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                Repentance3

Ingrained in my mind is the image of people streaming forward to accept Jesus Christ as Savior on television in the 60’s.  Many of us have seen the huge ministries with the inviting music, the call to come forward, the use of the sinner’s prayer. I do believe that many were saved, I also believe that many more were not.

Consider these excerpts from “Repentance and Soul-winning,” by David Cloud.

Years ago my wife and I had the job of following up on the Phoster Club soul winning visitation at church. The Phoster Club team regularly reported dozens of “salvations,” but when we visited these “saved” people to urge them to come to church and to try to disciple them, most of them wanted nothing to do with the things of God. That is a strange salvation. [1]

For a number of years, I preached in a county jail and it was common for those who came to the Bible studies to claim that they were saved. When we asked them why they thought they were saved, they often pointed to a time when they prayed a sinner’s prayer, walked the aisle of the church, or were baptized. When we ask them if their life changed after they prayed the sinner’s prayer, they usually acknowledged that it did not. They associated salvation with some sort of religious ritual. [2]

 

This is from Living Waters.

We are not doing sinners any favors when we minimize the seriousness of their sin. George Whitefield, a famous preacher once said, “First, then, before you can speak peace to your hearts, you must be made to see, made to feel, made to weep over, made to bewail, your actual transgressions against the Law of God.” It is only when a person sees his sin as wicked and understands the seriousness of offending his Creator, that he can find a place of true repentance and surrender to the Savior.

Within the last 100 years, a new gospel has crept into our churches. It has been designed to not offend you. It has been carefully crafted not to be too “in your face.” It gently suggests that you open your heart to Jesus if your current lifestyle isn’t working for you, and try God “when the time is right for you.” This “seeker centered” and “no offense” approach is no gospel at all; it is “another gospel”. If we continue to define sin as “honest mistakes”, we will continue to fill our churches with “backsliders” and false converts who fail to repent because they don’t see the seriousness of their sin. We will give them a cruel false hope, and make them comfortable aboard the “Jesus loves you” pleasure cruiser, singing songs to the Captain, while they blindly speed toward the iceberg of Eternal Justice.

Source Here

The watered down gospel that is being offered today does not save. If a person is asked if they want to go to heaven or hell, there is an obvious answer. Only a fool would want to spend eternity in hell and so everyone answers…”Why of course I want to go to heaven, so then, yes, I will accept Jesus.”

This is the option people need to be made to understand instead. “Do you want to make plans to structure a temporary heaven here on earth, or will your forsake worldly ways and instead  consider your future in an eternal heavenly kingdom with God?”

The simple quick prayer accepting Jesus Christ as Savior is not always heartfelt with a lifetime commitment of taking up the cross daily. When people say they will follow Jesus, they need to realize that they will have to follow Him to the cross and die to self.

I personally can vouch for the effectiveness of realizing a sinful nature to cause repentance. I already knew and believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a young girl. But I was not committed. My heart had not been circumcised. I had truth but was doing nothing with it. Was I really saved?

I picked up a book  about the rapture and prophecy in 2002 on a garage sale shelf. When I was growing up in the church, (I left when I was 16), prophecy was not taught.   When I read that little paperback book and realized that the  prophecy experts were saying that Jesus could come back at any time, I was devastated in my sin and realized my wasted life. I spent hours on the floor naming my sin to God, and asked forgiveness, weeping for the wretched state I was in.

Reading this excerpt from “An Urgent Call to a Serious Faith,” by Dave Hunt cemented and explained my conversion.

Paul reminded the saints at Colossae that victory over sin and self was not possible through willpower and fleshy struggle. True victory could only come through understanding and believing what Christ’s death for their sins and resurrection for their justification really meant. Paul declared that this was the secret of his own complete transformation–and so it must be with them.

But how could Christ’s death and burial and resurrection be as real to them as it was to Paul–so real that their very lives would be totally transformed? Paul explained: They must believe that Christ was coming any moment to take them to heaven, where they would therefore appear with Him in glory. It was the hope of Christ’s immiment return that would make the difference between victory and defeat in the Christian life! [3]

Realizing that you are not ready for the return of Jesus Christ, exposes sin and not being dead to self. Every person is different  and maybe convicted by the Holy Spirit in various ways when hearing the Gospel, but one does need to repent and show regeneration. A changed life indicates a true conversion. A converted life desires obedience to God’s word on a permanent basis. One may then stumble but the saved person will get back up and persevere.

My life changed that day. From that day forward, I had a hunger for the Word of God. I wanted to read the Bible and I wanted to study it. I enrolled in Bible study  classes. I began to exhibit fruit and hate the sin in my life. In fact, I asked God to show me my sin so that I could repent of it. If you ever want a fast answer to prayer….ask God to expose the darkness and sin in your life by His holiness.

God is holy and cannot tolerate sin. The new-age gospel only talks of God’s love and ignores sin and damnation for rejecting the true God of the Bible.

So where do you stand with God? Is your heart receptive to the gospel? Are you producing fruit? If so how much?

Matthew 13:23 “But the one who received the seed that fell on the good soil is the man who hears the word, and understands it. He produces a crop yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty time what was sown.”

OR…will you hear these sad words found in  Matthew 7:22-23 “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.'”

Excerpt from a great article on Zimbio:

What must I do to be saved? 

Since God has made the way to be saved, it would be good to see how according to his word.

The Jailer of Acts 16 asked “What must I do to be saved”? Paul told him to believe (Real faith requires action James 2:17-25, more than “I believe in one God, as the devils do as well, and are not saved”!) and he did. As we read that he was obedient to Jesus command of water baptism in his name (John 3:5, Luke 24:47, and Mark 16:16). 1Peter 3:21 says that were are saved by it, (Through our faith in action!) and it clears our conscience.

We are saved by grace, hope, and belief along with repentance. (Grace is defined as the relection of God in one’s life.)

Moses faced reflected God’s glory after speaking to the Almighty. And to repent is to fully follow God by forsaking your ways.) see Eph. 2:5, Rom 8:24, John 3:16, and Acts 2:38. His blood justifies us, Rom 5:9-10. Not by works of righteousness we’ve done, but by his mercy he saves us, by the washing and regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost-Tit 3:5. We must confess our belief in him prior to baptism and call upon it it in it, states Romans 10:9-13. And we must take heed to follow the doctrine (Or teachings therein.) of Christ continually, and in doing so we save ourselves and others-Tim 4:16

 [1] pg. 134 

[2] pg. 90

[3] pg. 172

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