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Repentance

 

Repentance

The difficulty some have in entering the doorway to the kingdom of God is like the experience of the boy who got his hand caught inside an expensive vase. His up0set parents applied soap suds and cooking oil, without success. When they seemed ready to break the vase as the only way to release the hand, the frightened boy cried, “Would it help if I let loose of the penny I’m holding?”

So it is all too often with us. We cause others great anguish and risk the truly valuable because we will not let go of the insignificant things we possess today. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Repentance

Noah’s message from the steps going up to the Ark was not, “Something good is going to happen to you!”

Amos was not confronted by the high priest of Israel for proclaiming “Confession is possession!”

Jeremiah was not put into the pit for preaching, “I’m O.K., you’re O.K.!”

Daniel was not put into the lion’s den for telling people, “Possibility thinking will move mountains!”

John the Baptist was not forced to preach in the wilderness and eventually beheaded because he preached, “Smile, God loves you!”

The two prophets of the tribulation will not be killed for preaching, “God is in his heaven and all is right with the world!”

Instead, what was the message of all these men of God? Simple, one word: “Repent!” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Repentance

George Whitefield mentioned in his journal that during his first voyage to Georgia, the ship’s cook had a bad drinking problem. When the cook was reproved for it and other sins, he boasted that he would be wicked until the last two years of his life, and then he would reform.

Whitefield added that within six hours of the time the cook made his boastful statement, he died of an illness related to his drinking. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

REPENTANCE

If we put off repentance another day, we have a day more to repent of, and a day less to repent in. 

Source Unknown.


When I was in South Africa, a fine, handsome Dutchman came into my service, and God laid His hand on him and convicted him of sin.  The next morning he went to the beautiful home of another Dutchman and said to him, "Do you recognize that old watch?"

"Why, yes," answered the other. "Those are my initials; that is my watch. I lost it eight years ago. How did you get it, and how long have you had it?"

"I stole it," was the reply.

"What made you bring it back now?"

"I was converted last night," was the answer, "and I have brought it back first thing this morning. If you had been up, I would have brought it last night." 

Gipsy Smith, The Bible Friend.


It is much easier to repent of sins that we have committed than to repent of those we intend to commit.

Josh Billings.


Many people use mighty thin thread when mending their ways.

Daily Walk.


Professor Drummond once described a man going into one of our after meetings and saying he wanted to become a Christian.

"Well, my friend, what is the trouble?"

He doesn't like to tell. He is greatly agitated. Finally he says, "The fact is, I have overdrawn my account" -- a polite way of saying he has been stealing.

"Did you take your employer's money?"

"Yes."

"How much?"

"I don't know. I have never kept account of it."

"Well, you have an idea you stole $1,500 last year?"

"I am afraid it is that much."

"Now, look here, sir, I don't believe in sudden work; don't steal more that a thousand dollars this next year, and the next year not more that five hundred, and in the course of the next few years you will get so that you won't steal any. If your employer catches you, tell him you are being converted; and you will get so that you won't steal any by and by."

My friends, the thing is a perfect farce! "Let him that stole, steal no more," that is what the Bible says. It is right about face.

Take another illustration. Here comes a man, and he admits that he gets drunk every week. That man comes to a meeting, and wants to be converted. Shall I say, "Don't you be in a hurry. I believe in doing the work gradually. Don't you get drunk and knock your wife down more than once a month?" Wouldn't it be refreshing to his wife to go a whole month without being knocked down? Once a month, only twelve times in a year! Wouldn't she be glad to have him converted in this new way! Only get drunk after a few years on the anniversary of your wedding, and at Christmas, and then it will be effective because it is gradual!

Oh! I detest all that kind of teaching. Let us go to the Bible and see what that old Book teaches. Let us believe it, and go and act as if we believed it, too. Salvation is instantaneous. I admit that a man may be converted so that he cannot tell when he crossed the line between death and life, but I also believe a man may be a thief one moment and a saint the next. I believe a man may be as vile as hell itself one moment, and be saved the next.

Christian growth is gradual, just as physical growth is; but a man passes from death unto everlasting life quick as an act of the will -- "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life."

Moody's Anecdotes, pp. 99 - 100.


There's little difference in ethical behavior between the churched and the unchurched. There's as much pilferage and dishonesty among the churched as the unchurched. And I'm afraid that applies pretty much across the board: religion, per se, is not really life changing. People cite it as important, for instance, in overcoming depression--but it doesn't have primacy in determining behavior. 

George H. Gallup, "Vital Signs," Leadership, Fall 1987, p. 17.


In his book I Surrender, Patrick Morley writes that the church's integrity problem is in the misconception "that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior." He goes on to say, "It is revival without reformation, without repentance." 

Quoted by C. Swindoll, John The Baptizer, Bible Study Guide, p. 16.


The sure test of the quality of any supposed change of heart will be found in its permanent effects. 'By their fruits you shall know them' is as applicable to the right method of judging ourselves as of judging others. Whatever, therefore, may have been our inward experience, whatever joy or sorrow we may have felt, unless we bring forth fruits meet for repentance, our experience will profit us nothing. Repentance is incomplete unless it leads to confession and restitution in cases of injury; unless it causes us to forsake not merely outward sins, which others notice, but those which lie concealed in the heart; unless it makes us choose the service of God and live not for ourselves but for Him. There is no duty which is either more obvious in itself, or more frequently asserted in the Word of God, than that of repentance. 

M. Cocoris, Evangelism, A Biblical Approach, Moody, 1984, p. 65.


According to Scripture repentance is wholly an inward act, and should not be confounded with the change of life that proceeds from it. Confession of sin and reparation of wrongs are fruits of repentance. 

L. Berkhoff, Systematic Theology, p. 487.


Can true repentance exist without faith? By no means. But although they cannot be separated, they ought to be distinguished.

John Calvin, Institutes, p. 311.


Moreover, true repentance never exists except in conjunction with faith, while on the other hand, wherever there is true faith, there is also real repentance. The two are but different aspects of the same turning--a turning away from sin in the direction of God...The two cannot be separated; they are simply complementary parts of the same process. 

L Berkhoff, Systematic Theology, p. 487.


It is not repentance that saves me; repentance is the sign that I realize what God has done in Christ Jesus. The danger is to put the emphasis on the effect instead of on the cause. Is it my obedience that puts me right with God? Never! I am put right with God because prior to all else, Christ died. When I turn to God and by belief accept what God reveals, instantly the stupendous atonement of Jesus Christ rushes me into a right relationship with God. By the miracle of God's grace I stand justified, not because of anything I have done, but because of what Jesus has done. The salvation of God does not stand on human logic; it stands on the sacrificial death of Jesus. Sinful men and women can be changed into new creatures by the marvelous work of God in Christ Jesus, which is prior to all experience.

Oswald Chambers quoted in So Great Salvation, Charles Ryrie, Victor Books, 1989, p. 91ff. 


Wabush, a town in a remote portion of Labrador, Canada, was completely isolated for some time. But recently a road was cut through the wilderness to reach it. Wabush now has one road leading into it, and thus, only on one road leading out. If someone would travel the unpaved road for six to eight hours to get into Wabush, there is only way he or she could leave---by turning around.

Each of us, by birth, arrives in a town called Sin. As in Wabush, there is only one way out--a road built by God himself. But in order to take that road, one must first turn around. That complete about face is what the Bible calls repentance, and without it, there's no way out of town.

Brian Weatherdon.


The sure test of the quality of any supposed change of heart will be found in its permanent effects. 'By their fruits you shall know them' is as applicable to the right method of judging ourselves as of judging others. Whatever, therefore, may have been our inward experience, whatever joy or sorrow we may have felt, unless we bring forth fruits meet for repentance, our experience will profit us nothing. Repentance is incomplete unless it leads to confession and restitution in cases of injury; unless it causes us to forsake not merely outward sins, which others notice, but those which lie concealed in the heart; unless it makes us choose the service of God and live not for ourselves but for Him. There is no duty which is either more obvious in itself, or more frequently asserted in the Word of God, than that of repentance. 

Charles Hodge.


We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, the many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to God that made us It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

April 30, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln's Proclamation for a National Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer.


The predominantly intellectual understanding of metanoia as change of mind plays very little part in the N.T. Rather the decision by the whole man to turn round is stressed. 

NIDNTT, Vol 1, p. 358.


According to Paul Lee Tan's Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations, "The Romans sometimes compelled a captive to be joined face-to- face with a dead body, and to bear it about until the horrible effluvia destroyed the life of the living victim. Virgil describes this cruel punishment: 'The living and the dead at his command/Were coupled face to face, and hand to hand;/ Till choked with stench, in loathed embraces tied,/The lingering wretches pined away and died.'" Without Christ, we are shackled to a dead corpse -- our sinfulness. Only repentance frees us from certain death, for life and death cannot coexist indefinitely.

Not too many years ago newspapers carried the story of Al Johnson, a Kansas man who came to faith in Jesus Christ. What made his story remarkable was not his conversion, but the fact that as a result of his newfound faith in Christ, he confessed to a bank robbery he had participated in when he was nineteen years old. Because the statute of limitations on the case had run out, Johnson could not be prosecuted for the offense. Still, he believed his relationship with Christ demanded a confession. And he even voluntarily repaid his share of the stolen money! 

Today in the Word, April, 1989, p. 13.