A Parable of Repentance

Key Principle #4: REPENTANCE (part 1 )

“There is no more confused message that you and I could give
to a lost and dying world than to live in sin
and at the same time to tell people about the transforming power of Jesus Christ.
God will not use a compromised life to reach a compromised world.”
Joe Focht, pastor of Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia
2And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried...to ask alms from those who entered the temple; 3who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms... 6Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." 7And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them--walking, leaping, and praising God.
Acts Chapter 3

     One sadly lacking aspect of the modern church is that it has forgotten its roots. The very foundational sermon of both John the Baptist and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was a message of repentance. The gospel of Mark, perhaps the first of the gospels written, can hardly get out of the gate without laying down the word of "repentance" in the fourth verse of the first chapter.

     Peter's first sermon climaxes in Acts 2:38 with a frank and solemn response to the crowd's cry of "what must we do?"

"Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

     One of my college professors referred the book of Acts as “the Gospel of the Holy Spirit,” compared to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John being “the Gospels of Jesus Christ.” In the gospels of Jesus Christ, our Lord used parables to show the truths He was teaching. And in chapter 3 of “the Gospel of the Holy Spirit,” God uses a parable to show the story of repentance, but not a parable in words, rather a parable through a real life situation of raising a lame man.

A Parable of Repentance

The man was born lame;
we are born in sins.

He had to be carried to ask for alms;
we are helpless to save ourselves.

He looked to Peter and John, not for healing, but for alms.
Many, if not all, initially look to Christ not for a cure but for a crutch.

     Peter did not give the lame man what he wanted, he gave him what he needed. A spirit-filled believer will point sinners to salvation and once redeemed to repentance. Not only was the lame man healed, but God gave him strength to walk and knowledge not only how to walk (remember, he was lame from birth), but also how to leap and praise God. God also gives us salvation and gives us the ability to walk, run, and leap for joy in our Christian walk through repentance from sins. Though he could walk, he held on to Peter and John, and though we are delivered from our sins, we need other believers and the church to lean upon.

     When the lame man was healed, he could do many things he could never do since birth. But there was one thing he could never do again. Once healed, the lame man could not go back and beg for alms; no one would give him anything since it was made known he could walk. Likewise, we cannot experience salvation and then expect to go back to our sins and derive the same pleasures. We were saved to work out our salvation, just as the lame man was healed to work out his newly acquired ability to walk. Look at Phil. 2:12:

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

     The topic of Peter’s sermon is a topic of repentance and conversion, or changing your heart, mind, and action as a part of salvation. The lame man’s life was changed after his healing and our lives will be changed after our salvation. The man could walk, but now had to get a job and work for his income, but not for his healing. We also must repentant of our sins as spirit-filled believers, not for our salvation, but because it was for our good works we were created and saved. Read Eph. 2:10:

10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

     The church today should not at all be surprised that repentance is a major part of the New Testament, but is it a part of preaching today in our churches? Is repentance something that you find yourself doing as a regular part of your Christian life? Both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ preached a regular message of “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”

     If your newspaper carries the sermon titles in its religion section, I would be utterly shocked to see such a title in any church, but it was a major if not the main topic of the sermons of the New Testament.



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