Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3.

Repentance is the turning away of ones sins. Originally repentance meant an afterthought, a second thought. Often a second thought shows that the first thought was wrong; and so the word came to mean a change of mind; but if one is honest, a change of mind demands a change of action. First you were going one way, now you are going another. Cheap grace is that which comes to the Lord for salvation but without the penitant heart. Jesus welcomes all who come to him but the message is clear throughout the New Testament - repent.

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:19-21.

Our salvation resides in the effects of the cross. Remission of sins is a result of the shed blood but could only be prompted by the obedience of Christ. We are to follow Him in that obedience, Jesus who knew no sin went to the cross to die once only but we must continually follow Him there because sin is still an ever present force. Christ is made manifest in us, we are now the word made flesh as Jesus lives within us, we are the only Jesus that many people see. What do they see? A changed life? Or one that relies on salvation as an excuse to live a life of the devil. We need to have that resolve that dies to ourselves and that is a continuous process of repentance, not a one time deal. And we need to encourage others to have that same resolve.

The pastor in church yesterday morning told us why he needed to be constantly filled with the spirit. Because "we leak" was his reply.

For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:13

With true repentance, the past no longer matters, it's the future that counts. A future without repentance is a future without holiness and without holiness, no one will see the Lord. You have already been told that thieves and greedy persons or drunks or the effeminate or fornicators shall not inherit the kingdom of God but this describes many Christians, shall we say that their salvation is secure? Or shall we tell them to repent?

The only One that truly knows for sure if we are saved or not is God. We can hope but we also know that many who have called upon the Lord will be dissapointed, Jesus tells us so. Rather than trying to placate the differences between opposing views of eternal security, we should stick with the gospel record, especially the parables of Jesus and understand that we need to take heed. Notice the operative words in this verse:

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. I Timothy 4:16

The key words here are in the continuance and in saving ourselves and others. Paul also mentions in I Corinthians 10 that those that think they stand should take heed lest they fall. There is a real danger in thinking that we have it all if in fact we do not; this is the luke-warm church and they are told to repent.

We should however, have the assurance of our salvation, I know that I do and I must teach you to have that hope also. But we must not let up and we must have the attitude of mind and heart that fears God. You know that He is a loving God but He is also terrible and mighty. We are taught that if God repents, it is of the evil that we deserve executed against us. Know that God has that power, He is not only God of all and the giver of life but He is also the judge of the entire human race. Know that the promises of God are and always have been conditional in every dispensation. To think otherwise is to refute His word.

Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. I John 2:24.

Judaism also knows of the necessity and promise of repentance. There are numerous words among the sayings of the rabbis which tell of the duty encumbant upon all, even upon the righteous, to repent, especially in the face of death. They tell also of the power of repentance to make atonement, of God's pardoning goodness, of the outward expression of repentance in sackcloth and ashes, in remorse and tears, in prayer and fasting. They speak also of the importance of a true repentance, which shows itself in the renouncement of former sins and in making good any wrongs committed.

When repentance comes to a Christian something happens to the past, there is remission of sins and God's forgiveness for all that lies behind. We are told to repent so that God will repent also.

Turn even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repents him of the evil. Who knows if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him.... Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly. Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders... Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare your people, O Lord.

There are so many theological justifications for cheap grace nowadays that deliverance ministries and repentance are unheard of in many churches. The story of the woman that brought the alabaster box of ointment for Jesus is seen as penitent, and if we can deduce from her remorse and devotion for the Lord, that she had already been forgiven and her weeping was from tears of thankfulness and godly sorrow. Her sins though many, made the forgiveness and love abound all the more. Jesus did not turn her away because she came to Him with tears of repentance.

We can learn a lot from this story about repentance and also of the self-righteous attitude of those of the cheap grace. If we were to think of the kingdom "on earth as it is in heaven" then we should know that just as John the Baptist preached repentance for the kingdom of God is near, then this should also be our message today. The pharisee that Jesus dined with reminds us of the ones that John the Baptist called "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance." It was not enough that they were children of Abraham which is the same as in the luke-warm church who "have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked."

Repentance is important, and to present ourselves as living sacrifices is not cheap, we are worth it, we are the living jewels in Jesus' crown. Holiness demands repentance from sin and if we were to tie this in with the eternal security question, then it is in coming to the cross as, like Paul, we die daily and is an integral part of running the race. Repentance is hidden from death and destruction but to the redeemed it is exposed as the life blood of coming to the cross. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins but the same thing is said for repentance. Out message must be the same as John's, we preach the "baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." The pathway of the cross is repentance, working through love in our hearts, being like Jesus, the way to escape judgment. We should all be a part of that high calling through taking on Jesus and bring many into righteousness. It is mentioned that the Bride is New Jerusalem but remember that we are the Bride if we can overcome the evil, shake the image of the beast from our minds and actions and accept what comes out of heaven. New Jerusalem is the spiritual city of God that comes down from heaven. New Jerusalem is not of this world.

One thing that we can learn from the seven churches of Asia is that they are not all the same. Like all the different schisms and factions in the church throughout history, these seven have a diversity but only two of them were found to have that praise from the Lord to reveal their sanctity, five were rebuked. Ephesus was told to "repent, and do the first works." Pergamos was told to "repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly." The church in Thyatira was said to have tolerated Jezebel who was given "space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not," "and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds." The message for Sardis was to " hold fast, and repent" and to the Laodiceans, "be zealous therefore, and repent." Can you see a pattern here? You would have to be blind not to see it but the fact is that most of the church is blind and unwilling to repent.

Repentance is more than godly sorrow, it is in turning from your sins and "sin no more." The message has not changed "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Repentance is the key to the spiritual life. When Jesus sent out the seventy, the message was "And they went out, and preached that men should repent." Repentance is central to the message. The reason that the righteous are not called to repentance is because "There is none righteous, no, not one" and if anyone thinks they are, they cannot be called.

We must repent and our message to others is repent, just as our message is the cross, which is the same thing. Going to the cross is admitting that we are in need of the Savior at the cross and that in His name and faith in what He has done, we are saved. Luke 13:5, "except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." It is not just a one time thing either, following Jesus is following Him to the cross and is done daily. Note Acts 3:19 "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." The word "times" is of course plural. We also know from Acts 17:30 that this includes everyone, everywhere, not just the elect, "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent." What kind of authority do we have. The same kind that commands people to repent. We have got to love them but true love warns of a fire and the fire is coming and for many is already here, doing it in love means accepting them just like Jesus did but the consequences are tremendous, this really is a life and death situation.

Jesus is coming to bring judgment and a erring church conformed to this world without fear of retribution ignore the warnings. Repentance comes before revival but the church cannot repent if they are ignorant of their own sins. Compare the mountain of the Lord described by Isaiah in the 25th chapter to the 21st chapter of Revelation. The New Jerusalem looks very much like this mountain. We know that death will be defeated but God shall wipe away the tears - what tears? Like the tears of children accidentally falling down and bruising our knees? Or tears of repentance and the travail on our knees for the church through intercession? This is yet to happen to the degree that makes us ready as the Bride of Christ. We are engaged to be married but Jesus is still expecting a perfected Bride. We are not ready and it seems that only a remnant of the so-called remnant is yet in place to prepare her. We have yet to really see these tears because a lukewarm church has need of nothing. They have gone the way of Jezebel, serving Baal in the name of Jesus. The mountain of the Lord is exalted because they have been a strength to the poor and needy in his distress and a refuge from the storm. The church that loves the kingdom of this world is in the eye of the storm all smug and self satisfied, oblivious to what is going on around them. Repent people, repent.
[319, 334, Joel, Luke 7:37, Matthew 3:7-8, Revelation 3, Repentance was an item of the latter rain discussion list on the end-time judgment and on the issue of eternal security]

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