Faithlife Sermons

Repent or Perish

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Intro

Luke 13:1–5 NIV
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Stuart Briscoe wrote, “It has been said that when churches are looking for a pastor they sometimes search for a man who will be totally fearless and uncompromising as he tells them exactly what they want to hear!” (Patterns for Power, Gospel Light Publications, 1979, p.87.)
Jesus loves us too much to do that.
He loves us enough to tell us what is sometimes very hard to hear.
PAUSE
Now is the time to repent - says Jesus.
Thats the bottom line of our text this morning.
It is an important message - not only during Lent, but all year long — everyday
It’s not just for those who do great sin - it is for everyone.
But what makes this call to repentance unique in this text is the face that Jesus doesn’t explicitly accuse someone of something that needs repentance.
He actually just points out an important fact of life that we cannot escape — death.
It is something that Jesus draws us to through the tragedies.
This repentance is a turning toward Jesus in faith
Yes repentance is a turning away from sin — but it has a second half to it — a turning toward Jesus in faith.
Glenn Nielsen says the second half of repentance is really a “coming home”
Coming home is good when you are welcomed.
It feels good to be welcomed home with love and acceptance.
I love coming home from a day away from my kids and Brittany
I walk in the front door welcomed with little critters running at me with open arms screaming “daddy’s home, daddy’s home”
Each day I come home to love and acceptance and it feels good to be loved.
Repentance is like coming home
It is coming home to Jesus’ love and acceptance.
T: We will come back to this (or come home to this) in just a bit, but let’s go back to the text that will guide us further in this “coming home” repentance.

The tragedies

Luke 13:1–5 NIV
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Two tragedies have happened
The Galileans (Jews from Galilee) who have come to make sacrifices have were killed by Pilates soldiers and their blood was mixed with the sacrificial blood.
Then apparently 18 people died because a tower in Siloam fell down and crushed them.
The point of these stories is to draw upon the fact that these people didn’t do anything of great sin to die.
We have tragedies today too:
A mosque shooting that killed 50 people and injured 50 more
A flight crash in Ethiopia
A man gets into his car after spending all day at the pub.
His blurred vision doesn’t prevent him from turning the key in the ignition. He pulls onto a busy road, runs a red light, and slams into another car, incurring a young mom and her newborn baby.
A bad thing happened to him because of his own bad decisions.
But sometimes bad things happen not because of our own bad decisions.
A young mom gets in the car and straps her newborn baby into the car seat to get some eggs from the store.
She drives the same route that she’s driven hundreds of times before. As she crosses a familiar intersection, a car runs through a red light, slamming into her with metal screeching and glass shattering.
The drunken man’s driving was not her fault. It wasn’t a result of anything she had done — its a tragedy in our broken mortal world.
PAUSE
So why did these tragedies happen?
We’re waiting for Jesus to answer — but he doesn’t give one.
In our text he ignores the abstract “Why do bad things like this happen?” and goes straight into the lives of those listening to him… and to us here today!
He turns and looks at us and says:
Luke 13:3 NIV
I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.
And this perishing is even more catastrophic than the tragedies that brought death.
This perishing is eternal.
Forever being separated from God.
Never being able to come home to his love.
Jesus is taking us out of the abstract “why?” and turning us back to ourselves. Calling us to repent, to come home.

Repent - Coming Home

Now… Most of the time we have heard repentance defined as turning — and that is exactly what it is.
Turning from one direction and going another.
Anything that gets in the way of our relationship with Jesus needs to be turned away from.
If it disrupts your connection with Jesus, turn from it!
Its not just turning from things like murder, adultery, or embezzlement
It’s the everyday things in life that we need to repent of.
Maybe the way we budget that leaves us paycheque to paycheque with nothing to give to those who are in need with nothing.
We have the things we want but ignore the generosity that Jesus calls us to.
So what do we do if this is a roadblock to Jesus.
(turn from one direction to another) — We turn from that greed or roadblock and come home to Jesus
Maybe it’s anger, complaining, impatience, fear, lust (example this and do the turning)
(say as you turn: “come home to Jesus”)
Do you see how repentance works?
Turning away from something that is pulling you away from Jesus and come back home to Him.
PAUSE
Take the Prodigal Son parable:
The young son wants his inheritance early. His father gives it to him. He heads off to another city to live. (draw this out in more detail)
Do you see what the big problem is?
We tend to look at it from the perspective of that fool wasted the money.
We imagine what type of sinful living he indulged in.
But the bigger problem happened earlier.
He. Left. Home.
He turned his back on his home.
Finally, he realizes what he has done.
He’s feeding pigs and they have better food than he does.
So the repentance has begun.
He turns away from what has led him so far from home and heads back.
His father sees him coming.
He runs to meet him.
New robe.
New sandals.
New ring.
Celebration!
He’s come home!
Repentance is coming home.
T: Repentance is being welcomed home in love and acceptance. (what repentance looks like - street sweeper example)

Conclusion

Repentance is coming home to Jesus, and He’s waiting with open arms
Like my kids when I come home from being gone all day.
Jesus is waiting with arms stretched and complete excitement for you to come home! (stretch out arms)
His nail-scarred hands welcome you with his love.
He stretched out those arms on the cross to provide the forgiveness for all that we need to turn away from.
His open arms have forgiven the greed, fear, lust, impatience and any other everyday sin that gets in the way of our relationship with him.
When we come home to Jesus, he is risen from the dead and restores us to his family.
He brings us home once again.
And he gives us his Holy Spirit to renew our lives.
Generosity, patience, trust, contentment, peace, and kindness become the fruits of repentance in our lives when we come home.
Yes, coming home to Jesus’s love is so needed.
Coming home to Jesus’s acceptance is so good.
Nothing is more wonderful than to be welcomed home by Jesus.
PAUSE
We need to come home every day.
We live in a world where each day is a gift
I could die tomorrow (by car accident, bodily failure, cancer)
For many we do not know when and how that moment of death will come.
But when it does, Jesus wants us to be home with Him.
He’s calling us home to Him.
Using a GPS, if you miss a turn it will tell you to turn around when possible
With Jesus, its always possible to turn around and come home to him
Where he stands in outstretched hands welcoming us in His complete love and forgiveness.
Repentance isn’t scary and it’s not condemning to hear it —
— it is a beautiful Coming Home to Jesus.
Amen.
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