Thursday, November 1, 2012

They refused to repent

The bible is full of examples of people given time to repent but they refused.

One that comes to mind is in Jeremiah 5:

"O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth? You have struck them down, but they felt no anguish; you have consumed them, but they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to repent." (Jeremiah 5:3)

The situation in this chapter is dire. Isaiah had prophesied doom for 50 years in the century before Jeremiah's prophesying. The people did not take it seriously enough. By the time Jeremiah came along, they did not know it but the prophecies of destruction and abandonment were almost upon them. It happened in Jeremiah's lifetime. The LORD is patient, giving time to repent!

God’s willingness to spare and bless the nation if the people repent is a theme throughout the bible. He is patient, too. He says repent, and waits in Amos 4:6, Zephaniah 3:2, and Zechariah 7:11 to name just a few examples. In the New Testament Jesus called for repentance to the false prophetess He calls a 'Jezebel'. In Rev 2:21 it is written,  "I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality."

They refused to repent.

The Lord is gracious and kind, always calling for us to repent and giving us time to do so. Seems amazing, doesn't it? That they refuse. Even after prophets prophesy a direct word from the LORD, they don't. Even after they receive a direct letter from the Lord as in Revelation, they refuse.

Lest we think that the refusals to repent are an Old Testament, bygone behavior, here is an update from two dedicated servants of the Lord on mission in a South American jungle. Though they are seeing some harvest, they sadly report heartbreaking news. As they were welcomed into homes and they presented the Gospel, they saw some commit their lives to Christ. Praise the Lord for that! Every single soul added to heaven is a praise to the Lord in His loving-kindness. Yet...

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Some say 'no'.

"After we clearly presented the Gospel, we asked, “Do you understand what we are sharing?” and several responded that they did understand. When asked if they were ready to receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord, they said “No.”

"Why would they respond this way? The local believers said it is because they find pleasure in their sin and are not ready to forsake their sinful ways. They understand that in following Christ, they will have to leave their lives of immorality, drunkenness, and other sinful ways. They are not willing to give up their sin."

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They understood but refused, preferring to remain in their sin.

Paul wrote, "But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed." (Romans 2:5).

That Day is fast approaching. Please do not reject any Gospel message you hear. As Wesley said, "man may refuse it; God will not compel." The fact that the Gospel exists is a praise to the Lord who died as the substitution for our sin, becoming sin who knew no sin and enduring all of God's wrath as punishment for it. And it is a praise to Him who was resurrected and who now sends witnesses, ambassadors, and missionaries to proclaim His beautiful truth- that He loves you and He wants you to become part of His family. As in the OT times, God's willingness to spare and bless the nation and spare and bless and individuals who repent still stands. But equally true, as Paul said, there will come a day when His righteous judgment will be revealed. I can't imagine how it will be for those who have heard but who have consciously and willfully rejected Him. Worse still, having rejected Him for the reason they they want to extend their season of sin is a terrible reason.

Sin is actual rebellion against God. It is not a matter of taking pleasure in alcohol, adultery, homosexuality, carousing, thievery or what have you. No. In fact, each of those acts and all sins are a direct poke in God's eye.

So as you pray tonight, pray for all those who have heard the Gospel message and have refused to repent. Our missionaries asked, "pray with us that they will desire the hope that is only in Christ, obey the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and receive Jesus as the Savior and Lord of their lives."

5 comments:

  1. Hey Elizabeth,

    You have no idea how timely this message is. Not even one hour ago I was reading a Charles Spurgeon sermon on repentance. I was somewhat troubled by it. The gist is that repentance precedes true salvation. This has me somewhat worried. Of course, you already know my testimony of how I came to Christ. It's just that I was reading a bible study online that was expounding on the fact that there will be many that think they are saved, but the Lord will tell them He never knew them. When I converted I don't remember feeling this great burden and loathing of sin that Spurgeon and others speak of. I don't feel like I have truly been convicted of my sin, if that makes any sense. I may be making myself anxious over nothing, but I was thinking that maybe I just haven't been called. You know, like the doctrine of election. How can I know that I am not a false convert? I understand that faith without works is dead, and that works are merely the evidence of salvation. It's just that I've gotten trapped in the thinking that I need to be a good fruit bearing christian, otherwise I may not truly be saved. complicated, I know

    brittany

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    Replies
    1. Hi brittany,

      I am so glad you're reading this and even better, also reading Spurgeon! I think that worrying about one's salvation is often a sign that one is saved. it is the ones who are sure they are saved but are yielding no fruit that we worry about. Those will be shocked on His day, when it is recorded that they will say, 'but, but, didn't we do all these things for you, Lord?' And He will reply "I never knew you". (Matthew 7:23)

      Even at that, we still need to do what I call a heart check once in a while. I do it myself. Paul said, "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" (2 Cor 13:5). It is important to examine one's self, and appealing to the Holy Spirit for help in this is also a good thing to do. Ask Him to reveal your sins to you, ask Him to convict you over them, even the ones you are too blind to see in yourself. Ask Him to grow you! He will do all these things, joyfully, because they point to Christ and they grow you in His Christ-likeness. You do not have to worry about your salvation alone. He is your help and your Comforter.

      Here are two helpful links to a scriptural study on HOW to examine one's self

      Are You A Christian?
      http://www.acts17-11.com/christian.html

      A Believer's Assurance: A Practical Guide to Victory over Doubt
      http://www.gty.org/resources/positions/P17/a-believers-assurance-a-practical-guide-to-victory-over-doubt

      As far as feeling remorse or loathing for sin...I think every Christian's journey is different. I feel a heavy loathing of sin now after almost 10 years, but I didn't at first. At first after conversion, I was curious about Jesus, then intrigued, then my conscience was pricked, then I felt burrs, then finally I felt the heavy loathing. The feeling about hating my sin grew slowly- but steadily.

      Repentance is something we cannot do ourselves because we are totally depraved. Repentance is a gift the Lord gives us along with our faith and our justification.

      I think if you're worried why you don't feel *worse* over your sin, it is a good sign of growth and care for Jesus and His ways. Check out the two links and see if you don't feel more assured of your salvation after that. Let me know if I can help you.

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  2. If this country is to see revival, it will start in the Lords house. Almost all, if not all at some level have a blindness to their own sin and are in a place of having their testimony diminished. Lord forgive me for not trusting you and moving ahead many times when it seemed "right". Lord forgive me for not preaching your word when it may have seemed "offensive". Lord forgive me for supporting "ministries" that have blended the truth with "other things". Teach me Lord what I must do in these last day's that will cause me to be faithful to your word. Lord please restore sight to your own people. Lord forgive those in these areas of Sandy's path that are now ready to kill their neighbor for a container of gas. Lord we need power, but not that which is sent through wires, but that which comes from your Word and from the leading of your Spirit. Lord I pray that now, and in the future, those who read this blog would find You through your Son.

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  3. Romans 9:33......Sadly those who prefer sin continually find offense in the message of Jesus thus rejecting the only possible way of salvation. A believer's hatred of sin progresses as our love for God expands, this takes place over time due to growth in Him. Growth and maturity eventually produce fruit. We should be always mindful of our own rebellion, confess and repent for our sins, thank God for His mercy, grace, and teaching, pray for non-believer's to come to the knowledge of the truth and for ourselves to continue to do the same.

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  4. Its sad that someone who knows their wrong just won't stop. Its hard headed and stubborn.

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