OceanSide church of Christ
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THE ACTIONS OF REPENTANCE
Victor M. Eskew
A. One of the common messages that God has sent forth to sinful man is: “Repent!”
1. Ezekiel (Ezek. 14:6)
Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.
2. John the Baptist (Matt. 3:1-2)
In those days came John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
3. Jesus (Matt. 4:17)
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
4. The apostles:
a. Peter (Acts 2:38)
b. Paul (Acts 17:30-31)
c. John (Rev. 2:5)
B. Repentance is one of the most demanding commands God has given to man.
1. Why? It involves first a challenge to the will of man.
a. Man often wants to do his own thing.
b. God’s will often conflicts with man’s will.
c. To repent, man must change his will and conform to the will of God.
2. Why? It involves the production of fruit (Matt. 3:7-8).
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.
C. Individuals need to really understand the demands of repentance. In this lesson, we will be studying: “The Actions of Repentance.”
I. REPENTANCE INVOLVES A CHANGE OF BEHAVIOR
A. The command to repent is only directed at sinners.
1. A sinner is one who has transgressed the law of God (I John 3:4).
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
2. In order for the sinner to repent, he must cease his sin and conform his life to the law of God.
B. Three illustrations from the book of Ephesians:
1. Lying to truth (Eph. 4:25)
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.
2. Stealing to working (Eph. 4:28)
Let him that stole steal nor more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
3. Corrupt speech to edifying speech (Eph. 4:29).
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
C. This may seem like an easy thing to do, but it is not that simple.
1. An idol worshipper would have to throw out his idols and serve the invisible God (I Thess. 1:9).
2. A polygamist would have to give up his many wives.
3. A homosexual would have to leave his homosexual relationship(s).
4. A person in an adulterous marriage would have to get out of the marriage relationship.
5. A person who repents of having not been faithful to the worship services would have to begin attending on a regular basis.
II. REPENTANCE INVOLVES A CHANGE OF BELIEFS
A. The world is filled with beliefs that run contrary to the teachings of Scripture. If one’s beliefs conflict with God’s Word, he must change his beliefs.
B. A New Testament example: The Jews’ belief about Jesus Christ.
1. The Jews believed that a messiah was coming. Their view was that the messiah would be a mere man.
2. When Jesus came, He declared Himself to be the Son of God.
a. His claims of Jesus
1) John 10:30
I and my Father are one.
2) Mark 14:61b-62
Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds.
b. The condemnation by the Jews
1) John 10:31-33
Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those good works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
2) Mark 14:63-64
Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.
3. In order for the Jews to be saved, they had to change their beliefs about the Christ (John 8:24).
I said therefore unto you, That ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
4. NOTE: This change of belief was repentance.
C. Individuals still have to be confronted about false beliefs today.
1. The majority of the world still does not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
2. The bulk of the denominational world does not believe in the one church that Jesus died to establish and in which salvation is found (Matt. 16:18; Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:23; Acts 2:47).
3. We are still trying to convince the religious masses that baptism IS necessary for salvation (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; I Pet. 3:21).
4. Even our own brethren need to change their beliefs about women speaking in the churches (I Cor. 14:34-35). They also need to change their minds about all religious groups being in fellowship with Christ as long as they believe He is the Son of God (II John 9).
5. There are some conservative brethren that need to have their minds changed about lukewarm service (Rev. 3:14-15), and about the need to tell the lost about Jesus Christ (Mat. 28:18-20).
III. REPENTANCE INVOLVES RESTITUTION
A. Restitution is a concept that was legislated in the Old Testament (Exo. 22:1).
If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.
B. In the account of Zacchaeus, he was willing to restore anything that he had taken unlawfully (Luke 19:8).
And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my good I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
C. Restoration seems to be a commonsense principle of repentance.
1. If I steal a person’s car, when I repent I should restore the car.
2. If I have smeared someone’s reputation, I should do all I can to restore it.
3. If I have squandered my time on the job, I need to give that time back to my company.
IV. REPENTANCE INVOLVES GODLY SORROW AND NOT SINNING AGAIN
A. This action is required of every transgression that one repents of (II Cor. 7:10).
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
B. For some sins, this is ALL that can be done.
1. If we have taken a life by murder, we repent through godly sorrow and a resolve never to commit the action again. We cannot bring the life we have taken back.
2. The same is true of angry words.
3. Marriages that were broken for causes other than fornication must be repented of, but the original marriage may never be able to be restored.
A. God will never force us to repent of our sins.
1. It is our decision and our resolve that is needed.
2. It is an expression of our love for God when we do repent.
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.