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How to Get Eternal Life – Part 4

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The Only Right Response

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SKU: 08-15 Category: Date: 4/20/2008 Scripture: Matthew 19:27 Tags: , , ,
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Leaving everything to follow Christ is how the Bible depicts the concepts of repentance & faith – the two components of the one essential response to the gospel.

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08-15 How to Get Eternal Life – Part 4
How to Get Eternal Life – Part 4
The Only Right Response

You got one of these? Did you bring one of these to church today? Oh, 3 of you that’s fantastic. I know you didn’t see what it was – it’s my Bible. You have one of these? Really wasn’t looking for applause. I just wanted a yes or no. Do you have one? If you’ve got one, pull it out and I want you turn to the very end of it. I’m talking about the maps or the concordance. Go to the very last few chapters of the Bible and as you’re turning there I want to remind you that most people thing that life is like an exam. Like a test you might take in school. You know you do the best you can, you hope for a good grade and you pray you don’t fail. They think that getting into heaven is like getting promoted into the next grade. You know what I mean. An “A” would be great, but a “D” will work. You know what I mean? It will get you there. You just want to avoid the “F.” When it comes to the test of life, most people think their passing. I mean in America especially less than 1% of the people think they’re flunking God’s test. Right? Less than 1% think they are in danger of going to hell, but as the rich young ruler should have learned from Christ and we have tried to see in the last four weeks getting into heaven is not some graded exam with some passing threshold. To get into heaven you need a perfect score. You need a perfect test. Your life has to be so arranged that every single thing that you do is worthy of the glory of God, and even the best among us can’t pull that one off. You and I fail. We don’t do it.

Now, I guess in one respect it is true that getting into heaven may feel like a test, but it’s not some test you’re taking throughout your life as you make moral decisions that will be graded when you stand before God. It’s more like the test, if you’re going to make it a test at all, that you and I might feel when we pull up to the airport and hand the sky cap our ID. You know what I’m saying? Do you ever feel that? I mean the guy at the sky cap that takes your ID and you’re standing there with you bags. He doesn’t hand you a test to see if you can answer some question right. He doesn’t ask, how have you lived this week, Mike? He just cares about one thing as he walks away with my ID and goes to that little computer terminal out there. All that matters is if my name is in the computer. That’s it. He doesn’t care about anything else. He may care about the tip maybe, but besides that he just wants to know if your name is in there. Have you ever been to the airport where someone has failed that test? It’s embarrassing, right? There standing line. They’ve got there packed bags. They’re ready to go. They give the sky cap there little ID and they march over there and they go, humm, sorry, you’re not in. You want to talk about getting into heaven and compare it to some test, then it’s a pass-fail, and it’s not about keeping a set of moral rules. It’s whether or not your name is written in the book of life.

Revelation 20. This is the end of the book almost – 2 chapters from the end. If you want to put it in one line. Here it is Revelation 20:15. It’s as simple as this. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life he was thrown into the lake of fire. That’s it. Now he gets into some other books there starting in verse 11 and yeah, there’s going to be some judgment, but the issue is you’re in this line if your name is not in the book and there’s a whole other line if your name is. And it’s unfortunate because a lot like people who stand there at the curb at the airport and they think their name is in there – they’re sure they made the reservation. There will be a lot of people as we learned in Matthew 7 who hear those dreadful words from Christ, “depart from me I never knew you.” Pass-Fail. You either have it or you don’t. Two kinds of people. Had somebody right this week and they said, “I really struggle {I love the way they put it} with the binary categorization of people in the Bible.” I’ve never heard it that way, but I like it – the binary categorization of people. You know it’s in the Bible – either you’ve got it or you don’t. It’s you’re in or you’re out. He said that’s not the way I see life. He say’s I look around and I see really good people, and kind of good people, and sort of good people, and not so good people, and bad people and super bad people. I see a range of people out there, and you Christians always point to your Bible and I have to admit it’s there. They’re always talking about in or out, in or out, two kinds of people. And all I could do in response to that was say you’re absolutely right, but your mistake is thinking that you’re in or out based on some degree of righteousness. This is not a moral exam we’re taking and we go and hand in our resume at the judgment seat and say, well here it is – did I make it or not make it? I wanted an “A,” but you know a “D” works doesn’t it? No. It’s is your name in the book. It’s that simple. Pass or Fail. Did you ever notice that a lot of study Bibles will have in the back will have a list of Jesus’ parables. Ever seen a list of Jesus’ parables? Think through how many of those are the binary categorization of people. Think about it? You’ve a Pharisee and you’ve got the tax collector. You’ve got older brother – you’ve got the younger brother. You’ve got the rich man – you’ve got the poor man. You’ve got the properly dressed wedding guests, and you’ve got the improperly dressed wedding guests. You’ve got the sheep – you’ve got the goats. You’ve got the wheat – you’ve got the tares. I mean if there’s a theme in Jesus’ parables it’s the binary categorization of people. It’s either or. You’ve got it or you don’t. It’s pass or fail. There’s not some wide spectrum in God’s mind. There are two kinds of people, and I understand that makes people uncomfortable. I understand that some people will vehemently object to that, but that is what the Bible teaches even in Matthew 19.

Back to Matthew 19. We’ve been there for a few weeks, but think this through. Here’s the bifurcation of mankind into two categories and it’s represented by the rich young ruler and a smelly fisherman named Peter. You’ve got somebody who’s got eternal life and someone who doesn’t, and it’s not based on a resume, not based on a bank account, it’s not based on how moral they are. It’s not based on whether or not they are a ruler in the synagogue. Doesn’t make, it’s not if they’re respected. It all comes down to their relationship to Christ. And we’ve seen the rich young ruler’s response, and we’ve seen how it falls short and he doesn’t understand his own sin or the grace of God, but Peter chimes in. Verse 27 this is where we are in our study of this passage. And he says, well, Jesus, “we have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” And Jesus takes them ahead in their thinking t the eschatological end of all things and he starts to talk about it, and we’ll get into all the details of that next week, but he says you know there’s a lot of rewards coming for all that you’ve sacrificed here. But the real question of the passage that started in verse 16 is what finally culminates in verse 29. What are the last two words of verse 29? There they are and not only will you see rewards for your sacrifice and you will inherit eternal life, and that’s how it started. Look back up in verse 16. Teacher what good thing must I do to get eternal life, and whatever it was that he did in that conversation he went away sad, and Jesus said, man it’s hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And Peter has one simple line, verse 27 that’s all we’ll look at this morning. He said, we left everything to follow you. And Jesus said that’s it, that’s it. You’re going to inherit eternal life. The difference between the rich young ruler and Peter, representative of the disciples there, is this one line. We’re left everything to follow you. Now that’s not the phrase we might normally use as we talk about the response to the gospel, but if you look at it for a minute you’ll see there are two distinguishable components that are inseparable in the one properly given response to the gospel. You want to respond right to the gospel. There are two parts to one response and they’re both there right there in that line, we left everything to follow you. There is some kind of relinquishing of what Peter thought life should be about, which by the way the rich young ruler wasn’t willing to do. And then there’s this following of Christ. This clinging to Christ and his leadership. This trust in Christ. Well let’s look at each part. If you’ve found your worksheet and I hope that you did in that one phrase sums up the concept that Peter is addressing. And that is, hey, we’ve turned from our path to yours. We’ve left everything. Now that’s a contrast to what the rich young ruler wasn’t willing to do. Jesus asked him if you’re going to make me the king, if I’m going to be the one calling the shots – calling a spade a spade in your sinful life your moral life, and if I’m going to be the savior of your life, here let’s test the theory… sell everything you have. Give it to the poor and come and follow me. And Peter says I did that. We left everything. I didn’t have as much as the rich young ruler, but my life and my dreams of building my fishing ministry and all of that, I left that behind and I said you tell me what kind of path I should be on. I’ll follow you. I’m relinquishing my plan for your plan. I’m allowing you to tell me what’s true and what’s not and to tell me what to do and what not to do. The Bible has a word for that – that may be a bit more familiar to you, and it worth writing down here, letter “A.” The Bible calls that repentance.

1. Turn from Your Path to His

A. Repentance

Now again I fear preaching a message like this because I’ve preached it a hundred times. And I know some people think Mike must not have any time to prepare cause I’ve heard him preach this message fifteen time. That’s not it. It’s that when it comes to the response of the gospel and if one of our values that we through up on the screen printed on everything here on the back of our worksheet is to uphold and proclaim a Biblical gospel we’ve got to repeat this from time to time. And that is the response to the gospel, the first distinguishable component is repentance. And we’ve got to here it again. And like Peter said to his crowd – we’ve heard Peter say a lot of things over and over again – he said you know what it’s a safeguard for you, and the bottom line is this. He said, I know that I’m repeating stuff you know, but it helps you understand and make your calling and election sure. He says I know you know the truth, but let me remind you, as long as I live I this tent of the body I’m going to tell you these things, and you’ll hear this message again. And let me say it to you and this won’t be the last time you’ll hear Pastor Mike, if God gives me another year of ministry, preaching the word repentance. Because it is the cornerstone of responding rightly to the gospel. You brought one of these you said, let’s use it. Turn with me to a number of passages. Are you ready? Let’s do a quick survey here. Let’s start in Acts: 3, and as you’re turning to Acts 3 I want to let you know that one of the ways that we define Biblical terms is not by just taking the etymology of a word and pulling it apart. We’ve talked about this fallacy before. You’ve heard this if you’ve heard me preach on repentance.
The Greek word that translates repentance is metanoia (Gr?). In Greek it’s a compound word. Meta is a preposition and it means after, and noia comes from nuos, it means to think. And a lot of people say well that just means to think after. Well that’s a part of it. It resembles it, but the fallacy is sometimes we take parts of words and we say “awe” well that just means you’re overwhelmed with just big feelings of glory, and “full” means you full up to the top so “awful” means you’re just full of glorious feelings. And awful doesn’t mean that, right? So we need to be careful how we approach this. There are a few ways to how we define a New Testament words. One is to look at them in context and see how they’re used. Metanois certainly involves thinking differently. Well I thought one way, but after awhile I’m thinking differently, but it’s more than that. Another way that we try to define New Testament words in Greek is to look at how the Greek Old Testament used them. And you’re saying he doesn’t know what he’s talking about cause I went to Sunday school and the Old Testament is in Hebrew. Well it was in Hebrew and it is in Hebrew, but when Alexander the Great swept through the word in the enter-testamental period he wanted every important book in the Alexandrian library – he wanted it in Greek. So, of course, the most important Bible in the world was the Bible so they started with that. You’ve got to put that in the library. So he called together 70 scholars to translate it from Hebrew into Greek and it became the Bible of the day. As a matter of fact the apostles cut their teeth on what we now call the Septuagint. You heard of that? That’s the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, the Septuagint And by the way, if you read commentaries you’ll see it abbreviated with an LXX, and then we have to think of our Roman Numerals from elementary school. That stands for 70 – 70 scholars – the LXX – the Septuagint. Now what helps us with this is when we look it Old Testament words in the Septuagint that are coming into Greek from Hebrew and we find the word metanoia, for instance, the word we translate in the New Testament, repentance, we want to look at the word in Hebrew that translated that and that helps us understand the word. Right? Can you see how this makes sense? When the translators said what is this word in Hebrew and how should we translate it? Well this word in Hebrew we should translate metanoia – it helps us understand how the New Testament apostles understood the word. And the word metanoia translates a Hebrew word, shub (?). And the Hebrew word shub has no reference to thinking differently because it’s much more than that. The word shub means to turn around. It means to turn. It is used 1,050 in the Old Testament. It is a common word. And you can look it up in your lexicon’s. It’s all about saying I’m going this way and I’m turning this way, or to put it into context of Christ, I’m not longer going to walk on my path. I’m going to walk on his path. That is a redirection, a turning. It’s called repentance, and it’s all over the New Testament, and it’s not secondary stuff. It’s not a synonym to the other component that we’re going to look at in a minute, but it is important and we need to understand it.

We need to see these verses, and again if you’ve seen them before and I point it out – I try to vary the list every time we do this, but I want you to look at a few. We’re in Acts 3. This is apostolic preaching now, verse 19. The apostles are preaching the gospel and when it comes to the punch line what is the Biblical response to get eternal life, he says this, Acts 3:19. Repent then, now context always helps us. What is that all about? And turn to God. Is that helpful? Relinquish your path, leave your stuff and follow God’s path. Turn to him so that you can be a super-duper Christian and better than all the other Christian’s in your church. Underline that part. Do you see that there? What is that lame joke all about? The reason I say that is because some people say, well if repentance is what it seems to be in the Bible, you know repentance must be for super-duper Christians because it’s some second level. I’ve talked to you about this dichotomy that is created – the false dichotomy. They create this false dichotomy and they say well Christianity is this, but if you really want to be a super-duper Christian then you need to repent cause that’s secondary. That’s kind of a accessory stuff. When you buy your car and you look through the Honda catalog, and I can put a fin on it and a luggage rack and that would really be cool. This is not an accessory. Matter of fact, he puts it as plainly as can be. Here’s the purpose clause. Look at it again. Acts 3:19. Repent then and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out. Now that’s what you need to get into heaven. You’ve got to have your sins wiped out. See because what you need to get your name in that computer terminal when you stand there at the celestial airport – how’s that for stretching the illustration? You know what you need? You need perfect score. You need a perfect score in life and you didn’t to it. You need all the sin wiped out. All that sin pinned to the cross. You need the righteousness of Christ imputed to your account, and then you’ll get, and this is an eschatological statement, verse 19, the times of refreshing may come from the Lord. The time without sin. When he finally says to us, and the voice from the throne shouts out, I’m making all things new. First order of things passed away – crying, mourning, death – all of that gone. Now, righteousness God dwells among men. You want that? You want to live there? Want your sins wiped out? Then repent and turn to God. Not secondary stuff. It’s distinguishable from another component we’re going to look at. It’s critical.

How about Acts 11. Now we just had a scandalous thing happen in Acts 10 and 11 and that it the gospel went to an Italian guy. That’s not a knock against Italians, sorry. Acts 11:18. Scandalous thing had happened the gospel had come to Gentiles, non-Jewish people. There was proof, supernatural proof that these people were regenerate. Verse 18. Now after Paul reported on this, the apostles report – Peter rather, look what happens in verse 18 when they’d heard this they had no further objections and they praised God saying, so then God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life. Important phrase. What are we talking about? What’s this series all about? What did the rich young ruler ask for? Eternal life. The difference in scripture is it life or death – it’s eternal life or second death. You’ve got your choice. Repentance is the thing that opens up this door to eternal life, and God granted it even to the Gentiles. To Cornelius and his family. Acts 17. We quote this a lot. As Paul goes and brings the gospel to the Athenians, not Sunday school grads, didn’t grow up in the Sabbath synagogue. Act 17:30. I just want to show you the superlatives here. You should underline them. When it comes to repentance, this isn’t secondary optional accessory stuff to Christianity. Verse 30. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people – how many people? – all people, everywhere – where? – everywhere. Not just in Jerusalem, not just in Israel, to repent. This is not a pathetic plea with a God with his hat in hand hoping that you’ll pick him to dance. That’s not it. The command goes out from heaven – repent. That’s the message. It’s required. It’s salvific (?). In other words it is the key, the proper response to the gospel. Depicted in Peter’s simple words. We’ve left everything to follow you. We’ve turned from ourselves. We’ve turned to your path. How about the gospel of Luke. Three quick passages there.

Luke 13. They bring up a story of a big tower falling on people . And this is how people think; they think, wow, they must have been doing something bad. God got mad at them, slammed them, killed them all in that tragedy. I wonder what kind of secret sins they were courting in their hearts? Because they look at that national tragedy and they said, wow, God’s judgment. And Jesus says well lets talk about God’s judgment for a second. He says it’s not about the fact that they were worse sinners than anybody else. Here’s the bottom line, verse 3. Luke 13:3. He says I tell you no it’s not about them been worse than anybody else. We’re all sinful. You’re sinful, but unless you repent you too will all perish. Not perish in the sense of die. That’s not the point. You will incur God’s judgment. That’s the context. They thought it was God’s judgment. Yeah, you’re going to perish. They knew they were going to physically die. That was no news flash, and repenting was not going to keep them from physical death, but repentance was going to keep them from spiritual death – the punishment of God. Hearing those words, depart from me into outer darkness. In verse 5, by the way, as if they didn’t get it, and they probably didn’t, he says I tell you no unless you repent you too will all perish. Using examples of the day to show you that the wrath of God hinges on the Biblical response to the gospel. Namely, distinguishable component number 1, repentance. How about Luke 16. We read this passage and we notice other things. Sometimes some passages of scripture, kind of the dramatic points that come out at us and we miss what’s being said in between those dramatic colorful events, and you need to see, well this is important. As a matter of fact this has huge soteriological implications. And so it does. This is the story of Lazarus and the rich man – the beggar. And he ends up going to a place of blessing, trusting in God, and the rich man who didn’t give a rip apparently about God knew a lot about him as we’ll see. He ends up in a place of torment. They have this discussion back and forth in Luke 16 and he’s concerned about his family members coming to this place of torment. And he wants Lazarus to go back from the dead and warn his brothers, and so in verse 28 of Luke 16 the rich says in this little scenario here. For I have five brothers. Let him, that is Lazarus, warn them, my brothers, so that they will not come to this place of torment. Abraham replied, he was sitting there hanging out with Lazarus now, he says, they have Moses and the prophets. Now they didn’t have Moses and the prophets, they were dead. He’s not talking about this physically. He’s talking about their writings. Let them, that is your brothers, listen to Moses and the prophets. Which by the way this repentance thing isn’t new. If you are taking notes you might want to jot down Isaiah 55 and again I said it’s1,050 times. It’s actually 153 that we, depending on the count 154 – 153, that we see the word shub in the Old Testament. Isaiah 55:6 – 7 again makes it clear. The prophet said it. If you repent, he says, God will have mercy on you and freely pardon you. The free grace of God given to people takes place when people are willing to forsake their way and turn to God. It’s called repentance. And he says listen they have Moses and the prophets let your brothers hear to them. They just need to get their noses in the Bible. No, father Abraham, look at this verse 30. He said, but if someone from the dead goes to them they will not come to this place of torment. But that’s not what he says, he says, they will what? Repent. He knew. Here’s a guy in torment in the afterlife who knows exactly how to get forgiveness. He just didn’t do it. He knows you’ve got to repent to keep you from a place of God’s judgment.

One more, how about Luke 24. Some people I’ve heard every argument against repentance that can possibly be given. That’s probably not true – that hyperbole, but I’ve heard a lot. And one of them is, well OK, I can’t avoid the word if I rightly look at it, I can’t avoid that it’s in the gospel, but maybe that’s just a New Testament gospel thing. And you know, maybe the epistles don’t really stress it as much so maybe it’s passe. Take a look at this. This will put this to rest. The resurrected Christ, verse 46, discusses what was predicted about Christ in the prophets. And he says in Luke 24: 46, he told these guys, he says, this is what is written, the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day. Which had just happened. Isaiah 53, for instance, discusses that. He said, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preaching in his name to all nations beginning in Jerusalem. And like someone drops a boulder in lake the concentric circles of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth the message was supposed to go out – look at it again. The message of Christ suffering, dying, rising again and then our response, right? Repenting and we receive forgiveness. That’s going to be preached throughout the world. Now here’s the sad part. Ready for the sad part? It’s not being preached. That’s the problem. We don’t hear much about this anymore. Matter of fact, there are people, and I mean if you cut your teeth on Christianity being a part of this church. This may get – it’s like, I don’t get why he’s so passionate about this? This is obvious, but if you’ve come maybe from another church or you’re new to this church. Perhaps you can testify to the fact that repentance is not a prominent component in the response that is taught to the gospel. People don’t like it. They don’t like the word. They don’t like the concept. Pick up gospel tracts at your local Christian bookstore and take a look at them. See how many totally avoid the concept of repentance. Now the word would be important since it’s all over the New Testament, but they don’t even have the concept in these tracts. It’s no where to be found, and I’m not saying everyone, but most of the ones in my file. Half at least don’t even mention the concept and probably less than a third will even throw the word in. But, we were told clearly it’s supposed to be preached to all the nations beginning in Jerusalem. What is? Repentance and the forgiveness of sins.

The Bible calls it repentance. I know you’ve heard that word a lot, but let’s make sure we understand it. It is more than just feeling back about sin. After I’ve said this all weekend long I think to myself we need another point here.

B. Repentance is More than Feeling Bad.

It includes feeling bad about your sin. Cause how many gospel presentations never get you to the place of feeling the conviction of sin. If it doesn’t, it’s not the gospel. Because let me put it this way, you can feel bad about sin and not repent, but you can’t repent and not feel bad about sin. You’re going to feel bad about sin. Bad feelings about sin, sorry, conviction over being a sinful person is part and parcel of the gospel, but it’s not repentance, but it gets you right to it. It is preliminary to it, and I’m telling you listen to people share the gospel on TV. If I don’t take you through the portal of conviction of sin – feeling sorrowful for being unworthy in the sight of a holy God then you have not preached the gospel. Can I say that strongly enough. I need to say that as strong as I can possibly say it. If you do not in preaching the gospel take someone through that threshold, the portal, the door of feeling sorrowful and convicted of being unworthy and unholy in the sight of a holy God you haven’t preached the gospel. Because that is preliminary to real repentance. The problem is you can feel bad about sin and not repent, but you can’t repent and fail to feel bad about sin. 2 Corinthians 7. Let’s look at this really quick. 2 Corinthians 7 puts it as clearly as any passage in the Bible. Now I know if you’re a Sunday school grad you’re going to look at that and say that passage is a historical situation about sin in the church. It is, but watch where his language goes. He moves from the incident in the church to issues and discussions about being saved from hell. Watch how he moves here in this text. Start in verse 8, he says, even if I caused you sorrow by my letter. Now here’s the context. He wrote a letter to them and told them about sin in the camp and he made them feel bad because those were stern words of conviction and exhortation and rebuke, and so they felt guilty. They felt bad about their sin. And he says even if I caused you sorrow by my letter I don’t regret. OK, now he sounds schizophrenic as though I did regret it. I see that my letter hurt you, and I don’t want to hurt you, but I don’t regret it. Because that hurt was only for a little while yet now he says, verse 9, I am happy. Not because you were made sorry, but because, now underline this, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. See, that’s what Godly sorrow does. For you became sorrowful as God intended and you were not harmed by us in any way. In other words there’s not lingering damage. As a matter of fact that pain that you felt of conviction about sin he says was a good thing. Now here’s the soteriological statement – here’s the statement about salvation, verse 10. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and it leaves no regret. Worldly sorrow, unfortunately there’s a lot of people on Dr. Phil you know dabbing their eyes with tissue, sorry, picking on him, feeling bad about their lives. Right? Lot of people feeling bad about their life, but it’s not Biblical repentance. Get’s you to the door. Feeling bad about sin that’s the first step, but Biblical repentance is responding to that conviction. It is a response of turning from sin to God. It is as this text says a sorrow that leads to repentance or brings repentance that leads to salvation. Look at that again in the middle of verse 9. For you became sorrowful as God intended. Do you recognize that about the gospel? The gospel, the good news intend initially that you become sorrowful – that sounds like bad news in our day. Right? I don’t want to mess with anything that makes me feel bad. Yes, that’s God’s intention. Because you cannot embrace the salvation that’s on the other side of repentance unless I’m sorrowful for sin. Repentance is more than feeling bad. It includes it, but it’s more than that. To put it a different way – let’s put it this way repentance is a life redirected.

C. Repentance is a Life Redirected.

Was Peter’s life redirected? Absolutely. He said to Jesus, I’ll follow you where ever you go, and he said great. Come with me, leave your nets behind, and let’s go. Now, he said the same thing to the rich young ruler, and he said, no. But you need to understand about Christ, even in his earthly ministry he’s not asking everybody to do the same thing. What he is asking everybody to do that’s absolutely the same is do what I say. Right? But he’s not asking everybody to do the same thing. Matter of fact, there were some people that Jesus came to and they said in their point of salvation and putting their trust in Christ I’ll go with you. Can I join your gang? And I’ll travel with the traveling rabbi and be your side kick like those other twelve guys, and you remember what Jesus said to some of them? No, go back home. Go to your home town. Go to your job. Do your normal thing, and you follow me there. See what I’m saying. The point is though, the similarity is that everybody is saying, I’m going to go to your path. What is your path? What do you want me to do? I’m turning from my path of self-direction to your path that redirects my life. I got a letter this week and someone said well you know you talk about this repentance stuff, but I’ve always been a Christian – which I thought would be a great title for a sermon – and here’s the reason she said that. She said that to me because she said, I’ve always been a good person. Right? Now I understand, you know I could go to the statement of Christ here, but what she was saying was and I understood what she was saying. There has been a moral code about my life. I didn’t have that testimony you know where they send them to the youth groups where I was shooting up heroin in the back alleys and then I came to Christ. You know? She didn’t have that testimony. And my response to that is this. That you, I don’t care how moral the package was that you lived in, you were born to live for yourself. And the gospel, 2 Corinthians 5:15, he died for us that those who live should no longer live themselves, but live for him who died for them and rose again. Have you heard me quote that one about 20 times? That is such an important passage, and guess what that means? Life redirected. I get what it is. I get what it is to live in a moral bubble where you try to do the right things cause you were raised in church. I’ve got that testimony. You got disciplinarian as a parent – I did too. And because of the disciplinarian in my father’s bedroom, my dad, and because of church and my Sunday school teachers and because of the preacher on Sunday and the youth group on Wednesday night, I said no to the immorality in my junior high and high school. I get it. And the moral shell on the other side of Christianity looks a lot like that because that’s what the preachers are always saying. Stop sinning. And if that’s sin. I have not sinned. So does that mean my life was never redirected when I became a Christian. No, it doesn’t mean that at all. The profundity of no longer living for myself and living for him who died for me and rose again is a profound redirection. Cause I woke up every morning as a good moral kid and I said well what am I going to do today. Well let me consult with myself. Let’s do whatever the right thing to do is, and whatever I’m supposed to do, and when that comes to an end I’ll do whatever I want to do. I’m self-directed just like everyone else. We’re doing whatever we think is right. Whatever we think is best. Whatever we think is to our own advantage. I don’t want to get in trouble. I don’t want to be bad. I want to be accepted. I want to fit into the moral shell of my church. Becoming a Christian is profound because you no longer live for yourself. And I don’t care if you don’t have a testimony like the youth group speaker that was shooting heroin in the back alley. Your life will be radically redirected. Because you’ll no longer live for yourself. You’ll wake up in the morning and say, what does God want me to do? How does God want me to spend my life? When I was a kid I may have been living in a great moral shell, but I still was worried about what I wanted to do with my life. Became a Christian and it was profound. It was no longer fitting in. I was ready to say to the church and the pastor and my parents, I don’t care what you say anymore, all I care about is what God says. That’s what Christianity does. It redirects your life. Repentance is a life redirection. I don’t care how moral or socially acceptable you life may be. It is as Paul said in Acts 14:15, it is a turning from worthless things to the living God. Sounds a lot like the passage we looked at last week in Thessalonians. It’s a turning from worthless things to the living God. And my life, no matter how moral it may have looked, was from God’s perspective a worthless path. Even my righteous acts, what does the Bible say, filthy rags. My life needs to be on track with God. I need to be asking what does he want. I need to turn from my path to his.

Which by the way it sounds like so far it could just fit right into a Tony Robbins seminar, or some non-smoking group, or some support twelve step program. This is not really about us just trying to redirect our lives, or having mechanisms or devices or kind of leaning on God to do it. This is a divine act. Remember we quoted it earlier, Acts 11, you note takers can see it there. Acts 11:18. You wrote it down, right? God grants repentance. Here’s another one for you. How about Acts 5:31. Same thing. He says, God exalted Christ, right, as prince and savior to his own right hand so that he might give repentance and forgiveness to Israel and the Gentiles, later in the book. What’s the point. God gives this. If this is about you redirecting your own life to try and live for God, it is not the gospel. That’s some kind of self human effort. The kind of gospel I’m talking about is the kind where you cry out to God and say, God give me a redirected life. I’m asking for you to grant me the repentance. Which, by the way, is in keeping with the rest of scripture. 2 Timothy 2:25. That God may grant repentance. He gives it. Because if you are just redirecting your own life to whatever you think Christianity is I guarantee you it will not be permanent. God’s redirection though, let’s put it down this way,

D. Redirection for the Rest of Your Life

Which by the way is the acid test of whether or not this is Biblical repentance. Human repentance. Some kind of I feel bad about my sin; I need to change, yes, I’m going to change. I know this is hard to distinguish and need out, but the human effort of repentance, if it’s a manmade thing, it will not last. And Jesus give countless examples of that. About the parables he tells about the seed and the sower. Springs up with joy and embraces the word, but later when hard times come it falls away. That kind of on again – off again is proof that it’s not Biblical repentance. Real Biblical repentance lasts for the rest of ones life. I quote this a lot too, I know, 1 John 2:19. You know the passage by now; they went out from us because they were not really of us. If they would have been of us they would have remained with us. And that ain’t about the church on this corner, right? The apostle John is talking about Christianity. Right? People that bail out, and you do know, let’s just use one example – not meaning to pick on your teams, but let’s think about it. 80% of “evangelical Christian teens” I mean the ones writing on their math book covers, God Rules, Living for Jesus, right? Those guys, those teens – 80% bail out by the time they get to college and never come back in to any kind of association with Christianity. I hope our odds are a lot better than that. That’s why we hire the top drawer youth guys in the country to try and lead our teams to make sure that’s not happening here. We’re doing our best to present a Biblical gospel, but I’m telling you when the redirection is not permanent, then it’s a man-made effort. It’s not a God made effort. God granting Biblical divine repentance. Real repentance, Biblical repentance redirects the rest of our life. Peter said, hey, we’ve left everything to follow you. Now that picture is a picture of turning. Turning from my path, Peter says representing the rest of the apostles, and I’m following your path. OK?

But there’s something else. Something by the way that Judas lacked, cause you could look at Judas and say the same thing. But there was something there that was missing. There is another component to this. A distinguishable yet inseparable component to the one right response to the gospel and it is bound up in the word to follow you; the word follow. To really follow. Jesus gave parables all the time about what he required, what he expected, what it was that we were all about, and eleven of the twelve nodded their heads in agreement. Yeah, that’s what we’re in it for. There was one guy was going… ah, that’s not what I’m in it for and his name was Judas. He may have looked like a repentant Christian, but he wasn’t a trusting Christian. He didn’t truly trust Christ or his leadership, lets use this word, completely or for everything.

2. Trust Him for Everything.

A. Real Biblical Faith

He trusted Christ to change his future on earth; he wasn’t really interested in all that came with it. Real Biblical faith, and that’s by the way letter A, what the Bible calls it, is a kind of implicit complete trust, and I know again people throw a flag on the play. Mike, that’s to hard; that’s impossible. Now you got it. The gospel is impossible. Repentance is not a human act. It’s a God given granted act of heaven and so is faith. You can’t trust God like that, but God can give you that trust. That’s what the gospel is all about. Faith, the Biblical word faith. Faith is such an important word. It is the cornerstone. We preached a whole series on it not long ago, but I want to show you how this is coupled together so often. If you’re taking notes you might want to jot down Mark 1:15, Jesus came, picked up the baton from John the baptizer and he went out and preached the same thing. But how about this one, Acts 20. We’ve got now a picture of the gospel in the early church moving from Jerusalem now through the Gentile barriers, Judea and into Samaria, and now we have Paul summarizing his ministry as he’s way out there in Asia Minor. Acts 20, take a look at what he says about his preaching of the gospel. Verse 20, you know that I haven’t hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful… {This is kind of a weak word for what that’s all about. Something that would change your life.} … to you, but I’ve taught you. I’ve proclaimed it publicly from house to house. I’ve declared to both to Jews and Greeks {here comes the requirement now} that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. That’s a mouthful. You want a Biblical phrase that represents the two distinguishable yet inseparable components of the right response to the gospel. There is it. It’s there and many other places, but that’s a beautiful statement of it. Right? They must turn to God in repentance {leaving my path for yours} and they have faith {pistuo (Gr?) pistas, they trust} in our Lord Jesus. They’re really going to follow him. We’ve left everything to follow you. That’s the point. You want to use Biblical phrases? I’m all for it because this is the gospel. Are you willing to abandon lesser phrases that muddy, confuse, truncate, mitigate, lessen, weaken, cloud the gospel. I’m not into that. As a matter of fact I refuse to do that. From the time I looked in scripture and realized the perfect lovely phrases that I grew up hearing all through my childhood were not found in the scripture and that using those phrases may shoot low to the calling of the gospel, I in my own life, like I’d quit smoking (which I haven’t), but it was like that (I don’t smoke). It was like that though. I said never again am I going to do that. I’m not going to use those phrases anymore. Wouldn’t it be beautiful for us… side bar…

This is like laying on the bar. Are you ready? Let’s have a little chat. Can we talk? How beautiful it would be for all of us to kick the habit. Just say we’re not going to do it. We’re going to use Biblical terms and Biblical definitions. I know God didn’t write the Bible in English so I’m not hung up on the exact wording in English, but I am concerned about the exact definitions. Repentance and faith, those are the two distinguishable yet inseparable components of the right response to the gospel. NOT, asking Jesus into your heart. Can you kick that bad habit? Can you let that one go away forever? Or how about this one? Accepting Jesus. Ah, now you’re touching on one that I don’t have to quit that…cigars I’ll quit, cigarettes, no. I know some people, well isn’t that in the Bible. Here I challenge you on this, cause I know some people, every service so far, they’ve been ripped on…ah, I don’t like that. Here, challenge, every time you see the concept anywhere close to that in scripture note carefully the context. Here’s the context. And I know if you’re a Sunday school graduate you’re thinking of passages like John 1:12. OK? He came into his own and his own received him not, right? But those who do, those who receive him, who believe on his name to them he gave the right to become children of God. OK? I know the verse. I get it. That’s as close as you’re going to get to the phrase, and here’s the deal that is a national context. This is a national context. Christ the Jewish messiah came unto his own, the Jewish people, and they did not embrace their messiah and so in God’s wise plan according to Ephesians 3:10 he brought in his wisdom that gospel to the whole world who would then embrace him. Now that’s a national, big, 30,000 foot view of the embracing of the gospel and people who weren’t children of Abraham becoming heirs of the king. Right. If we’re going to talk about soteriology we want to get into what it takes to become a Christian, let’s leave that 30,000 foot view out of it and let’s get down to the details. And the details are repentance and faith. You want to call it turning and trusting, great! Call it whatever you want to call it as long as the concepts are there. And I had someone challenge me on, well, what about stand at the door and knock? Context, context. What’s the context there? Revelation chapter 3. He’s standing at the door of his church wanting to get in because they were lukewarm and God wasn’t going to have and Christ is outside. This is how pathetic this picture is, I’m not even invited to my own worship service. That’s the picture there. OK? When it comes to salvation Jesus is not a sympathetic door to door salesman. Though my Sunday school teachers told me it fifty times. Jesus stands at the door of your heard and he knocks. That’s not the context. As A.W. Tozier rightly put it, it is not about when you accepted Christ, it’s about when Christ accepted you. And the day he accepted you and put your name in the computer terminal at the celestial airport was the day he GAVE you, granted you the ability to turn and trust. OK, that’s what we ought to be crying out for. God I want repentance and faith. God I want to turn and trust. So could we, I don’t know I won’t have a full… we will not have full involvement in this, but I challenge you. You want to let the rest of the world say, accept Christ, ask Jesus into our heart, fine. Can we leave those elementary, childish explanations of the gospel and get to the Biblical terms and the Biblical concepts. I mean let’s just do it. May it never be on our lips that I try to paint some caricature of the gospel that doesn’t reflect the truth of repentance and faith. Repentance and all that that means. Trusting Christ and all that that means. Off that soap box now. Let’s just say this about faith as we try to define it and understand it.

B. Faith is More than Believing

Jot this one down James 2:14-19. Faith is more than believing. You understand that and I know people, again I’ve got to fight all the traditional concepts here. And I know they’re built on verses I’ve heard and explanations I’ve heard. But passages like Romans 10, believe in your heart that he raised him from the dead, Ok, there’s much more to pistuo (Gr?) than just checking off a box about the historical facts of Christ. You understand that, right? Cause according to James 2 and he gives us a beautiful cogent argument and it is this. Is there any demon that doesn’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead. Seriously. Is there a demon in the cosmos that doesn’t believe that Jesus is the son of God, the incarnate son of God? Not one, right? Unlike us they’re not here looking back on a time when they weren’t alive. They were alive for the whole thing. They watched the whole salvific plan unfold. There is not a demon that doesn’t check the box, well I know that’s true. And James makes the point, that’s not the kind of trust we’re talking about. Remember the passage? The demons also believe and shudder. Right? They don’t have trust in Christ. They have an ascent to a set of facts cause they can’t deny it. They watched it with their own “eyeballs.” Hey, it’s not about assenting to facts. Faith is more than believing a set of facts. I grew up with that belief, didn’t you? Did you grow up in a church like I did, where I believe he’s the son of God cause I’ve got a choice I can believe he’s not or I can believe he is and that makes me a Christian. Then I went to the second grade Sunday school class and they said oh you’ve got to believe also that he rose from the dead. So, Ok, memorize that verse, Ok, I believe that too. Great, now I’m a Christian, I’m sure I have assurance. And then in third grade I learned I had to believe he died on the cross. Well I believe that one. I don’t doubt that. And then in fourth grade I learned, you have to believe that he died on the cross for you. Oh, Ok, so by fourth grade I was believing that fact. See what I’m saying. It is not a set of facts that we are just simply assenting to. Now, you can’t put your trust in Christ unless you assent and believe the facts, but believing the facts is not enough. It’s about trust. It’s about trusting in Christ. Lot of people believe in the facts and they don’t put their trust in Christ. They don’t trust him for everything. They believe a few facts about a historical person.

When I talk about faith – I’ve defined both of these repentance and faith – both by what they’re not, now here’s what they are, right. Repentance, we said, we know what that is. It’s a redirection of my life. Well faith is this. I’m trusting in Christ completely.

C. Faith is Trusting in Christ Completely.

Judas failed to do that, though he looked like a repentant person. The apostles and Peter who says, hey, we’ve left everything to follow. He was a follower of Christ and he was one who trusted in Christ. Now there’s two parts to this in scripture. There’s a trust for him to live the life I couldn’t live and die a death I should’ve died and then there’s this practical sense that now I’m going to trust you from day to day. Now here’s another really phoney dichotomy, you know, a really hideous bifurcation of the Christian life and it’s not true. People say well you can trust him for eternity, but you don’t have to trust him for the rest of your earthly life. They teach that. They literally teach that to people. Here’s the point, when I say trust him for everything Peter is a expressing Biblical faith. I trust you for eternity; I also trust you for the rest of my life. If I’ve turned from my path to your path clearly I trust you as the king and leader of my life. Now, you can’t do this partially. Here’s the thing about faith. It is so simple, and some people think my Biblical definitions complicate it. No, they don’t complicate it, they just show how difficult it really it. It is so difficult, it is impossible. See because Biblical faith it’s not complicated; it’s very simple, but it’s not easy. It’s difficult. It is, and I thought of this as I was flipping through some pictures this week and I know this won’t win me parent of the year award, but here’s my then ten year old last summer jumping off some rock. This is what Biblical faith feels like. Mom wasn’t around obviously. This is what it feels like. It feels like that. What does that feel like? When you stand thee at the edge of that cliff – you’ve done this before? – you have that sense where you need to make a decision. Now I don’t know what his pea brain was trusting in at the time, right? Gravity, buoyancy, wafey body, whatever it was, he had faith that this was going to turn out alright and stepped off. Now dad climbed up there and did not have that faith. I looked down, said I’ll grab the camera, swim across to the other side and take some photos of you. Couldn’t do it. And like my kid said, well the longer you look at it the harder it’s going to be, right? Great to be lectured by a ten year old, and I understand it. Biblical faith is the same way. How many times have I been sharing the gospel and they sit there and they go, yeah but what if God asks me to go to Africa and what if God does this – I just can’t and I feel like my ten year old. You know the longer you process this the harder it’s going to be. And I know it’s impossible in your flesh. You need to, just to carry this a little further, the hand of the Holy Spirit on your back going – that’s what you need – you need a push. Biblical faith like Biblical repentance is granted, is a work of God. And you and I stand there and say I’m going to trust you for eternity, am I going to trust you for the next fifteen years of my life… I don’t know, that’s scarey. I’ve got a lot of dreams and a lot of plans and a lot of things I’d hoped to accomplish. Biblical faith feels just like that. It is a free fall in many ways. That’s what it feels like. You’ve heard all the illustrations – the chair, right? Believe it here, but now you’re going to sit in it, right. I can stand up there and say I believe I’ll be OK if I jump off this cliff. Real Biblical faith takes the step. Maybe you’re there, and all I’ve got to say is, stop, do you realize what you’re doing. Think about what you’re doing. You’re sitting here saying I’m not sure I can give up the next fifteen years of my life for God, cause that’s what we’re all focused on. We all want the goodies on the other side. You can’t give up the next fifteen years of your life or however long you have on the planet for God? You can’t do that? For eternity. Does that now make sense of all these passages. Even Matthew 19, we’ll look at it next week. You know, first will be last, last will be first. Or in the words of the gospel of Luke, those who want to save their lives will lose it and those who want to lose their lives will save it. That’s it. I didn’t step off that cliff like my son did, because I didn’t want to lose my life. Salvation is the same way. I know a lot of people not willing to put their trust in Christ because they don’t want to lose their life. I don’t want to lose my life. I don’t want to have to be a missionary if God asks me to. What you want to keep your life? Here’s what Jesus said, you’re going to lose your life. Do you see the play on words there? You want to keep the next fifteen years of your life. You can forget eternity then. If you are willing to give up the next fifteen years of your life, guess what, you’ll find your life. It’s about eternal life. It’s about trusting in Christ completely. It’s about Philippians 3:9, my trust in his righteousness and not my own. It’s about trusting him for eternity and trusting him for the next few years of my life.

And by the way just like Biblical repentance, Biblical faith will result in an enduring change. And to be specific, it’s a change that we can summarize with the word obedience. And dare I say the word obedience and you think perfection, let me put it this way a growing obedience. I’m not talking about perfectionism.

D. Faith Results in Growing Obedience

I’m talking about the fact that if you trust in Christi you will grow in a path of obedience. We call it sanctification. Was Peter perfect after he decided to follow Jesus? No. Were there times when he fell off his horse so to speak? Absolutely. I mean in the court yard of Caiaphas with a teenage servant girl he denied Christ just because she said oh you sound like a Galilean. You’re with Jesus aren’t you? But here’s the deal, he gets back up. It’s like my kid learning to ride a bike. Remember teaching your kids to ride a bike. I mean it’s kind of a scarey event. Talk about repentance and faith going from the scooter to the bike. I mean taking the training wheels off. I mean that’s a big deal. And you know what when my kid learned to ride a bike I knew this, he was eventually going to fall off. Right? Did you know that? You kid, you taught your kid to ride – he’s going to fall down – wear jeans for the first three months. I mean, that’s what you’re thinking. You’re going to fall down and you’re going to come in and we’re going to need Bactine and band-aids and you’ll have tears. You’re not going to ride this bike perfectly, and here’s the thing about a bike rider – they don’t quit and go back to walking. Right? Same thing. That’s called an apostate. People that hang with us for a while and claim a trust in Christ and then say well I don’t know that was just teenage exuberance, I don’t know. And they right it off later. No, real Biblical faith will endure through all the failures. The righteous man falls seven times – he gets up – that’s the point. My kid skinned him knee – get back on the bike. Jesus had to do that for Peter. John 21. That’s what the whole chapter is about. Yeah, you denied me in front of Caiaphas and the servants there, but get back on the bike. Do you love me? Feed my sheep. Right? Is that what he needed to do? He’ll need to do that with you and I too. But just know we’re going to get better at this the longer we do it. And God is going to empower us.

One last passage before we quit. Ephesians 2. I wish we could understand the connection between grace and works much much better than we do. Because I grew up in a church maybe like you did that taught me Ephesians 2:8 & 9. Ephesians 2:8-9, Ephesians 2:8-9, Ephesians 2:8-9, 2:8-9, 2:8-9. Boy, I memorized that for every class and summer camp I ever went to. But I wish we would’ve learned verse 10 because it sure would have helped me to understand the implications of faith. I understand that works aren’t a part of Biblical faith, but I’ve got to understand that salvation comes with an appendage called good works. We try to illustrate that countless ways here at Compass, but take a look at verse 8 and 9, you’ve memorized these I hope. For by grace you’ve been saved {grace, that means you didn’t earn it}, it’s through faith {it’s about trusting} it’s not of yourselves. It’s a gift of God. And it’s not by works {you can’t earn your way into the computer terminal at the sky-cap} so that no one can boast. For we are {here’s the verse we should have learned with it} God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works. You should circle the word works in verse 9 and 10 and tie them together in your Bibles. It is not salvation by works. It’s salvation FOR works. See? That’s the difference. We are not saved by works; we’re saved freely by grace. But that faith in Christ that brings salvation results in good works and that’s how I know I have Biblical faith. Not by works, verse 9 says, so no one can boast, verse 10, for we are God’s workmanship {though} created in Christ Jesus to do good works. {Which by the way, you want to talk about a redirection of your path} God has prepared in advance for us to do. Do you know you’ve got a path to walk on that God has called you to? It’s a path, his path for your life. It may involve a job change. It may involve a geographical changes. It could involve a lot of changes. It may put you right back where you were, but it is about trusting him and as you trust in him it will result in a growing obedience. Cause that’s what he created you for. Don’t confuse it though. A lot of people who grow up in church seem to think it’s their good works.

There was a guy that like the others we’ve looked at in the last month who was a real goodie two-shoes. Brightest kid in his Sunday school class. Didn’t do all the immoral things that his peers did. He was very devout and most of his friends would say he’s the best Christian I know. The problem was he wasn’t a Christian at all. Oh he went to a good church. He read good books. He prayed five times a day. He had a schedule as a kid. He would pray five times a day. When he got old enough he built a shack out in his backyard, and it wasn’t a clubhouse for him and his buddies to hang out in. He built it a shack. He called it a prayer booth, and he went out there five times a day so he wouldn’t be distracted by anything else just to pray. He seemed zealous for God. He loved to talk to God in prayer, and he later wrote “I’m convinced that many people are deceived by such attraction to Christ. They mistake that attraction for Christ for real conversion.” Danger, the guy just really wanted more God stuff in his life. He thought he was converted, but he wasn’t, and one thing that should have led him to know that he wasn’t converted was that in time his zeal started to wain. He stopped praying five times a day and it went down to three and then to one and then the old prayer booth got cobwebs in it and his Bible reading went by the wayside too and he was like, well whatever. And then he got really sick. He got so sick the doctors didn’t know what to do with him. His parents feared that he might die, and he wrote about that time and he said it was like God was shaking me. Trying to wake me up. And so he understood that as get back to doing more good stuff and he did. He got well from his illness and he went back to the prayer booth. He swept it out. He started praying five time a day. He started reading his Bible every day, and again people said, well now he’s acting like the Christian he once was. The problem was he wasn’t a Christian, and he should’ve know that because in time his zeal started to wain again. After his revival from the sick bed he came back to a place of complacency – a place where he didn’t care much about it all. Went to church just cause he had to. Failed to do anything beyond the minimum requirements of his social ecclesiastical circles until one day when God got a hold fo his heart. And by God’s grace he cried out for Biblical repentance and faith and he calls it his conversion. God did something in my heart and he changed me from my path to his path. He worked nicely as an accouterment to my path and my life, but I realize it was about his life and I now need to be a servant of God. He looked like a servant of God, but that introspection. Crying out to God and God granting him repentance and faith changed everything for that young guy. The young man’s name was Jonathan Edwards. Ever heard of Jonathan Edwards? You don’t have to be a Christian to hear that name. You just have to be somewhere up on American history.

Jonathan Edwards had such a profound impact on our country because of that conversion experience he was known as a passionate, intellectual scholar he was, but he was known for his zeal. You probably read his sermon in college by some literary professor that wanted to critique the religious nut of the seventeenth century – Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Remember that? You should read that. You can go online and find it. Look in that sermon and several others, cause I know that’s the one we like to look at because it’s so unique, but his heart was pastoral. His reason for preaching sermons like that was for this very reason – that Christians didn’t miss the real gospel. Jonathan Edwards because of his preaching and leadership created a movement in America that they called, ironically enough, The Great Awakening. Remember that? The Great Awakening. Whitfield and some others were all a part of that, but Jonathan Edwards, The Great Awakening – how ironic. Cause he recognized it wasn’t the awakening from my illness and suffering that brought me back to religious duty and religious affection. It is, he said that awakening in the scriptures when I came to the place of, here it comes, genuine repentance and faith. There’s a lot of people that add Jesus to their life. They call it asking him in. They call it, you know whatever they call it. There’s lots of phrases. I hate to pollute your mind with them, but it’s not about that. It’s about Biblical repentance and faith. And I’m not trying to manipulate you and neither was Jonathan Edwards when he preached that sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, but let me make it crystal clear. You will stand at the curb one day, could be this week, could be ten years from now, it could be twenty years from now and you will meet your maker. And the angelic sky-cap is going to say who are you. You’ll hand them you’re little ID, right, and he’ll go to the books. And the books will be opened and he’s going to look for your name, and it won’t be there because you’ve been a good boy. Won’t be there because you weren’t as bad as your next door neighbor. You’re either going to be there because you repented of your sins and put your trust in Christ, or it’s not going to be there because you had church experience, church attendance. Are you absolutely sure that your name is in the book? You need to be sure. I pray that with so many others in church history we would stop and take that moment of self evaluation. You’ve got to be sure that you’re sure. And it’s not based on feelings and it’s not based on work. It’s based on crying out to God for genuine repentance and faith. Let’s talk to God about it.

God, we need clarity. What a great passage, perhaps I should read it here. 2 Peter 1:10. That we need to be all the more eager to make our calling and election sure and then he says so I’ll always remind you of these things, Peter says, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth that you now have. But I think it’s only right to refresh your memory as long as I live in this tent of the body because I know that soon I’ll put it aside as our Lord Jesus made clear. God I know that I’m not going to preach in this pulpit forever. This could be my last Sunday for all I know. To preach here for ten years, but some other guy is going to take over and I pray that at least I can be faithful to the example of Peter and periodically and regularly reminding this church that to be sure about their calling and election they need to understand the gospel. There needs to be a Biblical gospel. Not clouded or cluttered with extra Biblical phraseology, but clearly defined by scripture as repentance and faith. Turning and trusting. Getting off of my path onto his path and trusting him for everything. Give us clarity about this as we cry out to you. Do that supernatural work in our hearts so that we can have assurance that we are called and elected by your grace. God help us in this and maybe like these people we’ve talked about, Moody, Wesley and Edwards we can make a difference in our world because we have a passion and concern for other people as we preach the gospel to a lost, dark and needy world. God help us to get up from this sure about our salvation and ambassadors of the message of reconciliation. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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