Summary: We are only given a brief interval to repent, so we need to know what repentance is, who needs to repent, and when our chance to repent will expire.
“SPACE TO REPENT”
Mt. 3:1-10; Rev. 2:21
1. I heard about a man who smoked cigarettes. He began reading articles on cigarettes and became alarmed by the strong relationship between smoking and lung cancer.
2. He finally confided in a friend; “I’ve been reading so many articles about smoking and lung cancer that I’ve decided to quit reading.”
3. He didn’t decide to quit smoking, but to quit reading! That’s what many people do when they read the Bible and it convicts them of their sins! They decide to quit reading the Bible!
4. The problem of that solution is that our sins aren’t “going away;” we must go to God and get His solution for the problem of our sins.
“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” 4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” Mt. 3:1-10.
C. ISSUE OF REPENTANCE: NOT A POPULAR SUBJECT
1. Noah’s message to his generation was not, “Something good is going to happen to you.”
Jeremiah didn’t get put into a pit for preaching, “I’m ok, You’re Ok!”
Daniel wasn’t put into the Lion’s Den for telling people, “All roads lead to God.”
John the Baptist wasn’t beheaded for preaching, “Smile, God loves You!”
And the Two Tribulation Prophets won’t be killed for preaching, “God is in Heaven and all is right with the world.”
Instead, what was the message of all these men of God? Simply one word – “Repent!” It’s an important subject!
2. WITHOUT REPENTANCE, THERE IS NO SALVATION! We need to know all about it so we won’t be mistaken and get to the judgment seat deceived. Jesus said, “When the Judgment Day comes, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! In your name we spoke God's message, by your name we drove out many demons and performed many miracles!’ Then I will say to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you wicked people!’ Matt. 7:22-23, GNT. They were surprised!
3. So we’re going to look at who needs to repent, what repentance is, and how long do we have to get right with God. The title is, “Space to Repent.”
I. WHY IS REPENTANCE IMPORTANT?
A. FIRST SERMON JESUS EVER PREACHED
1. By the Lord Jesus. “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee….saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’” Mk. 1:14-15.
2. By the Apostles, Mk. 6:12.
B. IS THE ONLY WAY TO ESCAPE HELL
1. Jesus said there’s only 2 options: “REPENT OR PERISH” Lk. 13:3,5.
2. It’s NECESSARY TO CONVERSION. Peter said, “Repent and be converted that your sins be blotted out” Acts 3:19.
3. REPENTANCE COMES BEFORE FAITH. “Testifying to both Jews and Greeks repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus.” Acts 20:21.
C. IT IS NOT OPTIONAL - IT’S UNIVERSALLY COMMANDED, “God has commanded all men everywhere to repent” Acts 17:30.
II. SOME THINK, “I DON’T NEED TO REPENT”
1. In a small country church a rich man had for years been the leading elder. The congregation was looking for a new minister, and this elder interviewed each candidate. One fine born again candidate preached his sermon on “Repentance.”
2. Afterward the elder said, “I don’t like it that you called our people sinners!” The minister said, “Are you a Christian, sir?” “Of course I’m a Christian!” he said. “Then you were a sinner and sought Christ for salvation” the minister said.
3. “Oh, no. I never was a sinner,” the elder said. “Well, sir, “ said the minister, “it’s impossible for you to be a Christian then, because it was sinners Christ came to save!” [Knights New Illus., p. 544]