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How to Recognize True Repentance #3

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
February 10, 2023 7:00 am

How to Recognize True Repentance #3

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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February 10, 2023 7:00 am

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You have to come out of your former life. You have to come out of your false religion. You have to come out of your pride. You have to come out of the sin that you love. You have to leave it all behind and come alone to Christ. That's the call to repentance.

You found the Truth pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. I'm Bill Wright, and Don is wrapping up a series titled How to Recognize True Repentance. So far, we've learned from God's Word what Jesus said about the subject.

Paul also had a lot to say about it, inspired, of course, by the Holy Spirit, and we'll be looking at those verses today. But Don, this is a challenging study, and that's not often what many want to hear, is it? I'm afraid that's true, Bill.

You know, I actually know someone who says, I prefer watered-down teaching. Well, we can't handle scripture or the doctrine of repentance like that. Why not? Because God is holy.

Because it's a terrifying thing to fall into his hands. You know, it's a measure of grace that he has made a way for us to be reconciled to him through faith in Christ. And when Jesus calls us to repentance, we should give him a humble and earnest ear.

Let's do that together today on the Truth pulpit. Okay, Don, and friend, have your Bible handy as Don continues to teach God's people God's Word from the Truth pulpit. You 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. Saving 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' 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. And Jesus says...He says that there's going to be so many people who don't pay attention to My Word there. 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 will enter.'"

You know the passage. Look at verse 22. "'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 in Your name perform many miracles?'" Hey, we're calling You Lord and look at all this stuff we've done.

How could You possibly turn us away? Well the answer is, is that they never repented. Look at what He says in verse 23. "'Then I will declare to them, I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.' And beloved, those men had never repented and were so self-deceived that they're shocked on the day of judgment to find that Christ is not receiving them into His kingdom."

Shocked. And the fact that they were marked by a practice of lawlessness shows that they had never changed their orientation from sin to Christ. Christ says, "'I never knew you.'" He wouldn't say that to someone who truly repented like we've talked about it here today. And so, beloved, I have to ask you in light of the words of Christ, have you repented like this? Do you know something of what it is like to recognize the vileness of your old man and to turn from it and to hate it and want to embrace Christ without condition with all of your heart? That's true repentance.

And without it there is no salvation. And so, I just have to invite you, I have to call you to turn to Christ and be saved. Turn to Him. You see, you have to come out of your former life. You have to come out of your false religion.

You have to come out of your pride. You have to come out of the sin that you love. You have to leave it all behind and come alone to Christ. That's the call to repentance. And if you come to judgment apart from Christ, how much will you be without excuse? But, oh beloved, for those of you that have repented, rejoice in the gospel, rejoice in the fact that God has worked in your life in this way. If you're repentant like that, it's a mark that God has done a sovereign work in your heart and He has shown mercy on you by name. Individually, Paul said, Christ died for me and gave Himself up for me, first person singular.

He died for me. Well we spent so much time looking at the repentance according to Jesus that I'm going to have to pinch the time on repentance according to Paul, which is the whole point. I want you to see real quickly that Paul himself preached this same kind of repentance.

Turn to the book of Acts and keep your fingers limbered up because we've got to move here. Acts chapter 14. Sometimes people wonder, did Jesus and Paul preach the same gospel?

What a foolish question. But in this aspect of it, in the consistency of their call and approach to repentance, you're going to see that, of course, they did. Acts chapter 14 verse 15, we're going to just read these scriptures. Paul ran out to these men and said, men, why are you doing these things? They wanted to offer sacrifices to the speakers.

Men why are you doing these things? We are men who have the same nature as you and we preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. I'm preaching the gospel and I'm telling you to turn from your idolatry to the true God. Acts chapter 17 verse 30, Paul says that having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent because He's fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness. Acts chapter 20 verses 20 and 21, Acts 20 verses 20 and 21, Paul says, I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ...repentance, repentance, repentance. Now you see him discussing repentance in his epistles. It's not as prominent a theme in his epistles because he's writing to Christians. He's writing to churches. So he's writing to people who had already embraced repentance and had repented and now were seeking to live the Christian life. And so it wasn't the same emphasis that was needed when he was doing evangelistic work. There was a different kind of work that was needed now in his writings. But still you see those same four elements of Christ's teaching in the writings of the Apostle Paul.

Now just stay with me here, we'll go through them real quickly. First of all, Paul taught the acknowledgment of sin. Paul taught that all men should acknowledge and recognize their sin. Romans chapter 3 in verse 9, I'll just read it to you. He said, "'We have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin as it is written there is none righteous, not even one, there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God, all have turned aside, together they've become useless, there is none who does good, there is not even one.'" Verse 23, "'For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.'" What is that except a teaching of the universal nature of sin and the fact that men have to acknowledge that? Paul's writings informed our conscience, informs our understanding that we are all sinners by nature and by deed, all under sin, spiritually bankrupt. That's the same thing Jesus taught, isn't it?

There is no space between the two. Secondly, Paul taught sorrow over sin. He taught this emotional reaction against sin.

Just jot down this reference, I won't have you turn there again just to save time. Second Corinthians chapter 7, Second Corinthians chapter 7, the Apostle Paul, looking back on the conversion of the Corinthians says, "'I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, mere remorse is not enough, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance, for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God.'" Verse 10, "'The sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret.'"

Same thing Jesus said. True repentant sorrow leads to a volitional turning away from sin. But there's a sorrow over it. That is the spiritual mourning that Jesus taught. It disturbs the repentant person that He sinned and violated God's glory, that unclean thoughts have permeated His thoughts, unclean words have come out of His lips, unclean deeds have been done by His hands. Grieves Him.

He doesn't call a truce with it, it grieves Him. Now thirdly, Paul taught the turning from sin. Paul taught the turning from sin.

He taught the knowledge of sin, the sorrow over sin, and he taught the turning over sin. Acts chapter 26, he makes this so very explicit, Acts chapter 26 and verse 15, "'The Lord said to him, I'm Jesus whom you're persecuting, get up and stand on your feet. I'm appointing you a minister to the things which you have seen and also the things in which I will appear to you.'" Verse 18, Jesus is giving him the content of the call to Jews and to Gentiles.

I'm rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles. I'm sending you, verse 18, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness and inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me. Verse 20, he says, "'I went out and preached that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.'" That volitional call, turn from sin, pursue Christ and His righteousness. Now, fourthly, Paul taught this heart allegiance to Christ. He taught this heart allegiance to Christ in a very striking, stunning way. In 1 Corinthians 16, verse 22, this heart allegiance, Paul says, "'If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed.'"

There are accursed people and there are those who love Christ, there's no other group. That's the mark of true repentance. Paul showed it from the positive side in Philippians 3.7, consider my former life to be refuse for the sake of gaining Christ. Total heart allegiance to Christ. Christ was the centerpiece of Paul's heart. Repentance means that the old man dies and he dies gladly.

The new man loves Christ without limit and would never go back. I've told people in the past, if the old Don Green ever showed up and I saw him, I would take a ball bat to him. I would beat him to death, I hate him that much.

I would kill him. Thankfully Christ killed him for me. Well where does that leave us? Repentance in you, that's the third main point. I just want to give you a couple of things to just walk out of here with and apply it to your life. I'm speaking to the believers now. One of the challenges of preaching on repentance is that the preacher has to make care where he leaves his audience.

The whole point of this is to build you up, not tear you down. But the nature of repentance and teaching on repentance is so introspective that it's kind of heavy. I want you to remember this, true repentance is a turning from self to Christ. If you're a repentant, you have Christ. You have God over all most blessed forever as the one who owns you and directs your life and owns you and will bring you into heaven. Christ belongs to you and you belong to Him.

That's the whole point, is to leave the old man behind for Him. The glory of belonging to Him through true repentance should elevate your heart and cause you to rejoice. So you rejoice. Secondly, I would encourage you to recommit yourself to this true gospel. Don't be intimidated by the tolerance of our postmodern age. Understand and embrace the fact that the gospel is a direct confrontation with the spirit of our age. We go out and preach the gospel and we tell men everywhere, your life is not acceptable to God. You must leave it behind and come to Christ or you will die in your sins. Don't be afraid of that.

Embrace it. It's the gospel that saved you, right? If it's the gospel that saved you, it's the gospel that's going to save someone else and you can't back off on it and still be faithful to the one who saved you.

Just commit it in your heart, just settle it in your heart right now. The next evangelistic opportunity I have, I'm going to call that person to repentance and let God deal with their heart because a call to repentance stands out with power in times like these where everybody just wants to get along and tolerate one another. Thirdly, to say this, if you're here as a believer, this whole teaching on repentance should make you examine yourself and repent of any lingering sin in your own life, those rotten attitudes, the broken relationships, the other things that we fall into. Understand that if Christ calls sinners to repent, how much more appropriate it is for you and me as His people to repent of our sins.

If it's inappropriate for a sinner to live in sin, how much more inappropriate is it for us to belong to Christ, to have any known conscious sin tolerated within our midst? Charles Spurgeon said, a Christian must never quit repenting for I fear that he never quits sinning. Now beloved, repentance opens the door to grace. Let me finish with this passage from Paul in 1 Timothy. Paul in his first letter to Timothy expresses the fruit and the grace and the gratitude that marks the repentant heart.

He says, I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, 1 Timothy 1.12. I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. Even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor, yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief. The grace of our Lord was more than abundant with the faith and love found in Christ Jesus.

It's a trustworthy statement. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners among whom I am foremost. And yet I found mercy so that Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience to me as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Beloved, that is where we walk out as repentant believers in Christ. We walk out in the themes of grace and mercy and faith and forgiveness of sin and hope of eternal life. We have not repented in vain. Christ has bestowed such abundant mercy on us and He will never fail us. He will truly bring us into heaven. And we will then begin to see the unfolding of God's eternal grace in our eyes. So we're repentant and we confess our utter bankruptcy before God. And yet in Christ we are lost in wonder, love, and praise to Him. And with that, Pastor Don Green concludes our series, How to Recognize True Repentance, here on the Truth Pulpit.

Some tough love over the past few days, wasn't it? But it's our hope to bring you the unvarnished truth of God's Word so that you might grow in your faith and walk with the Lord. Well, Don's back right now with some closing thoughts.

Don? My friend, scripture says that all people everywhere should repent of sin and put their faith in Christ so that they can be saved. Can I just be real direct and candid with you as a pastor that cares for your soul? Have you repented? Have you received Christ? Has His blood and righteousness been applied to your account?

Friend, it's not too late for you. Christ came into this world to save sinners just like you. He will receive you. He will forgive you.

He will make you His own. If you're not a Christian, go to Christ today and ask Him to give you eternal life. Thanks, Don. And friend, we hope you'll visit us at thetruthpulpit.com, where you can learn how to get free CD copies of the lessons you get here. Again, that's thetruthpulpit.com. Now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, and we'll see you back here next time as Don continues teaching God's people God's Word from the Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-10 04:50:55 / 2023-02-10 05:00:52 / 10

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