Summary: A sermon focussing on repentance, that reveals that it is more than saying sorry and that we need God’s help to repent.
Who has been to Port Arthur (Tasmania, Australia)?
Port Arthur is one of those special places to visit
Not just because of its beauty,
But because of its history
A history which indicates how the early settlers dealt with sin
Port Arthur was chosen as a convict settlement because of its remoteness
By land there was only one narrow way in and out.
And the seas around Port Arthur are difficult for small boats
This made it easier to secure
Over 12000 people served time as convicts at Port Arthur, but very few escaped
Even today when you drive to Port Arthur, there is only one road that takes you in and out
So, to leave Port Arthur, every map will tell you that you must turn around
And at birth each of us arrives in the town of sin
Sin is all around us
The only way out is to turn around
And be foccussed on God,
Heading towards God’s way of life
This is what the bible calls repentance
But on our own we can’t do it by ourself
And in today’s reading on two occasions Jesus makes the following statement
In verse 3 and 5
We hear Jesus say to us
“I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Something to be aware of when you are reading your bibles
Whenever something is repeated close together like this
It means listen up, sit up and take notice of it, it is important!!!
A bit like my wife saying to me numerous times
‘Don’t forget that we have guests coming over tonight, don’t be late.”
As I leave home saying “Can you please pick up some milk on the way home’
Then later in the day she sends me a text message saying the same thing.
A repeated message is important
In other words we all must repent, otherwise we will perish
Repentance is essential for every Christian to gain eternal life
But the question is what is repentance?
What does it mean?
What does it involve?
When you hear the term repentance what pops into your head?
A starting point for many is to simply to say sorry?
But repentance involves far more than that
First we need the reason or reasons to repent
And secondly when need to know what we should be repenting for and from
To get to the point of saying sorry
God needs to be at work in us and through us
In the scriptures God prompts us with the promise
that in being focussed on Him our future will be far superior
Listen to Acts 3:21
19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
God promises that our lives will be restored and we will be refreshed
And as we delve deeper into scripture we see that God wants our relationship with him to be restored
So we can benefit from the gifts of heaven
And secondly, we need God to do even the simpliest task of clearly showing us where our flaws in life are
Left to ourselves we can easily come up with excuses of why we do or do not do somethings
Left to ourselves can not fully know how God requires us to live
So a good starting point for each of us
Is to listen to the words of Jesus in the New Testament from Matthew 22:37-40
37 Jesus replied: ”‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ a 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ b 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
In other words Jesus was saying that all the commandments from God
Focus the Christian on loving God and loving our neighbour as ourself.
This is a good thing to reflect on at the end of each day before you spend time in prayer with God.
Where have I love God and others…thank God for the strength He gave you to do so
Where have I failed to love God and others…ask God for forgiveness
The statement to love God and to love others as yourself is fairly broad
And that is probably good
Because God is an inclusive God
But because of who we are
We begin asking questions like
What does this mean?
What can I get away with?
Who do I really have to show love to?