"Repentance - The Basics Retold"
Text: Mark 1:13-14 (King James Version)
- The Basics Retold"
The New Living Translation (NLT) of our Scripture text for this evening reads as follows: "He
was there for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him. (vs. 14)
Later on, after John was arrested by Herod Antipas, Jesus went to Galilee to preach God’s Good News." The King James
Version (KJV) stated that "Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,".
At this point in
time, a little background is in order. The John who was arrested by Herod Antipas is, of course, John the Baptist, whose head
was later decapitated at the request of Salome, after her sensual dance of the veils before Herod Antipas! The word "gospel"
(or, God’s Spell) is the English word used to translate the Greek word for "good news." Christian true believers use
this word "gospel" to designate the message and the story of Almighty God’s saving action of mankind - both male and
female - through the unique life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Almighty God’s only-begotten Son, Jesus, the
Christ - "Yeshua Ha-mashiach" (The Anointed One) - the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world!
have a problem with this process called "Salvation" - why? Because many of them are confused - believing that repentance is
Salvation! Not so, my brothers and sisters, repentance is not Salvation! When we violate or transgress the law of Almighty
God, it becomes necessary for us to repent in order to be reconciled to Him! So, tell me preacher, "What is required of us
in order to be in a position to repent?" You ask such excellent questions!
I’m sure that we all can agree that
repentance is necessary when we have broken Almighty God’s law - when we have sinned - especially, if we expect to get
back into the "good graces" of an angry God - One who can not tolerate sin of any description - why? Because he is a Holy
God - so Holy that he gave His only-begotten Son to die for us just so we could have access to Him once again! You do remember
the cry of Jesus from the cross, don’t you? "Eloi, Eloi, lama sa-bach-thani" which is Aramaic for "My God, my God, why
hast thou forsaken me?" A Holy God had to turn His head from His only-begotten Son because of the sin of the world that was
upon his Son’s broad shoulders!
Jesus was quoting from the Holy Scriptures when he made that cry! It’s
in the Book, you can find it in Psalm 22:1 (KJV), which reads: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so
far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?"
In the Biblical sense of the word, "Repentance" can be considered
in two (2) ways: (1) We must know what the law of Almighty God is! You see, my brothers and sisters, without that knowledge,
we would never be in a position to be sorry for the sins that we have committed against Almighty God! Do you see, now, why
Satan and the world, in these "end times" is making such a strong push to remove the "Ten Commandments" (or, Decalogue) from
the view of the people? (2) After knowing the law of Almighty God, it becomes necessary for us to have faith in that law,
otherwise our belief would matter very little to us and therefore we could not "truly" be sorry through the vehicle of repentance!
Matthew 5:17 (KJV), Jesus, the Christ, tells us: "Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I am come not
to destroy, but to fulfill." The New Living Translation (NLT) puts it this way: "Don’t misunderstand why I have come.
I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them."
We need to
remember, church, that Jesus, the Christ, was and still is, a Jewish man - that will never change! So, the law still applies
to the way that we live - the difference between the practices of the Jewish people and us is that Jesus, the Christ, paid
the price for our sins: both past, present, and future - on the cross at Calvary! Annual sacrifices for atonement are no longer
necessary - Jesus, the true Messiah, did it once and for all! In the Tribulation Period, the Jewish people will finally accept
Jesus as the Messiah! The Tribulation Period is not for the Christian "true believer" - we will already be dining with Jesus
at the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb" - it is the consequence for Israel and her rejection of Jesus as the Messiah at His time
So, what are you saying, preacher? I’m saying that first we must hear the Word of Almighty God;
then, we must believe the Word of Almighty God; then, we must be sorry and repent of our sins toward Almighty God with a view
toward acheiving or attaining Salvation - which is the "free gift" of Almighty God! Before we can become children of Almighty
God, we must go through that process - we must desire to turn away from our wicked ways and, with the help of Almighty God,
strive to live in His Divine perfect will - casting aside our own willful desires!
So, tell me, preacher, "What is
the significance of repentance and why do we need it? You ask such excellent questions! Well, let’s go to our "Sourcebook"
- the "Roadmap for Christian Living" - the written Word of Almighty God - and let’s see why Jesus, the Christ, came
to earth, in the form of a man, in the first place! In Luke 5:32 (NLT), we find Jesus saying: "I have come to call sinners
to turn from their sins, not to spend my time with those who think that they are already good enough." The King James Version
(KJV) calls the turning "from their sins" - repentance!
If we proceed further, in our "Sourcebook" - and examine what
Jesus, the Christ, says in His "Great Commission" to His Disciples, as recorded in Luke 24:46-48 (NLT), we will discover these
words: "...Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise again from the dead on the third day.
(vs. 47) With My authority, take this message of repentance to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ’There is forgiveness
of sins for all men who turn to Me. (vs. 48) You are witnesses of all these things.’" The word "men" is not gender specific;
but, means men and women! And, tell me, did you see it? Were you listening? Jesus said with "His authority"! And just what
is His authority? Once again, you ask such excellent questions! My Holy Bible, in Matthew 28:18 (NLT), tells us: "Jesus came
and told His disciples. ’I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth.’" You can’t get much
more authority than that - now can you?
In point of fact, repentance is so important that Jesus, the Christ, tells
us in Luke 15:10 (NLT): "In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents."
In contrast to that statement, Jesus, the Christ, tells us, in Luke 13:2-3 (NLT): "’Do you think those Galileans were
worse sinners than other people from Galilee?’ he asked. ’Is that why they suffered? (vs. 3) Not at all! And you
will also perish unless you turn from your evil ways and turn to God.’" In this passage of Holy Scripture, Jesus was
talking about the Galileans who were murdered by Pontius Pilate while they were sacrificing at the Temple in Jerusalem!
let’s take a few moments, this evening, my brothers and sisters, and let’s look at some of the things that move
men and women to repentance, shall we? Obeying the Word of the Lord God Almighty, as spoken by His servants, through His Holy
Scriptures - that will move men and women to repentance!
Just look at Jonah! Almighty God called him to go and cry
out against the city of Ninevah, to call them to repentance, and tell them that failure to repent would cause them to be destroyed.
Jonah’s first inclination was to run away! You all know the story of how Jonah fled on a ship to Tarsus only to be caught
up in a raging storm and subsequently swallowed up by a "great fish"! And, NO, my brothers and sisters, contrary to public
opinion, it was not a whale! The Holy Bible says it was a "great fish" and that Jonah was spit out onto the shores of Ninevah
by that "great fish"! Wouldn’t it be nice if some of those "great fish" were still around today?
My Holy Bible
tells me that when the Ninevites heard Jonah’s preaching, they put on sack cloth and ashes and proclaimed a fast! Everyone
from the king on down - even to the inhabitants of the dungeons - repented and Almighty God spared their city! The people
repented because they heard, believed, and obeyed the Word of the Lord God Almighty!
Next, just look at Peter! In Acts,
Chapter 2, we find the Apostle Peter preaching his first high-octane, spirit-filled gospel sermon - we find him telling the
Jewish people that they had crucified the Son of God. When the people realized that they had crucified the true "Messiah,"
they cried out saying, as recorded in Acts 2:37 (KJV): "...Men and brethren, what shall we do?" The Apostle Peter told them
in the next verse to "REPENT" and be baptized each and every one, in the name of Jesus, the Christ, for the remission of sins
and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost! Peter went on to say that the promise was unto them and their children, "and
to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." That’s you and me, Hallelujah!
to understand, my brothers and sisters, that God’s "Grace and Mercy" - those "Inseparable Twins" - that "Incomparable
Gift" - in and of itself, does not save us! Our "Faith" - in and of itself, does not save us! "Repentance" - in and of itself,
does not save us! "Baptism" - in and of itself, does not save us! "Church Membership" - in and of itself, does not save us!
NO, NO, NO, my brothers and sisters, all of those things - and, YES, it does take all of that - brings us to the place or
position where we are no longer concerned with ourselves and what we want, but committed totally and completely to what Almighty
God wants! We simply find ourselves denying self - picking up our crosses - that "Fourth Cross" at Calvary - the one that
appears when we recognize that we are sinners in need of Salvation and ask Almighty God for forgiveness - and, then begin
It is, indeed, a fact that it takes many things to lead a truly Christian lifestyle; however, the
"Good News," my brothers and sisters, is this: all of it is within the easy grasp of anyone who truly is willing to totally
surrender to Jesus, the Christ - to those who are truly willing to submit their minds and their wills to the operation of
the Holy Ghost (or, Holy Spirit) within their lives!
As I begin to close, this evening, know my brothers and sisters,
that true "Repentance" is always - did you hear me? - were you listening? - "ALWAYS" followed by a change of lifestyle - you
cannot conduct "business as usual" once you have committed to "total surrender" to Almighty God! Sin is universal - repentance
is a universal requirement - for my Holy Bible tells me that "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" - myself
included! It’s in the Book, you can find it in Romans 3:23 (KJV)!
Almighty God’s "attitude" toward us,
despite our wickedness, despite the fact that we have not repented - while we are still enemies of Almighty God - is loving
kindness; for it is not His will that any should perish; but, that all should come to repentance! Jesus, the Christ, the only-begotten
Son of God - the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, repeated that "attitude" when he told us, as recorded
in Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT): "...Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest. (vs.
29) Take My yoke upon you: Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. (vs. 30)
For My yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light."
As I take my seat, this evening, know that Almighty
God loves you and so do I! Why not repent and join me in the royal "Family of God" - you are royalty - you know - so, why
would you settle for less?
"Repentance - The Basics Retold"
May Almighty God richly and abundantly bless each
and every one of you!