How dare you talk about repentence


                And he opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the scriptures.

Then he said to them, “Thus it is written, and it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And you are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24: 45-49)


                Jesus was standing before them in his resurrected body while he spoke these words.  They were confused about the meaning of the resurrection and crucifixion.  They had excepted a king on a throne in Jerusalem, not one who had come back from the dead.  Jesus enlightens them about the crucifixion and resurrection, and he shows them how they fit into the scriptures.  The disciples were commanded to begin revealing this same purpose to the world.  The Gospel, the testimony of God to the people was theirs to take forth.  The entire world would have the chance to repent, and to be forgiven of all of their sins through their faith in what was done by Jesus on the cross.  Two words that are very important to note in this scripture are “repentance and remission.”  They are at the heart of the gospel message.  They are both actions, but one is man’s responsibility, and the other is God’s responsibility.  The initial contact point between God and man is faith in Christ; that faith, if genuine, then drives a person to change their behavior in a way that is pleasing to God.  What does “repentance” look like; if a man is sleeping with his girlfriend, he stops; if they are getting drunk, they quit drinking; if they have been lying, they begin telling the truth; if they have been unloving, they begin to love.  Disobedience to God comes to an end, and is replaced by obedience.  The second word, “remission,” is God’s responsibility, and He fulfilled his obligation on the cross (not an obligation, but rather a labor of love.)  Those who accept Jesus Christ as their substitute have received the removal of the filthiness that exists within them.  This is what is known as ‘the great exchange;’ we give Jesus Christ all of our Sin, and he gives us all of his righteousness.  The disease of sin is then put in to “remission.”

                One day, I was reading my bible in the coffee shop, and I leaned over to the gentleman across from me, who was reading as well.  I told him about the book I was reading, and he told me about his book.  He was having a hard time with drugs, and I began to minister to him.  He was without a vehicle because he had crashed it one night while drunk.  He had been attending a couple of church services with a friend, and so I invited him to come with me to a couple of services as well.  He began coming along to feed the homeless, and made some attempts to read the bible; he had a hard time walking away from the drugs and the woman he did drugs with.  We talked rather openly about what would happen if he didn’t repent.  He would often talk about buying a brand new car, as if that would make his life better in some way.  He was living at home and saving his money up for that nice new car.  After some time, he faded away and stopped coming to the fellowships.  I would call him and get no reply; I went to his house to see how he was doing, but I got ‘the cold shoulder.’  Last week, after nearly two years without contact, I received some disturbing news.  Apparently he did get that new car he had so desperately wanted; a brand new 2010 Scion.  Last week he was driving it in the middle of the night while intoxicated and he lost control of the vehicle and crashed; only this time, he hit a 70 year old woman who was walking home from work.  He survived and is in the county jail facing up to 10 years in prison.

                Today, many people’s lives are shattered because they refuse to repent.  Prison is a place filled with people who had every opportunity to make a change but refused.  Rehabilitation centers are littered with individuals who have fought change to the bitter end; choosing some drug over even their own children.  Some will fight with God all the way to the grave, but the grave sadly is not the end.  Hell will be filled with people who died without making that change.  Every flag God raised; every person he sent in to their lives with a warning; every good thing he removed to bring them to their knees was rejected in favor of some lifestyle, drug, relationship, career, or pleasure that suited them.  So many people today are putting off repentance; don’t be one of them.  Whole churches have stopped talking about repentance, because it doesn’t bring up warm fuzzy feelings.  But it is a central part of the message of God, and of the gospel.  Half of the message is repentance (responsibility of the believer,) the other half is forgiveness (responsibility of God.)  Today, don’t be the one that refuses to change.  If there is an area of your life that needs a change, make that change (it’s keeping you from growing closer to God.)    If you are sleeping with a girlfriend, if you are cheating on your taxes, if you are refusing to forgive someone else; whatever it might be; give it up, and give in, and repent and offer yourself over to God fully; allow Him to transform you and mold you and shape you; and you will know true peace, undivided peace, and an incredible forgiveness that will fill your heart and spill over in to the lives of all of those around you.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You today and we ask that You convict us in our hearts of the sin that remains in our lives.  Give us the strength to turn away from evil, and to be forgiven.  Lord we want to be more pleasing to You, and we want to be closer to You.  So please help us to repent; help us to change; help us to be ‘reborn.’  And help us to bear fruit for You Lord.  We love You Lord, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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