Sermons

Sun, Oct 21, 2018

The Power to Change

Turn with me in your bible to Matthew chapter 3 where we pick up the story. Matthew chapter 1 told us the story surrounding Jesus birth into this world. Chapter 2 jumps ahead about two years when the wise men from the east arrive to worship Jesus who was now living in Bethlehem. Chapter 3 jumps ahead about 28 years now to the beginning of Jesus public ministry. Don’t blink!
Series:Matthew
Duration:49 mins 59 secs

Series: Fulfilled

Text: Matthew 3

Title: The Power To Change

 

Turn with me in your bible to Matthew chapter 3 where we pick up the story. Matthew chapter 1 told us the story surrounding Jesus birth into this world. Chapter 2 jumps ahead about two years when the wise men from the east arrive to worship Jesus who was now living in Bethlehem. Chapter 3 jumps ahead about 28 years now to the beginning of Jesus public ministry. Don’t blink!

 

Let me begin telling you about the story of a pastor who takes a new job at a small country church. The beautification committee of this church wants to get the church all nice and spic and span before he shows up. And so they buy 80 gallons of white paint, but they really needed about 110 gallons to do the job right. As they started to paint, they realized they are going to need more paint. So, the deacon in charge of the beautification committee says, Let's just cut the paint by adding some water, we will just thin it out, we’ll be good stewards, I’m sure the paint will be fine.

 

So, they paint the outside of the church and just about the time that the new pastor arrives it begins to rain. The watered down white paint begins to run off the church! The people were mortified. The pastor gets out of the car and everybody is wondering, What is he going to say?

 

He raises his hand towards heaven with great southern preaching conviction and he says: Repaint, and thin no more!

 

I’m sorry, I repent. In my family we have a name for those kind of fun jokes. We call them Grandpa Rod jokes because all the kids lives he has told them jokes like that. Just this week he told them that if the Dodgers lost to the Brewers the Dodger owners were going to sell the team to a group in the Philippines and they were going to rename the team the “Manilla Folders”.

 

Ok, seriously now…Think about the scene here Im Matthews gospel… Its been 400 years since the prophet Malachai prophesied… You could say the nation of Israel was experiencing a little dry spell spiritually speaking so its only fitting that John the baptist would come preaching in the wilderness.

 

The God News is from studying this passage is we discover that God always meets us where we are and leads us to where we need to go if we will only follow Him.



1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,

2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"

 

John is the cousin of Jesus

Jesus at this time is 30 years old and is living in a little city called Nazareth as a Carpenter.

 

John is baptizing and preaching a message, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven…” The phrase kingdom of God, and kingdom of heaven are used together frequently… Matthew uses the phrase “Kingdom of heaven” 32 times where as he uses the phrase, “the kingdom of God” some 5 times.

 

The Jews were looking for a Messiah who would come on a white horse and establish an “earthly kingdom”, a political kingdom that would free the Jews of Roman rule and oppression.

 

John came to prepare the people for a different kingdom, a “Heavenly kingdom” where the values of heaven come to earth when a person repents and invites Jesus to be the king of their heart.

 

Isaiah 40:3 tells us that… John was Jesus forerunner.  Isaiah 40:3 “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.”

 

John came preaching Repentance. There’s that word. We have all heard it and most all of us have thoughts about what it means. The word Repent is one of the most famous RE words in all the Bible. RE means “Back or Again.”

 

There are many of us in this place today that are dry and weary and in need of a fresh wind of God in our lives. And it's going to come, but it's going to come through repentance. So what is it? What does that even mean?

 

The word REPENT means to “change your mind” and in context it means to change your mind about how you think about God. The Greek word that is used here for repent, is the word metanoia. It means, to change the way you think. it's a change of your paradigm and how you see God and your self, it's a change of your world view, it's a change of our thinking. But it goes on to say, but it also is a change of our behavior, a change of our direction.

 

The best definition of repentance then might be this; “repentance, metanoia, is a change of mind and a change of heart and a change of will that is ultimately reflected in a changed life by the power of God’s spirit living and working in us.”

 

The word REPENT is used some 101 times in the Bible.

 

Often times when you hear the word repent it brings with it a negative connotation. You picture a guy with a sign with the word repent on it yelling at people as they pass by to repent or go to hell.

 

Most of us don’t see it in the light in which it was intended. In reality the word REPENT is a compassionate word.

 

The apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 7:8-10, “8  For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. 9  Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10  For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”

 

Godly sorrow is a good thing because it leads us to repentance…leading to salvation, not to be regretted! Worldly sorrow produces death because worldly sorrow simply means, “I am sorry I got caught” where godly sorrow expresses genuine remorse that we have grieved the heart of God.

 

You were grieved into repenting… repentance without regret…

 

Repentance rids us of regret!

 

The word REPENT is the Greek word, “metanoia” is actually a military term. A drill sergeant will yell the words while the troops are marching in formation, “About face!” “About Face” means, Stop, turn 180 degrees and march in the exact opposite direction. That is the meaning of the word, Metanoia, the word REPENT.  

 

The Roman army, the captain of the Roman guard, as they would march in formation would yell out, Metanoia! He was instructing his troops to Repent! Stop, turn 180 degrees, walk. And in essence he was saying, and never look back!

 

A changed mind always yields a changed direction. Where are you headed today? Are you headed to the lower things? Or repent; RE, to turn or  pent, penthouse, higher things, or are we going to turn to the highest things? Repentance is a changed mind that leads to changed behavior.

 

Think about how the word REPENT is used in context in the Bible.

 

Take Acts 3. You recall the story where Peter, and John are heading to the Temple to pray and they see a guy, a crippled guy begging for money as they pass by. And Peter says, silver and gold I have not but what I do have I give you in the name of Jesus, rise up and walk.

 

Acts 3:11-19 (NKJV)

11  Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon's, greatly amazed.

12  So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: "Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?

13  The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.

14  But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,

15  and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.

16  And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

17  Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers.

18  But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.

 

Pay close attention to verse 19.

 

19  Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

 

Peter says to the Jewish leaders, in light of everything that you've done and in light of what Jesus has done:

 

Repent, then....“And be converted, that your sins may be blotted out”,

 

And that what?

 

“…so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of Lord.”

 

Do not miss the power of this verse:

 

Repent, therefore, and be converted that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.

 

Repentance is always a good thing in the Bible.

 

In Luke 15 the Prodigal Son is the poster child of repentance

 

Luke 15:11-24

11 Then He said: "A certain man had two sons.

12 And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.' So he divided to them his livelihood.

13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.

14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.

15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you,

19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants." '

20 And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.

21 And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.'

22 But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.

23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry;

24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry.



The son came to his senses…

 

Mind emotion and will…

 

Think differently about sin.

 

Turn while there is time

 

Emotion… I am no longer worthy

 

Repentance gets us off our high horse.

 

Will…. I will arise I will go to my father….

 

I know I am wrong. I am grieved by my sin… I am putting together a plan of action for change…

 

When… the time is now…

 

Hebrews 3… do not Harden your heart…

Hebrews 4:7… today if you hear His voice, don’t Harden your heart…




 

3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.' "

4 And John himself was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.

 

John was the original hippy. He was antiestablishment. John’s dress and diet weren’t an accident.

 

In Malachi 4 the last book in the Old Testament closes with a prophesy of the end times and the coming of the Messiah. It says that Elijah would come before the Messiah appears.

 

John dressed like Elijah. 2 Kings 1:8 tells us, Elijah was a hairy man and wore a leather belt around his waste.

 

The angel told John’s father at his birth that his son would come in the spirit and in the power of Elijah. Both had a zeal for God.

 

The area where John baptized was the location where the fiery chariot came down from heaven and touched down and carried Elijah away into heaven.

 

The Jews associated the coming of the Messiah with Elijah so John sought to identify himself Elijah.

 

 

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.

 

Gentiles were baptized when they came to God but up to this point Jews were never baptized.

 

Yet the Jews present were familiar with yet another story surrounding the place where John was baptizing. This same area was also the place where the children of Israel under the leadership of Joshua crossed over the Jordan River into the Promised Land. A picture of a life of faith where after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness in rebellion to God, the people crossed over the Jordan River, a baptism of sorts where they left behind an old way of life and entered into a new way of life by faith. A new way of thinking and relating to God.



7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance,

 

“It’s not simply a matter of getting baptized,” John warned. “It’s a way of living. If your repentance is sincere, fruit will be produced in your life.”

 

Don’t be afraid to repent…

 

Think of this today… Its impossible for the enemy to accuse you of something everybody already knows. Confess your faults one to another that you might be healed…

 

David said in Psalm 32… When I kept quiet about my sin my bones hurt…

 

Quit pretending to be something you are not… Nothing to hide…

 

Repent… agree with God…

 

We reject others because we convince ourselves that if they knew us they wouldn’t love us if they knew who we really are… We are more concerned about protecting the image we are projecting than being set free and experiencing the freedom that is ours in Christ…

 

Repent and agree with God today!!!!

What is that you need to repent of?

What area of your life could use some refreshment?

 

Addiction

Adultery

Anger

Argumentative

Authoritarian

Bigotry

Bitterness

Blame shifting

Boastful

Bossiness

Causing Dissension

Conceit

Controlled by emotions

Controlled by others opinions

Covetousness

Critical tongue

Complaining

Inconsolable

Indifferent to needs

Insecurity

Jealousy

Laziness

Loner

Negativity

Obstinate

Profanity

Rebellion Against Authority

Self centeredness

Self confidence

Self gratification

Self hatred

Self Indulgence

Self justification

Stubbornness

Temper

Theft

Unjust

Unloving

Unteachable

Worry

Wrath



The devil condemn’s with generalities

God convicts with specifics

 

Agree with God

 

I love the picture of the prodigal when he gets home… While he was still a far way off… The Father ran to him and embraced him, kissed him and rejoiced over him.

 

Are you aware that the Bible says there is a celebration in heaven over every sinner who repents?

 

Luke 15:7  “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”

The angels in heaven rejoice over those who go with God because they saw first hand what it was like when the angels themselves left their proper abode and disagreed with God and went their own way. Jude 1:6 “And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day”



9 and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.

10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

 

The baptism of Jesus in the Holy Spirit is a baptism of fire—which first and foremost speaks of purity. It’s a dying to self, a cleansing of motives. Many people want that power, but they don’t want a changed lifestyle.

 

In Acts 8 we read about a guy named Simon the sorcerer. He wanted the power of the Holy Spirit so he could do tricks, draw a crowd and make a living doing it.

 

John said he preached a simple message of repentance… Agree with God about sin and allow God to perform His work in you. God desires our lives be fruitful…  





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