Repentance is Service to God
Key Principle #4: Repentance (part 3)
13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. 14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.
Acts 3:13-15Repentance Is Service to God
In Peter’s sermon, did you notice that he calls Jesus God’s “Servant” (Acts 3:13)? What an odd title for the Son of God! It was no fluke, because he also uses it in verse 26 and it is found in Acts 4:27, 30. It is not unique to the book of Acts. “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles” (Matt. 12:18).
We must note that Jesus is not referred to as our Servant, but rather as God’s Servant. Jesus humbled Himself by leaving the glories of heaven and became obedient to even death on the cross. He did it provide our salvation, but also to show us an example. Read John 13:12-17.
12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
Clearly, Jesus did not have any sins to repent of, but He was God’s Servant in that He fully obeyed His heavenly Father in all ways, including washing the feet of the disciples. Remember, repentance is a change of the mindset, and surely Jesus’ mindset was vastly different from the world and from the disciples. While they were arguing over who was the greatest, Jesus was washing their feet. He was God’s Servant.
Even before this, when Jesus was making His way to Jerusalem to die on the cross, the disciples were arguing over who was the greatest, and Jesus said, “Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:26-27). We should become a servant, just as Jesus did. Jesus called such service a cup to drink and a baptism to be immersed with, and that meant even if it meant serving someone to the point of our own death.
Some believers say “I don’t have to _____ to be a Christian,” and they fill in a blank with something that they don’t want to do. (Can’t you hear Peter’s thoughts, “I don't have to wash feet, I walked on water with Jesus.”) Those people somehow think that because they were saved by God’s grace through faith as a gift of God, that somehow that salvation makes them God’s gift to this earth! Those people want the blessings but are not willing to drink the cup Jesus drank.
But if God commands us to do something, shouldn’t we want to, and even if we don’t want to, shouldn’t we obey? Serving God generally calls us to do things our natural selves do not want to do.
Those people are like the ones whom Paul questioned in asking, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
Those same people (not you or me, I’m talking about those people) also will say, “I can _____ and still be a Christian,” and they fill in that blank by listing some questionable or even some admittedly open sin that they would contest they can continue to practice even though it contradicts God’s commands and teachings in the Bible. Or maybe even if they don't do those things, they will support the lifestyles of others whose lives contradict God’s commands or Biblical teachings. “You are being legalistic,” that person may say if he or she is questioned about their unrepentant lifestyle. Those people want the honor of being along side of Christ but are not willing to be baptized with the immersion of sacrifice and service in which Jesus was baptized.
Such a person is like one of those whom Paul again questioned in Romans 6:16, asking, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?”
But we are better than those people, are we not? But who are those people? They were the disciples of Christ, who walked with him, cast out demons, baptized others, yet were unwilling to wash each other's feet on the night Jesus was betrayed. Oh, yes, we are certainly better than those people.
Do you want a test to see if you are one of those people? Do this: When you read the Bible and it tells you to do something you don’t want to do or when God tells you to not do something you really want to do, do you respond in OBEDIENCE or OBJECTIONS. Do you provide excuses or provide an example for what a true servant of God is.