Lesson Text—Luke 13:1-3 Luke 13:1-31 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
Lesson Text—Luke 13:1-3 2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Lesson Text—Acts 2:37-39 Acts 2:37-3937 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Lesson Text—Acts 2:37-39 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
Focus Verse—Acts 3:19 Acts 3:19 Repent 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.
Focus Thought Following faith, repentance comprises the first essential step in the plan of salvation.
Culture Connection The U-Turn I. Message of Repentance “I must have taken a wrong turn. I never saw a sign indicating a turn.” Probably, we all have made similar statements upon realizing we were on the wrong road. I can remember times of going fifteen, twenty, or more miles out of my way before realizing my error. Upon looking at a map, the only solution was to turn around and go back. And all the way back I felt horrible, realizing the time and gas I had wasted traveling the wrong way. I had to do a U-turn.
There also comes a time in every person’s life when he faces the call to turn around. He is on the wrong road going the wrong direction, and the only solution is to turn around, to do a U-turn, and change directions. That is repentance. Sadly, we live in a culture that no longer places much importance or value in the act of repentance, but repentance is vital and starts us on a wonderfully new path in life. It involves making a needed and necessary change of direction. I. Message of Repentance
I. Message of Repentance Yes, it involves saying, “I’m sorry, Lord.” But it is so much more than that! It is changing direction, changing behaviors, changing our thoughts so we can take a new road—a road of joy, happiness, and new life. What a joy it is to know I turned around before I went any farther! I made a U-turn and I will never regret the change of direction.
Contemplating The Topic I. Message of Repentance Dead people change significantly. They lose all their old habits. They never revisit the places they once frequented. Nothing tempts them. To enjoy spiritual life, a person first must die to the desires of the flesh. God’s Word commands us to enter a spiritual death (Romans 6:6-7; 8:13; I Peter 4:1-3). Through repentance we die with Jesus Christ so that we may experience the new life He gives.
I. Message of Repentance To live free of the enemy’s power, one must repent from “dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14). The miracle of repentance, however, does not carry the somber tone of a funeral. Although a repentant sinner dies to his old nature, the focus afterward turns to the weightless feeling of God’s forgiveness and the hope of a fresh start.
Searching The Scriptures Message of Repentance I. Message of Repentance The message of repentance jumps in the face of our pluralistic, ultra-tolerant culture today. The command to change does not fit with the world’s ideology of “live and let live.” Secularism foists its own kind of intolerance against those who refuse to tolerate wickedness. Modern culture discriminates against moral discriminators.
I. Message of Repentance However, our world has not improved under the agenda of the people pleasers and those who wink at sin. We need a distinct voice calling for new direction.
Preached by John the Baptist A. Preached by John the Baptist In his day, John gave a clarion call for change to the people of first-century Israel. His voice echoed across the hills: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). Both his food and clothing styles wandered off the beaten path of Judea’s popular culture. His whole life, message, and ministry shone with distinction, challenge, and revolution.
John spoke offensively: “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance” (Luke 3:7-8). He did not mince words. John told them if they had repented, the fruit of their lives should show the change. God does not want mere tears and emotional drama. He wants soul change—a new way of living and thinking. John did not make repentance optional. I. Message of Repentance
I. Message of Repentance He said, “The axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Luke 3:9). In other words, John was saying, “Repent or perish!” When asked what they should do, John did not say to the people, “Go home and the Lord will show you what you should change.” He commanded them: “He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.”
I. Message of Repentance To the tax collectors, he said, “Exact no more than that which is appointed you.” And he told the soldiers, “Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages” (Luke 3:11-14). John preached his message even to the ruler, Herod. John did not hem and haw with, “Well, it is not really my place to say anything” or “I do not want to judge anybody.” John said it clearly and unmistakably: “Adultery is sin.”
I. Message of Repentance Herod, who was guilty of adultery, threw John into prison for his directness (Luke 3:19-20). Ultimately, it cost John his life. Many people fear receiving the message of repentance because of condemnation, and many people fear delivering the message of repentance because the reaction of the recipient may not be pleasant. However, God needs individuals who will without intimidation carry the needed message of repentance.
Preached by Jesus—Repent or Perish B. Preached by Jesus—Repent or Perish The Gospels record that Jesus began His ministry with the same controversial message to “Repent!” (See Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15; 2:17.) Jesus, like John, preached this to God’s people. We often think of repentance as a message for people “out there,” yet many long-term believers need to check their lives to be sure they are serving from a zealous heart and not from mere ritual.
I. Message of Repentance We need to examine our hearts to be sure no seed of iniquity has crept in. On one occasion, certain individuals approached Jesus and began discussing current events with Him concerning the Galilaeans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. (See Luke 13:1.) Jesus replied, “Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?” (Luke 13:2).
Then He used the day’s news to launch an explicit and possibly surprising message: “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). Preaching repentance is not an easy assignment. Repentance often generates fear of punishment. A repentant person does not fear death or punishment, but a sinner does. The message of repentance contributed to the deaths both of Jesus and John. But repentance forms the core of Christianity. I. Message of Repentance
I. Message of Repentance Without it a person cannot be a Christian. Jesus sent out His twelve disciples to minister in Israel, and just as He had taught them, “they went out, and preached that men should repent” (Mark 6:12).
C. Preached by the Apostles—a Command B. Preached by Jesus—Repent or Perish When the convicted crowd in Jerusalem asked what to do, the first word out of the apostle Peter’s mouth was “Repent!” The foundational message for salvation is repentance: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).
I. Message of Repentance Without repentance, baptism buries a person alive. Without repentance, one’s heart does not welcome the Holy Ghost. The Bible credits the success of the apostles to their prayers, their preaching the message of God in Christ, and their empowerment by the Holy Spirit, but we cannot overlook their persistence in preaching repentance. This foundational command never faded from their focus in exchange for more popular topics.
I. Message of Repentance Today, there are charlatans who preach health, wealth, miracles, and healings but neglect to address the heart of the sin problem. Jesus was the Miracle Worker, but He did not allow miracles to distract Him from His mission. He did not let popularity change His sermon notes. Neither did His disciples. (See Acts 3:19; 26:20; Romans 2:4; II Timothy 2:25.)
What Repentance Is II. What Repentance Is The original Greek word for “repent” is metanoeo, which, according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary, means “change of” (meta-) “mind or purpose” (-noeo). That word carries some of the most powerful, positive energy of all the words in the New Testament. In the New Testament metanoeo always refers to change for the better and turning from sin.
Repentance Is Change A. Repentance Is Change An ancient Chinese proverb says, “If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.” The concept of making a “change of mind” seems foreign to the I-Did-It-My-Way world in which we live. To change, one first must exercise humility. This undertaking does not suit the weak of heart.
James 4:8-10 “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:8-10).
One day, you enter a doctor’s office and sit down to wait your turn. Picking up a National Geographic magazine, you thumb through the glossy pages and come across an article focusing on your favorite sea creatures, lobsters. Everyone knows you are a lobster fanatic. You love them. So you turn page after page in the magazine, examining full-page photos of fishing boats, traps, and holding tanks stocked with rubber-banded lobsters. You learn about the lobsters’ territory, seasonal cycles, and eating habits. I. Message of Repentance
You learn that the lobster is like a giant insect, crawling around on the ocean floor. You learn that of all the insects on the earth’s surface, the lobster is most akin to the cockroach. Nice. Your stomach turns. Fortunately, a nurse calls your name and distracts you from the terror of your imagination. Whew! Two days later, you go out to eat with your family at a seafood restaurant. Since you always have eaten lobster, your family orders for you without a second thought. I. Message of Repentance
I. Message of Repentance When the server returns with your meal, you look down at the plate and can see only a giant cockroach steaming on your plate. You hand the plate back to your host and ask for a burger and fries. Now you have fully repented of your love for lobster. You think differently and act differently. True conversion begins in the mind but must involve the actions.
Experience shows that nearly every repentant sinner throws something away. The person has to destroy certain music, movies, books, games, magazines, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, seductive clothing, and a host of other things. Generally, one who is reluctant to part with things of the old lifestyle may not have come to a full commitment of repentance. Sinners merely begin the process of repentance when they place their lives on an altar of prayer. They complete repentance when they alter their lives. I. Message of Repentance
Repentance Is Conversion B. Repentance Is Conversion Repeatedly, the Scriptures tell us to confess our faults and sins. God wants us to be open and honest about our transgressions. We cannot just skip through repentance; we must come full face with our evil past before we can move on to all God’s fullness. Repentance is not a one-time action. Christians learn to live with a repentant heart—a heart that is shaped by the frequent act of repentance.
I. Message of Repentance Deep and consistent repentance brings lasting value to a person’s water baptism and experience of receiving the Spirit. More than just an “Oops, sorry, God” prayer, the Scriptures call on us to repent with sacrifice. Not only should a person confess sin, but the Bible repeatedly commands things such as fasting in connection with repentance (Joel 1:14).
I. Message of Repentance More than just words, God wants the sinner or backslider to come “with all [the] heart,” even “with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning” (Joel 2:12). Jesus also told the crowds that those who failed to repent would be condemned by the people of Nineveh “because they repented at the preaching of Jonas” (Matthew 12:41). Such repentance referenced by the Lord did not include mere crocodile tears and a brief moment at the altar.
I. Message of Repentance The king of Nineveh proclaimed that everyone “be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?” (Jonah 3:8-9). Repentance is serious business with God.
Why We Repent III. Why We Repent People repent when they desire a better life. King David reached the bottom of his sinful state when the prophet Nathan exposed his sin. Broken, the king fell on his face with weeping and repentance. He did not give a nice, public confession speech to appease the media. He fasted and cried out to God for his wickedness.
I. Message of Repentance Too many individuals do not thoroughly repent because they never hear preaching that exposes sin: “When they heard this, they were pricked in their heart” (Acts 2:37). There must first be a clear voice in the wilderness, bringing conviction of sin. Once a sinner recognizes his own wretchedness, he must decide either to defend his ways or beg for God’s mercy. The prophetic call to repentance echoes still through the centuries.
Jeremiah 7:3, 5; 26:3 “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings. . . . amend your ways and your doings. . . . turn every man from his evil way” (Jeremiah 7:3, 5; 26:3).
Hosea 14:1-2 “O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Takeaway all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips” (Hosea 14:1-2).
It Is a Command A. It Is a Command Biblical repentance is not an option. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19). John, Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles all preached repentance as a command. The consequences of disobeying this order include every form of punishment sent by God on those who ignore His plan.
I. Message of Repentance Unfortunately, some individuals seem to think they can feign repentance and fool God. Jesus, however, illustrated repentance as a matter of heart, not of form. He told of two men going into the Temple to pray. The one prayed loudly, boasting of his goodness and devotion to religious activities. The other, however, hung his head and sobbed, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).
I. Message of Repentance Jesus concluded the parable saying, “This man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18:14). The progress of conversion follows this track: first, a person realizes his wickedness; second, he learns of the punishment for his sin; third, he receives an opportunity to renounce his sinful lifestyle and embrace the commandments of God.
I. Message of Repentance The person who comes to these warning signs and turns toward God receives forgiveness. The one who ignores the “bridge out ahead” injunctive ultimately will reach his final destination in Hell, not lacking torment in this life as well.
It Causes Heaven to Rejoice B. It Causes Heaven to Rejoice It may seem as if the throne room of God would be a self-maintaining site, not moved or affected by outside influence. However, repentance serves as a direct link between actions on earth and the mood in the heavenlies. Jesus said, “I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10).
Want to make God’s day? Turn from sin. Want to make God’s tomorrow? Lead someone else in repentance. Our publicity and hurrahs usually come in response to the number of people receiving the Holy Ghost and being baptized in Jesus’ name, both of which are vital to the conversion experience. However, the angels rejoice over repentant sinners. Perhaps that is because true repentance leads a person to experience all the elements of full conversion. I. Message of Repentance
It Is Necessary for Salvation C. It Is Necessary for Salvation Repentance brings God’s favor. The prophet Ezekiel revealed God’s plan for life for His people (Ezekiel 18:31-32; 33:18-19).
Ezekiel 18:31-32 “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye” (Ezekiel 18:31-32).