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Jesus’ first message – Repentance (Part 2)

Like newborn babies,

thirst for the pure milk of the word

 so that by it you may grow in your salvation.

Surely you have tasted that the Lord is good! 1 Peter 2:2,3

Jesus’s first message – Repentance (Part 2)

In the last post I wrote about  repentance from sin.

How do we know if we are sinning?  We are sinning if we are breaking the commandments of God.

The commandments of God can be summed up by this:

1. Love God

2. Love mankind.

We have already  looked at different aspects of  loving God it the previous post.

Now we will look at some of what it means to love mankind.

Honouring your father and mother.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3

If we can’t love those who brought us into the world, can we really think that we could love others?

How do we honor our parents? The best way to describe it I can think of, is thinking of your father and mother as a King and a Queen, and treating them with that level of respect. While living in the same household they need to be obeyed.

As one grows up into adulthood, parents may tend to be bossy and make impractical commands and demands, but there is an honorable way responding. For example by saying ‘Dad, I hear want you are saying to me and I respect that. I will give it some thought, but at the end of the day, please understand that I will have to make my own decision.

When you are courting somebody with the intention of marriage, then honor your parents by making sure they get to know the person and seek their blessing on the relationship.

When your parents are sick, make sure you visit them/care after them if you are able to.

Not committing murder

You shall not murder. Exodus 20:13

This seems fairly straight forward until you understand how Jesus magnified this law, to say that murder committed in the heart is just as evil as murder committed in the flesh.

 “You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Do not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are angry with someone,  you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot,  you are in danger of being brought before the high council. And if you curse someone,  you are in danger of the fires of hell. Matthew 5:21-22

Murder also includes abortion.

Loving others means not committing sexual sins.

Sexual sins are not committed out of love, but out of lust and selfishness.

You shall not commit adultery. Exodus 20:14

Jesus magnified this command saying

You have heard that it was said  to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27,28

The question can be raised, when does admiring a woman’s beauty turn to lusting for her?

Admiring a woman’s beauty, or admiring the way a man looks is not sin. It is a product of our God given sex drive, that we find others attractive. But lusting after someone is sin. Where is the line between the two?  Let your conscience tell you, and allow the Holy Spirit to convict you when righteousness has been replaced with sin.

However, it is not something to be trying to find out where the line is. It can be a ‘slippery slope’ and shouldn’t be pushed to see how far one can go before sin is birthed.

It comes down to self control, and fearing God.

If we  seek the living water Jesus spoke of we will have our minds set on what the Spirit desires, rather than what the sinful nature desires.  The water of life that is a free gift for those who wish to take it (see Revelation 22:17) will quench the thirst of the soul and all its worldly desires. The water Jesus gives wells up into eternal life.

Sex is a sacred and beautiful thing, intended for the pleasure of a man and woman  in a covenant of marraige.

There was a man in the Bible called Joseph who faced the temptation of committing adultery.

But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, that she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside. And so it was, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and fled outside, that she called to the men of her house and spoke to them, saying, “See, he has brought in to us a Hebrew to mock us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. And it happened, when he heard that I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me, and fled and went outside.” Genesis 39:11-15

While this kind of temptation may not face itself in the modern world all that often for the average person, the fact is that if you can’t resist the temptation to look at pornography on the internet or in a magazine – you will not be able to face the temptation if someone is throwing themselves at you like what Joseph experienced.  Therefore, you have sinned in your heart, betraying yourself, God, and your spouse if you have one.

 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; Ephesians 5:3

Loving others means not stealing

 You shall not steal. Exodus 20:15

It doesn’t matter how small – a pen from your employer, downloading copyright music  or software that you have not purchased, or making up things on your tax return.

Loving others means not lying.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Exodus 20:16

You cannot have God as your Father when you are a liar. Your father defaults to Satan.

Telling lies and not repenting from them is enough to keep you from the kingdom of Heaven.

But the cowardly,  unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8

Loving others means  we don’t covert and desire their possessions .

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s. Exodus 20:17

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:6-10

Some scriptures regarding repentance. 

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 4:17

Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Matthew 19:21

The previous scripture is an example of repenting from the love of money and possessions.

 ‘…but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’ Luke 13:3

 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:7

Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:10

...and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Luke 24:47

She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go  and sin no more.” John 8:11


Jesus’ First Message – Repentance

Like newborn babies,

thirst for the pure milk of the word

 so that by it you may grow in your salvation.

Surely you have tasted that the Lord is good! 1 Peter 2:2,3

Jesus’ first message –  Repentance (Part 1) 

 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 4:17

Jesus was calling everyday people, to reconsider the way they were living their lives. He was calling them to be ready to embrace a new way of living in the Kingdom of God.

Repentence is also about turning away from sin. Changing direction from wrong to right. What is Sin?  Sin is breaking the commandments of God.

Jesus told a story of a young man who which illustrates repentance. Read the passage below.

Jesus continued, “There was a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 

Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off  for a distant country and there, squandered his wealth in wild living.   After he had spent everything , there was a severe famine in that whole country and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father. 

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.  The son said to him, ‘Father, I’ve sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals, on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate.  

Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and you father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But  he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ “My son, ‘ the father said, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.” Luke 15:11-32

From this passage we can see a story that reveals of the heart of our Father in Heaven, who is not going to continue to condemn us when we repent, but rather embrace us as sons and daughters who were once lost, but have now been found. We don’t have to be afraid of the consequences of repenting.

We just have to be afraid of the consequences of not repenting.

The seriousness and of sin and its consequences are highlighted by Jesus when he says

‘If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.’ Matthew 5:29

Jesus doesn’t mean this  literally (no one would be silly enough to blind themselves), but it is like a parable to illustrate that sin is really bad.

We can be assured of our forgiveness of our sins when we repent, because Jesus was the sacrifice for our sins, when he was crucified.

How do we know if we are sinning?  We are sinning if we are breaking the commandments of God.

The commandments of God can be summed up by this:

1. Love God

2. Love mankind.

What does it mean to love God?

If you love God you will have no other gods.

Jesus said –

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. ‘ Matthew 22:37,38

It is so easy to be self centred in our way of thinking and living, rather than God centred.  We want to be in control of our lives, to do what we want to do, when we want to do it. In effect we make ourselves ‘gods’.

We often fool ourselves into believing we know what is best for our lives and go and do it. Instead, we should be coming before our maker, and asking him what is His direction and seek His approval for the way ahead.

We need to be seeking to do the will of the Father, and do it…if we truely have no other Gods in our lives.

We can also easily make money, our careers, sports and entertainment like god’s in our lives. These things can be innocent enough, however when they begin to dictate our actions, thoughts and our very lives being centred with eg. money having the supreme importance in our lives it becomes like a ‘god’ or an idol.

If we love God, we will have our heart’s totally devoted to him.

Are you willing to let go of your control over your life and make Jesus truely ‘Lord’ ?

This is where repentance begins.

During the time when Jesus was on earth ministering as a man, he discerned that a young man who approached him had made money and possessions his god. He challenged the man to sell all that he had and then follow him – thus repenting of breaking the command to have no other gods.

Emptying ourselves of our so called ‘right’ to do as we please, and to unconditionally submit ourselves to God might be a scarry thought. Pride within us will rise up to tell us to hold on to everything we have known to be ‘who we are’.

But, the way to life, (eternal life), is making our love for God, the first and foremost of importance in our lives.

Our salvation depends on our confession of faith that Jesus is LORD.

‘…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.’ Romans 10:9

What does it mean to confess Jesus is Lord?  What are we actually saying?

The Greek word that is translated ‘Lord’ in the above passage is kurios.  Thayer’s Greek Definitions says:

1) he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord

1a) the possessor and disposer of a thing

1a1) the owner; one who has control of the person, the master

1a2) in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, the Roman emperor

1b) is a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master

1c) this title is given to: God, the Messiah

 So, we can ask ourselves, ‘Do I belong to Jesus? Have I given him the power to decide what goes on with my life? Does he possess me?  Have I  surrendered my life to Him, to the extent that I see Jesus as my owner, who has control over my life?  Do I live my life in a way that gives honour, respect and reverence to God?

If you haven’t already, you need to declare Jesus is your Lord. Speak out aloud. Tell him that you surrender your life to him.

There is no other way that leads to life, to eternal life, than making Jesus your LORD.

Don’t worship idols if you love God

You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything  in heaven above, or on the earth beneath, or  in the water below.You shall not bow down to them or worship them. Exodus 10:4,5a

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although  they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather that the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen  Romans 1:18-25

One aspect of an idol is like the worship of gold budda statues. As a christian, we definitely need to get rid of alls physical idols out of our lives. They are simply an offense to the one true living God.

Another type of idol is when we make a false image of God in our mind. For example, if we say for example ‘My God understands me. He knows my heart and my weaknesses. He won’t mind if I continue in this adulterous affair’, or  ‘God understands why I need to keep lying’ then we are fashioning our own type of god to suit our sinful life.

This is also idolatry.

It is so important that we learn from scriptures the true character of God, who he is and what he says. This will ensure that we will not fall into the trap of worshipping an image of a god (idol) we have created in our own minds.

If we are covetous and greedy, this is also considered idolatry.

Put to death…greed, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5

 Don’t blaspheme the name of God. 

You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name. Exodus 20:7

One aspect of  blaspheme is when we use the names of God as swear words. God’s name is holy, and he will judge those who dishonor his name.

No excuses for it being a ‘cultural part of the language’ will stand.

Another aspect of  this is that when we become a Christian, we represent Christ here on Earth. He commanded us to go and preach in his name.

If we are representing Christ, we have to live according to what his name represents. Otherwise this also, is blaspheming the name of God.

And whatever you do, whether  in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 

Remember the Sabbath day by  keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant, or your maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11

Keeping one day a week aside as a holy day, is really a good signpost for us in our lives as to whether we are too busy to  love God.  A signpost as to whether our faith is genuine, and whether we are able to trade off working for spending time  seeking, fellowshipping, worshipping and loving on God.

Jesus said ‘The Sabbath was  made for man, not man for the Sabbath’

By this he means that the Sabbath is meant to be a day for us, to help us, to bless us, to build up our faith.  Not for us to legalistically conform to a set of rules.

The Sabbath is not about the day, it is about the person (Jesus the Lord of the Sabbath). It is about  taking time out from the busyness of life, it is about ‘drawing a line in the sand’ and saying, because I love God, I will devote this day to fellowship with God in prayer, reading of his word, fellowship with family and other believers.

Although meant for a blessing, the idea of a Sabbath is prone to be embraced by the legalistic, people thinking that because they observe the sabbath, they are more righteous that others, that only observing the sabbath on certain days will lead to salvation.

If we are becoming legalistic in our ideas and approach of the Sabbath, we have got it wrong. Keep it as a concept of patterning our lives to remember to give God his due honour, to recharge our spirits as we wait upon him, but with all the flexibility and grace that a loving father gives.

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