SOME THOUGHTS TO CONSIDER
In last week’s sermons we discussed sin and what it does to our relationship with God and our relationship with other people. We don’t like to admit that we sin; we “justify our sins.” The hardest thing for anyone to do is to admit that they are sinners, out of relationship with God, and that THEY MUST CHANGE if they will be right with God. It is important to our relationship with God FOR US to change – He has no reason to change (Malachi 3:6). When sin breaks our relationship with God, we must be the one who comes back, who expresses sorrow for the sin that has separated God and man.
Why would we want to continue in sin when we consider what God has done to save us from our sin? Why is it that we desire to listen to the world more than our Heavenly Father who wants a relationship with us? When we see what sin does to our relationships with one another; when we see what sin does to our relationship with God, WHY WOULD WE EVER DO IT? The pull of the world. Our failure to love God first and put Him first in our lives. Our desire to fulfill the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17). We are constantly bombarded daily on television, on the radio, in social media . . . glorifying what God hates; and we sin; thinking that gives a greater fulfillment in our lives. And, when we consider the sins of omission – failing to do what God has commanded – we know that we fall short of God’s glory and honor.
Hence, beloved, we are the ones who must change! Please consider the following and ask yourself – what do I need to change in my life to ensure I am right with God? What should I be doing to fulfill the Father’s will? What do I need to get rid of in my life so that I will be sure to be in heaven with the one who loves me more than I can imagine?
Repentance is the hardest command – but it is necessary!
Of all the words in the English language, some of the hardest to say are, “I’m sorry; I have sinned; Please forgive me.” It is a tragedy that some people carry burdens of sin and guilt throughout their lives. What blessed relief can come from true repentance and forgiveness.
There is a universal need for repentance, “for all have sin and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). Since sin is universally common, repentance is universally necessary.
Repentance has been called the most difficult thing in the world to get people to do. It is not as difficult to get people to believe in Christ, as it is to get them to repent. J.W. McGarvey once said that if God were giving miraculous gifts today, McGarvey would not ask for the power to heal, too prophesy or to speak in tongues; rather, he would ask for the power to cause men to repent.
A brief survey of the Bible will confirm that it is hard to get people to repent. Study the efforts of such preachers as Noah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Paul, and even the Lord Jesus. Is the fault with the message or these messengers? No, on both counts. The fault is with the people who need to repent and do not. Some folks are just obstinate toward repentance due to pride in the heart — being unwilling to admit their sin and to turn from it.
Jesus came preaching, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15). Further, our Lord said, “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3). In fulfillment of Scripture, “repentance and remission of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:47). And this was the message preached by Peter and the apostles: “Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38; cf. 3:19). The apostle Paul proclaimed, “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent.” (Acts 17:30). So, repentance is an inescapable responsibility upon every accountable person who would be saved – whether one is an alien sinner OR A CHRISTIAN WHO HAS SINNED.”
Many people share popular misconceptions of repentance. First, it is helpful to see what repentance is not. Repentance involves godly sorrow with confession, restitution and reformation of life (2 Corinthians 7:9-10; Matthew 3:8; Luke 19:8; Acts 19:19). While all these relate to repentance, they are not the same as repentance.
Wendell Winkler once defined repentance as, “. . .the making up of one’s mind to cease doing evil and to do good, to stop serving Satan and to begin serving God, to do an about face, to stop going in the wrong direction and turn again and start going in the right direction.” Repentance is a change of mind, produced by godly sorrow, resulting in a change of conduct. Godly sorrow proceeds repentance; restitution and reformation of life follow repentance. If a person had been lying, drinking, stealing, committing adultery, etc., repentance involves turning from and ceasing such sinful practices, habits, or lifestyles (Colossians 3:5-11)
Are there sufficient reasons to cause people to repent? In the plan of salvation, God’s goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering should prompt us toward repentance (Romans 2:4). What a great blessing we have in the provision of God’s grace! When one considers such ideas as fear of punishment, hope of reward, enjoying heaven, surely these God-given incentives are sufficient to motivate people to repent (Revelation 21:8; 2:10; Luke 15:7, 10).
Because the men of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah, they will stand up at the judgment and condemn those who did not repent at the preaching of one greater — Jesus Christ (Matthew 12:41). While you have time and opportunity, repent!
LIFE WITHOUT LUMPS
By Randy Fenter
“A carpet layer had worked an hour past the time he was supposed to be home. As he was picking up his tools, he noticed a lump underneath the carpet. He felt his shirt pocket for his cigarettes and, sure enough, they were gone.
“Unwilling to spend any more time on this job he took his hammer and tamped down the lump until it was smooth. He gathered up his tools and headed for the truck. As he opened the cab door two things happened simultaneously. He noticed the cigarettes on the front seat, and heard the lady of the house call out, “Have you seen my parakeet?”
There’s a simple truth here “sin under the carpet always costs.” Solomon knew this. Listen to his wisdom which is as true today as when God gave it to him millennial ago. “he who conceals his sin does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13).
Sixteen year old Kathy was certain that her unsuccessful attempts to find love had left her unlovable and pregnant. So, on July 9th, 1977, she set in motion a series of events that snowballed into a seeming irreversible life of deceit. Weaving lie after lie into a dense fabric of deception, she convinced the police, her family and eventually the court that Gary Dotson had kidnapped and sexually assaulted her.
For twelve years she lived with the tormenting cancer of her lies as Gary remained unjustly incarcerated. Her confession shocked the nation. “Gary Dotson is innocent, she said. “He never raped me. Nobody did. I lied.”
Sin under the carpet always costs, but confession brings release. Don’t build your life on deception. Admit your sins quickly. Deal with them today. Get them out into the open. Confess them, renounce them, and you will find mercy.