Posts Tagged ‘Repentance

12
Aug
16

Born Again

John 3:4-8 (NIV)

4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

In the late-night conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus, Jesus says some things that are puzzling to Nicodemus. He tells him that we must be born again and that we cannot enter into the Kingdom of God unless we are born again. Nicodemus takes Jesus’ words at face value and tries to imagine a grown man literally being born from his mother’s womb a second time. Jesus wasn’t speaking literally, of course. He was speaking spiritually.

We need to be born of the Spirit. How are we born of water and the Spirit? Through baptism into Christ. Peter said on the Day of Pentecost,


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. – Acts 2:38 (NIV)


When we put our faith in Christ, we are born agains when we express our faith in repentance and by being baptized. We are then filled with the Holy Spirit of God. All of this is made possible by God’s grace. Without the grace of God, we are lost and dead in our sins. But by God’s grace through faith in Christ, He washes away our sins when we call on His name. Let us give thanks for the amazing grace that has made forgiveness and salvation possible through Jesus.

PRAYER: Thank You for the grace that has rescued me from my sins, O God. Thank You for saving me through Your Son, Jesus. I turn to You in repentance today and humbly confess my sins to You. Thank You for Your forgiveness in Jesus’ name, amen.

16
Jun
16

The Biblical Plan Of Salvation

The message from Griffith First Christian Church from June 5, 2016.

28
Apr
16

Escaping God’s Wrath

Zechariah 1:1-6 (NIV)

In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo:

2 “The Lord was very angry with your ancestors. 3 Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty. 4 Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the Lord. 5 Where are your ancestors now? And the prophets, do they live forever? 6 But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your ancestors?

“Then they repented and said, ‘The Lord Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.’”

 

Zechariah was a prophet and priest who was born in Babylon when the Jews from Judah were in captivity there. When the Persians conquered the Babylonians in 539 BC, the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. About 50,000 exiles returned to Jerusalem, just as God had promised. Zechariah called God’s people to remain faithful to the Lord Almighty as they began to rebuild the temple.

In verse 2, the phrase, “The Lord was very angry…” is literally translated, “The Lord was angry with anger.” God’s people, with whom He had entered into a loving relationship, rebelled against Him and did evil in His sight. God punished His people because of their rebellion. God’s anger does not last forever. He promised that a remnant would return to Jerusalem. That is exactly what happened.

Zechariah reminded the people that God’s heart is for repentance and forgiveness, not wrath and punishment. We see this in the New Testament in the life and death of Jesus Christ. God sent His Son to call people to repentance and to take the punishment for our rebellion and sin. When Jesus went to the cross, He was the object of God’s wrath. God poured out all of His wrath on Christ on the cross.

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 (NIV) says:

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:1-5 (NIV):

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

God has saved us by His grace through faith in His Son, Jesus. His wrath is reserved for those who reject Christ. Let us live to tell of Jesus and His love so that others may escape the coming wrath of God.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, thank You for Your grace that saves us from wrath. Thank You for rescuing me through Your Son, Jesus. May I have an opportunity to share the good news of Jesus with someone today that they might hear, believe and repent and turn to You for forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, amen.
08
Dec
15

God Doesn’t Understand

Micah 2:6-11 (NIV)

“Do not prophesy,” their prophets say.
    “Do not prophesy about these things;
    disgrace will not overtake us.”
You descendants of Jacob, should it be said,
    “Does the Lord become impatient?
    Does he do such things?”

“Do not my words do good
    to the one whose ways are upright?
Lately my people have risen up
    like an enemy.
You strip off the rich robe
    from those who pass by without a care,
    like men returning from battle.
You drive the women of my people
    from their pleasant homes.
You take away my blessing
    from their children forever.
10 Get up, go away!
    For this is not your resting place,
because it is defiled,
    it is ruined, beyond all remedy.
11 If a liar and deceiver comes and says,
    ‘I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,’
    that would be just the prophet for this people!

 

Let’s face it, we​ don’t always like what God’s Word says to us, do we?  The Bible holds up a mirror to us and shows us our flaws.  The Bible tells us that we don’t measure up.  God, in His Word, tells us how we should be living.  The Bible points out our errors and mistakes.  The Bible, rightly so, calls us sinners and calls us to repent.  The problem is…we don’t want to.

Micah was prophesying against God’s people and they didn’t want to hear it.  Verse 8 says that God’s people had become like an enemy to Him.  They didn’t like hearing that God would be upset with them.  They wanted soothing words and sweet messages.  They wanted a kinder, gentler God with few expectations.  Look at verse 11:

If a liar and deceiver comes and says,
    ‘I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,’
    that would be just the prophet for this people!​ – Micah 2:11 (NIV)​

​The people of Micah’s day wanted God’s blessings and good times, but they had rejected God!  They wanted false prophets to tell them everything was just fine and dandy, but things were not that way at all!

This is true in America today.  We don’t want preachers to preach the Gospel that calls us to repentance.  We don’t want pastors to call us out on our sinful habits and addictions.  We only want encouraging messages about God’s grace and love.  We want preachers to tell us that it’s okay because God understands.  God doesn’t understand!  We’re His children and He has expectations for His children just as any parent has for their children.  When we don’t measure up, we are corrected and disciplined.  We don’t want the discipline.  We don’t want to repent.  We don’t want to change.  We like to sin and we hate it when someone tells us we’re not measuring up to God’s expectations and standards of holiness.  We want the cure without the shot.  We want Heaven without the cost of repentance.  Our Heavenly Father says it just can’t be that way.  We don’t get to pick and choose what we want to do.  To do so is to create God in our image and likeness.  He will not be so diminished and demeaned.  God is God and we are not.  We do things His way or else we suffer the consequences of our actions.

 

PRAYER: O Father, I am a wretched sinner.  I confess that I struggle with repentance.  I need Your Spirit to help me repent and to make me holy as You are holy.  I confess that I want to do what I want to do regardless of Your expectations and regardless of the consequences.  Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned against You.  Thank You for the blood of Jesus that washes me clean.  Amen.

17
Jul
15

The Increase of Grace

The law was added so that the trespass might increase.  But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. — Romans 5:20-21 (NIV)

This morning I have been listening to the song Only Grace by Matthew West.  Then I read Paul’s words in Romans 5 and realize that grace is really all I need.  God’s unmerited favor towards me is that which is most essential.  My salvation is not dependent on my righteousness, but by Christ being the sinless sacrifice that paid for my sins.  I have been ransomed and redeemed by the grace of God.  It is God’s grace that saves me from my wickedness and sinfulness.  It is His grace that makes salvation possible through such simple means.  I can’t earn it or be good enough for it or buy it.  Salvation is by God’s grace through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.  It is a wonderful gift of love that God desires to give to everyone.

My sins have been washed away in the blood of Jesus Christ because of the loving grace of God.  I have the hope and promise of eternal life because of God’s grace.  What hope do you have?  Have you received God’s loving gift of grace?  The Bible teaches a very simple plan of salvation.

  1. Believe – Ephesians 2:8 – we are saved by grace through faith
  2. Repent – 2 Corinthians 7:10 – Godly sorrow leads to repentance which leads to salvation and life
  3. Confess – Romans 10:9-10 – we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths and we are saved
  4. Be Baptized – Acts 2:38 – Repent and be baptized…for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit

May God lead you by His grace into salvation and eternal life!  If you are looking for a church in your area to get plugged into, try this link and enter in your zip code or city/state information.  Blessings!

-Shawn

08
Jun
15

The Saving Work Of Jesus Christ

The letter to the churches in the region of Galatia has one major focus – grace.  Grace is God’s unmerited favor and love toward sinful human beings.  In verse 3 of chapter 1, Paul greets the churches in Galatia with a wish for “grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:3, NIV).  He then goes on to describe Christ’s saving work on the cross in verse 4.
It was Jesus who gave Himself for our sins.  Jesus willingly laid down His life for the sins of humanity.  He said in John 10:

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. – John 10:11 (NIV)

Then, in verses 17-18:

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.​ – John 10:17-18 (NIV)​

Jesus was willing to give up His own life for a world full of sinful, rebellious people.  Not only was it the will of Jesus, but the will of God the Father.  Isaiah 53:10 (NIV) says:
​…​it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer​…
It was not the will of the Jews or the Romans that caused Jesus’ suffering.  It was the will of the Father.  There was no other way that we could be saved.  It is only through the saving work of Jesus that He accomplished on the cross.  His work is sufficient.  There is nothing we can do to add to it.  We are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ expressed in belief, repentance, public confession and baptism.  We need to stop trying to save ourselves by being good enough or going to church or sitting on a theological high horse looking down on everyone else.  We must simply accept this offer of salvation made by God the Father through God the Son, Jesus Christ.  To Him be glory, honor, power and majesty forever and ever, amen.

Galatians 1:1-5 (NIV)

Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers and sisters with me,

To the churches in Galatia:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

30
Jul
14

Zacchaeus and Repentance

There are so many things we can learn from the story of Zacchaeus.
  • There are people who so desperately want to see Jesus that they will climb trees to do it.  Be someone’s tree.  Help them see Jesus.
  • Jesus would rather hang out with sinners than than spend His time with the religious.  He entered Jericho and went straight up to the worst of sinners – a tax collector who had cheated his own people on behalf of the Romans.  He didn’t go to the synagogue first.  He went to Zacchaeus’ house.
  • Jesus isn’t a china doll.  By that, I mean that sometimes we’re so protective of Jesus and we don’t want Him getting into the wrong hands.  We may thing to ourselves, “Those people are so dirty and sinful.  They don’t deserve Jesus.  They don’t understand what He did for them.  They don’t get it.”  Quit hoarding Jesus!  Share Him and His love with everyone you meet!

Perhaps the most important thing that we can learn from this story, though, is that salvation comes when we repent.  Jesus came into Zacchaeus’ home, but Zacchaeus wasn’t saved until Jesus came into His heart.  By that I mean that the Gospel penetrated Zacchaeus’ heart and brought about repentance.  He had gotten rich off of cheating people.  So he vowed to give away half of his possessions to help the poor.  He vowed to repay those he had cheated four times what he had swindled from them.  Zacchaeus repented of his sin and turned to Jesus and Jesus forgave Him.  

Salvation without repentance is not possible.  Repentance is a change of mind and heart that leads to a change of behavior.  Repentance happens when someone experiences the love of Jesus.  May those of us who have experienced His love draw a line in the sand of repentance today.  By the power of God’s Holy Spirit, I will be changed today.  I will not resist the Spirit’s power in my life.  I will allow the Spirit to change me today.

Luke 19:1-10 (NIV)

Zacchaeus the Tax Collector

19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”




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