Sunday, March 21, 2010

Repent! 'Tis the Voice of Jesus

Before Jesus began His ministry on earth, John the Baptist was sent to make ready the way for the Lord. He urged sinners to repent of their sins for the kingdom of God was at hand!

Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, "THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS,'MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!'" Matthew 3:1-3

John the Baptist received a lot of attention for this; and many thought he was the Messiah. But he very plainly told the people that he was only "doing his job" - the real Messiah was soon to follow. John baptized with water, but the One coming would baptize with the Holy Spirit!

"As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Matthew 3:11-12

After spending 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by the devil, Jesus began His earthly ministry. His very first sermon called sinners to repentance.

From that time Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 4:17

Later, the disciples traveled throughout the land preaching repentance.

They went out and preached that men should repent. And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them. Mark 6:12-13

Clearly, repentance is important to God. We must acknowledge our sins before the Holy God and ask His forgiveness. Jesus tells us that the consequences of an unrepentant heart are disastrous:

"I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." Luke 13:5

After Jesus ascended to heaven, the disciples continued to preach His message of repentance. Peter reminds us that Christ's work is now finished, and our repentance will lead to times of refreshing in the presence of the Lord!

"But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you,
whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time."
Acts 3:18-21

I know that I long for that kind of time spent with the Lord. As you ponder the last few weeks before Jesus walked to the cross, examine your heart and see if there is any hidden sin that you have not confessed. Repent of it, and praise Him that He made atonement for your sin at Calvary, and His blood, spilled for you, has made you clean.

Repent! 'Tis the Voice of Jesus
Words by Alfred Ackley

Repent! ’tis the voice of Jesus
Now sounding in your ear;
The message of God rings loud and clear,
Now seek Him, for He is near.

Repent! and be ye saved,
Repent! and be ye saved,
Repent! and be ye saved,
Repent! and be ye saved.

Repent! while the Lord invites you;
Before the Savior fall;
The wages of sin is death to all
Who heed not the Gospel call.

Repent! while the Holy Spirit
Is striving with your soul;
The burden of sin on Jesus roll,
Surrender to His control.

Repent! for the days are flying;
The final hour draws nigh;
No pleasure have I, saith God on high,
In seeing the wicked die.

Repent! for He made atonement;
He took the sinner’s place;
O turn to the Lord, and seek His face,
And trust in His saving grace.

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