Sunday January 26, 2020
The Return Policy
Peter has just preached his Pentecost sermon and he and John have taken to the road to share the message of the risen Savior. They come across a lame man begging for alms. Instead of a few pennies, the lame man receives healing. All the people run to them to witness the miracle. It is here that Peter delivers a life-changing message: Repent and be refreshed!
David understood this repent/refresh commandment more than most. After committing adultery with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of her husband, Uriah, David did not run right to seeking forgiveness for his sin. Instead he kept quiet about it, pushing it out of his mind. But over time that unconfessed sin began to take a toll on him.
When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer (Ps.32:3-4).
There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger, nor any health in my bones Because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds are foul and festering because of my foolishness. I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are full of inflammation, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart. (Ps.38:3-8)
And we wonder why many of us are tired, weary, achy, and sick. Could it be that we are hanging on to unconfessed sin living with an unrepentant heart? According to the words of Luke, it is more than just unconfessed sin that brings grief and infirmity to our bodies…it is a matter of repentance, the willingness to turn away from sin and turn back toward God. This is where times of refreshing can come.
The word refresh means, “to catch a breath, take a breath, to have room, to find rest, to give recovery of breath.” Imagine…if we would confess our sin and repent of our sinful ways, we are promised amazing blessings not only to our spirit, but to our soul and body as well. (See WORD WISDOM for a deeper study of rest)
Repentance brings us into the very presence of God. In His presence we find riches and blessings only God has to give. In His presence is the fullness of joy and the joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh.8:10).
You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. (Ps.16:11)
Think of repentance as a process of turning to God so you can receive His presence in trade for what you normally try to receive by dependence on earthly sources. Why wouldn’t we want to run to the Father in repentance? You see it’s not about giving something up…it’s about getting so much in return. There is so much in it for you. Repent because of grace.
One more thing…Peter ended his most famous sermon by telling his hearers to believe in the name of Jesus and repent and they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).
Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. (2 Cor.7:9-11)
Like the loving, faithful father of the prodigal son, God can see repentance coming a great way off and is there to meet it. Repentance is changing your mind, changing your heart, and changing your direction. This is God’s return policy. Amen, and amen.