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Saturday, April 30, 2016

DEACON RUN CHURCHES

PASTOR-LED CHURCHES VS. DEACON-LED CHURCHES

A WARNING ABOUT MODERN DAY DEACON BOARDS OPERATING CONTRARY TO SCRIPTURES!
When ever this topic is touched on it brings to the surface a delicate issue. God is the one who created the office of "deacon." However, the evolution of the office has been misshaped by churches who are abdicating pastoral responsibilities. Major denominations have ruined Biblical church polity by creating Trustee Boards and Deacon Boards with powers far beyond Scriptural boundaries to the detriment of local churches.

When someone brings it to the attention of God's people visceral attitudes are expressed in emails and articles defending the usurping of pastoral power with deacon boards. Thank God for every deacon who knows his place of service. I am grateful for the men who served with me in my decades of pastoring. 

However, I had to work to keep outside influences of denominational powers from perverting the office of deacon in the churches I pastored. God intended for them to wait on tables so the man of God could study the word, pray, teach, and preach for God's people. When men of God begin to give away power that does not belong to them to deacons it becomes a cancer and nothing good will come from it.

Good churches have been destroyed because of a church polity that does not exist in the Scriptures. No deacon or deacon board should EVER decide the life or death of ministries.  I detest that kind of power in the hand of a board. God's men make those decisions not deacons. In many cases the man of God is TOLD what ministry can live and what ministry MUST DIE. No Biblical basis for this action.

Recently I was told to cease a God-given ministry by a deacon board. The board demanded the pastor tell me to resign that ministry.  I had no obligation to do so because they did not like that particular ministry. God told me to start it and start it I did.  There was no Biblical basis for such a demand from those deacons.  It would have been so easy to give in to their pressure because of the financial repercussions of their threats. BUT, I could not do so!

This happens more than even I would like to know. It saddens me for I remember the demands on Dr. Lee Roberson, which led to his resignation. His son John asked me if I would serve on the Trustee Board because of their pressures on his dad. This type of government in the local church is NOT BIBLICAL and is deadly for any local church.

THE DEEDS OF THE NICOLAITANS


"But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate."  Revelation 2:6 Have you ever wondered who the "Nicolaitans" were, mentioned in the book of Revelation? Whoever they were, Jesus loathed their doctrine and hated their deeds. Let's delve into this subject today to see if we can ascertain the identity of this group. What was their damnable doctrine? What deeds were they committing that elicited such a strong reaction from Jesus? 

Let's begin in Revelation 2:6, where Jesus told the church of Ephesus, "But this thou hast [in your favor], that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate." Jesus was proud of the church of Ephesus for their "hatred" of the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which He also "hated." 

The word "hate" is a strong word, so let's see exactly what it means. It comes from the Greek word miseo, which means to hate, to abhor, or to find utterly repulsive. It describes a person who has a deep-seated animosity, who is antagonistic to something he finds to be completely objectionable. He not only loathes that object, but rejects it entirely. This is not just a case of dislike; it is a case of actual hatred

Any doctrine or practice that hurts the espoused bride of Christ, for whom He shed his blood for, is a dangerous path to tread.

The thing Jesus hated about them was their "deeds." The word "deeds" is the Greek word erga, which means works. However, this word is so all-encompassing that it pictures all the deeds and behavior of the Nicolaitans - including their actions, beliefs, conduct, and everything else connected to them. 

To crack the door for compromise silently and secretly to override the local church is the action of the Nicolaitans. Jesus died and shed His blood for the local church not a board or a denomination. For there to be any authority over and above a local church is the goal of the Nicolaitans.

The name "Nicolaitans" is derived from the Greek word nikolaos, a compound of the words nikos and laos. The word nikos is the Greek word that means to conquer or to subdue. The word laos is the Greek word for the people. It is also where we get the word laity. When these two words are compounded into one, they form the name Nicolas, which literally means one who conquers and subdues the people

It seems to suggest that the Nicolaitans were somehow conquering and subduing the laity or the members of the local church. His say took precedence over their say as a local church.

The Nicolaitans were the spiritual descendants of Nicolas of Antioch, who had been ordained as a deacon in Acts 6:5. That verse says, "And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch." 

We know quite a lot of information about some of these men who were chosen to be the first deacons, whereas little is known of others. For instance, we know that the chief criteria for their selection was that they were men "...of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom..."(v. 3). Once they had been chosen, they were presented by the people to the apostles, who laid hands on them, installing 
and officially placing them as deacons. 

Stephen 

Like the other men, Stephen was of good report, filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom. However, Acts 6:5 makes a remark about Stephen that is unique only to him. It says that he was "...a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost...." This stronger level of faith may have been a contributing factor to the development recorded in Acts 6:8: "And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people." 

Stephen was a God-called evangelist, and he was later privileged to be the first martyr in the history of the Church - killed at the order of Saul of Tarsus, who later became known as the apostle Paul (see Acts 7:58-8:1). The deacon ministry was vital proving ground to prepare Stephen for the fivefold office of the evangelist. The name Stephen is from the Greek word stephanos, and it means crown. This is worth noting, for he was the first to receive a martyr's crown. 

Philip 

Philip was with the other six original deacons. However, Acts 21:8 informs us that Philip later stepped in the ministry of the evangelist. He had four daughters who prophesied (v. 9). Just as the deacon training was proving ground for Stephen to step into the office of the evangelist, it was also Philip's school of ministry to prepare him for evangelistic ministry. The name Philip means lover of horses. This name often symbolized a person who ran with swiftness, as does a horse - a fitting name for a New Testament evangelist who ran swiftly to carry the Gospel message. 

Prochorus 

Very little is known about this member of the original deacons. His name, Prochorus, is a compound of the Greek words pro and chorus. The word pro means before or in front of, as with the position of a leader. The word "chorus" is the old Greek word for where we get the word choreography

Nicanor 

This unknown brother was found to be of good report, filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom. Other than this, nothing is known of him. He is never mentioned again in the New Testament after Acts 6. His name, Nicanor, means conqueror

Timon 

Like Nicanor mentioned above, Timon was known to be of good report, filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom. Nothing more is known of him outside of Acts 6. His name means honorable or of great value

Parmenas We know nothing more of Parmenas other than what is mentioned here in Acts 6. His name is a compound of the words para and meno - the word para meaning alongside and meno meaning to remain or to abide. Compounded together, his name came to mean one who sticks alongside and conveyed the idea of one who is devoted, loyal, and faithful

Nicolas 

Acts 6:5 tells us that this Nicolas was "a proselyte of Antioch." The fact that he was a proselyte tells us that he was not born a Jew but had converted from paganism to Judaism. Then he experienced a second conversion, this time turning from Judaism to Christianity. From this information, we know these facts about Nicolas of Antioch:

  • - He came from paganism and had deep pagan roots. It was very much unlike the other six deacons who came from a pure Hebrew line. Nicolas' pagan background meant that he had previously been immersed in the activities of the occult.

  • - He was not afraid of taking an opposing position, evidenced by his ability to change religions twice. Converting to Judaism would have estranged him from his pagan family and friends. It would seem to indicate that he was not impressed or concerned about the opinions of other people.
  
  • - He was a free thinker and very open to embracing new ideas and concepts. Judaism was very different from the pagan and occult world in which he had been raised. For him to shift from paganism to Judaism reveals that he was very liberal in his thinking, for most pagans were offended by Judaism. He was obviously not afraid to entertain or embrace new ways of thinking. 

  • - When he converted to Christ, it was at least the second time he had converted from one religion to another. We don't know if, or how many times, he shifted from one form of paganism to another before he became a Jewish proselyte. His ability to easily change religious "hats" implies that he was not afraid to switch direction in midstream and go a totally different direction. 

According to the writings of the Early Church leaders, Nicolas taught a doctrine of compromise, implying that total separation between Christianity and the practice of occult paganism was not essential. From Early Church records, it seems apparent that this Nicolas of Antioch was so immersed in occultism, Judaism, and Christianity that he had a stomach for all of it. 

He had no problem intermingling these belief systems in various concoctions and saw no reason why believers couldn't continue to fellowship with those still immersed in the black magic of the Roman empire and its countless mystery cults. This influence and ability to conquer the members of a local church is destruction in the making. No board or individual should dictate, but should be dictated to by the decisions of the local church membership or it ceases to be a local church.

CONCLUSION

It is significant that the "deeds" and "doctrines" of the Nicolaitans are only mentioned in connection with the churches in two occultic and pagan cities. It seems that the "doctrine" of the Nicolaitans was that it was alright to have one foot in both worlds and that one needn't be so strict about separation from the world in order to be a Christian. This, in fact, was the "doctrine" of the Nicolaitans that Jesus "hated." 

It led to a weak version of Christianity that was without power and without conviction - a defeated, worldly type of Christianity. The conquering of the laity or members of the local church was hated by Christ. 

The overthrowing of local church entity, autonomy, and indigenousness was despised by Christ. It would lead to compromise. Christ's church is to be presented without spot and blemish. This cannot happen if one or a group of ones dictate and usurp authority over a local New Testament Church autonomous and indigenous church polity.

Nicolas' deep roots in paganism may have produced in him a tolerance for occultism and paganism. Growing up in this perverted spiritual environment may have caused him to view these belief systems as not so damaging or dangerous. This wrong perception would have resulted in a very liberal viewpoint that encouraged people to stay connected to the world. This is what numerous Bible scholars believe about the Nicolaitans.  

They justified their position by getting their way through conquering the local church bathing it in compromise by controlling the life and death of ministries given by God.

This kind of teaching would result in nothing but total defeat for its followers. When believers allow a persona or a board to over rule the man of God, his ministries, and the local church they are opening up the potential of sin and compromise to be in their lives. It drains away the power in the work of the Cross and the power of the Spirit that is resident in a believer's life. 

Ministries are given by God to His man not the deacon board. These ministries belong to God and in many cases not even the local church. Some ministries are birthed in a local church, but many are brought to a local church by a man of God. What right does a deacon have to shut down a ministry given by God. The man of God is the custodian for those ministries.

This is the reason the name Nicolas is so vital to this discussion. The evil fruit of Nicolas' "doctrine" encouraged worldly participation, leading people to indulge in sin and a lowered godly standard. 

In this way he literally conquered the members of a local church and over threw their stand by controlling the life or death of ministries.  

God wants to make sure we understand the doctrine the Nicolaitans taught, so Balaam's actions are given as an example of their doctrine and actions. Revelation 2:14,15 says, "But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate."

Just as the men of Israel compromised themselves with the world and false religions, now the "doctrine" of the Nicolaitans was encouraging compromise via over ruling the the man of God, his ministries, and the local church membership's stand as a local church. As you are well aware, compromise with the world always results in a weakened and powerless form of Christianity. 

No board or no one person should ever over rule a local church, the men of God, their ministries; for if they do they open the door to compromise by over throwing the local church autonomy. When they force a vote with threatening statements something is wrong. No deacon board should ever demand to oversee a ministry or demand a ministry be stopped. When the pastor forfeits his spiritual role a vacuum is created and it will be filled by the deacons.

This was the reason Jesus "hated" the "doctrine" and the "deeds" of the Nicolaitans. No board should ever over rule the vote of a local church for if they do they open the door to compromise with "board rule" instead of "church rule."  

They should never rule ministries with an up or down vote on its very existence. This is not their place. Taking care of the widows and the physical is there ONLY role. When they make a back room decision and then threaten the church that they had better agree with the back room deal, nothing good will come from this overthrowing of valid ministries.

Thus the "deeds of the Nicolaitans" leads to compromise and generations to follow will pay the price of their compromise of overthrowing the will of the local church.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

PROPER TREATMENT OF PREDECESSORS

God Used Your Predecessors




I have pastored two churches over my forty plus years in ministry. The common denominator of both churches was that I followed other men who had pastored before me. Unless you start a church you are faced with having predecessors, men who have gone before you. Tragically often predecessors are villainized by their successors. It is easy to identify weaknesses and problems when you take a church.

Often we see things differently than men to of gone before us. Rather than merely correcting their mistakes or adjusting things we want to change we find fault in them and become critical. The easiest thing to do is to criticize and even villainize predecessors. I have seen many relationships hurt because a pastor came in and developed a poor spirit towards his predecessor.

If I learned anything from Dr. Hyles it was to always manifest a gracious spirit. It is interesting that we can show grace to many people, but pastors often find it difficult to show grace to their predecessors. Dr. Hyles was one of the most gracious men towards his predecessors of any pastor I've ever known. The way he treated those before him was unprecedented in his kindness and generosity.

He never sought to lift himself above those men even though they were very different from him he was gracious in the extreme towards them. His example taught me how I should treat my predecessors, so let me share with you some of those principles.

1. Quickly find the good of your predecessor and keep those things in the forefront of your mind. My predecessors did good things and I wanted to remember them for those things rather than to demonize them for things in which I may have differed. It is tragic that we find the bad rather than the good. Identify the good things they did. They purchased land and built buildings that aided growth. They fought battles that only they could have fought and won.  Admiration was the least I or you could do for these men. Honoring them is a sign of strength not weakness. It is a sin not to show respect for their labors of love. Without those battles, wars, tears, and labor there would be no ministry for us to lead.

2. Be grateful for the people they left you. The people that I pastored when I took a church were there because of the men before me. How foolish for me to ignore that. Those were his people before they were mine. I should be grateful for any contribution he made in their lives. Often I would remind the people to write or contact the one who labored for them to express their gratitude. Ingratitude for those who preceded us is one of the worst sins committed, not only by men of God but the people of God.

3. Find ways to honor your predecessor. Do not be threatened by what he did or the love that people have for him. Honor him. Allow your people to show their gratitude to him. Lead the way in treating him right. Never belittle those who preceded you with derogatory comments. Never do anything to hurt them especially as they grow older.

4. Do not expect your people to immediately love you more than they love him. Do not be jealous. Be grateful that they love their former pastor, because one day you may be their former pastor and you will hope that they still love you. Dr. Hyles used to say, “I don't need to be loved most, just put me somewhere on your list of ones you love.” The more one can love the greater the capacity to love one possesses. Tearing down a predecessor will come back to haunt you no matter how right you are.

5. Do not accentuate his mistakes. This happens far too often. Men take a church and immediately begin to put a spotlight on the mistakes of their predecessor. That is so little and small. Do not be so trite. Of course you are going to find mistakes. You are going to find weaknesses. Do not point these out. Make your adjustments without being critical. Never discuss with others the condition of the members as you found them, nor the financial condition you found when you became pastor. Thank God for what you have to work with and go to work.

6. Seek counsel from him. One way not to develop a poor spirit is to call him occasionally and seek his advice. You do not know everything about pastoring and you certainly do not know everything about that church. You do not know everything about that city. Pick up the phone about once a month and call him for advice. Let your people know that you sought his advice. He probably knows some things with which he can help you. This creates a great atmosphere of trust and love for all concerned.

7. Fight your jealousy. When I say fight, I mean fight with all your ability. Jealousy will destroy you. Do not allow yourself to be jealous of him in anyway. Do not compare yourself to him. Do not try to beat him in your preaching or in your organization skills. God placed you there and intended for you to learn from your predecessor. There are things he knows that you do not. No matter how he did or did not excel in his preaching or teaching there is no reason to place questions on his abilities. Be the best you can be for those members while thanking God for the investment of those who preceded you as pastor.

8. Do not tear him down to build yourself up. This is a mistake but far too many pastors make. Never tear down the former pastor. Never speak ill of him nor allow others to be critical of him to you. It is easy to allow a critical statement to made in your presence, for it feeds your flesh and makes you look better, you think. The truth is it allows the critical person permission to do it not only to you, but also to other leaders. If you allow this to be done to your predecessor, you will have it happen to you one day. The work of reaching souls suffers when the workers are assailed.

9. If he left under bad circumstances, do your best to help the people recover without bitterness towards him. If there was a moral failing, lead the people to forgiveness and a desire to see him restored. If he left the church with financial problems, do not assume that he was dishonest. Fix the problem without casting a negative reflection on the man. Accentuating his failures will not fix the problems. If you feel he did not handle the finances properly, keep it to yourself. Do not make his failures an issue. Sometimes pastors leave under negative circumstances, but you should live in the positive, not the negative. Some people will be hurting. Help them deal with her their hurts without pouring gasoline on the fire of their anger and bitterness. Never blame the former pastor. Both the members and the pastor must take responsibility. You will sabotage your own ministry if you do other wise.

10. Seek ways you can be a blessing to him and to his family. You will be glad that you do this. Lead your church to do positive things for their former pastor. Take an offering form occasionally. If you find out that he has a need lead the church to meet that need. Find ways to be a blessing. If he retires take care of him financially.  

11. Don't talk to other preachers about the problems you inherited. Whether you like it or not that is derogatory and critical. They knew who the former pastor was. Your negative remarks may not mention his name, but they still cast reflection on him and more than that they cast reflection on you. That is not the way for a Christian, especially a pastor to behave. Speak highly of your predecessor to preacher friends. Do not make it sound like he failed or left a bad situation. Always remember where you succeed and he failed there will also be areas in which you failed and he succeeded.

12. Be a gentleman. I guess the best way to say it is just be a good Christian. Why is it so difficult for a pastor to take a church without feeling that he must cast dispersion on his predecessor? Brethren, it ought not to be. Brother Hyles was the epitimie of graciousness to his people, but also to his preacher brethren.

I am grateful for my predecessors and I am grateful for the example of Dr. Hyles in dealing with these men. They left me with people, buildings, ministries, and even the heritage upon which I could pastor my churches. They were not perfect men, but they were good men. They did not do everything the way that I did things, but they did them the way they thought they should. They may not have preached the way I preach, but they preached God’s Word. It is not my job to come in and undo what they did. It is my job to come in and build upon what they did.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

LOVE HURT RELATIONSHIP

When Those You Love the Most Hurt You the Most




There may not be the worst feeling in all the world than when someone you have loved the most does something that hurts you most. It may be that they did it on purpose or maybe they did it out of carelessness, but nevertheless they hurt you. I have felt that knife. I have known pain in my heart after someone I dearly loved said or did something that harmed me. The pain is intensified because of who it was that hurt you.


I am human. I confess that sometimes when I am hurt I yelp like a dog whose paw has just been stepped on. However, after the pain of being stepped on, a much deeper hurt occurs when you consider who it was that stepped on you. We expect our enemies to hurt us. We expect those who hate the cause of Christ to bring us harm. What we don't expect is for someone we love most to harm us and bring pain into our lives.


So what should we do when this happens? To be honest, what we should do and what we actually do are often diametrically opposite. There have been times I've reacted properly and times when I didn't. Therefore, I cannot tell you that this is what I've always done, but I can tell you this is what I wish I would always do and what I try to do.




1. Step away from them for a while. Someone asked Dr. Hyles what he did when someone rejected him. His answer was surprising. He said, “I reject my rejecters.” That sounds vindictive, but he went on to explain that sometimes when we are rejected we must reject back in order to avoid further conflict .Sometimes the distance will allow them to realize that they need us and still love us.


2. Forgive them for they may not know what they do. What Jesus was saying was they don't fully grasp what it is that they're doing. They knew what they were doing, but they didn't fully grasp the implications of what they were doing. I think that's what we have to remember. Sometimes people hurt us without stopping to think about the consequences of what they're doing or the implications of their behavior. Give them that same benefit of the doubt.


3. Be slow to answer. Here is perhaps the most difficult task. Most of us respond quickly and I would include myself in this. Sometimes the best thing we can do is not make that phone call, not send that email, not post that response, not speak those words. Sometimes the best thing we can do is nothing, until we had the opportunity to calm down and clear our minds.


4. Be still and know that he is God. When someone I love has hurt me I need some quiet time alone with God. Take a walk and pray. Go out into the woods and sing hymns or meditate on Scripture. Do as the Psalmist did and seek your refuge in that one who will never hurt you or harm you.


5. Remember in whose company you are walking. Those that Jesus loved the most denied and forsook him. If it happened to him then why should we expect that it would not happen to us. It's going to happen. Do not be a martyr, but identify with Christ.


6. Speak positively about those who hurt you. Don't slander them. Don't criticize them. Don't attack them. Find good things to say about them. Remember the good times not just this bad time.


7. Learn from it. It seems that when I have been hurt the most by those I've loved the most is also when I have learned the most. There are great lessons to be learned in the trials of betrayal. Learn them and pass them on to others.


8. Stay busy helping others. Nothing will make you forget the hurt brought on by those you've helped in the past like enjoying the blessings of those you help today. If someone you fed in the past hurts you go feed someone else today. If someone whose life you helped to salvage in the past has hurt you go find someone else whose life needs salvaged and try to help them. Don't stop doing what you should be doing because someone has hurt you.


9. Pray for and be willing to accept reconciliation. Sometimes the person who hurt you really did not mean to do it. It was a mistake they wish they had not made. Leave the door open for them to return. Pray that God would speak to their heart and allow the reconciliation to take place.


10. This is not the end of the world. You may feel like this is the end, but it may be just a new beginning. If God allowed it then we can endure it or He would never have allowed it in the first place. When we focus on being what God desires for us to be there is enough there to keep us occupied. Plus there are still many more people who need salvation and salvaging.  So, let’s get busy.


No doubt you too have been hurt by someone you deeply love. Just keep loving them. But, most of all keep loving your Lord who will never hurt you. Don't let it be your downfall. Do your best to follow some principles like these when you've been hurt by someone you dearly love. You will fail from time to time, but get back up and go at it again.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO REPENT?

TOO MUCH MISINFORMATION ABOUT BIBLE REPENTANCE!


REPENTANCE FROM UNBELIEF LEADS THE SAVED TO REPENTANCE OF SINS



Acts 2:38, “The Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

 The word “repent" can be defined as changing ones mind, reasoning, or opinion. In essence the word “repentance” means, “to change ones mind.” It could be defined as “a deciding to change” or  “a deciding to go another direction,” but basically it means to change one’s mind or direction. II Timothy 2:25, “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;”




 All we have to do is find out what makes a person lost spiritually. Then if we can change what makes that person lost then he or she can be saved from an eternal hell. Thus, one must repent from whatever it is that makes that one lost without salvation. John 3:18, “But he that believeth not is condemned already.” Why is a person condemned? Simple, because “he believeth not.” 

 If he is lost because he believes not then what must he do in order to be saved from going to hell? He must repent! Repent from what? Repent from believing not! If it is believing not that makes you lost then it is changing to believing that makes you saved.

 John 3:18, look at the last part of that verse, “because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten son of God.” What is it that makes a person lost and on their way to hell? Not believing in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 




 Which means if you do not believe on Jesus to pay for your sins and to take you to Heaven you are lost! John 3:18, “He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed.” Thus, a man is lost because he does not believe on the Son of God for payment of his sins.

 Man then must repent of that which makes him lost in order to be saved from a devil’s hell. John 3:36, “He that believeth not the son shall not see life.” What is it you do not do to see life? Believe not the Son of God. The verse goes on to say, “But the wrath of God abideth on you.” What do you have to do in order to have the wrath of God abiding on you? Believe not the Son of God. 

 Believing not is what makes one lost and on their way to hell. You must repent or change your mind about something you are doing to trust in to keep out of hell to what God says is THE way to heaven, which is to believe on the Son of God for payment of your sin penalty of hell. 




 You believe in your mind and your will. So, you must change your mind. You must change from “I will not receive Christ” to “I will receive Christ.” Consequently you must undo to be saved what you do that makes you lost. What do you have to do to go to hell?  Believe not on the Son of God! What do you have to do to go to heaven? Believe on the Son of God for payment of the price of your sin!




 John 5:40, “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”What kept these people from having life? Not coming to Jesus! If you do not come to Jesus for payment of your sins you will die and go to hell! What you have to do in order to go to heaven is to change your mind and come to Jesus for payment of sin. 

 You undo to be saved what you did to be lost. You are lost because you do not come to Christ and you are saved because you do come to Christ for payment of the penalty of sin. What you are repenting of is not coming to Christ and not believing on the Son of God.


IN THE BIBLE YOU CAN REPENT FROM SOMETHING OTHER THAN SIN



  
 Repent means to change one’s mind. If a person decides to go to town and then decided not to go to town he has repented. If a person decides to be married and then decides not to be married he has repented. 

 Matthew 27:3, “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders.” Was Judas saved? No! Judas was not repenting of his sin! Judas realized he had made a bad deal. He changed his mind about what he should have done, but he never repented of being a sinner. You can repent of something other than sin. 

 By the way, Judas went to hell and yet repented. Everybody who lives in sin sooner or later repents of it. There is a difference between that and repenting of not believing on the Son of God. You can repent of a sin or sins without repenting of the sin of unbelief. It is the sin of unbelief that sends one to hell. Thus, it is the repenting of the sin of not believing that sends one to hell. Judas repented but was not saved.

 Genesis 6:5-6, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.”  Does that mean that God sinned? No! You can repent of something other than sin. 

 God who cannot sin, lie, or do wrong repented in Genesis 6:6. God repents, but does not commit sin. Repentance does not always have to do with sin, but it does always have to do with the changing of one’s mind.

 I Samuel 15:35, “And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.” God chose Saul to be the king of Israel, but he changed His mind! God repented that he had made Saul king. You can repent of something other than sin.

 Exodus 32:14, “And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.”  God and Moses are having a disagreement and the Lord repented. Hold it, God is not speaking of sin here. He is talking about punishment here! God repented! Did God get saved here? No! God simply changed his mind here!

 The same is true in Jonah 3:9-10 and Amos 7:3, 6! Repentance does not always have to do with sin. It is not always sin you are repenting of and it is not always salvation as the issue in repentance! The wife says, “I think we’ll have roast beef Sunday. No, no I think we’ll have fried chicken.” Hold it, she repented, but it was not sin she repented of.


REPENTANCE FROM SINS IS ALWAYS DIRECTED TOWARDS GOD’S PEOPLE - EXCEPT FOR THE SIN OF NOT BELIEVING WHICH IS DIRECTED TOWARD’S THE UNSAVED





 You do not clean up and then get saved! You get saved and then clean up! Not believing is what condemns a person to hell. Believing is what un-condemns a person! Revelation 2:5, 16, 21, 22; 3:19 repentance from sins is directed toward God’s children in Ephesus, Pergamos, Thyatira, etc. 

 Not one person in the Bible was saved by repenting of his or her sins! Acts 16:30-31, “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” They did not say repent! They did say, “Believe.” This is the only verse in the Bible that goes directly to the issue of being saved and it does not say, “Repent.”

 Jesus does not forgive sin! Jesus paid for the price of sin with his death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus does not forgive sin for he paid for sin himself.  He forgives sinners by paying for their sins.