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Repentance (Part 2)

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Suppose you were exploring an unknown Greenland glacier in the dead of winter. Just as you reach the sheer cliff with a spectacular view of miles of jagged ice and mountains of snow, a terrible storm breaks in. The wind is so strong that the fear rises in your heart that it might blow you over the cliff. But in the midst of the storm you discover a cleft in the ice where you can hide. Here you feel secure.
But, even though secure, the awesome might of the storm rages on, and you watch it with a kind of trembling pleasure as it surges out across the distant glaciers. Not everything we call fear vanishes from your heart, only the life-threatening part. There remains the trembling, the awe, the wonder, the feeling that you would never want to tangle with such a storm or be the adversary of such a power.
And so it is with God. The fear of God is what is left of the storm when you have a safe place to watch right in the middle of it. Hope turns fear into a trembling and peaceful wonder; and fear takes everything trivial out of hope and makes it earnest and profound. The terrors of God make the pleasures of his people intense. The fireside fellowship is all the sweeter when the storm is howling outside the cottage.
Last week we talked about repentance and just briefly touched on the relationship between the fear of God and repentance. And what an important piece it is.
Puritan Thomas Watson writes, “As the embankment keeps out the water, so the fear of the Lord keeps out uncleanness.”
John Murray writes, “The fear of God is the soul of godliness.”
One of the things we find in statistics today is the is reality of this thing we call false repentance. From what I see is a false repentance of just simply saying sorry for a mistake, instead of experiencing real sorrow for our sin for transgressing the living God. Our problem today is not repentance but no fear of God. Like the book of Judges … we are doing what is right in our own eyes. Let’s take another look at our passage today.
Haggai 1:12–13 NLT
Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of God’s people began to obey the message from the Lord their God. When they heard the words of the prophet Haggai, whom the Lord their God had sent, the people feared the Lord. Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave the people this message from the Lord: “I am with you, says the Lord!”
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever.
Repentance and Fear
Repentance with Salvation
The first thing we will look at today is the essence of true repentance and its relation to the fear of God. Second, we will see the relationship between true repentance and the wonders of our salvation in Christ and Christ alone.
Thesis: Though sin and the pattern of this world cause us to walk without a true fear of God in our hearts, it is the power of the Holy Spirit and truth of scripture that will cause us to see that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
I. Repentance and fear
- The people feared the Lord.
A. Not only did they cease trying to build a luxurious lifestyle for themselves, the began working on the temple of the Lord. They devoted the time and resources to do what it is that God has called us to do. So again we see that their repentance was not just a cease disobedience, but also a stepping to obedience. Remember the Westminster catechism. Sin. Any want of conformity or transgression of the law of God. Want of conformity… not being or doing what God requires. Transgression… doing what God forbids.
B. Remember the Golden rule of Christ...
Matthew 7:12 NLT
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.
C. It is not a negative… it is a positive. We are failing if we do not DO to others. So it is not just that we keep ourselves from crossing the line we also gotta climb the ladder. But how many times do we find that we just don’t climb the ladder. We do all that we can to keep ourselves from being selfish but not enough to be selfless. Shane I am doing in my power to live at peace with everyone. I’m not causing problems… I’m not being selfish. But are you also considering others as better than yourself? Are we sharing with others? Are we making sacrifices for others today? We don’t because there is not fear
D. Ok… well I just don’t feel good and encouraged today so I’m gonna take some me time to get it together. I’m gonna have some fun. Gonna try to enjoy the good things in life. Now we out partying, we spending time with people who lust after the things of the world. Now they are beginning to rub off on us. Now we taking illegal drugs, consuming alcohol to the point of drunkeness, and hang out with other women and looking to have an affair. Time to repent… I will not cross that line. I’m sorry Lord. Thats great what about my kingdom? What about bearing one another's burdens? What about contributing to the needs of the saints and seeking to show hospitality? We don’t because there is no fear.
E. Ok… well I need to be a better person so I am going to concentrate on my personal life and personal goals. Then maybe I’ll be able to help the kingdom if I get some success. So we just work and work trying to better our lives, try to pay our bills, but Shane I gotta live right? I gotta pay my bills. I need to be successful then I’ll be able to help God. Now we don’t spend time with family, now we are compromising values for that promotion, now church and the church family are set aside to spend more time. Now we have spiritually abandoned our family and our wives, not giving to the church anymore so we can invest more money in in our stock tips. We cussing now. We get angry fast. We are rude and insensitive. Always stressed and always too busy for anything. Nooo!!! Time to repent. I gotta stop crossing the line. But, we need to sell our possessions, and give to the needy. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. Love each other as I have loved you. We don’t because there is no fear.
F. I will do better today… I am gonna stay away from crossing any lines. Not gonna go out with my friends, not gonna spend money of foolish things anymore, not gonna watch crazy shows on TV anymore, in fact I’ll just get rid of it. Getting rid of social media, gonna sell my XBox and Playstation… But I need you to climb the ladder. What about studying, what about meditating on the world of God? What about prayer? What about fasting? What about instruction in sound doctrine? What about thinking on the true and noble? Loving God and loving our neighbor? We just don’t climb the ladder today. We just don’t climb the ladder because we do not fear God.
G. Because it is respect and hope for something better that keeps us from crossing the line, but it is the fear of God that will get us to climb the ladder. Want someone to climb the ladder… it is FEAR. Jeanine comes in with kickboxing gear on.
H. We see in Haggai 1 that the people responded and there was a true fear of the Lord. The word of God declares… And the people feared the Lord. Commentator Matthew Henry writes...
“Note, A holy fear of God will have a great influence upon our obedience to him. Serve the Lord with fear; if we fear him not, we shall not serve him.”
Also we find a quote from John Calvin...
“Nothing is more powerful to overcome temptation than the fear of God.”
Dr. Baldwin writes… “This fear is in contrast to the careless indifference which had faced the pre-exilic prophets. When God has spoken, apathy is evidence of practical atheism. They ‘feared’ in the sense that they had been startled wide awake by the voice of God.”
I. Our difficulty today in modern evangelicalism is that we fear missing out, we fear not getting enough, we fear not getting as much as we can in heaven, we fear not getting into heaven. Many say… Shane I just want to know all that I gotta do to make it into heaven. Shane I just don’t want to miss out on heaven. What do I need to do to make sure I get there.
J. These statements are never in the sense of what it is that is very very real. There is no fear of the judgement of God that is coming. God is furious with us. The Bible says that it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. The place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. The place of eternal darkness. It is the place where you will face the wrath and judgement of God.
K. Do we realize who it is that we are messing with today? We don’t do what He wants us to do, we don’t give what he wants us to give, we don’t live how we are to live will will not be who he wants us to be… He will not receive His glory. Are we to be afraid… YES!!!
Matthew 10:28 NLT
“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 NLT
That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.
Proverbs 14:27 NLT
Fear of the Lord is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from the snares of death.
Psalm 25:14 NLT
The Lord is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant.
1 Peter 2:17 NLT
Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.
Acts 9:31 NLT
The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers.
2 Corinthians 5:11 ESV
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.
II. Repentance with Salvation
- His kindness.
A. And how is our conscience today. Some of us are struggling with the fear of God. Many of us may not have a healthy fear of God in our hearts today. This is your warning today. This is the voice of warning in grace from our Heavenly Father today. His kindness is being shown to us today. There is no tomorrow for us. True repentance must be here… if not repent now. Don’t cross the line and do climb the ladder.
B. Do not be deceived today. Faith without works is dead. Repentance without fruit did not happen. And Jesus is coming back to judge the quick and the dead. It is real and it is true and we have seen in the scriptures that God does not declare empty threats. When He says judgement is coming… it means judgement is coming. And it will be frightening… read the book of revelation.
C. But Shane can we be saved from this? The answer is a confident YES! Jesus came into this world to seek and save that which was lost. Jesus died for our sins according to the scriptures and he was buried and he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. He became sin who knew no sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
D. And the promises continue… All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your hearts that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved. All is written so that you will believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God and that by believing you will have life in His name. Confess you sins and he is faithful to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
E. Repent today for the kingdom of God is at hand.
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