Summary: “There is an "Urgent Need of Repentance" for the wicked and unrighteous, because the Lord will soon return to rapture the Church. The wicked must forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts and seek the Lord while he may be found.
Banner of Praise Ministries
Rev. Dr. Levi Howard Wright
“The Urgency of Repentance”
TEXT: Isaiah 55:6-7 “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
ASSOCIATED TEXT: Matthew 3:2 “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
BACKGROUND: It is interesting to note the tremendous emphasis that is placed on repentance in the New Testament. The word repentance occurs fifty-six (56) times in the New Testament. Thirty-four (34) times it is used as a verb, and twenty-two (22) times it occurs as a noun.
The church has failed to be the force in the world that it should be because it has misunderstood the primary demand of the Christian faith for repentance.
We need to recognize the revolutionary significance of this primary demand which is essential for the Christian life.
The call to repentance and faith should not be looked upon and considered as a threat but as an invitation.
The call to repentance is not a call to a morbid, remorseful way of thinking.
The call to repentance is an invitation change to one’s basic fundamental attitudes about God, self, things, and others.
To have erroneous ideas concerning any of these great areas of thought or relationships is to be out of balance.
To think right about God is also to think right about self, things, and other human beings.
I. THE EMPHASIZED PLACED ON REPENTANCE.
1. John the Baptist preached repentance.
The New Testament opens with a trumpet blast from John the Baptist.
He called people to repent, to radically reverse their thinking about God and His demands.
John insisted that people must not assume that because they were members of the nation of Israel this gave them the position of privilege in the plan of God.
He emphasized that genuine religion was a personal response to God that expressed itself in moral conduct and in compassion toward other human beings.
He illustrated this by insisting that those who possess an abundance share with those in need (Luke 3:11).
He insisted that tax collectors should not be greedy and required more than the law required. He insisted that soldiers cease to be violent and aggressive toward helpless people.
John the Baptist called for a radical reversal of the inward ideas of people with reference to God, self, things and others.
2. Jesus Christ emphasized repentance.
A. Jesus began his ministry emphasizing the imperative need of repentance in (Mark 1:15).
The first recorded message that fell from lips of our Lord and Savior was the call to repentance and faith.
Literally he urged the people to come a proper to attitude toward God and to respond to Him with a loving trust that involved cooperation.
Throughout his ministry Jesus was continually seeking to change the attitudes of people toward God.
He recognized that unless there is a change of inner attitude there can be no change in outward conduct.
2. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ concluded his ministry by emphasizing repentance (Luke 24:47).
As our Lord gave the Great Commission he emphasized that his servants should go out into the world and encourage people to change their basic inward attitudes and come to a proper attitude toward God..
3. The Apostle Peter emphasized repentance on the Day of Pentecost.
The basic task of Peter and the other followers of the Lord on the Day of Pentecost was to try to bring about a change of attitude in the minds and hearts of their listeners.
They sought to interpret what God had done in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his triumphant resurrection from the dead.
They declared that God had appointed Jesus Christ to be Lord of all. They urged their listeners to repent, to change their attitude.
As a results of this change of attitude, they would experience forgiveness and receive the Holy Ghost.
The outward expressions and symbol of this inward change was to be a submission to baptism (Acts 2:38).
4. The Apostle Paul preached repentance (Acts 17:30-31)
A. In sophisticated scholarly Athens the Apostle Paul preached Jesus Christ as one who was crucified but who had conquered death and the grave.
On the basic off the resurrection of Jesus Christ he encouraged even, commanded that people repent.
B. When Paul visited with the leaders of the church at Ephesus as he returned to Jerusalem, he declared that he had emphasized the necessity of repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21).
5. Jesus encouraged the churches of Asia Minor to repent (Revelation 2-3).