Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Repentant Heart

Just some sermon notes from today that I want to remember...

Satan is real and he is very good at his job. His job is three-fold:

1. Tempting us.
2. Lying to us.
3. Accusing us.

Satan tempts us and lies to us, and when we fall into the trap he sets and we sin, he points a finger at us and accuses us, telling us how awful we are. We are in a courtroom, and he is the prosecuting attorney, pointing out our wrongs before God, while we listen to all that we have done.

I John 2:1 - My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

When Satan accuses us before the Father, and makes his case against us, Jesus steps up and defends us before God, stating that the penalty for that sin has already been paid, and the sin forgiven. He is our defender when Satan accuses, for He is the one who paid for our sin.

When we sin, we have four choices:

1. Deny the sin.
2. Cover up the sin. (Or at least try to)
3. Let the sin weigh on us until we are crushed by guilt.
4. Repent

Repentance is confessing the sin and turning away from it and turning back to God. It is a change of heart, a change of focus, and a change of path. It is resetting the compass so it points again to God, and following in the way we should go, admitting that we were headed in the wrong direction before. (That part wasn't actually in the sermon, but a picture that just popped into my head.)

When we repent, we must confess the sin before God, but we may also need to confess the sin to the person we sinned against, in order to restore the relationship. This is the more humbling act, but is part of turning back to God and returning to the right path.

When we do repent, we are blessed with several benefits:

1. We receive mercy instead of misery.

Proverbs 28:13 - He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

Parents ought to show their children HOW to repent, both by instructing, and by repenting themselves, asking forgiveness when they sin. When children confess and demonstrate repentance, parents ought to treat their children with the same mercy God shows us, that they will learn the beauty of God's mercy and the importance of repentance, that repentance will be sweet to them.

2. We receive forgiveness instead of slavery.

When we are riddled with guilt, we become a slave. We hold onto our sins and they control us, controlling our thoughts. We become slaves to Satan's accusations, cowering before the judge's bench, pleading guilty. When we plead guilty, we in effect waive our rights to a defender and let the prosecuting attorney win. If, however, we stand before the judge and let Christ speak for us, we are forgiven and receive freedom. How much sweeter is forgiveness in Christ!

3. We receive refreshment instead of shame.

Acts 3:19 - Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.

When we accept the forgiveness that comes from Christ, our sins are wiped out and we are refreshed, knowing that He has borne our shame and we no longer have to.