Posts Tagged ‘repentance’

Repentance

May 11, 2015

King David is said to be “a man after God’s own heart”, that is; an example for the rest of us.  Yet, King David was an adulterer, and arranged for the death of an innocent man.  Obviously, this behavior is not what we are to imitate.  What we are to learn from is how he responded when he was confronted with his sin.  Psalms 51 was written to express his repentance.

Psalms 51:10-17

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

I.  A Broken and Contrite Heart

The first step is to recognize that we have sinned.  One thing that greatly bothers me is when people think that their life is right, and God’s Word is wrong.  When we measure our life by the light of God’s Word we will see that there is still room for improvement in our lives.  We still fall short of what we could, and should be.

Once we have recognized our sin, we should be sorry for our sin.  A “broken and contrite heart” does not make excuses for sin.

True repentance leads to renouncing sin.  We should turn away from sin.  As much as we can do so, we should avoid sin.  We should “cease to do evil, and learn to do good.”

II.  A Clean Heart

Once we have turned to God in repentance, we are forgiven for our sins.  We do not have to earn our forgiveness.  Forgiveness has been provided for us at the cross.  Jesus has made atonement for us.  “although our sins were as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow”.

III.  A Steadfast Spirit

As Christians we are meant to have life-altering changes take place in our lives.  A steadfast spirit is one that will be able to stand the test of time.  We are not “tossed about”  by events in our lives, but rather we are to be “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord”.

IV.  Joy

There are times when the joy of the Lord has been drained from our lives.  “The joy of the Lord is our strength.”  It is like fuel to a car.  We top off the tank and we can run for quite a while, but the stress and strains of life can cause our tanks to run dry.  When that happens we need to spend sufficient time in the presence of the Lord, for “in the presence of the Lord, there is joy forevermore”.  Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit, we can expect it to be present in our lives.  If it is missing, then we must seek the presence of the Lord until it is restored to us.

V. Teach

First, God works in our lives.  Then we are able to teach others about the goodness of the Lord.

VI.  Praise

Praise is a natural and expected response to the forgiveness that God offers to us.  God is good to us in so many ways.  He is worthy of our worship and our praise.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

These are the sermon notes from 5/10/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Classic Pattern

June 16, 2014

Throughout the writings of the prophets there seems to be a fairly classic pattern.  God would bless Israel.  Israel would fall in to sin.  God would send prophets to warn of judgement.  Israel would ignore the prophets.  God would send judgement.  Israel would repent.  Israel would be restored.  The pattern would repeat.

Hosea 7:1-2

“When I would have healed Israel,
Then the iniquity of Ephraim was uncovered,
And the wickedness of Samaria.
For they have committed fraud;
A thief comes in;
A band of robbers takes spoil outside.
They do not consider in their hearts
That I remember all their wickedness;
Now their own deeds have surrounded them;
They are before My face.

I.  Iniquity Uncovered

If we have consciously given way to sin, choosing to live a life that is displeasing to God, we should know that it is not hidden from God.  God sees what is done in secret.  God sees right through our attempts to rationalize.  God recognizes sin as sin.  We may be able to fool others.  We may even be able to fool ourselves.  We will never fool God.

II.  Punishment

In these verses, the image of a thief is used.  God has a whole host of ways at His disposal.  The judgement of God can take many forms.  One problem that we face, is that we may not even recognize that the setbacks that are occurring in our life are sent from God.  It would be appropriate for us to regularly pray and ask God if we are living right before Him.  Search my heart oh God…

Hosea 6:1-3

Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.

III. Repent

When we recognize that we have sinned, there is only one correct response: repentance.  Far too many people try to excuse their sin, or declare that their sin, isn’t really a sin, or that it isn’t that bad.  When God reveals our sin to us we should ask God to forgive us, then go and sin no more.  Now, I recognize that it is not quite that simple.  It can be very difficult to change sinful patterns in our lives.  We do not make these changes in our own strength.  God will help us.  We must take the step of confessing our sin, and asking God to help us to do what is right and pleasing in His sight.

After we have repented, God will bring restoration to our lives.  God can bring healing to broken hearts and broken lives.

IV.  Pursue the Knowledge of the Lord

No matter how long we have been a Christian, there is more to learn about the ways of God.  Let us continue to pursue the knowledge of God.  This is available to us through the Word, and through prayer.  This knowledge of God will help us to face the challenges of this life.  God will give us wisdom and strength for each new day, for each problem that we might face.

As we grow in our knowledge of God, our appreciation for the blessings of God will grow as well.  We will appreciate more the beauty of the world around us.  We will treasure the relationships that we have with the people in our lives.   We will grow in our ability to experience the joy that God has for His people in His presence.  It is a very good thing to grow in the knowledge of God.

These are the sermon notes from 6/15/14.  Any advertisements that appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do  I receive any money from them.

Give God Our All

May 22, 2014

We have several students graduating this spring.  It brings back memories of my own graduation from college back in 1987.  Since I was graduating from a Bible college it was no surprise that instead of a student presenting a speech, we had a student preach a message.  I still remember the title “More Than Just a Little Bit”.  That line came from a popular Christian song by the group Glad.  The basic theme was that we were to give God our all, not just a little bit.  It was a great message and it has stuck with me through the years.

I.  Inconsistent!  Ezekiel 14:1-6

 Then some elders of Israel came to me and sat down before me. And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity. Should I be consulted by them at all? Therefore speak to them and tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Any man of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, puts right before his face the stumbling block of his iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the Lord will be brought to give him an answer in the matter in view of the multitude of his idols, in order to lay hold of the hearts of the house of Israel who are estranged from Me through all their idols.”’

“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Repent and turn away from your idols and turn your faces away from all your abominations.

A.  Idols:  These elders had come for a word from the Lord.  That looked good on the outside.  They were a part of the children of Israel. They were supposed to seek guidance from God, through the prophets.  The problem is that it was not with their whole hearts.  They “set up idols in their hearts”.  God was not pleased.

Do we have idols in our hearts?  Chances are pretty good that none of us actually have physical idols that we worship or consult, but that is not the only type of idol that exists.   Anything that we allow to be more important to us than God is an idol to us.  Anything that we place our trust in, more than we trust in God, is an idol to us.  God wants to be first in our lives.  The most important thing to us, and the thing in which we place the most trust.

B.  Stumble:  “The stumbling block of their iniquity”.  We are called to repent and believe the gospel.  Although we are saved by faith we are still called to turn away from sin. We should be careful in our lives to avoid those things that cause us to stumble.

II.  Repent and Live!  Ezekiel 18:26-32

When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies. 27 Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive. 28 Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?

30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”

A.  The Righteous Man:  These verses are both a warning and a message of hope.  The warning is to those who are serving God in righteousness and truth.  The warning is that we need to continue in righteousness, if we fall into sin we will be judged.  God does not want simply a part of our lives.  He wants us throughout our lives.  We are not to walk with God for a while, we are to walk with God throughout our lives.

B.  The Sinful Man:  There is a message of hope for the sinner.  As long as we live, there is still hope for us to repent and call upon the Lord.  We can still be saved, even if we have lived a lifetime of sin. Even as the thief on the cross was forgiven in his final hours, so we too, can be forgiven.  This should motivate those of us who are believers to continue to pray for those who are lost.  There is still hope.  Never give up hope!

III.  All of Us:

A.  Confession and Faith:  Romans 10:9-10

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

A public confession of faith in Jesus in important.  It is even more important that we actually believe the message in our hearts.  It affects both our inner and our outer person.  What we think, and what we say are important.  God wants all of us, not just the inside, not just the outside, but all of us.

B.  Faith and Action:  James 2:24-26

You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

These verses do not imply that we are saved by our works.  We are still saved “by grace, through faith”.  What it does mean is that if we are saved, then our lives will be changed.  That should not come as any surprise.  Do we really think that having the Spirit of Christ in our hearts would not change us?  A living faith will produce works of righteousness.  Our lives should be producing “good fruit”.  God does not want us to have a merely a saving faith, but a transforming faith. This is a faith that changes us from who we were, to who we are becoming in Christ.  This process of becoming will continue throughout our lives as we grow closer to Him.

God does not want a part of our lives.  He wants all of us.

These are the sermon notes from 5/18/14.  Any advertisement that may accompany this blog is placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Restore Joy

August 22, 2011

Here is the basic outline of yesterday’s sermon.  You will need your Bible to be able to read the references.

Introduction:  Jeremiah was living in a city under siege.  He had proclaimed that judgement would come, and now he was living through the attack on Jerusalem.  It was a dangerous and stressful time.  During this time he had a dream in which he received a vision of restoration.

I.  A Word of Restoration  Jeremiah 31:23-26

A.  There is a promise that the city would again be known for justice and holiness.

B.  There is a promise that every weary soul would be fully satisfied.

C.  There is a promise that every sorrowful soul would be replenished.

Remember Psalms 35:5 “Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. ”  In our own lives, we may experience times of testing or turmoil, but we can trust that God will not abandon us if we continue in our walk with Him.

D. Jeremiah awoke from his dream and was able to go back to sleep, and his sleep was ‘sweet’.   He was at peace.

II.  A New Covenant:  Jeremiah 31:31-34 

There is another promise of restoration.  Christ will come and a new covenant will be established.  Remember how at the last supper Christ said that “This cup is the new covenant in My blood” .  This covenant shifts the focus from obedience to an external law to having the law written upon our hearts.  This is accomplished by our relationship with Christ.  As the Spirit of Christ  comes into our hearts at salvation we begin the process of learning to ‘walk in the Spirit’ so that we do not give in to the ‘lusts of the flesh’.

The promises given in this section are fulfilled in part now and will be completed when Christ returns.

III.  A New Heart  Psalms 51:7-13

God has always been interested in our heart.  King David was not called a ‘man after God’s own heart’ , because of his moral perfection.  At times he had very serious sin in his life, for which he paid a price.  However, when confronted with his sin he repented and turned to God for forgiveness.  His prayer for forgiveness has become a model for generations to come.

We may have lost the ‘joy of our salvation’ through sin, or simply through the ongoing rigors of life.  It is good to pray the words of David.  “Create in me a clean heart, and restore the joy of my salvation.”  We recognize that the “joy of the Lord is our strength”  and it is available to us daily.

 

They Love Too Much

August 31, 2009

“They love too much”  was a comment made to me about the ELCA after the news about the decision to ordain individuals involved in a long term, committed, homosexual relationship.

God is love, so is it possible to love too much?

No, it is not possible to love too much, but it is possible to allow our love to corrupt our understanding of the nature of God. 

God is love, but God is also just.  The scriptures clearly speak about a coming judgement, where there will be a final division of humanity for an eternal  reward or punishment.  Hell, is an eternity without God and will be worse than anything ever imagined by mortal imaginations.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”  (Matthew 7:21-23)

We are saved by grace through faith for good works. ( c.f. Ephesians 2:8-10).  God’s grace combines with  faith and  results in a new relationship with God, which changes us from the inside out.  We are saved as we are, but we are not left in our sin. 

Do not be deceived.  We are called to repentance and faith, and repentance is not simply confessing our sins, but turning from our sins.  We may not achieve perfection in this life, but we ought not to call sin, righteousness; and righteousness,sin.