by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Isaiah 42:1-12
I. It is that time of year when we begin thinking about the new year.
A. Sure, it is just a date, a marker in the sand, but it becomes an opportunity to look at what was done and resolve to do better.
B. Paul talked about that in his own life - Philippians 3:12-14
1. We could drag the past with us, but why? It is over and done. Its only affect on our future is what we choose to keep in front of us.
2. Rather than be bogged down by past failures, we focus on future success
C. It is thus important to mark points of change in our lives
II. Becoming a new creature - Romans 6:3-7
A. Baptism is the marker when we break the chains of sin, to move on to new life - Romans 6:8-11
1. It is a sign of our covenant with the Lord - Colossians 2:11-13
2. The past is washed away - Acts 22:16
B. But that mark of transition doesn’t hold meaning if we don’t let go of the past - Romans 6:12-18
1. Paul began this section by asking - Romans 6:1-2
2. That is why, when asked what must be done, Peter answered - Acts 2:38
3. Repentance is turning away from the past.
a. Baptism doesn’t force you to change.
b. You change first. You mark that change with baptism. Then your sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus.
C. Jesus was here to change sinners - Mark 2 17
III. Repent, and turn to God - Acts 26:20
A. The word “repent” comes from the Greek work metanoeo.
1. A compound word of meta (change) and noeo (to use the mind)
2. It originally was used for hindsight, reflect back on what one did, to change your mind about it.
3. In particular, it meant to reconsider something with regret
4. Repentance is the spiritual aspect, changing how you think about something
B. The word “turn” comes from the Greek word epistrepho
1. It too is a compound of epi (on) and strepho (turn)
2. It means to turn around, do an about face, to be converted
3. The emphasis here is the change in behavior, to return to where you once were
a. This can be seen in Acts 15:36, “Let us go again”
b. The idea of conversion is that you were once righteous and with God, but you left and are now returning - Romans 7:9-11
c. In other words, we don’t start life sinful, but righteous. We then lose our way - Ecclesiastes 7:29
d. God calls us back - Acts 3:19 - Be converted
e. Returning to the shepherd - I Peter 2:25
C. Why two descriptions?
1. Because sin starts in our thoughts and then comes out of us - Mark 7:21-23
2. To change, it also must start with a change in our mind that comes out in our actions
3. Repentance is saying “No” to sin. Conversion is saying “Yes” to righteousness.
IV. The role of sorrow
A. At the message of Peter, the Jews were pricked in their hearts - Acts 2:37
1. This lead to asking what they must do
2. And the answer was first to repent - Acts 2:38
3. Sorrow over the past isn’t changing your mind
B. This has been on my mind of late because I been talking to a young man caught up in adultery. He regrets his behavior. He knows he needs to stop. But it continues.
1. “I can’t control myself”
2. There is an element missing
C. Godly sorrow changes how you think about sin - II Corinthians 7:9-11
1. Which in turn leads to a change in behavior
2. Fruit worthy or suitable for repentance - Matthew 3:8
V. In the rush to offer people salvation, we cannot forget the importance of repenting before baptism
A. I’ve heard some many argue “You are denying me salvation.”
1. But the truth is that they are living in a sinful situation of which they have no intentions of leaving
2. Their attitude toward their sin hasn’t changed; therefore, their behavior remains the same.
3. Baptizing someone who is unrepentant of sin doesn’t do a bit of good. In fact, it causes harm by giving a false sense of security
B. Some approach baptism as a way to stop the sinning. But it doesn’t.
1. You have to first have a change in attitude toward sin. Not just surface grief over committing sin, but a determination to stop it.
2. Baptism gives you a clean slate from which to work on your new lifestyle.
C. Changing doesn’t get any easier, the longer you wait.
D. If you are ready to leave the world behind with all its troubles and cares, now is the time make that shift and enter into the covenant of Christ.