The Work of Repentance

What Repentance Fixes

2 Samuel 12:13-23

I.         Introduction (2 Pet 3:9)


A.      One of the most important concepts in the Bible is that of repentance!

B.       God’s will is that everyone experience it. No one gets saved unless they repent!

C.       Not talking about “penance,” (trying to pay off your sins) but the act of repentance - true repentance (the decision to hate and desire our sin)!

D.      John the Baptist preached it; Jesus preached it; the apostle Paul preached it

E.       Yet today, it has been so muddled, and lost in all the shuffle of life. Even born again Christians have become clogged up with life so bad that God can’t get through, and seems to have all but forsaken them in their troubles


II.       Some Principles


A.      True Repentance is in Response to Sin - not just trouble


1.        Sin is not what WE consider wrong, but what God says is wrong.

2.        Sin never stops with just one event

3.        Sin costs. The Law of Sowing and Reaping


B.       True Repentance is More than just Words


1.        More than running to God for a quick fix

2.        More than just realizing you are at fault - although a good start!

3.        More than just confessing that you “sin” generally

4.        More than just expecting God to jump at the chance to help us


C.       True Repentance is Found in Complete Surrender


1.        No conditions - no buts, just acceptance “We have sinned” full stop!

2.        No demands - they respond, “You are right.” humiliated, broken, defeated

3.        Just complete and total dependence upon God - faith, trust, obedience


D.      True Repentance Works - Every time!


1.        Prepares the heart so that you can receive Jesus Christ

2.        Keeps the heart soft when sin wants you to think you are not THAT bad!

3.        Keeps God in control of the battle, and therefore, of your every enemy!


E.       I want to develop that last thought, that last truth this morning. I want to show you just how important, and positive true repentance is in your spiritual life and growth

F.       By way of background: David one evening was bored and flipped the channels on his TV that he had on the roof of his penthouse apt, only to find a show on that was filthy and vile, and pornographic. But that didn’t bother David. So he picks up the phone and rings the TV station and asks the star of the show for a date, and that date goes on all night! David commits adultery; and above that, he then has Bathsheba’s husband murdered so no one would find out about it! But God knew, and repeated all the details back to him by Nathan the prophet who rebukes David to his face!

G.       How David next responds is our focus this morning!


III.     Message - The Work of Repentance (2 Samuel 12:13-23) - What It Fixes


A.      Repentance Acknowledges Our Sin - Ruins Us (2 Sam 12:13). The first step to repair is a stripping down


1.        Acknowledges our sin Against the Lord (Ps 51:3,4)

2.        Acknowledges our sin Against His Word - David knew it was wrong to commit adultery, and to murder (not done in ignorance) - just like you and I know it! All the commandments are wired into our hearts!

3.        Acknowledges our sin Against ourselves (2 Tim 2:24-26) - we have no comeback, no excuses. If we do have excuses, then we have not really repented!


B.       Repentance Alters Our Life - Rearranges Us (2 Sam 12:13-17; Acts 17:6) Changes our Priorities, Places, and our level of Perseverance


1.        It Establishes Right Priorities in our life - the blessings of God can’t do this, nor even the punishment of God - it is our own decision that establishes it – if there is EVER going to be a change in your life for good, then it will happen NOT because God magically rearranges your brain waves, but because you decide to HATE your own way of thinking and living, and decide to LOVE God’s way! There are three priorities that are vital to put in place:


a.        Priority to get back right with God - not with Bathsheba, or with his army generals, or ANYONE else in his kingdom! This is our need!

b.       Priority to let God be God (Lk 6:46) - not side-step God’s way of doing things - let Him do what is right - allow God to judge his life and get back to directing his life

c.        Priority to get back walking with God, instead of being bored - that is what Psalm 51 is all about: praying, and spending time with God in His word (don’t put off those things when you fall - they are God’s cure)!


1)       If you are struggling with some sins it is only because you are not staying in this Book, staying busy witnessing and spending time on your knees in prayer, and not busy serving others

2)       NO WONDER you fall into so many sins every week!


d.       Repentance will put all those things back in their proper place - first


2.        Establishes Right Places of our life


a.        David got down off his “high horse” - stepped back down from being in charge of his life and took his place as someone still dependent upon the Lord, someone who needed God continually (not just in extreme cases - he was back to total dependence)! He had been king too long!

b.       David got back where he should have been all along:


1)       Back At home – he was married (Hab 2:5; Tit 2:5) - far too much activity away from home, leaving all the work on the wife, or the kids by themselves

2)       Back at Work – He was responsible for the welfare of the kingdom of Israel and was needed to be sober and focused

3)       Back on Track – means, back in the will of God. God had called him years before, when he was just a shepherd boy, David had “derailed” and now only through breaking down and humbling himself could he be put back on track again


3.        Establishes Right Perseverance


a.        David had found the energy to stay up all night with Bathsheba! Well, it is amazing that many spend plenty of energy on sin, and rebellion, but find it hard to put any energy into persevering for the Lord - putting effort into their Christian life!

b.       But now, David set out to stay up all night with His Lord! Greater things were at stake - the life of an innocent baby (Mt 26:36-41) that was dying!


1)       Believe me, many a home is dying

2)       Many a future is fading

3)       Many a life here is giving up

4)       We have put so much effort into going our own way – can we not put that effort into saving these things?

c.        David was not going to start something that he wasn’t going to finish - he was going to persevere (persist, keep at it, endure, not give up)


1)       When he prayed about something, he prayed until he got God’s answer - the Bible says, pray without ceasing - without giving up

2)       When he sought an answer from God’s word, he studied until he found it - didn’t play with the Bible like a Ouija board!

3)       When he got into church, he got all the way in - not a back seat Christian - was in for the long haul, to SERVE, not be entertained! Got up on the front row and loved it! Lieka football match!

4)       AT home, he was going to spend the time with his wife and kids that they should have been getting all along!


C.       Repentance Provides Release - Releases Us (2 Sam 12:13, 18-22)


1.        Repentance is like a plow that digs deep into our hearts, and releases all the hardness, and stress that builds up because there is no softness inside!

2.        Repentance allows you to be honest - be real

3.        David could stop running from God now - could stop covering up his sin (tried for 9 months), and instead, could focus on making things right

4.        Quit trying to bear your own sins and sorrows (Isa 53:3-5) let Christ do that - David now waited on God (Isa 40:31)

5.        So many people are in bondage:


a.        To their sins - repentance lets them go - not into limbo, but onto the cross of Christ - the blood of Christ cleanses us from ALL SIN!

b.       To their past - repentance means letting it all go!

c.        To their present course - fate is not in control; you are! When a person repents, and surrenders to Christ, anything can happen (Jonah 3:1-10)


D.      Repentance Makes Way for Restoration - Restores Us - makes us whole (2Sam 12:23,24a; Act 20:21). Once the plow has dug into the hard soil, it becomes loose and soft, and can receive seeds and water and can produce fruit


1.        Gives Life - this is paramount to salvation! No one gets saved without discovering total defeat in your life! God cannot be asked to “patch-up” your life, but rather must be asked to SAVE your life!

2.        Restores Relationships:


a.        First between you and God

b.       Then between you and others you have hurt - like with Jacob and Esau


IV.     Conclusion - What Does Repentance do in a Person?


A.      It Ruins Us - as we are


1.        Acknowledges our sin against the Lord (Ps 51:3,4)

2.        Against His Word

3.        Against ourselves


B.       It Rearranges Our Lives (2 Sam 12:13-17; Acts 17:6)


1.        Establishes Right Priorities in our life

2.        Establishes Right Places of our life

3.        Establishes Right Perseverance


C.       It Releases Us (2 Sam 12:13, 18-22) - Out of our bondage

D.      It Makes Way for Restoration - makes us whole (2Sam 12:23,24a; Act 20:21). Once the plow has dug into the hard soil, it becomes loose and soft, and can receive seeds and water and can produce fruit

E.       I challenge every one of you this morning,


1.        Let God start over with you

2.        Let God rearrange your life

3.        Let God release the bondage

4.        Let God Restore you – make you whole again!


Craig Ledbetter