Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September 22, 2011

"In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth. And all people will see God’s salvation.’”  Luke 3:1-6

Last Sunday I began a new sermon series entitled "Terms of Endearment". These messages will reveal the amazing things that happen to one who trusts Jesus for salvation. This theology of salvation will help you understand the things that endear you to God and that should endear Him to you!

The first term we are examining is "repentance" which we began to explore last week. You might wonder how repentance can be an endearing term. When you hear the word it may conjure images of bearded people in robes and sandals standing on a busy street holding a sign that reads "REPENT!" Or, perhaps you think of a street preacher shouting Bible verses at bypassers while urging them to turn from sin and turn to God.

Actually, while you may not appreciate their methods they ARE right! And, they are following in the ways of John the Baptist, whose words we read in these Bible verses. Repentance is an endearing term from God's perspective because it prepares the way for a personal relationship with Him.

Today, I want to show you the purpose of repentance and the power of it.

The purpose of repentance is for the forgiveness of sins. In John the Baptist's ministry, baptism was the sign of repentance. People came to hear this iconoclastic preacher's message and were convicted by the power of his words and the truth he proclaimed. Some would fall under conviction for sins and came to him to be baptized. Coming forward for baptism was evidence of a desire to turn from sin and turn to faith in God. The alternative to repentance is to perish, according to both John the Baptist AND later, Jesus.

Repentance is expressed by three different words in the Greek language of the New Testament. One word means, "thinking afterward". Repentance begins when conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit causes you to begin to rethink the way you are living and to consider the Truth you are hearing. Another word has the idea of "being sorrowful" over you sins. And the third word carries the implication a change of heart that leads to changes in behavior.

Repentance carries the idea of making a "u-turn". You are born with your back toward God because of your sinful nature and you decide to repent, or stop walking away from God and begin walking toward Him.

Having understood the purpose of repentance, consider the power of repentance - "Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth."

What John the Baptist is announcing here is that repentance has the power to turn life upside down! It is a radical change in the way you think, the way you believe and the way you act. Repent "prepares the way of the Lord" by removing the sin which separates you from His holiness. It is the power of God's Spirit becoming active you your heart, mind and spirit that brings the transforming power!

Repentance changes everything! Have you repented? Have you done a "u-turn" back toward God?

Will you?

September 21, 2011

Continuing on the vitally important theme of reprentance, it is an inclusive term - all must repent. If you can put your finger on your neck and get a pulse, you are included in that need to repent group.

REPENT is A Decisive Word

The story is told of a shoplifter who writes to a department store and says, "I’ve just become a Christian, and I can’t sleep at night because I feel guilty. So here’s $100 that I owe you."

"Then he signs his name, and in a little postscript at the bottom he adds, "If I still can’t sleep, I’ll send you the rest."

"Repent" is a crucial word. "Repent" is a critical word. Repentance is an absolute necessity. It demands decisive action against sin.

When you are diagnosed with a potentially terminal disease and a radical treatment is prescribed, the Surgeon is calling for a decision from you HE IS NOT LOOKING FOR A DEBATE. The sooner you decide the better for you.

It is not a time for distraction or speculation it is time for decisive action. The Surgeon is not interested in discussing medical theories with you or wildly speculating on why some people get cancer and other people don’t, he wants you to commit to dealing with YOUR cancer.

In this encounter with Jesus these men were trying to avoid the issue by DEBATING WITH JESUS – HE DEMANDED A DECISION.

REPENT is A Productive Word

Not too many years ago newspapers carried the story of Al Johnson, a Kansas man who came to faith in Jesus Christ. What made his story remarkable was not his conversion, but the fact that as a result of his newfound faith in Christ, he confessed to a bank robbery he had participated in when he was nineteen years old.

Because the statute of limitations on the case had run out, Johnson could not be prosecuted for the offense.

Still, he believed his relationship with Christ demanded a confession. And he even voluntarily repaid his share of the stolen money!

The cancer Surgery prescribed by your Dr. and the Surgeon he referred you to is for one reason – to produce a result in your life – to extend the quality and quantity of your life! It will take you from illness to health!

The purpose of repentance is to extend the quality and quantity of you life – now AND for eternity!

Repentance is productive because:

1) It proves you understand God’s holiness

2) It proves you understand your hopelessness

3) It proves you understand how to get to heaven.


Wabush, a town in a remote portion of Labrador, Canada, was completely isolated for some time. But recently a road was cut through the wilderness to reach it. Wabush now has one road leading into it, and thus, only one road leading out. If someone would travel the unpaved road for six to eight hours to get into Wabush, there is only way he or she could leave---by turning around.

Each of us, by birth, arrives in a town called Sin. As in Wabush, there is only one way out--a road built by God himself. But in order to take that road, one must first turn around. That complete about face is what the Bible calls repentance, and without it, there’s no way out of town.

There is only one way out of your sin – REPENT. EVERY SIN MUST BE CONFESSED AND REPENTED OF!

If you do not repent and turn from your sin there is only one outcome – PERISH.

“If we put off repentance another day, we have a day more to repent of, and a day less to repent in”