Summary: This sermon is a part of our What We Believe series and looks at the doctrine of repentance. It looks at repentance's two ingredients , and that while repentance isn't easy, it is available and well worth the price because of the blessings it brings.
What We Believe
“Repentance: A One Word Sermon”
Many are feeling the pain of being trapped in an unending cycle of sinning and confessing, and unfortunately for some, this is on a daily basis. Day after day they experience the haunting and persistent accusations by Satan, the accuser, and day after day they cry tears of sorrow, only to find themselves doing all over again what they said they would never do.
And I believe this is true for just about every one of us. We all seem to struggle with persistent sin, where we try to do what is right but fail and fall and get up only to fall again. This is something that the Apostle Paul knew well in his own life.
“I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” (Romans 7:19 NLT)
And so the cry of our hearts is, “Lord, how do I change? I want to change. I need to change. I have to change. But how do I change?” And so the question becomes, can we change? Can we break this cycle that finds us in constant despair and discouragement?
And the answer is “yes.” We can change. No matter how long we’ve been in this cycle, no matter how long we’ve been trapped in this pattern of defeat. We can change. Satan’s accusations can be silenced, and the lies against us can cease. The chains that bind us can be broken.
Now, while society and the church have a lot of different programs and methods trying to facilitate this change, God has only one way. It’s through repentance.
While the word repentance is frequently mentioned, there really isn’t a lot of teaching about what it really means.
In reviewing ten books and booklets for new believers, I found only three talking about repentance, and their treatment was anemic at best. One had it in its glossary of terms. Another said, “Repent: Be willing to turn from your sin.” Finally, in a two-hundred-page book for new believers, repentance was only mentioned once with a one-sentence definition.
This is why I added this topic as one of the chapters of my upcoming book, “Wells of Living Waters” that deals with those doctrines that Satan has successfully covered over in the church.
Now, some within the church have gone so far as to say all someone needs to do to be saved is believe, but that would make salvation a mental exercise, an intellectual belief. But it’s when the knowledge of what Jesus provided through His death upon the cross makes its way down into our heart, that is, making it into a heart belief, this is when true repentance takes place. This is when people turn away from their sins and the ways of the world and turn toward Jesus Christ to become fully devoted followers of His.
A major problem, however, is that people fail to understand the true meaning of repentance.
Some people think it’s being sorry for our sins. But it means much more than being sorry. It means being sorry enough to quit. Others believe repentance is merely turning away from doing what’s wrong, turning away from sin. But it means not only turning away from sin, but also turning toward God.
Repentance is more than merely a mental exercise. It means not only a change of mind but also a change of heart, and a change of our will.
Repentance is then a key element in our relationship with God. Its importance cannot be over stated, because its meaning can be found throughout both the Old and New Testaments.
In the Old Testament, the Lord makes it clear of the need to repent and turn away from our sins.
The Lord said, “Turn from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets” (2 Kings 17:13).
“‘Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,’ says the Lord God. ‘Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.’” (Ezekiel 18:30)
The preaching of repentance was also key in the mission of John the Baptist, Jesus, and the disciples.
“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’” (Matthew 3:1–3)
Jesus said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand . . . For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance . . . (and) unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Matthew 4:17, 9:13; Luke 13:3)
In the first sermon Peter preached, he said, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).