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  • Michael Summers 10:38 am on March 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Repentance   

    When God’s People Humble Themselves and Pray 

    I’m re-blogging this from my “Call for Fire Seminar” blog. Christians struggle at times with whether sins they commit can be forgiven. This blog article examines King Manasseh of Judah’s spiritual crisis and compares him with New Testament examples of both Christians and those who had yet to become disciples of Jesus.

    If Paul in 1 Timothy 1:15 could describe himself as chief of sinners, then King Manasseh might have argued that he was next. Manasseh ruled fifty-five years, more than any other monarch of Judah or Israel. During most of his reign, he apparently was a compliant vassal of the Assyrian Empire. Perhaps because of Assyrian influence, Manasseh revoked the religious reforms of his father Hezekiah that had returned Judah to exclusive worship of Yahweh. Manasseh himself participated in the rites of indigenous Canaanite gods and burned one of his sons as a religious sacrifice. This king practiced divination and sorcery. He remodeled the Jerusalem Temple, adding altars to additional gods. In addition to his religious heresy, 2 Kings 21:16 notes that “Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end.” The author of 2 Kings regards Manasseh’s reign as the tipping point that persuaded God that the nation of Judah must be punished for its spiritual rebellion. 2 Kings 21 notes no positive aspects of Manasseh’s religious or political influence.

    2 Chronicles 33 also relates the history of Manasseh’s long reign. Its writer repeats verbatim much of what we read in 2 Kings 21:1-10. However, while 2 Kings portrays Manasseh’s reign as consistently evil and assigns responsibility to the heretical monarch for Judah’s subsequent exile to Babylon, 1 Chronicles records that Manasseh, exiled himself for a time by the Assyrians to Babylon, repented of his multitude of sins and prayed to God for forgiveness. While the Bible does not record Manasseh’s prayer, centuries later someone wrote a prayer based on Manasseh’s repentance as described in 1 Chronicles 33. This apocryphal prayer of Manasseh ends with this plea to a gracious God:

    “Do not destroy me with my transgressions; do not be angry against me forever; do not remember my evils; and do not condemn me and banish me to the depths of the earth! For you are the God of those who repent. In me you will manifest all your grace; and although I am not worthy, you will save me according to your manifold mercies. Because of this (salvation) I shall praise you continually all the days of my life; because all the hosts of heaven praise you, and sing to you forever and ever” (“The Prayer of Manasseh,” from The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, edited by J.H. Charlesworth, Garden City, New York: Doubleday& Company, 1985, p. 635).

    In 2 Chronicles, a forgiven Manasseh returns to Jerusalem, where he initiates religious reforms and building programs that demonstrate the genuineness of his repentance. The Chronicler’s account of Manasseh’s life ends: “The other events of Manasseh’s reign, including his prayer to his God and the words the seers spoke to him in the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, are written in the annals of the kings of Israel. His prayer and how God was moved by his entreaty, as well as all his sins and unfaithfulness, and the sites where he built high places and set up Asherah poles and idols before he humbled himself – all are written in the records of the seers” (2 Chronicles 33:18-19).

    Manasseh begins his reign by arrogantly turning away from the God of his father Hezekiah. He brings both religious and political ruin to his nation by his policies. Only after being exiled does he humble himself and pray. His repentance and prayer echoes God’s words to King Solomon centuries earlier, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face an turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). God’s promise is extended to people who already are in covenant relationship with him, but have violated the terms of that covenant. Such was the case with Manasseh and Judah, the nation he ruled. In modern times, it applies to Christians who have strayed from God’s will rather than to secular nations.

    Manasseh’s prayer demonstrates the efficacy of calling for fire when one realizes that through his or her own disobedience, they have placed themselves in great spiritual danger. Just as Peter and John counseled Simon to pray for forgiveness in hope that God might forgive him (Acts 8), so worshipers of God who have lost their way today may ask for forgiveness. Manasseh sinned horribly, killing at least one of his children, causing the death of many others, and leading a nation into apostasy and toward political suicide. Even after his repentance, the aftershocks of his earlier sins continued to influence Judah’s history for generations. Even when we repent, we cannot always undo the effects of the wrong we have done. On the other hand, God does forgive him, and Manasseh, despite the magnitude of his earlier sin, accomplishes great acts of service for God during his remaining years. No sin is too great for God to forgive when God’s people, who are called by his name, humble themselves and pray.

    God of grace and glory, Remember how you granted forgiveness to Manasseh and Saul, who became Paul the apostle. Extend the same grace to those who recognize the horror of their own rebellion. Forgive them when they humbly return to you. Saul had thrown disciples of your Son into prison, and assisted in the killing of others, but when he arose and was baptized, calling on the name of the Lord, you forgave him and gave him a mission which transformed his weakness into strength. Give us strength and courage to do your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

     
  • Eugene Adkins 7:12 am on January 31, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Repentance, ,   

    Has God Changed His Mind About Repentance? 

    According to some people who profess to know him, God has softened his stance on repentance. According to what they say, Jesus is optional, sin can be rational and salvation is left up to what we want it to be. But is it so?

    I for one say not so! Without a doubt I fail my Lord. Without a doubt sin can creep up on me. Without a doubt my salvation is important to me. But when it comes to God softening his stance on repentance toward him when it comes to unrighteousness there is some very serious doubt that those who say such things know what and who they’re talking about.

    Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)

    While preaching to a group of men and women who were living as unbelieving pagans, old-fashioned sinners and individuals outside of the safety of God’s grace Paul plainly said God expects and requires repentance. This expectation and requirement wasn’t for individuals here and there – it was for everyone, everywhere. Judgment is coming and its basis will be upon the righteousness of God; that standard that we all fail to meet at one point in our life with many, many, many more to follow. And the judgment of God will be accomplished by the non-optional and solo sacrificed Savior of the world.

    Has God changed his mind about repentance since Paul preached those words in the first century? Has God softened his stance on the necessity of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus? The way we answer the first question determines the way we answer the second, but the way we answer won’t change the way that God thinks.

    There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”” (Luke 13:1-5)

     
    • a_l_henley 7:43 am on February 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on Intrepid Didymus and commented:
      Amen! Where has repentance gone? It appears in our modern Christianity that repentance is null and void. Where are the pastors who preach about sin??

  • TFRStaff 7:09 am on October 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: apologies, , Repentance   

    I’m Sorry 

    Perhaps one of the most improperly used phrases, the title has lost any real meaning. To the world saying I’m sorry usually means “I got caught” doing or saying something perceived as wrong. However to the Christian, I’m sorry should mean so much more.

    Like many other things, there are two kinds of sorrow; worldly and godly. Scripture tells us that “the sorrow of the world worketh death” while “godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation” (2 Cor. 7:10). The Bible gives us a clear example of both types of sorrow. Both examples somewhat surprisingly come from two of Jesus’ apostles. One man denied Christ and the other betrayed Him.

    During the last Passover feast the Jesus celebrated with His apostles, Peter was told that he would deny Christ. Peter denied that he would do such a thing (Matt. 26:35) yet later that evening the denial came (vss. 69-74). What was Peter’s response? Exactly what it should have been: “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly” (vs. 75). His tears and actions after the denial show the repentance Peter had for what he had done.

    On the other hand we have the one who betrayed Christ. Judas also was told of his future actions during the same Passover feast. While they were eating, Jesus told the apostles that “one of you shall betray me” (Matt. 26:21). Notice however in this case that Judas did not try to deny what he would later end up doing. In fact Judas went hurriedly out of the supper to carry out his betrayal. Afterwards, when he realized fully what he had done, Judas was sorrowful yet that sorrow did not lead to repentance but to death: “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood…he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself” (Matt. 27:4-5).

    It is unfortunate that the phrase “I’m sorry” ever has to be used. The person saying it is admitting to doing something wrong. All of us should try our best to never do anything that warrants an apology. However, in a moment of weakness and/or ignorance we sin in some way, I’m sorry is the first thing that that we should say afterwards. Make sure your sorrow is of the godly sort that others may truly know you mean it when saying you are sorry.

    In Christ, Steve Preston

    http://www.freegroups.net/groups/bibletalk/

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:00 am on September 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: awe, , , burial, , , dead body, , fountain of life, , , , Repentance, , , , snares of death,   

    (#69) The Proverbs of Solomon 13:14-Don’t Say We Weren’t Warned! 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 13:14: “The law of the wise is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.”

    “A fountain of life” expresses a constant supply of that which is essential to life. Municipal water supplies seem to have replaced cisterns and wells, nevertheless the point is that we all die without some source of drinking water. Spiritually-speaking, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). Since all of God’s “commandments are righteousness” (Psalm 119:172), then everyone striving to be righteous will receive “the word with all readiness” and search “the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things” are so (Acts 17:11). David said with God “is the fountain of life,” and it is through His Word that spiritual life springs eternal. This is what Jesus meant to the woman at the well: “’Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.’ The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw’” (John 4:13-15).

    An exact parallel to this proverb is in Proverbs 14:27: “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.” “The fear of the LORD” is the same as “the law of the wise.” Reverence and awe for God and His Word go hand-in-hand. Many have gone astray who think they “fear God” but ignore or violate His commandments; likewise, others think they have reverence for God’s Word but profane and desecrate His Person and Name. No one “fears God” without keeping His commandments. Many have thought they had faith in God while rejecting: baptism “in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38); the churches of Christ which Jesus established and “purchased with His own blood” (Matthew 16:18; Romans 16:16; Acts 20:28); clear Scripture on marriage (Mark 10:2-12); and repentance from sins (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

    The purpose for “the fear of the LORD” and “the law of the wise” is “to turn one away from the snares of death.” Nowhere does God promise to save anyone in their sins who do not repent. The common slogans, “God loves me just the way I am;” “I know I’m saved regardless of what you say the Bible says;” “you have no right to ‘judge me’ or my way of life;” have never been taught by God in His Word! In 2 Peter 3:9, we are told, God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” There is “absolutely” no justification for those who “continue in sin” (Romans 6:1), but only for those who die to sin and, by baptism, bury their dead body in Jesus’ grave (Romans 6:2-7). Having listed the overwhelming “desire to be rich,” and “the love of money” being “a root of all kinds of evil,” Paul commanded, “But you, O man of God, flee these things” (1 Timothy 6:9-11). “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26). If we are not saved, it is not because God hasn’t given proper instruction or warning!

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:00 am on September 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , converted, more excellent, , Repentance, , seduces, ,   

    (#64) The Proverbs of Solomon 12:26-Which Way Are We Leaning? 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 12:26: “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

    The contrast is drawn between the “righteous” (those who obey God’s commandments, Ecclesiastes 12:13; 1 John 3:3, 7) and the “wicked” (described in Genesis 13:13: “the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD”). The “righteous” should be cautious lest the “wicked” have greater influence on them than they do on the “wicked!” In Malachi 3:18, in the last book in the Old Testament, God keeps the line drawn between the two when He said: “Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him.” Anyone who is “wicked,” however, may choose to become “righteous” by converting and obeying God. “Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:2-3). God’s invitation to the “wicked” to change is always open, for “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9; Luke 24:45-47).

    Because the Hebrew allows a spread of translation, the King James Version is also given: Proverbs 12:26: “The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them. {excellent: or, abundant}                            The way of righteousness is through Jesus Christ (John 14:6); for those who receive Him as He is and come to Him (John 1:11-13); who repent and are baptized in His name “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38); and are “registered in heaven” as a part of the “church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:22-23); and “enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus” on “the new and living way” He “consecrated for us” (Hebrews 10:19-20). Truly this is “more excellent” than “the way of the wicked,” which “seduces” them but produces no righteousness! And the wicked have seen this very point! King Saul said to David, after trying to kill him, but David spared Saul: “You are more righteous than I; for you have rewarded me with good, whereas I have rewarded you with evil” (1 Samuel 24:17). King Joash “did evil” but the Prophet “Elisha had become sick with the illness of which he would die. Then Joash the king of Israel came down to him, and wept over his face, and said, ‘O my father, my father, the chariots of Israel and their horsemen!’ (2 Kings 13:14). In the New Testament, King Herod was pressured to kill John the Baptist, but could not bring himself to do it, “for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly” (Mark 6:20). Even in the King James Version, the “righteous” should not leave the way that even the “wicked” admit is “more excellent.”

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • TFRStaff 10:22 am on August 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brett Petrillo, , , Description of Repentance, , , Repentance, , ,   

    Thieves With A Conscience by Brett Pertillo 

    A group of thieves broke into a building and stole computers and equipment.  What they didn’t know at the time was they were stealing from a non-profit organization that helps victims of sexual assault.  Once they discovered this, they felt bad for what they had done.  The following night, they brought back everything they stole in a shopping cart and even included a hand written apology note which said (grammatical mistakes included), “We had no idea what we were takeing.  Here your stuff back we hope that you guys can continue to make a differenence in peoples live.  God bless” (ABC Local).

    First of all, it’s ironic that the same people who were sinning called for God’s blessings.  Aside from this, one wonders what was going through these thieves’ minds.  Did they think returning the items made everything OK?  Even though these robbers made a good decision in returning the stolen items, they were the ones who committed the felony in the first place.  Sometimes people misunderstand what true repentance is.  These thieves likely thought they were making things right and repenting of what they had done, even if they didn’t put it in so many words.  However, it’s clear this was not an action of repentance, but just a rare blip on the conscience meter.

    What does true repentance really look like?  First, true repentance is a 180-degree turn (Acts 3:19).  A person who is walking towards sin completely changes direction, putting his back to sin, and begins walking towards God.  Second, true repentance is found in the person who is sickened by their actions and is committed to changing his ways (2 Corinthians 7:10).  After sinning with Bathsheba, David wrote a psalm that perfectly displays this point (Psalm 51).

    It’s fairly easy to feel and act “sorry” for the things we have done.  Sometimes we will even go so far as to try and smooth things over with those we have wronged.  However, let’s keep in mind that true repentance is about a sincere 180-degree change, feeling guilty, and being committed and determined not to repeat past mistakes.  May we have the courage to repent and turn our backs to sin when the need arises.

    from BP’s Fuel For Thought - Brett Petrillo - Bear Valley church of Christ – Denver, CO

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:41 am on July 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2 Corinthians 7, , Repentance,   

    Don’t Use the Wrong Technique to Repent 

    When something in the house stinks don’t grab an air-freshener – find what stinks and get it out of the house!

    Air-fresheners only mask the problem temporarily because they aren’t the solution. The solution is only found in finding the source of the smell and getting rid of it.

    Repentance works the same way when it comes to sin. We have to get to the source of the problem and kick it out of the house or else the “odor” will just keep coming back.

    Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)

     
  • Michael Summers 2:01 pm on June 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , family of God, , , recovery, Repentance, toxic churches   

    Where Do We Go to Heal? 

    My journey of faith began in a family of faith and a family of worshipers (the Bible often calls the church a “household” or “family.”). My parents loved God and made assembling with other lovers of God a priority for us. They reminded us often that it was a privilege to assemble with other Christians, that in some nations it was definitely not a right to do so. While I have discovered that some communities of faith may be more toxic than healing, healthy faith develops best in community. There are times when we may need to go alone in prayer to express our pain and hurt to the Lord, but sometimes the occasions when we hurt the most are when the church that we thought didn’t care awakens to its responsibilities. Singing with a congregation, even listening if the pain is too great to sing or the song evokes particularly emotional memories, allows other believers to speak words of grace and love. Even when one’s presence challenges others to forgive or consider whether they should allow you to participate, growth in relationship to God and his people occurs. We all sin (Romans 3:23). We all need forgiveness. Assembling together allows others to bear one another’s burden (Galatians 6:1-2) and remember that being a part of Christ’s saved people is not an exercise in isolation nor about feeling good all the time about other Christians. Romans 15:1-3 says, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.’” We worship together to praise God, but also meet together to encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24-25). We should not gather as a church to hear a speaker verbally scourge the suffering, but we should search the scriptures together and pray fervently that we may help the damaged person heal and return to active service. If a person’s (or group’s) presence threatens the spiritual stability of the congregation, then we meet and discuss face-to-face how their actions endanger the health of the community while remembering to check our preferences to see if they align with the word and will of God.

    Because my parents encouraged me to make assembling with Christians a priority, when I encountered a difficult time in my life when it would have been easy to suffer alone and stop “going to church,” I kept going. I found it hard to pray at that point in my life and it was difficult to sing some songs. Some sermons were harder to hear and some well-meaning brethren just did not understand what I was experiencing. Still I kept assembling and I continued to read the Bible regularly (Strange, I think, that I found it hard to talk to God for a while but still was willing to listen to him). The small congregation embraced me and helped me to heal, using me when I was willing and my work would help others. Some told me that my presence encouraged them. I survived spiritually because that church and my family of origin loved me.

    Some hurting people have hurt themselves, and as part of the healing process, must realize and articulate the part they played in creating their pain. We call this repentance and confession; both acts are essential for spiritual healing. If they have never done so before, they will need (as did the apostle Paul) to wash away their sin in baptism (Acts 22:16). Some may be unable to reverse the effects of their actions; just as a physical amputee learns to function without a hand or with a prosthesis, they can learn to function in their new reality. Other hurting people have been abused – verbally, physically, or emotionally. They don’t need more abuse. They need love, and lots of patience.

    So, if you’re hurting spiritually, don’t try to solve your problems in isolation. Reach out for help to a community of faith, a church that takes God, Christ, and the Bible seriously, but that remembers also that it is the family of God and the body of Christ, an entity that heals rather harms. If you’re within such a group, and someone confesses difficulty, pain, or sin, don’t rush to ostracize. Pray and study to learn how you may help this person to heal and to grow up to become the healthy disciple God wants them to be. As Paul the apostle wrote, ” Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Romans 15:7). In the end, we all have fallen short, and that is why we need a family, a church, where we may heal and feel safe.
    .

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:36 am on May 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Repentance, ,   

    No Shame is a Sham! 

    “Spiritual leaders” who cry out with the absence of tears and the absence godly morals always manage to convince susceptible, gullible and naïve hearts and minds with the “there’s no shame in our sins” mantra.

    This was one of the contributing factors to God’s people having to suffer through God’s wrath in past times. Jeremiah’s word released the real results to his people’s latest lukewarm repentance cultural poll by saying, “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time I punish them, they shall be cast down,” says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 6:15)

    No repentance will take place without godly sorrow and no godly sorrow will be felt without a revealing and acknowledgement of sin – and without any of the preceding measures no enjoyment of salvation will be had (2 Corinthians 7:10).  This doesn’t mean one is meant to sit in sorrow his or her entire life. No way. Once we follow through on our repentance, God assures us all of His grace. But this non-sense of no shame is a sham!

    Beware of those who bear the wrong kind of fruit, beware of those who put evil for good and good for evil, beware of those who put darkness for light and light for darkness, beware of those who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter, beware of those who only dress in sheep’s clothing, and beware of those who say there is no shame in sin!

    These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.” (Jude 16-19 – - while you’re at it, go ahead and read the whole book for a warning about the sham of no shame in sin)

     
  • Ron Thomas 7:00 am on May 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Repentance   

    A Demand That Was Too Much 

    As I was studying Luke 3 this week I reflected on the what the Scripture said with regard to what John preached. John the Baptist was a preacher who garnered the attention of the people as he preached in the wilderness (Luke 3:3; Matthew 3:5). John would not be “employed” by most churches today because the message he preached, while intriguing, was one that demanded too much.

    His message was three-fold. First, he was preparing the way for the coming Messiah. John’s preparation was accomplished in the preaching. The imagery of Luke 3:4-6 would not have been lost on the people, especially as he illustrated this in his exhortations to the people when they inquired (Luke 3:7-14). Second, he preached and demanded those who came to him reflect a life of repentance; this, however, was much easier said than accomplished. The word “repentance” means “a change of mind” with regard to the sinful way one lives life, and this change being reflected in a godly life lived. Third, he baptized (immersed) those who came to him “for [with a view to] the forgiveness of sins.”

    Baptism is not for infants and children who do not understand the difference between sins and righteousness. Baptism is for those who do understand; it is interesting to note that those baptized in the book of Acts are all identified as “men and women” (people who understand). More than the candidate for baptism is important here, however, it is the idea of repentance. Those who come to God need to change the way they live life if they would see Him who is Lord over all (cf. Luke 13:3-5). It is serious! RT

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:17 am on April 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Babylon, , , , , , , , , Repentance,   

    Psalm 137 What 70 Years of Regret Did 

    Because of their horrendous sins, God’s people (both Northern Israel and Southern Judah) were violently removed from their Promised Land for 70 years (2 Kings 17:5-23; 2 Chronicles 36:15-23). This Psalm was clearly written to express the Israelites’ sense of loss and regret while in Babylon, and their anticipation of revenge which God would bring against the Babylonians. That “payback” came at the hands of Cyrus, king of Persia, who then caused the Israelites to return and rebuild their Holy City, Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Jeremiah 50:18-32).

    Verses 1-6 state the woeful lesson learned;

    Verses 7-9 give the somber belief that God repays “in kind” (Jeremiah 50:29).

    Verses 1-6: Being “by the rivers of Babylon” instead of their Jordan River was a constant reminder of why they were in Babylon. Those rivers included the Tigris and Euphrates, Chebar (Ezekiel 1:3), and the Ulai (Daniel 8:2). Israelite sorrow was so deep they “wept” when they thought about destroyed Jerusalem; “hung [their] harps” because there was nothing to sing about, even though their captors requested a song; and prayed for their “right hand” become useless and “tongue” stick to the “roof of” their mouth, if they tried to forget their “chief joy” should be in Jerusalem.

    Verses 7-9: Israel was descended from Jacob, and his twin, Esau, became known as “Edom” (Genesis 25:30; 36:1). “Edom,” thus was a name for non-Israelites, or “nations” in the Old Testament and “Gentiles” in the New Testament. The Babylonians who had destroyed Jerusalem are represented by the term “sons of Edom” and specifically, “daughter of Babylon” whom God was going to destroy at the time of this Psalm. That destruction has already taken place, and a lingering prophecy still affects that place today. “Babylon” is modern Iraq, and the first “Gulf War” was fought when Saddam Hussein declared he would excavate ancient Babylon and bring it back to its former glory. God had decreed otherwise: “’Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the LORD; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation’” (Jeremiah 25:12; also see Jeremiah 51:24-26, 59-64).  (Psalm 137: 8-9) These verses reflect what God promised would happen to Babylon: “’Let the violence done to me and my flesh be upon Babylon,’ The inhabitant of Zion will say; ‘And my blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea!’ Jerusalem will say” (Jeremiah 51:35). Babylon’s bloodshed of innocent children in Jerusalem was repaid in kind when the Persians did the same to Babylonian babies.

     All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:25 am on March 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Achan, , , , , , , Repentance, ,   

    Guest Article: “I Have Sinned” 

    “I Have Sinned” by Joshua Gulley

    Recently a student at a public high school was sent into the hallway to correct some questions on a test he failed in order to recover some credit. Taking advantage of the opportunity, the student stepped into the restroom with a cigarette lighter and a marijuana pipe. With unfortunate timing (for the student) another teacher stepped out of class to use the restroom and noticed an odd smell as he opened his door. He walked into the bathroom and saw the student, who, interestingly, did not even take the precaution of going into the stall. Instead, he was lighting up in the middle of the bathroom, disdaining the probabilities of being seen. As the student followed the teacher out of the bathroom, he threw the incriminating evidence into the hallway trash can (which the teacher quickly retrieved), and with an air of false pride and anger at what he perceived to be injustice, said, “That wasn’t even mine!” He evidently thought he should be counted innocent because the materials did not belong to him.

    This occurrence revealed a couple of things to me about the sin of Adam and Eve in the garden. First, Eve either refused to believe that she would be held accountable for eating the forbidden fruit, or she was so tempted by the possibility of pleasure that she chose not to think about it. We too forget on occasion that “all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). Were we to think matters through thoroughly, we would make wiser choices. Secondly, much the way a defense lawyer tries to direct the jury’s attention away from the evidence and towards circumstances that cast doubt on the defendant’s guilt, we too attempt to justify our sin by comparing it to others who commit “greater sins” or shift the blame to someone else who may have been involved in our crime. The sooner we learn to follow in the footsteps of those who were man enough to say, “I have sinned” (Achan, Joshua 7:20; Saul, 1 Samuel 26:21; David, 2 Samuel 12:13; Solomon, 1 Kings 8:47-48; Daniel, Daniel 9:4-5), the sooner we will find the strength to resist the temptations to which we most often succumb.

    A few of the examples listed in the parentheses do not have happy endings and therefore may seem like poor examples to emulate. It must be remembered that sin always has consequences, and that we are not here discussing the proper response to the temptation, but rather the proper course of action to pursue after the wrong choice has already been made. The least (and perhaps the most) that can be said for men like Achan, Saul and David is that they accepted 100% of the responsibility for their sins. They didn’t pass the buck to someone else or try to justify their actions. They just plain admitted they were wrong. They “faced the music” as is often said. Might we learn to do the same, especially in view of the promise made in 1 John 1:9—“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Praise God!

    Josh is a teacher of music at the High School level and a teacher of the Bible for the church at his home congregation in Smithville, TN. 

     
  • TFRStaff 4:14 pm on February 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Repentance   

    A command for everyone 

    There are many difficult commands in the Bible; none were more difficult than the command God gave to Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. (Genesis 22) Our most challenging command might well be that of repentance. This is a command for everyone.

    “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)

    The word “repent” is in our Kings James Bible 43 times. The word “repentance” is found in the Kings James Version 23 times. The word “repenteth” is found five times in the King James Bible.

    Repentance is a change of mind, of attitude and of heart. It is an act of faith that leads to a change away from any sinful lifestyle. Jesus wanted everyone to hear the message of repentance. He said,

    “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 24:46-47)

    Salvation in Jesus without a change of life is impossible. Feeling sorry for an action without a change of life is not repentance. Paul said “godly sorrow produces repentance,” but we must understand that godly sorrow is not repentance. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)

    Just saying “I am sorry” is not repentance; but a person who is truly sorry for sins will come to repentance.

    The Law of God made man aware of sin and showed the need for repentance and forgiveness. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20)

    Repentance is an act of faith. “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” (Hebrews 10:38-39)

    God’s desire is that we repent and stop sinning.

    John chapter eight records the story of a woman that was taken in the very act of adultery. Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7)

    Most people who quote this verse do so in order to try to justify some personal wrong. The scribes and Pharisees were told this because they were deliberately breaking God’s Law in condemning this woman in the way they did. They had no respect for the Law.

    Jesus told this woman to “go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11) It is vital that Christians stop sinning. Let us observe our weakness and by relying on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus get out of the business of sin.

    Who should repent and why should we repent?

    Those who are not yet Christians should repent and be baptized to be saved. “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)

    Christians who have sinned also need to repent. When Philip preached in Samaria, Simon, who had been a sorcerer, became a Christian. He sinned by wanting to buy the ability to pass on gifts of the Holy Spirit. Peter told this Christian man who had sinned,

    “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.” (Acts 8:20-22)

    Repent now! Judgment Day is coming. (Acts 17:30-31) (More …)

     
  • James Randal 4:42 pm on February 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Repentance   

    If I say this is for evangelists, you won’t read it, will you? 

    Patience is a virtue for evangelists. A young man cancelled on our study last week the second time in a row. First time, he had to work late. The second time he talked to The Missus, so he didn’t give his reason for cancellation. It would be wrong to think he’s not interested. He might not be, but we can’t give up at this point. Sometimes, people just don’t feel the urgency they should, even though we tell them. Sometimes, too, they let life get in the way. So if we’re not studying, we’re praying for them, right?

    What’s the point of the title of today’s post? Talk of evangelists, and the eyes of many glaze over. “Oh, that’s not me,” they say. “I’m not an evangelist.” And they might even be right. They may not have the gift of evangelism. But isn’t this the purview of all? Rather, they ought to think, “This has to do with the Main Job of the church, I want to learn more, I want to improve my efforts, even though I might not be called an evangelist.” (I’m not even considering full-time evangelists here; some of the best ones I know aren’t supported by churches.) Say something is for evangelists and many saints tune out.

    • Now, sometimes elders and preachers do the church a disservice by calling the saints “church members,” which is not a phrase you’ll find anywhere within the NT. We have elders, deacons, preachers, and then comes that unformed and unclean mass of untrained “members.” The rest of them. Now we even have Distinguishing Titles for our Clergy. The other day I came across somebody—in OUR brotherhood, mind you— who called himself the Lead Minister. Obama said he leads from behind. This guy must serve from up front. Really!

    But I’m beginning to rant, and that’s not PC any more. My point is that, although we say we’re not clergy, we (third person of solidarity) act like it and quack like it. Caramba! We need more restoration in the church, do we not? And no restoration more needed than that of placing evangelism in its rightful place in the church, by everyone.

    Where is today’s Reuel Lemmons? (More …)

     
    • Anil Kumar 7:16 pm on February 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Dear Bro.Randel,

      This is the fact today and I agree.
      I would like to share some of my views regarding the first paragraph of your article.
      The young man who cancelled his study may be right in his reason, and some some times it happens.

      I was thinking of something for long time with a title ” From the other End”. This is nothing thinking from the others point of view. People normally dont have this sence of thinking from others side. If a person who said that he would help us in a partucular issue and could not able to do it, then we obviously come to an opinion that he was decieved us. But how would it be if we first think of his circumstances which he could not able to do it. This is very commonly applicable to all the aspects. But still people generally comes to the negative thought first and will never come back to know fact of the person who cant able to do it. May be the person is righteous and was just feeling shy to show me his face because he could not able to do it for the proper reason. It is surely wrong to think that he is not intereted. May be the third or fouth time he may get the oppurtunity to attend the Study.

      May be the young man is in same circumstnaces or may not. Still we, as Evangelist should not conclude in a negetive way, how ever we pray for him.

      So its a right virtue to every one, especially for the desciple of Christ to give a thought of thinking “From The Other End”

      Anil

    • Stephen R. Bradd 7:24 am on February 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Good thoughts, Randal.

      • J. Randal Matheny 4:20 am on February 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Anil and Stephen. Another study is set with the young man for 5 p.m. today, and since it’s a holiday, work ought not interfere. Pray he makes it!

  • TFRStaff 5:14 pm on November 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Repentance, ,   

    Rejected warnings 

    The United States has just experienced another horrible natural disaster. The devastation caused by the mega storm Sandy in the southeastern US had been disastrous. Lives were lost and the property damage has been many millions of dollars.

    On a recent news cast I saw a man standing in front of his damaged and flooded house holding his two children with his wife by his side. He described the ordeal and horrors that they had been through and then he said, “I made a terrible mistake by not heeding the warnings that were given.”

    It is a very sad thing that the warnings were given far in advance of the tragedy, yet the warnings were rejected by this family and by many other families.

    Sadly, there is something far worse than this. God’s spiritual warnings are given, yet they are rejected by the majority. “Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” (Luke 13:23-24)

    The rich man of Luke 16 and his five brothers rejected God’s warnings about eternity. When the rich man found himself in hell he begged, (1) For water to cool his tongue, and (2) For someone to be sent from the dead to warn his five brothers not to come to hell. He was told that they already have the warning. They must now decide whether or not the warning will be rejected. “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” (Luke 16:31) God’s warnings are designed to bring man to repentance. If we will only listen to His warnings we will forsake our sins and obey Him completely.

    God warns us that the way of transgressors is hard.

    In Proverbs 13:15 we read, “Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.” Sinners have more pain and misery in getting their souls to hell than the righteous do in getting to heaven. The service of sin is slavery and the road of sin leads to hell. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)

    Solomon showed us that the way of the transgressor is hard by saying, (1) “The soul of the transgressors shall eat violence,” (2) “He that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction,” (3) “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing,” (4) “A wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame,” (5) “Wickedness overthroweth the sinner,” (6) “There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing,” (7) “The lamp of the wicked shall be put out,” (8) “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished,” (9) “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed,” (10) “A wicked messenger falleth into mischief,” (11) “Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction,” (12) “A companion of fools shall be destroyed,” (13) “Evil pursueth sinners,” and (14) “The belly of the wicked shall want.” God warns us that “the way of transgressors is hard.” What are you doing with God’s warning?

    God warns us that we must repent or we will perish.

    In Luke 13:1-5 we read, “There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Repentance is a change of heart which results in a changed life. God’s warning is simple, but very much to the point, repent or perish. Repentance is a salvation message. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31) Since the day of Pentecost God has proclaimed through the Gospel that all men everywhere MUST repent. God warning us of our danger of damnation has a greater tendency to have influence upon us, because He is our Judge. God tells us, that if we go on in sin and do not repent, He will destroy us and cast us out of his sight forever. In Acts 3:19 we read, “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)

    God warns us that “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34)

    Do we somehow think that God approves of the USA, a nations that tolerates all kinds of sins? America tolerates, (1) The killing of our unborn children, (2) The perversion of homosexuality, (3) Atheism and all kinds of religious cults, (4) Pornography and the exploitation of women and children, (5) The filth of godless entertainment, and (6) God’s name being blasphemed and it is called freedom of speech. America tolerates everything except God.

    While most Americans have become spiritually deaf and blind to the obvious signs all around them, Christians who have “eyes to see and ears to hear” recognize that a dreadful punishment is coming to the United States of America unless we repent. Will America not be held accountable for the evil and sin that we tolerate? God appeals to His people saying, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:17) Blessings come as we serve God. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” (Psalms 33:12) Righteousness is demonstrated as we separate ourselves from a sinful world. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4) “America is great because she is good; when America is no longer good she will no longer be great.”

    Long before we ever see hell and hear the cries of the damned let us take heed to the warnings of God and not go there. Repentance and baptism are man’s response to God’s offer of salvation by the blood of Christ. In Acts 2:36-38 the Bible says,

    “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 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.”

    Please see God’s love at the cross and hear His warning! It was very sad to hear that man who almost lost his family and his own life say, “I made a terrible mistake by not heeding the warnings that were given.” It will be even sadder for those in hell to say, “I made an eternal mistake by not heeding the warnings that were given by God.” Let us do whatever we can to escape hell.

    by Charles Box

     
    • robertebarger 4:01 pm on November 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Amen! Amen! Amen! Amen! Amen! For God so loved the world that He gave his only begtten Son, that who soecer believeth in Him shall not perish but have ever lasting life.
      17) For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world “through” Him might be saved.
      18) He that believeth on him is not condemned, but He that “believth not, is condemned “ALREADY” because he believth not in the only begotten Son of God..
      19) AND THIS IS THE CONDEMNATION( AGAINST US!) that LIGHT has come into the world, (Ihe perfect life of Jesus Christ is what condemns us!)but men loved darkness rather thanf LIGHT. (We are made sinners by the sin of Adam, and the law of Moses shows us what sin is, but it cannot save us. Sin is the transgression of the law!) The law of Moses cannot save us, but keeping the commandments of Jesus will. Romans 8:3–8)
      3) For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh (Flesh is the mind that does not know God’s Word) For what the law could not do in that it was weak throught the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, CONDEMNED SIN IN THE FLESH!! (Or, comdemned sin in you and me!)
      4) That the righteousness of the law might be filfulled “in us”, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
      5)For they that are after the flesh, do mind the the things of the flesh; ( Galatians 5:14-21), but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. ( Galatians 5:22-24)
      6) For to be carnally minded “is death”; ( Or, sickness, disease, sorrow, pain, the curse of the law. Deut. 28) but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
      7) Because the carnel mind is enmity, ( at war with God) against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
      8) So they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

      Again I say brother, AMEN! AMEN! and AMEN!
      Bless you in the mighty name of Jesus Christ our Lord!
      Robert E. Barger

  • James Randal 5:03 am on September 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Repentance   

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:35 am on September 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Repentance, ,   

    Another Snippet from the Repentance Sermon 

    Whether it was God’s command to John the Baptist, Jesus’ command during his earthly ministry or his command in the great commission - there is no salvation, relationship with God or spiritual growth without repentance. Matthew 3:2, Matthew 4:17, Luke 24:46-47, Acts 2:37-38 all agree with this principle.

    You’ll never find God’s people being promised a new anything worth having unless their willing to get rid of an old something that’s not worth keeping.

    The reason so many Christians never grow up/mature/learn how feed from meat of God’s word or teach others is because their minds aren’t made up. It’s because they may be converted to the seat on Sunday morning, but they’re not converted in their heart throughout the rest of the week (Acts 3:19).

    Repentance is essential because it begins in the heart, stays in the heart, changes the heart and keeps the heart yearning to please God.

     
    • robertebarger 6:59 am on September 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      No man comes to Jesus Christ unless the Father draws him.
      The reason that the bible is put togrther the way it is, is because the fear of God must be the driving force behind the person.The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. If a person is told that all you have to do to go to Heaven is accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, you have taken away the fear of not making it into the Kingdom. As many as recieve Him gave He POWER TO “””BECOME”””” A son of God, not already is saved. The only thing that will make you free is the Word of God. If there is no fear of the Lord, the person will not study their bible, and will not be set free. If a person does not understand why he is a sinner, and does not see that the plan of God is a growing proscess starting with being a babe in Christ, moving up in the Spirit through repentance in the babe stage to a child in Christ, next is the young man stage, than going on to be a father in perfection. We have lost the way through mans understanding. There is a way that seemeth right unto a man but the end thereof is death!

  • Eugene Adkins 7:41 am on September 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Repentance, ,   

    Snippet of a Sermon on Repentance 

    Some old habits die hard for sure, but just make sure they die!

    A desire to do God’s will will cause the heart to yearn for repentance – a desire to do our will will cause the heart to spurn repentance.

    If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.” (Colossians 3:1-7 - NKJV)

     
  • Ed Boggess 8:20 am on August 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Repentance   

    Jesus proclaimed, “repent or perish!” His primary message was “repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.” The kingdom has arrived and no man can enter without repenting! Repentance is not penitence, though penitence is related. Repentance is not penance, though it leads to the desire to correct one’s wrongs. Repentance is not reformation, though reform results from repentance. So then, what is repentance? The word means to change one’s will from self-will to God’s will. The will of man has to do with intention. Who do you intend to please? Are you ruled by your own passion and desire or do you ask what does God will? No one can get to heaven without repentance, without a lifetime change from choosing his own will to God’s will. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess

     
  • James Randal 8:33 pm on June 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bible instruction, , , Repentance   

    How to help people forsake sin 

    On Wednesday night I got some ideas from a text used only briefly by the teacher. Jotted down a six-point outline of how to help people abandon sin. The audience was Israel, the speaker, Samuel, in 1Sam 12.20-25.

    Sorry, but it came out in Portuguese, and I posted it on our Brazilian church site. Maybe sometime I’ll get it into English, but if not, it’s well worth your attempting one of those horrid translators. That’s how much I liked it. Yeah, even if it was mine.

    OK, I ran it through the translator and it was decent. I cleaned it up just for you, so here’s how, following Samuel’s sermon, to help people forsake sin and follow the Lord.

    • Give people who live in sin a vision of repentance (20-21). You can turn from sin and succeed in the rejection of transgression.
    • Emphasize God’s faithfulness (22). His faithfulness inspires in us the same.
    • Make continuous prayer for the people (23). The apostles joined prayer and ministry of the Word (Acts 6.4).
    • Provide instruction in the good and right way of God (23). People do not know by instinct what is right.
    • Remind people of what God has done (24). Today, his action is focused on Christ and His sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of sins.
    • Give warning about the consequences of persisting in sin (25). Sin destroys!
     
  • James Randal 3:32 am on January 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Repentance,   

    Daily Nudge: Rich young ruler and Zacchaeus 

    Note some differences and similarities between the keeper-of-rules ruler and Zacchaeus. In the gospel of Luke they are placed close together, the ruler in chapter 18, Zacchaeus in chapter 19. Perhaps this is not accidental.

    After Jesus’ statement about the difficulty of the rich entering the Kingdom of God, I’m not sure I’d have invited myself to the publican’s home. His class, after all, were traitors who turned their back on their people to collaborate with the Romans for money.

    Aside from Jesus’ knowledge of what was in each person, it goes to show that the mission of preaching the gospel is not one of judging receptivity, but of speaking to all regardless of their situation.

     
  • Ron Thomas 6:07 am on January 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Repentance   

    Patience and Penitence 

    A good many years ago I obeyed the gospel of Christ. It was then that I learned how much I was in need of something greater than what I could offer. However, with that learning, I did not always know the best way to get accomplished what I desired. In fact, my failings were rather overwhelming. I studied and studied the Scripture; I soon learned it was not a matter of academic knowledge, but of academics being put into practice. This was a slow process and frustrations were great.

    For some people, it takes an event in life to have the “light bulb” go off and changes made. When that bulb shines brightly, things about self are easily seen. What is seen is not always liked; when the dislike becomes strong and embarrassing a new course or a slightly modified course is then set. This is what happened to me. Even now, I am still plagued with my failings of many years ago; however, as I apply 1 Peter 5:7 and Philippians 3:12-14 I can do nothing else but move on. This is where patience is developed in me.

    I will never be “Paul,” but I hope the Lord will use me to whatever degree that he knows I am capable of handling. In this, there may be a purging of the conscience that has too good of a memory in some things.

     
  • James Randal 5:10 am on January 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Repentance, ,   

    Daily Nudge: patience and repentance 

    Share a word of wisdom to a new convert about the balance between the need for patience with oneself in the process of growth and the need to put away sin, wrong attitudes, and bad habits; to repent, in short.

     
  • Laura 6:47 am on September 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Repentance,   

    Self-Destructive Behavior 

    Self-destructive behavior is all around us. I think one of the most commonly seen forms of this is the act of failing to take personal responsibility for our own actions or lack there-of. Why might this be self-destructive? Because people engage in self-deception when they do this, which impacts subsequent behavior. Until people see and admit their own faults and short comings, they simply will not change. Change is required to be truly happy in this world.

    But more importantly, change is required to be pleasing to God. People who will not accept personal responsibility simply will not repent of their ways. Without repentance, there is no hope of eternal life. There can only be certainty of eternal punishment. This is the ultimate form of self-destructive behavior, IMHO.

    I think one of the best examples of this behavior is found in Genesis 3. In verses 9-13, we see that Adam, upon being called out for disobeying God, blamed Eve, his wife. Eve subsequently blamed the serpent. However, upon close examination, we see that Adam actually did something worse. Much worse. He said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” Adam in essence blamed God because God was the giver of Eve, a point which Adam was careful to make. Adam and Eve had it made in Eden. The place was a paradise. God walked with them in the garden. Yet when Adam failed on the one and only command given him, he “passed the buck”. The end result was being kicked out of the garden and being forced to a life of hard labor and toil.

    I find it interesting that the account of this behavior is the very first inspired account of man’s failings. Perhaps it was placed up front and center for a reason… We should take note.

     
  • John Henson 7:10 pm on July 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Repentance,   

    All to Jesus I Surrender 

    The hymn “I Surrender All” has always been one of my favorites.

    In this hymn, the writer makes the statement, “All to Jesus, I surrender; all to him I freely give; I will ever love and trust him, in his presence daily live.”

    The word surrender means more than just ceasing resistance. It is a word that in English indicates giving up. An online dictionary gives this definition: “give up or agree to forgo to the power or possession of another.”

    The Apostle Paul, in Romans 8:32, does not use the word surrender in discussing the gift of Jesus on the cross by God the Father, but the idea is there. Paul wrote, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32 ESV). God gave his son up for all of us.

    It’s interesting that Jesus could have, at any time during his trial and crucifixion, called upon his father to send 12 legions of angels to rescue him and avoid his painful death, but he did not (Matthew 26:53). Instead, Jesus surrendered to the Jews, to Pilate and to the Roman soldiers who scourged and crucified him.

    When Jesus was dying on the cross, he could have saved himself at any time, but did not. Instead, he allowed life to flow from his body and died so that we might be freed from sin (Romans 6:7). Jesus surrendered all, so that we might live, provided we surrender all.

    One way of surrendering to God is by repentance. Recently, one of my friends wrote on an Internet page that the subject of repentance is not being preached as often as it should. He’s right; it isn’t. But, isn’t repentance the act of surrendering ourselves to God by turning away from sin and turning to righteousness?

    We should be willing to look at ourselves inside and find the wrong thoughts, wrong motives, wrong beliefs, anything that is wrong inside and surrender those things: just give them up. Then, we need to replace all those wrong things with right ones from the Bible. If we do that, then we meet the idea of repentance in the Bible.

    Sometimes, though, there are things we don’t want to give up. There are little things we like to do, although we know we shouldn’t. We must give these up, too. Then, there are things we know we should do, that we won’t. We need to give up our resistance to the Master and surrender that mindset, shouldn’t we?

    “All to Jesus, I surrender. All to him I freely give.” That’s what God wants of us.

     
  • James Randal 5:34 pm on June 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Repentance   

    Whenever we say no to one way of life that we have long been used to, there is pain. But when the way of life is, in fact, a way of death, a way of war, the quicker we leave it the better.

    Eugene H. Petterson, The Journey
     
  • James Randal 11:56 pm on March 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Repentance,   

    Acts 2:38 Revisited 

    Acts 2:38The hope is to fill out these talking points, used in the pulpit Sunday morning while a baby screamed, and post it on my weblog. This week looks dismal for it, however. So here it goes in cryptic form.

    1. General Application: “repent”. Third person plural. Applies to all. Luke’s special interest (Lk 13:1-5; 24:47). Needed emphasis today.

    2. Personal commitment: “each one of you be baptized”. Third person singular, imperative. Has to be an individual decision. Baptism means becoming a disciple, being a part of the group (2:41, 47). The end of sin, the beginning of service.

    3. Messianic mandate: “in the name of Jesus Christ.” By his authority. As if he were here — Luke wrote about what Jesus began to do and teach; here, he continues teaching and saving.

    4. Purpose: “for the forgiveness of your sins”. Sin separates from God, forgiveness permits fellowship with him. Jesus wants us to know why we do what we do. Same construction as found in Matt. 26:28. “Baptism now saves us.”

    5. Result: “you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. A difference between purpose and result. Gift is the Spirit (think, a present of a shirt).  He is the power for transformation of life and service of proclamation.

     
    • Laura 10:21 am on March 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I think it important to note that there are different opinions as to what “the gift of the Holy Spirit” means in Acts 2:38. I’ve heard many different views on this. First, it could mean the Holy Spirit is the gift given, or it could mean that the Holy Spirit gives us an unnamed gift (think “the gift of your father”, in which case the gift is not your father but rather what your father gives). I should note that this latter possibility is *usually* what we mean in English when a person is after the “of”. However, many of the Pentecostal persuasion take the former and use that to “prove” there are miraculous gifts today. After that, the debate really flies as to what the gift does for us, or not. Please, let’s not debate. But in fairness, alternative views of what this phrase mean that are equally credible should be presented.

  • James Randal 11:59 am on February 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Repentance   

    He will turn many 

    Since I’ve already shared one verse from my reading this morning, as a comment to Ron’s Bible reading post, here’s another from that same chapter, that also spoke to my heart, as I fulfill the Daily Nudge to share a verse from my Bible reading today.

    Luke 1:16: “He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God” (NET).

    The text speaks of John the immersor. By his turning is meant that he would, through his preaching, cause many to repent. John, like Jesus, was sent to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt 15:24) for his mission of preparing the people for the coming of the Lord (Luke 1:17b). For Luke, repentance stands for man’s whole response to the gospel (24:47) as an appropriate synecdoche. The proper goal of repentance is “to the Lord their God” (Acts 20:21; 26:20), since he is the Holy One who has been offended by our sin and to whom we must now respond by assuming, through the sacrifice of Christ, the sanctified life.

    The Lord will come again, this time, not to save, “but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him” (Heb 9:28 NLT). To Christians has been given the task of turning many in the world to the Lord God. The field is the world and Christians are the seed who have been scattered in this field for the work of God (Matt 13:38).

    I pray that the Lord will use me to “turn many” to the Lord. I pray he will raise up many workers for the harvest (Luke 10:2), to “turn many” to salvation. I pray all we do will contribute to “turn many” to receive the Lord now for eternal salvation, so they may be among those who eagerly await his appearing.

     
    • Ron 12:05 pm on February 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I like your words. The last paragraph struck me. We desire the Lord to you us (or me) for His service. A commendable prayer to the Lord and one that we ought often to make. Yet, has He not already prepared us for His use? What do we mean when we offer that prayer? Perhaps what we mean is that we will meet the challenge when it comes our way, or when we go out to do His bidding.

      Appreciate the thought, Randal.

      • Randal Matheny 12:13 pm on February 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Indeed, he has prepared us, Ron. My thought fixed on the “many.” I have yet to see many turn to the Lord. So I tie this back to the verse I commented on under your reading post, to continue working and teaching, confident of the promise that with the sowing will come harvest.

  • James Randal 2:54 pm on January 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Repentance   

    How about that global warming? 

    I’m hoping Ed will hop on here and start doing this …

    How about that global warming? Just before the big wigs and high ups meet in Denmark to talk about solutions, the news comes out that the books have been cooked! The British university that the United Nations relied on for evidence for global warming has been manipulating the figures and conspiring to discredit anyone who raised a differing view. Why? There’s big money involved. Financial grants and professional prestige is at stake. Whether it is weather or faith when bias undermines evidence and conclusions precede corroboration, an admission of error is much preferred to a coverup! This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess inviting you to the Winchester Church of Christ.

     
  • John Henson 7:22 pm on January 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Repentance   

    A brother came this morning 

    The man who headed up the Lord’s Supper responded to the invitation today because he had made a few mistakes.

                This brother has such a pure, loving, giving heart. He is the epitome of the kind of heart King David wrote about in Psalm 51. According to the superscription of the Psalm, David wrote it after Nathan the prophet had come to him about his adultery with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of Uriah the Hittite, Bathsheba’s husband.

                Toward the end of the Psalm, David wrote, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise,” (Psalm 51:17 NASB). We can engage in a religion for show if we want, but God isn’t pleased with that. He wants our hearts and minds open and tender, ready to accept instruction even if it temporarily stings.

                The brother came in response to the invitation this morning because his heart was open and tender and was ready to accept instruction. May we all have hearts and minds like that, to the glory of Almighty God.

     
  • Daniel Haynes 4:40 pm on December 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Repentance   

    “If You Only Knew…” 

    First of all, I want to thank Tim Lewis for giving me the idea for this post. As is often the case when one is preaching the Message of God’s Word to an audience, a grain of truth finds its way into a heart in a way that the messenger may not be aware of or even intended. In pointing out the sad truth that some have a hard time believing that God could love them because their sin is so grievous, I was encouraged to think of my own life and admit what I knew to be true, but, like everyone else, sometimes have a hard time remembering. God loves me! Thanks, Tim. (Read More)

     
    • Mike Riley 4:50 pm on December 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Daniel, I would like permission from Bro. Bates to link his blog to mine. Could you ask him if that would be ok? Thanks, so much!

  • philsanders 11:01 pm on November 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Repentance,   

    Sunday, November 22, I called for America to think about the first Thanksgiving proclamation passed by Congress and signed by President Washington. It called for a day of thanksgiving and fasting on Dec. 18, 1777. It also called for a day of humiliation and repentance. Do we not have a need for repentance? Perhaps we should call for such today, knowing that the existence of our nation is dependent upon our relationship with the Lord (Jer. 18:7-10). They understood it. Our powers today do not. We must remind them.

     
    • Randal Matheny 11:05 pm on November 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Phil, glad to see your comment and post. Hope you will contribute often. (Goes for Weylan and Mike and Richard and all the rest, too.) Absolutely, our deep, deep need is for repentance.

      BTW, on the tags, please separate the tags with commas. Will send you some guidelines on how best to use the FellowshipRoom. Thanks.

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