Monday, August 8, 2011

REPENT and Believe

Preach the REAL Gospel

"Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." Mark 1:14-15

What is the Gospel message?  Ask that question and you are bound to get a variety of answers.  However, Jesus - and His disciples - all seemed pretty sure what the Gospel is and how it should be preached.

"From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 4:17

"And they went out, and preached that men should repent." Mark 6:12

"Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Luke 24:45-47

"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 2:38

"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." Acts 3:19

"Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 20:21

With the number of false gospel messages being preached these days, it is no wonder that much of the churchworld is in such a miserable state.  Yet, God says what He means and means what He says.  Further - and this may be a shocker for some - we cannot improve upon what God has done.

It is Not "God Loves You, Now Believe"

The first message of the Gospel is not to convince sinners that God "loves" them. Yet, many in the church have made this their primary mission.  They replace the preaching of repentance with the preaching of God's "love".  The problem - the say - is that the lost does not know how much God "loves" them.  Therefore, before we can even think to win them to the faith, we must show them "love" and tell them of God's "love" so as not to push them away.  Only when they are convinced of, and won over by, this "love" will they then desire to come to know the Lord.

It should be noted however that not one time did Jesus or His disciples use the preaching of God's "love" as the impetus to getting others to believe.  Does that mean that God does not love mankind?  Of course not!  But it does mean that such preaching is not the means of leading people to the faith.

Is man less sinful now than 2000 years ago?   Did God make a mistake and send us the wrong Gospel message at the beginning of the church?  When did God realize that a call to repentance was too callous, too unloving, or too demanding

According to the Scriptures, we show the love of God to others by walking in what He has commanded (I John 5:2). We are transformed into vessels of His love by being obedient to Him and speaking/living His truths in our lives.  What type of "love" is it which would call for us to disregard God's Gospel in favor of our own?  Any "love" that changes His truths into a lie is a soulish perception of love that is anything but true.

The great divide between God and man is not an absence of God's love; the problem is not on God's side at all.  The one thing that prevents reconciliation between God and man is sin.  As long as we try to pretend that sin is not the issue, then we will never be able to show the way of salvation to others.

It is Not "Believe and then Repent"

Notice as well that we are not called to "Believe and then repent".  Rather, repentance comes first.  Before one can even have a hope of believing, one's heart must have Godly sorrow about sin, turning from it and adopting an attitude towards sin that mirrors God's: despising it (Romans 8:6-8).

We can spend many minutes, hours, days trying to get people to believe in Christ; engaging in endless & senseless strivings about religion, doctrine, and the purpose of life.  Much of this would be curtailed if we but understood that belief must be preceded by repentance.

When man repents, God gives him ears to hear and eyes to see the truth so that he can come to it by the drawing of the Holy Spirit (Zechariah 7:11-12; Acts 3:19; Matthew 13:9-15; II Timothy 2:24-26).  Conversely, we must know that people's response to the Gospel does not invalidate the truths of the Gospel. 

Why don't people believe the Gospel? 

It is not because it is too hard for them to understand (II Corinthians 11:3).

Nor is it because they need more proof that God exists (Romans 1:20).

Neither is it that they do not "feel" loved by God (Psalm 145:8-9; Matthew 5:45; John 3:16; Romans 1:19).

It is no great mystery and entails no psychological review.  There is only one reason why people do not come to faith in Jesus Christ and that is because they are not yet through with sin (John 3:19; 15:22-25).  In other words, they are not ready to repent.

If we truly desire to minister to the lost - to be used by God as His witnesses about His great love - then we must be sure to preach the real Gospel.  We must not be ashamed of this message, but should preach it with clarity so that the Spirit can draw men unto Jesus Christ.  It is He alone who saves, not ourselves, and only He knows what men need to hear for their hearts to be pricked (Acts 2:37-38).

Pray for a spirit of boldness, pray for God to open a door of utterance, so that captives may be set free via your unwavering witness for Christ.

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." II Peter 3:9

"And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent." Acts 17:30

16 comments:

  1. Well, this would be a handy article for the peole who think John 3:16 is the whole Gospel.

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  2. Wow!! What truth!! Me and a sister were talking about this exact thing today!! I hope you are doing well!!

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  3. Just a little curious about repentance; I have heard that once you repent that you should never sin again and if you do then it was not true repentance. What are your thoughts on this because I know I have definetly sinned since I first accepted Jesus as lord and savior.

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  4. Hi Kuntry Girl,

    I am doing fine! I hope that you are too. It is good to hear from you. :-)

    Hi Anonymous,

    "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." I John 1:7

    If we never sinned after first coming to Christ, then we would not need to be further cleansed from sin after that point. But we know that we do.

    In Christ, however, we are given the power to overcome sin and resists it in our lives. In fact, He tells us that with every temptation He makes available a way of escape (I Cor. 10:13).

    Maybe this would help: I Am Not A Sinner - Part 2

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  5. That's an awesome post!

    I have a similar post on my blog entitled - "Jesus Christ Ministry Techniques"
    http://sospression.com/2009/10/03/jesus-christ-ministry-techniques/

    Let's keep the truth spreading!

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  6. God bless you! Excellent word!! I'm glad I stumbled across your blog this morning!

    Paulette

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  7. Hello, I would like to repent and my issue is where do I find an official Bible? I grew up a Jehovah's Witness and I think their bible is different and I'm just not sure. Where can I find the Bible you all use? Thanks.

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  8. Hi Anonymous,

    You don't need a Bible to repent; all you need is a broken spirit and a contrite heart.

    Simply confess your sins to God; receive Jesus Christ - the Son of God - as your Lord & Savior who has died for you sins; commit your life to Him and as for His Holy Spirit to indwell you and lead you into all righteousness.

    In terms of a Bible, when I first got saved, the Lord led me to purchase a King James Bible. However, I also enjoy reading the Amplified Bible. Of more importance than the version of the Bible you use is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit for He is the one who inspired it and reveals its meaning to us. Seek to be filled with God's Spirit and He will provide wisdom in all else.

    Here are a few links to resources that may help you:

    Blue Letter Bible

    Amplified Bible

    eSword

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  9. Thank you for your response. It's quite sad because I have YET to pray to God, I just don't know what to say to him after all my years of sinning. However, I don't feel like I'm being sincere. For the past months I've been contemplating on becoming a Born again, but then I read on one of your videos where you said God does not always forgive... then it just discouraged me. I'm only 18, but I've done A LOT of horrid things and I find it hard to believe God will forgive me especially since I countless times "promised" him I wouldn't do those things again, I just kept doing them anyway, like a slap in his face. Then I read a beautiful article in your blog called "Our Father's Love Letter to You". After reading it, I cried and decided to cut the foolishness and drop everything to get to know my TRUE FATHER... but then I read another Article where it said God did not hear sinners or something like that and then I thought that the article was NOT meant for me, only for the REAL Christians therefore I think I was crying over nothing. I just feel that I just wanna follow God because we're in the End times and that's NOT sincere at all. However, another part of me truly do wants to be close with God and be loved by him and sacrifice myself to him. Even if he never forgives me.. I still wanna try.. sorry, I know you didn't ask for a life story but I needed to share this with someone who knows the real Gospel of God. Thank you for the links, however do you know any physical Bibles I can purchase from Amazon or an Online store? I would like to take one and read it at school. Don't I need a Bible to understand God? Sorry for the Idiotic questions, I'm just lost.

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  10. Hi Anonymous,

    We were all sinners and have all done horrendous things against the Lord. That is why we need Jesus. :-)

    I am not sure which video you reference, but the Scriptures indicate that the only ones who are not forgiven are those who are not truly repentant or who don't have Godly sorrow for their sins (II Cor. 7:9-11; Hebrews 12:17; James 4:6-7).

    In the article about God not being a friend of sinners, the point is that we must repent. Everyone comes to Him as a sinner, but God only inclines His ear to those who humbly confess and desire to turn from sin (Luke 18:10-14).

    Also, we cannot overcome sin on our own as a matter of us "trying to" stop sinning. This will make us feel like a failure every time. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit in us to overcome sin.

    Many people first come to God because they realize that they are sinners in need of a Savior. They recognize that they are set on the course for Hell and only Jesus can save them. Yet, as we come in faith to Christ, the marvelous thing is that we can come to know God as a Father...as OUR Father (Romans 8:15). We come to know Him and praise Him just for who He is, not for what He can do for us. This is because we come into relationship with Him and can learn more of His unending love for us.

    You are more than welcome to write your life story here, or whatever else you feel led to write. This blog is in many ways the story of my life - both the good and the bad; but mostly the story of His saving grace in my life; in spite of my imperfections.

    You should be able to pick up a Bible at any local book store or even Walmart, etc. Since you are 18, I would recommend the Amplified Bible as it puts things in very plain text.

    Try to pick up a Bible at a local store, and start studying the Scriptures. He will show you via His Word as led by His Spirit exactly what He wants you to do. Yes, we do need His word in order to get to know Him, but we don't need a Bible simply to repent.

    Maybe the following article would help:

    Claim Adoption Into The Royal Family

    Feel free to drop by the blog anytime or ask any questions you may have. The purpose of the Body of Christ is to grow together and encourage each other.

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  11. Hi again. Would these be acceptable?

    http://www.amazon.com/Amplified-Bible-Zondervan/dp/0310951410/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315291283&sr=8-1

    http://www.amazon.com/Amplified-Parallel-Bible-Error-2015/dp/0310925614/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1315291283&sr=8-4

    I know you said that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is more important.. but I'm just a HUGE perfectionist and I wanna make sure I have the right Bible to get to know God. I think if I ask this simple it will take off the stress: all Bible's are the same and have the same text right? By the way.. I prayed and it went horrible. I stuttered throughout the prayer, I cried and I just sounded pathetic, and I didn't feel the sincerity in my heart. Also when I closed my eyes while praying, I saw the angry eyes of a creature.. like a monster... At first I thought it was God's sign that I wasn't praying to him and he didn't hear me... then I thought it was Satan giving me the evil look for trying to escape his Darkness. Or yet again it could have been just my imagination.. I don't know. It's just SO hard for me. I just want God to know me and speak to me. I don't want to end up like these professing Christians or plain deluded thinking that God actually knows me and forgives me and then the day I die he looks at me and tells me "I never knew you". I'm just stressing over this more and more. I just don't know. I need to pray again. Did you experience this when you came closer to God?

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  12. Hi Anonymous,

    I am sure either of those Bibles would be fine. I particularly like the parallel and may look into that for myself. :-)

    And no, not all Bibles are the same and have the same words. However, it is indeed a living word and the Holy Spirit is able to bring it alive and impress upon your heart what God is saying. There are lessons the Holy Spirit has taught me in life that I didn't realize until later was in Scripture. So in your quest for perfection, seek the one who is perfect, God's Spirit; and depend upon Him as you study God's word.

    Satan will certainly try every trick in the book to get you discouraged or to make you feel as if God will not receive you. He might try fear, intimidation, temptation, ridicule, etc. Press on through anyway and trust in the Lord. He initially told me that if I continued with the Lord he would kill me...but I am still here. He is indeed the father of lies.

    Even Moses had a problem with speaking, and God used him in a mighty way. God doesn't care about our perceived human limitations. He knows all about them and yet He still calls us.

    Try to also get some true praise and worship music and listen to that. Even play it in the room while you are sleeping. Such can help focus your mind, give you peace, and create a welcoming atmosphere for you to hear God more clearly in your life. Remember, He inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). Here is a link to a suggestion of some:

    Music Resources

    It is God's desire that ALL men be saved (I Timothy 2:4). Keep that in mind as you approach Him. It is His desire to save you. He is not far off from us, but is near and available to us. There is nothing we can do which surprises Him as He already knows us inside and out. Pray for Him to give you the peace of knowing that He hears you and just spend time with Him; in study and in prayer. You will come to know Him more and understand the security that we find in Him as believers.

    Keeping you in prayer!

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  13. Hi once again. Sorry, I feel like I'm being annoying. Music would be AMAZING. Before I looked into Christ, music was my LIFE. However, my mind is perverse with Secular music. I sometimes find myself singing certain secular songs in my head or out loud without realizing it. So praise and worship music for Our Father would definitely be nice. How does the music link you gave me work? When I put my mouse arrow on it, it turns into that line you get when you're about to type something. I also tried to right click it, it didn't work. You're absolutely right about the Devil trying to deceive... though I'm not really scared of the Devil.. nor his demons.. I mean.. their APPEARANCE might scare me.. but I don't cringe in fear at the thought of them trying to hurt me.. I feel he's really WEAK compared to Our Father. But he's VERY slick. I was on the bus on my way home from school today. And there was this (I thought) Attractive boy that sat behind me. I thought I heard him say a mean comment about me, something like he was hoping that I wouldn't sit next to him.. then I heard him talking to this much more attractive girl. My heart sank. I thought about my appearance and how UGLY I am and why am I even bothering to live. I pondered about how I was so unattractive and my lack of femininity as a woman. I was jealous of the girl he was flirting with and started crying. Thoughts initiated of me putting a Spear through my heart and killing myself and drowning in Hell where I belong. I have a horrible history of suicidal thoughts and attempts of me killing myself, so stuff like this is not much of a surprise when it happens. A question popped into my mind,"Why Bother? You're still gonna be UGLY and God will NEVER hear you. What's God gonna do with UGLY women serving him? Just get over it and accept that you're going to Hell." Even though I was crying physically and wiping tears from my eyes... my heart wasn't hurt. I didn't TRULY feel this way in my heart, I was mostly crying because I wanted to. I think Satan was active in this situation.. he knew I had a bit of a crush on that boy and used him to his advantage to try to lure me back. But I am also to blame. I should have known better to be crying over what a MAN felt and not how GOD felt. God does not care about such foolishness and I should have known that. This also reflects how I see things and think Shallowly. If I don't even love myself... how am I gonna love God? I feel like a Lamb left in the wilderness seeking my true Shepherd and lost. However, I am left with a SCENT. And I will follow that scent until I am united with him.

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  14. Hi again. Hope things are going well for you. I was just wondering.. do you NEED the Holy spirit in order to read the Bible? I have finally got about to reading the Bible but I don't think I have the Holy spirit, do I wait till I get it and read the Bible all over again or do I just continue reading it until I receive the Holy spirit? Secondly, can you give me a new link to praise and worship music? The one you gave me didn't work.

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  15. Hi Anonymous,

    I want to encourage you in your walk with God. Though it has been some time since your last comment on this article, I wanted to offer you an answer to your last question. I realize these very helpful LDM articles often offer the reader an even broader picture of the subject at hand through the interactions taking place in the comments, as profitable experiences and views can be pondered upon by all readers.

    So as for the role of the Holy Spirit in our reading of the bible, I find it to be expressed quite well in 1 Corinthians 2:9-12
    "But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him’. But God has, through the Spirit, let us share his secret.
    For nothing is hidden from the Spirit, not even the deep wisdom of God. For who could really understand a man’s inmost thoughts except the spirit of the man himself? How much less could anyone understand the thoughts of God except the very Spirit of God? And the marvellous thing is this, that we now receive not the spirit of the world but the Spirit of God himself, so that we can actually understand something of God’s generosity towards us."

    I believe the Holy Spirit assists us when we are genuinely seeking God's truth in reading the bible. Maybe not merely when we read it just for the curiosity of it, but with a thirst to know our Father and His will, as we accept the bible as His sacred word. That is something you can certainly pray for, that the Holy Spirit assists you in understanding the bible with increasing clarity. In practice, you may find that you come to understand something in a bible text that meant nothing to you the previous time you read it. That is the work of the Holy Spirit who is increasing your understanding, connecting many many dots for you throughout your walk with God.

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