“RETURN TO THE LORD”
TEXT: Joel 2:12-14
Introduction: As Israel, God’s chosen people under the Old Covenant, drifted further and further away from the Lord, He sent prophets to call them back. Built into the message of these prophets was the appeal to repent and return to the Lord.
Read TEXT. The essential definition of repentance hasn’t changed through the dispensations. Therefore, we can use Joel’s statement as a basis for understanding what it means to…
I. Repentance is a change in direction--“Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “turn to Me”
A. When we follow our own way or the way of the world, we’re going in the wrong direction: Prov. 14:12, Rom. 1:21-25
B. Hence, all who are guilty of sin, whether before or after baptism, need to turn around and change direction (cf. plane): Acts 3:19
C. An example of those who did: 1 Thess. 1:9-10
II. Repentance occurs in the heart--“[turn to Me] with all your heart”
A. Everything we do before God ought to be done with the whole heart: Prov. 4:20-23
B. In the Bible “heart” refers to the mind with its faculties of intellect, emotion, and will: Prov. 23:7, Matt. 12:35 & 15:19-20
C. Thus, we can see the importance of turning to God with all our heart: Matt. 22:36-37
III. Repentance is not just a ritual—“rend your heart, and not your garments’
A. David understood that true repentance isn’t just going through certain motions: Ps. 51:16-17
B. Jesus warned against emphasizing the outward appearance without having an inward desire to please God: Matt. 6:16-18, 23:25-26
C. While true repentance may be accompanied by some open expression, the essence lies in humbling ourselves before God: Jas. 4:8-10
IV. Repentance is made possible by a gracious God—“return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness”
A. God wants us to be saved so much that He took the first step: Jn. 3:16
B. An example of God’s graciousness in forgiving one who repented: 1 Tim. 1:12-16
C. What about us?: 2 Pet. 3:9
V. Repentance results in a blessing—“Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him”
A. Those who repent can receive remission of sins: Acts 2:38
B. They can find forgiveness: Acts 8:22
C. They can obtain salvation: 2 Cor. 7:10
Conclusion: Anyone who is alive today can repent, and God is gracious in giving us time to do so.
However, we mustn’t presume on God’s grace and mercy.
Death may come sooner than expected, and the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, either of which will bring an end to time for repentance.
Therefore, if we have any sin, we need to repent while there’s still time.
By Wayne S.Walker from an article by Warren Berkely
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