Matthew 4:17 “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”; Mark 1:15, “repent and believe in the Gospel.” (NIV)
Freedom: From the bondage to the flesh, self and Satan—leading to hell—into control by the Spirit and the God who is good—leading to heaven.
Question: If you were the Christ, what would be the first command you would give?
What was the main message which led up to Jesus’ ministry? (John the Baptist, Matthew 3:2).
What was the first message given to the 12 Disciples to preach? Mark 6:12 “Whenever someone gives his thought and life a new direction, it always involves a judgment on his previous views and behavior.” (F. Laubach, New Int’l Dict of New Testament Theology, Vol. 1, p. 353).
Why would this be your message?
The Old Testament led up to the New Testament. The function of the Law was to show that we are sinners (Galatians 3:21 -24; Romans 5:20 -21; 3:20 ). New wineskins are needed for new wine (Matthew 9:17 ). Unless we confess our need, we won’t accept the solution Christ paying for our sins on the cross.
Is repentance necessary for salvation? Yes, but being repentant is actually a gift of God. Genuine repentance is by the grace of God. The work of salvation is the work of God. This involves “predestination,” the doctrine that God not only knows (“foreknowledge”) but also determines whether or not we come to Christ and be saved. See Ephesians 1:4, 11; Romans 9:11-17; John 6:44 (those drawn by the Father to Christ), Romans 3:10 -11) The Spirit convicts of sin (John 16:8-9) and grants salvation (2 Timothy 2:25 ; Acts 11:18 ). Our “decision” to follow Christ is a result of God’s work in our life.
“God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent.” (Acts 17:30 ).
This is for Gentiles and Jews, Blacks and Orientals and Hispanics and Anglos (Acts 20:21 —“repentance toward God and faith in Christ.”)
We need to destroy the old foundations of self-righteousness or religion or indifference toward God. Then we can build upon a humble heart, which God will not despise (Psalm 51:17).
Repentance leads to our being saved: 2 Corinthians 7:10.
Are Christians to give the same message today?
Luke wrote, “that forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations. This command is contained in Matt. 28:20—“to observe all I commanded you.”
Why is this an unpopular message?
It is foolishness to the lost (1 Corinthians 1:18 ).
This insults the idea that we are basically good people.
It doesn’t sell—it doesn’t scratch ears and bolster self-esteem.
The Old Kingdom of Satan is forsaken. We are the children of Satan (1 John 3:10 ) or of God. The whole world lies in Satan’s power (1 John 5:19 ).
In the new Kingdom of God, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit indwell us (John 14:17 , 23). Greater is God inside us than Satan outside of us (1 John 4:4; Romans 8:35 -39).
Do we need to continue to repent as Christians?
We need to judge ourselves rightly (1 Cor. 11:31 ). When we repent in the right way, our sorrow will be godly. It will be sorrow for offense against God, not so much for the consequences of sin in our life (self-centered sorrow--2 Corinthians 7:10 ). We’ll have a completely new life (2 Corinthians 5:17 ) and a desire to read God’s Word (1 Peter 2:2).
Christians as Ephesus were told to repent because their love for God had been abandoned (Revelation 2:4-5). Other Christians were lukewarm (Revelation 3:16 -17, 19).
Who genuinely repented in the Bible?
The Ninevites Jonah 3:5-10
Zaccheus Luke 19:7-8
The Prodigal Son Luke 15:11-14, 17-20a
Saul (or Paul) Acts 9:12; 1 Corinthians 15:9-10.