Summary: People look at the church and cry superficial. Why is that? I believe because it is we have forgotten that saving faith leads to repentant lives. One fruit that has fallen off the faith tree is repentance.
Intro: There are people that look at the church today and cry hypocrites. One reason is they don’t understand we are sinners that are saved by grace. It is the grace of God that makes us saints not the acts of men. Another reason is that the church has become superficial! Paul told timothy that in the end times that people would gather around them preachers that would tickle their itching ears.
If you are a sinner lost without Christ outside his grace never having confessed and repented of your sins, I am not here to tickle your ears I am here to trouble your heart!
There are preachers all across this country that say nothing about sin. There are places that say the blood of Jesus is too gory and we are too sophisticated to need it. Oh my! What has the church of Jesus Christ come to when we no longer need the blood of Jesus! I’m not here to tickle your ears I am here to tell you the truth.
At the Mo Baptist Convention they said loud and clear what preaching is all about. Preaching that is biblical will comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
What we see in the superficial culture and even the church today is we have forgotten about sin and never heard about repentance!
What is biblical repentance? Is it crying tears because you were caught doing wrong? Is it a physical attempt to control the spiritual source of sin? Is it merely saying I’m sorry?
No. None of those are the complete picture of repentance. Repentance is the forgotten fruit of the grace of God!
I. Its command
Dr James Merritt Aptly said it, “Repentance is the call of the Old Testament and the Command of the New.”
Jesus began His ministry repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. When he first sent out the 12 in mark 6.12 they were going out preaching repentance. Jesus clearly declared in Luke 24.47 “and t hat repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem.”
Acts 2.38 the first sermon from the Holy Spirit filled called out ones of Christ, the church, was repent in the name of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul with His historical sermon on Mars Hill in response to the altar to an unknown God said in Acts 17.30 “God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,”
The command does not only apply to sinners but to saints. The 2nd and 3rd chapters of the book of revelation record the Lord Jesus’ letters to His church.
Rev 2.4, 5
Ephesus had left her first love and had to repent and return to her first works, or lose the privilege of witness.
Pergamum forgot her spiritual calling became guilty of sensuality and priesthood, and had to choose between repentance and judgment.
Thyatira tried to undo the adultery and abominable practices of Jezebel, and had to repent or suffer tribulation
Sardis, like so many today had a name to live, but was dead. Repentance or retribution was left to her choice.
Laodicea, type of the organized apostate church of today, was taken up with her own possessions. Her greatest Possession had been crowded out, and left on the doorstep. Repen tance is her only road to spiritual recovery.
It is clear to me that we are not much different than the early church. The church was filled with hypocrites, with liars, with all different types of sins. But what you find in the early church was when they truly were gripped with God’s grace and repented of their sins placing faith in Jesus Christ they did not live superficial lives they led supernatural lives!
So what does repentance look like?
A) It involves conviction of sin
It means we are convinced we are sinners. We see God in all his holiness and ourselves in our dirty sinfulness. The truth of our condition before God is revealed. It is not enough to be under conviction. A person can be convicted to tears but never leave their seat or sin to confess Jesus.
B) It involves confession of sin
Exodus 9.27, 10.16 Pharaoh confessed his sin but never turned from it. He never repented of it. It is still happening today. People get caught in sin and they confess. It is not because they want to turn from it, it is instead because they are caught in it.
C) It involves contrition (sorrow) of sin
This is a deep sorrow over sin. Contrition is a complete understanding that you have fallen short of God’s glory. Because sin is displeasing to God you turn from it in sorrow and shame. It is not enough to be sorry because someone uncovered your sin.