Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it (Matthew 16:24-25).
1 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 "Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold." 9 And he said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." 10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that "they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven." 13 And he said to them, "Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold." (Mark 4:1-20)
The Taliban is radical. ANTIFA is radical. BLM is radical. ISIS is radical. The Communists and secular progressives are radical. They all have one thing in common: Active conviction. If we were to examine what a Christian radical (in the purest sense) were, what would it be? It seems to me that our Lord requires nothing less.
Active conviction is the fuel of victorious warfare. It is the firm belief in a particular thing that eventually leads to radical action. We’ve lost this in the church. Satan has not lost this. Daily, he assembles his minions to do war against the souls of mankind. He attacks with famine, persecution, disease and all the sin that can be conceived in the human mind. He blinds the minds of those who do not believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and hinders the work of Christ through distracting the church with the cares of this world. Will Jesus return as Moses did in his day, and find us playing around an idol of gold? Or, will he find us doing what Israel should have been doing – occupying until the return?
Anyone can become radical if they are stricken enough. Once an enemy reveals himself as such, it forces the supposed victim to take action, immediately. But action alone will not win this war, no less than the actions of a preteen upon a seasoned warrior -- and there are few David’s in the church today. Knowledge of power, and a crave for violence must be embedded in the minds of those who will draw their sword against the onslaughts of the wicked one.
So, do we fuel ourselves with hatred, and use the lesser weapons of guns, daggers, and fists? Do we summon the destructive power of carnal warfare? God forbid. In days past, the church’s actions in this manner only led to tragedy for which we still see our brothers and sisters suffer. We must not use carnal weapons that bring death, but rather, spiritual weapons that bring life, fueled by faith, hope and love. We must use the weapons of the Word of God, and prayer.
For though we walk in the flesh, we don't wage war according to the flesh; for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the throwing down of strongholds, throwing down imaginations and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience will be made full.
There is a much larger story than what we see. There is an inescapable eternity that waits for us all. Our fate is determined by what we do with the story behind the story of our lives. In our life, we have flesh and blood. In the spirit realm though, that is not the war being fought. There, the fight is with principalities, powers, spiritual wickedness in high places and the rulers of the darkness of this world. It does not matter if we are pacifists. They are coming to us to do battle, and we can either fall to their wiles, or fight – we have no other choices. They come to do battle with our children, our loved ones and friends; they don’t have any intention on losing. It is a spiritual battle whose story is told through temporal, natural things. The things which are seen tell the story of the things that are unseen, which are eternal – the real things. Christian life is more than meets the eye. That is why we must walk by faith, and not by sight. On the outside, you may see trials all around, but through the eyes of the spirit, there is actually much more going on. There is a battle that depends on your faith, and your use of the Word of God.
Last week, the final question was, "Using Revelation 18, in what way does Babylon relate to today?"
The church is God's resistance against the immoral, ungodly world system (Babylon). We are the called, chosen and faithful who are "with the Lamb" (Revelation 17:14). Still, what does that resistance look like? Do you think that the church (as it looks today) can content with Babylon? To take things a bit further, do you think the condition of your local church could stand and contend?
Please understand: Your private prayer life alone, will not contend with Babylon. You are no match for the world's systems. However, WE are. As a unified church, we are able to pull souls out of the fire, and dismantle the impact of the enemy for millions of souls.
Here is what is needed to contend with Babylon:
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth (Genesis 11:1-9).
Marduk: Originally, he seems to have been a god of thunderstorms. A poem, known as Enuma elish and dating from the reign of Nebuchadrezzar I (1119–1098 BCE), relates Marduk’s rise to such preeminence that he was the god of 50 names, each one that of a deity or of a divine attribute. After conquering the monster of primeval chaos, Tiamat, he became Lord of the Gods of Heaven and Earth. All nature, including humanity, owed its existence to him; the destiny of kingdoms and subjects was in his hands.
Marduk’s star was Jupiter, and his sacred animals were horses, dogs, and especially the so-called dragon with forked tongue, representations of which adorn his city’s walls. On the oldest monuments Marduk is represented holding a triangular spade or hoe, interpreted as an emblem of fertility and vegetation. He is also pictured walking or in his war chariot. Typically, his tunic is adorned with stars; in his hand is a sceptre, and he carries a bow, spear, net, or thunderbolt. Kings of Assyria and Persia also honoured Marduk and Zarpanitu in inscriptions and rebuilt many of their temples.
Marduk was later known as Bel, a name derived from the Semitic word baal, or “lord.” Bel had all the attributes of Marduk, and his status and cult were much the same. Bel, however, gradually came to be thought of as the god of order and destiny. In Greek writings references to Bel indicate this Babylonian deity and not the Syrian god of Palmyra of the same name. (Brittanica).
The ziggurat (including undoubtedly, the one in Genesis 11) was a portal which served as a connecting link between heaven and earth. They are considered the earliest known pyramids (which also served as portals to interdimensional realms in the Americas as well as in Egypt and Sudan). The idea that the tower of Babel was a tower that would reach the heavens was much like the language that was used for other towers that were built in that area: Stairway to Pure Heaven (Sippar), House Binding Heaven and Earth (Nippur), Temple Linking Heaven and Earth (Larsa), Temple of the Foundation Platform of Heaven and Earth (Babylon). The purpose of such structures was to provide a shrine for the gods.
The tower's "top in the heavens" used spiritual matters to manipulate the people. This expression uses spiritual wording. The top of the tower spiritually reached into the heavens, home of the gods. The earliest built tower with similar purpose, the Tepe Sialk Ziggurat, featured a shrine for god at its top. This Ziggurat, at Kashan, Iran, is almost due east of Baghdad and nearby Babylon. The migrating people, later building Babel, brought the ideas behind Sialk's design with them to Mesopotamia. This part of their belief system regionally continued after Babel. They believed the tower's top was a gateway to the gods. Humanity's religion is always trying to reach into heaven (Romans 10:6). Christianity is different because God came to us (John 3:13). (MacDonald, Brent 2016).
The tower was built to rise up, into the very throne of God. In this case, they were not building a shrine unto God, but to "make for themselves a name," so as to establish unity and strength, without God. It is said that YHWH, whose name was known this time was not being reverenced, but invaded (in a sense), as they were building a tower to reach God (in a spiritual sense), without the aid of God. If this "invasion" claim is true, it is similar to (but is not) the invasion of Lucifer in Isaiah 14:13).
And the Lord came down...(v5).
From this time forward, God's people have had to deal with Babylon who will not fall until the fulfillment of its falling in Revelation 18. If Babylon was here from the beginning, and destroyed at the end, then we are clearly contending with it now.
Interdimensional portals are not symbolic. They are real. As they did this in ancient Babylon, it is being done today through occult magick.
By the rivers of Babylon,
There we sat down and wept,
When we remembered Zion. Upon the willows in the midst of it
We hung our harps.
For there our captors demanded of us songs,
And our tormentors, jubilation, saying,
“Sing for us one of the songs of Zion!”
How can we sing the Lord’s song
In a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
May my right hand forget its skill.
May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
If I do not remember you,
If I do not exalt Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.
Remember, Lord, against the sons of Edom
The day of Jerusalem,
Those who said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare
To its foundation!”
Daughter of Babylon, you devastated one,
Blessed will be one who repays you
With the retribution with which you have repaid us.
Blessed will be one who seizes and dashes your children
Against the rock.
The Saddest of All Psalms!
Written by the prophet Jeremiah, this Psalm is said to be the saddest of all Psalms! It is a lamentation that was brought forth after the prophet gave repeated warnings to Israel of the coming of Babylonian invaders, only to find himself among the captives, weeping.
This week, we are going to go through this psalm, verse by verse and talk about how our current "invasion" impacts the church, your family, and your life.
We have finally made it to the last of the foundational principles: Eternal Judgement. I know...you can probably assume that this will be all fire and brimstone. But actually, eternal judgement looks a lot different for the believer -- especially those who have been obedient to God's purpose, to which they are called. So, we are going to jump head-first into the "fire and brimstone" part, and honestly, it isn't much different from what you may have heard. In fact, it's ugly. Still, if you are a believer, the horror of hell should only motivate you to give your life to pulling others "out of the fire." You are safe.
So, let's start with the Great White Throne judgement!
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).
If you are a believer, this is not your fate. This great white throne judgement is the fate of the ungodly, unrepentant sinner. Such people are judged according to their works on the earth. As a result, their every sin is brought before them. There is no escape from this judgement. It is the precursor to eternal damnation. Sadly, nearly all of us know someone who will face this throne while still in their sins. This is why we have an urgency to share the most important message in the history of mankind -- the gospel.
Jesus gives warning of this terrible and FINAL judgement. This lake of fire was not prepared for human beings. It was prepared for the devil and his angels. Sadly, people cling so tightly to the enemy, that they face the same judgement.
Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).
Hell, "...where the worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:44, 46, 48).
"...the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day" (1 Thessalonians 1:7-10). (Notice that in this verse, it gives a distinction between the fate of the unglodly, and the fate of the godly in the same verses.)
While we can clearly see the damnation of those who do not know God or obey the gospel, there is admiration in all who believe! This means that judgement day for the believer is a great day! It is a day of glorious victory!
But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, And every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. (Romans 14:10-12).
We will stand before the judgement seat!
It sounds like a terrifying day, but is it? The greek word for "judgement seat" is the word "bema". It is different from the word used for judgement throughtout the gospels (krisis), which speaks to damnation and condemnation. The term, Bema, speaks to a judgement as you would see in an Olympic game. It is literally a raised podium from which judgements are made for reward. From here, the "least" and the "greatest" in the kindgdom of heaven are determined (see Matthew 5:19).
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God (2 Corinthians 5:10-11).
See? "But, we...". Again, there is a distinction between we, and the ones we are trying to persuade. We are made manifest to God. The "terror" is why we persuade those outside of His will. THe judgement seat of Christ is not a place of fear and condemnation for the believer. We will not have all of our sins recounted before us, all over again. God has said that you "...sins and iniquities, He will remember no more." So, why would He bring up our past, blood washed, forgiven past again? It is gone, and resolved. Christ's "Bema" is not a seat of trembling and punishment. This (I believe) is where you get your rewards.
As you can see, we ought to rejoice in the glorious future that lies ahead. The day of judgement will be a delight and rejoicing for those who believe. Even as we give account of all o our works, whether good or bad, our soul shall be saved!
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
Your works will be judged, but you, yourself, shall be saved! What you do with your life can either be gold, silver, and precious stones, or it can be wood, hay and stubble. It will all be tried by fire. The Day shall declare your works. Whether you are great of the least in the kingdom is dependent on your obedience to God on earth. But again, if you are a believer, your soul shall be saved!!!
Question: What is your greatest concern about the Day of judement?
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable (1 Corinthians 15:13-19).
First of all, Christ Foster did a fantastic teaching last week on The Laying on of Hands. One thing about studying the foundational principles is that you get to learn things that you won't learn anywhere else. If you listen to what is being taught, it is practical. You can do this! Even more valuable (in my opinion) is the opportunity to apply what you learn when we gather together for prayer on Tuesday nights. I know...it's late. Soon, we will have prayer sessions at a more manageable time. However, I want you to understand that the sacrifice is worth it all. In fact, nothing of value comes without sacrifice, and prayer is one of those things. All that to say...come to prayer as often as you are able. The times demand it.
Speaking of the times, I feel the need to go in a diferent direction tonight. We are now on the Resurrection of the Dead portion of the foundational teachings, and we will dive into that topic, tonight. (For good reason, Niral II is burning to share what he understands about this). However, I want to get a bit more in the here, and now. I don't know if you can feel it, or see it, but there are some things going on in the world that we need to talk about, and pray about. I am concerned that if we are not careful, we will keep doing church, and become victims of whatever the world brings across our path. Here are some examples:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.Now as Jannes and Jambres [Exodus 7: 11, 22, and 8:7,18] withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was (2 Timothy 3:1-9).
Even with their folly manifest to everyone, people will still not believe the truth -- even those who go to church. The answer to this issue is the ministry of Spirit-led intercession. In the midst of the turmoil in the world.
Read: Ezekiel 22:23-31
Read: Isaiah 59
Chris Foster, Teaching
To transmit: blessing, Authority, Wisdom, The HS, a Spiritual gift or a ministry
Action point: The second most prominent and powerful blessing in Scripture, is those that come from Father or grandfather blessing their children.
Stephen and colleagues
Be affirmed locally; do not go rogue.
“For this reason, I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through (dia) the laying on of my hands; 7 for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Tim 1:6) NRSV)
Dangers: do not lay hands hastily!
“Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, and do not participate (share) (κοινώνει ἁμαρτίαις) in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.” (1 Tim 5:22)
Warning: do not hastily receive the laying on of hands!
“…one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5).
So, we are still in the foundational principles and the sincere milk of the Word. We started out with repentance from dead works. Then, we moved on to an AWESOME teaching on faith toward God by Ose Burnett. This week, we get to dive into the topic of the doctrine of baptisms. Notice, it says “baptisms’ – plural. Yes, there is more than one baptism in the New Testament. The three we will cover this week are: Baptism into Christ Jesus, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and water baptism.
Before we go on, let’s investigate what baptism actually means. It comes from the Greek word, baptidzo, which means to be fully immersed by someone into something. It means to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk), to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one's self, bathe, to overwhelm. Originally, it described what a person did when they wanted to change the color of clothing, cloths, etc. The cloth would be dipped into a container, and left there until the cloth was a brand-new color because it was so saturated with the dye.
Baptized into Christ Jesus
This happens at the moment of repentance and belief in Jesus Christ. This is what was spoken of in Ephesians 4:5, which says, “…one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Of course, we are investigating three different baptisms, but this is the one required for salvation. It is not water baptism. Here, the Holy Spirit baptizes you into Christ Jesus. This is done by Him, without your participation, at the moment of conversion. This is the only baptism REQUIRED for salvation. It is the baptism that enters you into the body of Christ. Again, there is nothing we need to do to receive this baptism except to repent, and call upon the Name of Jesus as our Lord. The rest is done by the Holy Spirit, placing us “in” Christ. The evidence of this baptism is the fruit (Matthew 7:16).
Baptized in the Holy Spirit
“John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16).
This is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But, what is it, really? So much has been said to associate this with the speaking in other tongues that we have oftentimes forgotten the real significance of this baptism. It is an immersion into the power of God, and according to the biblical record, speaking in tongues plays a huge role in it. In nearly every instance where people were filled with the Holy Spirit, they spoke in tongues and prophesied. Still, something deeper happens, and John explains it: “His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Luke 3:17). There is a sanctification and purification that happens when a person is baptized in the Holy Spirit. See, we are baptized in the HOLY Spirit. We are immersed into the power of God so long, we change in a way that impacts the world around us (Acts 1:8). We go from those who hid our faces from Christ, to those who shine with His glory. We become those who demonstrate the grace of Christ.
This baptism is performed by believers, and there must be a baptizer, water, and a person being baptized. You can be baptized at any time after salvation. Water baptism is a symbolic action to show that the old “you” is dead, and you are a new creation in Christ, raised from spiritual death. It is a public, outer declaration of an inner change. Jesus taught that we should baptize, and it is a priority. It is a special event, just as important as marriage and communion. He says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). In the early days of the church, water baptism could very well have been a death sentence, due to increasing persecution from the Romans and Jews throughout Israel. Baptism takes the secrecy out of conversion, as they would go out to a large body of water to publicly declare Jesus Christ, and immerse themselves in the presence of everyone. It bring to mind the words of Jesus, “Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God (Luke 12:8).
Additional scriptures on water baptism:
Acts 8:36, 38
Hi family! This is Ose here...
This week Pastor Niral assigned me the task to teach on Faith toward God! I'm excited about delving into the scriptures with you. This is an important part of our foundation, and we have to be able to articulate it to ourselves, and the world.
Remember, we are going back to the foundation to lay some truths down again.
The scripture focus is Hebrews 6:1, 2:
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment (Hebrews 6:1-2).
Here's a question that I'd like you to ponder on, and you'll be answering this tomorrow at church:
Suppose I were to die today, and I stood at the door of Heaven. If God asked me, "Why should I let you into Heaven?" -- what would I say?
Your answer will tell you everything you need to know about YOUR faith.
Scriptures to underline in your Bible:
2 These. 1: 8, 9
2 Corinthians 5:17
After-Church Study Questions:
1. Take the time to write down a personal Statement testifying according to Scripture of your own salvation by no other name but the name of Jesus (see Acts 4:12).
2. If someone were to ask you to explain your faith in God and every man's need for the sin-cleansing power of the blood of Jesus Christ, what would be your scriptural answer?
3. Do you find your confidence in what you do for Christ or in what Christ has done for you? If all you have accomplished in life was stripped away, would you face an identity crisis and not know how to define yourself? Or would you rest in the abiding knowledge of who you are in Him? Be honest as you answer why or why not.
4. Can you identify any area in your life where sinful attitudes and fleshy traits may have been allowed to remain unchecked? Now is the time for you to eliminate them.
5. Also, evaluate your life to find actions or activities that you may feel good about but that God never asked you to get involved in. Do you recognize anything that fits in the category of "dead works"? If so, take time to repent and get these areas of your life realigned with what you know God has asked you to do.
*Questions taken from the book, "Build Your Foundation" by Rick Renner.
Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. (Hebrews 6:1-3)
Repentance is the primary initial message of the gospels:
Matthew 3:2 – Repent (John the Baptist)
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Matthew 4:17 – Repent (Jesus)
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Mark 6:12 – Repent (Disciples)
And they went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.
Luke 13:3, 5 – Repent, or perish. (Jesus)
“I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
The charge to repent was the primary message of John the Baptist, Jesus, and the early disciples. Even after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the message was clear: People needed to change their minds, and abhor their past sins in order to receive forgiveness. Forgiveness was never automatic. It only came after a person humbled themselves, and turned away from their own wickedness and sin. There is no forgiveness without repentance.
What is repentance?
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).
Repent is translated from the Greek word metanoeo, which means to change one's mind; to change one's mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins. Repentance comes after one becomes conscious of their sins. When consciousness of sins comes, there is a corresponding action that God requires of us. Consciousness of sin, without active repentance will keep you dead in your sins (see Luke 13:3, again). So, it’s not enough to know that you are in your sins. Action must be taken, now.
"Repentance is not the mere acceptance of a new philosophy or new idea. It is actually a decision made to completely change one’s thoughts, behavior, and actions or to entirely turn around in the way one is thinking, believing or living. It is more than sorrow. It is more than an apology. It is a solid, intellectual decision to take a new direction and revise the pattern of one’s life. It is a decision" (Renner, Rick, 2021, Build Your Foundation). Get the book here.
Repentance means that some practical changes will need to be made if you are to have a relationship with God. Without delay, your known sins must be abandoned. If you are too spiritually weak to abandon them immediately (addictions, etc.), then at the very least, there should be a push in the opposite direction such as a solid recovery program. It could also mean to cancel subscriptions to things that give you access to sinful materials. It could also mean to talk to a mature believer about the weaknesses you have. Whatever the case, actions must be taken to strive against sin (see Hebrews 12:4).
When one has truly repented, they will begin to live a lifestyle that resists, and strives against the dead works that held them bound. Dead works are the things we do that produce death. The scripture tells us that, “…the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Perhaps you can name some examples of “dead works” that have existed in your own life.
How can you be sure you have repented?
“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance” (Matthew 3:8).
Proof of repentance is always reflected in your behavior. It’s more than an emotion. It’s more than “I’m sorry.” It involves the decision to do something different. Looking at Psalm 32:1-5, you will see what repentance actually is:
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
According to verse 5, if you have truly repented, it means you have:
Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never drive away (John 6:37).
Repentance is the way we get into relationship with God. As mentioned in an earlier teaching, YHWH wants to be wanted. He wants to be loved. He wants us to desire Him. He is not interested in rejecting you or sending you to hell. It seems as though He wants to be sure that YOU are not interested in going to hell. When a person turns to the Lord, there is a guarantee of freedom that dies not involve you fixing yourself, but God Himself, restoring your soul.
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