You haven’t felt well for a while and so you finally decide to get checked out by the doctor. A routine examination shows a need for more tests and the tests identify a serious illness. Let’s say it is cancer. You are sent to a surgeon and he says there is a good chance it can be completely removed by surgery and you will be fine. Upon hearing this you respond, “I don’t know Doc. I am not sure I want all the cancer removed, can you leave a little of it in there?”
No doctor would agree to that! He was trained to bring healing and took an oath to use all of his skill and training to that end.
And yet that is exactly what you do with God when it comes to sin. God, through His Word and through His Spirit, reveals this terrible cancer called sin that is eating you up and destroying you now and for eternity, and yet you tell God you don’t want it all taken out.
How crazy is that?
God’s prescription for dealing with sin is called “repentance”. It acknowledges a serious spiritual problem and allows Him to come in and remove it. But you must be willing to have it all removed.
This message is the first in a series call “Terms of Endearment” that centers on helping you understand all the amazing things that God does in your life when you enter into salvation. There is redemption, there is regeneration, there recreation, is reconciliation, there is righteousness, and there is rejoicing.
”Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Luke 13:1-5
There are three key words I want to focus on this morning – “all”, “repent”, and “perish”.
I. REPENT is An Inclusive Word
Going back to our analogy, when you go to the Surgeon and shares his diagnosis with you and recommends immediate and radical action you would not waist time by wondering what you had done wrong to deserve this, nor would you point to all the people in the waiting room and ask, “What’s wrong with them?” The Dr. would ignore those questions and press you for a decision.
That is what is happening with Jesus in his portion of Scripture.
"All" need to repent. But you can only repent for yourself. It is an individual responsibility.
What Jesus is saying is there are no innocent human beings. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). "There is none righteous, no not one" (Romans 3:10). What should amaze us in our sin is not that some are taken in calamity, but that we are spared and given another day to repent. The really amazing thing in this universe is not that guilty sinners perish, but that God is so slow to anger that you and I can sit here this morning and have another chance to repent.
A. There is no escape from it
Repent or perish; all must face it. Acts 17:30 informs us that God "commandeth all men every where to repent." The desire of God is for all men to come to repentance (II Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise...."). God does not give us an option in the matter of repentance, He commands all men to repent.
Repentance is not arbitrary, it is absolute.
B. There is no excuse from it
Either you repent or perish. It is that simple.
Unless you repent you will PERISH.
The clerk will perish if she does not repent. Your children will perish, you parents will perish, your neighbors will perish, your colleagues will perish if they do not repent.
REPENT OR PERISH!
There is no escape for perishing except through repentance.
Perish is something more than simply die a physical death. Jesus is referring to something beyond death. Those Galileans were taken unawares and experienced a horrible end; however, unless you repent, you too will be taken unawares and experience a horrible end—the judgment of God beyond the grave.
The word perish often refers to this terrible judgment in the New Testament. For example in John 3:16 perishing is seen as the alternative to having everlasting life. The same thing turns up in John 10:28.
It is significant that Jesus taught repeatedly about Hell. To portray it He often drew upon the horrors of the Vale of Hinnom, the garbage dump of Jerusalem. Into it were thrown the filth of the city along with the bodies of dead animals and the unclaimed bodies of executed criminals. Maggots infested the nauseous mass, consuming fires burned constantly, and wild dogs howled and gnashed their teeth over edible portions of the garbage. Jesus said that this was a symbol of hell, and the reality is always greater that the symbol.
It is in the word “repent” that your hope lies to escape Hell.
Without repentance and a fleeing to Christ there is fire in your future.