LET'S SUMMARISE what we've looked at so far:
• What our sin really is and how it works
• What has to change and how
• How SERIOUS this all is
• That most of us are NOT fully Born Again (not our fault)
• Our sin is AGAINST GOD! - and it HURTS Him terribly!
Okay, we left Peter as he preached Jesus to Jews from many nations: ACTS 2:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Now that's a response we don't hear very often today!! Absolutely shocked at how they'd treated Jesus their Messiah, they cried out: "WHAT MUST WE DO??"
Peter's answer was immediate, simple, clear, and very direct: REPENT!!! ACTS 2:8 Then Peter said to them, “Repent... BUT - did they UNDERSTAND what that meant? A few years earlier came a man preaching the same message. John the Baptist, paving the way for Jesus to start His ministry: MATTHEW 3:1 In those days John the Baptistcame preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Many came to hear his message - and many responded: MATTHEW 3:5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.
So even BEFORE Jesus said one word, they REPENTED, they CONFESSED their sins, and were BAPTISED in the Jordan. Sounds like they understood, doesn't it!! But do WE? SO MANY of us have responded to a so-called "Altar Call", repeated a so-called "Salvation Prayer" by the Pastor, maybe - but maybe not - had a little of what they'd just done explained to us - AND THAT'S ABOUT IT!!! We MUST ask: "SO IS THAT ENOUGH?"and the utterly clear ANSWER is: "NO, NO, NO!!!
I never had explained to me what getting Born Again/Born of God was about. I never got ASSURANCE of being Saved. I never got FILLED with the Spirit. I believed in Jesus, certainly, and accepted that He was my Saviour from sin - but beyond that, as to the things of HIGH IMPORTANCE, I knew just about SQUAT!!! It was 13 LONG years before I heard the first sermon explaining that Jesus had to be my LORD as well as Saviour!! I acted IMMEDIATELY on that, but even then, I still didn't know and understand anywhere NEAR enough! And my problem lay in the question of REPENTANCE!!!
The Greek words for "repent" actually means "TO CHANGE YOUR MIND"! Okay then, but about WHAT? To change your mind about your sin. About: (a) sinning against your own body (b) sin against others, and most of all (c) sin against the God:
.:: Who created you
.:: Who gave you life, and gives you life every moment
.:: Who loves you and cares for you and about you!...
because ALL SIN, EVERY 'small', 'medium' or 'large' sin WAS and IS straight-out AGAINST HIM!!!
Ever noticed how GOOD and how QUICK we are to see the other guy's sin! We're simply BRILLIANT at this!! Well the time is now HERE for YOU to turn the SPOTLIGHT INWARD!! To SEE and DISCOVER all of YOUR SIN, much of it UNCOVERED, FORGOTTEN - and NEVER EVER REPENTED OF!! This is holding up ALL of your walk with the Lord. It is a horrific and DEVASTATING BLOCKAGE!!!
What we're about to do is to get you as ABSOLUTELY RIGHT WITH GOD as possible, to get your CHRISTIAN LIFE on track, and to start you actually enjoying KNOWING THE LORD GOD PERSONALLY!! - and more!!! This will be your challenge- or else continue along just as you are, right up until DEATH! Are you even CERTAIN that you're saved? HOW CERTAIN?? Ready to stake your future for all eternity on it?? Okay, let's make certain!!! Please do NOT expect below to be easy!! Also DON'T try to do it all at once! PLEASE PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER - as they pray for YOU!!
- Get with the Lord. And that means ALL OF US! You need privacy - specifically in a situation where you are alone with Him.
- Ask Him to HELP You with this MAJOR task. He WILL!!
- Meditation in His Presence. You should start to spend time 'meditating' on your whole life. In a sense letting your mind wander over all of your life: over 'the good, the bad, and the ugly', as it were! The reason for this? When you came to the Lord you may have said something like this, "I repent of all my sin, and turn away from it now." NOT SPECIFIC! NOT EVEN GOOD ENOUGH TO MAKE REPENTING REAL TO YOU!!
- Slowly Identify the Sins of Your Life. Some may think this is all NEGATIVE - like "wallowing" in all of your sin, even to the point of doing damage! NO WAY!! We are doing this so as to clear out all the 'gunk' in our life by CONFESSING and REPENTING of ALL OF OUR LIFE'S SIN!! Nothing less will do - but theFREEDOM you will get from this will be quite awesome!!
- Start Talking to the Lord about Your Sin! This must be aloud and verbal. Doing it in your head is NOT good enough for this important task! The importance of speaking with our mouth is Scriptural. ROMANS 10:9a Because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart... 1 CORINTHIANS 1:21 For... it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. Preaching is with our lips, and so is confession. If your situation means you need to speak quietly, that's fine. What you MUST do is: your LIPS must form the words (no sound necessary).
- Start Specifically and Definitely Confessing Your Sin to the Lord -REPENTING of It!!! Because there will (probably!) be a lot to confess, here's an example of how I may repent before God: "Lord, I just can't believe I did THAT!! I xxxx!!! (naming the sin). I am SO sorry!! I have grieviously and wilfully and knowingly sinned against YOU, against Your HOLINESS! I know I've HURT You. I NEVER want to do that again!" Please DO NOT forget that SIN is not just what you've done WRONG, but just as serious is your FAILURE to do GOOD that you know you SHOULD have done!!! After you've done that for a couple of major sins, if you're NOT beginning to feel some really SERIOUS AND GODLY SORROW, then I'll be rather surprised.
- Continue!!... You'll be able to shorten all those words as you go along - just openly admitting and confessing your sin to Him. YOU WILL WANT TO BE REPENTING of THESE SINS - to have CHANGED YOUR MIND ABOUT THEM!! No longer do you wish to commit them against your Lord and God! You're getting them ALL OUT IN THE OPEN between you and the Lord, so that NOTHING can continue to be between you - SEPARATING you from HIM!! It's such a wondrous FEELING!!
- There Are Some Sins That Will be Difficult! (a) The first of these are the ones that involved SO MUCH HURT that you may have pushed them down so far as to be hard to get them back out. (b) Another lot are those YOU FELT SO GUILTY ABOUT that you simply HAD to justify yourself, convincing yourself that it wasn't all that bad; maybe even that it wasn't sin! BUT IT WAS!! There can be NO EXCUSES beteen you and the Lord! HE KNOWS THE TRUTH! YOU have to front up to it!!
- If You're Confessing a Sin, but You Don't Want to Truly Give it Up - then be honest with yourself that you are not REPENTING of it! Sometimes all we can do is WANT to give it up, and CONTINUE wanting to DO SO, and PRAYING about this (but NOT feeling GUILTY), and plug away at this till the day you SUCCEED!!!!
- To Get to ALL of Your Sin May Take Days, or Even Weeks! This is GOOD! Trying to finish by midday yesterday is not the way. Be SERIOUS, but take your time. Do a bit each day, so as not to BOMB yourself out!
- This is Ongoing! God will slowly show you more sin to confess and repent of!! You want to stay as CLEAN from all SIN as you possibly can. So ensure that REPENTANCE is part of your Christian walk with Jesus!
Continued in Part 5, "Going Further: Completing the Job!"...
- BM, with his Lady