"Double Blessing challenges us to reframe our perception of blessing, seeing God's gifts as opportunities for increased generosity." —Pastor Louie Giglio

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Summary: The Big Idea: Repentance is the gateway to holiness. Lent is a time of contemplation; turning—or returning—to God.

King Frederick II, King of Prussia in the eighteenth-century, once visited a prison in Berlin. The inmates there tried to convince him they were unjustly imprisoned; that is, all of them but one.

That one sat quietly in a corner, while the rest protested their innocence. Seeing him sitting there oblivious to the commotion, the king asked him for what crime he was imprisoned. "Armed robbery, Your Honor." The king asked, "Were you guilty?" "Yes, Sir," he answered. "I entirely deserve my punishment."

The king then gave an order to the guard: "Release this guilty man. I don’t want him corrupting all these innocent people." In an instant, that prisoner discovered the reward of true repentance.

I. INTRODUCTION

1. To follow Jesus is to maintain an attitude of repentance. As we do, God builds holiness in us; the earthly reward of true repentance. An attitude of confession combined with a determination to change allows this to occur.

2. Repentance is often confused with remorse; perhaps we should define the two. Remorse is a strong feeling of guilt and regret; Repentance is remorse in action. When that guilt and regret compels us to change.

3. Lenten season is a time of contemplation; to think deeply about Christ offering himself as the definitive sacrifice for the sins of all people. A time to evaluate our thoughts, our feelings and our behavior in the light of His perfect sacrifice. Our reflection and resulting repentance are essential as we prepare for Resurrection Sunday.

4. Consider Jesus’ teachings on REPENTANCE and SALVATION

A. His message from the beginning of His ministry:

i. Matthew 4:17. From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near”.

ii. Mark 1:14-15. After John was put in prison Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come”, he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"

B. His message at the end of his (earthly) ministry:

i. Luke 24:46-47. [Jesus] told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

[Repentance is the gateway to holiness. Lent is a time of contemplation; turning—or returning—to God.]

5. Repentance is essential to salvation, yet repentance isn’t preached much these days. It’s been replaced with what is commonly called easy believe-ism.

A. “Accept Jesus as your Savior.” Where is the repentance in that? Thousands walk the aisles of churches, get baptized and joined the church: because they accepted.

B. What exactly did they accept?

i. That what the preacher says about sin, salvation, Heaven & Hell are true.

ii. That what the Bible says about Heaven and Hell are true.

iii. That what Jesus did on the cross was real, true, and necessary for salvation.

iv. That if you don’t trust Jesus as your Savior, you will spend eternity in Hell.

6. Multiplied thousands have accepted the facts and information without repenting of their sins. Their heads are converted—BUT—not their hearts. Consider this:

A. Satan doesn’t care what you believe, how you live, what you confess as truth, how many times you come to the altar, or if you’ve been baptized—as long as you haven’t repented of your sins. He doesn’t care about your head. He cares only about your heart.

[Repentance is the gateway to holiness. Lent is a time of contemplation; turning—or returning—to God. OYBT Luke 13:1-9]

II. TWO TALES OF CATASTROPHE (13:1-5)

1. Some who are with Jesus on his way to Jerusalem report on some Galileans put to death by Pilate while they made sacrifices in the temple (1) (we know little of their story other than what is recorded here).

2. People in ancient times assumed that calamity fell on those who were extremely sinful (cf. Eliphaz, Job’s friend). This was particularly true of the Pharisees, who held themselves in strict adherence to the Law. They believed anyone not living as they did would perish.

3. Jesus immediately rebukes them for their inference (2-3) responding with another tale of calamity, this one a natural disaster (4).

4. In both cases, Jesus warns the people that tragedy is not always the result of sin. He goes on to say, “Unless you repent, you too will perish” (5).

[Repentance is the gateway to holiness. Lent is a time of contemplation; turning—or returning—to God.]

III. PARABLE: THE NEED FOR REPENTANCE (13:6-9)

1. Jesus now tells the parable of the fig tree in the vineyard. The owner (God) plants a fig tree (Nation of Israel), and though it should produce fruit (repentance) annually, three years after maturity it remains barren.

A. He (God) demands it cut down, because it is using the nutrients of the soil without providing any fruit.

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