By Pastor Paul Millermon
Various Scripture
03 September 2000

INTRODUCTION

A testimony was printed in a recent article of the Insight for September 2000. This is a newsletter of the Slavic Gospel Association. The testimony tells how Vladimir Antonov became a Christian. Here is that testimony.

"I was brought up in a Christian family. My mother loved God and lived according to His Word. But by the time I had turned 13, it became a burden to me. I didnít want to hear about faith, the Bible or God. It was more interesting to spend time with my friends.

After I served in the army, the word sin no longer existed in my vocabulary. My conscience was silent as I drank, smoked and used swear words. But my mother and relatives continued to pray for me.

Following my military service I went to Frunze (now Bishkek), Kyrgyzstan, to be with my friends. My mother had given me a Gospel of John and asked me to read it. I did but mainly when I was drunk. (I still have this old, small Gospel half-stained with wine.) I soon began to realize that I didnít like my way of life, and I wrote my mother to ask for her prayers. I tried not to think about serious things, about the ultimate questions of life because I was afraid of reality. Reality was awful!

I returned home with great pain in my soul. I began to read our old family Bible and a book of Christian songs. When I read the Sermon on the Mount, every word told me...you are a sinner! I celebrated the New Year with my relatives and old friends who loved God. When I listened to their prayers, songs and poems, I was filled with anguish, joy and awkwardness. How could these saintly people ask for forgiveness? What wrong had they done? When my friends finished their prayers, I fell on my knees and sincerely prayed to God. God forgave me as I repented. I was born again!"

Vladimir is an example of repentance and what it is. Repentance is the subject of this message. Last week we talked about grace and faith. Grace is Godís work in providing us salvation through Christ. Christ is Godís attempt to reach men while religion is manís attempt to reach God. Faith is our response. It is trusting Christ and His work on the cross alone for our salvation. But the Bible says that repentance also plays a role. What is repentance? Is it an important issue? Have we experienced repentance?

  1. Definition of repentance.
    1. The Greek word in the New Testament for repentance is metanoia.
      1. The first part of the word is meta = after.
      2. The second part of the word comes from noeo = to perceive.
      3. To perceive afterwards = a change of mind.
    2. To repent is to change your mind. After we are faced with the facts and change our mind - we have repented.
  2. Repentance is a basic fundamental of the Christian life.
    Hebrews 6:1 says "Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God." Repentance and faith are what is involved when we come to Christ for salvation and our Christian experience begins. What is repentance all about?
  3. Repentance was part of Christís message.
    1. Matthew 4:17 "Jesus began to preach, and to say repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
    2. Mark 2:17 "When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, they that are whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
    3. Mark 6:12 "They went out and preached that men should repent."
    4. Luke 13:3-5 "I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish."
  4. Repentance was the message of the early church.
    1. Luke 24:47 "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
    2. Acts 2:38 "Peter said unto them repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
    3. Acts 3:19 "Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord."
    4. Other passages - Acts 5:31; 8:22; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20
    5. Romans 2:4 "Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance."
  5. Repentance in respect to salvation is to...
    1. Change your mind - Reverse your thinking. Repentance is changing your mind in some way or ways so that you agree with the Gospel and receive Christ. Not long ago I saw a commercial on TV that said it was going to reverse our thinking. That is what repentance is. It is when God reverses our thinking through the gospel message. Does God need to reverse your thinking in any area as you hear the Gospel Message?
      1. We are all sinners and need salvation. If we have thought of our selves as good and not in need of salvation then we see from the Bible that we are sinners and need salvation, and adjust our thinking to agree with the Bible, then we have repented. God has reversed our thinking.
      2. Christ is God and has paid the price for our sin on the cross. If we have not understood or believed these facts about Christ, but now after hearing the Gospel we now believe who Christ is and what he did for us then we have repented.
      3. We need to trust in the work of Christ and not be trusting in ourselves for salvation. If we have been trusting in our own works etc., not Christ, and we decide to trust Christ alone, then we have repented.
    2. Expressing your repentance - You can express your repentance by praying to God and telling Him that you have changed our mind and that you now believe His Word in regard to the following:
      1. In regard to your self you accept the fact that you are a sinner (Romans 3:23).
      2. In regard to Christ you now believe that He is God and that He died for your sin on the cross (1 Corinthians 15:3).
      3. In regard to what you have been trusting in you now trust Christ and His work alone for your salvation.
    3. Elements of repentance
      1. There is the intellectual element of repentance. It is understanding the facts with our mind (intellect) and having our mind changed by Godís word.
      2. There is the emotional element of repentance. Repentance includes being sorry for your sin. It may include an expression of emotions like crying. But this will vary from person to person. Emotions, however expressed, are not repentance or the change of the mind. They are only a result of repentance. Genuine repentance cannot be judged valid or invalid on the basis of the emotional expression. Genuine repentance is judged on the basis of what happens afterwards. Does our life show the fruits of the changed mind and heart?
      3. There is the volitional element of repentance. It is the choosing to accept Godís truth and turning from our own ideas.

CONCLUSION

Review:

  1. Godís grace has provided salvation. We donít deserve it.
  2. By faith we must receive it. Saving faith is trusting Jesus and Him alone for salvation.
  3. It involves repentance, which is a change of mind on our part.
  4. God worked in the heart of Vladimir Antonov and changed his mind and heart about his sin and about Christ. What about you? Is it time to repent?

Back To The Top

Back To Sermons On-Line