If there is anything that the beginning of a New Year reminds us of it is the need for change!
Change is what the word “repent” stresses! Change of heart! Change of mind! Changed attitudes! Changed behavior!
We err when we think repentance is merely a feeling – just feeling sorry for our mistakes, failures and sin… We also make a mistake if we think authentic repentance is just saying we’re sorry about those things. Real repentance is more than just feelings and words – it is “doing a 180” – it is actually changing!
In my Bible reading this morning, I read about John the Baptist… Repentance was what he called His generation to do in preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ, the Messiah! You really ought to read his message for yourself this morning in Matthew 3:1-12 from the Bible. I’m going to try to paraphrase aspects of it this morning for my personal benefit and yours…
“John proclaimed ‘It’s time to change! God’s Kingdom – The Kingdom of Heaven has arrived!’ John was the one who fulfilled what Isaiah, the prophet, was talking about when he predicted ‘one who would come – a voice crying out, ‘Get ready for the Lord’s coming! Get the road that He will travel straightened out and ready for Him!’ … John said, ‘Don’t simply say, I’m sorry for my sin. Do something about it – actually change! Demonstrate your sincerity! Don’t depend on your religious heritage or affiliation! It won’t work! Judgment is coming! Listen, I’m just a voice – He’s the real thing! I baptize you as a sign that your repentance is real! When the Lord comes, He’ll send His Holy Spirit or His judgment… You’ll choose which one it will be!’” (A personal paraphrase from Matthew 3:1-12)
Now I believe the Lord is coming again! (Read the promise in Acts 1:4-12 and Hebrews 9:26b-28) I want to be ready! Simply saying, “I’m sorry” for my sin and failure won’t cut it! The Lord wants change! And the good news is, He not only provided forgiveness for our sin – He empowers change through the power of the Holy Spirit! Oh, may 2016 be a year marked with positive change in my life!