Take your Bibles, please, and turn to Acts 20:20-21, in the King James Version of the Scriptures. The Bible says, the apostle Paul speaking:
20 .......I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, 21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
I want to speak to you today on the subject: "Repentance and Faith." These two terms, like many Bible terms, are greatly misunderstood. This morning, with the help of God, we hope to clarify them for you.
Repentance and Faith are two sides of the same coin. You cannot have one without the other. The salvation of the soul depends upon both. Charles Spurgeon, the famous Baptist preacher, called them the "Siamese twins" of salvation. They have also been referred to as the "two hinges upon which the door of salvation swings." The great evangelist and founder of the Methodist church, John Wesley, said that "repentance is the porch, and faith is the door, that leads to salvation."
If you look at our text this morning, you will see that the apostle Paul refers to the means of salvation as the "gospel of the grace of God" in Acts 20:24, and he states that the method of salvation is "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" in verse 21 of the same chapter.
Let's examine what the Bible says about Repentance and Faith as necessary to salvation.
First of all, we will discuss the doctrine of Repentance. As Wesley said, "Repentance is the porch" that leads to salvation. The first step to being saved is the matter of repentance. You must repent in order to be saved.
The first message that John the Baptist preached was in Matthew 3:2, and his message began with one word: "Repent!"
The first recorded message of the Lord Jesus Christ is found in Matthew 4:17, and that message began with that same word: "Repent!"
In Mark 6:12, when the Lord sent out the 12 apostles to proclaim His word, the Bible says that "they went out, and preached that men should repent."
In the book of Luke, chapter 13, and verses 3 and 5, Jesus said twice: "...except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
After His resurrection from the dead, when Christ gave the Great Commission to His Apostles, He told them to preach the "repentance of sins." (Luke 24:47)
At the feast of Pentecost the apostle Peter, as recorded in Acts 2:38, told the crowd gathered together that day to "Repent!"
In the city of Athens while standing upon Mars' Hill and speaking to the superstitious intellectuals of his day, Paul the apostle told them that God "now commandeth all men everywhere to repent" in Acts 17:30.
The Bible tells us in 2 Peter, chapter 3 and verse 9, that "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
We can see from these verses that God commands repentance and that God demands repentance!
Now in spite of what some say, God would never command a man to do something that he was unable to do. When God commands, He also enables. If God told you to repent, then God will grant you the ability to do so. As a matter of fact, the Bible tells us that God grants repentance! in Acts 11:18, and that repentance, just like faith, is a gift of God in Acts 5:31.
Now, what does it mean to repent? It means to "turn to God from sin" and it means "a change your mind" that affects the way you think and the way you live.
The apostle Paul said in our text at the beginning of the message that preached "repentance toward God." And in Acts 26:20 that he preached that men need to "repent and turn to God." The idea is that man is born with his back turned to God and that he needs to repent and TURN BACK TO GOD!
When a man turns back to God, he in essence turns his back on sin - that is what the Bible calls repenting of sin: to turn from sin to God.
Repentance is also a "change of mind." That is the other basic definition of the word. You could say that to repent means to change your mind about 3 things:
You change your mind about yourself: you acknowledge that you are guilty sinner before God and stand in need of His forgiveness. You quit seeing yourself as good enough to get to heaven on your own, or good enough to get there with a little help from Jesus, and you see yourself as the Bible says you are - a sinner, lost, and on your way to hell without Jesus Christ.
You change your mind about salvation: you agree with what the Bible says, that salvation is by grace through faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and not by works of righteousness that you do.
You change your mind about the Saviour: you accept the fact that Christ and His work on the Cross are the only means of salvation, the only way to Heaven.
That is what repentance is. To turn from sin and turn to God. To change your mind about yourself, about salvation and about the Saviour.
But now, as Mr. Wesley said, repentance is the porch. To be saved, we must go through the door.
This brings us to the second point of this morning's message. Not only must we have repentance, but we must have faith. The combination of repentance and faith is what the Bible calls "the gospel of the grace of God." To be saved, you must do as the apostle Paul in our text. There must be "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
The Lord Jesus Himself said in Mark 1:15, "Repent ye, and believe the gospel."
Before a person can believe, that individual must repent - he or she must turn in their hearts from sin unto God, and change their minds to agree with the Bible about their sinful condition and the Bible remedy. This repenting and believing can occur simultaneously, or it may occur over a period of time. I don't mean to say that salvation is a process, but that God deals with a soul over a period of time to prepare him for the moment that he will truly repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. At the moment that a person repents and accepts Christ as his or her Saviour, that person is born again. But it may not happen the first time someone hears the gospel. Most of you in the listening audience who are saved did not get saved the very first time you heard the message of salvation. In my case, I had been familiar with the Bible and the Gospel, but when God began to deal with my heart and convict me of my sin, it was nine months before I actually received Christ as my Saviour and was born again.
Solid Rock Baptist Church - Serving the Lord in the Memphis/Mid-South area