Sand Mountain Sermonette 16
Matthew 4:17; Matthew 3:2; Acts 2:38; and Romans 2:4
A Lesson on Repentance
“From that time Jesus began to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Matthew 4:17
When I was a little kid, my family and I lived for a short period of time in Chula Vista, California. My mom worked with my aunt in a jewelry store and my father worked with a friend in sales. I will never forget the day when a little girl about my age who lived a few apartments down the road, came over to my house to play. After a while, I invited her to accompany me across the road to a Safeway Supermarket. After we arrived, we looked around for a moment and then spotted a kid’s dream! Right before us stood one of those revolving racks that housed a plethora of bags of toys. I quickly chose the Native American pack that had a little headdress of feathers, a rubber tomahawk, and a rubber knife and sheath. I asked my little girlfriend if she wanted anything, but she shook her head “No.”
Well, after that, we walked back to my family’s apartment without having paid for the toy now in my possession. I had not removed my toy from its package when my father walked into the room and asked me where I had gotten it. After I told him, he kindly asked the little girl to go home and then he and I walked back to Safeway. Upon arrival, dad immediately took me to a cashier and told me to tell her what I had done. I then proceeded to tell her how I had slipped out of the store without paying for the toy and that I was sorry for having taken it. I remember the lady was kind and afterwards, invited me to place the toy back on the rack and all would be forgiven.
Now, I’m sure my dad had not planned on my receiving a lesson on repentance that day, but a lesson on repentance I did receive! Matthew tells us that Jesus began his public ministry by calling folks to repent of sin and turn to God in faith; accomplished by His grace through Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. Repentance is woven throughout the tapestry of the entire Bible. It was the message of all the prophets in the Old Testament. John the Baptist preached in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). Peter, on the Day of Pentecost preached, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
Repentance comes from a Greek word meaning “to change one’s mind.” It is not simply remorse, regret, resolve, or reform. It is a change of mind that affects a change of will, and, in turn, a change of action.” When my father led me to the Safeway Supermarket that day, I had to change my mind about keeping he toy, then when I told the cashier honestly what I had done, that took an act of my will, and finally, when I placed the toy back on the rack, this indicated a change of action. (The same thing that began to occur when the Prodigal Son in Luke Fifteen “came to his senses” while in the pig pen (verse 17). Repentance and faith! It is by the grace and the goodness of God! Paul said in Romans 2:4, “The goodness of God leads you to repentance.” Won’t you be led by Him today?