Monday, February 10, 2014

True Repentance

Repent and Be a Witness

Every truly born again believer has gone through the experience of repentance. This is where our relationship with the Risen Christ starts. Before you decide not to read further, please wait! The Lord has intended to use this message to help you in your own witnessing ministry. You heard me correctly: after your repentance, the Lord Jesus Christ called you to be His witness to the world (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19-20). While many brethren in the Body of Christ aspire for the official ministry titles, there are also others who want the ministry titles to show power and status, while only a few have no other desire expect to please the Lord through obedience and soul winning.

As we know, John the Baptist came as a witness from our Heavenly Father so as to reveal our Lord Jesus Christ to the world (John 1:32-34). He started out his ministry preaching repentance (Matthew 3:2). This was repeated by Peter on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38), and the apostle Paul went through a similar experience; he repented and was Baptized (Acts 9:18-22). Paul could not have been baptized without repenting first. Even though Luke does not mention repentance in this account, it was common practice among the brethren to preach repentance and encourage baptism as a sign of repentance (Matthew 3:11).

What is Repentance?

Some weeks ago, the Lord had us write an article on Salvation. As it is, there can be no salvation without repentance or being born again (John 3:3-8; Matthew 3:2; 4:17). Biblically, repentance means turning from sin to God (Deuteronomy 30:1-2; 2 Chronicles 6:26-27). Once we have renounced our sins through repentance, we sustain our salvation through our obedience to the Lord (Philippians 2:12-13). There are many people who have faith in God and the redemptive work of Christ Jesus, but let me tell you: faith that does not involve repentance is not true faith (Acts 20:21). That is most definitely not a faith that leads to salvation (Romans 3:22-25; Ephesians 2:8). This is the kind of faith the world has: historical knowledge about the work of salvation through our Lord Jesus, but no fruit of repentance which is obedience. Knowledge or belief alone is not sufficient, as the Bible says: "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!" (James 2:19 NKJV) Therefore, obedience to the Lord is a yielding to the conviction of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:37).

The Bible says repentance involves a complete change in the heart, soul (mind, will and emotions) and a spirit of a believer (Ezekiel 11:18-20). It is more than just mere sorrow for sin; it is a total surrender to the Lord. True repentance is acknowledging our sins as deserving God’s judgment and turning from that sin to ask the Lord’s forgiveness (1 Kings 8:47-50). If we feel sorrow for our sins and we ignore the Lord, we act on self-pity. It is written, Godly sorrow leads to repentance and a new life in Christ (2 Corinthians 7:9-10; Psalm 51:1-17). Our repentance proves its genuineness in a complete change of behavior (Luke 3:8-14; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 2:4-6).

In my daily witnessing, I have come across a lot of people who expresses great sorrow for their sins. Some even use this Scripture: “… God have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13-14 NIV), but they continue in their sin. This tax collector in the above Scripture repented unto obedience. How many of us reading here have sorrow for our sins but we never repent? Will you only feel sorry for your sins and even confess them to others in self-pity, but not act by faith coming from the Holy Spirit’s conviction and repent? We know the consequences of sin brings about God’s judgments (Romans 6:23). This message of repentance is for today, so come to the Lord today! Repent and follow the Lord in fearful obedience. Don’t give up on life; Christ is that life (John 14:6).  Accept Him, see He is calling you to Him in love (Matthew 11:28). Let me repeat what the Lord once told us: He said, “I will always love all people equally”. I therefore encourage you: don’t just sit there and say, "yes He loves me." Show Him love too by repenting of your sins and following Him in obedience (John 14:15).

We Must Be Committed and Faithful

The Lord told us that there are countless Christians who will miss Heaven. He attributes this to their disobedience to Him, further saying they are leading unholy lives. While people are being encouraged to confess and repent daily, continuing in our sinful actions is dishonoring the Lord.

I had a friend whom I witnessed the gospel to, and he told me that he takes out the ‘sinner’s prayer’ every morning as a prayer and reads it out loud to himself, while he continuously lives in sin with his girlfriend. I am not condemning him here or judging him; as a preacher of the gospel, I am Scripturally charged and called upon to preach against sin (2 Timothy 3:16). This is the trend today: people are confessing their sin(s) every day, but they go back to their sin. That is not true repentance; if that is you, my brother or sister, then you are playing with your salvation and not taking it seriously.

In our ministry, we had people whom the Lord rebuked for willful sinning (Hebrews 10:26). The Lord warned them about HELL for their disobedience. The Lord told me personally that He does forgive us if we made mistakes, but He will punish us for our purposeful disobedience.  In His rebuke of a young girl aged 9, the Lord told her that she loves sinning and then goes back to repent of her sins, and this was not pleasing to Him. Brethren, the Lord gave this message saying: “Many people say they have repented, but they repeat their sins without regard to My warnings”.

Recently, the Lord sharply rebuked a young man in our ministry for willful sinning. While this young man was attending regular fellowship service and witnessing with us, he lived a double life. The Lord said if He was to come at the time of the message He gave him or if he had died at that time, that young man would have missed his salvation and gone to HELL. I will share this young man's rebuke with you right here. Again this I share out of obedience to the Holy Spirit for your benefit.  It is not intended to "expose" or embarrass but through his rebuke we are appealing to you to walk in true repentance. Here follows the Lord’s rebuke of Sam (Not real name): “My son Sam is worldly, and My son Sam is busy with wrong things. My son Sam is an unfair person and My son Sam loves lying. My son Sam loves making empty promises and My son Sam is lustful”.

In the light of this rebuke from the Lord, how many of us can identify with some of the sins mentioned here? This message was given to a born again Christian. I have withheld parts of the full rebuke and only mentioned the most common things we are all familiar with. The Lord repeated this rebuke in a separate vision to Charis, adding more sins. This message was given to Sam as a warning to us.

Brethren, I encourage live your repentance daily remembering that “…without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). Seek true repentance and live true repentance by honoring the Lord through obedience.  Here is a Prayer of Sincere Repentance to get you started. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Be Blessed in Repentance,

Brother Glenn.