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In order to understand salvation crystal-clear you must also understand genuine repentance. The first thing I would say to you if you are under conviction is this: the first thing you ought to do is repent. The Spirit of God works repentance. The Bible says, "godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation" (2 Corinthians 7:10). The Spirit of God comes to your heart and begins to weigh down your heart and to tell you that you are a sinner and that you're on your way to Hell. You begin to have godly sorrow and that godly sorrow turns you to repentance. Then that repentance turns you to salvation. Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation.
Jesus said, "except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3). Peter in his Second Epistle said, "The Lord.., is longsuffering... not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). This is a teaching that really needs to be taught. You need to know what true biblical repentance is.
Look at Luke 15. I'd like
to share with you what you really need to do to be saved. As you realize that
you're a sinner, you realize that you're on your way to eternal destruction. You
realize that the Spirit of God is speaking to your heart. "How do I
repent?" you ask. In Luke 15 the Lord Jesus says this:
"Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. And He said, ‘A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.' And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would vain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, ‘Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. "(Luke 15:10-19KJV)
I would like you to see that there are three things in this story that Jesus teaches us regarding true biblical repentance.
Forsake your sin
And he would vain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, ‘Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and before thee.'
I want you to notice here first of all that repentance that is true and genuine makes a man willing to forsake his sin. The man that Jesus was talking about in this parable, this prodigal son, was willing to say,
‘I need to get up and get out of this mess I'm in and I need to go to my Heavenly Father.' He was willing first of all to give up his sin. That is true repentance. Repentance produces a willingness to forsake sin.
John the Baptist came preaching the Gospel of repentance and do you know what he said? He said to the tax collector, ‘You want to repent? Stop taking more from people than that which is right. ‘(Luke 3:12-13). Men, if you want to repent, ‘he looked at the soldiers and said, ‘stop robbing people by violence and be content with your wages' (Luke 3:14). He looked at the rich man and said, ‘If you want to repent, go and take those two extra coats that you have and share them with someone who has none' (Luke 3:11). Could John the Baptist come to your closet and say, ‘if you want to repent, maybe you ought to take one or two of those dresses and sell them and maybe you ought to take those two coats that you have and give one to the poor'?
When Jesus was on the road to Jericho, one day He stopped and there was a man up in a tree. The man's name was Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus wanted to repent. Do you know what the response was that Zach gave to the Lord Jesus? He said, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold" (Luke 19:8). Here was a man whose heart was willing to forsake his sin.
I ask you: are you willing to forsake your sin?
Confess your sin
Next I would like you to see in verse 18 the second thing that established true repentance: a willingness to confess your sin. It's coming and showing your deeds and confessing your sin before God. 1 Timothy 5:24 says, "Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after." You have a choice to make. Your sins have either already gone to Heaven before you or your sins are still with you and they will follow you to judgment. Confess your sins now. Send them on ahead of you lest you die and the weight of your sin sinks you into the sides of Hell. Confess your sins and let them go before you into judgment.
Are you willing to confess your sins to God and to the people you've sinned against? The prodigal son left the pigpen. He was willing to forsake his sin and he confessed his sin to God and to man.
The prodigal son had a willingness to serve. By overlooking that, many people make a mistake. Look at verse 19. There this dear man comes to his father and says these words: I am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
Do you know how I can tell when a man is truly repenting? When a man is truly under the conviction of the Spirit of God, when a man is ready to be born again, the Bible says he will come and confess his sin; he will forsake his sin; and he will come with a heart that says, "Lord Jesus, I want to serve you. I want to serve you and I don't want my way anymore. Lord Jesus, make me a servant. Make me a servant." True repentance produces a broken heart and a willingness to serve.
Our society and the nominal churches are becoming perverted about this concept of repentance, even going so far as to claim that you can be saved without a willingness to be a servant of Christ. But listen to the words of Malachi: "Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not" (Malachi 3:18).
There was a time when a different rich man came to Jesus and asked for eternal life. Jesus said, ‘Go and sell all that you have and come and be My servant. Follow Me' (Matthew 19:2 1). But the rich man didn't have a repentant heart. And the Bible says that the rich man "went away sorrowful" (Matthew 19:22). He turned to His disciples, and Peter looked up to Him and said, ‘Lord, we have forsaken all to follow Thee' (Matthew 19:27).
Have you truly repented?
I would ask you: have you truly repented? Was there a time in your life when you realized you were a sinner, when you realized you were under the judgment of God, on your way to Hell, and you felt the conviction of the Spirit? Did you come to the Lord Jesus and confess your sin? Did you come to the Lord Jesus and forsake your sin? Did you come to the Lord Jesus and say, "Lord, I want to be your servant"? That is true biblical repentance. if you do that you are following the steps in the example that Jesus gave of the Prodigal Son. I wonder: where is your heart on this subject? Have you truly repented?
Jesus said, "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:33).
From my background, people are coming by the thousands down aisles to receive Christ. They are kneeling at an altar. They are being told that if they pray and ask Jesus to come into their heart that's all they need to do. They get up from that altar and they go back to their seat. And they're just as much lost and now even more lost than when they got up and went to the altar because the Lord Jesus said except you repent, you shall all likewise perish. Have you truly repented?
True repentance consists
of a willingness to forsake sin, a willingness to confess, and a willingness to
serve Jesus. If God grants you repentance, you will do these very things. I ask
you again: have you truly repented? if you've not, Jesus would say if you
haven't repented you shall perish.
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Liberty To The Captives Established in June 2001