What Jesus and the Apostles Taught About Repentance | Repentance part 3

By Michael Pearl

Scripture: Topics: Repentance

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Repentance part 3

What Jesus and the Apostles Taught About Repentance

Repent, not what you think it is. Part three. Now, if you're just tuning in, you need to go back to the first part, because that is where the main part of it is. It's where I got a summary of the whole story, and it'll get you started better to go back to part one.

I am Michael Pearl and you are at The Door on a rainy evening. And this is No Greater Joy Ministries. You can find us at nogreaterjoy.org.

Repent: 112 times in the Bible

You find the word repent in the Bible 112 times. That's in the King James Bible. So, we've examined and written a book on the subject called, Repentance, and all 112 verses are discussed, categorized and analyzed and counted and cross-referenced in great detail. So, that little book is available if you're interested.

Now, we're going to use the Bible tonight. A lot of scripture we're going to be covering that deals with this subject of repentance.

The Scriptures on Repentance

Luke 13:1-3 says, "There was present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said unto them, 'Supposed ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.'"

Now, probably no Bible doctrine has been more misused than this thing of repentance. More preachers get this wrong than anything else. And it's foundational. It's fundamental. The Christians, the teachers, the preachers are standing in the way of people coming to Christ, because their misuse of this doctrine of repentance. It's a very important doctrine. He said, "except you repent, you shall all likewise perish."  We have to go to the Bible to find out what the Bible actually says about the subject.

What Does Repent Mean?

To Repent is to Reverse Course and Do Differently

To repent is no doubt to reverse course, and do differently. It's to do the opposite of what you're doing, or to think the opposite of what you're thinking. It is a total turnabout, no doubt about it. Now, it's not a desire to turn, it's not sorrow for sins. Some people realize the impossibility of telling a sinner, you need to repent of your sins. It's obvious that sinners cannot repent of all their sins. If that were conditioned for salvation, no one would be saved. And yet, it's preached every day.

So, some people say, "Well, maybe you don't have to turn from them. You just have to be sorry for them." Well, there's nothing in the Bible about being sorry for your sins, and that would not be repentance. It didn't say, change your feelings. When you repent, you change your sin. You stop sinning and start living righteously. That's what it would be to repent of sin.

Is “Repent of your sins” in the Bible?

I was shocked about 54 years ago, when I got my concordance, and looked up the word repent. I was looking for the term repent of sin, or repent of sins. I was 18 years-old, and I couldn't find it. So, I went to some preachers. I said, "Well I can't find that in the Bible, repent of sins. I mean every sermon, it's used. Every gospel track ends with it." I said, "Where is it in the Bible?" And the preacher said, "Well, it's there. Just keep looking." He didn't even know that it wasn't in the Bible.

So, once I got a computer, and started studying in more detail, I was able to analyze it more clearly. It's a very simple doctrine. It never ever appears in the Bible. Not even the New International Version has the phrase "repent of sin" in it. If it doesn't have it, you know.

Repent is a turn in regard to the stated subject.

Repent is a turn in regard to the stated subject. You can repent of going to the grocery store, you can repent of playing volleyball, you can repent of going to one college and go to a different one, you can repent of one girlfriend and get you a different one. But it's always a turn from something, to something else.

If you repent, you turn your back on the direction you were going, the thing you were doing, and you turn and do something else. No question about that.

What does Repentance look like?

So, we've illustrated here, man is walking along, going to grandma's house, to eat her banana pudding. He decides he's gained a little too much weight. So what does he do? He repents. He turns about, and he goes back the other direction. That's repentance. You can't keep going to grandma's house, and be sorry that you're eating banana pudding. That wouldn't be repentance.

You can't be sad that you're gaining weight, and wish you didn't gain weight, and ask God to help you stop gaining weight. That's not repentance. Repentance is to turn around, don't go to grandma's house, and don't eat the banana pudding, which is very tasty at grandma's house.

So from what, and to what must one turn?

So from what, and to what must one turn when the Bible speaks of repentance? It's clear.

  • From Dead Works
  • To the Living God

The Bible says, you repent from dead works to the living God. So, what do you turn your back on? You turn your back on dead works. What is the most popular dead work? It's repentance.

So, what people need repent of is, repent of their repentance, because that's what's standing between them and God. Repent to the living God.

How many Times is “Repent” in the Bible?

Now, as we gave you, 66 times, repentance is used in reference to man, number of books in the Bible, 39 times it's used in reference to God, number of books in the Old Testament. The Bible speaks of man repenting, apostles preach it six times, Jesus preaches it six times, Paul preaches it six times. Six groups of six verses, six references, on the subject to repentance.

God repenting 39 times, is found in groups of seven verses. So, it's amazing how God put his fingerprint, his stamp of approval, up on the King James translation, and no other with his number patterns.

Repentance in Christ ministry

So, there's seven references we're going to look at to repentance in Christ ministry. Now, think about this, you are going to view the verses where Christ preached repentance. You're going to view the seven times. You're going to get a thorough look. Now there's some repeats in the different gospels, but these are the seven events.

The Scribes and Pharisees repented not

Matthew 21:32, "John came into you in the way of righteousness and ye believed him not:,"  the issue is believing, "... but the publicans and the harlots believed him:,"  the issue is believing, "... and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him."

So, after they saw the miracles and the wonders and the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead, they repented not afterwards, to do what? To believe him. So, the direction of repentance didn't have anything to do with sin, it had to do with believing. Because, belief and repentance are the same thing. One way is stating it positively, believe, the other is stating negatively, stop believing the other thing.

The Preaching of Jonah

Matthew 12:38-40, "Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee."  They were always wanting some, they said, show us a sign that we may see and believe in another gospel. "... He answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas; for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."  He said, that's going to be your sign. "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas;."

So, Jesus is referencing the events in Nineveh, where Nineveh was an exceeding wicked and violent city, and God sent Jonah there to pronounce that, in 40 days the place was going to be destroyed. And the men of Nineveh, the king of Nineveh, believed, the Bible said believed, we'll see that verse in a moment, that it was going to be destroyed, and told his people to stop being violent. And perhaps they said, God might repent and not destroy us. So they tried to get God to repent, and, in fact, He did. So, they repented at the preaching and Jonas, and we'll just move on from there.

Jonah 3:5 "So, the people of Nineveh believed God," Jonas said, "... and proclaimed to fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them, even the least to them."

So, that's their repentance, is, believe God. Now, it was followed by changing some of their actions. But I'll tell you what the people of Nineveh didn't do, they didn't repent of all their sins. They didn't stop sinning. They were still a wicked city. All they heard was, you're going to be killed for your wickedness and violence. And the king just made a proclamation, stop being wicked and violent, and God said, okay, that's enough. Now, later, He destroyed them, wiped them out, said it wouldn't exist anymore. He got rid of them. But, there was a little reprieve here.

Repent ye and believe the gospel

Now, Mark 1:15, Jesus said, "... the time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye and believe the gospel."

So, repenting is turning to belief. It's turning away from unbelief, to belief. That's clear.

So illustrate it this way, two sides of the coin. Repent is one side, believe is the other side. He who repents, in a Biblical sense, believes. He who believes, in a Biblical sense, repents. If you repent of this belief it's because you're turning to that one. You don't stop going to grandma's house until you conceive of a reason not to go, to turn back somewhere else.

Repent in sackcloth and ashes

Matthew 11:20, "Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:,"  so these were cities that didn't repent, "... Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes."

See, people read passages like this and they're so programmed to condition to think they repented of their sins. They think the word repent automatically means, of sins, and it just doesn't. But he said, "... they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And thou, Capernaum,"  this is a city there on the coast where disciples were, the fishermen were there, "... which already exalted unto heaven,"  it was in a high spot, "... shall be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works which were done in thee, had been done in Sodom,"  Jesus just performed miracles there, "... it would've remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.”

Jesus came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance

And then the fifth one. Mark 2:16-17 "And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinner, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick: I'm not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Now, think about it, if repentance is ceasing to sin, stopping sinning, then what Jesus would've said, "I came not to call the righteous," people that don't have any sin, "... but sinners to repent of their sin.".

Now, is there a group of people that are righteous and don't need to repent? Are there those who have no sin? One class is sinless, and the other class is sinful? I mean that's passages used several times, Jesus said that several times. But now, if you understand repentance rightly, you understand that, when he said, "I come not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." there are a large number of people who are repentant toward God, who do believe. And they need not be brought to repentance. Now, they need repent of some of their sins. They need to repent in their daily life. But, in order to come to God, they've already repented. They've already turned to God. Now they need to bear their fruits of repentance. But that's a totally different subject. He said, "I came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."

He found the sheep which was lost

Luke 15:1-6 "Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth it with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he'd found it, he layeth on his shoulder, rejoicing. And when he'd cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors saying, Rejoice with me; for I found my sheep, which was lost."

Now, that is the story that this statement is going to come from. This story is about rejoicing that something that was lost has been found.

Luke 15:1-6 "I say unto you, that likewise," just like this story I just told you, "... joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth," Now, what is a sinner, repenting? He's illustrated it. It's one who's gone astray, coming back to the Father. It's getting back into the fold. That's a repentant sinner. It's not about the sinner getting rid of all his sin.

Can a sinner get rid of all his sin?

Listen, if stopping sinning was a precondition for salvation, then you'd be doing the work of the cross, and the work of the Holy Spirit, before you got saved. You'd be doing the work God wants to do in you, in order for Him to save you. I mean, you'd be sanctified before you got saved. You'd be made holy already, because you would already have ceased sin, if that's a condition for salvation.

Can you get saved and live in Sin?

Now listen, I know there's people listening and say, oh, he's one of those who believe you can just get saved and live any way you want to.

I'm going to stop and tell you this, I've been preaching for 55 years or so, and I have led thousands of people to the Lord, people in prisons, lots of them. Guys in rescue missions, drunks, people on the street, drunks, people right off the street, lesbians, queers, led them to the Lord, military guys, and drunks, they're all in the same class that were back then during the Vietnam War. And then, people in churches and other places, I've led these people to the Lord, and I didn't give them invitations. I'm not talking about coming down an aisle, filling out a card. I'm talking about, I preached the gospel to them until they got to be happy Christians. Till their life changed, and they started living holy. And they're still living holy today, those that are still alive. I've outlived a lot of them. They're still walking with the Lord today.

So, they got saved. And I didn't tell them to repent of their sin. I learned this a long time ago. I didn't tell him to do that. I didn't mention their sin to them. When I'm dealing with a homosexual, I don't tell him he needs to stop his sin in order to come to God. That's the reason you're not winning to the Lord. What I tell him is that, Jesus died for people just like you. People with greed, selfishness, hate, bitterness, lust, foolishly spending your money and your time, ignoring God, not being thankful. He died for you just like you are. And when those homosexuals believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and get saved, they repent after they're saved of their sins. They repent of their homosexuality right away. I didn't have to tell him to, because I've got a secret weapon. He's called the Holy Spirit. He comes into them, he does the job. It's not my job, it's not their job.

 It's the Holy Spirit's job to transform them once they're in the fold. Once the sheep has come home. And if you're going to get the sheep home, you're going to have to stop giving them God's job to do before they come to Christ. It's God's job to free them from their sin.

So, I'm not one of those that says, I'm just preaching a gospel where you can get, just name it and claim it. Just get saved, and then, live any way you want to. But, my gospel works. It's been working over half a century. Works very well. How's your doing? Is it running people off? Well, I'll stop preaching. Go back to my text here.

Joy over one sinner that repents

Luke 15:7 "I say unto you that, likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance."  There it is again, a just person which needs no repentance. That person is justified, and doesn't need to repent. He's not in the category of the unrepentant, he's in the category of the repentant, so he doesn't need to repent to God. He's already there.

And then, he gives another illustration, Luke 15:8-10 "Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one, doth not light a candle, sweep the house, seek diligently till she found it? When she's found it, she calls her neighbors, rejoice together, Rejoice with me; I have found the piece which I lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in heaven, in the presence of the angels of God over one sin that repenteth."

And then he gives that parable of the man that had two sons, the prodigal son. He goes out, the prodigal son wastes everything. Prodigal son says, I'm going to go back to my father and I'm going to say, father, I've sinned against heaven before thee, no more worthy to be called thy son. Before he can get anything out. The father takes him in, kisses him, puts a robe on him, ring on his hand, shoes on his feet, throws a big party, calls all the guests, said, my son was lost and is found. He's dead and alive again. That's repentance. Jesus gave three illustrations of what it is to repent.

None of them had to do with turning from sin. If you hang onto that doctrine, then you have a hard, hard heart to the Word of God. Because the Word of God is so abundantly clear, so easy to follow, got three parables over what it means for one sinner to repent. All right, I got you there. What are you going to do with that? Let's go on.

Preached among all nations

Luke 24:47 "And the repentance and remission of sin should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."  That's the message, repentance and remission of sins.

There's a number of passages where repentance is used alone, without belief or faith or anything else, and without calling on the Lord. Just, it says repentance, and it results in remission of sins.

A Man Repents of Hinduism

So, when you go out and you preach to people with a false hope, now, across the road here are these Hindus. Now, there was one of them I gave a good and evil to, when I was building this place, and I couldn't speak to him because I couldn't understand what he was saying. He could understand me, but I couldn't understand him. I think he could understand me.

And so, I gave him a good and evil in his language, in the Hindi language, and it took about six months, but you know what he did? He repented of Hinduism. He repented of Hinduism, and he says to me, I believe Jesus, God. He traced a cross on the counter with his finger and said, “I believe Jesus is God.” Makes a cross. But that's all I could understand. But I got him a Bible in Hindi, and he reads it every day. He said, "I read every day. Read every day.". So he repented to God from Hinduism.

Jesus never comes close to suggesting that repentance is dealing with your sins.

Jesus never comes close to suggesting that repentance is dealing with your sins. Hey, this is the Book now.

The Apostles Preach Repentance six times

The apostles preach repentance six times. Let's see what they've got to say. This is the six times that the apostles preach repentance, found in your Bible. It's not seven or eight or nine or ten, it's six times. Let's see what it's got to say.

Mark 6:12 "And they went out, and preached that men should repent."  Well that doesn't define it much for us just, men should repent.

They that gladly received his word 

Acts 2:37-3-41 "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and they said Peter, and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?"  Now, what they heard was, that they'd crucified the Lord of glory. But that God raised him from the dead, and He ascended into the heaven, and He was the promised one from the Old Testament. He was the Messiah. They heard that, and they believed him. And they said, what do we do now? We've crucified the Messiah, we blew it. What do we do? "... Men and brethren, what shall we do? And Peter said unto them, Repent," 

Now, can you see why he used the word repent instead of believe there? It's because they had made a mistake. They crucified the Lord of glory. What did they need to do? They needed to repent. They needed to turn from their Judaism, from their rejection to Christ, to faith, "... and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,"  now United Pentecost of Holiness, I'll deal with you on that passage another time. "... and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word,"  Now it didn't say they that gladly repented of their sins. That'd been a good place to say it, if that were the doctrine. It said, "they that gladly received his word," which apparently is synonymous with repent. “...were baptized: and the same day there were added to the church, about three thousand souls”

Through faith in his name

Acts 3:16-19 "And his name through faith in his name, hath made this man strong, whom you see and know: yea, and faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before has shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,"  there, and again, standing alone.

Repent results in conversion. Why? Because to repent is to believe. To repent is turning from that false belief, where they persecuted, to belief, where they accepted the Lord Jesus Christ. "That your sins may be blotted out." So, the blotting out of sins occurs with repentance.

Repent of thy wickedness

Acts 8:18-20 "When Simon Peter saw that through laying on of the apostle's hands, the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money."  So, here's a guy who was a sorcerer, who gets caught up and sees the miracles the apostles are performing. So, he gets converted to Christianity, and he sees them performing these miracles, and he wants that power because he never had that much power. He said, I'll give you some money.

Now that would've worked with a few preachers, but not with all of them. It certainly didn't work with these. "Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay my hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. And Peter said unto him, Thy money perished with thee," means, go to hell with your money, "... because thou has thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money."  Wow, I heard it on the radio. If you send your gifts and offerings in, it'll be placed under the prayer tree, and God will answer your prayer and heal your child. So, it's not true after all. You cannot purchase the favor of God with money.

Acts 8:20-23 "Thou has neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness," that's about as close as you're going to get to repent of sin anywhere. But think about it, he's not telling him to repent of all his sins. He's telling to repent of that wickedness, of wanting to buy the power to transmit the Holy Ghost by laying on of hands. He said, you need to repent of this wickedness, this motivation, this desire to purchase this power. If God may forgive you. "For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity."  I don't think you're saved. He wouldn't have asked that.

The Repentance of Israel

Acts 5:30-31 "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."  Again, whenever he's talking to the Jews, which is what the Book of Acts is all about, in most cases, when he's talking to the Jews, he uses the word repentance, not faith, not belief. Why? Because the Jews were entrenched in a false hope that they needed to repent from, as they repented to God.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise

2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promises, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."  So, no faith but repentance is sufficient. So that's the six times that the apostles preach repentance. You think it'd be more times, wouldn't you?

The Apostle Paul Preaches Repentance six times

The apostle Paul preaches repentance six times. So, we didn't include him among the 12. Now, here's Paul's used to the word repentance. Only used it twice in the book of Romans. And one time is right here, the other time it's the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. But, as far as man repenting, only one time in Romans.

Romans 2:4 "Or despise thou the riches of his goodness and his forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"

So, why would God's goodness lead us to repentance? Because it makes God attractive. And so, we're drawn to him, we want to come to him.

Repent from dead works

Hebrews 6:1 "Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine, Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and faith toward God,"  Now here is the only verse that uses the word foundation to describe the basic, the basis of coming to God, and being saved.

This is the foundation. This is the very, very first stone laid in the ground for you to be born again. For you to come. This is the foundation stone. "Laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works"  never says repent from sin. It does say repent from dead works, and to faith toward God.

Impossible to Renew them unto repentance

Hebrews 6:4-6 "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,"  that's a saved person, "... if they shall fall away,"  it's impossible, "... to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh...”  because they have rejected, they had turned to Christ, they turned away from him, they reject Christ, “...and put him to an open shame.”

Romans 11:29 "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance."  Is the other time in Romans that it's found, which is talking about the Jews inheriting the land.

Baptism of repentance

Acts 13:24 "And when John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel."  This is Apostle Paul, speaking of John's baptism, which was a baptism of repentance.

Hebrews 12:17 "For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears."  So here's a guy who had a lot of sorrow, and a lot of tears, but he couldn't repent because the repentance was not being sorry he'd sold his birthright, the repentance was getting it back. And he couldn't do that.

Jesus never told a common sinner to repent.

So, Jesus never told a common sinner to repent. Look at your story about the woman at the well. Look at your story about the demon possessed woman. Look at your story about the publicans. Look at the story about the 10 lepers, the guy lying beside the water waiting for it to be stirred. Go back and read all of those stories of Jesus confronting the common man, the sinner. You'll never find him telling one of them to repent. Why? Because they didn't have a false hope. They just need to place the faith in Jesus Christ.

How do you Present the Gospel to a Religious Man?

So, when I go out on the street, and deal with rank sinners, or I go to the prisons, I don't tell him to repent, unless a guy in the prison comes in and he says, "Well I'm a Jehovah's witness and I don't believe Jesus is God." And I say to him, "You need to repent, or you'll go to hell. You need to repent of that statement that Jesus is not God, until you believe he is God, there's no way you're going to be saved. Because the Bible says he's God." So I tell him he needs to repent.

Or, if Roman Catholic comes in and says to me, "I think the Virgin Mary's going to get me in," I said, "You need to repent of that. The only way you're going to get into heaven is through Jesus Christ, and Him alone."

Or Mormon comes in and tells me, "Glenn Beck's my best friend and we're going to heaven. We've got holy underwear on and so we're going to go." No, you're not. You believe that Jesus is a created son of God. That he was Adam on the earth, Eve, and that Jesus' brother is Lucifer and they got in this spat and Lucifer came and is trying to mess up what his brother's doing. And you believe that one day we're going to be gods like that, and get to go to other planets like Jesus did, as Adam. And I said, "That's screwed up. You need to repent."

Anybody hold a doctrine like that? There's no way you're going to go to heaven and defame Jesus Christ that way. And that's just the start. I can tell you about the people on the North Pole, that live up there, and the people on the backside of the moon, and all the crazy stuff they believed, and it's in their doctrine. And tell you about the book of Abraham and Joseph, which was just some Egyptian hieroglyphics that woman left her dog when she died. All those fakery stuff that they've pulled off, it's all a scam. And I tell them, a Mormon, you need to repent. If you don't repent you'll perish.

How do you Present the Gospel to a Sinner?

But, when I'm dealing with a prostitute, sitting there, broken, sad, miserable, I don't tell her she needs to repent. Is that going to help her? What's she going to do? I tell her the Lord Jesus Christ loves you, He's ready to take you just like you are, forgive you, make you a new person. And so, I tell her to believe. It works beautifully.

Jesus never told a common sinner to repent. Now, I'll give you several usages here.

Jesus never told a common sinner to repent

Matthew 11:20-21 "Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes." So he's talking to the cities in Israel, with their false hope and their rejection of him and his ministry.

Matthew 11:32 "For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward,"  we've covered that, but I want you to see it in this context that, Jesus only speaks of repentance to people with false hopes.

Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance

Luke 3:8, "Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and began not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father."  So they had a false hope, "... for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."

So, they had a false hope and he said, you need to bring forth fruits, the kind of fruits that accompany repentance.

Now, repentance to God will result in the Holy Spirit coming in, and you stopping sinning. It results in you repenting from some sins even though that term is not used. It results in that.

So that is, he said, a fruit worthy of repentance. Apparently, according to this, the repentance comes first and then the fruit of repentance, turning from sins, comes later.

So, therefore, repentance cannot include the fruits. It cannot include the works of repentance, the ceasing the sin. That's got to come as a fruit of it.

Paul preaches repentance

Paul preaches repentance, Acts 17:23-30 "For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an alter with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD."  He's on Mars Hill, a place where the Greeks got together and had little debates. "Whom therefore you ignorantly worship,"  so among the thousands of gods he found in scripture, said to unknown god. He said, I got an idea. Good opening point here. He says, you're ignorantly worshiping this God. He's the one I'm declaring to you. And you don't know who this God is, I'm going to tell you who he is.

"God has made the world in all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;"  so he's telling him this temple and all these false gods you've got, God doesn't dwell here. "Neither is worshiped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth life to all, and breath, and all things; For in him, we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring." He's quoting their poets. "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art in man's device."  He's getting at what they need to repent from. A belief that gods dwell in stones. He says, "And the times of this ignorance," this ignorance about what God is, and this not knowing God, "... God winked at,"  treated it lightly, "... but now commandeth all men every where to repent."

Now what is that repentance? It's to repent from the false gods, the images, and the temples, and the places where they thought God dwelled, to the living God. That doesn't dwell in those temples. That's what the repentance was.

Acts 17:32-34 "Howbeit certain men clave unto him and believed." So a few of them believed when Paul preached.

Repentance in the Book of John

So repentance in the Book of John. Now, the book of John is one of the most used books to win people to Christ. It's got all those beautiful passages in it. Got John chapter three, got John chapter one on the deity of Christ. John chapter three on being born again. John four, believing, five, six. I mean, great place. The book of John. So here's all of the times that the word repent or repentance is found in the book of John.

Huh? Yep, you're right. It's not there. John never used it once. So, if it's something you got to do to be saved, John missed it, because he never presented the gospel then, because he never mentioned it. But he mentioned belief, or faith, over a hundred times. Well over a hundred times.

Repenting of your sins is a dead work, that will prevent you from being born again.

So, repenting of your sins is a dead work, that will prevent you from being born again.

Now, this has been Michael Pearl at, The Door. No Greater Joy Ministries, nogreaterjoy.org. If you want... All of this material is taken from my little book that I wrote, called “Repentance,” and it's got all the verses in it. It's all laid out real simple, easy reading.

So, that book is available through No Greater Joy Ministries if you'd like to get it. But, if you don't have time to get it, you don't like reading, because your mind has been blown on videos, then you can just, one more time, I think we'll come back one more time next week.

And what I want to do is, answer all those challenges I know you've gone to what I've said.

Bible teaching with Michael Pearl.
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