Saturday, November 26, 2016

Repentance - Foundation Series

What moved Luther from seeing the life of the church in his day as normal and satisfactory to realizing that not only the church but his own life was in need of radical change?

How did the rest of the reformers know that the church teaching and practice was off base and in need of correction?

Repent = re + think; think again; change my thinking; a change of heart and action. NT Greek = Metanoia; a change of thought or feeling; practical reformation; reversal of the past.

One of the greatest gifts of grace God ever gives a person or a church is the grace of repentance.

Semper Reformda - always reforming.
The church is reformed and always being reformed according to the Word of God.

1. Always Repenting
Deuteronomy 30:1-3
"And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you.
Job 42:5-6
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
Matthew 3:1-2
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Matthew 4:17
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Matthew 15:9
in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'"
Acts 2:38
And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Repentance is a lifestyle

2. Not Repentance
Sorrow is not necessarily repentance
Regret is not necessarily repentance
2 Corinthians 7:8-10
For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
Hebrews 12:16-17
that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

3. Repentance is Returning
Jesus took Judaism back to God's Word:
-Their view of divorce: Matthew 19:3-9
-Their view if the Resurrection: Mark 12:24 with Exodus 3:6

Biblical repentance is nothing new.

The Reformers' work of reformation wasn't about trying to be innovative and creating something new, but rather, the reforming they had in mind was a reforming back to what God had plainly laid out in His Word.

Isaiah 8:19-20
And when they say to you, "Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter," should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.

4. God's Kindness & our Repentance
Romans 2:3-4
Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

God's Kindness in His patient forbearance of our sin is meant to bring us to a change of heart, mind, relationship and practice, in a word, to repentance.

1. In it's initial context Romans 2 is about repentance to salvation; the most important step of repentance.
2. The wider the kindness and grace of God in regards to repentance:
-God's kindness shows us our need of repentance as believers.
-God's kindness gives us repentance.
-God's kindness doesn't overwhelm us with all our sin at once; rather, He shows us little by little, lest we despair in a moment over the remarkable depth and breadth of our sin.

How do you and I work at our own reformation?
How do we come to recognize deficient beliefs and practices and repent?

-Have I ever repented of my rebellion against God and my alienation from Him by entrusting myself into the saving grace of Jesus Christ?
-Am I confessing my sin to God and to others as needful, so that I'm not hardening my heart to truth and my own need of repentance
-Am I immersing myself in the truth of God's Word, using that as the plumb line against which I measure my own thoughts?
-Am I in regular fellowship with other believers in an iron-sharpening-iron way?
-Do I take seriously the concerns others bring to me?
-Do I ask God to "search me and try my heart" (Psalm 139) and show me any hurful ways I need to repent from?

"Fear-based repentance makes us hate ourselves. 
Joy-based repentance makes us hate the sin." -Tim Keller

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