The Most Important Attitude is Not Gratitude
May 31, 2020 AM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (Mark 2:13-17)
A. Last week, we met Levi
1. We watched as Jesus specifically called a sinner named Matthew/Levi, to Follow Him.
2. And then read how Jesus actually sat down with that same man and all his sinner-friends (harlots, tax-collectors, thieves, liars), and ate with them, and taught them about the Kingdom of God
3. All the while, many people sat outside and judged them as unworthy of the kingdom of God
4. And Jesus told how healthy people do not need a physician – sick people do
5. And then Jesus gladly announced that he had come to call sinners to repentance!
6. And THAT is a good thing!
B. We learned that Something is very wrong with every one of us – there are no exceptions
1. Not just with cops or with white people
2. But with every culture and every nation - even this Irish nation! If only we would admit it
3. Religion hasn’t changed the human heart
4. We are wicked at heart, stubborn, stiff-necked, fakers and frauds
5. Oh we can put on a nice show, but underneath, just under the surface, we are rebellious and wicked and wrong
6. We ALL have an Evil Nature
a. By nature, we do our own thing – satisfy our own desires – seek only our own pleasure
b. We don’t care who we hurt
c. The abuse by police, and the burning of cities show the broken and messed up human heart, in all its depravity
C. Worse still, as a species, the human race is far too comfortable in our wickedness and our sins against God
1. We are far too tolerant of things God has said are wrong
2. We love the world and ourselves far too much, and God the least
3. And there is no sign that things will get any better
D. Our hearts are hard – OUR hearts, ladies and gentlemen!
1. When “I” got saved 39 years ago, every message on a Sunday was fresh instructions from heaven – how to live, who to love, how to pray, what to give, where to go, etc
2. Years later, preaching to most people is like rain bouncing off a turtle’s back! No effect.
3. Hard hearts – stubbornness
a. Proverbs 28:14 Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.
b. Proverbs 29:1 He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
E. And our Necks are Stiff against God – refusing to turn at all when He calls!
1. Exodus 32:9 And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people
2. People notice you warning them, but they just keep right on living like they always have
3. Fornicating, addicted to pornography, drunkenness, filthy mouths
4. Mocking anyone who warns them about ignoring God
F. Our Modern World Needs to Repent!
1. The only hope for this world is NOT more politics, more entitlements, more promises – it is repentance!
2. You are rarely going to change anyone’s behaviour until you change the heart
3. We have lived without God, and we are reaping our own destruction!
4. That’s why Repentance is to be preached to everyone
a. Not just the love of God! TOO MUCH PREACHING ON THAT
b. Not just about the grace of God, and goodness of God
c. If God IS being good to you, it is because He is leading you to REPENTANCE
d. Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
e. A right attitude about ourselves, our sins, and about God!
5. Repentance is the foundation of the Gospel
6. And it must be preached FIRST, so that the Gospel can take effect!
a. Luke 24:46,47 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
G. Jesus offers us all the right reasons to not just believe Him, but to Repent towards God!
A. God has warned us about the need to REPENT
B. Remember… the devils “believe”!
1. Matthew 11:20-24 Then began he [Jesus] to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
2. Matthew 3:1,2 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
3. Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
4. Luke 13:3,5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish…
5. Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
6. Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent…
C. Repentance is Super Serious!
1. And yet it is skipped over in most churches, and even in most ‘bibles’ today!
2. Wrong Bibles Result in Wrong Gospels (Matthew 7:21-23)
a. Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
b. Let me show you something…
1) Matthew 9:13
a) NIV But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
b) KJV But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
2) Mark 2:17
a) ESV And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
b) KJV When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
c. I believe these Scriptures explain why Jesus actually came to this world...
1) Jesus did not just “call sinners” to come and party with him, as so many megachurch preachers want us to believe – and justifiably so using the NIV/NASB/ESV versions of the Bible. Jesus Christ came to call sinners, to repentance.
2) Jesus did not call the unrighteous to hang out with Him, like the new bibles imply.
3) If you wanted to attract people to just come to church, then those bibles work very well!
4) But, the God of heaven came down here and personally called the people he loved so dearly… the sinners, tax collectors, harlots, thieves, liars and publicans - not to continue living in their fleshly lusts, but to repent. Jesus called men and women who had only known gluttony, and drunkenness, and lust and adultery, to a completely different life! The Christian life!
d. Did you ever notice the arrangement of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) is in perfect harmony?
1) In the first three Gospels, the call is to repent. (JUST READ)
a) Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
b) Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
c) Luke 5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
2) Then, in the Gospel of John, repentance is not mentioned at all - the emphasis is BELIEVING.
e. Some have taught that there is no need for people to repent anymore and that we should just BELIEVE. Or that repentance is only a change of mind about unbelief!
f. But that ignores the layout – THREE books say constantly REPENT, then one says BELIEVE!
g. Remember that John wrote years after the other apostles, showing to repentant souls the simplicity of salvation, of receiving eternal life, through trusting in Jesus – but only after repentance had been preached and drilled into the hearts of the entire world of that day!
3. An illustration
a. To tell a man who has no realization that he is condemned already, that he may be saved by faith in Christ, means nothing to him, however true and blessed the fact is in itself.
b. It is like throwing a life preserver to a man who does not realize he is about to be drowned in a flood.
c. When he sees his danger, THAT’S when he will appreciate the life vest. And take it!
d. So when the message of Matthew, Mark, and Luke has made a profound impression on the soul of a man, he will be ready for the proclamation of eternal life and forgiveness through faith in Christ alone as presented in the Gospel of John!
III. Meaning of Repentance
A. What It is NOT…
1. It is NOT Penance
a. The suffering or pain that a person voluntarily subjects himself, or which is imposed on him as a punishment for his sins. It is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic church.
b. Repentance has nothing to do with that!
2. It is not a decision to stop sinning
a. Every one of us has vowed and tried so hard to decide to not lose our cool, lust, yell, etc
b. But none of those decisions were repentance
3. It is NOT Salvation – repentance does not save anyone. But it is necessary to happen BEFORE salvation
4. Repentance is no prayer you pray - it is the attitude you approach God with WHEN you pray:
a. Are you Proud, full of yourself and your religion?
b. Or are you broken, and miserable and wicked and desperate for Him to show you mercy?
5. Repentance is NOT really a change of mind, but a collapse of the heart
a. Psalm 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. [ATTITUDE]
b. Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
c. Because of Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
d. You can’t patch up a desperately wicked heart, but you can stop propping it up
B. Repentance is an Attitude – the foundational attitude for life (Didn’t your parents ever say “WATCH YOU’RE ATTITUDE”?)
1. Repentance is a softness of heart towards those we have hurt and sinned against – especially towards God
2. A Sorrow for wrong doing
a. We have been so desensitized from wrong – that we really aren’t hurting anyone.
b. And usually when we ARE sorry, we are only sorry for being caught
c. 2Corinthians 7:9,10 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
d. The greatest sentances ever spoken are just three words long
1) I am sorry
2) You are forgiven
3) I love you!
3. A turning towards God - A Surrender / yielding to Change.
a. Not just a desire to change – every drunkard has that at times – hates himself and wishes he was different
b. But a surrender to God’s way of changing you – no matter how hard or painful or embarrassing it may be for you
c. To allow God to actually change you – stiff-necked people do not change!
d. EXAMPLE of driving, and your wife, gentlemen, says at the next intersection, turn left, but you refuse, and go your own way because you don’t want to admit your wife, and a map might be right!
4. Know this. None of that changes your future destiny – but it does prepare your heart FOR change
5. Example of Ahab (1Kings 21:25-29)
a. 1Ki 21:25 But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.
b. 1Ki 21:26 And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.
c. 1Ki 21:27 And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words [in 21:21-24], that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.
d. 1Ki 21:28 And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
e. 1Ki 21:29 Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.
6. The same thing happened in David’s heart when he was exposed as an adulterer
7. And when the proud prodigal son finally hit rock-bottom
8. They ALL repented, and found grace waiting for them!
C. THE most important part of our life is our Attitude – that is what God notices
1. Our modern culture needs an entire change of attitude toward itself and towards God.
2. All the “beliefs” in the world are not changing it for the better!
3. Jesus calls sinners NOT to some act of contrition, or of baptism, or of good works
4. He calls sinners to a whole new attitude, that allows God to be right, and us wrong, about everything
5. Jesus calls us to repent
a. Matthew 11:21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
b. A lot of people today have grown up thinking that it is normal for young men to act like animals
c. For girls at 14 to start dressing and acting like they are 20!
d. Adults and teens alike need to REPENT – I don’t care how “saved” you may claim to be!
e. Repent of our secret sins
f. Repent of our bad attitudes that we carry around for years
g. Of our proud looks and proud heart, and self-righteousness – never allowing for any correction!
h. Repent of making church non-essential and making sports, and money and family more important than God and God’s people!
i. Repent of abusing our bodies
j. And of throwing our bodies to the lowest bidder
k. Repent of making fun of the Bible, and of family, and of marriage
l. Repent of prayer-less-ness
m. Repent of laziness
n. Shall I go on?
6. Why Repent? Why is it SO important?
a. Because the consequences of living without a right heart are eternal
b. Hard hearts ONLY grow harder with time!
c. You cannot be saved without a soft heart
1) Repentance makes you ready to be saved – converted, changed
2) Act 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
3) Act 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
d. You never will enjoy God without it. Repentance prepares the heart for…
1) The word of God to work in it – without a soft heart, this Book will only aggravate you!
2) The fruit of the Spirit to grow in it. You cannot GROW or product fruit in your life without repentance – you will be barren, even as a believer until you learn to keep your heart soft!
3) Without a heart that easily repents, you will miss everything God offers you!
e. If YOU would repent, God will be able to step in a save your marriage, and your kids, and your own mind!
f. You will live long and blessed (Proverbs 1:23) Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
IV. Message - How to Repent
A. Joel 2:12-14 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?
B. Humble Yourself
1. That means, Break Yourself Down with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning
a. Those aren’t normal happy go lucky things
b. They are serious, desperate things you do when your heart is broken about sin
c. THAT’S why church is essential – to keep the pressure on so people’s ehart are constanrly humbled and broken towards God
2. And rend your heart, and not your garments – not showing off, no ceremonies – just broken hearts!
C. Turn Towards God in your HEART and Emotions
1. God says, turn ye even to me with all your heart,… and turn unto the LORD your God:
2. Admit you are pointing in the wrong direction – like a cat getting rubbed the wrong way
3. Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
4. It works for those of us who are born again as well… 2Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
D. Confess and Forsake Sin – Dump it! Agree with God about what you really are, and what you have done
1. Confess means to AGREE with God – get in line with HIM, not with the world!
2. Proverbs 28:13,14 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.
3. To forsake is to abandon, and turn your back on
4. 1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
E. Draw Nigh to God – he actually invites you and me to approach Him
1. He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
2. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him?
3. Anyone who believes the Bible knows if He will or not! We know He WILL!
4. Because… He acts in the same direction you act
a. You ignore him, and he will ignore your prayers
b. You laugh at Him, well, he will laugh at you
c. But if YOU turn towards Him, He will turn towards you
5. James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
F. No matter what it costs you!
A. What is your attitude like?
C. Humiliated? Defeated?
E. Now you can ask for forgiveness – for salvation, for the gift of eternal life!
F. And ask for anything else you need!
G. To tell you that you can be saved by faith in Christ, when you have no idea just how much trouble you are in, means nothing to you.
H. But if you realized just how eternal hell is, and how righteous God is, and how sinful you are, you might just fall on your knees right now, and cry out from your heart of hearts for God to SAVE a wretch like you!
I. 2Peter 3:9 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.
J. I read this recently, “He (or she) who justifies himself must be condemned by God, but he who condemns himself will find complete justification in Christ, who died for his sins.”
1. "I am not told to labour, To put away my sin,
2. So foolish, weak and helpless, I never could begin.
3. But, blessed truth, I know it, Though ruined by the fall,
4. Christ for my sin has suffered, Yes, Christ has done it all."
B. No one can receive forgiveness, until they have a right heart – a right attitude
C. Our world needs such a broken heart – about our sins
D. Are you saved? One of these days you will wish you could repent, but your heart will have become so hard that you will find it impossible! Don’t wait!
E. Dear Christian. Is bitterness and rebellion eating you up! the ONLY cure is not faith, or beliefs – it is brokenness before God, repenting, and begging God to soften your heart so that He can change you