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How to Recognize True Repentance #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
February 9, 2023 7:00 am

How to Recognize True Repentance #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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February 9, 2023 7:00 am

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Truth for Life
Alistair Begg

Jesus was calling for an unconditional transfer of your heart allegiance from whatever it was that you loved to Him.

You love Him more than life itself. You place no limits on your future obedience. That is repentance. Is repentance just a matter of being sorry for sin only to avoid hell?

Not at all. As you'll be reminded today on The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hello again, I'm Bill Wright. As Don continues to teach God's people God's word, he presents part two of a message titled How to Recognize True Repentance. I think you'll be challenged and really edified by today's lesson. And Don's here with some thoughts to prepare you. Don?

Thanks, Bill. You know, my friend, when Jesus calls you to repentance, he's saying much more than stop doing bad things. He is calling you to himself. He says that you must follow him. He says take up your cross and follow me. And when Jesus calls you to repentance, he calls you to leave the world behind and to love him, to love Christ above everything else.

Jesus said he who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. Friend, have you turned away from this world in order to follow Christ? Today's message will help you see the truth.

Okay, Don and friend, let's join our teacher right now in The Truth Pulpit. True repentance...true repentance wants more than deliverance from hell. True repentance wants more than deliverance from eternal damnation. You don't have to be a Christian to not want to go to hell.

There's nothing uniquely spiritual or uniquely biblical about that desire. Who wants to go to hell given the alternative, you know? No, true repentance...true repentance wants to be delivered from sin. True repentance wants to be delivered from the pollution and power of sin in addition to being delivered from the penalty of sin. True repentance hates sin and desires righteousness. There's a whole reorientation of the inner man in true repentance. True repentance wants to have Christ and His righteousness and is willing to forsake and abandon it all in order to gain Him. Someone may object at this point, how do I know that you're not preaching salvation by works when you say this? Well let me clarify that and just clarify the nature of repentance hopefully in the process.

When we talk about repentance, we are not talking about a pre-salvation effort to get your life in order. You can't do that. You can't fix it. It's broken.

Humpty Dumpty has fallen off the wall and you can't put it back together again. No, repentance is an internal response to the work of God. It earns no merit to our account. The whole premise of Jesus' teaching in the Beatitudes is that you're poor in spirit, that you're spiritually bankrupt, you acknowledge you have nothing to commend yourself to God. True repentance couldn't possibly be a matter of someone coming and saying, I bring my repentance to you, God, therefore you owe me salvation. That is appalling to the repentant mind. In fact, the Bible says that repentance is a gift from God. Acts chapter 11 verse 18, Acts 11, 18, if you're jotting down the Scripture references, says that God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life. God gave them that.

He granted it to them. Second Timothy 2 verse 25, Paul says that we are to with gentleness correct those who are in opposition if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth. They need a work of God in their heart in order to repent.

God gets the glory that way. And when God is calling a sinner into His Kingdom, when He is calling your heart to come to Christ and you have that internal compulsion born out of the work of the Holy Spirit, God has awakened your heart to Christ, the sinner gladly repents in order to receive Him. And if it is a gift from God, then it is not a work in which man can boast. Repentance is the acknowledgment of our unworthiness, not an assertion of it. But there's more as you continue to read the gospel of Matthew. There's an intellectual dimension to repentance, you acknowledge your sin. There's an emotional dimension to repentance, it grieves you. Grieves you because of your sin, not someone else's. There's a volitional dimension to sin. You turn from it in order to turn to Christ, to serve Him, to receive Him. But there's this fourth aspect of repentance according to Jesus which is just astonishing. And we'll spend a little bit more time here. I couldn't come up with a great way to state this point that was pithy.

So let me just state it this way. Repentance transfers your heart allegiance to Christ. Repentance transfers your heart allegiance to Christ. And you could just view this as an aspect of the volitional thing, the volitional aspect of repentance, but I think it bears a particular emphasis in light of what you read as you go through the gospels. Jesus' call to repentance demands, it requires the sinner to transfer his ultimate heart allegiance, his final heart allegiance to Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 22, what is the greatest commandment? To love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, strength and mind. There is a total turning over of your heart allegiance to the person of Jesus Christ and without that true repentance has not occurred.

You must not only turn from sin in a negative sense, in a positive sense true repentance turns from sin and it follows Christ, irreversibly saying I am going to follow Christ henceforth from this moment on without qualification, without reservation, with all of my heart, Lord Jesus, I give You my allegiance. I surrender to You as my Lord. With no mental reservations, my life now belongs to You. You want a blank check? Here's a blank check.

I'll sign it, you fill in the amount. You cannot repent and keep any of the desires of your unregenerate heart. They all have to be laid down at the feet of Christ. Turn over to Matthew chapter 10 where you can see Jesus saying this so clearly. Matthew chapter 10 and verse 37, I'm happy to hear those Bible pages turning. Notice the call to preeminent love that Christ requires. He says, He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it. And he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. In the utter center of your heart, it should be, it must be if you're a Christian, it must be settled that there is nothing on earth that approaches your love for Christ.

There is nothing that competes with the final affections of your heart. If it's a matter of choosing between Christ and life, you gladly bear the wounds of a martyr. If it's a matter of a family relationship competing with your love for Christ while don't seek to turn people away from us in our human love, if they say, if they come and say, it's me or Christ, you get up and say, here, let me get the door for you as my final act of kindness to you because I will not turn from Christ. I remember and I thank God for the moment when that was clear in my own life early on, very early on in my conversion. My father who was a dominating kind of man, who ruled with a bit of an iron fist, I say that in love and in kind remembrance of his memory, he did not like the fact that I had become a Christian.

I became a Christian in my early twenties. And he sat me down one day. He was used to getting his way in everything. And he sat me down one day and he said, he said, listen, I'm glad that you're real religious. He had seen the testimony of my life over a few weeks or months of my conversion. He said, look, I'm glad you're real religious, but you're taking this too far and I want it to stop.

That's like getting an order from a sergeant with the way, you know, he did things. And I just thank God that the Holy Spirit gave me the presence of mind at that time to say, Dad, no, no, no, Jesus Christ has changed my life and I am not going back. It was not a premeditated response, but it was the mark, it was a sign of the true nature of my conversion. If He was going to tell me that I had to choose between Him and Christ, there was no contest. That's what Jesus says. You can't love father or mother more than me or you're not worthy of me. Jesus doesn't take second place.

You give Him first place or you walk away from Him. But don't insult the holy Son of God with a sense that you'll add Him to your other desires and He'll fit in the mix someplace. Christ gets the preeminent affection, or you don't get Christ.

This is universal. This is what Jesus says to all men. Jesus confronts every human heart, leave your life behind to follow Me or you will die in your sins. Turn over to the gospel of Luke, I want to show you a couple of passages there. Luke chapter 13 in verse 3, I like for people to see the Scriptures with their own eyes and not just quote them all the time without having you turn there. I want you to see this in your own Bible.

I want you to see that I'm not making this up. Luke 13 verse 3, Jesus says, I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish, without exception. If you don't repent, you will perish. You will die in your sin. Well, in the context of the totality of what Jesus has taught on repentance and the call to Himself, you can see how stark the call of the gospel is.

A true presentation of the gospel leaves people with no alternatives and they should walk away from the gospel understanding that, look, it's either Christ or I die in perdition, there's no alternative, there's no third door here. And the call that Jesus makes to repentance is that you leave your whole life behind, by which He means your whole affections, everything that you loved before is now subordinated to Christ. Turn over a page or two to Luke 14 verse 26.

Actually we'll look at verse 25 just briefly. Luke 14 verse 25, now large crowds were going along with Him and He turned and said to them, large crowds, a mixture of people, indiscriminately He says to them, if anyone...if anyone, this is a universal statement, if anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. He says, in comparison to your love and allegiance for Me, everything else has to be subordinated to such a degree that it seems like hatred by comparison. Verse 27, whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. Jesus was calling for an unconditional transfer of your heart allegiance from whatever it was that you loved to Him. And He put all of the things that we tend to love the most, possessions with the rich young ruler, father, mother, houses, farms, our own life, our own priorities, He says you've got to hate all of that by comparison to Me or you can't be My disciple. You turn from self, you turn from sin to Christ.

You love Him more than life itself. You place no limits on your future obedience. That is repentance. So let me say this, we get it all wrong.

We get it all seriously wrong. We seriously distort the gospel beyond recognition. We disfigure it when we tell people as if this were the final word on the gospel, that they need to accept Christ as their personal Savior. If that's all that you say to someone, you have not explained the gospel to them at all. There's nothing in that that helps the sinner understand what the price of the gospel is. The sinner needs to understand that his great concern is for Christ to accept Him. And so you come as a beggar, not as the one who's in control and deciding, Christ, I'll accept you.

That makes me nauseous just to describe that, let alone to think it. No, we come before the sovereign Lord of the universe. We come as beggars. We come as those asking for mercy, not for one as though we're extending our approval to Him. That's repulsive.

Now someone else may object at this point with a legitimate question, a clarifying question. Say Don, you've been talking all along about repentance. What about the Philippian jailer, believe in the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved. Where's repentance in that? Ephesians 2, 8 and 9, you're saved by grace through faith, that not of yourselves.

Yes, of course. But in those simplified and I've seen, you know, and you have too, you've seen people who write and they just want to restrict all the totality of the gospel to one or two verses as if there weren't 259 other chapters in the Bible or in the New Testament. And they want to subordinate the totality of Revelation to one or two favorite verses that fit their theology and discard all of the uncomfortable things that would contradict their weak theology. What is too often obscured and the reason that we need to elevate repentance in our thinking and elevate repentance in our proclamation is that the biblical picture of saving faith is that saving faith is a repentant faith. The jailer, when you read Acts 16, the jailer was at the end of himself. He was ready to commit suicide.

He was at the end of himself. And that passage goes on and says that they explained the Word of God to him. You can't narrow it down to two words in one verse and say this is the totality of the gospel.

That's an insult to serious Bible interpretation. What the sinner needs to understand is that there are no promises of salvation to unrepentant people. Paul said in Romans 2 that your stubborn and unrepentant heart is storing up wrath for yourself. And so, unless someone manifests these characteristics of repentance as Jesus described them, this intellectual, emotional, volitional response to sin, this transfer of heart allegiance to Christ, they have no grounds for assurance of salvation if they're consciously aware of aspects of that that they just totally reject. This is true repentance by the words of Jesus. So what is the relationship then between repentance and faith? Repentance, you could say, turns from sin in the ways that we've been describing here. Faith, which is the other side of the coin, heads and tails of one single coin, faith receives Christ and rests upon Him alone for salvation. Repentance and faith are interdependent.

You cannot have true repentance without true faith or vice versa. You turn from sin because you hate it for its own intrinsic evil. You turn to Christ for salvation because only He can deliver you from sin. If you're turning from something, you've got to turn to something.

That's the idea. Using faith is a repentant faith. Without repentance there is no salvation. Repentance stated differently turns from sin and by faith and trust in the promises of the gospel asks God for mercy based on the promise of eternal life in the gospel.

God, I hear Your Word, I hear the offer of salvation in the gospel, I trust You to be faithful to Your Word, I come to You and I submit my heart to You, please save me from this horror that is within me that Your Word calls sin. That's repentance. How thorough was Jesus' commitment to repentance?

Look at Luke 24...Luke 24. How elevated was the theme of true repentance in the mind of Christ? Well, in Luke chapter 24 verse 47, Luke's version of the Great Commission, Luke chapter 24 verse 47, he says, Jesus said to the Apostles before He ascended to heaven, He said, repentance for forgiveness of sins shall be proclaimed in His name to all the nations beginning from Jerusalem, you are witnesses of these things. That was after in verse 45 He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. He sent them out to preach repentance in His almost final words before He ascended into heaven.

That was His commission. That was His charge to the Apostles. And so what I want you to see from that is this, Matthew chapter 4 at the beginning of His public ministry, Jesus says, repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. At the end of His public ministry, after His death and resurrection, before He goes to heaven, He sends the Apostles out and says, you go preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

He ended up where He started. It's like bookends to His ministry and everything else undergirds the call to sinners to repent in the proclamation of the gospel. Jesus called men to repent and follow Him and that is the message that He entrusted to the Apostles and that is the message that we still have today. We're under obligation to tell sinners that they must repent and turn to Christ and not offer them a watered-down gospel that won't save them.

Now someone may object at this point. You'll see this from those who deny that repentance is a part of the gospel message. If repentance is so important, they say, why doesn't the gospel of John mention it?

He says in John chapter 20 verse 31 that these things have been written in order that you may believe and have eternal life. If it's so important, why didn't He mention repentance and they close their Bible and slap their hands and they think it's all over? The argument's done. That's their silver bullet in the discussion. It's more like instead of a silver bullet, it's more like sawdust.

There's no power in that argument at all, if you look at it at all. The gospel of John doesn't use the word repentance, but throughout the gospel he expresses the concept of repentance. He says that true believers must obey the Son, they must honor God, they must love God, they must keep Jesus' commandments.

Sinners do none of that. And so there's obviously a call to conversion that is implicit in what John is saying. And John wrote his gospel decades after Matthew, Mark and Luke had written theirs, the principle of repentance was already stated and established. And so he's just bringing out the other side of conversion with his gospel.

They form a perfect harmony that shows the glory of salvation as Jesus presented it. You better be careful with what you do with that argument about the gospel of John because in the four gospels, the four gospel writers do not quote Jesus as using the word grace. Did Jesus because He didn't use the word grace deny salvation by grace? Was He teaching salvation by works because He didn't use the word grace?

It's foolishness. It's foolishness to pit Scripture against Scripture that way, to elevate one chapter, one verse, one book against all the others. Let's read the whole Bible and see what the whole Bible says.

Look I wouldn't be a faithful pastor if I didn't call something to your attention. Turn back to the gospel of Matthew with me, to a familiar passage, Matthew chapter 7, Matthew 7 verse 21. Jesus said that there would be a large portion of humanity surprised at the day of judgment that they're not going to heaven. In fact, if you'll go up to chapter 7 verse 13, He says, enter through the narrow gate for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction and there are many who enter through it.

If He was trying to describe the modern gospel that is presented to so many people, He couldn't have described it more accurately. When people try to make the gospel so easy, what are they doing except saying, hey, the road is broad, everybody come in. Jesus said the way is narrow and when you understand the doctrine of repentance, Jesus is teaching on repentance, you understand why it's narrow because you have to leave everything behind in order to walk through a narrow tight turnstile.

You can't go through carrying your luggage. You have to leave it all behind if you want to walk through that turnstile into eternal life. That turnstile is repentance.

We'll pause right there for today. But Don Green has one more installment to bring you in our series titled How to Recognize True Repentance. You'll get the apostle Paul's insight on that in the next program. So join us on The Truth Pulpit.

Meanwhile, Don's back with us. And Don, you have some info about how our listeners can delve deeper into studying God's Word with you. You know, friend, what you hear on our broadcast is an edited version of past messages that I have preached in different venues. And what we've found is that many people want to hear the current and complete messages that come each week from Truth Community Church.

You can join people like you who want that kind of Bible teaching. It's easy, and best of all, it's free. Go to our website and look for the link titled Follow Don's Pulpit.

You can sign up in less than a minute and receive those messages on an ongoing basis. Here's Bill with the details. Just visit There you'll also find a link to Don's Facebook page. Again, that's I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time as Don Green teaches God's people God's Word in the Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-09 04:42:08 / 2023-02-09 04:51:16 / 9

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