DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

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Repent Or Perish
 

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Luke 13:1-5
1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.
2 Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?
3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.
4 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?
5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."


1. Why we sin?

Life is a rat race. When you are born, they see what color you are. If you are black, you are already made to feel as if you are not good. If you are girl, you are also made to feel you are no good.

Even for play school, there are interviews. To join good schools, you need money. If you do join you feel shame when you don't have what other children have: cars, good clothes, good homes etc. If you join a municipality school you feel ashamed all your life. If you didn't study in English medium you feel ashamed. If you fail and didn't make it to college, you always feel diffident.

You get a job, great. If not, daily scolding about how bad you are eating at home without shame. Once in the job, pleasing boss, facing threats. Fear of losing job. Desire to make it in career.

If single you want to get married. Get discouraged, by rejection. Face pressure from family and society. You try to be attractive than the other one. There is jealousy hopelessness.

If married, you hate the fights in marriage. You wish you didn't marry. Sometimes you wish you died.

Run, run, run,..Life is a rat race. We all are running this race. Most times we are running happily, but many times we fall. What we do when we fall is important. When we fall we get discouraged and that is when we sin. We look for consolation, comfort. When we don't get that, then we fall in sin, just to feel good. Feel alive. We sin because we feel unloved and looking for something to make us feel good, feel loved.

To a world like this God sent a message through Jesus. To tell us, 'son, do not despair, I am with you. I love you for who you are. I love you so much as to die for your sins. I will forgive all your sins. I will be with you always. When you fall think of me, I am by your side. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Take my hand. Get up and run. For with me by your side you are more than a conqueror, for you have nothing to fear even death.'

How are we running your race? What do we do when we fall? What are our pet sins we commit to comfort ourselves? Some like to sleep, eat, watch TV, be immoral, cry, withdraw.. What do we do?

The reason, Jesus came and died for us is that we may not sin again. That we may remember how much God loves us and how much God hates sin and wants us to overcome sin and find strength and comfort in Him and repent. Instead of seeking God's comfort, we give in to our sinful nature, or we look for man's comfort.

In the church we are responsible for each others well being. There are many who need strength. We need to help each other find strength in God. We need to take up the responsibility of praying with the other disciples and helping them find strength in God.

2. Why we must repent?

Because God loved us and sent His son to show how much He loves us. He assured us of His love and cleansed us and adopted us as His children. Nothing can separate us from His love. He won't condemn us. He gave us a free gift of forgiveness through confession. He won't condemn us if we live by His word.

When we struggle with sin, think of Jesus on the cross. Bleeding, nailed to the cross, in terrible agony and pain looking at us with compassion and mercy, pleading for our forgiveness saying 'father forgive him he does not know what he is doing'.

What does Jesus' love mean for us now? If we are sinning means we are spurning Him and honoring our desires above Him. Let's not do that. Let us make every effort to resist the devil and not the Lord. The first step for that is to confess our sins. Forgiveness is free.

He called us to be example of His love and grace. He called us to fulfill His purpose. If we walk in light with Him, we will be pure and go to heaven like Jesus did. Our aim is to bear fruit for Him. If not at least do not bring shame to Him. If we do, He won't spare us. How could we bring shame?

3. How to repent?

We need God, His Spirit, His word and His mercy to be able to repent. First of all we must desire to repent. We must fear the consequences of our sin, realize where our life is heading and deeply desire a change. Do you have the desire? If not, like the prodigal son, we have not yet come to realize how meaningless our sinful life is, and how wonderful life in God is. May be we have not yet reached our pig pen. Keep hunting for the pigs we will soon find them. If we have the desire, then there is hope.

Repentance begins with going to God first. If we have been out of touch in going to God, we need to seek others help and get on our knees and plead to God. Let us pray with someone till our heart goes soft. Initially we may not have words, we keep wrestling with God, groan and moan, but stay in prayer till you we our prayer right.

4. How not to repent?

Repentance means taking responsibility for our own sin, and forgiving others sin. We find it very hard. So we try to take short cuts. We like to look to others who have not repented. We want to hear what we want not what we need. We try to manipulate our way out.

Sometimes no one comes, and we keep walking away from God and soon harden our heart and will not bother even if we fall into devil's hand. We won't even know when we left God and started to follow devil. That is how devil deceives us.

Do you know where we are going today? Are we alert against devil's schemes? Don't we care to be trapped by the devil? That is how Judas fell. When he realized it was too late.

5. What are the consequences if we don't repent?

First of all know that there are consequences for sin. What we sow is what we reap. If we are a liar, know that we are losing peoples trust. Trust is love. So we won't be loved. So let us not blame others, let us stop lying and we will be trusted and loved. If we are lazy and not have a job, it leads to poverty, and let us not blame others. If we are proud, we won't have friends, and even God will oppose us. If we give in to our sensual desires, then we are slave to our sinful nature and we don't know where we are going.

If we are stubborn and unrepentant we are storing up God's wrath. Once His arm raises, it won't come down until His wrath is fully poured out. Is that what we want? Are we stubborn and unrepentant? Let us wake up, God may soon be angry with us and pour out His wrath. And there is no stopping Him. Let us repent before it is too late.

6. Why not repent and get happy?

To repent means to die to self and submit to God. We must decide to crucify our pride, self, sinful desires and worldly hopes.

Hebrews 10:26-39
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,
27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people."
31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.
33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.
34 You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
37 For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay.
38 But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."
39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.