Summary: There seems to be a forgotten word in our modern Christian vocabulary, a word that describes a feature that should still be visible and active in our lives today as followers of Jesus. What is the forgotten feature, what is the forgotten word? The word is Repentance.
The forgotten feature of faith: Repentance
We continue in our series Dare to be Different and this month our focus has been on Different Features, Different Characteristics. Tonight I want us to consider together the forgotten feature of faith.
There seems to be a forgotten word in our modern Christian vocabulary, a word that describes a feature that should still be visible and active in our lives today as followers of Jesus.
So what is the forgotten feature, what is the forgotten word? The word is Repentance.
In the original text of the New Testament, the term for repentance is metanoia.
Metanoia has two primary aspects: a “change of heart or mind” and “regret or remorse.”
Repentance is a condition of salvation, in Matthew 3:2 John the Baptist said, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near”
Mark 1:14-15, Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where He preached God’s Good News. “The time promised by God has come at last!” He announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”
And again in Matthew 4:17 Jesus said, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
The Apostle Paul preached to the Jews, Gentiles and Greeks “turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus”
Our motives for repentance are found in the goodness of God, in His divine love, in His desire to save sinners, in the inevitable consequences of our sin, in the demands of the gospel, and in the hope of eternal spiritual life in the heaven.
True repentance leads a person to say, “I have sinned” and then make a 180-degree change of direction.
Repentance is NOT something we do once and then continue living how we want.
Repentance requires change, real change.
Repentance is NOT asking the Lord for forgiveness with the intent to sin again.
Repentance is an honest, acknowledgment of sin with a commitment to change.
If you examine the way you live your life today, is there something you need to repent of?
Have you allowed sinful wants, needs, desires to create a barrier between you and God?
Even if you have been a follower of Christ for many years, is your relationship with Him in the right place?
Do you need to once again say “I have sinned” and turn away from sin and turn again to Christ?
Repentance. The call to repent is strangely absent in many modern churches today.
The message preached is ‘God loves you’, which is true, ‘God cares for you’, which is also true, and ‘God has a plan for you’, which again is true.
But, some churches are more concerned about being “seeker friendly” than biblically literate and legitimate.
To proclaim the words of Jesus, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” or the words of the Apostle Paul from Romans 6:23 “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” that is the real message of the Gospel that still needs to be preached.
It seems some churches think the message of repentance should only be preached in an occasional evangelistic service just in case someone is offended by the truth of the Word of God.
Let me remind you what the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, Christ sent me to preach the Good News—and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power. The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.
Repentance was the message of all of the prophets.
Repentance was the message of John the Baptist as he preached in the wilderness.
Repentance was the message with which Jesus began His public ministry.
Repentance was also the message with which Jesus concluded His ministry. In Luke 24:46-47 Jesus said,
“Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of His name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’
Repentance was the message of the apostles as they preached and later scattered throughout the known world, Mark 6:12 records, the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God.
Repentance was the message that birthed the church at Pentecost, Acts 2:37-38, Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”