THE PREACHING OF REPENTANCE

By

Shelby G. Floyd

“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord“(Acts 3:19). This statement was made by the apostle Peter in a sermon delivered before the Jews in Solomon’s porch, a part of the temple of God at Jerusalem. This passage emphasizes the prominent place that repentance held in the preaching of the apostles. The preaching of repentance was also a prominent topic in the preaching of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1-2); of Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:17; 11:20-22); of the twelve who were sent out to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Mark 6:12); and likewise to the seventy who were sent out to preach to the people (Luke 10:1-16).

THE FIRST AND LAST WORDS OF CHRIST WAS THE PREACHING OF REPENTANCE

The first words of Jesus when he began his earthly ministry were words pleading for the people to repent of their sins: “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). The last words of Christ before he ascended back into heaven were,

“Thus it is written, and thus it behooved 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” (Luke 24:46-47). Thus the first and last words of Christ were the preaching of repentance.

THE PREACHING OF REPENTANCE WAS IMPORTANT TO THE APOSTLES

When the apostles were sent out under the second or the great commission of Jesus Christ, they preached repentance. On the day of Pentecost, when the great crowd of people asked Peter what they should do, he recognized that they already believed the word that he had preached; and therefore, his answer was, “repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). When Paul stood before the great high court of Athens, near the end of his sermon, he said, “and the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Therefore from this summary one can see that repentance held a very important place in the preaching of the apostles, and those who went before them.

WHAT IS REPENTANCE?

Repentance then is necessary for the remission of sins, and eternal life. But what is repentance? Many people have a very obscure idea of what they are to do when they are commanded to repent. With many people repentance is a sorrow for sin. Matthew says that, “when Judas saw that he was condemned, he repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood” (Matthew 27:3-4). Judas was sorry that he was condemned, but he was not sorry that he had betrayed Christ. He was not sorry to the point that he would change his life; for he went out and hanged himself, which indicated that his sorrow was of this world, and not a godly sorrow that leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Godly sorrow then, precedes repentance, and is that which works repentance; therefore, it should not be confounded with repentance itself. Neither is repentance to be confounded with a change of life or reformation of life.

JOHN THE BAPTIST AND JESUS PREACHED REPENTANCE

John the Baptist told those who came out to his baptism, to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance (Matthew 3:7-8). The fruits of repentance refer to a change of life, and therefore, it is something that follows repentance. Therefore, repentance is something that is distinct from godly sorrow, and from a change of life. But what is it? On one occasion Jesus said, “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, a greater than Jonah is here” (Matthew 12:41). The men of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah: but Christ was greater than Jonah, and yet, the people to whom he spoke refused to repent of their sins. But what did the people do in repenting at the preaching of Jonah? When Jonah finally decided to go into that great city of Nineveh, a population of a hundred and twenty thousand who did not know their left hand from their right hand; he preached unto the people saying, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” The people believed what Jonah preached to them and from the King on down to the lowliest person in the kingdom, they humbled themselves in sackcloth and ashes. “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not” (Jonah 3:10). The repentance of the Ninevehites then, consisted in their turning from their evil way, which began in a change of will, and issued forth in a change of life.

HAVE A CHANGE OF MIND BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!

In the Old Testament we read of Jacob and Esau. Esau was the first born which meant that he had right to the larger portion of his father’s inheritance. On one occasion Esau returned from hunting, and was very tired and hungry. Jacob offered him pottage to eat on the condition that he would sell his birthright, which he did. When he later realized what he had done; he could find no place for a change of mind. “For you know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” (Hebrews 12:16-17).

Therefore, repentance is simply a change of mind, produced by godly sorrow, and leading to a change of life. God is not willing that any person should perish, but he gives all men the privilege to come to repentance. Life is the boundary line of repentance.*

Copyright © 2018 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

*The Informer, October 25, 1972, by Shelby G Floyd.

Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE

By

Shelby G. Floyd

In the New Testament Christ is pictured as a Living Stone in God’s spiritual building:

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious…Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “ Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame” (1 Peter 2:4, 6).

Continue reading “THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE”

THE BIG “IF”

By

Shelby G. Floyd

After exhorting his readers to add to their faith—goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love—Peter urges them to put all of this into action. Unless one is active nothing happens:

“For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8).

Continue reading “THE BIG “IF””

THE PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST

By

Shelby G. Floyd

In Colossians 1:18, the apostle Paul expressed the preeminence that Christ should have over His church when he said, “And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead: that in all things He might have the preeminence.” We must give Christ preeminence in all things and especially we must give Him first place of importance in the church.

When Paul said He is the head of the church, the word “head” means originator, source, leader and ruler. Christ is the head of the church in the sense that He brought the church into being. He is the originator of the church. Christ is the head of the church in the sense that He is the source of the life of the church.

Christ is the head of the church in the sense that He is the ruler of the church. He has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). He has executive authority: He proposes. He has legislative authority: He disposes. He has judicial authority: He judges. So we must give preeminence to Christ as the head of the church, the originator of the church, and the source of all life in the church, the legislator, the executor and the judge of the church.

Concerning Christ Paul says, “Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead.” The word “beginning” there does not mean that Christ had a beginning. Christ existed before the creation (John 1:1-4). Christ is the firstborn from the dead. He was not the first to rise from the dead, but the first and the highest rank to rise from the dead. This means he holds the preeminence or highest rank over the church.

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142
shelby@thefloyds.net

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CHURCH

By

Shelby G. Floyd

This subject ought to be brought before young people and others continually. It is a topic that must be stamped indelibly upon the hearts of all who would please our heavenly Father and who would know the truth. It is a simple subject, and yet one that is not known or understood by many people. The subject is, “The Establishment of the Church.”

Are you a member of the church of Christ? Are you sure the church of which you are a member is the church you can read about in the New Testament? Are you sure it is the New Testament church? Are you sure you have entered the body of Christ, or the church, in the way God has asked all people to enter the church? These are questions only you can answer. As we pursue the topic, “The New Testament church and its Establishment,” do some soul searching to find out if you are really a part of the church that we read about in the Bible. Continue reading “THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CHURCH”

LIVING FOR CHRIST

By

Shelby G. Floyd

This lesson is from the book of Philippians. It is definitely one of my favorite books in the Bible. It is upbeat and optimistic. This is Paul’s hymn of joy just as 1 Corinthians 13 is his hymn of love.

Analyzing the book of Philippians we find that Chapter One is the single mind, Chapter Two is the submissive mind, Chapter Three is the spiritual mind and Chapter Four is the secure mind. When we look at it from a different point of view: Chapter One, the Christian’s purpose is to live for Christ; Chapter Two, the Christian’s pattern is to have the mind of Christ; Chapter Three, the Christian’s prize is to receive the high calling of God in Christ Jesus; and Chapter Four, the Christian’s provision is to have all things through Christ.

But, when one looks at it from still another point of view: Philippians One, Christ our life; Chapter Two, Christ our example; Chapter Three, Christ our hope; and Chapter Four, Christ our source of strength and supply. I personally heard the outstanding preacher Guy N. Woods, preach a series on Philippians when I was a young preacher and I will never forget the lessons he proclaimed. Continue reading “LIVING FOR CHRIST”

“THERE IS DEATH IN THE POT”

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Recently I listened to Paul Harvey’s daily news program on the radio as I drove along in my automobile. He said something that was humorous but also had a very serious tone to it. Apparently there was a little boy who had watched too much television. His father took him to a restaurant for a meal. When the waitress asked him what he would like to have he said, “I’ll have the largest steak in the house and a bottle of Lowenbrau.”

All of us who watch television just a little know that the programs are saturated with references to beer, wine and all kinds of strong drink. Subtly implied is the idea that it is the “in” thing. The idea is that if you are young, happy and successful, drinking alcoholic beverages is the thing to do. We know that is not the entire picture or story of drinking strong drink.

Television stories and dramas fail to show the broken homes and the people who are maimed and killed on the highways by drinking drivers. They fail to show the entire picture. I read in the Indianapolis Star a story by Bob Greene that pictures the other side of the coin. This is a story about the dangers of drinking alcohol, especially by young people who start at an early age. It is bad for anybody. It is especially sad to see young people start early in life to destroy their lives and influence by drinking alcohol. Continue reading ““THERE IS DEATH IN THE POT””