To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Archive for the ‘Repentance’ Category

Leading In Repentance.

This post from last week leads me to think about how leaders should demonstrate their leadership in repentance. This is essentially counter-intuitive because the thinking of the world is that you have to prove yourself to be strong and in control if you are a leader. However the godly leader is not of that ilk.

The model of our leadership is a Saviour who was humble and lowly of heart. Now our Saviour never had to repent of any sin. However for us who are weak in our beings and prone to wander from the ways of God there should be the readiness to repent.

This so important because it is how we display the gospel into our family and into our church. Parents and church leaders who are not repenters set a bad example to those under their care. The gospel we affirm, after all, is a message which has its fulcrum in repentance. Gospel grace swings into our lives when there is repentance. Forgiveness is experienced when there is repentance.

So parents and church leaders make sure that you are a leader in repentance. Children and church members who see their leaders ever proving their strength and refusing to face up to their sins are hindered from seeing the gospel clearly displayed before them.

Are You A Self-Justifier Or A Repenter?

What happens when you are challenged about an attitude you have or something you have said or done? How do you react?

The people of the world respond by looking to self-justify. Their default position is to justify their actions and assert the rectitude of what they have done. Upon realisation of their rightness they smugly move on having proven themselves once again.

The people of God respond by looking to repent. They seek to examine the situation to see whether they have doing anything wrong. Having seen what is wrong they repent with brokenness of spirit. Whereupon they seek God for help to not sin again in the future.

Of course this is reflective of the world view of each. The people of this world have never seen the full measure of sin to which they are prone and vulnerable. They do not see the gravity of doing that which offends the Lord. Whilst the people of God are only too aware of their weakness and their tendency to fail the Lord and others.

We must note that we are speaking of generalisms here and the basic tendencies found in the godly and the worldly camps. There will be times when the people of this world realise they have done wrong and will apologise. And there are times when the people of God conclude that they have done right and will explain such.

These observations do not take away from my basic premise through of how the world and the church generally operate.

This is demonstrated in scripture when our Lord speaks of church discipline in Matthew 18:15-17. Through the process of personal encounter, small group encounter and then church encounter the sinning man clearly sees what he has done wrong. However the ongoing (and concluding) action by the man is to refuse to repent. So we read If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (Matt. 18:17). This man is to be treated like the world because he has acted like the world. When a case of outright sin is brought before him he self-justifies rather than repents.

So – hey, what about you and me? What is our default position when we are challenged?

The Completion Of Church Discipline.

It is a grievous aspect of church life when the occurrence of sin in the church leads to someone being excluded from the fellowship. To have undertaken this and dealt with the matter can be seen as the necessary completion of church discipline. However, church discipline that is just left in such a situation is always a failure. Church discipline is only really fully successful when there has been the necessary repentance and restoration. Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 is working through, with the Corinthians, the need to restore a repentant offender who had been disciplined for his sinful actions. This man is most likely the man who has had an affair with his stepmother in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5.

The Corinthians seem to have taken the matter too far and were reluctant to restore such a man. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow (2 Cor. 2:7) is Paul’s word to them. If they do not do this then there would be a danger of Satan making inroads in the church and the repentant man’s life. Paul says they must receive the broken man back in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. (2 Cor 2;11).

Church discipline is always very sad; we should never be satisfied until there is full restoration. When people are out of fellowship through unrepented of sin then there should be grief about such a situation.

Mistakes, Mistakes, Mistakes.

Life is full of mistakes.

Some of the mistakes we make are because of willful stiff-neckedness. Whereas others happen because we are badly advised, caught up in unfortunate circumstance or simply through our frailty in understanding matters. Whatever the cause mistakes still happen, and will happen, in our lives.

In considering how we respond to mistakes in our lives we need to be aware that mistakes are not good. If we greet our mistakes with indifference then we are set for lives which accomplish little, are of little honour to God and of little help to others.

We need to commit ourselves therefore to responding well to our mistakes.  Here are some thoughts.

  • The source of many of our mistakes is sin. It is that selfish willfulness to reject God’s way and choose our way. In a sense these are not mistakes they are sins. Such sins need to be confessed. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Moreover, true repentance means we “never want to go there again”. We forsake those sins.
  • When we fall into mistakes, through our own ignorance or weakness, the main response should be to learn. We are fools if we do not learn from our mistakes. If we fail to learn we are likely to repeat those mistakes. And if we continue to repeat our lives will be a total disaster.
  • Some times the learning will mean training. This may be low-key training such as just speaking with somebody to gain insight into what went wrong. Or it may be more formal such gaining a new skill seek to avoid repeating the mistake.

So we want to eradicate mistakes from our lives as much as possible. But in this world with all its fallen-ness, with our own fallen-ness and weakness mixed in, mistakes are inevitable. The key to life, in the end, is not endlessly strategising to avoid mistakes, but rather learning from our mistakes.

As a footnote I would be suspicious of someone who makes no mistakes. Such people are very likely not fully living. This is because true living involves pushing on and pushing out. That means risk and where there is risk there is a likelihood of mistakes being made.

Church Newsletter

Here is our church newsletter for May 2018. It has an article about repentance and the Lord’s Supper.

Church Newsletter

Here is our church newsletter for April 2018. It contains an article about how to repent well. We live in a society and in churches whee we repent badly, I feel. So I encourage you to have a read.

Why Are You Still Not Saved?

Jeremiah addresses the issue of how it is that people pass up the opportunity to be saved when he says “The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved” (Jer. 8:20). Are you in this category of having allowed opportunities to be saved to pass by? As you read this you are still not saved? Then ask yourself the question right now: why am I not saved? To help you work through these issues let us consider:

There is a great salvation. Do you know that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners? God in His majestic holiness stands with vehement hostility to sin. Habakkuk says of Him: Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing (Hab. 1:13). We, as wretched sinners, have defied God and chosen our own way. As a result, we exist under the wrath of God. And that wrath is certainly real now, but will be experienced in its fearsome fullness in eternity. Into this desperate situation Jesus Christ has come. He came in full devotion to the purposes of God. He came to live perfectly, to die in our place taking the punishment for our sins and rise from death triumphantly. Given that there is this so great salvation that delivers from the wrath to come, why are you not believing in Christ?

What do you have to do? You have to believe in Jesus Christ. Paul told the Phillipian jailer who was stricken over his sin to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and he would be saved (see Acts 16:31). Sin is the great obstacle to belief. So we need to repent of our sin. We must long for it to be gone. Then we come to commit ourselves to Jesus.

Why won’t you do it now?Now is the day of salvation” is what Paul says to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 6:2b). You do not know what a day will bring forth. You do not know that you will have tomorrow. The man who built his mighty barns and wanted to have rich stores for the future was oblivious to the fact that God was going to call him away that night (see Luke 12:13-21). And who was right? God was right! He always is!

There is an eternal judgement. I know this was mentioned above, but I want to re-iterates it to make clear your desperate situation and why you need to treat this matter as an emergency. Eternity is real. Our LORD says that of the unbelieving that they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life’ (Matt. 25:46). We are dealing with the most serious issues here. Failure to make a believing response means eternal torment for you. So make sure you respond now. And when you believe you will be among the righteous and they have eternal life!

Does such love not affect you? God so loved the world that He gave (John 3:16a). He gave His best to the cross that salvation might come to all who believe. How can you just pass by when such love shines out to you? How can you remain cold-hearted?

You say “I want my pleasures.” We mention two things here :

  • Your so-called pleasures will be not be pleasures in the end. The rich man had all his pleasure in this world and then an eternity to regret in the tortures of hell (see Luke 16:19-31).
  • Your pleasures are not satisfying pleasures anyway. They are merely passing. They do not slake the thirst of the soul. The Word says that the true pleasures are at the right hand of God. David says in Psalm 16:11:

You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

It is the true follower of Jesus who really appreciates the pleasures of life!

You say “I will take my chance.” Oh, what foolishness is this? God has appointed a day of judgement. God has appointed a day when everyone must appear before Him. You will not be given “leave of absence” on that day so prepare to meet your God (Amos 4:12b). Run to the cross and believe in Christ and all your preparations are done!

You say: “I don’t believe it all.” Oh, may I say respectfully that ultimately it is not your view that matters but God’s view and God believes it all. He has revealed all the truth and teachings that essential for us to live. The Bible is not a collection of fairy-tales, but the revelation of truth. So please examine it and consider it.

You say: “I am not ready.” You will never make yourself ready for the salvation of God. All you have to bring is your repentance of sin to the once crucified and now glorified Lord. If you do so our God will deal with the rest. As our Saviour says: “whoever comes to me I will never drive away (John 6:37a)

Oh what have you to lose? Why will you not come? All is done, a feast of rejoicing and full provision is there in Christ. Oh come now and be saved and have everlasting life

(Taken from the Feltham Evangelical Church newsletter of August 2015)

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