REPENTANCE

(BASED UPON A SERMON FROM N.B. HARDEMAN)

 

Introduction:  Matthew 11:20-24

 

I have for the study of this hour the subject of repentance.  To show the importance and the emphasis  given to it  by Inspiration, I present a number of passages bearing upon this subject. In Matthew chapter three, beginning in verse one, we have this record

 

1In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

           

After Jesus heard that John had been cast into prison, He went into Galilee and began to preach and to say;  "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."  Matthew 4:17              And in Matthew chapter 10 and Luke 10  the record of the 12 and 70, they too were instructed to emphasize the same.

 

When the Savior gave the world-wide commission as recorded by Luke ¾   46And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.    Luke 24:46-47

 

Then in Acts 2 as Peter preached  many  who heard were cut to the heart and cried out ¾  37Men and brethren, what shall we do? Peter's answer was 38Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.   Acts 2:37-38

 

In Acts 3:19  at the close of the sermon from Solomon's porch at the temple    19Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord

                       

Later Paul stood on Mars' Hill  Act 17:30 he said to those Athenians ¾           30And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:  

 

 And as recorded  in  2 Peter 3:9

9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. ¾ Now with these simple statements before you, I need not linger longer to impress upon you the absolute necessity of repentance as it has to do with the salvation of mankind. 

 

Well I close this portion of our study  with this thought ¾  Luke 13:3 “I tell you nay, but except ye repent, ye shall likewise perish

 

 I think one of the hardest things for men and women to do.. is repent of their sins¾ It is comparatively easy in this country to get a man to believe the gospel,  In fact it requires more effort for one to set aside the testimony that produces faith,   than it does to accept the word of the Lord and believe God is and a rewarder of those that diligently seek  after Him

 

It is comparatively easy after having believed and repented  to get men to obey. But to repent is a direct challenge to man's will power; and so few are willing to bow in subjection, and acknowledge wrongs done. - When I decide that I have sinned against God, and decide to live as I should, all else is easy.¾

 

 I am not discouraged when men fail to repent of their sins  for I remember that in the days of our Lord;  woe was pronounced upon the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and even Capernaum, the city in which Jesus lived, because they would not repent of their sins.   But if a man die without having so done, there is no promise for him  in all God's book, for the time has never been since man's creation that God did not call upon him to repent of his sins.

 

Just here  I would like to ask what does repentance mean? many definitions out there. Let us frame a definition based upon scriptures.  First then,  It is a duty imposed upon all mankind alike ¾  It is a plain command of God, It is universal in its application, no man may refuse and escape the judgment that he is sure to face.  Luke 13:3  Acts 17:30;31 commanded of all men everywhere,  hence a duty imposed upon all by God Almighty

 

Repentance is not simply being sorrow for a thing. And neither is it sorrow even if it be of the  Godly sort.  A man may be sorry for a thing and yet not necessarily repent of it.  The  Pentecostians heard the gospel and were filled with sorrow.  Peter told them to "repent"  Acts 2;38

 On the other hand repentance is not solely  a change or reformation of life, without regard for Jehovah or his  will, there is no Godly sorrow, Hence John stated "bring forth fruits worthy of repentance"  Matt 3:7-8

 

Christ gives us this  concerning repentance in  Matt 21:28-32

  28But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. 29He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. 30And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. 31Whether of them twain did the will of his father?

 

Now if we can learn just what this boy did,  Jesus said  that it is repentance.  I  just have an idea the boy reflecting over his direct refusal to obey the father.  And realizing that thru my father's  goodness and love,  I am what I am today. HE CAME TO HIMSELF, acted and responded to the will of  his father …. Christ styled such an act as Repentance.

 

When the prodigal son received his part of the father's estate ¾ left and wasted his substance in riotous living.  The Bible says he came to himself and said

"Back in  my father's house there is plenty  and to spare... I will  arise and go to my father..." This my friends is repentance. Repentance  is a change of will ¾  a change of  deeds.. and  a change of  one's life¾

 

Well notice again another line of thought to help us see just what repentance is¾    In Matthew chapter 12:41 

41The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.                                  

 

 Therefore if we can determine what the Ninevites did back there,, Christ says that is repentance.. I turn and began to  read  and I find in   Jonah 3:10

10And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Those Ninevites repented, that is they turned from their evil ways and to a way absolutely opposite.

7Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.    Isa 55:7

 

In summary from these scriptures I want to frame a  definition of repentance which is this ¾  repentance is a change of a man's will power. It is brought about by Godly sorrow, and results in a reformation or change in one's life.

 

Repentance carries with it evidences which the world cannot question!  The Thessalonians showed sincerity turned to serve the true and Living God.  Hence they repented... these evidenced their repentance hear Luke's account of this in  Acts 19:18-19

18And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds. 19Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men

 

The Philippians jailer likewise indicated his repentance by  washing the stripes of the apostles. The Corinthians  evidenced the reformation  of their lives by turning from the corrupt practices before engaged in.

 

Let me press the inquiry then; how are men brought to repentance?   I suggest that men are moved by motives, two in particular   There is first of all the  fear of  punishment  on the one  hand  then there is the hope of reward on the other¾  These  then are the strongest of incentives, to lead us to break our stubborn will and repent      

 

When Paul said   in  2 Cor 5:10

10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.  He  appealed to the fear of punishment  and in the next verse concluded ¾  11Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men. It is a  wonderful statement by inspiration urging men to move forward and yield to heaven's call . All of the evidences of God's wrath being visited out upon the sons and daughters of men are there,   intended to move us to repent of our sins.

 

In Hebrews 2:1-3 we read this warning

1Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.  2For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 3How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation;

 

Jonah likewise appealed to the terrors of the judgment  to motivate the Ninevites to repent: "Yet 40 days and Ninevah shall be overthrown." Jonah 3:4 the results was they repented Jonah 3:10

 

 Christ Himself from our text appealed to the terrors of the judgment ¾  In order  to induce these men to repent.  Matt 11:20-24

20Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: 21Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 23And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

 

Today when we preach the kind of message these preached, many will rise up and say, you are preaching negatively,  and people don't want to hear this message. Preach on love Brother Cope.  What was it the apostle Paul said to the young evangelists Timothy?  1I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. “ 2 Timothy 4;1-5

 

Again Paul appealed to the fear of punishment in Romans 14:7-12

7For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. 10But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord,  every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

 

The apostle Paul had an opportunity to appear before a great Roman governor Felix as recorded in Acts chapter 24. We read of his appeal in verse 25, "as he reasoned of righteousenes , temperance and JUDGMENT to come, Felix trembled." Paul appealed to the fear of punishment.

 

Well on the other hand Paul declared in    Romans 2:4 that it is :     4 the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?  God's goodness is seen all around us..   What poor soul is there among us so ungrateful, and so un-thoughtful that he cannot feast upon the good things of the material world, and recognize the Power from  which all blessings flow?

16Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.   James 1:16-17

 

 And from the wonderful sermon from Mars Hill  Paul  said ¾     Acts 17:24-28

24God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28For in him we live, and move, and have our being; 

 

Please allow me suggest that the motives that God has intended to move us toward repentance has seemingly failed: Many today insist that God perform some startling or unheard of miracle  in order to bring about repentance.  This is no new thing for we read in God's Word the same thing.  Do you recall the story of Lazarus and the rich man?  He first wanted Lazarus to dip his finger in water and cool his tongue, for I am tormented...  interested in himself.

 

But when this could not be done. Next send him warn my brothers. He knew that they  had Moses and the prophets, "Send Lazarus back from the dead, and they will repent." He wanted some miracle in order to persuade his brothers to change their course of life.

 

Just suppose God had granted this request....  I believe that he would have been rejected, and his  very message spurned. Lazarus would have been  treading on dangerous grounds to make such a report about this fine, influential man. It is dangerous for a preacher today to announce that some prominent man walked in a direction not pleasing  to God........  I am certain that Abraham told the truth about it: when he said               "If they will not hear Moses or the prophets, neither would they hear even if one were sent from the dead."

 

So without further discussion of the subject.  Would you not look at the goodness and the severity  of God? I appeal to all here this morning to repent of their sins.   Well why?

10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.

            2 Cor 5:10-11

 

 I think Chestnut Mountain Georgia  is a most unfavorable place to pass into judgment , to face God not having repented of our sins.  well why do I say that?.... Think of all the wonderful opportunities we have to hear the word of God, think of all the wonderful blessings poured out upon this nation... upon this state... upon you individually... but these blessings bring responsibility.  Notice the text again: Matthew 11;20-24

20Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: 21Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 23And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

 

 In Matthew  chapter 12 beginning in verse 38 Christ appealed to those of His day  to repent ¾ hear it

38Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 39But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. 42The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

 

 And so I appeal to your good senses this morning.   Why not yield to the Savior today when there are blessings attached.  Jesus says "He that will confess me before men I will confess before my Father in heaven."  Do you want to be acknowledged or rejected by the Savior on that Day?  That depends upon what you do today!

 

contact:: Ron Cope minister

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658