Radioprogram, Repentance, 02.04.2018
Announcer 01: Isaiah 40, verses 3 to 5 says, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
This text prophetically speaks about John the Baptist, because we see the same text quoted in Matthew 3, verse 3, “For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight.’’”
If we study the ministry of John the Baptist, we will see that in Luke 1, verse 16, the Archangel Gabriel said about him, “And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.” John was not sent to the Gentiles who never knew the Lord. Speaking in today’s language, he was sent to the lost sheep who are no longer in Churches and to those who left Churches because of displeasure.
The main purpose of John’s ministry was to call on the children of Israel to return to the ways of the Lord, and not to follow their own paths, although many of them were religious and believed with all their hearts that their spiritual condition was just wonderful.
However, the other side of the coin was that thousands faithfully attended synagogues without fully realizing the true condition of their hearts. They were deceived, as they thought that their worship and service were acceptable to God. They were fully convinced in their righteousness, because they were the children of Abraham, followed the teachings of their spiritual fathers, gave tithes, prayed, followed untold numbers of religious customs, while all this was only formal; in fact, their hearts were far from God. They were deceived and strayed from Him.
As in the days of John, today many are deceived as well. They do not live for God’s best interest, but for their own. Oftentimes, they do things in the name of the Lord, but in reality, it’s for their own reputation. They have invited Jesus in their lives only to improve them. They believe that despite their lifestyle, they have right standing before the Lord and are ready for His return, because they have said the sinner’s prayer; they attend a Church, give tithes and listen to Christian music. Such people are deceived and strayed; they have a gospel of their own.
Oftentimes, we preach the Gospel in a wrong way. We invite sinners to the Church, but we do not tell them about repenting of their sins; we attract them with promises of prosperity and success. Our goal is simple: to get them to come to a church meeting. We think they will come and understand everything there. We have offered them the promise of a new and improved life. The reason was, we were more concerned about receiving a positive response from them than telling the truth, which can set them free. We enroll sinners by enticing them with the benefits of salvation and material blessings, while we fail to clearly show them where they are spiritually, and then to give them opportunity to repent, in hope they will turn to Jesus Christ as their Lord.
Jeremiah 9, verses 3 to 6 says, “‘They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know Me,’ says the Lord… ‘Everyone will deceive his neighbor, and will not speak the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves to commit iniquity. Your dwelling place is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know Me,’ says the Lord.”
Where are the men and women that are valiant for the truth? This is what God’s heart cries for. Instead of taking a stand for righteousness, ministers and other Christians are concerned that they will offend people by proclaiming the truth. They back off and teach their tongues to tell lies. There is an alarming fact; if a person continues in a lie, ultimately they accept it as truth. This is deception! James 1 verse 26 confirms this, “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.”
The temptation to compromise, like a leaven, has become so widespread, that ministers are persecuted by other ministers for speaking the truth. It is very easy to win a convert if you entice them with promises of blessing. You think, “I will not tell them the truth, lest they are offended.” Often this means you cannot tell the truth because you are afraid. Ministers have stopped on the messages that attract people to Jesus, but do not mention repentance.
As a result, sin is still thriving in the hearts of men. The Christians that believe lies come to a conclusion that one can serve both God and the world. This gives them an appearance of godliness, while they have rejected the power that can change their hearts. The life of the Spirit of Christ has departed from them.
When you see this, you come to realize that the words Paul addressed to Timothy in Second Timothy 3, verses 1 to 7, are truly prophetic:
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power… always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
God says that in the last days, which are our days, people will attend Churches, call upon the name of the Lord and even be inspired by His promises. However, they will deny the power of God that is able to change them from lovers of themselves to lovers of others; from lovers of money to lovers of God; from boasting and pride to genuine meekness; from disobedient to parents to obedient; from unthankful to thankful; from unholy to holy; from unloving to compassionate.
Paul describes them as “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” In other words, they love to learn the things of God, but never come to the knowledge of truth, as they do not practice them. They merely show they have a spiritual life, while in reality they do not know God, because they are deceived. As God says in Jeremiah 9, verse 6, it is “through deceit”, that “they refuse to know Me”.
This form of godliness does not lead them to knowing God closer. Jesus said in Matthew 7, verses 22 and 23, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” First Corinthians 6, verses 9 and 10 continue, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Many are deceived into thinking that they can live as it pleases them and be saved by simply professing Jesus as their Savior. They have plucked out some verses from the Scriptures that defend their views, such as Hebrews 13, verse 5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Surely, God will never leave us, but He has never said that we ourselves cannot leave Him! Remember, that we have a Covenant with Him through the holy blood of Jesus Christ. If we say, “I believe you, Lord”, but do not follow the commandments of the Covenant, it will simply be hypocrisy. We want God to be faithful in all the promises of the Covenant, but are we faithful in the part of the Covenant that is assigned to us?
Second Timothy 2, verse 12 says, “If we deny Him, He also will deny us.” A person can deny Christ not only in word, but also in deed. Actions are louder than words. Titus 1, verse 16 says, “They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him.” The epistle to Titus makes it clear that people can profess knowledge of Jesus Christ, but at the same time deny Him in their works.
Peter describes those “who escaped the pollutions of this world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but are again entangled in them and overcome”. Being overcome means that they did not return to the Lord. They did not repent from their lawless deeds. Peter states that “it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.” In other words, God says that it would be better for them never to get saved than to receive the gift of the eternal life and then to turn away from it forever. This is what Ezekiel the Prophet said in Ezekiel 18, verse 24, “All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered.”
And why would it have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness? Jude the Apostle answers this question in Jude 13. He says they are “raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” The blackness of darkness means the worst punishment. It is written in Luke 12, verses 47 and 48, “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”
Jude 12 and 13 that describe those who will receive this terrible punishment, it is written about those who are “twice dead”. To be twice dead means there was a time a person received life by accepting Him, and then died again, when denied Him forever.
Dear Christian brothers and sisters, let us change ourselves while there is time; let us repent. Let us return to the Calvary, if, of course, you can see that you are far from the Spirit of Christ.
Remember that our Lord is faithful and just; He loves repentant hearts. Whatever you have done, if you have a twinge of conscience, if you feel a rebuke in your heart, repent. It will give you peace; repentance will fill you with joy, bless you and open the doors of success for you.
Let us pray…