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Believer’s Basics #2 – Repentance (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
October 24, 2022 6:00 am

Believer’s Basics #2 – Repentance (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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October 24, 2022 6:00 am

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Salvation is instantaneous. Just like that it happens, through faith and not without it, because of the truth. And it brings a bundle of goodies into the soul. One of them is love, agape love, spiritual love, highest love. When Jesus said, depart from me you workers of iniquity.

I never knew you. They said, well didn't we prophesy? Didn't we cast out demons? Did we not do wonders? But they never said we loved you.

They left that critical part out. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through his series called The Believers Basics. Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross Reference Radio. Specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now let's join Pastor Rick in the book of Acts chapter 3 as he begins a brand new study called Repentance. Turn to the book of Acts. The Acts of the Holy Spirit and the lives of the apostles chapter 3. Acts chapter 3 beginning at verse 18. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of his prophets that the Christ would suffer.

He has fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord and that he may send Jesus Christ who was preached to you before. Repentance is our subject this morning. The text is Acts 3 verse 19 which we did read along with verses 18 and 20.

I will reread our text. Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. Let's put that verse in the negative just to get out of it how critical it is to comply to the imperative laid out to us by God himself.

Let's put it in the negative this way. Repent not, convert not that your sins may remain that times of refreshing never come from God. That's pretty scary. It's supposed to be because judgment is scary. Either your sins will be blotted out or you will be blotted out. That's the message from the scripture. If that was all, if the message was just, you know, you're in sin and that's it, your name is blotted out forever, that would be awful. But that is not the message. The good news to the message is that there is a way back to God. And not only do we who love the Lord and walk with him, not only are we delighted with this, but we must be mindful of the basics so that we can apply them and not only enjoy them.

And I hope that is one of the things this series will do for us all, stir us all up to keep the main things, the main things all the time. Either your sins, again, will be blotted out or you will be blotted out, but you cannot remain as you were born. You must be born again spiritually. In the book of Kings, Elijah the prophet was sent by God. He just shows up and he pronounces a judgment because of the iniquity and the evil that was running wild in the northern kingdom because King Ahab and his wicked imported Sidonian princess wife Jezebel had brought so much grief and evil and idolatry and separation from God. And with that always comes misery and suffering as you move down the bottom up towards the bottom of the pyramid because they sat at the top. And so Elijah pronounced the judgment.

Three and a half years, it won't rain, and it did not. Then after three and a half years, he shows up again, this time on Mount Carmel. There he says to the Jews, let's rebuild the altar to the Lord, which they did. And the God who answers by fire, he is God. So the false prophets, they had to call on their God to bring down fire from heaven to kindle their altar.

And Elijah was supposed to do the same. And the one, the altar that was kindled was the one who served the true God and the other one was fake. And fire came down, kindled the altar, and then the rains came. Worship was restored.

Then came the times of refreshing. And so Elijah says to the people, how long halt you between two opinions? If the Lord God is your God, serve him.

If not, then go do whatever you're doing. And of course, there were many converts that day. The false prophets were slaughtered, and the rains came. And so Peter says here in his sermon, repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. There's a connection between repenting and God blessing, the one who repents. In our first session, we talked about God the Son. Jesus is God.

We understand that. The Bible teaches that. And I'll open that up a little bit more about the Trinity and how these three can be one and yet distinct.

The reason why, of course, we started with Jesus Christ, he is the foundation to everything. No man comes to the Father except through him. The idea of God, of a superior being, is not enough for man. It's not enough to acknowledge that there is a God. The devil can do that. The demons do do that, and they tremble. There has to be more.

It's not enough by itself to just say, I believe in God. Oh yeah, what is he like? What is his name? What does he think about me and you? Can he be seen?

Can I be his friend? What irritates him? What brings his judgment?

I have to know these things. Jesus answers these things for us. At one point, one of his disciples, Philip, said, just show us the Father and that will be enough.

In John's Gospel, John knew that this was a critical moment and he preserves it for us. Jesus said to him, have I been with you so long and yet you have not known me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father. So how can you say show us the Father? That is equal to saying I am equal with God. Imagine if I said that to you. If you've seen me, you've seen God.

It would be ridiculous and sinful and all that is wrong. God sent himself in his Son to answer these critical questions. What's God like? What is he like? What does he like?

Can I be friends with him? What is the answer to evil and suffering and sorrow in this life? What is the answer? And he gives us these answers and he involves us in the answers. So, we find that we are unworthy because we are sinners to be friends with God. Yet God is worthy because he is sinless and perfect and makes a way for us to be friends in spite of ourselves. He overcomes. So knowing who Jesus is and accepting it leads to repentance.

Repentance is getting your act together according to God with God. You say that's simplifying it. No, it is not. Well, maybe it is. A little bit. But not simplifying in the sense of taking anything away from it.

Just putting it in plain speak language. Repentance through faith is the outcome of realizing who I am in God's presence, which is inescapable. There's no way to get away from the presence of God. He is everywhere at the same time. He is conscious of it. He is mindful.

He is involved. There's no escaping God. But this repentance begins the process of friendship with him.

It opens the door. Salvation is instantaneous. Just like that it happens through faith and not without it because of the truth. And it brings a bundle of goodies into the soul. One of them is love. Agape love. Spiritual love. Highest love. When Jesus said, depart from me you workers of iniquity.

I never knew you. They said, well didn't we prophesy? Didn't we cast out demons? Did we not do wonders? But they never said we loved you.

They left that critical part out. It was all about doing something except loving him. Paul says, if they do not love the Lord Jesus, let them be anathema. Accursed. There's big business to love Jesus Christ. We were just singing about adoring him.

Beautiful one that I adore. That separates the unbeliever from the believer and it becomes a product of repentance. Without that repentance, all deals are off. Judgment looms. Looking at the prominence given, given by the scriptures to the teaching of repentance in the scripture cannot be overestimated.

And so we cannot pass this by. When we share our faith as witnesses of Christ, we must tell him hell awaits the impenitent. The one who refuses to say, Lord, you are Lord. You are worthy of my worship. I am a sinner. I don't deserve to be saved, but I come to receive it because you offer it through Jesus Christ and him alone. Jesus says this about impenitence.

He says, I tell you, Luke chapter 13, unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Now you might be sitting there saying, this is kind of a hot message. This is making me feel uncomfortable. But now, well, why should it if you've repented?

Well, hopefully get to some of that and end on a higher note if you're being a little uncomfortable. But if you are professed believer, you have nothing to be uncomfortable about concerning these things. But why should God bless those who disrespect him, who reject him? John, in the writing of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, was told what's going to happen during the Great Tribulation period with many who put suffering above everything else to the point where they turn on God. Revelation 16 and 11, they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores and did not repent of their deeds.

It did not end well for them. It will not. That is a future. Well, it happens now for sure, but that particular moment is still prophecy future.

It has not yet happened. So let's talk more about defining this repentance and illustrating it from scripture because I think it's a big benefit to see it this way. There is repentance to conversion and there is repentance over sin after conversion.

This morning our primary focus is repentance unto salvation. But we'll have a little bit of repentance towards the end of the message concerning those who are already walking with the Lord when it is time for us. When do those moments arise when we have to repent? It's not repentance unto salvation. It's repentance unto reconciliation and correction.

Luke's Gospel, chapter 17, verse 4, And if he sins against you seven times in a day and seven times in a day, returns to you saying, I repent, you shall forgive him. So you see there is still repentance necessary as a believer if you are the one that is wrong. But this word repent is really a New Testament word. Yes, it shows up in the Old Testament in the Hebrew, but in the New Testament in the Greek it is emphasized and for good reasons. We have this fuller view of the Son of God, of the Messiah, the coming one, the holy one, the just one. It was practiced for sure in the Old Testament. The entire priestly system and its tabernacle had as its basis, as its base, repentance. Repentance is what the temple was all about. That you could come to God and say, I'm wrong and you are right and I want this resolved.

I want to be right with you. When a Jewish person in the wilderness looked towards the tabernacle of Moses and saw the Shekinah and the smoke coming up from the sacrifices, that Jew knew that he could go to God. That God was approachable. Not as freely as we can approach him, but approachable nonetheless.

Not as freely as we can to some degree, because the Jew could always talk to God just like you and I can also. And so the entire priestly system was repentance based, burn offerings, sin offerings, trespass offerings, because again repentance opens the door of possibility. Possibility of friendship, the possibility that judgment can be averted, avoided, that it will pass over me. Now in the Greek the word that shows up in our New Testament means to think differently, to reconsider, to morally feel compunction, an uneasy feeling that is prompted by guilt. That you are wrong before God. It corrects the attitude, the opinions, and the behavior by lining up with God's attitude, God's opinion, and God's behavior. Repentance does not mean a man quits sinning. It means that that individual is willing to stop sinning if they could just have the power. Paul talks about this in Romans 6, 7, and 8.

He goes into detail on these things. To repent is to get to work under the authority of God morally against sin and on behalf of others. It is a radical change of moral purpose that wasn't there before. Before one repents these things just weren't there until the heart surrenders and is filled with the Spirit. These ingredients make up repentance, regret, love, truth, awakening.

The lights turn on. You can see now it's more than just being sorry. So what repentance is not is mere regret. Regret is in repentance, but it's more than that. Regret is a change of feelings. As with Judas Iscariot, a change of feelings that come from recognizing maybe you made a poor choice, a bad decision, that you could have done better but you didn't do it and you regret whatever it may be. Matthew 27 verse 3, Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that he had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.

I missed the mark. You did. But you did not stay around to love on the Lord. You did not stay around Judas to let the Lord get his hands on you.

You did not confess that he, he is the son of God. He fell short, willfully so. He did not go far enough with God. He did not repent according to the scripture. He regretted his behavior.

He felt that he missed the mark and he did. But that was not enough. Regret is not repentance. Regret can pass or it can fade and the soul remain unchanged as it did with Judas Iscariot. But not repentance. Repentance brings change because there has been a change. There has been a rebirth.

There has been a personal awakening. Regret as the child of realization without love, without rebirth. Repentance is the child of realization with love for God, recognition of who God is, acknowledgement, surrender, all the things that we cherish as believers.

In an instant, in a flash, we see enough of the glory of God to understand that this is what it is all about. Unlike the prodigal son who came to his senses in contrast to Judas. Judas, unlike the prodigal son. The prodigal son came to his senses and there was love present in his awakening. One of the greatest illustrations in all the scripture is that of the life of the prodigal son. His journey to repentance.

Repentance that went beyond regret, beyond emotions, beyond impulse. We read about it in Luke chapter 15. But when he came to himself, he said, this is the prodigal son that is being discussed. Luke 15, now verse 18 in Luke 15, I will arise, go to my father and I will say to him, father, I have sinned against heaven and before you and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. He said to himself and he said to his father, I have sinned. Luke 15, 21, father, I have sinned.

In verse 17 we find his intention. Well verse 18, I will arise and go to my father and I will say, father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. And then verse 21 of Luke 15, father, he tells him straight out to his face, I have sinned against heaven. That's repentance. That's why Jesus is telling this parable. In the Old Testament, the classic example of repentance is found in David. King David, a profound expression of grief at offending God. God stays primary in his confession. Psalm 51, this is after he had committed that horrible act of having a woman's husband killed so he could have the woman that he already had.

Terrible story. And he is forgiven and he cries out, have mercy upon me, O God, according to your loving kindness, according to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions, wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin, for I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only have I sinned and done this evil in your sight, that you may be found just when you speak and blameless when you judge. And he doesn't stop there.

He goes on and he makes this critical statement. He says in verse 10 of Psalm 51, create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Take not your Holy Spirit from me.

The one who rejects Christ is not comfortable with any of this. God says this to the sinner. Isaiah chapter 1, wash yourselves, make yourselves clean, put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes, cease to do evil, learn to do good, seek justice, rebuke the oppressor, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now and let us reason together, says Yahweh. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be made white as snow.

Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. God says the door is open. Repent, change, turn around. Remember we define repentance as a change of moral purpose, a change of view, a change of behavior, a change of attitude. True repentance can be characterized by these three elements. They do not all have to be present at the same time, but they all belong to repentance. The intellect first, the brain, the thinking, you do not have to be a scholar, a theologian, a genius.

You don't even have to be a B student. In the intellect, the mind changes. When we are awakened to our sin and the presence of God, how we think, we change our mind about sin to the point of turning against it. In other words, the sin will still show up, the temptations and all, but we hate it.

It is our enemy and we know it. Even though the flesh delights in indulgence of the flesh and sin, the spiritual man hates every bit of it because we see God. We see sin for what it is and how destructive it is. We understand clearly. We come to Christ and every thought thereafter is now filtered through him.

What does he think about it? That is agape love because we love him. Now you can have a relationship like Solomon had with God that is based more on fear than love, or you can have one like David that was based on love. David just loved on the Lord.

That's why he wrote so many psalms. The intellectual there is and then there is the emotional side of repentance, the change of heart, the heartfelt change of heart. You feel it.

You don't just think it, you feel it. The outcome of thinking and feeling together will lead to action, but concerning this feeling, Psalm 38, For I will declare my iniquity, I will be in anguish over my sin. This is repentance.

This is turning to God from sin. Paul the apostle, when he was out persecuting Christians and God intercepted him from persecuting even more Christians, the Bible is careful to tell us that Paul was just on a rampage against Christianity and God meets him on the road to Damascus and he says, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? Paul's response was to call him Lord.

The submission is voiced in that word, but then it says this about Paul's experience. So he trembled. So he, trembling and astonished, said, Lord, what do you want me to do?

Trembling and astonished. It was an emotional reaction to the presence of Jesus Christ and the recognition that he was wrong, that he was violating Christ Jesus himself. Jesus said you're persecuting me, but Christ had died, was risen, ascended into heaven. What does he mean by you're persecuting me? When you touch my body, you're persecuting me.

When you touch my people, my church, you're persecuting me. And then the Lord said, arise, go into the city, and you will be told what you must do. So he was trembling and he was astonished and he asked, Lord, what do you want me to do?

And the Lord said, get up and wait and I'll tell you what to do, and he does that, of course. And then it is volitional, it's intellectual, it's emotional. Then there is the will, the act of the will, the product of the thinking and the feeling.

You do something with those things. It's not just a philosophy that just, ooh, that was quite touching. I was moved by that, but I didn't do anything.

Well, then you weren't moved far enough. The outcome of thinking and feeling together create action. Thanks for joining us for today's teaching on Cross-Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. We hope you've been blessed by this Believer's Basics series, exploring the fundamentals of what it means to follow Christ. If you'd like to listen to more of this series or share it with someone you know, please visit crossreferenceradio.com. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast, too, so you'll never miss another edition. Just visit crossreferenceradio.com and follow the links under radio. Again, that's crossreferenceradio.com. That's all for today. We hope you'll tune in next time to continue studying the Word of God right here on Cross-Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-13 13:47:23 / 2022-11-13 13:57:32 / 10

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