Saturday, May 28, 2011

Repent and Believe in the Gospel: Jesus and Confrontational Evangelism

     "...the time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel," Mark 1:15.

     You may think, "why is he quoting John the Baptist yet his blog post is about Jesus and confrontational evangelism.  Really, John preached repent and Jesus talked delicately with people, gently showing them their sin."  Well, essentially, Jesus preached the same message as John the Baptist.  In fact, Mark 1:15 are the words of Jesus.  In fact, these are essentially the words of Jonah, who was essentially saying what David said who was reflecting upon what he had learned from Samuel who had learned this truth from  Moses and the first books of the Bible.
     Now, what is repentance?  "The call to repentance is a call to absolute surrender to the purposes of God and to live in this awareness.  This radical turning to God is required of all people," explains the Holman Bible Dictionary.  When John and his cousin Jesus tell people to repent, they are telling them that they are wicked(original sin, depraved) and they need to turn from the road they are walking on and turn onto a completely different road and go a completely opposite direction: the direction of God.  Jesus and John are talking about a total, radical change.
     Jesus even told a huge crowd that "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven," Matt. 7:21.  People will have a knowledge of the Lord and even do religious, pious things yet they will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven but be banished to Hell.  What is required then?  What can we do?  Jesus banished these folks because, "...I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness," Matt. 7:23. We must know Jesus!  It doesn't matter if we know about Him or have friends who know Him or a family member who knows Him.  We must know Him.  God does not have any grandchildren as someone once told me.  He only has children and to be a child of God you must know Him!  The Christian faith can be summed up by the popular saying, "It is not what you know but who you know."  Now, that statement has its limitations, but it does express a biblical truth and lines up nicely with what Jesus taught in Matthew 7.  Interestingly, once we know Jesus, we will hunger and thirst to know more about Him.  The what we know will be encouraged by the who we know.
     But, how do we know Him?  Repent and believe in the Gospel!  The gospel is our only power and it is all we need.  Confess your sins to Jesus and tell Him that you trust in His death on the cross for your sins and that you want to live your life completely surrendered to Him!  Ask Him to empower you with His resurrection power and tell Him that you love Him.  Then, go out and tell people, "Repent and believe in the gospel."

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