This morning when studying in Matthew 4 and 5, the Bible reminded me that Jesus’ first public sermon was “Repent: for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  How much more the Kingdom of heaven is at hand now, than it was 2000 years ago.  Look around, do you see the prophecies coming true all around us?  Surely Jesus is coming quickly, and we must be ready.  Many people “ask Jesus into their life”, but no repentance takes place.  And then they wonder why they don’t become a new creature in Christ Jesus.  You know, I can’t find ANYPLACE in the scripture that tells us to “ask Jesus into our life”. We get that from “religion”, not from the Bible.

             Maybe that’s odd I’m saying this, but perhaps we should start examining the way we are used to doing things, to see if it’s in line with what Jesus and His disciples taught about salvation.  Peter preached repentance, and so did Paul, and the revelation that John received from the Holy Spirit also spoke of repentance in the message to the seven churches.  But the churches nowadays are preaching a different gospel, a gospel of “seeker friendly”.  I can’t see where John the Baptist was “seeker friendly”.  That man told it like it was, and he didn’t care whether they liked it or not. He was more concerned with the condition of their soul, than being popular..   Look at Matthew 3:5-12,

“Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,  And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:  And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

    Well, I’m here to tell you, we don’t hear many messages like that anymore, do we?  Maybe it’s time we should.  It isn’t about “filling churches”, it’s about souls for the Kingdom of God.   Actually, it isn’t even about getting people healed, or prospered, though that’s good and we need it in the Body of Christ.

 But the bottom line is, and should be, souls saved.  And though I have a healing ministry, I never lose sight of the reason Jesus came to earth, and that is John 3:16-17.  I see God uses healing like a “dinner bell” to call people to Himself, to show those who don’t know Him, that He is a gracious and merciful Heavenly Father. 

    For those who are already in the Body of Christ, healing is part and parcel with their salvation, one of the “benefits” that Psalm 103:2-3 tells us not to forget.

    But getting back to “repentance”, it’s not hard for a child of God from time to time to wander a little off the path, and repentance is something that is not just a “one-time” thing, but something that is a life-long process..  The world will ALWAYS beckon you to come back to your old ways.. 

            Think of it like a car.  Most every new car starts out right, and goes fine for a while, but after a while, things start getting out of whack, and adjustments become necessary. Think of repentance like adjustments.   Neglect the adjustments too long and the car eventually becomes unusable and winds up in the junk pile.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen far too many Christians that were on fire for Jesus, winning souls for Him, who have “cooled off” and lost their first love for God.  Is repentance in order?  You tell me.

    The Lord Jesus spoke these words to John, in Revelation 2:1-7. Mind you, this was spoken to the church.  “Believers”, if you will.   If these words don’t put the fear of God into you, then you’re already dead. 

             “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;  I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.  Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.  But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”

       Is there such a thing as “overcoming” without repentance?  Apparently not.  The Apostle Paul wrote something very sobering in 1 Corinthians 9:27; “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

        Paul wasn’t in fear of losing his salvation, but rather, becoming unfruitful for the Kingdom of God.   Now Jesus said in Luke 5:32, I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.   Did Paul preach repentance?  You bet!  Did he say, “Just ask Jesus into your heart and you’ll be saved”?  Not that I can find.  We do people an injustice by telling them all they have to do is ask Jesus into their life and they will be saved.  Jesus warned in Matthew 7:13-23  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.  Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.   A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.   Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.   Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

      And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

       Who, therefore, are those who work iniquity?  It must be those who “asked Jesus into their heart”, but didn’t repent of their sins.  You may ask, what does “repent” mean, as a way of trying to get out of it, somewhat like a previous President once said, It depends on what your definition of “is” is….Repent means STOP sinning, and not just making excuses for it, or feeling sorry for it, and keeping on doing it anyway.  It means totally turning away from wickedness, forsaking it, leaving it behind completely.  You’d be amazed at how many people I talk to that try to make excuses for their sin.  They might say, “Oh, I’ve tried to stop that, but it’s just too hard to do. But the Lord knows my heart, and will forgive me.”  Yes, the Lord DOES know your heart, and when you stand before Him saying Lord, Lord, He will say, Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  Is holding onto a sin or a habit the Lord wants you to forsake, worth that?

As far as I can see, there are only two options.  Either we will hear “WELL DONE”, or we will be “well done”.  Need I say more? 


 Rev 3:19,  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.