Beginning at the moment a child first recognizes right from wrong each of us enters into a lifetime of choices: choices whether or not to tell the truth when the truth will get me in trouble; choices to be generous or selfish; choices to indulge harmful bodily impulses or control them; choices to let my temper flare or control it; choices to play by the rules or break them; choices to promote myself or others. Over time, my choices in these and other areas fall into habitual patterns which deepen until my essential character is formed. If I choose to repeatedly violate my conscience I become a person lacking integrity and the personality God intended for me withers and distorts. If I choose to repeatedly obey my conscience I instead become a person of high integrity and my God-intended personality emerges. This conscience, when healthy, is my ability to hear the inner promptings and warnings from God. Its voice grows stronger or weaker, louder or quieter, more calloused or more sensitive with the passing of time.
The Christian life begins with the decision to stop resisting the voice of God which has been speaking to us through the promptings of our conscience. Awakened by the Holy Spirit to the wrongness of my previous course of life I choose instead to submit future decisions to God. I pledge to choose obedience over rebellion, and to repent as soon as I recognize Ive failed.
1. What is repentance?
* The choice to stop a wrong course of action or thought and submit afresh to the will of God.
* A course correction, an attitude adjustment
* It begins by God revealing His view of my attitude or action, and then His revelation forces me to make a choice. Will I keep going or stop. Will I repair the damage Ive done? Will I move in a new direction?
* Ro 2:14-16
2. How does God convict us of sin?
a) He speaks to us in many ways
* Grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30)
* Realize what Ive done is forbidden by God's Word
* Recognize what someone says to me is true
* Observe the unintended results of my actions or words
b) 2 Co 7:8-11
In order for me to truly repent, God must reveal to my heart the deadly effect of my sin. I may be ware God disapproves but still be blind to the danger. I secretly wish He would allow me to do this sin. This is often the reason for continued failure to change.
c) True repentance begins with revelation from the Holy Spirit. If we dont have it, we must pray for it.
* Were wise to invite the Holy Spirit to convict us rather than force Him to discipline us. I Co 11:31, 32 but if we judged ourselves rightly we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
* We should do this: Psalm 139:23, 24 Search me O God and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts. And see if there be any (wicked) way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
* As opposed to: Ps 32:3, 4 (Also Ps 38) day and night your hand was heavy upon me
3. If Christ has died for me why do I still need to repent?
We dont simply repent once in order to get saved. Gods plan is to continually transform us until our hearts become like Jesus heart. He does this by placing His Spirit within us to guide us into the right path and convict us when we turn to the wrong path.
* This is a lifelong process, not a once in a lifetime event, although there are key moments of submission along the way.
* Aarons example
1) Bathed Ex 29:4
2) Washed at the laver Ex 30:17-21
o Priests hands and feet
o Made from mirrors of serving women Ex 38:8
o Preparation to draw near to God.
* Jesus application Jn 13:1-10
3) Bathed v 10 - baptized
4) Wash - repent
4. What are the spiritual benefits of repentance?
a) Repentance amplifies the volume of God's inner voice and my comprehension of the written Word.
* Ja 1:22-25 like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror
* Mt 13:11,12 to him who has shall more be given
b) Repentance and its subsequent steps of obedience allows us to crush under foot serpents and scorpions Lk 10:19.
c) Repentance makes it possible for me to fulfill Gods plan for my life.
d) Repentance restores me to the place where God can bless and prosper me. I Co 11:31.