Summary: The significance of repentance is particularly important when we consider how we usually handle our weaknesses

OPEN: “Johnnie,” asked the kindergarten teacher, “is the world round?”

“No, ma’am,” was the reply.

“It isn’t!” Exclaimed the teacher. “Then I suppose it’s flat?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Well,” said the teacher with a smile, “if the world isn’t round and it isn’t flat, then what is it?”

“My dad says it’s crooked,” said Johnnie matter-of-factly.

APPLICATION That boy assumed he knew what the world was like because of something his dad said.

I know what the world is like because of some things my Heavenly Father has said:

The Bible tells me that God knows us:

Ps 103:8-14 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in

love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust

The Bible also tells me God knows my heart:

Jesus said in Matthew 15:19 "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander."

Jeremiah declared in 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things…"

I. What does it mean that my heart is deceitful???

My heart is deceitful, because (as the Bible tells me) I’m pretty fond of myself - and you are of yourselves as well.

For example: we’re told to "Love one another as… (have the audience complete the phrase: ’you love yourself’)."

Eph 5:28-29 A husband is to love his wife as he does his own body… After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church.

WE LOVE OURSELVES. The Bible tells me we do.

ILLUS: When you enter a room with a mirror, what do you do? You look at yourself.

When you see a group picture that includes yourself whose face do you look for 1st?

So, when I’m faced with a situation that brings guilt into my life, I do what people who "love themselves" will do. I make excuses for myself.

I’m the HERO in my story. I can’t do anything wrong… Well, if I did something wrong I did it for a good reason… AND if I did do something wrong… the guy down the street did something worse.

Those are all excuses we make for ourselves. And, of course, there is still another excuse we can make for ourselves: justifying myself by trying to believe that whatever I did - it was not a black & white issue – rather it was gray.

ILLUS: Dr. Laura Schlessinger shared about a particular revealing conversation she had with a caller: "Darlene, is in love with her office mate and wants to seduce him away from his fiancee, since he’s not actually married yet. "Under what ethical code could you possibly justify that?" Schlessinger asked.

"But, isn’t there a gray area?" ventures Darlene.

Schlessinger chastised her caller by saying "It’s funny how when we’re the recipient of pain, we’re clear that it’s black and white, but when we’ve got something to gain there are shades of gray,".

OUR HEARTS ARE DECEITFUL. You & I have an underlying desire to protect ourselves, to cover our sins, to excuse our behavior.

II. Now, because this is true…

- if I want to become a Christian…

- if I want to come into the presence of holy & mighty God…

– something’s got to change

John the Baptist… Jesus… the Disciples who were out sent out two by two. They all had the same message: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

Ac 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Ac 17:30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

Now what does that mean? What does it mean to "repent?" It means something’s got to change It’s got to change in you and it’s got to change in me.

BUT how do I repent? Repentance means "You’re going the wrong way-STOP/ TURN AROUND/ START OVER AGAIN. It means stop making excuses for yourself and start accepting responsibility for your actions. It means stop judging your life by your standards (there’s a way that seems right unto a man but the end thereof is death) and start using God’s morality as yardstick.

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