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October 12, 2021 8:00 am
What does it mean to repent.
That's very very important.
That's the million-dollar question.
That's the only question that matters for you and me.
You've heard the word in your Christian walk. But have you ever fully grasp its meaning if you want to know what repentance really means there's no better authority than Jesus Christ himself and on this edition of the truth Paul Pastor Don Greene will refer to just that source as he begins a series titled unless you repent LOI Bill Wright and Don why is this topic so vital to believers. My friend Bill just asked an outstanding question why is the topic of repentance so important and could really be that important when you don't hear that much about it in Christian pulpits today will. Jesus said in Luke 24 let there be repentance preached for the forgiveness of sin. We need to know what repentance is because it is a vital aspect of saving faith in Christ, you need to know what repentance is. You need to know what it's not going to show it to you in this upcoming series here on the truthful. Thanks, Don. It's clear we need to pay close attention so friend have your Bible ready.
We join our teacher now in the truthful, the book of Matthew is kind of the opening gospel.
It is the opening gospel to the ministry of Jesus Christ, and after Matthew gives us a little bit of an introduction to the genealogy of Christ and the birth of Christ and the ministry of John the Baptist, which prepared the way for Christ. He brings us into a into the teaching of Christ, so that we could understand why he came. And if you look at Matthew chapter 4 verse 17 John the Baptist has declared the Christ is the one that they are to listen to in Matthew gives us a summary statement of everything that Jesus is teaching ministry summarizing what it testified to, and what it meant. He said in Matthew chapter 4 verse 17 from that time Jesus began to preach and say, repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, the kingdom of heaven was at hand in that day because Jesus is the king himself, and when the king is present. His kingdom is at hand because the kingdom. This is a is fulfilled and represented in the one who holds the kingdom. So here is Jesus embarking upon his public ministry in the summary theme. Matthew tells us of his preaching and teaching was that you need to repent. Because the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Now, at that point he doesn't go on and explain anymore. He just gives this summary statement, repent well, let's flash forward to the end of Jesus's life or the setting context here. And Jesus says in in Luke chapter 24.
Look at verse 44. 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. He says there's there's 1500 years of Old Testament prophecy about me that is unfulfilled in my life that all of the Old Testament was pointing to me.
He says then in verse 45.
He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. Jesus goes on and says in verse 46 he said to them, thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day were looking now look at it, all of you with at verse 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Here's the problem that you have beloved you're all sinners, just like I am. You all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, your righteousness, your religious rituals your efforts at self improvement are nothing but filthy rags before holy God.
You bring nothing to the table by way of merit that would compel God to bless you with his salvation. The question is how do we then have the sins taken away from our account. How do we enter into a realm where God does not hold our sins against us. Jesus makes it plain here and he tells his disciples that they must go out and preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins that is the message that Jesus committed. So here's what I want to say is we kinda wrap up this little bit of context here at the at the very opening of the New Testament of of Jesus's ministry, the opening word Jesus says is as recorded force in Matthew is repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. You go to the end of his life just before he ascended into heaven and Jesus says repentance for the forgiveness of sins must be proclaimed to all of the nations, and so this singular theme of repentance functions as bookends to the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It begins with repentance. It ends with repentance and everything in between is reinforcing that message of repentance. He is declaring simultaneously that we are unacceptable to a holy God in our own life and merit and at the same time he is telling us the way that our sins can be forgiven.
And it is driven through this door called repentance will what does it mean to repent then that's very very important. That's the million-dollar question. That's the only question that matters for you and me. How can I know that when my appointed time to appear before the judgment seat of God will go well for me, for you.
How could you enter into the spiritual realm of the spiritual reality of forgiveness where God would gladly grant to you and abundant entrance into his eternal kingdom and that you yourself would not be one of those castaway even though you set under the sound of the gospel. How we need to understand what Jesus taught about this. This is the most important question in the world. What were going to do today's were going to answer four questions about repentance to help clarify your own response to the message of the gospel. These are four questions that that I intend for you to ask yourself this isn't about you thinking all so-and-so over here needs to hear this message because he's a bad person and he's hurt my feelings.
Let's let's drive all of that wicked thinking out of our minds.
God brings his word to you for you to hear for you to respond to for you to examine yourself in light of that's why were going to frame these questions here today were not playing games were not here to entertain anyone. We don't care about any of that stage production that Hollywood does better than the church. But the church seems to want to mimic know where here dealing with earnest spiritual realities that are the most important thing in your life and so as we ask these four questions will be defining the doctrine of repentance for you, according to Jesus, as he himself presented. Here's the first question that you need to ask yourself, and I encourage you to take notes so that you can review these things in your own heart. Later on, the first question about repentance is do you recognize your sin. Do you recognize your sin. Let me say something by way of let me say something by way of brief illustration of how to help. Maybe ease the way into this for so that we can understand it when I say when we asked the question, do you recognize your sin. I'm not asking you whether you would superficially admit to men that you're a center I'm asking whether in your heart you truly realize that you of sin, and broken God's law on your guilty before him.
Go back to Matthew now Matthew chapter 5.
What Jesus does in the context of the book of Matthew is is that this summary statement of his teaching repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand is made at the toward the end of chapter 4 and then in Matthew five, six and seven. He gives what is called the sermon on the Mount, and in the sermon on the Mount, Jesus is building on and he is explaining what repentance looks like and one day soon. Hopefully we will go through the sermon on the mount together, verse by verse. But for now I just ask you to understand that Jesus says repent. In Matthew four.
There's no further explanation about what it means and if it's so crucial for the forgiveness of our sins. There must be some explanation of what repentance looks like and what it means well where you find that definition. That explanation of repentance is found in Matthew five, six and seven. Jesus gives an extended discourse on what he means by the concept in the term of repentance. And so what Jesus does as he introduces a number of spiritual attitudes in the first few verses of Matthew five to explain what it means to repent from sin.
Now, with that in mind, look at Matthew chapter 5 verse one when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the mountain and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. He opened his mouth and began to teach them, saying, and then he moves into his explanation and is explaining what repentance means, and he starts with this lead verse in Matthew chapter 5 verse three look at it with me if you would, he says blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. He said repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. How do I know that the kingdom of heaven belongs to me. Jesus says blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
It belongs to them. They are in the kingdom of heaven. In other words indicating that they somehow have repented. Well, what does this mean to be poor in spirit understand this beloved, the kingdom of heaven is not about your material wealth. There is no intrinsic spiritual virtue to poverty. Jesus isn't talking about material wealth here. He's talking about your poverty of spirit and he says blessed are the poor in spirit to express the concept of spiritual poverty. He saying blessed are those who recognize that they are spiritually bankrupt that they have nothing in their account to pay God in order to get salvation back in return. There is a total absence of spiritual pride. Instead, there is a recognition of spiritual poverty and bankruptcy that marks the one who is truly repentant. Now think with me for a moment here when you evaluate yourself in light of God's holiness. When you see the sinlessness of Christ and the glory of God, as it were, filling the temple and Isaiah falls down says woe is me. I've seen the King of glory, and I'm a man of unclean lips when you start to understand something about the glory and the holiness and the majesty and the greatness of God that he is uncreated, infinite, and holy and you are created fallen in finite start to realize there's nothing about me that would that would commit myself to him. God doesn't need me to complete himself is already perfect in his being, and nothing that I could bring could add anything to him.
When we see ourselves in light of his holy law, which touches not only on our external behavior, but our motivations in our attitudes. We realize we fall short of his glory and beloved. I say this sympathetically, everything I'm saying here today is from a spirit of sympathy for your souls. For the for your spiritual well-being. I care about nothing today other than the fact that you would enter into the eternal kingdom of God abundantly and fully and safely. This is all for you and for your protection and for your help here today, but I must speak to you plainly so that you understand the spiritual realities. Your goodness does not fit you, for God, your religious rituals do not fit you, for God being in this building does not contribute any spiritual merit to your account that would force God to reward you with his salvation. Your thoughts, your words and your deeds all fall short of the glory of God and there is nothing that you can do to fix that situation. You do not have the spiritual capacity to put yourself together. You're like Humpty Dumpty fallen off the wall and shattered, and whatever's left of spirituality can't pull themselves together to be presented hold to a majestic God were all in that condition.
We are all lost our sin has broken us beyond human repair. You are bankrupt before a holy God.
The question is do you recognize that do you do, you acknowledge that from your heart. Have you been brought to a point where you are broken by the law of God and realize that you fall short of the glorious and holy demands of what his law character choir from you. You recognize your sin.
One of the ways that you can measure that is whether you, you find yourself subjecting and pushing back to these declarations if you're if you push back and say no I don't believe that you're making it too bad you haven't recognize your sin is what Jesus describes here somebody who is poor in spirit.
In other words, repentance precludes a sense of pride and self-reliance.
The person who is repentant gladly unconditionally clearly states I have nothing to recommend myself to God in my own I am a beggar at the table of mercy.
I don't have a birthright. A title to this mercy from God. You see, repentance starts with knowing your own spiritual poverty. Look at Matthew 53 again. I want you to see this blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Notice that he's talking about the poor in spirit that that recognizes a a lack of righteousness in the presence of God because he goes on in verse six it says blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, you're hungry because you're unsatisfied you're thirsty because you don't have what it takes to satisfy that urge that Jesus uses that the human desires of hunger and thirst to express a spiritual reality we hunger after righteousness because we don't have it we thirst after holiness because we know we lack it, and so recognizing our lack makes us poor in spirit, and that we come to God not as those boastful in our own righteousness, but humble seekers of mercy because we realize that we have no claim on him in our own right. Repentance starts with recognizing your sin and knowing your own spiritual poverty.
Jesus said in Luke chapter 5 verses 31 and 32 I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Someone who thinks that they are righteous in their heart doesn't is is it is saying I don't need Jesus because Jesus came to seek and save sinners and so before we are before we hat we are in a spiritual position to receive him. We have to acknowledge that we fall short and we need him we have to have the word of God completely wash and cleanse her mind of everything we been conditioned to think that's how serious this is.
We come to God not self-reliant, looking for something outside of ourselves and we understand that we freely acknowledge it, but beloved repentance involves more than that mental understanding of recognition of sin. Do you recognize your sin. I hope so.
I pray to God so but Jesus goes further improves our hearts further as we consider these things. Point number two. Here, the next question that you need to ask yourself is, do you mourn over your sin do you mourn over your sin and this question needs to be asked to because we've all heard those the boastful those who boast in their sand and say yes I I know that I'm a sinner and I'm going to but I don't care. I'm going to go to hell and have a drinking party with my buddies down there and so they would in one since they would say that there is center but but they they love their sin. They rejoice in it. They they they glory in it, rather than being broken in mourning over it and so we gotta go further than simply having that mental understanding of our sand, but to have that have that turn our heart in a way that Jesus describes in Matthew chapter 5 verse four. Look at it with me.
Matthew five verse four. Jesus says blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.
He's describing here an emotional grief over sin. The morning that he describes here has the idea of inner agony all I have sinned against a holy God in my thoughts and my words and my actions. That's the sentence we need to understand here that Jesus is speaking about a spiritual morning not an earthly sorrow over the loss of a loved one or the loss of some kind of earthly benefit that we had listen beloved.
It's so important for you to understand this. The Jesus isn't talking about those who grieve at a funeral and indiscriminately that's not what he's talking about here at all.
It couldn't possibly be that because he said in verse three Blessed are those who are poor in spirit, in verse six. It's it's those who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness. This is a spiritual morning in the context of his overall teaching about repentance that he's addressing here. He's talking about a poverty of spirit.
Think about it with me. This is a promise that those who mourn will be comforted well, but there are millions of people who are grieving today over the loss of a loved one, and they're not experiencing any comfort whatsoever.
It's not. It's not that they're all somebody has an earthly sorrow there automatically comforted. That's not it. That has nothing to do with what Jesus is talking about here. He's addressing those who would be his disciples and pursue him, having made a preliminary statement repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. What keeps us out of the kingdom of heaven are said what do we do in response to our sin. We recognize it and we mourn over it. You see there's a sense in which central problems you and in an ideal sense. In an ideal realm. If we sought fully. We would weep buckets of tears over our guilt and our rebellion against God. But we don't have to go there with it.
The question is not so much in intensity of an emotional reaction, but whether it bothers you, but Cisco at that superficial level. Does it bother you that you sin against God. Does it trouble, your heart, do you wish you were not like that do you do you long for something different even though sin clings to you.
In other words, beloved truly repentant people are not flippant about sin. Sin is not a joking matter to them. My life is a violation of the holiness of God. And that's not okay is a sense of mourning over it because this is this is about you standing alone in the presence of a holy God you is one with sin on your account and the question is what your response to that you own it.
Do you recognize that you unconditionally affirm that and then does it bother you so much that you you have a sense of pain over your sin see a truly repentant person understands that sense of spiritual pain with you don't know what pain is like you don't know what mourning is like and you are truly repentant as Jesus defines pain, doubts. I don't like to remember what I used to be like, whether their tears are not. It hurts. Do you know something of that pain.
It's one thing to say yes on the center it's another thing to say on the center and it pains me. It hurts and let's let's get really detailed and specific. Shall we particularly in this American culture in which we live and the way that some sectors of Christianity have morphed into little more than a political entity. This is extremely crucial for you to understand when we talk about repentance. Repentance is not measured by your opposition to the sense of society like abortion and homosexuality that has nothing to do with it unless you're a homosexual or you you are unrepentant over abortions in your past. The fact that you are opposed to the sins that society commits says nothing really about whether you are repentant.
You see, Jesus calls you to be repentant, not over the sense that other people do. Jesus calls you to repent over your sin, and while you may not have partaken in the sands of society.
You may not be a drawing for a homosexual or an abortion provider or someone who has raise their hand against one in your own womb or a man who pushed in that direction. Yes those things are sinful.
But if that doesn't mark you, then it's not the point for you here today. The fact that you're a poster that says nothing about how you regard your own said the question for you is, is it paying you that you are an angry, irritable spouse does it paying you that that you harbor sinful lesson you need your lusts is that pain you you want to turn away from even that see Jesus is calling you to grieve over your sin, not someone else's. Today on the truth, pulp and pastor Don Greene has begun showing us what true repentance means in part one of his message. Repentance, according to Jesus, we must recognize our sin and then mourn over it will.
Don has two more major points to deliver on our next broadcast, so be sure to join us then. Meanwhile, we invite you to visit our website. The truthful.com. There you can download podcasts or find out how to receive CD copies of Don's radio messages for your personal study library. If you want to go even more in depth.
You'll also find a link follow Don's pulpit. That'll take you to Don's full-length weekly sermons not subject to the time editing we need for radio broadcasts and if you're in the Cincinnati area, check out the service times for truth Community Church.
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Plan a visit. We'd love to welcome you again come to the truth. Paul the.com for all the info I built like him will see you next time on the truthful