A Call to Repentance

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How many times have you been to the Lord confessing the same old thing over and over again? How many times have you told Him how sorry you were and that you weren’t going to commit that sin again, but deep down you knew that you would? We learn what repentance really is and how to be freed from those sins that continually ensnare us.



rebuild and form a life of sustaining faith and intimacy with God, begin your journey today. All right, In touch with Dr. Charles Stanley celebrating 45 years of God’s faithfulness next. On in touch a call to repentance. How many times have you been to the Lord confessing the same old thing over and over and over again? And how many times have you told him each time how very sorry you were and how many times having told him how very sorry you were, you told him that you weren’t gonna do it again. And how many times have you told them that you weren’t gonna do it again? That deep down inside you had a sneaking suspicion? Yes, you would. Well you say, well, you know, I’ve confessed and confessed and confessed and confessed and somehow I just don’t seem to have any victory over this thing in my life and does not. The bible says if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all our righteousness, why don’t I have victory over this particular area of my life? Well, that’s what I want to talk about in this message entitled A call to repentance. Now, if someone should ask you, what is repentance, how would you define that? Well, we’ll see in just a moment. I want you to turn if you will to Luke chapter 24, last chapter of Luke And in this 24th chapter, this last part of it. Beginning in verse 44, Jesus is giving his disciples some departing words and the process of doing so, he tells them exactly what the message is to be, as they to go out and share what they’ve heard from him, what they’ve seen and the bear testimony. So here’s what he says. Beginning in verse 44. Now he said to them, these are my words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about me in the law of moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled. Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures and he said to them. Thus, it is written that the christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem, your witnesses of these things and behold, I’m sending for the promise of my father upon you. But you just stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high he said. The message you have is repentance for the forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit will be in you with you and upon you and enable you to do that and to do it. Well, now, what does the bible mean when the bible speaks of repentance, where the two primary words in the new testament for repentance. But in essence, here’s what it means. It means a recognition of my sin which involves a godless sorrow for my sin and a commitment on my part to listen. A commitment on my part for a change of direction. That is, there’s more to repentance than feeling sorry about my sin. There’s more to repentance than being grieved about my sin. There’s more to repentance than just been having remorse over the fact that I have sinned against God about myself. There is certainly more to repentance than feelings that we have. For example, a person could feel very sorry for their sin because they’ve discovered what the consequences are. They could feel very remorseful about their sins because somebody else found out they could be very aggrieved about their sins because of selfishness, how it’s made them feel and has made them look so when somebody says that repentance is feeling sorry for your sin. No, it’s not repentance is grieving over sin. No, it’s not repentance is sorrowful for because of your sin. No, it’s not all those things are a part of repentance, but that’s not what repentance is in the old testament. The hebrew word for repentance is turned. When a person repents of their sin, they have a change of mind. That change of mind is going to result in a change of direction. A change of conduct. A change of behavior in their life otherwise. What in the world could repentance possibly mean it does not mean simply sorrow, remorse regret over something that you and I have done now. There are many facets of that, which we’ll talk about in a few moments, but the very word means to turn, it’s a change of mind when a person really and truly has a genuine change amount about christ about their sin, about their life. If they have a genuine change of mind, change of heart, recognizing that sin is against God against themselves, something’s going to happen in their life. So when he says that we have to preach repentance, that is that because God wants there to be a change in people’s lives, because they’re living in sin, living in disobedience, living in rebellion, they’re going to destroy themselves and God knows what the consequences of sin are, all the consequences of sin. So repentance is a change of mind, a change of heart that is going to result in a change of conduct and a change of behavior. And one of the primary reasons that people do not get victory of a sin, they keep going back to God over and over and over again with the same old sent for the simple reason their their repentance is incomplete. It’s not complete repentance. Now, what I’d like for us to do is look at the place of repentance in the life of the person who is not a christian. What place does repentance, Having the life of a person who’s not a christian and then what place does it have in the life of a believer. Well we saw in the very beginning that when john was preaching, he was preaching repent for the kingdom of Heaven. His hand in hand, jesus came preaching the same thing, paul said God has required that all men everywhere repent, Jesus said, I’ve come to call the righteous, Listen, not the righteous, but send us to repentance. Now, why didn’t he say salvation? Or why didn’t he say faith? Because they use those terms interchangeably. That is when Jesus said, he came to call men, not the righteous to repentance, but sent us to repentance, He’s calling them what for a change in life, Salvation for the forgiveness of their sins. And so those terms are often times used interchangeably to mean repent, that is the salvation, but not always that. So you read it in its context of what was he saying? And what did he mean by that? Now, when you think about that, somebody says, well now I know that he used that for salvation. But now what about this whole issue of faith? What about all these verses of scripture in the bible that says that you are saved by faith. Repentance isn’t even mentioned, Like for example, john’s gospel, we said, it’s not the word repentance isn’t even found their well why not for the simple reason they understood that faith and repentance go hand in hand, you can’t have their words. If you have genuine faith, you’re going to have genuine repentance. Now watch this. For example, when the bible says believe on the Lord jesus christ and thou shalt be saved. That’s what the apostle paul said. Uh to for example, Philippine jailer, when he said, what must I do to be saved? Believe on the Lord jesus christ and you shall be saved? He could have said believe and repent. But in the mind of the apostle paul, those two things were absolutely listen so combined. He couldn’t even think about them being differently. And the issue here was was to place this man’s place his faith in the Lord jesus christ. And I’m gonna show you why in a moment for example, john writes for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. Why didn’t he say believe and repent? Because in his in his mind and there are a whole concept, believe that his faith and repentance are just like salvation repentance. That two sides of the same coin for example, let’s say that I have a quarter here and on one side we we say it’s heads on the other side, we say it’s tails. Now this coin, if I gave you this coin and I gave you the whole coin, you’d have heads and tails, you can’t have a whole quarter that head to head and heads and tails. If I gave you a sheet of paper and I had one thing on one side and one on the other, you take that sheet of paper, you’ve got, you’ve got all of it. You can’t have a quarter without having heads and tails. You can’t have salvation without faith and repentance. And so faith and repentance go hand in hand, they didn’t distinguish between the two because in their mind and they’re thinking the whole concept is you place your faith in jesus christ, something’s gonna happen to your lifestyle. That’s what baptism is all about. What’s baptism all about, baptism doesn’t save a person. But baptism is a symbol of something what that you and I have died to our old way of life have been buried in christ jesus, that is we placed our life in him and now we rise to walk the bible says in newness of life, there has been a change and so therefore that’s why we immerse people because immersion is the best symbolism of baptism that symbolizes exactly what’s happened, died your old way of life buried in christ, risen to walk in newness of life. So when it comes to this, this issue of of what about what about belief and why didn’t you say believe and repent for the same reason. Listen, watch this. If I really and truly have placed my faith in jesus christ acknowledge that he is the savior and acknowledge that he’s the only one that my sin is against him, he’s gonna be my judge one of these days, I’ll give an account to him If I understand who he is, genuinely understand who he is and to regret my sin and realize that it’s against him and against myself. If it is a genuine belief, there will be a genuine change. Now, let’s think about this whole idea of confession for a moment. What in the world does confession mean, confession means I say the same thing about so when I confess my sins to God, it means I am in agreement with him about his viewpoint about my sins. It means that I’m saying the same thing about it and he says, now watch this. If genuine confession means that I’m saying the same thing about my sin that God says, I’m thinking the same thing about my sin, that God thinks. I’m looking at it the same way God looks at it. If it’s genuine confession, there must be an element of repentance in it. Because if I see it the way he sees it, this is the way he sees it, it’s wrong. It’s against God, it’s against me, It has devastating consequences or it has bad consequences. And therefore, the way God sees it is this, it’s against God against us. It doesn’t fit in our life, Get rid of it, deal with it, Walk away from it. Lay it aside. If I just come to him and say Lord, I just want to confess my sins to you and thank you very much. You said if I confess my sins, you’re faithful and just to forgive me of my sins and God, I’m disappointed myself that I would even do this in jesus name. Amen, is that sufficient? No, it’s not because I can listen. I can confess from the viewpoint of most people’s idea about confession and not have a whole lot, let’s not have a whole lot of remorse about it, not have a whole lot of regret about it. And just say Lord, you said if we confess our sins, you’re faithful and just to forgive us our sins cleanses from all and righteousness. I’m confessing this on. I just want to thank you that I’m forgiven in jesus name. It didn’t even get heart level. You see there’s more to confession than just telling God what you did remember it. It means to agree with, to confess something means to agree with. So if I listen to this, if I agree with God about my sin, I come to him confessing if I understand what confessing means and I agree with him about it. He hates it. He hates it because of its consequence. He wants it out of my life. He hates it. It doesn’t fit who we are as believers that sin was against him and against ourselves now when I come to him and I confess and I agree with him. God this was against you, this was against me, this greed, your holy spirit that doesn’t fit me. You want this out of my life. Then I am going to make a genuine decision to turn away from that because that is complete repentance. Complete repentance is not feeling sorry about it, not because they got caught, not because I’m shamed, not because somebody else doesn’t like it, genuine repentance is a confession which is an agreement with God about his attitude, his viewpoint and agreement with him. That results in a decision whereby I turned my back on that walk away from it and and listen and assume the responsibility. But the power of the holy Spirit of getting that out of my life, that’s what genuine confession is all about. And that’s why the believer. When any sin crops up in our life, we need to repent of it. And so I think so many times we have used that word confession as a very smooth, silky kind of non convicting kind of only about this deep, Well, you know, I got disappointed myself. Now, would you see we we say, oh God I know I disappointed you can’t disappoint God. He knows past, present future have to have expectations to disappoint. So he’s not disappointed grieve. Yes, but the thing that I think grieves him most is not that we just that we come to him and confess it as if it’s something lighthearted. Sin is sin in God’s eyes. You say, Well does God say also in the same way? No, he does not. There’s some sins that are worse in God’s eyes than others. But sin is sin. And how do you deal with sin? You deal with sin? But it’s not simply lightheartedly saying, well Lord, I did it again, I’m sorry and I know you forgive me in jesus name. No, I need to sit the way you see if I’m going to agree with him, I had to sit from his viewpoint. I’m going to feel something a lot worse in my heart if I get it from God’s viewpoint and you said, you repeat yourself? Absolutely. Absolutely. Because this is a key reason for so much defeat and people say, well, you know what? I’ve tried for years and years and years to get this out. I’ve tried I’ve confessed it and confessed and confessed it. But have you repented of it? That is have you have you said in the name of the Lord, jesus christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, I make a turn, I choose to turn, I walk away from it. Does that mean satan’s gonna let you alone? No, it does not. Does it mean that you’ll never fail again? No, it does not. But if you fail again, what do you do? You genuinely repent? Because it’s against God, it’s against you. God doesn’t want in your life and you’re turning you know what sooner or later and very soon. More than likely whatever satan has harassed you with whatever habits there. Listen, God’s going to give you the victory and the victory? Really, Listen, The victory is so available and can be so instantaneous if we really and truly mean business with God. But here’s the attitude a lot of people have. Well now, Lord, I know I’m weak and God, I just want to thank you that you understand that I’m not perfect. Oh, my goodness! Is he heard that so many times God? You know, I’m not perfect. I’m just a sinner saved by grace. I know you understand, and I just want to thank you for forgiving me. Now. Repentance in the life of the unbeliever is to get them saved. That that is faith and repentance is is a is a salvation experience in the life of the believer. Listen, it’s to keep our fellowship right with him. There’s nothing do with salvation. The life of the believer. And so I think because we think in terms of repentance and life of the unbelievably say, well, that’s what unbelievers do. No, that’s listen, that’s what unbelievers do in the salvation experience. That’s what we do to keep our life clean and obedient before God repentance is Godly sorrow. I’m seeing it from his viewpoint. I see that it’s against him. It’s Godly sorrow. Listen, that makes me feel bad enough to change. He said, well, why don’t you change? Or three, some people don’t change. They don’t feel bad enough, they’re not on the conviction about it. They explain it away. They reasoned it away, genuine repentance will result in a genuine change of attitude, action behavior. And as I said before, it will not be the same in everybody’s life. For example, God did not convict every single one of us or any of us of everything he was going to convict us of at some point in our life the moment we were saved. What does he do? He takes us little by little and listen, by the Holy Spirit, he says, that doesn’t fit your life because watch this because sometimes we are not ready to hear, it’s not that we don’t want to hear. We’re not ready to hear. And so God, in his grace and love and mercy and patience and long suffering, he’s the one who cleans up our life. What’s the grace of God all about? The grace of God is his forgiveness for us, who believe us when we have sinned against him. And it’s not necessarily a habit, for example, but but something that happens in your life, maybe it’s a temptation or somebody just ticks you off and real bad, and you just I mean, everything in you, you just get angry and you know, it’s wrong, but you’re just angry anyway, and you just gotta say something back now, what happens Holy Spirit convicts you, you know, it’s not right if it’s genuine repentance, you’re gonna say God, I’m sorry, make restitution to the person that doesn’t fit my life. I repent of that sin. God, I don’t want that in my life any longer genuine. Complete repentance is not in a change of attitude, but it is a change of conduct and a change of behavior. You and I have the right to expect Godly people to live a godly life. But we’re not fruit inspectors, somebody says somebody criticized him as well. I’m just a fruit inspector for jesus. I don’t think there’s any verse in the bible that says that he has given any of us the spiritual gift of fruit inspection. He does say this, He makes a very strong statement in the 7th chapter of Matthew listen to what he says he says um concerning this whole idea. Not in verse 21 not everyone who says to me, Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my father who is in heaven. What’s the will of the father? Trust in the Lord jesus christ His personal savior. Listen, involving repentance in their life changed many, many will say to me on that day. Lord Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name? Cast out demons and your name perform many miracles. So when it comes to works, they were there then will I declare to them I never knew you. That is what is one of my Children depart from me. You who practice lawlessness. Lord Lord haven’t you done many wonderful things in your name, I never knew you, it is the condition of the heart. If there’s gonna listen, if there’s going to be genuine salvation, it means listen, a change of attitude. The instant change is from unbelief about who he is to believe in who he is. And repentance is so vitally wrapped up in that you cannot separate the two. It is God who makes the changes. And the change instantly happened the moment you you moved from unbelief to belief in jesus christ as your personal savior. That was the first thing that took place. And so which do you put first the change of the belief? You don’t put either one of the first. You’ve got two sides of a coin. You got belief and repentance for salvation. When it comes to the believer, you and I have the response of it. We are listen, we are accountable to God. We are responsible to God for the life that we live. And repentance must be a vital part of our life own thing we’re doing. And here’s what happens confession without repentance equals what more and more confession? Confession? Confession. Because they’re not going to change it is the repentance that listen that puts the strength in that confession because the two are really vitally linked together. If it’s a genuine confession, it is going to be involved with repentance. Change of mind change of heart change of conduct. So when a person says, well, you know, I’ve confessed and confessed and confessed and I don’t know why I don’t have any victory. Well, have you ever stopped to say God? This doesn’t this doesn’t belong in my life. I repent of that sin. And by the power of the Holy Spirit I choose here and now to walk away from that in my life, he says, well, I don’t know if I can walk away, you have the power of the Holy Spirit within you to enable you to walk away. Now listen carefully. This this is the deceitfulness of sin. This is the this is the awful deceitfulness of sin that Satan says, one won’t hurt you two won’t hurt you three won’t hurt you four won’t hurt. You owe everybody makes a mistake. Until finally that chain has wrapped itself around you and you come to repent before Almighty God and you have a terrible struggle. This is why when you deal with, listen, when sin crops up in their life, the time to deal with it is right then before it gets a hold on your life and you find yourself repenting of sin. And what happens doesn’t last very long because you’ve allowed satan to get a big hole in your life. Can God break that? Yes, he can will he, Yes, he will. The struggle is not whether God can or not the struggle is, do I want him to or not, you see a person who is in some habit. The truth is they enjoy the habit so much. It’s become such a part of their life. The truth is on the one hand, they say, well, God, I don’t want this in my life. But deep down inside they don’t wanna give it up. You don’t want to give it up. That’s not genuine repentance. There’s got to be a decision made to deal with it and to walk away from it, which a person can. So I want to encourage you, if you’ve never trusted jesus christ as your savior and you’ve been waiting to get your life cleaned up. Forget it. That’s not your job. God will clean up your life. You need to ask the Lord jesus christ to forgive you of your sins, recognizing that your sin is against God and against you, that he died through his son, jesus at the cross and that he paid your sin debt in full and at the moment you’re willing to say to him, yes, I do believe that jesus christ is who he says he is. You suddenly changed suddenly sudden changes taking place. I’m placing my life in his hands. I’m trusting jesus christ for the forgiveness of my sins. You have made a dramatic change in your life and that change will show itself instantly and over the rest of your life. If you are a believer, You’ve been bringing in the same old stuff back over and over and over again, getting down by the bed at night or getting in the bed or whatever it might be. Lord! Here’s what you said first, John 19. I’m confessing it again. God, why don’t I have victory? Because more than likely you have not been willing to face up honestly with the nature of that sin. The consequences of that sin. And and listen, feeling sorrowful enough about that sin that you choose to walk away. You choose to say no to it. You choose to forsake it and my friend, you choose the forsaken all the power of God is there to help you to do it?

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ABOUT DR.CHARLESSTANLEY Dr. Charles F. Stanley joined the staff of First Baptist Church of Atlanta in 1969 and became senior pastor in 1971. In 1982, Stanley...

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