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The Season of Repentance

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The Season of Repentance

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The Season of Repentance

MP4 Video - 1080p (1.96 GB)
MP4 Video - 720p (1.18 GB)
MP3 Audio (49.56 MB)

The first command given to the newly established Church was “Repent!” This is also the first command Christ issued when He began His ministry. What can we learn from this?


[Mr. Victor Kubik]: Well, the first three holy days complete it with a common theme. What is that theme? Well, let's check it out here in my sermon. I'd like to go to Acts 2, if you will, because the Scriptures explain best what the narrative is.

Act 2:1-3 "When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all assembled in accord in one place." This is 120 disciples. "And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a mighty rushing wind and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then appeared to them divided tongues as a fire and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as a spirit gave them utterance."

And then a little bit of explanation about what's going on in Jerusalem.

Acts 2:4-6 “There were dwelling in Jerusalem, Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.” So there was quite kind of a mixture of people that were assembled here. “And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together.” They kind of came from different parts of town and all came together “and were confused because everyone heard them speak,”—these 120—“in their own language.”

Then they were all amazed and marveled saying to one another, "Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?" I mean, they get to see who these people are who are speaking. Galileans meant these are hicks. They sound funny. They're not from around here. They're the people from up north that have a funny accent, the hillbillies.

Acts 2:8-10 “And how is it that we hear each in our own language in which we were born, Parthians and Medes and Elamites? Those dwelling from Mesopotamia.” They're from the Middle East. “Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, and Asia,” people from where the area of Turkey is today. “Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt.” I mean, they were from all over the Middle East and the Mediterranean area. “And parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome.”

There were even people from Rome. You know, when the Apostle Paul was on his way to Rome, he wanted to meet with a brethren who were there. How did they get there? You know, how did the church start there? Well, these were no doubt descendants or the actual people who had been here in Jerusalem for Pentecost 31 AD.

Acts 2:10-12 “Both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs. We hear them speaking in their own tongues the wonderful works of God. Verse 12, "So they were all amazed and perplexed saying to one another, whatever could this mean?"

You know, in the Roman world at that time, there was a lot of communication. One thing is the Roman empire provided a mail system, provided a highway system, which a lot of information traveled back and forth. And it was possible for people to really take trips like these, even if it was a pilgrimage or once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Jerusalem or to a major city.

Also, the Jews as they went into the diaspora as they had set it out, they had synagogues established in many of these areas. When the Apostle Paul traveled on the Roman roads and used a Roman mail system, he used the synagogue system as he would say where the Scriptures could be quoted. So, there was a lot of good communication in this 1st century.

Acts 2:13-16 "Others mocked them," in verse 13, "saying they're full of new wine." These people just had something to drink here. "But Peter standing up with the 11," verse 14, "raised his voice and said to them, 'Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and heed my words." He spoke very, very courageously we see here. “'For these are not drunk as you suppose since it is only the third hour of the day, but this is what was spoken of by the Prophet Joel.'"

And here he quotes Joel 2:28-32. He quotes him verbatim. And here's what it said, verse 17.

Acts 2:17-20 "And it shall come to pass that in the last days," and this is just one of the fulfillments of Joel's prophecy, "that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy. They shall preach. Your young men shall see visions. Your old men dream dreams." Verse 18, "And to my maidservants and manservants, I will pour out my spirit in those days and they shall prophesy." There's going to be a big explosion, if you will, of preaching. "And I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon into blood." This is a description of the day of the Lord coming up here “before the coming and great and awesome day of the Lord.”

So it's kind of telescoping some of the events that took place, but some of the events that would take place in the last days. And this is one of the fulfillments, only one of them. Because there'll be a much greater one before Jesus Christ returns.

Acts 2:21- 24 "And it shall come to pass that whoever calls upon the Lord shall be saved. Men of Israel, hear the words of Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs, which God did through him in your midst as yourselves also know. Him being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken with lawless hands. You've crucified Him and put Him to death whom God raised up having losed the pains of death because it was not possible that He should be held by it."

He talks about the life of Jesus Christ, about His mission here on earth. He's talking about how Jesus Christ was taken and He was crucified. And here he quotes Psalm 16:8-11.

Acts 2:25-28 "I foresaw the Lord always before my face for He is at my right hand that I may not be shaken. Therefore, my heart rejoiced and my tongue was glad. Moreover, my flesh also will rest in hope for you will not leave my soul in Hades, nor would you allow your holy one to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life, you will make me full of joy in your presence."

And then he goes on to explain what is here in Psalm 16:29 as an explanation.

Acts 2:29-32 "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch, David, that he is both dead and buried and his tomb is with us to this day." So what's the point? "Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn an oath to him that are the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on His throne. He foreseeing this spoke concerning the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus, God, has raised up of which we are all witnesses.

So, he speaks about the life of Jesus Christ. He speaks about the death of Jesus Christ. He speaks about the resurrection of Jesus Christ in his very first sermon.

Acts 2:33-36 "Therefore, been exalted to the right hand of God and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see in here. For David has not ascended into the heavens." So this couldn't have been a prophecy about David speaking of himself. But he says to himself, "The Lord shall said to my Lord," this is from Psalm 110, now he quotes, "Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool. Therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ."

The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ being preached by Peter and scriptural authority given from his quotations from Psalms.

Acts 2:37“Now, when they heard this,” this crowd of people, this amassed crowd of all the nations that we just described here who came to where this mighty rushing wind was heard, “and when Peter spoke these words, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’”

Okay. Now what? Now what?" Dawned upon them that they were responsible. And then Peter answers in verse 38.

Acts 2:38-39 "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent.'" Then he goes on quickly to, "Let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. And you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit for the promises to you and to your children, to all who are far off as many as the Lord our God will call."

So the point of his whole sermon here and what he was driving at and what he was leading to, and the action step that he was seeking was one of repentance. Now, what does this word, repent, mean? Kind of ties in very well with the sermonette that we heard today because the word repent is a Greek word, metanoia. Meta for change. It means to change one's mind, to amend one's mind for the better with an abhorrence for past sins.

Repent means to change. To change for the better and put aside the past. The Holy Spirit was now available on this day, which would make this metamorphosis more possible. Was so good to hear the sermonette about metamorphoo. We have a movie that Bev and I have watched probably a dozen times, "Metamorphosis." How many of you have seen "Metamorphosis" by Illustra Media? Okay. If you haven't, you should. It's a great story which really expands out Mr. Cook's sermonette very, very fully.

So, then the apostle Peter continues in his sermon because that was just the beginning. That was just a start. "And with many other words," verse 40, "he testified and exhorted them saying be saved from this perverse generation. Don't conform to this generation, to the world, to society. Then those who gladly received this word were baptized. And on that day, 3,000 souls were added to them." So he says, repent, change, be metanoia. And then also don't be conformed to this perverse generation. That's kind of the word and that's kind of the message that we give our church.

If you come out of the world, don't conform to the world. Don't think like them. Don't copy them. Don't mimic them. Look for something better. Repent, change from the habits that you learned in the world. Three thousand people were convinced on that day that that's what they should be doing. And they continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship in the breaking of bread and prayers. Then fear came upon every soul and many wonders and signs were done with the apostles. It was a dramatic day, this first day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:46 "So they continued daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house. They ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart." The church is coming together very, very quickly. Of course, they had the help of the Holy Spirit, 3,000 people. That must have been just an amazing event to have an upstart planting of a church of 3,000 people in one day. And they did it gladly with simplicity of heart,

Acts 2:47 “praising God and having favor with all the people and the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”

I pray for Pentecost moments for our church as well. For that since it's in the last days, to have some of this type of event be replicated to have this type of spirit, the Holy Spirit raising up the church in that way. The New Testament church was founded on the action step of repentance. Repentance, change, coming out of a society, and being saved from this perverse generation.

Pentecost has been rich in meaning because it was the feast of weeks. It was a time when the 10 commandments were given in Exodus 19 and 20. Now we see it's the day that the Holy Spirit is poured out in the way that Joel described it in his prophecies. The church was established very much so on this day. But also this day is a celebration memorial to repentance itself as a way of life because it wasn't just stated here, it was a theme throughout the whole New Testament.

And we'll see if you study the subject further, it is a message of God to all mankind. Jesus Christ, when He began His ministry, which is recorded in Mark 1:14 in what I call the keynote address for the gospel.

Mark 1:14-15 "Now, after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God," officially started his ministry, "and saying the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel."

Jesus Christ began his ministry with a message with the same word, Metanoia, change, change of mind and believe the gospel. In order to continue in faith and believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, believe in the gospel of the kingdom of God, you've got to have a changed heart and changed mind. Repentance is one of the fundamental beliefs of the United Church of God. In fact, it's number eight. It's bundled in with faith, repentance and faith. But also the Apostle Paul speaks another list of basic beliefs in Hebrews 6. Hebrews 6, he talks about going on from the very basics of things that should be no-brainers. He said things that we have come from, things that should be well established in our thinking.

Hebrews 6:1-3 "Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection." He said we've kind of learned the basics that I've been writing to you and preaching to you about, let's go on to deeper things. He says let's go beyond this. Let's go beyond the “foundation of repenting some dead works,” which we should have started with and understood. “And then face towards God, the doctrine of baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. This we will do if God permit.”

But the first thing he said that we should kind of be moving on from is what you already know is repentance from dead works. As a minister, when I've counseled people for baptism, and I've done that to many, many people, and I'm sure that most all ministers have this desire to know when they're talking to a person about baptism, about life changes. They want to determine before they are baptized, do you understand repentance? Do you understand what kind of changes you need to make? Do you understand the kind of metamorphosis in your thinking and your actions that need to start following?

Can you bring forth fruits or some demonstration in how you speak about or how you demonstrated about your keeping God's principles, God's law? Having a mindset of the kingdom of God because if you don't establish this first, you're just going through a lot of knowledge, giving people booklets to read, giving tests, giving assessments, surveys, blah, blah, blah. It goes on and on and on. But we determine first and foremost, has this person come to a point of where he has made changes, where he or she has made changes, is willing to make changes, and is committed to do so.

That's what will determine the successful ability to be able to determine the effectiveness of baptism. We don't want to baptize somebody incorrectly or without determining or establishing the fact that they have repented of their sins. They're not leading a double life. They're not doing it just so that they could marry somebody who is baptized or having some other false way or false reason to be baptized, repentance.

Now, what are some of the things that we need to be repenting of? Here's what we'll get to just more than just the one-off baptism, we're baptized and then we start our journey into the kingdom of life through this life. Jesus Christ made some interesting statements. In fact, they are scattered throughout the New Testament about the fact that we're not all there yet. I know that we are all God's chosen people. We have great favor with Him. We're under grace. But we also have to understand what our minds are like and who we really are.

Mark 7:1-4 "Then the Pharisees and some of the Scribes came together to Him having come from Jerusalem." Jesus Christ was a master at taking illustrations of life or things that were happening and applying them to spiritual concepts. “And when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is with unwashed hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way holding the tradition of the elders. When they had come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.”

Okay. Those things are okay, but they are something that were absolutely must be done and Christ disciples did not do them up to the snuff of the Pharisees. And so they were criticized.

Mark 7:5 "Pharisees and Scribes asked Christ," verse 5, "why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with unwashed hands?"

Come on, Christ. You're a Jew. Why don't you follow some of the traditions of your people?

Mark 7:6 "He answered and said to them," in verse 6, "well, did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites as it is written? This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me."

People think that Jesus Christ was always diplomatic. He was always very, very kind. And He was, but hypocrisy was something that He could not stomach. And He was very, very clear when He talked to people like that about His disdain for that attitude.

Mark 7:7-8 "In vain," verse 7, "do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." Their heart wasn't right. They were doing a lot of physical things as a substitute for a right heart. "For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold a tradition of men, the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other things, such things you do."

Then He explains a very, very important lesson about our inner self, about our minds.

Mark 7:14-16 "And what he had called a multitude to Himself," verse 14, "He said to them, 'Hear me, everyone. Understand. There's nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him. But the things which come out from him, these are the things that defile a man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."

There's nothing from the outside that will make you dirty. He's now transforming this into a spiritual lesson, but it's those things that come out of a person that make us dirty. And He explains “

Mark 7:17-19 When He had entered a house away from the crowd,” Away from the disciples, Christ gives a lesson here, “His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. And so He said to them, ‘Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile Him because it does not enter his heart, but the stomach and is eliminated thus purifying all foods.’"

He said the things that come in from the outside, you know, you might take a little bit of dirt. There might be something that's just maybe unclean, but it won't hurt you. It won't hurt you. This will go through your stomach and it'll be gone out in the bathroom.

Mark 7:20-23 "Then he said ‘what comes out of a man, that defiles a man.’" He talks about those things that really make us dirty. “For from within, out of the heart of men proceed…” then he lists the things that are inside a person that defile us. “Evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit,” The list is exhausting. “Lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness, all these evil things come from within and defile a man.”

We need to understand that repentance is not just a one-off thing where we came to repentance, we're baptized, and then it's clear sailing. It's understanding the kind of mind we still have, because the mind that we have has not been fully changed and constantly needs to be in a state of change.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 "The heart," talking about the heart here that Christ spoke of, "is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it? I the Lord search the heart. I test the mind even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his own doings."

Mankind in general is evil. Deceitful. The human heart is deceitful above all things. Now, one thing that we pray for every day, I believe the model prayer is so wonderful in that it contains important things that need to be considered every day or to praise God or to pray for His kingdom, but then we pray also that forgive us our sins as we forgive...forgive us our debts as we forgive the debts of others. That's a constant thing, asking forgiveness, asking God to help us on a daily basis. You know why? Because we sin continually.

Dr. Fauch here a few weeks back spoke about how in the survey that was taken, 91% of all people lie at least once a day. Nice people, church people, United Church of God people lie at least once a day. You need to be aware of some of those things that come from within that need to be addressed. They need to be looked at as something that we need to contain, repent of, ask forgiveness as we seek the higher nature of God.

My favorite quote from C.S. Lewis is this because this describes the human race, "Let's pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its inequity elsewhere." If we were to establish colonies on the moon and Mars, before you know it, there'll be wars and this evil would persist. We need to be aware. We need to be aware continually of the nature that we have and still have and learn to contain it and throttle it In John 6:65, Jesus Christ made a statement.

John 6:65 Christ said, "I have said to you that no one can come to me,”—Become a Christian—“unless it has been granted to Him by my father. No man can come to me unless the Father draw him.”

What is it that's being granted? What is it that's being granted? When the Father draws a person, what is being granted to that person? What does it mean? This is an interesting story to me that has always very impressed me about the bringing in of the Gentiles into the church way before the Apostle Paul. And that is the story in Acts 10 and also Acts 11. The story is about Gentiles, God-fearing Gentiles, who are coming to repentance.

In Acts 11:1 "The apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard the Gentiles also had received the word of God."

This was a huge event because even up to this time, the Christian community thought that the Jews were the primary aspect of Christianity. Gentiles were still on the outs. They were not equal to the Jews. And that was the way that I was being taught. And now it's dawning upon them that something is changing. The Gentiles are receiving the word of God. So, when Peter went to Jerusalem, he was brought to question by the apostles and by the brethren, what are you doing? Because he had just baptized a family of Romans, the whole household.

Acts 11:2-4 “So, when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him saying that” Jews were the purists in how they were being taught. "You went to the uncircumcised men and ate with them. But Peter began and explained to them in order.”

And he goes to the story, which I will hear.

Acts 11:5-15 “I was in the city of Joppa praying and in a trance, and I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending being let down from heaven by its four corners and it came down to me. Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter. Kill and eat.’ But I said, ‘By no means, Lord, for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But the voice answered the second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ This happened three times for emphasis, and it was drawn again to heaven. And behold to that very moment, three men arrived at the house in which we were sent to me from Caesarea. And a spirit told me to go to them making no distinction and six brothers accompanied me and we entered the man's house. And he told us how he had seen the angels stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who was called Peter. He will declare to you a message by which you will be saved you and your household.’ And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning.”

So what happened at this instant is that they received the Holy Spirit in the same way that the people in Jerusalem on Pentecost received it on Pentecost Day. Probably tongues of fire, spoke in different languages. Holy Spirit fell on them just as us the same beginning. It was the same message that was being preached.

Acts 11:16-18 "And I remembered," verse 16, "the word of the Lord, how He said John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. If then God gave the same gift to them as He gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I should stand in God's way? When they heard these things, they fell silent.”

They were amazed that the same type of service could be performed to Gentiles as was done to the Jews who were gathered in Jerusalem on Pentecost.

Acts 11:18 “When they heard these things they fell silent and they glorified God saying, then to the Gentiles, also God has granted repentance.”

God has opened the way for them to make changes in their life, that leads to life, that led to baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit of God. What a great event. Christianity, that's what it's all about. That's the step that we have to take in order to go on further. If we don't come to that step, it doesn't mean anything. We can read all the books we want. We can judge ourselves in any way we want, but unless a person makes that change in their heart, unless a person recognizes what's the filth in him. Let's face it. We have to face every day what's in our mind. We have to face everyday jealousy, envy, ill will, hatred, lust. Don't these things come across and through us and we have to fight against these things? Absolutely. That's repentance.

Being granted repentance is being granted the ability to be able to understand this, to make a commitment to change, but you will still be human. You will not be angelic or of a different mind. You will still have the same basic nature that you have. I like this parable because to me, it says so much about the human heart. This is the Pharisee and tax collector parable of Luke 18:9-14. And the reason I like this is because we sometimes get ourselves identified with the wrong person.

Luke 18:9 "He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and treated others with contempt."

And we can do that ourselves very easily thinking of ourselves look better. I've grown so much. I've grown so much. I know so much more. I've been around for a long time to the point of where you treat those that you judge as being lesser, not as just being lesser, but with contempt.

Luke  18:10-13 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee standing by himself prayed this, 'God, I thank you that I'm not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers or even like this tax collector here.’” I'm glad I'm not that God. Thank you so much. This was his prayer of praise. And, in fact, he says, here's what I do. Here's where I get points now. "I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all I get. But the tax collector standing a far off would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner."

Luke 18:14 "I tell you," Christ continues, "this man went to his house justified rather than the other for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled. But one who humbles himself will be exalted."

The tax collector rated him on a scale of 0 to 10 as what? A zero. God said you are justified because you see yourself for what you really are. The tax collector probably went through his list of misdeeds for the week, his deceptions, his cheating, whatever. He went through that. He asked God for forgiveness, be merciful to me, a sinner.

When we take a look at the prayer, the model prayer, forgive us our sins as we forgive others, how are we in this two-stage lesson forgiving others of what they have said against us when we ask God forgiveness for his sins? Are we perfect that way? Probably far from it. Have we repented of our sins for this past week? I'm a person who really believes in the grace of God. I had been a champion of the publication of that booklet about God's grace, which I feel is one of our finest booklets because it was a movement in the right mindset of our thinking about our relationship with God.

But we desperately need God's grace just the way that the publican needed God's grace because be merciful to me, a sinner. I look down upon no one. I forgive all others for what they have done against me. And in contrast, this Pharisee who had seniority, who was great, probably very smart, maybe part of the Sanhedrin, you know, really up there is the person who was not justified because he looked with contempt on other people and not like the publican.

In 2 Corinthians 7:10, the point I'm making is that the church started with repentance, a message of repentance. And you could take a look at it even further in the discussion and preaching of the New Testament church. Not only Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost but shortly thereafter, Peter and John went out and preached to the public and their message did not change one bit, repent and be baptized. I'm not sure if they said baptized, but repent certainly was there, metanoei. This change of forsaking the past and making a change of heart and mind. The apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 7:10, and I will not be going through this in its fullness. This will be your lab work. You can go through and look at all of this in your own time.

2 Corinthians 7:10 "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation."

Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation. People can sorrow, but repentance and sorrow are not the same thing. Sorrow is the process that leads to salvation. It produces repentance. It is something that you have to feel first before you move on to these next concrete steps. “But the sorrow of the world produces death.” A lot of people are sorrowful. A lot of people are very sorrowful because they got caught. We get people who get caught in some type of indiscretion in life, stealing money, whatever. And they're so sorry. Forgive me, please, please, please, please. Don't fire me.

Sorrow of the world produces death. Now sorrow is a very good emotion to lead you to repentance.

2 Corinthians 7:11 "For observe this very thing that you sorrowed in a godly manner.” Because here's what that sorrow to repentance leads to in concrete steps. “What diligence it produced in you.” Taking the bull by the horns. You're gonna be diligent. You're going to understand this is wrong. I can't do this anymore. I can't act this way. I can't think this way anymore. “What clearing of yourselves,” if your right hand offends you, cut it off. What clearing of yourself? “What indignation.” what anger. I shouldn't be doing this. I shouldn't be thinking this. Some happy event happens to somebody else, you start feeling jealous. No, I can't think that way. It's wrong for me to feel that way. I need to be very, very kind instead. “What vehement desire.” As a Christian you continue on saying, I have got to continue with this desire to be repentant as I was on the day that I was baptized as a lifelong process? “What zeal, what vindication, and all things you proved yourself to be clear in this manner.”

He talked about a specific sin, sins that were occurring in the Corinthian church. Sins that were occurring in the church, these are not sins of the world. These are things inside the church. Things that we can fall trapped into as they were in the church at Corinth. But he praised them because it was a church that came to repentance. The corinthian church is oftentimes described as the repentant church. They were told what they did wrong, instead of justifying it, blaming others, comparing themselves to others, well, we're better than Ephasis, look what they have. They have Diana. We don't have that. We have the whole... They didn't take that route. They followed this seven-step plan and cleared themselves in this manner.

Sorrow is a means to repentance. Right now, God is calling all the world to repentance. The world's message that we are preaching a message to the entire world, but, you know, repentance only comes when God grants it. And that is when God opens the door to you. That is the calling of God. We get discouraged at times because we preach the message of repentance to the world and nobody hears. Nobody seems to care. Nobody responds. That's part of our job, but the granting of repentance is when God opens that person's mind and helps them see what they need to be doing next and see the importance of it.

I know that there was a point in my life just before I went to Ambassador College, where I saw the truth. And by seeing the truth, I was seeing a way to live, a way to think, a way to conduct myself, a way to treat others. And I was not happy with the way that I reacted to things. I was not happy with my thinking, and my habits. And I felt like I needed to make this big change. I saw the light and I wanted to be baptized so very, very badly. And I did. When I went to Ambassador College in the first semester, I counseled with a minister, counseled with him five times because he wanted to determine if I was really genuine. But I showed that I was and I was baptized.

That was God granting me repentance. He opened the door for me. He didn't do the repentance. I had to do the repentance, but he opened a door for it. In Acts 17:30, this was the apostle Paul speaking probably to one of the most difficult crowds in his ministry. This was in Athens. In his public campaign message.

Acts 17:30 He says, “God commands men everywhere to repent.”

Many people in Athens repent. There's a couple of names there of people who joined, but for being a major city, major philosophical center, hardly anybody did. Those people were not granted repentance. And yet across the bay in Corinths, there was a very large church of where God opened the way to repentance. Someday we'll understand all this. I'm still waiting for the great moment to happen in the message that we preach in the church, in the ministry for God opening the door for the church to grow. It has had openings in times past.

We've had hundreds and thousands of people come into the church. The reason I'm in the ministry is because I was not sent out with the first bunch of ministers of trainees to become ministerial trainees. But because the church was growing so quickly with graduate school lectures that were taking place, I was on the B squad and they sent people like me and a half a dozen others because the church was growing so fast. The church grew by hundreds. The church grew to where our attendance was over 100,000 people every week in Sabbath services.

I'm still looking forward to that day where God will open that door and He will grant repentance. He will lay it upon the hearts of people to say, this is important, listen up. But Christ said, nobody could come to me, nobody could become a Christian unless it was granted to him by the Father. And what's being granted is what Peter said in Acts 11, "Then unto the Gentile, God has granted repentance."

Acts 17:30 Paul was still very strong, "The times of ignorance God overlook, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent."

That is the message of the church where we come to see what we really are, we learn to apologize, we learn not to justify, we learn to come as the tax collector, the publican, be merciful to me, a sinner. God is granting us the capability to repent. And we should be very thankful for that because that is the message of the New Testament church.

So, it's interesting that the first three holy days of the year, which kind of is a grouping of itself are all centered around the theme of repentance. Passover, we repent of our sins of our responsibility in the death of Jesus Christ and ask for His blood to cover our sins. The Days of Unleavened Bread, there are about the days of making changes in our lives, eating bread that is unleavened. Putting out leavening from our lives. It's a celebration of repentance.

And then when we come to the day of Pentecost, the overarching theme, repent and be baptized. So let's understand. This is very important in our spiritual development, is very important in how we preach the gospel. Very important as far as what priorities are placed by God for going forward with our message to the church. That is what's most important.