1. The Greek verb translated repent indicates a change of attitude and outlook rooted in sorrow for sins. But the basic idea is a reversal of thinking which changes one’s life (v8 Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;)
2. Change is God’s call to us and it is ours to choose.
I. Change For Your Own Sake!
A. We may choose change for our own sake.
Romans 14:12 (NASB) So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.
Hebrews 10:31 (NASB) It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
B. God has given us the chance to choose.
John 3:16 (NASB) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
C. We need to be aware that not choosing is a choice:
Luke 13:1 - 3 (NASB) Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
II. Change For Others' Sakes
A.We may make our choice in consideration of friends or family
Joshua 24:15 (NASB) “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
B.The rich man in torment although already lost, tried to save his family
Luke 16:27 - 28 (NASB) “And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— 28for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
C.The affect our life has on others, realizing our own influence and example may lead us to change.
III. Change For Jesus' Sake!
A. Or we may allow the words and influence of Jesus to lead us to change.
Matthew 16:24 - 25 (NASB) hen Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it
B. John 14:15 (NASB) “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
IV. Change For Heaven's Sake!
A. Matthew 4:17 (NASB) From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
B. The kingdom is here. "Repent for Heaven is at hand"
1. Revelation 21:4 (NASB) and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”