What is Repentance? - Returning to God
Bible Passage:: Hosea 14
(Know) Understand that God's deepest longing is for a sinner to understand what is repentance and return to Him
Apologizing isn't easy. Saying "I'm sorry" "I was wrong" is often humiliating. Tell your neighbor the worst apology you ever heard - and the best.
I want us to think about the motivation to repent.
Think about the people to whom Hosea was preaching:
Why didn’t God just get rid of them? Because that’s not the way love works. God is love and love is patient. God doesn’t want anyone to perish. He wants everyone to come to Him.
Now turn the coin over. What’s the motivation to repent from man’s point of view? If a person repents and returns to God, will it solve all his problems? Will it relieve all his pain?
No! Getting your heart right with God will not immediately fix
Getting right with God will not relieve the pain of living in a fallen world. The gospel is the power of God for salvation.
Repentance fixes what can be fixed: that is our hearts.
The book of Hosea is a message about impending doom and destruction because the northern kingdom of Israel had become spiritually wayward.
God’s judgment was coming because
But, despite their low spiritual condition, and their unrepentant heart, God continued to love them.
Hos. 11:1 When Israel was child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
Hos. 11:4 I led them with cords of human kindness; with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.
Hos. 11:8 How can I give up on you Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.
What these people needed was a repentant heart.
Before we talk about what is repentance in more detail, let’s read Hosea 14:1-9.
Using these verses, let’s define what is repentance.
1. Repentance involves a permanent change of direction
Hosea 14:1 Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God.
Rebellion is turning from God to a life of Sin. What is repentance? - It's the journey back -- turning from sin to God.
Perhaps the clearest way you can tell the genuineness of a person’s repentance is how long it lasts.
Hosea 6:1-4 - Their repentance was very short term; like the early morning dew, it was gone by noon.
Secondly, what is repentance?
Hosea 14:2 Take words with you - Say to Him, “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously.”
Repentance is more than a general commitment to change. You have to have a clear idea of what you are repenting of.
Thirdly, what is repentance?
Hosea 14:2 that we may offer you the fruit of our lips.
Too often, the motivation to repent is sustained by the hope that circumstances will change and painful feelings will go away.
The motivation here is worship -- To be a person who is knowing God better and learning to praise God.
Lastly, what is repentance?
Hosea 14:3 Assyria cannot save us
Hosea 14:3 We will never again say ‘Our gods’ to what our own hands have made.
What is repentance? To let go of your commitment to “self manage” your life. We will never trust God until we admit that all of our ideas have not worked. Often, the problem is that we always have one more idea to try.
The reality is: true repentance is personally painful.
and because it’s so painful, our pride may try to convince us that it’s not worth the price.
I want us to recognize why repentance is worth the pain.
The pain is worth it because -
1. God will heal our waywardness
Hosea 14:4 I will heal their waywardness and love them freely.
There is no promise that God will fix all of our circumstances and relieve all our pain, but there is a promise that he will heal our heart. He doesn’t make us perfect, but He does change our desires so that the compulsive longing to sin no longer masters us.
2. God will strengthen our faith
Hosea 14:5 I will be like the dew to Israel; Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots; his young shoots will grow.
God will help stabilize our lives. He’ll give us a deeper confidence in Him.
3. God will make our life attractive
Hosea 14:6 His splendor will be like a an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.
There is an attractive glow and an sweet aroma that comes from a person who has humbled himself before the Lord.
4. God will make our life
a blessing to others.
The old cliché is -- it can’t happen through you until it happens to you.
Once we have dealt with the sin in our own life, we become a channel of blessings to others. He will heal our sin, strengthen our faith, and use us for His glory.
1. Looking at the definitions of "what is repentance", which are the easiest/hardest for Christians today?
2. Confession of sin is a very important part. What is the best way to repent? Is there ever a need for a "public" confession of sin?
3. In what ways are we committed to keep control (management) of our own lives? Why is it hard to give up?
4. Today we identified four fruits of repentance. These fruits reveal the power of God to change our lives. As we manifest this fruit, how may it impact people who don't yet know the Lord?
Author:Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com
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