Tag Archives: repentance
I am looking forward to speaking at Cedar Valley Bible Church’s “Second Coming Conference” (November 16-17) in Iowa. I want to work my way through three prophetic sections of Scripture: I Thessalonians 4:13-18, II Peter 3:1-18, and I John 3:1-10.
We’ve looked at I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and seen how the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus ought to encourage our hearts! Let’s move on to our second text, II Peter 3:1-18 and see its practical implications for RIGHT NOW. Here’s our text —
In this text we see the Certainty of Final Judgment.
We notice, first of all, that prophetic teaching should lead us to wholesome thinking (v. 1). We are to be neither eschatophobiacs or eschatomaniacs! Overfocusing on end times’ material without present life-change is not wholesome thinking!
We are then reminded of God’s climatic actions in the universe (vv. 3-7). Specifically creation (v. 5) and the flood (v. 6) are provided as evidence that God can — and will — dramatically interrupt the normal, everyday pattern of life.
I think Peter could write a similar book and call it He Is There and He Is Not IMPOTENT! These false teachers are counting on a kind of uniformitarianism that all things in the universe will continue as they always have. We read, “4 They will say, ‘Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’” This perspective is sometimes called Uniformitarianism, also known as the Doctrine of Uniformity. This is the assumption that the same natural laws and processes that operate in our present-day scientific observations have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe. But these false teachers took it a step further, arguing that God will not invade His creation by judgment.
But they have “deliberately” forgotten God’s climatic actions in creation and the flood! God’s timetable is not our timetable (“With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like a day”). His delaying judgment is not to be thought of as His slowness in keeping His promise. His delaying judgment is His patience — giving people time to REPENT and not perish (v. 9).
We learn of God’s longing that people repent (v. 9). How does one avoid God’s judgment? By repenting and believing the gospel! Becoming converted involves both faith and repentance — believing the truths about Jesus and acknowledging and turning from our sin.
May I suggest that you and I pray that the Lord will us the opportunity to say those hard words at the right in red to someone we love? God’s future judgment is certain! And the only escape is repentance! (to be continued)
(“Oh, no!”, Nathan might have thought. “I’m in the middle of rebuking the King of Israel!”). Let’s continue our discussion of the prophet’s Nathan’s confrontation of David and his sins against Bathsheba and her godly husband Uriah. Please take the time to read over 2 Samuel 12 again:
Here are a few of those principles we’ve already seen:
2. Use wisdom in your confrontation (vv. 1-4).
3. Speak directly about the sin (vv. 7ff).
4. Review God’s acts of kindness and goodness in the person’s life (vv. 8-10).
5. Speak of the awful evil of despising God’s word (vv. 9-10).
6. Warn the person of God’s hatred of sin and His power to bring judgment into one’s life (vv. 11-14).
Here are one final principle that I see in this passage about getting involved in another person’s life:
7. Upon repentance, comfort! (v. 15). That David repented is implicit in this passage. Explicitly he confesses his sins in Psalm 32 and Psalm 51.
The consequences: After Nathan had rebuked David, he went home. We read that the Lord struck Bathsheba’s baby with an illness. David poured himself into fasting and praying for the baby’s recovery, but the baby died on the seventh day (v. 18). The servants fear telling David of the child’s death, perhaps concerned that he would kill himself out of despair. Instead, David got up from the ground, cleaned himself up, and went and worshiped the Lord. He then went to his home and ate (v. 20). The servants are surprised at David’s reaction, but he says, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
This, it seems to me, is a great OT statement on the afterlife! “I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” David and Bathsheba have a son Solomon and we are told “the Lord loved him” (vv. 24-25). We then read of a great military victory by King David (vv. 26-31).
One takeway for me today: Some tragedies we bring on ourselves, and they come with consequences. But life can go on in the Lord and He can give victory in the next chapter of our lives!
“But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.” So ends chapter 11 of 2 Samuel. But displeasing the Lord requires repentance! And God raises up Nathan the prophet to do the unthinkable — to confront the King of Israel with his sin. Let’s carefully read 2 Samuel 12 as we begin to make some observations of this episode in David’s life:
As I look over this chapter, several principles of intervening in another person’s life occur to me. Whether one is involved in counseling as a profession or simply wanting to help another person, the principles that guided Nathan deserve our careful attention.
Here are several of those principles:
1. Make sure you are sent by the Lord (v. 1)! Some of us are always feeling “sent” to rebuke or correct others. The text tells us that “The Lord sent Nathan to David.” How do we know when we are “sent”? Galatians 6 say, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.”
Apparently there was direct instruction from the Lord to Nathan to confront David. Our instruction comes from God’s written Word. We are to care about those whose lives are being ruined by sin — and get involved!
2. Use wisdom in your confrontation (vv. 1-4)! Everyone loves a good story — and Nathan spins one for King David. Only he does not begin his story by saying, “Once upon a time . ..” No. To David the story sounds like a real event in his kingdom.
We will notice the details of that story in our next post — and see David’s reaction!
Today’s takeaway: God has a process of dealing with sin among His people. And some of us are sometimes called by God to do something hard. May you and I have the courage to lovingly confront when called by God to do so!
Some Thoughts on the Book “What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?” (Post #22): Chapter 21- “A Final Question”
The last chapter of Martin Thielen’s book What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? is entitled”A Final Question” and is subtitled Do Mainline Christians Believe in Getting Saved? This is a critical question! He answers his question in the affirmative — mainline churches, he says, believe in getting saved.
He suggests that people can get saved two different ways: (1) by a sudden affirming of faith in Jesus, and (2) by a gradual justification. He makes three affirmations about salvation: (1) Salvation is a lifelong process; (2) We are saved by God’s grace; and (3) Salvation requires a human response. Thielen speaks about God’s prevenient grace (“grace that goes before”). Calling it God’s “preceding” or “preparing” grace, he means that God works in us to gradually (or, in the case of some, suddenly) bring one to faith. [I don’t have a major problem with the Wesleyan concept of prevenient grace (I think John 1:9 fits here: “9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.“), having taught a course on Wesleyan theology a few years ago.]
MY RESPONSE: There is much that Thielen says in this chapter that I can affirm, but some that he, unfortunately, misses. He speaks, for example, of gradual justification (a concept I don’t see in the Scriptures). And what really troubles me is a complete lack of reference to the essential of repentance in conversion. Instead, he uses expressions like “affirming faith in Jesus” or “accepting God’s pardon.”
He took me by surprise at the end of the chapter by providing an invitation to those who aren’t sure of their salvation to pray a certain prayer. Here’s that prayer: “Dear God, thank you for loving me and offering me salvation. I joyfully accept your forgiveness and grace. The best I know how, I affirm faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and I accept him as my Savior. Thank you for adopting me as your child. Help me faithfully to follow you for the rest of my life. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Perhaps you don’t find that prayer troubling, but what about repentance? What about a sorrow for one’s sins? Now, some in the mainline camp (and even some Evangelicals) argue that repentance is not a requirement for salvation. I would invite any who hold that view to do a study of the following passages: Mt. 3:2; 11:20; 21:32; Lk. 5:32; 13:3&5; 15:7&10; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21 (repentance and faith); Rom. 2:4; 2 Cor. 7:10; 2 Tim. 2:25; Heb. 6:1; 2 Pe. 3:9.
In his conclusion, Thielen invites readers to join themselves to mainline churches, not warning readers that such churches have often denied the fundamentals of the faith.
I want to thank you, dear blog-reader, for sticking with me in my review of this book. Please feel free to leave a comment or two below.
Can you imagine hosting the ark of the covenant for 20 years?! That’s what the family of Abinadab does! His son Eleazar is consecrated to guard the ark of the Lord (v. 1). As a result of the ark remaining at Kiriath Jearim, “all the people of Israel turned back to the Lord” (v. 2)! There was revival in Israel!
Samuel addresses the people and commands them to get rid of their idols IF they were indeed returning to the Lord with all their hearts (v. 3). Samuel promises that if they do that and commit themselves to the Lord only, “he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” The people obey! We read “they served the Lord only.” (v. 4).
Samuel intercedes for the gathered nation at Mizpah as they fasted and confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord” (v. 6). The Philistines prepare to attack Israel. Out of fear the people ask Samuel not to stop crying out to the Lord for them! Samuel offers a whole burnt offering to the Lord and the Lord answers Samuel’s prayer (v. 9).
While he is sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistine army is drawing near to attack. We read that the Lord thundered with loud thunder and threw the Philistines into a panic. The men of Israel pursue the Philistines and conquer their soldiers.
Samuel then sets up a remembrance stone and names it Ebenezer which means “Thus far the Lord has helped us” (v. 12). We sometimes sing —
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
By: Robert Robinson, 1735-90
Come, Thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
While the hope of endless glory
Fills my heart with joy and love,
Teach me ever to adore Thee;
May I still Thy goodness prove.
Here I raise my Ebenezer,
Hither by Thy help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.
[Some have tried to “modernize” the line “Here I raise my Ebenezer.” Examples include: “Here I find my greatest treasure,” (Psalter Hymnal); “Hitherto thy love has blest me,” “Here by grace your love has brought me,” and “Here I raise to thee an altar.” Gary A. Parrett wrote an article entitled “Raising Ebenezer” for Christianity Today back in 2006, arguing we are misguided when we try to modernize hymn texts.]
We read that for Samuel’s lifetime the Philistines were subdued for “the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines” (v. 13). The captured lands are returned to Israel and Israel even delivers the neighboring territory from the hands of the Philistines, eventuating in peace between Israel and the Amorites.
Samuel continued as Israel’s leader the rest of his days, circuit riding in his duties in judging Israel. But Ramah was his home and he built an altar there to the Lord (v. 17).
We learn in this chapter that God can use a physical object (the ark) to draw His people back to Himself.
We also see that God desires repentance from His people, that they abandon their idols, and that they serve and worship Him only. God blesses his repentant people by providing them deliverance from their enemies.
I certainly don’t want “the hand of the Lord” against me, do you? Then let’s serve Him only, raising our Ebenezers in honor of the great acts of help He has given us!
The Lord Jesus was a “friend of sinners”! He was! And I want to be too. From August 3-5 I will be leading a “Theology Matters” retreat with young people on this topic at Dayspring Bible Camp in Missouri.
In this six-part study we have already seen that we need a theology which undergirds our efforts to reach lost people. We need a theology of lostness, a theology of friendship, a theology of worldliness, and a theology of evangelism.
Let’s notice this morning a fifth theology which we need to rightfully be a friend of sinners like Jesus was and that is —
V. A Theology of REPENTANCE!
What we mean here is that we need a solid grasp of the great joy of starting over! Of admitting where we were wrong. The North Carolina preacher Vance Havner once said, “An excuse is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.” We have many excuses for not being a friend of sinners — and we want to examine one of them in this post.
The great theologian Carly Simon sang, “I haven’t got time for the . . .” (she was singing about pain, but you get the point). “I’m too busy to get involved with unsaved people,” some Christians might say. “I’ve got church meetings, small group, mission trips (to reach lost people over the ocean), and I need to have some quality time for myself!”
Repentance is a change of mind and heart about a matter. The repentant believer says, “Lord, I’ve been wrong not to intentionally pursue relationships with lost people. I’m sorry, Lord. Please forgive me and help me be more like my Savior!”
Although there are a number of other excuses we Christians give for not spending time with sinners, this issue of time cannot be avoided. All of us have exactly 24 hours each day, right? Well, one scientifically-minded person wrote the following question to a website: “Why do we have 24 hour days if the earth actually rotates every 23 hours and 56 minutes?” One smart person responded, “23 hours and 56 minutes is one ‘sidereal’ day with respect to the stars, but by then the Earth is in a slightly different position in its orbit around the Sun, so it takes an extra 4 minutes to make one ‘solar’ day (the number of sidereal days in a year is exactly one greater than the number of solar days).” I didn’t really understand that much at all. But at the very least we can say that each of us has 23 hours and 56 minutes every day to experience. And to use.
Someone named Alice Bloch said, “We say we waste time, but that is impossible. We waste ourselves.”
The Lord Jesus intentionally spent time with the lost. He socialized with them, ate with them, fed them! He listened to their questions; He told them stories; He loved them. May I ask you, what are you going to do with your 23 hours and 56 minutes today? (to be continued)