Repent or Else – If any Man
Introduction: For the most part, we would agree that we need a great spiritual awakening in our country.
Nowhere is the absence of God's presence more conspicuous and tragic than in the church.
The world is unimpressed, and even repulsed, by "Christianity" that is lifeless and powerless.
Iniquity, abounds, the love of many has waxed cold. Our churches are full of those who name the name of Christ yet who give no sign of spiritual life. The children of our churches are wondering IF GOD IS REAL.
Someone said, "We have no right to be believed, so long as we can be explained!"
Even in this church, I wonder if there is a HEARTCRY that is hungering and thirsting for an old fashioned REVIVAL, “to see the POWER AND GLORY of OUR GOD again in the sanctuary."
In Psalm 85:6 we read, "Wilt Thou not revive us again: that Thy people may REJOICE in Thee."
If we are going to have REVIVAL, it will require divine intervention.
It is regrettable that the words “revival” and “evangelism” have become synonymous in our thinking.
Evangelism is the proclamation of the gospel in order to win the lost.
Revival is the work of the Holy Spirit among God’s own people whereby they get right with God and with one another.
Revival is NOT the ORDINARY results of ORDINARY work. Revival is always EXTRAORDINARY!
Someone said, "Despite the tremendous amount of activity found in religious circles today, there is a very real sense in which the church itself is like a sleeping giant. All the good that the church is accomplishing throughout the world is nothing in comparison with the good that needs to be accomplished. The flurry of religious activity has yet to awaken the church. We have a lot of good works, but what we need is something only God can produce and that is REVIVAL."
The greatest need of the church today is not more members, more buildings or more money. The supreme issue is not even missions or evangelism. It is REPENTANCE and REVIVAL.
Revival means self-examination on the part of Christians – repentance, confession of sin, renunciation of sin, restitution, submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, separation from the world and living under the control of the Holy Spirit.
Revival is nothing less than a new beginning of OBEDIENCE to God, a breaking of heart and getting down in the dust before Him with deep humility and forsaking of sin.
Revival breaks the power of the world and of sin over Christians. God’s truth, to which our hearts are unresponsive, suddenly becomes alive. When revival comes, OBEDIENCE to the truth of the Word of God is the one thing that matters.
For the past 8 weeks we have focused on the Lord’s messages to the SEVEN churches found in the Book of Revelation Chapters 2-3. As the Lord of the Candlesticks evaluated these churches, we looked at them as they would apply to us not only as a church but also as individuals. Now as we close out this portion of Revelation, we point to the subject of “Repent or Else!”
The last COMMAND of our Lord to the church is the Great Commission found in Mark 16:15 “…go into all the world and preach the gospel.”
However the Lord's last WORD to the church is "REPENT." This was given to us in Revelation 2-3 where we discover that FIVE of the SEVEN churches were admonished to REPENT.
In Revelation 2:1-7, to the church at Ephesus Christ said in verses 4-5, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (5) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of this place, except thou REPENT.”
In Revelation 2:12-17 to the church at Pergamos Christ said in verse 12, “REPENT; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.”
In Revelation 2:18-29 to the church at Thyatira Christ said in verse 22, “Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they REPENT of their deeds.”
In Revelation 3:1-6 to the church at Sardis Christ said in verse 3, “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and REPENT. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.”
In Revelation 3:14-22 to the church at Laodicea Christ said in verse 19, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and REPENT.”
The Lord's message to all five of these churches was "REPENT." The Lord’s message to our church and our membership today is the same message, "REPENT."
Now REPENTANCE is not PENANCE. Listen to this statement,
"REPENTANCE is a change of mind about SIN and SELF and the SAVIOUR. It is a turning with a broken and contrite heart from SIN and SELF to the SAVIOUR.
It is not just a change of opinion; it is a change of one's inner attitude. It is being willing not only that God should take away sins by forgiving them; it is being willing to put them away by forsaking them."
Question: Are you ready to deal with known sin in your life? I did not say in the lives of your family or sin in those around you. I said, are you ready to deal with the sin in your life?
Is it a sin of omission?
Is it a sin of commission?
It is a sin of disposition?
Is it a sin of the mind – an evil habit?
Is it neglect of the Bible, prayer and church?
Is it a fighting spirit, a spirit of hate?
Proverbs 28:13 says, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."
In I John 1:9 we read, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
The churches of Revelation 2-3 needed TIME OUT to TUNE UP! They needed a spiritual examination by the Lord calling them to REPENTANCE.
I believe in many cases the church today is too busy building a bigger orchestra that we cannot stop to tune our spiritual instruments. Just as we are often too BUSY to have a physical check-up, so the church is often too occupied to submit to spiritual examination. Yet we never needed one more.
We need to face the Christ of the Candlesticks calling us to repentance.
In studying these last 8 messages, we make some amazing discoveries. For one thing, every one of the five churches that were bidden to REPENT, every church that needed REVIVAL, was already a PROSPEROUS and SUCCESSFUL church.
Looking at the churches at Ephesus or Pergamos or Thyatira or Sardis or Laodicea, we would say, "These churches do not need a REVIVAL. They are busy and progressive; why disturb them? They may have their faults, but what church is there that doesn't have any problems?" Yet our Lord calls for these to REPENT or ELSE.
On the other hand, looking at the churches at Smyrna in Revelation 2:8-11, and the church at Philadelphia in Revelation 3:7-13, we might say they needed a REVIVAL.
Why? Because they were POOR and PERSECUTED. Yet for these churches our Lord had NO word of REBUKE and NO call to REPENTANCE.
Remember, these messages in Revelation cover every kind of church situation today. We need to determine which picture in this gallery fits the Green Street Baptist Chapel. We may be a composite, a combination of two or more, but somewhere in this gallery, we are here. We do well to ask of our church:
Is our church that of an Ephesus church in 2:1, doctrinally sound and busy, BUT WITHOUT LOVE?
Is our church that of a Pergamos church in 2:12, a worldly church, tolerating what it ought to condemn?
Is our church that of a Thyatira church in 2:18, allowing false teachers to lead its people astray?
Is our church that of a Sardis church in 3:1, known as a live church, but dead in the sight of God?
Is our church that of a Laodicea church in 3:14, neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm?
All of these churches needed to REPENT. They needed REVIVAL.
At the end of these messages, we find our Lord saying in 3:20, "If any man…" A church is made up of people, YOU and me. After all, churches are no better than the members, and that fact raises a question. Can you see yourself in one of these churches?
Someone said, "What kind of church would this church be, if every member were just like me?"
There are the Ephesian Christians. These believers were doctrinally sound, hardworking people who were into almost every activity of the church.
They took a powerful stand against false doctrine and contended for the faith. But again in verse 4 we read, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” They had lost their need for God.
There are the Pergamos and Thyatira Christians.
These broad-minded, tolerant church members never took a stand against worldliness or false doctrine. The status quo suited them. Their church rolls were loaded with members who loved the world and the things of the world, whose gods were the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.
It is appalling how little church members actually know of what they are supposed to believe. Listen to this:
"Some members do not know what they believe, others do not believe what they say they believe, and many do not practice what they believe."
Before we can have REVIVAL, we must renounce EVIL, whether in DOCTRINE or DEED.
There are the Sardis Christians. Their name was on the church sign, but the congregation inside was dead.
These believers attended a lot of meetings, were involved in a whirl of religious activities but they were spiritually dead. These people mistook PERFORMANCE for Spiritual reality. Let me say that again, these people mistook PERFORMANCE for Spiritual reality!
There are the lukewarm Laodicean Christians. The members in this church were comfortable in their religious surroundings.
They appeared to have nice facilities; they had plenty of money and all that was needed for religious activities. But they sat and listened, not responding to any invitation. “They were too COLD to BOIL and too WARM to FREEZE.”
Going back to the first-mentioned church found in Revelation 2:17, the church at Ephesus, we find a church with a lot of positive attributes. Notice again the list from verses 2-3:
“I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: (3) And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.”
However, even with all the pluses the Lord discovered a deadly danger creeping into their lives. This busy, separated, sacrificing church really suffered from "Heart Trouble" for in verse 4, we are told they had left their first love.
They were outwardly WARM yet inwardly COLD. Day after day they went through the RIGHT ROUTINE and said the RIGHT WORDS. They were scripturally sound in doctrine and practice, yet their inward problem was their heart.
Someone said this, "To be aware of a time when Jesus meant more; or your DEVOTION to Jesus Christ was of a greater degree or your DEDICATION involved a greater commitment, to say it WAS and NOW is NOT is to SAY you have changed." If that is a description of you, my friend, you need REPENTANCE.
Here is what I believe is the underlying cause of losing our first love. IT IS LOSING OUR SENSE OF NEEDING GOD. Let me repeat that, IT IS LOSING OUR SENSE OF NEEDING God. Our need for God and His love for us was the very motivation that brought us to Calvary. But often after God begins to fulfill our needs, we forget our need for God.
How many of us need to say this? “Lord I remember, but the fire has died out, and I need to again sing:
There is a name I love to hear,
I love to sing its worth;
It sounds like music in mine ear,
The sweetest name on earth.
Oh, How I love Jesus
Because He first loved Me.”
The Biblical demand for repentance is found in two separate areas.
FIRST: There is repentance from sin. In Ezekiel 18:30 we read, "Repent, and turn yourselves from all transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin." Let's make this personal as you think through these questions.
Am I willing to say, "Lord, everything I now know to be sin, I am willing to give it all up for Your sake?"
Am I willing to call my wrongful acts sins, rather than characterizing them as weaknesses, flaws or personality traits?
Am I more grieved over how my sin has offended a HOLY GOD (in repentance), than I am over the consequences that I have reaped for my sin (in remorse)?
Am I willing to accept personal responsibility for my actions, without pointing the finger of blame at anyone else?
Am I willing to take whatever steps may be necessary to make complete restitution for my sin?
Am I willing, if necessary, to confess my sin publicly before men, as well as privately before God?
Are there any specific sins in my life that I have never truly repented of? Am I willing to repent of those sins here and now?
SECOND: There is repentance from dead works. In Hebrews 9:14 we read, "How much more shall the blood of Christ … purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Let's again make this personal as you think through these questions.
Is my profession of faith a dead work that needs repentance?
Is my love for Christ growing cold and in need of repentance?
Is my worship a dead work and in need of repentance?
Is my giving a dead work in need of repentance?
Is my prayer life a dead work and in need of repentance?
Is my singing of hymns a dead work in need of repentance?
Is my public ministry a dead work in need of repentance?
Is my service for God done in the energy of the FLESH rather than in the POWER of the SPIRIT? If so, then this dead work is in need of repentance!
The message to the churches in Revelation ends with this message from the Lord in Revelation 3:20. "Behold I stand at the door and knock." In the context this is not Christ standing at the door of a sinner's heart, but rather the Lord at the door of the church.
It is Christians who hinder REVIVAL by keeping the Lord outside the church door.
Notice the verse says, "If any man hear my voice, and open the door…" The Lord is waiting for one man to open the door. One man can start a revival. The big question today is not, "Is God speaking?" but "ARE YOU LISTENING?"
The cry in the great 1904 Welsh REVIVAL was "Bend the church, and save the world." The word "Bend" in Welsh conveys the meaning of submission to God, and the taking away of resistance to His will.
Mr. Robert Evans used to say, "When the churches are aroused to their duty, men of the world will be swept into the kingdom. A whole church on its knees is irresistible."
He went on to say, "We cannot justly expect sinners to be saved, and our places of worship to be filled by those from the outside, until we ourselves get right with God; and this can only be done by an absolute surrender of our whole lives to Jesus Christ."
You and I must humble ourselves and get right with God, in order for Him to SEND THE FIRE OF REVIVAL.
There must be NO HYPOCRISY in our lives. "Is there any sin in your past or present that you have not confessed to God?" If there is, then on your knees you must go at once. Your PAST must be put away, your PRESENT must be right. THANKS TO CALVARY, there is FORGIVENESS. THANKS TO CALVARY the windows of Heaven can be opened again with the FIRE FROM HEAVEN.
REVIVAL is indeed an extraordinary movement of the HOLY SPIRIT producing extra ordinary results. May the God of REVIVAL deliver us from the CONTENTMENT with the ORDINARY while He stands ready to do the EXTRAORDINARY!
Oh, if we could only feel and know the cry of the Psalmist in Psalms 63:1-2,
"O God, thou art my God,… my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is, To see THY POWER AND THY GLORY, as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary."
May I encourage you and your family to get behind this ministry by daily PRAYING FOR REVIVAL?
"As long as God is on His throne, revival is as possible as the sun rising tomorrow morning."
In Psalms 85:6 we again read "Wilt Thou not revive us again, that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?"
Again the hymn tells us,
Revive us again;
Fill each heart with Thy love.
May each soul be rekindled
With FIRE from above.
Hallelujah, Thine the glory;
Hallelujah, Thine the glory;
Revive us again!
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon “Repent or Else – If any Man” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to pdmikBBM@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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