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[thoughts] All Men Need Repentance (February 4-10, 2008)

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  • Mark Roth
    Thoughts for the Week Mark Roth http://www.anabaptists.org/clp/youth/ Every-Other-Daily Thoughts Mark Roth http://www.eaf.net/mvp/ ... This edition goes out
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 8, 2008
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      Thoughts for the Week
      Mark Roth

      Every-Other-Daily Thoughts
      Mark Roth

      This edition goes out today to 4171 subscribers. Thank you!

      (Luke 13:1-10)


      Our King James Version records only six Old Testament verses
      using *repent* or *repented* as something a human did, or
      should do, of his sins. Of those six verses, only one registers an
      individual repenting -- Job (Job 42:6); only one records a people
      repenting -- Ephraim (Jeremiah 31:19); and only two chronicle
      a divine call to repent and turn from sin (Ezekiel 14:6; 18:30).
      The other two usages appear in 1 Kings 8:47 and Jeremiah 8:6.

      A careful study of the Old Testament shows an occasional appeal
      for a changed heart. For the most part, however, action centered
      around a sacrifice for sin that could be offered whether or not
      the person's heart had experienced a fundamental change. When
      I originally wrote this section almost fifteen years ago, I was in
      a country where the predominant religion takes that old approach
      -- confession and sacrifice will get you by without needing
      genuine repentance.

      The New Testament is an entirely different proposition. Early in
      the Church Age, Peter preached, "Repent ye therefore, and be
      converted, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19). In his
      message on Mars' hill, Paul stated clearly and emphatically that
      the old approach is abolished, for God "now commandeth all
      men every where to repent" (Acts 17:30). From Matthew to
      Revelation, *repent* and its derivatives surface repeatedly.

      John the Baptist launched the new emphasis -- "Repent ye: for
      the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2); the Lord and
      His men echoed that clarion call (Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15;
      6:12; Acts 20:21; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 12:21; 2
      Timothy 2:25; 2 Peter 3:9). John forcefully preached repentance
      as the new condition for the remission of sins (Matthew 3:11;
      Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3); Jesus and His disciples continued that
      emphasis (Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38). John also introduced baptism
      as an outward sign of that inner state. You might say that John
      the Baptist was on the cutting edge of what was to become the
      New Testament approach to sin and guilt (Acts 13:24).

      Later on in His ministry, Jesus issued proclamations that surely
      startled His listeners: "I am not come to call the righteous, but
      sinners to repentance" (Matthew 9:13); "Except ye repent, ye
      shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3,5); "Joy shall be in heaven
      over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine
      just persons, which need no repentance" (Luke 15:7). In His
      messages to the churches in Revelation, the Lord waxes equally
      direct; here is one example: "Remember therefore from whence
      thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will
      come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of
      his place, except thou repent" (2:5).

      PROVE IT!

      I have a hard time distinguishing lemon trees from orange trees.
      But I have a sure-fire way of eventually identifying such trees.
      No, I don't wait around for someone to put special signs on these
      trees. I simply wait till the trees bear fruit. Then I know a lemon
      tree from an orange tree!

      Many in the church would have us believe that repentance is
      only a personal affair. They openly proclaim the repentance issue
      a matter between God and the individual alone, with everyone
      else being closed out. Obviously, they are right in the sense that
      I cannot force it on anyone else. However, they are wrong when
      they insist I cannot observe the effects of that repentance. Both
      John the Baptist and Paul called for fruits and works "meet for
      repentance" (Matthew 3:8; Acts 26:20).

      Both John and Jesus spoke very severely to those whose
      righteousness did not touch their hearts. Both of them rejected
      righteousness for show, yet both of them demanded that
      righteousness show.

      If I say I have experienced repentance, the inward change I
      profess should be very obvious outwardly. In other words, what
      I am will *always* reveal itself with visible fruit. Just as a
      lemon tree produces lemons, so repentance produces right living.
      If I say I have changed but you can't tell I have changed, have
      I really changed?

      John stated plainly, "Bring forth therefore fruits meet for
      repentance" (Matthew 3:8). Then he gave this warning of a
      coming test and judgment: "Every tree which bringeth not forth
      good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire" (Matthew 3:10).

      Let us also give life-changing heed to these words of the Master:
      "Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit.... Every tree that
      bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the
      fire" (Matthew 7:17,19). Thankfully, Jesus also assured us, "He
      that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much
      fruit: for without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).


      Have you ever picked out his fruits of repentance?

      First he determines to take a certain course of action. In other
      words, he sets his will and makes his choice. This, in my mind,
      shows that repentance is a decision and not simply a state of
      feeling. But we don't see his repentance bear fruit until he begins
      to act in a manner consistent with his decision. He moves ahead
      regardless of how his thoughts, emotions and feelings may tug
      him away from that course of action. As he gets nearer home,
      that tug may become more pronounced and insistent. But he still
      follows through with his decision. He declares his sinfulness and
      acknowledges his unworthiness. His repentance bore fruit!

      Is that the only fruit his repentance produced? Nope! Right at the
      beginning he had to abandon his will. He made the determination
      to return to his father, not as a son but as a...servant! He had to
      make the choice of submission. His will and desires would no
      longer count, only his father's. He also had to thoroughly reject
      a lifestyle and whatever was associated with it. I just can't
      imagine this fellow sticking a corncob in his pocket...and
      fingering it all the way home...and making a hole in one end so
      he could pass a string through it and hang it on the wall in his
      room. Everything associated with his sinful past was left behind.

      So with us today. Until we willingly WORK to bring forth fruits
      worthy of our repentance, that repentance is not only suspect, it
      is weak. It will likely be reversed. Until we make the
      DETERMINATION and CHOICE to submit our will to God
      *and* to our human authorities, our repentance will be only a
      concept, not a reality. Until we CHOSE to disregard our
      emotions to act in accordance with what the Bible tells us is
      right, our repentance will never even get to the blossoming stage,
      let alone the fruit-bearing phase. Until we harden ourselves to the
      tugs and attractions of our sin and the people involved in that sin
      with us, and until we discard all the objects associated with our
      sin and the people connected with it, our repentance is a farce
      and a mockery.


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      Mark Roth

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