by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: II Corinthians 7:8-11
I. In any pursuit, people develop jargon
A. The jargon speeds up communication with people in the same group but can be confusing to outsiders because they don’t know the definition of words
B. Christianity is no different. We sometimes forget what it is like for someone who hasn’t been exposed to the Word of God.
C. More confusing is that the world will impose its own definition that misses the true meaning
II. What is repentance?
A. Repentance begins with regret for the things done in the past
1. Sorrow is not repentance, but an attitude that leads one to repentance.
2. At times we realize on our own that we have done wrong, but most often we find out because someone took the time to point out our faults, as Paul did with the Corinthians.
a. Being told that we are wrong, even when we know it, is never fun - Hebrews 12:9-11
b. Too often, to cover our embarrassment, we turn on the one rebuking us. - Amos 5:10
(1) In our own shame, we don’t see that those delivering the rebuke are doing so out of love and concern for us. - Revelation 3:19
(2) God doesn’t enjoy rebuking the sinner, but He wants us to repent - Lamentations 3:30-40
c. Instead, we need to appreciate those who chasten us - Proverbs 9:8-9
B. But sorrow is useless if it doesn’t cause an improvement.
1. Some sorrow, not over their wrongs but over the fact they were caught.
2. The word “repentance” means to change direction - Acts 26:20
3. Acts 14:15 - We should turn from this useless world towards the living God.
4. A godly sorrow produces a change that leads to salvation and that is not something useless or to be regretted - II Corinthians 7:10
5. If we stay in our sins, we would die because the wages of sin is death - Romans 6:23
C. If you truly realize that changing your life toward the better is important, then you will make every effort to make sure the change is correctly implemented.
1. It is too easy to think you are doing right if you are not checking - I Corinthians 10:12
2. Earnestness or carefulness - II Corinthians 7:11
3. Titus 3:8 - Careful to maintain good works
4. Proverbs 14:16 - A wise man is careful and turns from evil
D. There is even some disgust with ourselves for falling for the trap of sin
1. Ephraims’ disgust with the sins of their youth - Jeremiah 31:18-19
2. Indignation, as the king showed when he was forced to send Daniel into the lions’ den. He was displeased with himself – he was indignate - Daniel 6:14
E. If we truly realize that we were wrong, then we will work to clear our misdeeds.
1. Repentance is useless if we don’t take it personally, as a matter of honor, to fix our mistakes.
2. Show by our good works - Acts 26:20
3. Ephesians 4:17-24 - A change in life
4. I Peter 1:14-16 - Be holy like God.
5. I Peter 4:2-4 - We are no longer living as the world.
6. I Peter 2:11-12 - A change that those in the world notice.
7. Zaccheus showed that zeal to change - Luke 19:8-9
8. Isaiah 55:7 - Let a man show his repentance in what he then does.
F. There is fear of the consequences if we do not make some change.
1. God is impartial, so we ought to conduct ourselves with fear - I Peter 1:17
2. We don’t want to come short as Esau did - Hebrews 12:15-17
G. There is a strong desire, a zeal, to do the best that we can.
1. Revelation 3:19 - Be zealous and repent
2. Titus 2:14 - Zealous for good works
H. With the decision to change our lives, there is a change in our attitude about ourselves.
1. Sure, I did wrong, but I found out before it is too late and I’m going to do something about it!
2. Our sorrow is replaced with dedication and joy.
III. The Corinthians did not stay in their sorrow, they changed their lives for the better and in their eagerness to please God, they cleared themselves of the wrong they had done.
A. They showed the world that they were now innocent.
B. Repentance is not some invisible change in thought, it shows itself in all that we do; both in correcting our past wrongs and living righteously in the future.
C. If we are going to live righteously, we must first prepare ourselves by removing the wickedness from our lives - Jeremiah 4:1-3
1. To attempt to do righteousness without first removing wickedness is like a farmer trying to plant a crop without first removing the weeds and breaking up the ground.
IV. Will you change your lives this day? Repent of your past wrongs, do the works suitable for repentance, and live righteously before our God.