Kingdom principle: To Engage the Change of God: REPENT
|Isaiah 55:1-9||Psalm 63:1-8||1 Corinthians 10:1-13||Luke 13:1-9|
Charles Spurgeon (great preacher/theologian of the 1800’s) writes: “Repentance is a discovery of the evil of sin, a mourning that we have committed it, a resolution to forsake it. It is, in fact, a change of mind of a very deep and practical character, which makes the man love what once he hated, and hate what once he loved.” Not any one of us committed the great atrocity of the murders in Newtown CT, but everyone of us has something to learn from it. The past will continue to repeat itself, unless we learn from it… and yet our life is but a mist (James 4:14) and while we are living we have this chance to get our lives right with the one who is in control of all things. It is very dangerous to utter the words “Newtown” and “God is in Control” side-by-side, and a future post will deal more directly with the reality of evil, but if you want something now – check out what John Paul Jackson has too say… This post brings to light the reality that while we all must die, but the life we live need not lead to destruction or be destroyed by the evil of the world around us – simply we don’t need to perish. However the only way to move in the opposite direction of such evil is the act of repentance.
J. I. Packer (a writer/theologian of the mid 1900’s) writes: “Repentance means turning from as much as you know of your sin to give as much as you know of yourself to as much as you know of your God, and as our knowledge grows at these three points so our practice of repentance has to be enlarged.” Those three points again are 1. Your awareness of your sin. 2. Your awareness of yourself 3. Your awareness of God. As these 3 grow together, so does the power of repentance in your life. So you may look at others and think – I’m not so bad – I’m not killing anyone, or you may even look at God and think – why should I care about a God who does not care about me – but in those statements you are moving in the direction of the very evil that moved Adam Lanza to commit the abhorred crimes of murder.
Packer else where states “It needs to be said that faith is not a mere optimistic feeling, any more than repentance is a mere regretful or remorseful feeling. Faith and repentance are both acts, and acts of the whole man. Faith is more than just credence; faith is essentially the casting and resting of oneself and one’s confidence on the promises of mercy which Christ has given to sinners and on the Christ who gave those promises. Equally, repentance is more than just sorrow for the past; repentance is a change of mind and heart, a new life of denying self and serving the Saviour as King in self’s place. taken from: J.I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1961), pp. 70,71.
Much has been said as we have moved into Lent, submitting to God’s control verses our desire to control God. (This is an act of Faith) Our confession (last week) directs how long we will experience the wilderness of the world and it is our repentance that moves us in a new direction of life. God is calling unto us to come unto him and to receive all that he has for us – but it is our stubbornness (desire of control) which often prevents us from turning to the Lord to receive. As we seek him we shall enjoy all that He has for us. When we remain in our control we are bound to fall.
John 3:16 states that if we believe in Jesus that we shall not perish…. In Luke 13 we read, Jesus saying that if we do not repent , that we will perish. Paul echo’s this idea in Romans 10:8-9 that if we confess with our mouth that “Jesus is Lord” and believe in our hearts that “God raised him from the dead” then we shall be saved. This concept of repenting verses perishing is taken throughout the gospels and in the entire Bible. Below I have tracked in Luke-Acts how the story shifts from Perishing to Repentance…
What does this possibly have to do with Newtown? (Siloam is found in Luke 13)To perish at the hands of another or by events beyond our “control” must not lead us to find “fault”. However, to perish in our own stubbornness of heart, retaining and ensuring our “control” is foolishness. (1 Cor. 1:18) When we take control of our lives to prevent “bad” things from happening or we “freak out” when bad things happen – we are confessing that God is not in control. The disciples encountered this foolishness as they feared their death as the storm came upon their boat while Jesus was asleep. (Luke 8:24) The disciple feared that their lack of control must mean that God is not in control either…. To confess that God is in control is not the same as to repent. One can confess that God is in control and resent God for all the hardship and trials that one finds in life. This is Obedience without Submission. James directs believers to consider it pure joy in times of trials and that simply to believe in God is not enough – because even the demon’s believe in God. (James 1:2, 2:19) To repent is to recognize that God is in control and to willfully move in the direction of God. We looked at this two weeks ago as an act of true prayer. When we repent we are living into the confession and moving to action. This is alignment and unity in our spirit, soul and body. In repentance, we engage the change that God has begun in us – revealing his will, releasing our control to be confirmed to His very image.
Unless you repent, you shall perish. We are not so far from the days of Israel, searching for significance in things that can not satisfy and spending our money on possessions that do not last. Rather we are to seek the Lord and come to him in our thirst and hunger. Read Isaiah 55:7 again – do you read this as if speaks of you or is it refereeing to others? How wicked or unrighteous must you be to qualify for the need to turn to the LORD…. Only a sinner can repent (Luke 5:32) and for the most part, we think far too highly of ourselves, based on our rationalization of others. (and I admit – the world is full of crazy, stupid, sinfully selfish people) But this comparison sets us on the path of self-righteousness.
1 Cor. 10:13 is often grossly misquoted by many who live unrepentant lives, then declare their frustration toward God in their trial that He promised not to give them more than they can handle. We have looked over the past few weeks at the pattern of God and his desire to test and promote us… Here we look at the pattern of humanity, to fail the test and miss the promotion. The promise is that in the temptation God will provide a way out, so that you can endure. But if you fail to take the way out, then you choose to remain beyond what God desired for you. The way out is repentance. This way out does not end the temptation, rather it gives you strength to endure. Unless your perfection exceeds that of the Pharisees(Matt. 5:20, Luke 18:11) – repentance is the only way forward. Even for Job, when all was said and done, he remained without sin, yet it was his arrogance from which he must turn. He questioned the ways and thoughts of God which resulted in his need for repentance. For God’s ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts. In a future post we will look again at the fact that not all hardship is caused by sin, but that sin does lead to hardship and judgment. The point this week is that when you find yourself in a hardship – repent. (For those that immediately thought “But what if I didn’t do anything wrong” you are dancing with the devil and expressing your desire to be in control… Your repentance is based on your confession that God is in control, and it moves you to participate with God in the transformation of your life. This results in the shorting the duration of your wilderness. It is at this point we enter the peace Psalm 63:1-8.
Do not be slow in coming to learn this – now is the time to repent. (Nehemiah confessed and repented on behalf of all Israel Nehemiah 1:5-11, then moved the priests to do the same as the people lost their way. Neh. 5:5:9-12 ) If you forget the past, you will repeat the past, forgive yourself and others of the past and change your future. Jesus say’s it is not too late to change – in fact – change is His specialty…. If the fig tree has not produced fruit, yet the gardener is allowed to invest in it – then we shall see the very fruit it is designed to bear. May we abide with the Gardener (John 15) rather than living as victims living UNDER a tyrannical god. God is in total Control and longs for us to join WITH Him in the salvation of our souls.
|Luke 5:37 – else the new wine will burst the wineskins, and be spilled, and the wineskins shall PERISH|
|Luke 8:24 – they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we PERISH|
|Luke 11:51 – From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias which PERISHED|
|Luke 13:3,5 – I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise PERISH|
|Luke 13:33 – it cannot be that a prophet PERISH out of Jerusalem|
|Luke 15:17 – How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough… and I PERISH with hunger!|
|Luke 21:18 – But there shall not an hair of your head PERISH
Luke 24:46-47 – Christ will suffer and rise from the dead (Christ did not Perish)… and REPENTANCE and forgiveness will be preached in his name to nations
Acts 2:39 – REPENT and be baptized every one of you
Acts 3:19 – REPENT, then, and turn to God, so your sins may be wiped out
Acts 17:30 – In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to REPENT
Acts 20:21 – Both Jews and Greeks must turn to God in REPENTANCE
Acts 26:20 – They should REPENT and turn to God and prove their REPENTANCE by their deeds.