As we continue looking at the Lord’s Prayer, we come to repentance. Matthew 6:12 “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Luke 11:4 “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.” The word repent means “to feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one's wrongdoing or sin.” The problem with this definition is that repentance is more than a feeling of remorse for an act committed. To feel bad about your sin or your behavior or actions and not do anything about it is not true repentance. A better definition “is reviewing one's actions and feeling remorse or regret for past wrongs, which is accompanied by commitment to and actual actions that show and prove a change for the better.” I am sure you know people who feel bad about something but continue in their wrongdoings. You may also have had someone who has wronged you say, “if I have done anything to hurt or offend you” which is basically them just saying you were offended or hurt and putting the blame on you for feeling that way. When someone does this, always ask them what did they do? True repentance owns the offense or hurt and then takes action to change. When we come before God in repentance, we are asking Him to forgive us. Jesus is the only way to God. John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” When you bring your confession before Him, God can see your heart and your willingness to change or not, so you cannot get away with a false confession. When you come before each other in repentance, you can get away with a false confession, but the truth will be seen by your actions. God makes it clear to us that He will forgive us our sins. 1 John 1:5 “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” I am sure you have heard this declaration that we are all sinners, even after we are saved. What people are actually telling you is that they don’t believe the blood of Jesus can purify us from sin nor do they believe there is power to enable us to walk in the light from that point on. 1 John 2:1 “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” 1 John 5:18 “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.” Yes, they will say Paul was the worst of sinners and continued in his sin because he said in Romans 7:15 “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” But they fail to keep reading where Paul says 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” He then goes on to talk about life in the Spirit. Yes Paul was a horrible man. He persecuted the church and stood by giving his approval when the disciple Stephen was murdered. People were terrified of him, yet he was a changed man and no longer the same. He was a sinner set free and no longer bound by sin. He was given orders by Jesus to go out so that others would also be free. Acts 26:17 “I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”
Just as Paul was forgiven before God, we must forgive others just as God has forgiven us. You can’t ask for forgiveness from God but not forgive others. Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Peter asked Matthew 18:21 “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Jesus then went on to talk about the servant who begged to have his debt removed but would not remove the debt of one of his fellow servants who owed him a lesser amount. Jesus then said 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” Repentance and forgiveness are a serious matter and must done from the heart. If you have grown up in the church like I have or are even new to the church, you have not seen the kind of power that enables us to do as Jesus did. There may be faint glimpses of power but the church today looks nothing like Jesus as there is no power to defeat the work of satan. The reason is that satan has been allowed to take the church captive due to our rebellion. Daniel 9:27 “At the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” satan has been allowed to do these due to our disobedience to God’s word. Daniel 8:12 “Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4 “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” Because truth has been thrown to the ground, millions of Christians have been deceived even though Jesus warned us this would happen. Mark 13:5 “Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6 Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. 14 “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let no one on the housetop go down or enter the house to take anything out. 16 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 17 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 18 Pray that this will not take place in winter, 19 because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again. 20 “If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. 21 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23 So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.”
satan is everywhere in the church. He stands behind pulpits, travels the land as missionaries or evangelists, teaches in Sunday schools, seminary’s and bible schools. He teaches other gospels and people are falling for them. One of the subjects satan has done well teaching is the end times. Not only has he distorted what the bible actually says about the end times, he has also deceived many into thinking the end times are not important to talk about. This is how it was supposed to be. Jesus told us John 16:12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” Due to our rebellion, there is a lack of knowledge concerning the end times. He has also deceived many into believing because they prayed a little prayer, followed the ordinances of the church (baptism, communion) and go to church that they also do not need to fear the end. Jesus said Mark 7:6 “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” Most are naïve when it comes to what the bible actually says, so they end up listening to lies about what is going to happen. The warnings above from Mark 13 have been taught as if this is something that will happen in the future, so don’t worry you will be raptured or it doesn’t apply to you. Guess who is teaching this deception. That’s right satan who has many servants spreading his message of deceit. The deception is that instead of being ready for the end, millions have been deceived into believing they are already ready when they are not. For example, someone goes to church and they do as they are taught. They pray the pray, diligently follow the sacraments and do as they were told but unfortunately they have no idea they have been deceived. They will be led in a prayer and told they are now safe and secure. Some even go as far as saying nothing can now separate you from eternal life. By the way that is only true when true repentance occurs due to the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Others will go through the prescribed ritual of receiving Christ and are told they are secure. Yes we are told in Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Paul goes on to say 14 “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” This means that you have to believe in the true Jesus and hear His words. The people who preach must be sent so people can really hear the truth. Unfortunately most are not hearing the truth because most are not preaching truth. Malachi 2:7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. 8 But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the Lord Almighty.” We are also in a famine. Amos 8:11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” We were warned that many would come in the name of Jesus and deceive many. Paul said Acts 20:29 “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” It is imperative for us to understand Jesus also said Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Luke 13:23 “Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’” The very thought that you might not be the Christian you thought you were should bring the fear of God upon you.
Most churches equate repentance with joining their organization under the guise of becoming a Christian. They want you to repent and become like them, believe what they believe and act as they act and give money and your time. They do this because each group feels their way is the way, truth and life but then so does every other group. Repentance in church also occurs when someone strays or disagrees with the doctrine of the church or the leadership. You then are expected to repent and get back on track and keep your objections to yourself. Sadly most are afraid to speak up because so many have been bullied. They feel inadequate to speak and just get shot down. As we have talked about; it is impossible to have different ways, different truths and different lives to be the only way Jesus talked about. You can easily see this simply by reading His words about His Way. The truth is that most churches / denominations / independents should be turning from their wicked ways as they are following empty and powerless manmade ways and the kingdom is not coming near. Not only should individuals be repenting but churches and denominations as a whole should be turning from their manmade ways. Years ago I had to attend a church planters testing. This was a complete waste of time as it was poorly done and had no spiritual foundation. One of the tests was roleplaying. We had to direct someone in need to make a decision for Christ. I didn’t do it the way they said I should, so I failed. What they wanted was for me to pray “the prayer” and have this person accept Christ and everything would be better. The problem is today we have churches full of people who prayed the prayer, read the four spiritual laws and were told you are good to go. Some churches even put their focus on getting children to pray the prayer so they would be eternally secure. Most Christians have no idea what it really means to be a Christian nor do the understand the available power to all who believe. This is why they are easily deceived. Because God has turned His face from us, people are not being saved as so many think they are as they have been saved into other gospels. The deception here is what have you actually been saved into? The answer is usually I was saved Baptist, Catholic, Pentecostal, Reformed etc. to name a few. As I looked over the four spiritual laws there was very little about what repentance actually meant. They said turn from yourself but in reality most have gotten themselves into an even worse off condition by joining whatever group they had made their confession. Instead of turning away from their self to God, there just turned towards someone else’s self. Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. 2 Peter 2:17 “These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.” Therefore they have unknowingly not repented before God.
The reality is most have joined a group with a certain distinctive (a certain way of interpreting scripture), not knowing that the group they joined should be repenting, therefore their repentance was done in vain because they were deceived by a different gospel. Paul said Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” True repentance in the church is almost non-existent because if you had truly repented you probably would not be going to that church. The word repent is like a four-letter word. Don’t tell me to repent! I am a good person! I don’t want to change! Church is supposed to make me feel good! Who do you think you are to tell me to repent? On and on the objections go, plus most leaders don’t want to rock the boat as they do not want to lose people which would affect their bottom line. The true gospel starts with repentance and that is why they murdered Jesus, the prophets and disciples like Stephen. Jesus started out His ministry saying Mark 1:15 “The time has come, The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” If you are repenting make sure you are believing the right news. Without repentance, the kingdom of God does not come near. We are not seeing the kingdom come near in the church. Remember the kingdom looks like Jesus. Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” So again, who do you think is behind the lack of repentance in the church today? satan knows that if the church doesn’t repent, the kingdom does not come near. If the kingdom does not come near, he is not defeated.
Today there is a huge refusal / opposition to repent as no one wants to be wrong. Picture for a moment someone who goes to church, maybe has just made a confession and you tell them they are following a false prophet. Or you tell someone after all these years of going to church they are not a Christian because they have believed in another gospel. People get upset about that and again this is why they killed the prophets and Jesus. The gospel is offensive. Mark 6:3 “Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.” Jesus said to the Pharisees Matthew 15:6 “Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules. 2 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” 13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” The Pharisees did not like to be called a hypocrite. So yes hearing the gospel may not always feel good but in the end if you truly believe, you will receive eternal life. There is no time to repent after you die. Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
To see what true repentance and forgiveness looks like we look to the parable Jesus told about the prodigal son. You can read this from the perspective of an individual who has come to their senses or as the church coming to theirs. Either way, both need to repent. Luke 15:11 “Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. 25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ 28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ 31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
This is an amazing example of repentance but the difference between the son and the church was he knew he was in a severe famine. The church on the other hand does not seem to be aware of the famine due to the deception by satan and the delusion brought on by God. If you are feeling you need to repent and return to God, be very careful who guides you as not everyone in the church or online will lead you to eternal life. Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” As we read in 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” The beautiful part of this story is that the father was looking for his sons return and was ready to feast. Notice the son had to lose everything before he made the decision to return. Sadly, that seems to be the case for most to come back to their senses but it does not have to be. You can repent at any time! The sooner you realize how far the church is from the truth and how destitute and desolate it really is, you will be desperate to repent and have the kingdom come near. Once you realize that the true message of the gospel is available for today you will repent so that the kingdom of God will come near. The deception and delusion is that your life may not look like you are starving or living amongst the swine but the truth is we are all in captivity due to our rebellion. The good news is that even in captivity God will not forsake His remnant and the remnant will once again return home. Isaiah 43:1 “But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. 6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth— 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
The question is Psalm 4:2 “How long will you people turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods (other gospels)? Sadly most in the church love it the way it is. Most in the church have been lied to. No the person leading or teaching or preaching doesn’t know they are lying, ok some do, but most simply pass on what they have been told and so on and so on and as time goes by we get further from the truth. Remember satan’s plan is to get you turn away from God. Jeremiah 5:31 “The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” Jeremiah 8:4 “This is what the Lord says: “‘When people fall down, do they not get up? When someone turns away, do they not return? 5 Why then have these people turned away? Why does Jerusalem always turn away? They cling to deceit; they refuse to return. 6 I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle. 7 Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the Lord.” Proverbs 30:20 “This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth and says, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong.’
To truly repent means you turn to God and no longer continue on the path you were on but todays’ church responds like this and does not repent. They will not acknowledge their destitution. Jeremiah 5:3 “Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.” Revelation 16:9 “They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him. 11 and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.” Not only does the church as a whole respond this way, individuals also refuse to repent. Many know that they need to repent but simply refuse because they fear the consequences more than they fear God. They refuse to admit they were wrong not only to God but to each other. They are not willing to respond like the prodigal son and they miss out on the love of the father. Most are also too comfortable going their own way and refuse to give that way up like the man of great wealth. Mark 10:21 “Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
Isaiah tells us Isaiah 58:1 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. 2 For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. 3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. 4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? You can think about fasting as going to church. Isaiah 57:17 “I was enraged by their sinful greed; I punished them, and hid my face in anger, yet they kept on in their willful ways.” Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. 8 The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks along them will know peace. 12 For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: 13 rebellion and treachery against the Lord, turning our backs on our God, inciting revolt and oppression, uttering lies our hearts have conceived. 14 So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. 15 Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.” Jeremiah 44:2 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You saw the great disaster I brought on Jerusalem and on all the towns of Judah. Today they lie deserted and in ruins 3 because of the evil they have done. They aroused my anger by burning incense to and worshiping other gods that neither they nor you nor your ancestors ever knew. 4 Again and again I sent my servants the prophets, who said, ‘Do not do this detestable thing that I hate!’ 5 But they did not listen or pay attention; they did not turn from their wickedness or stop burning incense to other gods. 6 Therefore, my fierce anger was poured out; it raged against the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem and made them the desolate ruins they are today.”
Today the church lies in ruins, powerless to defeat our enemies. Men and women everywhere proclaim other gospels as the truth and millions have been deceived. Take a moment to ponder what that means. Another area that satan has deceived people is the reality of hell. If millions have been deceived into believing other gospels, that means they were not the Christians they thought they were. The deception in the church today is so great that most have been deceived into thinking they are secure when they are not. Most do not fear going to hell. Denominations have accepted the world’s standards and now have become an enemy of God. Most churches today do not lead people to repent because they are afraid of backlash and they will reject God’s word to avoid it. Our only hope is to return to God and stand on His word. Malachi 3:6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.” But don’t be like those Malachi talked to who said “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ 8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.” You cannot come before Jesus without giving Him your life; it is not just about money. Luke 14:25 “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” If you do this God promised to bless us. He said He would open the flood gates of heaven. Mark 10:28 “Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” 29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Will you be the son / daughter who acknowledges their destitution and return to the Father and return home? The good news of the gospel is that if we repent the kingdom of heaven will come near. Isaiah 57:20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the Lord.” King Solomon prayed 1 Kings 8:27 “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 28 Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. 29 May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 30 Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive. 46 “When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to their enemies, who take them captive to their own lands, far away or near; 47 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’; 48 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; 49 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. 50 And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their captors to show them mercy; 51 for they are your people and your inheritance, whom you brought out of Egypt, out of that iron-smelting furnace.”
Nehemiah prayed Nehemiah 1:5 “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. 8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’ 10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name.”
Daniel prayed Daniel 9:3 “I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. 3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. 7 “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14 The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him. 15 “Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16 Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. 17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
If you refuse to repent before God or to each other, your life will only get worse. The same goes with forgiveness. If the church would truly repent, we would once again be able to do as Jesus did and go to the ends of the earth in the power and authority of His name. We would once again see healing and demons would be cast out. Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” It is important to take repentance seriously as your eternal life depends on it. Take heed to this warning. Isaiah 13:6 “Wail, for the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.” Ezekiel 30:3 “For the day is near, the day of the Lord is near— a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations.” Joel 1:15 “Alas for that day! For the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. Obadiah 1:15 “The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.” Ezekiel 7:2 “‘The end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land! 3 The end is now upon you, and I will unleash my anger against you. I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices. 4 I will not look on you with pity; I will not spare you. I will surely repay you for your conduct and for the detestable practices among you. “‘Then you will know that I am the Lord.’ 5 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “‘Disaster! Unheard-of disaster! See, it comes! 6 The end has come! The end has come! It has roused itself against you. See, it comes! 7 Doom has come upon you, upon you who dwell in the land. The time has come! The day is near! There is panic, not joy, on the mountains. 8 I am about to pour out my wrath on you and spend my anger against you. I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices. 9 I will not look on you with pity; I will not spare you. I will repay you for your conduct and for the detestable practices among you. Then you will know that it is I the Lord who strikes you.” 2 Peter 3:8 “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. 14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. Isaiah 8:17 “I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my trust in him.”
Matthew 4:16 “The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Will you repent or say what have I done or how have I robbed you?