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RE - Week 2

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Well, I want to welcome all of our churches, our campuses, network churches, those of you worshiping with us on Church online. My name is Chris Beall, I'm one of the pastors here at Lifechurch. We are in this series called RE. We are looking at life-changing, important words in Scripture that begin with RE, which means back or again. Last week, Sam, one of our leaders, talked about the importance of what it means to remember. And today, we are going to deal with another important RE word, and it's the word repentance. So here's the thing, the story goes that a pastor takes a new job at a small country church. The beautification committee of this church wants to get the church all nice and spic and span before he shows up. And so they buy 80 gallons of white paint, but they really needed about 110. As they started to paint, they realized they are going to need more paint. So, the deacon of the beautification committee says, Let's just add some water, thin it out, be good stewards, paint and it will be fine. So, they paint it up and then about the time that the pastor pulls in it begins to rain. The watered down white paint just begins to run off the church! The people were mortified. The pastor gets out of the car and everybody is wondering, What is he going to say? He raises his hand with great southern preaching conviction and he says this, he says: Repaint, and thin no more! You try to find a funny story about repentance! It's not that easy! God forgive me, that was terrible! Repent, so 101 times in the Bible, the word or a derivative of the word repent is used. The concept is central to our faith and our journey in following Christ, but the reality is that for many of us in our culture, we hardly ever use the word and even fewer of us use it correctly, or apply it to our lives. We are a culture that is obsessed with avoiding anything uncomfortable, anything that is remotely sorrowful or painful, and we just like to think positive things, right? Let's just think happy thoughts and we'll all be happy, because that's the point of life. And if you don't believe me, just go home today and open up Twitter and just start reading what people tweet, because in 140 characters or less, people can tweet the most obscene and absurd things ever. For example, oh I don't know, how about a senator? A United States Senator that tweets a picture of his private parts to a young girl and his last name just happens to be Weiner? It actually happened. I apologize Senator Weiner, but that's gross. Or this, these are tweets that I saw people tweet this week. Check this out, we are obsessed with happiness and positive thinking. Somebody tweeted: If you can dream it, you can be it! I want to be a starting forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder! It's not happening! If I dream it, I can't be it! It's not true! How about this, this is crazy! If you are true to yourself, somebody tweeted this this week: If you're true to yourself, God will follow you. Seriously, a little backwards! Or how about this: Happiness begins and ends with you! We can't make fun of these tweets without bringing Charlie Sheen into the mix! So, Charlie tweeted this not too long ago and it's a definition for the word fastball. This is rich, this is profound, this is going to change some of your lives right now! He says this: Fastball is the chance to own the win in winning, and he goes on to say, Look in the mirror, ignite your warrior, follow my lead! Let's all pray! That guys jacked up! We are obsessed with just happy thoughts, no suffering, no sorrow. The reality is that so many of us are not experiencing the life that God has purposed for us, because we are unwilling to live in what the Bible calls an attitude of repentance. So, before we talk about what repentance is, let's talk about what it is not. And as a pastor, I hear this bad theology all of the time. Write this down if you're taking notes: Repentance is not God wanting you to feel like a failure. That is not it. You may feel like it's it, but that's not it. It's not living your life in kind of a state of mild depression or beating up on yourself, and in doing that you feel somehow spiritual. That's not repentance at all. In the Book of Acts, Chapter 3, you see Peter preach his first sermon. Three thousand people gave their lives to the Lord. He was empowered by the Holy Spirit and the first church was born. He goes with John into the Temple that day at the hour of prayer. And of the many gates you can take to enter the Temple, they enter in the gate that was called Beautiful, and by that gate there was a lame beggar that the Bible says was lame and couldn't walk, ever since he was in his mother's womb, he's never walked ever in his life. He's sitting at that gate doing what he's done everyday prior, which is asking for money. And so, as Peter and John approach the Temple, this lame beggar looks at them and asks for money and Peter responds, he says, 'I'm broke.' He says: Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have, I give to you freely. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene.... He says: ...rise and walk. He reaches down, he grabs his hand, pulls the guy up. For the first time ever he's standing on his feet and he can walk. And Peter and John enter into the Temple and the Bible accounts that this lame beggar who is not lame anymore, he is healed, is literally grabbing the waist of Peter as he walks into the Temple. And everyone in that place, all of Peter's fellow Jews are marveling at what just took place. And Peter recognizes that these are the very people that just a few days prior said, 'We want you to give us Barabbas. We want you to free a murderer, and we want you to crucify and torture the Prince of life, Jesus the Messiah.' And you'd think that the words that are going to come out of Peter's mouth would be words of hatred and words of condemnation. And make no mistake people, we are all in that mob, because it was your sin and it was mine that nailed Him to that tree. And Peter begins to tell them what they'd done. 'It was you who asked for a murderer to be released. It was you who asked for the Messiah, the Son ofGod, God Himself, to be crucified and tortured.' And then he says one of the most compassionate things that is God's message for us today. He says: Repent therefore... In light of everything that you've done and in light of what He's done: Repent, then.... And what? Say it with me: ...and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out... And that what? ...and that times of refreshing may come from the presence of God Himself. Do not miss the power of this verse: Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be washed clean, and that times of refreshing may come from the presence of God. There are many of us in this place today listening to this message that are dry and weary and you need a fresh wind of God in your life. And it's going to come, but it's going to come through repentance. So what is it? What does that even mean? If you're taking notes, I want you to write this first thought down: Repentance is first a changed mind. Repentance is a changed mind. In the second letter that Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth, these people were like us, they were just messed up. Paul taught them the truth, he taught them what it was all about, it was about preaching Christ crucified and resurrected and making Him known throughout the whole world. And somewhere along the way they just get all jacked up, they start sleeping with each other, the Bible says they start teaching like really bad theology, and they've drifted so far from where Paul had started this church. And he, like Peter had done with his fellow Jews in the Temple, he says: Look what you have done. And then he says this, he says: Yet now I'm happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led to repentance. For you became sorrowful.... How? ...as God intended... People, guess what? God actually intends for you to experience sorrow because sorrow has work to do in your life. And he goes on to say: ...so you were not harmed in any way by us.... And now this is the stuff; this phrase out of all the 66 books of the Bible, is the very phrase that has had the biggest impact on my life in 20 years of following Jesus. He says this, he says what? Say it with me, he says: ...Godly sorrow... Again, say it with me, he says: ...Godly sorrow... What does it do? ...it brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no... Seems like a good thing. ...Godly sorrow leads to repentance, which brings salvation and leaves no regret... But then he goes on to talk about another kind of sorrow. Then he says: ...worldly sorrow brings... What? ...death. So, which one do you experience, because apparently there's two. There's Godly sorrow, which is something that's a good thing, something we should desire in our lives, it produces something from God in us. And then, Paul says that there's this other thing called worldly sorrow that destroys us from the inside out. I think we better pay close attention to the difference between the two, because the fruit of the two are radically different, and my fear is that far too many of you are living right here, worldly sorrow. So what is it? Worldly sorrow is this: You view your sin from your perspective. More specifically, you view the consequences of sin as an annoyance. I feel kind of bad that I've done this, I'm kind of sorry that I've betrayed this person, I'm kind of sorry that I cheated on my wife, I'm kind of sorry that I fudged on my taxes and I'm really stealing, and I'm kind of sorry. And God, actually you know what God? I wished you'd take this from me, I don't want to struggle with this. I don't want to struggle with my thought life, I don't want to struggle with lying, I don't want to struggle with greed, I don't want to struggle with materialism. God, would you please take this from me? And when God doesn't take it from you, you almost get bitter at God because you were annoyed and inconvenienced by the consequence of your sin. Worldly sorrow produces death. Been then there's the stuff, Godly sorrow, and it looks like this: What have I done to the heart of my Savior? What have I done? And you allow God to change your mind about your rebellion and your self-serving lifestyle, and you view it not from your inconvenience and your annoyance by that struggle, by that sin; but you view it through the eyes of God Himself, as the very thing that veils you from intimacy with your Father. The Greek word that is used here for repent, is the word metanoia. It means, it's a change of your paradigm, it's a change of your world view, it's a change of your thinking. But it goes on to say, but it also is a change of your behavior, a change of your direction. The most comprehensive definition is this; repentance, metanoia, is a changed mind that leads to changed behavior. Say that with me, repentance is what? It is a changed mind that leads to changed behavior. So, how do you view your sin? Where are you living today? Worldly sorrow that brings death? Or Godly sorry that brings repentance and life? God wants to change your mind. He wants to help you see it differently. One of the songs that I love, one of my favorite worship songs is by Hillsong in Australia, it's called Hosanna. The lyric in this song is how we do this. How do I change my mind? Friends, you can't change your mind, only God can. And He does when you open up your heart and you pray this prayer: God break my heart for what breaks yours. God, you have all access to this. Break my heart for what breaks yours. Change my mind. Early in marriage, I think I was like 21-years-old, and I remember there was a whole lot of new things about being married than dating. One of those that was quickly obvious is that, like I would come out of the shower and we'd be getting ready and I'd see my wife getting dressed, and I'm like, this is a new thing. And I'm pretty thankful God, for this thing called marriage, it's good. And so, I got out of the shower and I'm getting dressed and Cindy's getting dressed. And she looks at me and she asks this question she said, Chris, how do I look? And I thought to myself, the way I answer this question could radically change the condition of our marriage relationship for the foreseeable future. And so, I looked at her and I said, Baby, you look incredible. And a wise man would have just stopped right there, but I didn't stop. I said, Baby, you look incredible, but if there were one thing...just one thing that maybe you could work on a little bit... You want to know what I told her? Do you really think I'm an idiot enough to let that come out of my mouth twice? No! I'm not going to tell you what I told her! But here's the thing, I told her this deal, right, I said; Yeah, you could probably work on that. But, in my mind guys, follow my logic for a minute. Of all of the infinite things that I could say could be changed or tweaked, one thing, that's a huge compliment right? You're perfect in every way, but you could just change this one thing. And I thought, from my perspective that's a huge compliment. From her perspective, she looked at me as though to say a few things. One, I can't say in church! She kind of gave me this gaze that said, You've failed this test miserably! And then, this other that kind of said, I've got a headache that looks to last about three months give or take! But here's the thing, the way, through whose eyes you look at your choices changes everything about that choice. God, break my heart for what breaks yours. Help me to see my sin and my rebellion and my selfishness, not through how it annoys me, who do you think you are? Who do I think I am? What do we think we deserve from a Holy God who cannot be in the presence of sin? God, break my heart for what breaks yours. Repentance is a changed mind. Second, write this down: Repentance is a changed direction. It is a changed direction. Ezekiel 14:6, God speaks to the prophet Ezekiel to share a message with his people the Israelites. God says this, He says: Therefore Ezekiel, I want you to go to the people and say, This is what the Sovereign Lord says:... Say it with me, He says: ...repent... And to what? ...turn from your idols and renounce all of your detestable practices! It's not just a changed mind, but now it is a change in action, a change in behavior, and more specifically, a change in your life's trajectory. Your whole direction of life changes. And I need to say this to you, a divinely changed mind always results in changed behavior, always. A God-changed mind, when God breaks your heart for what breaks His, it can't not yield change in your lifestyle and in your behavior. And if it doesn't, guess what you have? You just have worldly sorrow. It's not Godly sorrow, it's just worldly sorrow. It's still consequential, it's still the consequences of sin, it's not the sin struggle itself. The thing that's pretty amazing about this word that we're studying, is that the word metanoia is actually a military term. It's a military term. Like, in our day you go to boot camp, and you're learning how to march in formation and your drill sergeant will yell something out as you're marching and says, About face! Stop, you turn 180 degrees and you march in the exact opposite direction. Metanoia is that word. The Roman army, the captain of the Roman guard, as they would march in formation would yell out, Metanoia! Repent! Stop, turn 180 degrees away, and you walk. And people hear me, you never look back. A changed mind always yields a changed direction. Where are you headed? Are you headed to the lower things? Or repent; RE, to turn or pent, penthouse, higher things, or are we going to turn to the highest things? Repentance is a changed mind that leads to changed behavior. And so, let's talk practically. What does that need to look like in your life? What does that change need to look like? Because folks, every single one of you have at least one thing, most of us have like 50 that we need to physically and mentally turn from and go the opposite direction. For some of you, you're struggling with your thought life. Maybe after the family goes to bed, you find yourself watching things on TV you shouldn't watch. And so, repentance, about face is tomorrow you call the cable company or whoever and you say, Cancel service, I'm going to use rabbit ears. There's an immediate and radical response, I'm going the other direction. For others of you, you're in a relationship and that relationship is enabling you and honestly, causing you to make choices that break God's heart and you know it! You know it! It's with the about face, what is it? You get on the phone today and you say, It's over! And you date God for a year. Repent; radical, immediate obedience to the changed mind, to the changed heart. For some of you, you need to call your doctor today, tomorrow and say, Do not ever prescribe this pill to me ever again because I cannot stop taking it. Radical, instant obedience. For some of you, you just need to confess the sin. Some of you, you just need to say no, but there has to be change in your direction. If there's not, you are like the rest of the masses, just living with worldly sorrow and managing the struggle and you're dying inside. It brings death. In Revelation Chapter Two, God is speaking through John to the churches. And in Chapter Two, God has a message for the church in Ephesus, and God says this, He says: But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore... Kind of like Sam talked about last week, he says what? ...remember from where you've fallen... And do what? ...and repent... Go back over this way: ...and do the deeds you did at first. And you know what the thing is about this deal? He doesn't say, This is what I have against you, you stopped doing these things, and started doing those things. He says, This is what I have against you; you left me, you left your first love for that. And that really brings us to the last thought. It's what all of this is about. Repentance is a changed mind that leads to a changed direction. Your whole trajectory for your life is now different because God's broken your heart for what breaks His. And third, write this down: Repentance restores relationship. It's all about relationship. The cross is all about relationship. We have left our first love. One of the most amazing stories in the Bible paints, in the story board of a father-son relationship, everything we have been talking about today. I pray that you would find yourself in this story because we are all this son and there's a message that God wants you to hear. The son comes to a father and says: I demand my share of the inheritance, my share of your estate. Even though you're not dead yet, give it to me now. What do we see there? Entitlement. Maybe that's you. Maybe you feel like life owes you something that its yet to give you. You're entitled to more. We're entitled to nothing! The father gives him his share of the estate and the son starts down a road to destruction, literally walks down a road to this town. And the Bible says that he just goes buck wild. He takes that money, and you know, with the money some friends just kind of gather around and he's at the clubs every night, every night, and he's getting his buzz on and he's trying to hook up. And the Bible says that he is spending all of his time and all of his money and his life is found in this nonstop party. And maybe that's where you're living. Maybe you go out night after night after night, because it kind of feeds this inadequacy in you and maybe you have this thing that man, that alcohol gives me this deal that I don't have, and maybe this person's attention to me gives me this thing that I don't have. And maybe it's fun for awhile, but guess what? There's always the next morning isn't there? There's always the next morning when you feel emptier than you did in the first place. And so, the money runs out. When the money runs out the friends are all gone. And the Bible says that this son finds himself literally face down sleeping, passed out, in a pigpen. In verse 17 of this text, we see this, the process begins. Say it with me, Scripture says: When he came to his senses... What do we see there? Changed mind. Something changed in him. When he came to his senses, when he got to this point of saying, 'What have I done?' He came to his senses. And then he goes through this debate of, 'Do I go home, do I not go home? What will he say to me? I mean my Father loves me. My Father worked his whole life to provide this part of the estate to me and then I went and in like a week squandered it all.' But then he made the choice, and the Bible says: So he got up and he went. We see a changed mind that leads to him getting up, and some of you are living here. God's breaking your heart, but you just haven't done anything with it yet. And the son begins down the same path that took him to destruction, to misery. Can you just imagine the rehearsal going on in this guy's mind? What is he going to say to the father, what is the father going to say to him? And I suspect he had written off his father even accepting him as his son. That ship had sailed, I'm sure, in his mind. Why would he think otherwise? I mean, as parents, when our kids do something wrong don't we say things like, Go to your room, leave my presence, or have you ever said this, I have, Son, I can't even look at you right now. Why would the son think that the father wanted anything to do with him when he had sinned so greatly? Well folks, our God is much bigger than we are and His ways are higher than our ways, and here's what you've got to hear; as the son went home, the Bible says one of the most unbelievable phrases in the whole Scripture. It says: While he was still far off his father saw him. What does that mean? That means that day the father was standing at the mailbox looking down the road asking himself, 'Is today the day that my son comes home?' And I suspect he stood at that mailbox everyday prior. It's his son, 'Is today the day that my son comes home?' And when he saw him, when God sees you saying, God, I'm done, I surrender, break my heart for what breaks yours, God will do to you what the father did to his son. He breaks out in an all-out sprint, doesn't even let the son make it to the driveway, the father starts running down the road and the Bible says that he throws his arms around him and he kisses his son's face! He says, 'My son is home! Bring the ring and put it on his finger!' That signifies, everything that I own, my son owns. Put the robe around him that says, 'You are not a slave and will never be, you are royalty, you are family, you are my son and we are going to celebrate.' Because what was lost is now found. You think you're a million miles from God, how could he want anything to do with you? This story isn't about a fictitious son and a fictitious father, this story is about you and about your Heavenly Father, and God wants you to know the moment you give up and you turn to Him, he wants you to know what His response will be. There's no guess work. It's all about relationship. I have done some stupid things in my life and I've been given so much and I've squandered so much. I know, if you've been with us for awhile you know my story. If you're new to the church, you are going to probably be freaked out with what I'm about to tell you. Get over it. From the time I was eight to twenty-eight, I struggled with a pornography addiction. My Dad brought a Playboy in the house and it started a world of pain that I could never escape. I was the best liar I knew for my whole life. I didn't know how not to lie. Exaggerating about stuff, lying about stuff, lying to the people I love the most. Twelve years ago, I was unfaithful to my wife, just caught up in a sexual addiction and my mind was messed up. The whole time, this whole time it was all worldly sorrow. I feel kind of bad, but it was really more selfish; God, I don't want to deal with this, take this from me, heal me of this struggle. And when God didn't, I got mad at Him and I was just dying inside like many of you are right now. And then, one day God broke my heart and I started to see my sin through His eyes, through something that separated me from the intimacy that God wanted to have with me and the intimacy I was meant to have with my wife and my family. Repentance restores relationships. You know, I could tell you what that was like from my perspective, but the truth is my wife had a front-row seat and has for the last ten years, to what Godly sorrow looks like. I would just assume you hear it from her. Cindy Beall: For years, I watched Chris go through this cycle of the struggle of his sin and he would be sorry and he would make a small change and it wouldn't last. I remember thinking, He's just mad, he got in trouble and he got busted. It was just a worldly sorrow, it wasn't true repentance, it wasn't true willingness to change. And then, something changed. I think he got to the place where he hated his sin, he realized that it broke God's heart and I think he was willing to do something drastic to make a change. I think God gave him a bigger picture that was bigger than himself. So, he walks in our door over nine years ago and he gets brutally honest with me. And there's this look on his face that I've never seen before and he starts crying and he's weeping and he's completely broken, not only for what he's done to me and to our family, but for what he's done to the heart of God. I remember thinking, This is it because I've never seen this and this has got to be true repentance. And even in the midst of my pain, which was really bad, it was refreshing for me to see that because I thought that I could maybe stay with this man if he continues to walk in this path. That was nine years ago. His change was literally overnight and he still walks in that brokenness today with a repentant heart. I know the world will tell us that Godly sorrow and repentance is weak, and we should steer clear of that and be strong, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. The truth is, that is where true strength begins, because it is in our weakness that Christ is strong and I think that Chris learned that God's love and His kindness was still there even in the midst of all of his sin. Even in the midst of our sin, that if we'll be willing for God to do some heart surgery on us, that He can do the extraordinary, and I think it's time that we let Him. Chris Beall: It's the kindness of God that leads us to repentance, it's the mercy and the grace that makes the work of a repentance perfect, when you recognize what have I done with what He has done for you. That was my deal and I'm still walking that place of brokenness today. What is yours? I mean, I boldly ask that today as God's church, as His bride, that we repent and we turn back to Him. All of our campuses, would you pray with me? Heavenly Father, I just pray for every single person listening to these words, but not just my words but God, those who are listening to what your Holy Spirit is saying to their hearts. God, let us be immediately obedient to that which you are calling us to do. God, help us to know where we even stand with you. For those who are lost, for those who don't know you God, I pray that you would draw them into a saving relationship today with Jesus. As we are in an attitude of prayer today, for those of you who are followers of Christ, I am calling you to repentance. I am calling you to ask God to break your heart for the things that break His. I'm calling you to take radical and immediate action to literally turn 180 degrees from where you are going and change the direction of your life to the higher things of God. And there are areas, some of you may not even know what those areas are. Simply just say, God, break my heart. I promise you He will. Others of you, you're profoundly aware of what those areas are that are rebellious, that are sinful, that are destroying you and you're living in worldly sorrow and it stops now. I repent God, I repent. I turn from that and I turn to you. Break my heart for what breaks yours. Change my mind. At all of our campuses, if you're praying that prayer, for those of you that know Jesus, would you be bold and tell them about it and raise your hand and say, God, that's my prayer, I repent today, I repent today! There's more of you. God, today I repent. I turn from that, I turn to you. God, for every single person that raised their hand, God I thank you for their boldness. Holy Spirit, break us, make our hearts soft. God, make us see our sin through your eyes, not through the inconvenience of the consequences of our sin. And God, I thank you that repentance will work it's perfect work in us to bring about Godliness and joy and freedom in Christ. As we continue to pray, there are some of you that don't even know where you stand with God. If you look at your life and the direction you've been going, you are probably abundantly aware that you are not moving toward Him, you're moving away from Him. And the bad news is that the Bible says that all of us have sinned, all of us, and that sin separates us from a Holy God. It separates us from even having a relationship with Him, but the good news is that while we were sinning, while we were still messed up, Christ died for us. And that if you would surrender your life and if you would pray the dangerous prayer, God forgive me, save me, I give you my entire life, the Bible says that you will be made into a new creation, you will become adopted as a child of God into the family of God, your sins will be forever forgiven. You may be here today and you may be stiff-arming God, you may be thinking, You know what? I'm just going to keep managing it. Check it out, your life will not change. The misery will continue, the darkness will continue, the internal death will continue. It's time to turn your life over to the One who gave His life for you. At all of our campuses, if you're ready to pray that prayer, boldly raise your hands right now and say, God, I give you my life! Right over here, right over here, hand in the back, hand in the back over here. Praise God for you! Who else? God, I give you my life. I surrender everything to you. I don't belong to me anymore, I am yours! Who else? God, take my life, use me for your purpose. Save me, make me new! At all of our campuses, Church Online, you just click right below me. All of our campuses praying together say, Heavenly Father, I need you. I have sinned, I'm asking you to save me. Jesus, I believe that you died to pay for my sin and I give you my whole life, use it for your purpose. In Jesus name I pray! Everybody said Amen! Can we worship a Holy God today!

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Posted by: lifechurchopen on Jun 14, 2011

RE - Week 2 - Chris Beall - LifeChurch.tv

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