Every man must repent of his sin. What is repentance? John the Baptist told the people to bring forth fruit meet for repentance (Matthew 3:8). I want to say this to my preacher brethren. I really mean this. We ought not to be too hasty in getting them to join the church, if they haven’t repented. It doesn’t hurt for them to prove their faith for awhile. It doesn’t hurt for them to prove that they have been saved by the grace of God and their lives are changed. John said, "Bring forth some fruit meet for repentance." What are the fruits?
Number one would be a new heart and a new start. You’ll become new. The Bible says that "old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). One fruit of that experience ought to be restitution. I believe we ought to make right what we can make right. What if I was staying with a group of preachers and one of them stole my wallet while I was sleeping? The next day he comes up to me and tells me he is terribly sorry and asks me to forgive him. I would be glad to hear that he is sorry for stealing my wallet, but I would certainly want and expect more than that from a repentant thief. I would want my wallet back! I don’t believe he has really repented unless he brings my billfold back. I DON’T BELIEVE YOU HAVE REPENTED UNTIL YOU GET RIGHT AND SAY, "LORD, I’M GOING TO LIVE DIFFERENT FROM NOW ON," AND BY THE GRACE OF GOD YOU WILL LIVE DIFFERENT.
I don’t believe you ought to smoke another cigarette. I don’t believe you ought to have to taper off in your liquor drinking. I believe you ought to cut out your gambling. When you get saved FROM sin, you ought to stay out of it. I’m not saying that you will be perfect the rest of your life, but I will say this: you will hate sin the rest of your life. If you can live in sin as the habit of your life, you have never been saved.
I believe that when a man really gets saved from his sin he ought to make a public profession of his faith in Christ. I don’t believe in these little secret decisions. We’ve had too much of this "Ya’ll just slip down the isle." Slip, nothing; come a walkin’ and a talkin’ and a weepin’ and a repenting. It’s all right for the devil’s crowd to slip around, but we’re not slipping anywhere. You’re not going to slip into heaven. We’re going to go there by grace through faith!
And if you think I’m trying to get a report, with a bunch of "decisions" and a bunch of cards to haul off or share or do anything else with, in the first place, I don’t have anybody on earth that wants my report. I don’t care about a report; I want to see people saved. I want to see the church revived. I want to see the cause of Christ flourish in this city.
As sure as we live, it is God who must bring about Bible repentance. Have you repented? "…except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3,5).
Repentance is a godly sorrow for sin. Repentance is a forsaking of sin. Real repentance is putting your trust in Jesus Christ so you will not live like that anymore. Repentance is permanent. It is a lifelong and an eternity-long experience. You will never love the devil again once you repent. You will never flirt with the devil as the habit of your life again once you get saved. You will never be happy living in sin; it will never satisfy; and the husks of the world will never fill your longing and hungering in your soul.
Repentance is something a lot bigger than a lot of people think. It is absolutely essential if you go to heaven.
The previous is from a sermon by the late Evangelist Lester Roloff. It is excerpted from sermon #R03404 from Roloff Evangelistic Enterprises, Corpus Christi, Texas
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