Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
Romans 12:1-2, Acts 2:38
Good morning. We have had a few lessons on worship to God and how it is the manifestation of our personal relationship with God that comes from our heart. Today I would like to look at something related yet not discussed much except in broad terms. It is a very important subject that I fear some members of the body of Christ and people out in the world may not understand very well; what is repentance.
I want to encourage you to take out your Bibles and look at the scriptures I mention. If you have any questions about anything I say, I’ll be glad to talk to you about it. If I’m wrong, I will stand corrected.
The very first scripture we're going to look at is one you're all familiar with Acts 2:38 – “Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”.
I imagine most of you could probably quote this verse very easily but notice the first word is that Peter uses. He says; “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins”.
Repentance is an integral part of the Christian life. You cannot be saved without it. You cannot be a child of God without it. Yet, I fear sometimes people view Christianity as baptism alone. I've been baptized therefore I'm saved. Repentance is a key part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Over in Acts 3:19 he says; “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,” We need to realize that repentance is a conversion. I feel sometimes that people are convinced about who Jesus is, are convinced of baptism for remission of sins, and yet they're not converted. Repentance involves a conversion of your life.
Continuing over in Luke 13:5 it says; “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” Without repentance we're going to be lost.
Finally, let’s look at Romans 12:1-2 because I think this is the best text, in the entire Bible that defines what repentance actually is. “1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
If you ask people generally what repentance is, this is what you may hear. “Repentance is when you stop doing something that's wrong”. If you're sinning, you stop doing that, you repent. Indeed, that's part of it, but the mistake people make when it comes to what repentance is, they think that's all of it. They think repentance is to stop doing something that is wrong and that’s it.
What we're going to do today is to look at the full magnitude of repentance and come to understand what God expects all of us, as Christians, to do. This concept of repentance as “to stop doing what is wrong”, leads us to viewing repentance as a point action. The idea that if I do something wrong, there is a point in time I repent, and I stop doing it. We think of repentance as points in time. If we think of it that way, we've have incomplete comprehension of what God expects of us as His children.
Our first steps in the start of our Christian life are fairly easy. It is easy to come to the realization that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. That is easy to confess when we understand it. Being baptized is pretty easy. It's quite easy to be immersed in water.
All of that is relatively easy to do. The real struggle, the real battle in our lives is repentance. We need to understand what it is and what it involves.
We are again going to look at Romans 12:1-2. This is the text around which we will build the sermon this morning, taking it literally a phrase at a time and breaking it down, studying it and digesting it so we can come to understand exactly what it is that God has commanded us when He tells us to repent.
Let’s look at the last phrase from Romans 12:2 – “…that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” We discern the will of God. We are proving and showing what the will of God is. We give our self as a living sacrifice, we renew our mind, we change our heart, and we are changed by faith. We understand this is true repentance, doing the will of God, not our will, and the only way we can do the will of God is to go to His word. We must go to His word and find out what His will is.
Colossians 3:10 told us “you've put on the new man who is renewed (notice the phrase) renewed in knowledge.” Not the way we feel, what we like, how we want it to be—the renewing process is done with the knowledge of His will.
Ephesians 4:20-21 tells us “but you have not so learned Christ if indeed you have heard him and have been taught by him as the truth is in Jesus.” “Learned Christ”, that’s an interesting phrase, isn’t it? What you're trying to learn is what Christ is like, and then; striving to be transformed, to be converted, to be changing continually into, the image of Jesus Christ, the example of Christ. Paul says we've been taught by Him as the truth is in Jesus. How are we taught by Him? We are taught by the truth, by the word of God. This is his will.
Repentance is not just stopping doing what’s wrong. That is the first part, but repentance is a conversion. It is stopping and putting off the old man and all the sins you're involved in, then you turn and go in another direction for the rest of your life.
As you're walking by faith if you give into temptation and you sin, do you know what you do? You turn from it. You stop and you ask God's forgiveness, then you turn from that path and you keep going by faith. That's Christianity.
That's then is repentance, the continual process of going forward, walking forward, running forward, and living by faith, walking by faith, doing the will of God — by faith. As we do the will of God by faith, we are clay in the potter's hand, and we're being conformed and transformed to where we're more like Jesus every day. It is a transformation process that is never ending; we continue to grow toward our goal of being with our Lord.
Do not limit your understanding of God’s word to just the “thou shalt nots”. If we are to look like Jesus remember that Jesus teaches more then just what not to do. We need to be clear on how big repentance is because that is what the Lord expects of us. Repentance is a battle to deny our self, to throw off our will and the pride of life to the point where it's the will of God we are submitting to. Then in our life we're going to take up our cross and follow His will -- by faith.
There may be someone here who is not a Christian this morning but you have come to the conclusion that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and you are willing to confess that faith, we'll be glad to baptize you for the remission of your sins. Understand that repentance and the baptism are both driven by faith. You confess your faith, you repent by faith, you're baptized by faith, and then you live and walk by faith.
If you’re a child of God and you have become entangled in sin, you’ve quit running the race. Get up, get untangled, repent, take the sins to God, ask forgiveness of them, and get back into the living, the walking by faith and doing His will in your life, striving to be more like God and Christ each day. We'll pray for you. We'll pray with you. We’ll do the very best we can as your brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage you.
If you are subject to the gospel call in any way let us know while we stand and sing the song selected.
Invitation song: ???
Reference sermon by: Wayne Fancher
It is Free